At Cafe Rockenwagner, Hans Rockenwagner’s multi-faceted Brentwood restaurant andbakery, bartender Alan Ruiz is a bartender with no liquor. Still, a limited license doesn’t inhibit his ability to produce balanced libations featuring base liquids like Beer.
Most of the best beer cocktails in Southern California, served by bartenders like Brady Weise (1886), Matthew Biancaniello and Christian Siglin, get a spirited boost. Since that’s not an option for Ruiz, he opted to layer flavor with seasonal, house-made ingredients. At Cafe Rockenwagner, he started with bottled Mission Amber and mixed the malty San Diego craft beer with house-made blackberry raspberry rosemary liqueur, and topped the pleasantly tart, purple-hued results with a rosemary-plumed raspberry float.
With any beer cocktail, I question whether the final results are better than the base beer. In the case of Ruiz’s libation, I’d rather raise his glass than stick with the bottle.