Drink of the Week: The Framboise Franca Bomb

The Framboise Franca Bomb. Yes, it’s been an entire week since we saluted International Beer Day. However, as I said last week, for many of you out there every day is some kind of beer day. As it happened, this week’s combo was a little too intriguing — and a little too easy to fix — to completely ignore.

The drink is comprised of two ingredients which are old enough to be considered classic but will nevertheless be new to many of you — they’re still new to me. It’s definitely a case of two fascinating liquids that blend intriguingly together.

For starters, I don’t know where Lindeman’s Framboise has been all my life, but this Belgian export is, for my money, pretty gosh darn delightful stuff. Fermented with raspberries in preference to hops, and tasting very much like raspberries, it’s just sweet enough to be cheerful but just beery enough to be actual, respectable beer. To be honest, though, it should be said that, as beer goes, I’m a pretty rank dilettante. It’s the tragic result of the fact that I don’t seem to be able to put away more than a pint of the stuff in a single evening.

The second, and only other, ingredient in today’s beverage is the world’s trendiest bitters, Fernet Branca. Beloved of Batman’s buddy, Alfred, it actually began its career in the mid-19th century as an Italian stomach medicine. Drunk straight, many will feel it still pretty much tastes like an Italian stomach medicine. I don’t complain because people keep sending me the stuff for free. Also,  when combined with other beverages, it can yield intriguing and even delicious results. Such is the case with today’s DOTW.

Shall we begin?

The Framboise Franca Bomb

12 ounces Lindeman’s Framboise (or another Framboise Lambic beer if your feeling experimental, and can find one)
1 ounce (or a bit more) Fernet Branca

Fill a pint glass with your Framboise Lambic beer. Drop a shot glass of Fernet Branca shot into glass. Start drinking and toast all that time you’ve saved by making this cocktail instead of something that requires you to squeeze lemons and what not.

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This drink isn’t only easier and quicker to make than most of the cocktails I select for DOTW — and I’m already pretty darn intent on keeping these drinks easy enough for louts like myself to make — it’s quicker to write about. I suppose I could have experimented with other Framboise Lambic beers, assuming I could have even found any, but I really didn’t see any reason to mess with near perfection.

While this isn’t as spectacular a blending of bitter and sweet as say, an Americano or, better yet, an Ugly Americano, the perfumey, fruity bitterness of the nearly 80 proof Fernet blends beautifully with the raspberry sweet tarty beery of the Lindemans Framboise. Also, the more of the berry flavored beer you drink, the more you’re ready for the stronger Fernet Branca flavor.

All that, and it yields a far better buzz attitude adjustment than a mere pint of beer. All in all, a great reason to keep the Bud and the Heineken packed away and go for something a bit more exotic, I’d say.  With more drinks like this, I think I could add to my beer consumption just a bit.

  

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Drink of the Week: The Rye Sierra

The Great Unnamed Beer and Rye Cocktail. It’s just possible that it has escaped your attention up to this moment, but today is International Beer Day. Of course, for many people, truly every day is International Beer Day, or at least every Sunday during football season.

The ironic thing is that beer, which was once just about the least respected of alcoholic brews in the United States, has achieved more of its props with the rise of craft beer, microbrews and what not. These days, many people who wouldn’t know the first thing about a genuine Old Fashioned or Sazerac and who might freak out if confronted with the ultra-bitter/ultra-sweet flavor of Campari, included in this week’s DOTW, have no problem with the more familiar but no less bitter flavors of some dark beers.

Be calm, however. There’s no need for conflict as I’m happy to say that beer and cocktails are proving to be two great things that, if handled properly, can go great together. Today’s beverage is a delightfully refreshing case in point.

Though it came to me without a name, like the good native son of the West that I am, I have christened today’s beverage the Rye Sierra, after its two main ingredients. It comes courtesy of a mysterious benefactor connected to the makers of the very excellent Templeton Rye Whiskey. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale gets a plug, too — even if I had to spring for my own bottle.

My first attempt at this drink was a true delight, but you’ve got to be certain you don’t fall from a great height with this one. Just make sure you bring plenty of ice and don’t overuse the swizzle stick.

The Rye Sierra

1 ounce Templeton Rye Whiskey
4 ounces Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
1/2 ounce Campari
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice

Combine the rye, lemon juice, and Campari in a double rocks glass (i.e., like a regular Old Fashioned tumbler, but about twice as big). Stir, and add plenty of ice. Top off with four ounces of the very lovely Sierra Nevada Pale Ale — resist any urges to stir it again at this point. Just let the brew site on top of the summit where it belongs. Salute the mountain range of your choice.

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If ever there was a drink perfect for a hot day where you’re allowed to eat nothing but popcorn, salted nuts, and wasabi peas, this might well be it. Still, I must reiterate that you are to use plenty of ice and zero stirring is allowed after you have added the beer. Much in the way an Irish Coffee must only be enjoyed through its cap of heavy cream, the rye, Campari, and lemony goodness must only be enjoyed through the ale.

Finally, I realize that a lot of you out there don’t have any double rocks glasses. I actually ran out and bought a couple myself for $3.99 each. That’s because I’m a professional. You amateurs out there can simply cut the proportions in half and drink this out of a regular rocks glass, even if you’re buzz will take twice as long that way.

Also, you have my permission to try this with other brands of rye. I did — and I bet it would have worked great too if I didn’t find out too late someone in my house had Bogarted most of the ice.

  

Tom Cruise and former Bond girl Olga Kurylenko in Dublin at Guinness Storehouse

Earlier today, the Guinness Storehouse (the Guinness brewery in Dublin, Ireland) rolled out the red carpet to welcome one of the world’s most famous actors in history, Tom Cruise. Cruise jetted into Dublin as part his worldwide tour for his latest movie, “Oblivion,” accompanied by director Joseph Kosinski and Cruise’s leading, lady former Bond girl Olga Kurylenko.

The group was treated to a private tour of the Guinness Brewery, and Tom received a one-on-one session with Master Brewer Fergal Murray to learn how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness.

Since opening its doors in 2000, the Guinness Storehouse has welcomed over 9 million visitors from around the world and is Ireland’s number one international visitor attraction. The building, a former fermentation plant in the legendary St. James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin, holds a seven story Guinness experience which allows visitors to gain an understanding of why Guinness has become one of the world’s most iconic and best loved brands.

  

Cold-activated skis and snowboards from Coors Light

For years, Coors Light has been telling us when our beer is cold enough to drink with their cold-activated bottles and cans. Now, they’ve taken the concept to the slopes with cold-activated skis and snowboards, in partnership with ski and snowboard manufacturer K2. World class K2 athletes Andy Mahre, Zach Crist, Shaun McKay, Ryan Schmies, Dan Ray and Tim Eddy — AKA, the Coors Light Six Pack — embark on a four-part documentary to see what it’s really like to live for the cold. Check out the trailer above to get a look at these awesome skis and snowboards!

  

Shakoolie for the beer lover

Most guys love beer. With that in mind, any gift involving beer will make most guys happy, and if you’re looking for a cool stocking stuffer then you have to check out the Shakoolie – the original shower beer holder. Yes, many of us like to drink an ice cold beer in the shower, so the Shakoolie provides a handy tool to hold your beer in the shower and also keep it cool. It even comes in pink as you can see above for the ladies on your list!

Everyone loves fun gifts on the holidays, so keep this one in mind. The Shakoolie is also a perfect accessory for your bachelor pad, your boat or for the bathroom in your man cave.

  

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