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Brown Butter Spiced Ale


The latest Food52 contest was all about beer, I love a challenge and wanted to create a drink using beer that could comfortably be consumed when it’s cold outside. I primarily think of beer as a summer drink. A hot buttered rum came to mind so I set about switching the ingredients so as to use beer instead of rum and water. I thought that an ale would be nice and added browned butter, brown sugar, some spices and a splash of brandy and the result is really quite delicious. It’s a great way to enjoy beer if you live in a cold climate. The bitterness of the ale is offset by the sugar and spice and the browned butter adds a richness reminiscent of a hot buttered rum. I was so pleased that the recipe was chosen to be tested as a community pick and was thrilled to see that it was chosen to be showcased and photographed by the editors at food52. Kukla, one of our outstanding community members tested the recipe and wrote a lovely review. Here is the recipe, I hope you enjoy if you decide to give it a try.

Serves 2

  • 12 ounces ale of your choice
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, browned
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • splashes brandy (about 1 tablespoon) per glass
  • 1 Cinnamon stick for garnish
  1. Add butter to small saucepan and melt on medium heat. Cook until butter becomes a light brown and has a slightly nutty smell (approximately 3 minutes). Reduce heat to low and add brown sugar and spices — cook until brown sugar is dissolved and the mixture is paste-like. Scrape into small bowl or ramekin and cover with foil to keep warm.
  2. Add the ale to the same saucepan and heat on medium until hot. Spoon two tablespoonds of the spiced butter mixture in serving glass, pour hot ale into glass and add a splash of brandy (about 1 or 2 tablespoons) and stir. Garnish with cinnamon stick.
Photo by James Ransom for Food52

Photo by James Ransom for Food52

26 Comments Post a comment
  1. Wow! I am very impressed but I’m, not sure I could drink this!!!!!

    January 10, 2013
    • Thank you, it’s really a different type of drink, a little bitter a little sweet and pretty strong once you add the brandy. I am not a big drinker at all so I can certainly understand that it may not be something you could drink.

      January 10, 2013
  2. Great creation!

    January 10, 2013
  3. This drink looks perfect for a kick but delicious taste 😀


    January 10, 2013
    • Thanks CCU, it packs a kick for sure and although a bit different it is tasty!

      January 10, 2013
  4. Congratulations on your creation! Well done! 🙂 I’m a huge beer fan. Stefano and I have to try this.

    January 10, 2013
    • Thank you Francesca, its a great twist on beer I’d love to know what you think if you try it.

      January 10, 2013
  5. Bevi #

    Congrats on the CP! It sounds delicious! Love to the Pups.

    January 10, 2013
  6. The drink looks good but, I’m not a beer or brandy fan…so I might not be able to handle it…lol!

    January 10, 2013
    • Ha, so i managed to include two things you don’t like that are the base for the drink. LOL!

      January 10, 2013
      • Lol!! It does look good, I just know I probably couldn’t do it 😉

        January 10, 2013
      • Totally get it, sometimes I find beer too bitter, I love to cook with it and will drink it in the summer when it’s ice cold and ale can be on the bitter side for sure, the butter and sugar and spices cut that bitterness nicely. Hey there is always hot buttered rum!

        January 10, 2013
  7. Oh my I have never seen such a thing! I used to LOVE beer but haven’t had any in probably 3 years. This is so intriguing to me! I love the spices in it…I am just sitting here trying to imagine the taste, lol! I don’t like brandy or any hard liquor so I’d leave that out, but I may have to try this once I’m no longer breast feeding. I’m fascinated, so creative 🙂

    January 11, 2013
    • It is a very unusual recipe but works, I only have beer occasionally in the summer but was challenged to create a drink that can be enjoyed when an ice cold on is not what you want, I decided rather than adding beer during cooking and creating a drink would be good. It turned out well, the brandy is purely optional and it really is nice. Thank you so much.

      January 11, 2013
  8. A creative idea, Congrats on the CP and the showcased photo! 🙂

    January 11, 2013
  9. What a great idea!

    January 11, 2013
  10. petit4chocolatier #

    Suzanne, you are amazing with the recipes. This looks really good!! I have all the ingredients! I am trying it out tomorrow 🙂

    January 11, 2013
    • You are too sweet thank you so much, if you try it would love to hear what you think. Thank you so much.

      January 12, 2013
      • petit4chocolatier #

        I will let you know!!

        January 12, 2013
      • Thank you so much, I really love input, negative or positive, constructive criticism is more than welcome.

        January 12, 2013
  11. petit4chocolatier #

    Suzanne, I tried this today after dinner. I ended up not having the brandy or cinnamon sticks. But I had leftover peppermint candy canes! This was so good!!! A little hot toddy 🙂 Loved it 🙂

    January 12, 2013
    • You really liked it? I am so thrilled. It means so much to me that you tried it, Thank you so much for the feedback, candy canes, what a great idea. Thank you again,

      January 12, 2013

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