Mocktails, wine and beer cocktails by “The Cocktail Guru”

The Cocktail Guru mixes modern mocktails at the 9th Annual Brewer’s Ball to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Photo: Jonathan Pogash

WASHINGTON,D.C., February, 2013— The 9th Annual Brewer’s Ball benefiting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation offers guests an all-inclusive opportunity to sample a variety of handcrafted microbrews from more than two dozen of the region’s best microbreweries and restaurants.

The event, held at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC, will also feature live entertainment and a silent auction.

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Tickets are $130. Last year $260,000 was raised. 

Participating breweries include Heavy Seas, Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales, Sierra Nevada and Brewery Ommegang. Restaurants include Jack Rose, Shake Shack, Blackfinn American Saloon and Ris.

The culinary event is all about exploring local food, beer, and wine—this year Jonathan Pogash, “The Cocktail Guru,” will be on-hand mixing up new beer and wine-based cocktails as well as a fresh and modern mocktail.  

Pogash shared thoughts and two recipes. 

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Why mocktails?

Mocktails are a wonderful alternative to traditional adult beverages – some folks don’t drink (like my wife, for instance, who is expecting our 2nd child), but still want to have a fun drink.  I’ve always been a huge fan of Welch’s 100% grape juice.  Healthy options are always on our minds, so incorporating nutritious, heart-healthy ingredients, has been one of my philosophies.  

There has been a huge trend towards beer and wine-based cocktails in the bar and restaurant community within the past few years.  These cocktails are fun twists on some of the classic stand-bys we all know and love.  It’s about being unique—thinking outside the box- using local and fresh ingredients—using ingredients that are already in the hearts and minds of people.  

What kind of demand are you seeing, and how do they compare in price with regular cocktails? 

They tend to be more reasonably priced than regular cocktails, as you’re changing around the base of the drink from spirit (vodka, gin, rum, etc.) to beer or wine.

Have you participated in the fundraiser before? 

This is my first time, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.  An old friend from high school, turned me on to the event.  His sister, whom I also went to school with, passed away from Cystic Fibrosis, so this is a very close and dear charity to all who knew her.  


Mid-Atlantic Shuffle (mocktail)

Mid-Atlantic Shuffle mocktail

Mid-Atlantic Shuffle mocktail


2 oz. Welch’s 100% Concord Grape Juice

1/2 oz. pineapple juice

1/2 oz. Monin lavender syrup*

1 oz. Ginger Beer

Garnish: rosemary sprig

Shake first three ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice.  Strain into a fancy cocktail glass and top off with the ginger beer.

This mocktail is bold in taste and packs a nutrition punch due to the dynamite little fruit—the concord grape.  Thanks to the concord grape, 100% grape juice can help support a healthy heart.  According to Alton Brown, Food Network Star, food historian and scientist, “Welch’s presses the entire Concord grape, skin, seed, pulp and all and that releases heart-healthy plant nutrients called polyphenols.” Many of the polyphenols in Concord grapes are the same as those found in wine. 

*The lavender syrup can be made from scratch or you can purchase Monin in stores or online.  


The Port City Cocktail

The Port City Cocktail

The Port City Cocktail beer cocktail


1 thin slice jalapeno pepper

4 oz. Port City Brewing Company Porter

1 oz. Monin organic vanilla syrup

1/2 oz. Monin almond syrup

Rim of Dimitri’s bacon rimmer **

Garnish: shaved white chocolate

Muddle the jalapeno pepper.  Then add the vanilla and almond syrup with ice and shake well.  Strain into a tall glass that has been rimmed with bacon rimmer.   Top with Port City Brewing Co. Porter beer.

This recipe includes beer from Port City Brewing Company which is a new craft brewery located in Alexandria, VA serving all of metropolitan Washington, DC.

**One of my favorite products, Dimitri’s Bacon RimShot, is actually a rimming product that is 100% vegetarian, and is flavored with a bold bacon smoke.


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Linda Mensinga

Linda Mensinga was editor of Culinary Trends for 15 years, now a contributing writer. Researching restaurants and hotels, she interviews the best and brightest chefs, not necessarily the most famous, to learn their secrets and recipes. Their talent and dedication never cease to inspire her. 

Mrs. Mensinga is happily food obsessed and fortunate enough to be married to a chef. 

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