Even as life changes and we are socially-distancing ourselves, we of course wanted to continue with our weekly posts. Making cocktails can be really creatively fulfilling— and hey, we all might need an extra cocktail right now, amiright

This week, we had planned on continuing beer month with a unique version of the Old Fashioned, but… you know, life. Instead, we are bringing you a cocktail that Chris made me in my moment of desperation. As I sat listening to two noisy toddlers happily screaming with Blippi playing in the background, I made a desperate plea to Chris to make me a cocktail. And thus: The Excavator was born. Big shout out the Craft Cocktail Club members who helped name this one! Click here if you’re ready to hunker down with the recipe.

How to Make the Excavator

When Chris interviewed bartenders Chris Krause and Nicole Barker about beer cocktails for the month of March, they both mentioned beer reductions for syrups in cocktails. Yep, you read that correctly! So we’re using a syrup with Samuel Smith’s organic chocolate stout for our Excavator; this beer is so full of chocolate, vanilla, caramel, and nutty spice that it is perfect for making a syrup.

Creating Your Beer Reduction Syrup:

  • Open your chosen beer and let it sit out overnight, going flat.
  • Put it on the stove and heat to a low, rolling boil
  • Let it reduce it by about ⅓, basically letting 1/3 of the water evaporate away, bringing out the rich flavors of the beer.
  • Add a ⅓ part of sugar (if you put in a cup of beer to start, add ⅓ cup of sugar) while still boiling.
  • Taste it! Add more sugar if needed. The chocolate stout we are using is already pretty sweet, so Chris added just over ⅓ cup of sugar.
  • Remove the syrup mixture from the heat. It should have relatively the same viscosity of simple syrup. 


  • Don’t let the beer reduction get too hot! This will create a weird reaction, especially with hoppy beers. Not delicious.
  • Save your extra and pour it on a scoop of vanilla ice cream. #sogood (Believe me, I tried it.)

I’m Digging This “Excavator”

See what I did there? (It’s been a long week!…)

Mixing rye whiskey (we’re using Ogden’s Own— thank you for sending us a sample!), Green Chartreuse, three types of bitters (yes, three!), our beer syrup, and soda water to taste, this cocktail reminds me a bit of a craft Cola; it is aromatic with an herbal spice to it and has the body of a soda with the flavor of a cocktail. Using Green Chartreuse with a beer syrup may seem odd, but I promise you, the end result really works.

The thing I love about the Excavator is that it’s less boozy than the Old Fashioned we planned to make. The soda water really lightens up the feel and sweetness, too. Because it’s like a soda, you could almost make this into a cream soda with cream or milk.

Let us know in the comments or our Facebook group if you try that or any other variations; I can’t wait to hear how this works for you! And don’t forget to check out our Japanese jigger, which is on sale this month. You can make a lot of really cool cocktails with it since we all have more time to ourselves right now.


This jigger has one job and it does it well. Measure your ingredients perfectly every time, then toss it in the dishwasher. It’s durable and built to keep up, even when you’re deep in the weeds!



Did you know that Chocolate Stout and Green Chartreuse go unbelievably well together? This cocktail features a beer syrup and is the perfect example of this delicious pairing.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Drinks
Servings: 1 cocktail


Cocktail Ingredients

  • 1 oz Rye
  • .50 oz Green Chartreuse
  • .75 oz Samuel Smith's Organic Chocolate Stout Reduction Syrup
  • 1 Dash Angostura Bitters
  • 1 Dash Walnut Bitters
  • 1 Dash Chocolate Bitters
  • 3 oz Soda Water

Chocolate Stout Reduction Syrup

  • 1 cup Chocolate Stout Beer I used Samuel Smith's Organic Chocolate Stout.
  • 1/2 cup Sugar


Cocktail Instructions

  • Add all ingredients to a ice-filled rocks glass.
  • Stir to incorporate.
  • (Optional) garnish with an orange peel.

Sub Ingredient Instructions

  • Simmer the beer on the stovetop (on a very, very low simmer) until it has reduced by one third.
  • Add sugar and mix well to dissolve.
  • Cool completely before using.