My favorite things about blogging for Foodie Annapolis is getting to know the people that make the restaurants and bars we love so much move and shake. These are the owners, general managers, bar managers, bartenders, etc. Being able to sit down and talk to them about more than just my drink order has been great. I’ve learned so much about how a drink is developed, the process of creating it, then presenting it to the public.
In November 2016, I wrote about my experience creating my own beer (Firkin) with Federal House and Union Brewery. In February 2017, I had the privilege of tapping my very own firkin at Federal House and serving the first glass of my beer, Deeder Von Teese! It was delicious!!!
Visiting Union Brewery, getting some expert flavor advice from Co-Founder and Director of Operations, Adam Benesch, and getting to know Federal House General Manager, Vicki Green, and Owner, Jeremy Black was an amazing experience!
Vikki and I had a conversation about our love for craft beer that day, and the rise of its presence in Maryland. She filled with excitement as she told me about ideas she had for Federal House, breweries she hoped to work with, and new menu items to roll out in the warmer months. As we chatted about all of this, ideas began to roll, excitement bubbled and an invite was extended. Vikki invited me (moi) to visit Federal House and create my own drink that would appear on the ‘Beer with a Kick’ menu!!!
WHAT!?! LET’S DO THIS!!!!!
Hold on...Where do we begin? What if the drinks suck? What if I’m not as flavor-creative as I thought I was?
Vicki assured me that I’d do great and with that dose of confidence, the creative process began. My business partner-in-crime, Ben, and I came up with a few ideas. We ate lunch, cleansed our palettes, and created some AWFUL mixes! I am not exaggerating. They were a hot mess!! After striking out a few times, I decided to stick with what I know and love: Bourbon and coffee based flavors.
Bourbon has become a staple and mainstay in my cocktail repertoire. I find myself drinking it, cooking with it, and even purchasing bourbon-based ingredients like bourbon vanilla extract, bourbon BBQ glaze, and my favorite, bourbon-smoked sugar! What can I say? I love the stuff!
Over the years, I have taken a liking to cocktails that are an updated or slightly skewed version of classic drinks. For example, a rum-based Manhattan, or a Blood Orange Negroni. In recent years, one of my favs has been the Kentucky Mule – a take on the Moscow Mule using Bourbon instead of Vodka. While taste testing beers that could work as a foundation for my drink, I came across Kentucky Bourbon Ale! One sip and I was hooked. Decanted in bourbon barrels, this ale has the perfect finish of both a great beer and a great bourbon. Smooth, with oak, vanilla, caramel, and toffee notes. It was a clear winner for me. Understanding that the Kentucky Mule is already an existing and delicious drink, I wanted to give it another name. With Kentucky Bourbon Ale, Bulliet Bourbon, and of course, Ginger Beer, the Kentucky Mare was born.
“Wanna make another drink?”
“Yes. Yes, I do!"
In my email signature, one of my titles is listed as “Blogger + Lover of Black Converse.” If you know anything about me, you know that I wear all black Chucks almost every dang day! Vikki suggested that this would make for a great drink name and be a perfect representation of my personality. I instantly loved the idea, and the Black Converse was born. Made with Yards Love Stout, Tuaca, and a hint of orange, the Black Converse is a home-run! The Yards Love Stout is a well-rounded stout that isn’t too heavy. With flavorful notes of coffee and chocolate, it’s a cooling and comfortable drink. The Tuaca plays a huge role in this drink as it brings in a punch of vanilla and citrus. A little on the sweet side, it’s a nice drink to end with. Almost like a slice of cake after a good meal.
Federal House has given me the resources to create THREE drinks within a 6-month span – my beloved Deeder Von Teese, Black Converse, the and Kentucky Mare. I am forever grateful for these VERY cool experiences and want to thank everyone at Fed House who assisted in the process – whether it was flavor suggestions or just being supportive during the making of these drinks. The Beer with a Kick Menu and Specialty Cocktail menu is where you can find my drinks along with many others that are crazy-good, including the Fedhead Shandy w/ Federal House Ale & Lemonade (yum!), and Monkey Love w/ Feed the Monkey & Yards Love Stout (delish!).
Hope to see you there on my next visit!
Photos courtesy of Darin Gilliam