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by Lydia Clowney |

HOW TO Make a Beer Cocktail

This month, we will gild the lily and consider beer as an ingredient, not an end. It has many delicious qualities, which serve to enhance a cocktail, and the infinite variety inherent in the beer world make possibilities for mixing endless.




N THIS HEYDAY OF FLAVORED vod- kas it seems every major brand has a rainbow array laced with exotic fruits and nutraceuticals. Of course, that acai-dragonfruit-pomegranate

vodka is not really fighting free radicals in your body as the antioxidant propaganda would have you be- lieve. Instead, try out some liquor that would seem at home on any convenience store’s shelves. Michigan- made Hard Luck Candy Flavored Vodka captures the delicious nostalgia of your favorite penny candy in alcoholic form. The Root Beer Barrel vodka “really does taste like root beer barrel candies,” says Chris George, vice president of Hard Luck. Mix the liquor into a Detroit Cooler, with equal

parts Root Beer Barrel vodka and vanilla vodka, iced and filled with ginger ale. Almost akin to a blue- collar, Midwest Dark & Stormy, the concoction is both unusual and familiar, and it is hard to stop drinking. Should you be pining the seasonal retirement of

the ice cream truck, Orange Dream might be more appropriate, as this creamsicle-flavored nectar is as bewitching as the ice pop it was based on. With just a little cream and soda water, the vodka becomes an intoxicating, pale orange treat. Also fruity, Red Fish, which George describes as “a berry-flavored vodka ... similar to the gummy red fish candies,” does its namesake fish proud. Red Fish is an easy mixer with juices and sodas, but retains that hint of the candy counter, and with candy this good, there’s no need to trick or treat. To find Hard Luck Candy Flavored Vodkas near

you, use Hard Luck’s liquor locater at hardluckvod- n


ICHE LADA I S A LITTLE- KNOWN variation on the Bloody Mary theme, using light, refreshing beer in place of vodka and only moderately

thickened by tomato juice. Common additions are fresh lime, Worcestershire and hot sauce, but substitutions like soy sauce, fish sauce and clamato are not unheard of. Try using a light Full Circle from New Holland Brewing as a crisp, mild base for the bold flavors of the michelada. If you are still working on building the hang-

over, a Dirty Brenner might be in order. This creation by HopCat bartender Jake Brenner came about one night at San Chez while Brenner was sitting at the bar waiting for his now-wife to finish her closing duties. The ensuing drink, an unlikely combination of Patron’s XO Cafe coffee-flavored tequila mixed with Founders Dirty Bastard scotch ale was deemed “dangerously delicious.” “[The] rich caramel and toffee notes of the

Dirty Bastard melded with the coffee and chocolate flavors of the XO achieve a tiramisu-esque boozy malt bomb,” Brenner said. Ask for it at HopCat or San Chez, or make it your-

self, preferably, Brenner says, “on a cold winter night or any time you’re looking for a quick, painless buzz.” Perhaps the easiest way to gussy up some of

Michigan’s finest may also be the best. The simple pleasure of a Bell’s Java Stout Ice Cream Float is a mix of nostalgia and intoxication that makes the season even more fun. Make it extra-local with a scoop of chocolate gelato from Saugatuck’s own Palazzolo’s Artisan Gelato. Kids never had this much fun. n

MICHELADA 1 lager or other mild beer, like New

Holland’s Full Circle, Bell’s Lager, or Solid Gold from Founders.

Add 2 oz. tomato juice, a splash of hot sauce, and quarter lime squeezed in. Stir gently and garnish with lime wedge.

For fancy guests, serve in an icy, salt- rimmed glass.

Stella’s Gong Show Karaoke & Free

Buffet Stella’s Lounge, Grand Rapids Oct. 2, 6 p.m. /

Piles of freebies await at Stella’s, with free arcade games from 6 p.m. until 2 a.m., a free “white trash” buffet from 9 p.m. until no more remains, and even half off selected whiskies. Karaoke is only a bonus.

GrooveWalk Downtown Holland Oct. 22, 9 p.m. /

With one wristband, multiple bands and locations, GrooveWalk is the biggest, coolest night in town. Just purchase a wristband in advance or at the door to expe- rience a night of live music and featured drinks. Take a

“groove walk” or ride the GrooveXpress bus, with on-board entertainment.



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