March 27, 2007

Don't Picon Me

Picon Amer bottle.JPG Picon biere.JPG

Think of Italian bitters like Campari or various Amaro concoctions, or French bitters like Amer Picon or Cynar: they're normally sipped before or after a meal.

Now think of a boilermaker (or its raucous Seattle offshoot, the sake bomb): a shot and a beer. Drink the shot, then drink the beer, or drop the shot into the beer; your choice. In the industrial north and east of France, the local boilermaker is in fact called Picon-Bière, an ounce of Amer Picon in a demi of Alsatian lager.

A secret formula developed in the 1830s by Gaetan Picon, a French soldier serving in Algeria, Amer Picon has never caught the fancy of Americans despite its similarity to the syrupy base of sodas like Coke or Dr. Pepper. Hugely popular in Alsace, though, where it's the top-selling pour at the Taverne des Serruriers (also known as Schlosserstube in bilingual Strasbourg). An 8-ounce glass costs about $3.50.

What does it taste like? Well, you're basically adding a shot of orange-flavored bitters to a lager...which makes it darker, fruitier and more bitter. Kinda like an ale, wouldn't you say?

Franks w potato salad.JPG

Good stop for lunch, too: frankfurters and a delectable German-style potato salad dressed with a mustardy vinaigrette.

Posted by Ronald Holden at March 27, 2007 12:41 AM

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