Nothing changes a bar shift as fast as an English rugby team. I was behind the stick that Sunday when they stormed our bar in shin pads and striped jerseys, the sweat still in their eyes, cleats thundering— and thirsty. I remember swinging pitchers of ale, at least one marriage proposal, and my lost tips when a fight suddenly got the whole team ejected.
I wish we'd had Rhiannon Enlil in the house, or at least her crowd-friendly concoction called the Game Face. Available at Vitascope, it comes to your table as a staggering 96-ounce hopper of local beer, a bottle of Rhiannon's Rum Old-Fashioned, rocks glasses and beer mugs.
It's a sophisticated play on the boilermaker, common in Europe; no doubt those rugby players grew up dunking whisky shots in their ales.
You choose the beer for the Game Face, though Rhiannon likes Lazy Magnolia's Southern Pecan ale (and if you go with any other beer, make it medium-bodied and amber).
Its teammate, Rhiannon's Rum Old- Fashioned, freshens up the classic's sugarsmoke-citrus notes with cinnamon simple syrup, an amber rum with long caramel legs, and the brilliant use of whiskey barrel bitters. "The cinnamon and the richness of the rum go with those bold wood flavors," Rhiannon says. That same sweet heat also pairs well with the ale's toasted pecans.
Rhiannon has tapped into the current rage for bottled cocktails—though her Rum Old-Fashioned is bottle-ready, not aged— important in a high-volume bar that's ambitious enough to have a craft cocktail program.
"I wanted to create fun table experiences in a busy media bar," Rhiannon says. "And you don't have to flag down a server."
Written by Rhiannon Enlil, courtesy of Vitascope in the Hyatt Regency Hotel
• 2 oz. Old New Orleans Amber Rum
• 0.5 oz. cinnamon simple syrup*
• 2 dashes Fee's Whiskey Barrel Bitters Stir together with ice, then strain or drink over ice.
*Boil 1 cup water and 3 cinnamon sticks for 5 minutes. Strain, then add equal parts sugar to liquid that's left. Stir until dissolved. Will keep for 1 month refrigerated.