Who among us has not wished for the Midas touch where everything we come in contact with, literally or figuratively, turns to gold? Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, located in Milton, Delaware, opened in 1995 and seemed to immediately have their own Midas touch as they soon became one of the fastest growing microbreweries in the country. In 1999, they collaborated with molecular archaeologist Patrick McGovern from the University of Pennsylvania, whose specialty is researching and finding evidence for what was contained in ancient beverages. The first “ancient ale” that Dogfish and McGovern created together was the Midas Touch, brewed with honey, Muscat grapes, and saffron. The choice of these ingredients was based on molecular evidence found in 2700 year-old drinking vessels in a Turkish tomb that was believed to have belonged to King Midas. This particular beer has been one of my favorites for quite a few years. It has a distinct honey and grapey sweetness on the first sip, but finishes clean and dry. There’s almost no bitterness to speak of. Remember last week’s Sixpoint Resin Double Ipa with its IBU (International Bitterness Units) of 103?? The Midas Touch has an IBU of 12. You get the picture: smooth, a little bit sweet, easy to drink… I love this beer.
When I first began considering the idea of doing this series, the Midas Touch was on my personal list of beers that I knew I definitely wanted to include. For today’s cocktail, I decided to echo its warm saffron and honey notes by pairing it with Yellow Chartreuse, which shares a similar flavor profile. Once I had those two ingredients locked in, I began thinking in the direction of a riff on The Last Word. Gin is the traditional base spirit, and I wanted to keep it to provide a bright and clean backdrop for the other ingredients in the drink. Yellow Chartreuse is often paired with darker spirits, but in this case, I thought that would take things in an entirely different direction from the one in which I wanted to go. The honey and saffron notes in both the beer and the Chartreuse called for lemon juice rather than the traditional lime, a switch that made perfect sense to me. I would have loved to have kept this drink as a true equal parts cocktail; you all know how very much I love them. I suspected that I would not be able to do that, however, because of the sheer force of Yellow Chartreuse’s personality. It truly tends to take over; we all know someone just like it. I wanted the beer to have real presence in this drink, and the only way to accomplish that was to take its measurement up to one and a half ounces and reduce the Chartreuse to one half. I am asking the Equal Parts Cocktail Police to look the other way. Please. At these ratios, the drink totally worked and I was quite happy with the final result. The gin provides the backbone, the lemon juice gives us the nice pop of citrus, and the Chartreuse and the Midas Touch share the work of bringing in the bitter and the sweet. The dryness of the beer give this cocktail a beautiful finish. Cheers everyone. Happy Wednesday!
The Golden Word
Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously until very cold. Double strain into a chilled Nick & Nora glass. Express a lemon peel over the drink, express, and garnish. Enjoy!
For more from Dr. Patrick McGovern, click on this link!