For fair-weather grillmeisters — and I include myself in this category — the days of outdoor cooking are coming to a close. Sure, there are a few weeks left before the hardier among us reach for parkas, along with the longhandled spatulas, but for many of us, once the canvas cover lands on the grill, it stays there until spring.
In honor of a memorable season of grilling, I offer a toast to the outdoors, in the form of a cocktail made with grilled oranges, wheat beer and bourbon.
It’s a great way to close the summer. Or an even better way to greet fall.
Thick slices of orange are marinated in bourbon, honey, thyme and black pepper before they are slapped on the grill for a few minutes of high heat.
The charred slices are then muddled and shaken with yet more honey, bourbon and orange liqueur before the infused liquid is topped with chilled beer.
Yep. It not only sounds good; it’s mighty tasty.
Do the charred oranges taste substantially different from plain old slices?
Well, if you have to ask, you may not notice the difference. The nuance is slight. But this is a beverage that works with or without the char.
Consider this to be a grilled cocktail and give it a try. You are bound to impress your guests with the title alone.
Weiss bier cocktail with charred orange and bourbon
You will need a cocktail shaker with strainer and 2 wide-mouthed glasses for this cocktail.
1 juicy seedless orange
4 ounces (1/2 cup) bourbon, divided
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons honey, divided
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
Drizzle of orange liqueur (such as triple sec)
2 (12-ounce) bottles wheat beer (also called Weissbier, Hefeweizen, Witbier)
Fire up your grill to 450 to 550 degrees.
Slice orange into 8 quarter-inch-thick rounds and place in a bowl. Drizzle slices with about 2 tablespoons bourbon (1 oz.) and 2 tablespoons honey. Season with black pepper and thyme, and gently mix. Marinate orange slices for about 10 minutes.
Grill orange slices for 2 to 3 minutes on both sides, until lightly charred and tender. Set aside to cool.
Coarsely chop 2 to 3 slices of charred orange, and place in a cocktail shaker. Add 2 teaspoons honey, 3 ounces (3/8 cup) bourbon and a drizzle of orange liqueur. Mash with a wooden spoon, then add ice. Put lid on shaker and shake it up to cool.
Strain bourbon into 2 chilled wide-mouth glasses. Add a slice or two of charred orange to each glass and pour in the chilled beer and serve immediately.
Nutrition information per serving: 370 calories, 0 g fat, 15 mg sodium, 42 g carbohydrates, 0 g saturated fat, 28 g total sugars, 2 g protein, 0 mg cholesterol, 1 g dietary fiber
— Adapted from “Gastro Grilling,” by Ted Reader