When you think "beer cocktails," the Irish Car Bombs and Boilermakers of your bleary-eyed youth probably come to mind. But bartender Matthew Biancaniello of Hollywood Roosevelt's Library Bar has created a drink not for frat guys looking to bomb their beer but rather beer aficionados and cocktail enthusiasts.
The Hopping in the Rye, the only beer cocktail at the hotel bar, is made with hops-infused gin (infused for four or five days), caramelized honey, Oroblanco grapefruit juice, lemon juice and an IPA, which is usually courtesy of Biancaniello's friends at Golden State on Fairfax.
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And against one's better instinct of shaking a carbonated liquid, the bartender drops the IPA in the shaker rather than serving it as a float. "When you put in a float, I feel like you're just drinking that beer, but I like that this beer becomes part of the cocktail. It's nice and frothy," said Biancaniello. The result is a creamy, airy cocktail with just a hint of hoppiness on the finish.
"Beer people love this," the bartender says. He's especially hoping one particular beer person will, too: Evan Kleiman of KCRW's "Good Food," whom he heard might stop by the hotel bar to check it out.
It took Biancaniello a month to fine-tune his recipe, something which began as an IPA Manhattan made with hops-infused rye, then became a sour, and finally evolved into this frothy concoction on the rocks.
Unfortunately, the cocktail's name "Hopping in the Rye" is left over from its Manhattan incarnation and Biancaniello still hasn't come up with a name for this new version. However, he said that whomever can come up with a name that he likes will get three free drinks. So start brainstorming.