As farmers do, Maurepas Foods' Brad Smith anticipated a cooler season back in July, when he began infusing an aged, velvet bourbon with char-grilled apricots, then at their season's peak.
The roasted apricots brighten and sweeten the spirit, and eventually Brad - who'd been flirting with beer cocktails anyway - made that fruitlaced bourbon the base of a gorgeous, seasonstraddling cocktail called Omergerd.
The name's derived from the beer that's floated on top: a blonde ale from the family-owned Omer brewery that swept the Belgian-style category in last year's U.S. Open Beer Championships. (See also: how to be a judge at such contests.)
On its own, the beer is earthy, creamy, and - as Brad describes it - "umami", with a softly bitter finish that comes from a triple variety of hops. The fruit is subdued in the beer, which lets the plummy apricots lead the palate in the cocktail (the bourbon is so alive with fruit - apricots and the hint of black cherries - that you might almost call the Omergerd a shandy).
Day bartender Tony DiMunno built the drink for me in the glass rather than rolling it in a shaker, to better hold its bands of color.
On top, tropical bitters touch the beer's herbaceous foam with sweetly spiced clove and cinnamon. It is, as Brad says, "the first blush of fall."
WRITTEN BY BRAD SMITH AND COURTESY OF MAUREPAS FOODS
2 oz. chargrilled apricot-infused bourbon (Brad likes Knob Creek), fine-strained 0.5 ounce Cherry Heering 0.5 ounce rich simple syrup** 0.25 ounce fresh lemon juice Omer Traditional Blond Ale Bittermen's 'Elemakule Tiki Bitters
Build in a pint glass, fill with ice, top with beer and float 8-10 drops bitters. Serves 1 **2:1 ratio of sugar: water
Maurepas Foods • 3200 Burgundy St. • 504.267.0072