A Serious Beer Cocktail: No Anchor's Emerald City Cooler

Mix up this hoppy, refreshing cocktail from Seattle’s newest beer-obsessed bar
Max Sayer (left) and Chris Elford take their passion for beer in cocktails seriously at their new bar, No Anchor

Drink History The cooler category of drinks—a base spirit, citrus in some form, club soda and ice—goes back at least to the 1890s. There are endless variations on flavorings and what brings the bubbles, but coolers are always refreshing. No Anchor’s Emerald City Cooler (ECC)—created by Chris Elford and Max Sayer, co-owners (with Rob Roy’s Anu Elford)—sails in with an array of exotic ingredients, which are altered slightly to fit the Belltown bar’s focus on science, art and creative good beer, drinks and food. The drink starts with nutty/fruity amontillado sherry that’s infused with fresh pineapple. Layered on top is a honey simple syrup and Spanish Basque sidra, or cider. If you’ve never had sidra, it’s unlike other ciders: un-carbonated, cloudy, a little vinegary at times—with a grassy, barnyard bouquet. The drink is carbonated directly with a carbonator and served in a soda bottle with a straw. The singular flavor resembles apple, but with nutty sherry notes, tiny tones of pineapple and other fruit, and a light surprise: hoppy-ness.

The Twist The happy hop side of the drink comes from Citra hops, often used in IPA-style beers, infused into the sidra. In addition to the hops flavor, the hops bring tastes of baked fruit and citrus. The hops also navigate the drink into No Anchor’s beverage whirlpool, which swirls around a well-curated, eclectic and deep selection of beer. (There’s also a robust menu of bar snacks and other self-proclaimed “rad food.”) The drinks on the short, intriguing cocktail menu at this spot (named, Elford says, for the team’s “desire to continually explore the world of food and drink—without rest, never staying in one place”) also relate in some way to beer. It makes sense, since Elford is also a certified cicerone, which is like a sommelier for beer. The ECC is a curious combo, but one that works wonderfully and matches the bar itself, whose tall cabinets are packed with curiosities—insects, a skull, old books, and more—mirroring the esoterica a sea captain might have picked up while crisscrossing the oceans.

Image credit: Colin Bishop
Bar staff makes this cooler in advance in small soda bottles, but at home, white wine glasses can also help keep things effervescent

Emerald City Cooler

3  ounces pineapple-infused amontillado sherry (see recipe below)
3  ounces dry-hopped Basque sidra (see recipe below) ounce honey syrup (just honey and water mixed in a 1:1 ratio)

Add all the ingredients to a mixing glass (or if making a big batch, a mixing bowl) and mix well.

Chill as much as possible without freezing. Elford recommends placing the mixture into a zip-close bag and submerging in ice. When it is very cold, charge it with a couple of punches of CO2 from a SodaStream nozzle or ISi soda syphon. (Be sure to clean your SodaStream nozzle well when done.)

Serve in a white-wine glass. You could also sip it like a soda straight from the SodaStream bottle!

Pineapple-infused Amontillado Sherry

To make the delicious Emerald City Cooler using the recipe from Belltown’s No Anchor, you’ll need to do some infusing, starting with pineapple in sherry.

1 750-milliliter bottle amontillado sherry
1/4 of a fresh pineapple, sliced

Combine the sherry and pineapple in a large glass container with a tight lid. Stir, seal and place in a dark, cold spot away from sunlight.

Let the combo sit for a minimum of 4 days and a maximum of 9. Strain and keep in a cool, dark spot or in the fridge.

Dry-hopped Basque Sidra

The second infusion for the Emerald City Cooler is hops in Spanish sidra (or cider).

1 750-milliliter bottle Basque sidra (No Anchor owner Chris Elford says, “The funkier, the better.” Keep an eye out for imported Spanish sidras at local liquor stores, or try a Washington version, such as Finnriver sidra)
4 ounces dried hops (Citra hops, if available, either whole-cone or pellet-style hops)

Add the sidra and hops to a large glass container with a tight lid. If using pellet hops, put them in a hops sock before adding to the container. Stir, seal and place in a dark, cold spot away from sunlight.

Let the mixture infuse for one week. Strain and keep in a cool, dark spot or in the fridge.

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