Like any red-blooded American, Gut Check uses liquid medication to cope with holiday stress. Not only does a good winter cocktail make it possible to tolerate family members, say, inquiring about your procreation plans, it helps keep you warm, too. From now until Christmas, we're calling upon local drink-slingers to suggest great cocktails to get you through the season. Some of them are holiday-themed, some traditional, some not so much, but they all share one common thread: delicious potency.
Beer lovers, are you feeling neglected by our Holiday Cocktail countdown? Well come here and give Gut Check a hug. We love you, too! Perrenial Artisan Ales (8125 Michigan Avenue; 314-631-7300) does not actually serve cocktails at their bar (they do have wine, whiskey and scotch, though, in addition to seven of their own beers on tap, and several more by the bottle), but as a holiday treat, they made Gut Check a milkshake out of their Abraxas beer, a Mexican chocolate stout.
Abraxas is holiday-appropriate, with its cinnamon, spices, rich chocolate and warming 10% APV. Blending it with Serendipity cinnamon ice cream was the brainchild of Emily Wymore, who opened Perennial with her husband, Phil, about 3 months ago. Bartender Ben Mendez (pictured below) poured a snifter of the dark stout. It was teamwork at its finest...like elves in Santa's workshop. And boy, did Santa deliver.
The shake shocked everyone by not being overwhelmingly sweet. The flavors of the Abraxas, which are wonderful, really come through, and the cinnamon from both the beer and the ice cream create a pretty intense flavor. Take that, egg nog! This decadent creation had to be shared. Emily poured it into small glasses and passed it out to the bar patrons. One person said it reminded him of pumpkin pie, while another likened it to a mocha milkshake.
Abraxas Cinnamon Shake
1/2 pint Serendipity Cinnamon Ice Cream
6 ounces Abraxas Mexican Chocolate Stout by Perennial Artisan Ales
Blend with a stick blender or in a blender. Serve in a snifter glass with a hunk of Kakao dark chocolate as a garnish.