The Tasting Panel magazine

October 2013

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Page 20 of 152

Cocktails Sur Lie is a line of bottle-conditioned cocktails. M ost food and beverage directors don't spend their time in the kitchen experimenting with yeast strains. But Jeff Josenhans, the avantgarde thinker and award-winning mixologist who serves as F&B Director at San Diego's US Grant Hotel, was working on some cocktail recipes and had an idea to incorporate champagne yeast. If you've not yet heard of bottle-conditioned cocktails, you soon will. They're sparkling concoctions made using a combination of méthode champenoise fermentation, spirits and beer hops. Josenhans was the first to develop this technique successfully, launching the Cocktails Sur Lie brand of bottle-conditioned cocktails at The US Grant Hotel in late 2011. The average alcohol level is above 15 Trending: Sparkling Cocktails percent and they retail for $27 per 750 ml. bottle (consumers can actually buy them on Amazon or the hotel's weblink "The first attempts resulted in exploding bottles," explains Josenhans about what happens when yeast in a bottle is under pressure. "The other half worked out." When Josenhans's selected spirits and sugar are mixed with a wine base, bottle pressure creates carbonation; a hopping process adds oomph. The bottles go through labor-intensive riddling and are disgorged by hand. The drinks first took off at the US Grant, where they were served in coupe glasses with fresh garnishes. But Josenhans needed a partner to turn the vision into a product on the shelf. Because the drinks are wine-based, he hooked up with friend and Temecula winemaker Chris Johnston of Middle Ridge Winery ( Johnston agreed to embark on quite an adventurous learning process together with Josenhans before he could supply Cocktails Sur Lie to the hotel, and has since launched the brand on his own in the open market, where he is now seeking to place the products all over the U.S. A favorite in the Cocktails Sur Lie line is The Mule, fermented with a Muscat base and using vodka, ginger, Cascade hops and, of course, champagne yeast; this kicky, lemony drink is delicious. Pomiscuous contains hibiscus tea, pomegranate juice, black pepper and bay leaves with a final dosage of California-grown Barbera and brandy; its complexity and floral nature makes this an earthy cold-weather cocktail. Jeff Josenhans, F&B Director at San Diego's US Grant Hotel and Winemaker Chris Johnston, pouring Cocktails Sur Lie. 20  /  the tasting panel  /  october 2013 TP1013_001-33.indd 20 9/23/13 10:33 PM

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