It was an honest mistake. In fact it may have been an outright double-cross. We’d long been planning to mix mules for our guests, but when picking up our favorite Bundaberg ginger beer, we ended up with root beer instead. A whole 4 pack of it. Bundaberg brews both drinks with near identical packaging. We’re still convinced the box was labeled Ginger Beer, but having discarded it to fit the bottles in the backpack for the walk home, we had no proof. Now we had a lemons-to-lemonade opportunity.
I’ve never really seen root beer used in a serious cocktail and I’m not a fan of sweet sodas as mixers. Turns out Bundaberg has a nice balance of spicy to sweet with a little ginger kick at the end. It’s about the most complex soft drink I’ve tasted. So with that, I began to experiment.
The Kentucky Roots Cocktail
- 2 oz. Kentucky bourbon
- 1/2 oz. brewed coffee (leftovers from breakfast will do)
- 1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
- 2 dashes angostura bitters
- Bundaberg Root Beer (or similar spicy craft root beer)
Combine bourbon, coffee, lemon juice, and bitters in a mixing glass full of ice. Stir well and strain into a double old fashioned or highball glass full of cracked ice. Top with root beer and stir. Garnish with lemon twist.
All photos © 2013 Gary Allard