The Mr. Adams

This cocktail recipe calls for Sam Adams Infinium, described by Saveur as “yeasty, fruity, fizzy.” Sam Adams describes it as “a crisp champagne-like beer.” Clearly, they’ve got my number; I love champagne.

In case you can’t get a hold of the small batch and limited distribution Sam’s Infinium because you don’t live anywhere near the greater Boston area, then another full bodies wheat beer will do. Even if you do live around here, that is Boston, then you can replace it with the ubiquitous UFO Hefeweizens by Harpoon or any hefeweizens really. I like the Trader Joe’s stuff myself. Much more flavorful than UFO’s. Or try Red and White by Dogfish; Bluemoon or Hoegaarden should work, too. But I wasn’t about to pass up a chance to try a Sam Adam’s I haven’t tried before. Never even heard of Infinium and the bottle with it’s champagne bottle shape and cork was irresistible to me.

Having tried the Infinium, if you use another weizen, then your cocktail will not taste the same as mine. The beer is totally unique to my palate, much spicier and fruiter than other hefeweizens or weizens I’ve tried. Your cocktail using another wheat beer might still taste great, but it won’t be the Sam Adams Infinium Mr. Adams. It’ll be a Mr. Adams but not THE Mr. Adams.

Wheat beers are often served with lemon or some other citrus like orange so it’s no surprise that this recipe uses lemon juice and zest to bring out the flavor of the wheat beer. Don’t get lazy with garnishes when you make cocktails at home. If the recipe is solid, the garnish always plays a role in the olfactory/taste/visual experience.

The Mr. Adams (Adapted from Saveur)
Makes 1 drink

Black Pepper Syrup
4 tbsp fresh-ground black pepper
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

6 oz (3/4 cup) Sam Adams Infinium beer
1 oz black pepper syrup
1/2 oz apple cider
1/4 oz fresh lemon juice
Thin strip of lemon rind for garnish

Make the black pepper syrup by bringing to a boil 2 tbsp black pepper, sugar, and water in a small sauce pan or a small pan. Remove from heat and allow mixture to steep for 10 minutes. Strain out solids using cheesecloth or a coffee filter placed over a sieve over a measuring cup, which is what I used. Add remaining 2 tbsp black pepper to the infused syrup and allow to steep, covered, overnight and up to 24 hours.

Next day, strain again using a cheesecloth placed inside a small bowl. I tried using a coffee filter over a sieve. Doesn’t work. The coffee filter is too fine and the sugar solution too dense to squeeze through, especially once it’s cooled.

The finished syrup should be a rich black color with only a few tiny particles of pepper if at all. Syrup will keep for up to two weeks in the fridge.

Zest the lemon before juicing it. Unlike the rind of a lemon, which includes the yellow (zest) and the white part (pith) of the lemon skin, the zest is just the yellow part. I just used a vegetable peeler to do this. Keep the peeler close to the surface to get as little of the pith as possible. The broad strip of zest looks great and more robust as a garnish for this, what I consider to be, masculine cocktail.

Fill a glass halfway with beer. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add black pepper syrup, cider, and fresh lemon juice. Shake for 20 seconds.

(I would just like to add here that replacing fresh lemon juice with the bottled stuff is a terrible idea, especially for a cocktail that features only a few flavors: each component should be top notch.

I had no idea how much of a difference fresh versus bottled lemon juice made until New Year’s Eve when I made a cocktail I’ve known for a while, French 75, which I’ll talk about next week, using fresh lemon juice for the first time. I used to think the cocktail was decent. With fresh lemon juice it was spectacular. The difference between fresh and bottled was like night and day, American cheese and Comté, polyester fleece and cashmere. It makes a difference. So bother and juice a lemon.)

Strain mixture into the beer. Run the lemon zest around the rim of the glass to release the oils.

Sip, sip. And? Hurray. Oh, Happy Friday.

For more photos, go to Flickr.

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