Liquid Diet: How to Stock Your Pantry with Boozy Condiments
Thanks to collaborations with chefs and artisanal food producers, some of the best condiments now come from domestic wineries and craft breweries.
Welcome to Liquid Diet, where Christopher Hughes finds the extraordinary stories behind the people and places that quench the thirst of the Boston area.
T.G.I. Friday’s and Jack Daniels can have each other. Thanks to collaborations with chefs and artisanal food producers like Brooklyn Brine Co. and Carlsbad Gourmet, some of the best brines, sauces, and vinegars are now coming from domestic wineries and craft breweries. Ahead, find some of the tastiest examples to liven up everything from salads to buffalo wings to beef ribs, all while pairing beautifully with whatever you’re imbibing.
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Honey Spice Mustard: This isn’t one of those neon honey mustards that come complimentary with fast food nuggets. Instead, this mild, vaguely sweet mustard is a great alternative to Dijon. (Craft Beer Cellar, $4)
Bar Harbor Real Ale Stone Ground Mustard: Made from mustard seeds marinated in Bar Harbor’s Real Ale, an English Brown Ale, this will put some pep into boring corned beef and other deli classics. (Craft Beer Cellar, $5.75)
Stone Brewing Hot Sauces: This San Diego brewery openly mocks the timid and uninitiated, so it comes as no surprise that their line of hot sauces would be anything but assertive. With escalating heat on the Scoville Scale, there’s the Arrogant Bastard Ale Jalapeno Heat Hot Sauce, their Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale Chipotle Hot Sauce with appealing hints of vanilla and molasses, and the Double Bastard Double Burn Habanero for all those fire-loving masochists. (Craft Beer Cellar $6 each/3-pack, $18)
Ipswich Ale Brewery Stone Ground Mustard: Handcrafted at Raye’s Mustard Mill in Eastport, Maine, this offers good mustard bite with just a whiff of sweetness from Ipswich’s Oatmeal Stout. (Craft Beer Cellar, $4.50)
Old Chub Beer-Infused Cayenne Hot Sauce: Lyons, Colorado’s Oskar Blues teamed up with Danny Cash Hot Sauces to create this cayenne and scotch ale infused hot sauce. The malty, smoky quality goes well with pulled pork tacos or barbecue brisket. (Craft Beer Cellar, $6)
Mama’s Little Yella Pils Hot Sauce: Another winner from the craft can revolutionary. This milder Serrano hot sauce is infused with their sessionable, biscuity German-style pilsner. The ramped up heat and the herbal notes from the Saaz hops are a nice alternative to pungent mustards for Brats and other sausages. (Craft Beer Cellar, $6)
Baxter Brewing Co. Spicy Mustard: Maine’s Baxter Brewing Co. teamed up with Mother’s Mountain in Falmouth to make this spicy mustard infused with Pamola Xtra Pale Ale. This is a much more tolerable alternative to Chinese hot mustard. So save yourself the tears and use this as an accompaniment for egg rolls or to spice up roast beef. (Craft Beer Cellar, $4.50)
Dale’s Pale Ale Chipotle Hot Sauce: Oskar Blues’ signature beer is blended with chipotle peppers creating a perfect balance of tang, heat, and smoke that just screams for chicken. Slather it on an oven-roasted bird or fry up some wings and use it in place of Buffalo sauce. (Craft Beer Cellar, $6)
Sierra Nevada Stout and Stone Ground Mustard: I’m a sucker for coarse, stone-ground mustard and this is one of the finest examples I’ve tried. This multiple-award winning mustard has a ton of bold flavor with just the slightest hint of Sierra Nevada’s rich stout in the background. It would be fantastic in German potato salad or with other winter root vegetables. (Craft Beer Cellar, $4)
Dogfish Head Hop Pickle: Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione was sipping on a 60 Minute IPA and munching on pickles from Brooklyn Brine Co. when he had an epiphany. He immediately called up Brooklyn’s Shamus Jones and Calagione embarked on another hugely successful collaboration. This fresh, earthy pickle is the result of a brine bath which includes 60 Minute IPA, caramelized onions, and Cascade hop oil. These pickles are great solo or chopped up for the most delicious chicken salad imaginable. (Dave’s Fresh Pasta, $9)
Brother Thelonious Beer Brittle: Who says beer and sweets don’t go together? North Coast Brewing in Fort Bragg, California blended their Belgian-style dark strong ale with peanut brittle batter to create this highly addictive treat. Produced in connection with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, a share of the proceeds is donated to helping international jazz educational programs. Jazz greats Herbie Hancock and Jimmy Heath are known to be huge fans of this salty, sweet beer concoction. (www.northcoastbrewing.com, $10)
Sea Dog Beer Mustard: Shipyard Brewing in Maine blended their Oktoberfest lager with Raye’s famous stoneground mustard to create the perfect dipping partner for veggies and pretzels. (Craft Beer Cellar, $5.75)
Bonny Doon Verjus de Cigare: Eccentric winemaker and noted Francophile Randall Grahm has made a delicious verjus or “green juice” from white Grenache grapes. This whole-cluster pressed, unfermented grape must is refreshingly tart and can be substituted for vinegar or lemons in vinaigrettes or to deglaze pans for sauces. Also, try it as a mixer in a cocktail with gin, club soda, fresh mint, and honey. An opened bottle will last for three weeks in the fridge. (Central Bottle, $15)
Stone Brewing Co. Barbecue Sauces: Stone’s founder Greg Koch and the folks at nearby Carlsbad Gourmet created three distinctive barbecue sauces for any type of ribs or, if you’re feeling lethargic, as a savory dipping sauce to fried chicken tenders. There’s the Smoked Porter and Pasilla Pepper sauce, a barbecue sauce infused with Stone’s Levitation amber ale, and a hoppy Levitation IPA blended with curry and yellow mustard. (The Spirited Gourmet, $7 per bottle)
B.R. Cohn Vinegars: Sonoma’s B.R. Cohn creates some of the most delicious, reasonably priced cab and chard in the region. By allowing some of this juice to sit and oxidize, they’ve created some of the best store-bought vinegars, too. Don’t limit yourself to salad dressings, throw it on top of kale or rainbow chard or use to make a beautiful Bernaise sauce. (www.shop.brcohn.com, $10 a bottle)
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