3 Bartenders Serve Up Their Favorite Whiskey and Beer Combos

Barkeeps from Chicago, Portland and New York name their preferred pairings of the moment.

Chasing that Jameson shot with an ice cold bottle of Bud is always good, but sometimes you want to shake up your shot and beer game. Here, three top-shelf bartenders gush about their go-to brew and booze combos. 

1. Bartender: Jess Keene, Fulton Market Kitchen, Chicago 

Preferred Pairing: Left Hand “Fade To Black” Seasonal Foreign Stout and Highland Park Dark Origins single malt scotch.

“Both of these choices embody a history riddled with darkness along with a hint of playful self loathing. Hailing from Longmont, Colorado, Left Hand Brewery’s Fade To Black is a velvety black abyss churning and bubbling with flavors of espresso, licorice, heavy molasses, with peppered hints of cardamom and cocoa. “

“Highland Park’s Dark Origins is a dark cherry and chocolate- forward fearless imp that bounces and plays upon Fade To Black’s 8.5% ABV foundation without a hint of struggle. The peat in Dark Origins swiftly cuts through the density of Fade To Black’s character. Overall, a match made in the seedy yet jovial depths of the underworld.”

2. Bartender: Chino Lee, Bit House Saloon, Portland 

Preferred Pairing: Scrimshaw Pilsner with Angel’s Envy Rye whiskey 

“The Angel’s Envy Rye is a finished whiskey that spends 18 months in Caribbean rum casks. This finishing process imparts huge flavor into the spirit. The nose explodes with candied citrus and vanilla. The whiskey tastes of honey, dates and baking spices. Scrimshaw, a slightly bitter and dry German style pilsner, with its lively carbonation is the perfect palate cleanser between sweet sips of the rye.”

3. Bartender: Jimmy Palumbo, The Up & Up, New York City

Preferred Pairing: Brooklyn Brown Ale and The Highland Park 18 

“The beer and shot combo is a classic staple of most bars, and I’m actually fortunate enough to have my namesake officially a part of one. There’s a style of shots in the bartending world known as 50/50’s meaning two ingredients, usually a spirit and a bitters, in equal parts. “

“They have names like C.I.A (Cynar in Applejack) and Ferrari (Fernet and Campari). Mine is called the Jimbo Shot, equal parts Meletti Amaro and Old Overholt Rye Whiskey. It was named after me while I was pouring at a bar in Brooklyn called Extra Fancy. It’s still the house shot there and is part of a beer and shot combo called the S.M.S. (Sean Moore Special, named after a fellow bartender whose go-to call was a Jimbo shot and a Miller High Life.)”

“These days I’m guilty of a more elevated version of the beer and shot, which is simply a nice rich ale paired with a neat pour of single-malt scotch. The top of the mountain for me is The Highland Park 18 and the Brooklyn Brown Ale. It’s generally considered one of the best whiskies in the world, but it won’t break the bank like some of the other guys (a huge plus for a working dude like me). With a smoky sweet finish that goes perfect with the malty-caramel Brown Ale, this is a combo you definitely just want to sip on and enjoy.”