Guinness Cocktails

By Justine Sterling Posted March 15, 2012
Jasper's Corner Tap

Courtesy of Jasper's Corner Tap / Kimpton San Francisco Restaurants

Guinness is more than just a tasty stout you drink on St. Patrick's Day. The complex, malty bitterness makes it a fantastic mixer in a range of cocktails (and even frozen drinks) being served now from Boston to Virginia.

Even before Jasper’s Corner Tap & Kitchen opened in San Francisco last year, bar manager Kevin Diedrich and consulting mixologist Jacques Bezuidenhout knew they wanted to experiment with Guinness. Bezuidenhout had tried the beer in a fantastic flip with egg, gin and spices, and both men share an appreciation for the classic Black Velvet, a combination of Guinness and Champagne. “The Black Velvet is insanely good, but nobody knows about it,” Diedrich says. Bezuidenhout decided to merge that cocktail with a French 75 (gin and Champagne) to come up with a signature called the Velvet 75: Prosecco, Plymouth gin and Guinness. “All of the components work together,” Bezuidenhout says. “The yeastiness from the sparkling wine, the dry earthiness from the gin and the caramelized malty notes from the Guinness.” Diedrich loves the hard-alcohol backbone of the drink, which is served with an upmarket flourish, in a flute. “You’d be amazed how many people look at it and order it,” Diedrich says. “Before you know it, the people in all 12 seats are having Velvet 75s.”

Its success has led to more tinkering: Bezuidenhout has since blended the beer with reposada tequila, port and bitters while Diedrich is putting a mature spin on an Irish Car Bomb with smoky Michael Collins whiskey, bitters, citrus and egg.

Look for more Guinness-based cocktails at these bars:

Virtue Feed & Grain; Alexandria, VA: The massive tavern from husband-and-wife team Cathal and Meshelle Armstrong serves a drink inspired by the unique seating in the upstairs bar: The Porch Swing is a tropical slushie made from tamarind soda, pineapple juice, Gosling’s dark rum and a float of Guinness black lager.

Cuffs, Boston: Located in the Back Bay Hotel, which once housed Boston’s police headquarters, Cuffs serves cocktails tagged with police codes. The 10-35 (code for “time check”) is also known as the Irish Velvet, a mix of Guinness and vanilla vodka.

Mark Burger, Manhattan: Along with familiar shakes (and a less-standard candied bacon shake), the East Village burger shop serves a drink that blends vanilla ice cream, malted milk and house-made Guinness syrup, which retains its bitter chocolaty notes even though the alcohol is cooked off.

Related: 50 Best Bars in America
American Beer, Bourbon & More
St. Patrick's Day Recipes

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