Actually Pretty Awesome: The Doc Hopper at Absinthe

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The Doc Hopper cocktail. Photo: J. Barmann/Grub Street

We have Tasting Table to thank for turning us on to this one. It's a new drink called the Doc Hopper created by Absinthe bar manager Matt Conway to highlight a new spirit from Anchor Distilling, Hophead hop vodka. It's a twist on a shandy, essentially, but Conway tells us he was also inspired by the Burma Cooler they make with beer and ginger lemonade at Burma Superstar. "I wanted to use a hoppy ale to go with the hop flavors and give it more structure," says Conway, "But I also wanted it to be super balanced and refreshing like that lemonade."

It should be noted that Hophead is no ordinary vodka, and vodka fans who dislike the flavor layers of gin will likely hate it. But for gin fans, the stuff is pretty special, recalling the maltiness of genever and the complexity of St. George's Dry Rye gin, with an added grassy and piney element. Having been distilled from hops, and with all the esters remaining unfiltered, it's a unique spirit that defies category, but here in America the word "vodka" means sales.

The Absinthe drink (see the recipe here), is indeed refreshing, with the vodka balanced by ginger and maraschino liqueurs, brightened with lemon, and topped with Anchor's own Liberty Ale. If it weren't so rainy and gross out today, we'd have thought it was Indian Summer again.


Head Case [Tasting Table]
Related: Absinthe Celebrates Fifteen Years With 98 Vintages, Birthday Cake

Earlier on Actually Pretty Awesome:
The Burger at KronnerBurger
Bang Bang Chicken Wings at M.Y. China
'Fruit Loops' at Chambers Eat + Drink
Smoked Pulled Goat at Southpaw
Manti Dumplings at Troya Fillmore
Flaming Sea Bass Roll at Elephant Sushi
Black Risotto With Uni and Egg at Prospect
Seared Salmon and Mussel Mashed Potatoes at Bisou
The Meatloaf at Jamber
Carrots at Commonwealth
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Beggar's Chicken at Betelnut
Lobster Bread Pudding and Smoked Cod at Maverick
Sand Dabs at Bar Jules
Green Farro-Sausage Risotto at RN74
Vegan Charctuerie at Gather
Pickled Eggs at St. Vincent
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Peruvian Rotisserie Chicken at Brasa
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A Dinner of Small Plates and the Duck Confit Salad at Frances
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The Lamb Tongue Salad at Txoko
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The Roasted Broccoli Sandwich at Split Pea Seduction
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The Cocktails at Outerlands
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