They say “Beer after whiskey is risk,” so better drink ‘em together, right? But that’s not what birthed the Boilermaker, a cocktail which isn’t a cocktail. It seems odious to even put this down as a cocktail recipe –for what can be the list of ingredients, or mixing instructions for a drink which constitutes a shot of whiskey and a pint of beer?
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term ‘boilermaker’ was first used to refer to workers who built and maintained locomotives during the mid-19th century. A popular belief holds that after a hard day’s labor, these workers would visit their nearest pub and chased down a shot of whiskey with a pint of ale for a quick, almost analgesic high. There’s another anecdote which possibly delineates the origins of the Boilermaker. The story involves one Richard Trevithick, a Cornish blacksmith who was experimented with steam-propelled vehicles. In 1801, Trevithick decided to put his the latest invention – a steam-propelled road vehicle – to trial on Christmas night. The location was Cornwall village of Cambourne.
The vehicle successfully climbed a hill in the village, carrying Trevithick and a few of his friends. They stopped in front of a bar, and stepped in to celebrate, leaving the vehicle in a shed. Amidst all the merriment and drunken revelry, they forgot about the fire burning in the vehicle boiler. When Trevithick and co. got done, they arrived at the shed to find a molten mass of tousled scrap.
Well, keeping that story in mind as a cautionary tale for the unwarranted, reserve the Boilermaker for a celebration, or the end of a really taxing shift.
How to Mix Your own Boilermaker
You may choose to chase your sip of whiskey with swigs of beer. But it ain’t a boilermaker if you haven’t dropped the shot-glass full of whiskey into the beer-filled mug, and then knocked it back, bottoms up. Now popular with bartenders worldwide, the Boilermaker is a shortcut to buzz. A shot of an aged smoky, sweet bourbon, or rye whiskey works well. A good idea is to use pale for this mega shot, which will ensure that your palate and food pipe are not under siege.
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