Emma Emerson is an architect by day, and edits food blog Gastronomista by night. She shares her delicious and often booze-filled findings with Food Republic.
Fall is wonderful, despite cornucopias filled with fake orange hued leaves and heirloom gourds — and perhaps the worst offender, autumnal-flavored foods. Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of pumpkin pie, but only on Thanksgiving, or if there’s any left over, the next day. For breakfast. Cold. Other autumnal foods are often overly artificial tasting and saccharine-sweet — pumpkin beer perhaps being the worst offender (but if you have to have them, drink these).
Despite my general malaise towards most seasonal foods, I have found the ultimate autumnal cocktail: The Hell Yeah. It was created by bartender Steve Wood, who harks from the experimental cocktail bar at John J. Jeffries in Lancaster, PA. Inspired by the hops harvested from his garden, a bitey IPA and a mighty bottle of Buffalo Trace bourbon. This cocktail is a rift on the New Orleans classic cocktail, the Sazerac, with a hit of garden freshness and the bitter kick of a hoppy pint.
Hops are easy enough to get — you can buy them by the pound online. We recommend Chinook Leafed Hops or any other hop used to make IPA. Or, if you happen to already grow hops, they should be ready to harvest right about…now.
For the cocktail
- 2 ounces Buffalo Trace Bourbon
- 1/4 ounce Herbsaint
- 1/2 ounce hop-infused honey syrup
- 1/2 ounce grapefruit juice
- 2 dashes Fee Brothers Grapefruit bitters
- 2 dashes Peychaud's Bitters
- 3 hop cones
- lemon peel, to garnish
For the hop-infused honey syrup
- 24 hop cones
- equal parts water and honey
For the cocktail:
- Wash the glass with Herbsaint, discard excess.
- In a shaker or mixing glass, muddle 2 hop cones with the grapefruit bitters, Peychaud’s bitters and Hop-Infused Honey.
- Add 4-5 ice cubes and bourbon, stir vigorously and strain into a lowball glass.
- Garnish by floating a lemon peel coin on the surface and gently float a hop on the lemon peel.
For the Hop-Infused Honey Syrup:
- Take 24 hop cones and steep them in water heated to 160 degrees (any hotter and you will release too many tannins).
- Let sit until the water has cooled to room temperature, and then gently squeeze the hops like tea bags releasing the water.
- Mix with equal parts honey, and shake in a closed container until mixed completely.