Hot Buttered Ale

Posted by on Jan 31, 2013 in Brandy, Cocktails, Craft Beer, Holiday Drinks | No Comments
Mug of brown butter spiced ale for Thursday Happy Hour

© Gary Allard

Beer and Butter

Before we get started, I’ll let you know we’ll be cooking beer here. If you are a craft beer purest and that makes you uneasy, this might not be the recipe for you. If, on the other hand, you enjoy cooking as much as mixing drinks, read on. Part spicy baked goodness, part bold brew, the Hot Buttered Ale cocktail is surprisingly delicious and warming.

I’ll admit, when a friend suggested this cocktail recipe, I was dubious. Hot beer and butter? Seriously? I know it’s based on the hot buttered rum drinks that my parents used to make, but I’ve honestly never tried it. So, when I saw the twist with ale, I figured it was time to get familiar with an old classic and this new mashup.

Hot Buttered Ale

  • 12 oz. good ale (we used the Trader Joe’s Vintage Ale 2012 – A Belgian strong ale from Unibroue)
  • 2 tbs. unsalted butter
  • 3 tbs. brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • pinch of ground clove
  • 1/2 oz. brandy or Cognac
  • 2 drops vanilla extract
  • 1 cinnamon stick

In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, add the butter and melt on medium heat until slightly browned and nutty smelling, about 3 minutes. Lower the heat and add the brown sugar, ginger, ground cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. Stir until the brown sugar melts and you have a thick batter, about 2 minutes (be careful not to burn the sugar like I did the first time). Scrape the batter into a small bowl and cover to keep warm.

Next, pour the beer into the sauce pan and heat on medium high until hot. Add about 1 1/2 – 2 tbs. of the batter to a mug or heavy glass, add the brandy and the vanilla extract. Pour in the hot beer and stir. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

The warmth and aroma of the baking spices really complements the bitterness of the ale. This drink has a velvety texture that only the dark ale paired with butter could bring. Ideal for your beer-loving friends on a cold day or as an apres ski cocktail by the fire.

What’s your favorite winter cocktail? Drop it in the comments, find us on Facebook or Tweet it to us.


All photos © Gary Allard


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