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.
Irish whiskey has a rich history, with its beginnings dating back to the 12th century. Around 1000 A.D., on return from their travels, monks brought back the art of distilling perfumes to Ireland and the Irish modified this technique to obtain a drinkable spirit. The whiskeys made during those times were not aged, but flavoured with aromatic herbs such as mint, thyme or anise.
You wake up in the morning to strains of the classic “American Pie” by Don McLean playing somewhere and you instantly start singing along. Next thing you know, it already feels like summer and you want to fix a drink. But you don’t want it to be too heavy, just something refreshing to complement your breakfast-- almost like a glass of fresh fruit juice.