“The Honey Beer ($12 at JoeDoe, in the East Village) is one of about 10 beer cocktails that Jill Schulster mixes at this tiny restaurant, which she owns and manages with her longtime romantic partner, the chef Joseph Dobias. She started making the Honey Beer and several of its compatriots in the spring of 2009, about six months after JoeDoe opened, to correct and camouflage what she and Mr. Dobias recognized as one of their shoestring operation’s early shortcomings.
“We didn’t have enough money for a wine list,” she said, meaning they had only a token smattering of bottles. “We had special cocktails, but it wasn’t enough.” To plump up their alcoholic beverage options, she added original beer cocktails, under the heading “prepared beers.”
The Honey Beer is the standout. She initially called it the Spring Forward, but its popularity — she sells as many as 100 of them in a busy week, she said — prompted her to keep it on the menu year round and give it a name that wasn’t out of sync with cold-weather months.
It combines, in a Pilsner glass, Dale’s Pale Ale with a shaken mixture of lemon juice, lemon zest and a gin, DH Krahn, in which citrusy notes are more dominant than juniper berry. That alone presents some enticing flavor juxtapositions, but what really elevates the drink is the coating of half of the glass’s rim in honey and a moderate amount of kosher salt.
Sips from that side of the glass carry the heady sweet-salty kick of some of my favorite snacks and desserts, like the chocolate-covered pretzel. But for relief, there’s the other side of the glass, with its clean rim. The effervescence of the beer and the acidity of the lemon keep the richness and intensity of the production in check, and, as a bonus, the honey dribbles down the side of the glass bit by bit, like a rivulet of ice cream down a cone. The Honey Beer, garnished with a lemon peel, is adult refreshment with a childish charm. Forgive it the too-cute double-entendre name.”
- Frank Bruni, The New York Times, January 6th 2011
JOEDOE 45 East First Street, East Village; (212) 780-0262, chefjoedoe.com.