Make mine a Sloe Poach

FANCY a cocktail? Forget James Bond’s martini (shaken not stirred, of course), the legendary Manhattan or some trendy new concoction from the latest hot mixologist – Blandford’s Hall & Woodhouse brewery wants you to try beer cocktails.

The brewery’s Dorset Beer Festival not only offered a chance for serious beer lovers to try more than 30 different cask ales, four ciders and two perries – they were also encouraged to sample a selection of beer cocktails.

Four recipes have been created, each using a popular Badger beer with seasonal or local ingredients.

There is the retro-sounding Wind in the Willows meets the 1980s “Disco Badger” – probably just up Mr Toad’s street, but what would Ratty and Mole have thought! This is a cocktail for the country lover, a blend of gin, lemon juice, gomme syrup, ice and Badger’s ever-popular Tanglefoot.

Ferrets Bells includes Fursty Ferret, now one of Badger’s most in-demand beers on draught and in bottles. This is a full-bodied cocktail, “accentuating the almost maple flavours in Fursty Ferret,” combined with lemon juice, orange juice, bourbon and maple syrup.

Honey Badger, as its name implies, is light and fresh tasting. It includes fresh basil, honey, angostura bitters and Badger’s Golden Champion beer.

The fourth Badger cocktail is the winter warmer Sloe Poach, combining one of the great seasonal drinks of the British countryside, sloe gin, with Badger’s fabulous winter ale, Poacher’s Choice (also a favourite ingredient for venison casserole), pink grapefruit and ice.

Visitors to the Dorset Beer Festival heard from ace mixologist Nick Strangeway that beer cocktails are not a 21st century fad. His creations for Badger are historically inspired with a modern twist.

Nick says: “Since the 16th century there is a long and well-documented history by some of the most respected authors of their time. Using these historical recipes and influences and working with Badger ales, we created a range of cocktails designed for the modern palate, complementing and enhancing the flavours found in the ales with fresh ingredients from the British countryside.”

We recommend you try them!

For more information on Hall & Woodhouse and the Badger range of beers, visit