Category: Beer

Tanis Inspired Cocktails #1 – The Black and Tanis

Regular readers will know what a HUGE fan I am of the Pacific Northwest Stories Podcasts, Tanis and The Black Tapes.  They are both utterly, utterly brilliant, to the point where I barely listen to anything else anymore.  Just obsessively check my Stitcher feed to see if there is new content.  And re-listen to old podcasts so I can find stuff I missed the first time round.

Black and Tanis4

I am always so excited for new content but then I often have to wait a couple of days to listen to it because, particularly The Black Tapes, has some seriously spooky shit going down.  As some of you may also know, the Fussiest Eater in the World works nights and I am of a nervous disposition.  So I can only listen in daylight and when I am not going to be in the house alone that night.  If I don’t then we get situations like the other night when I was bolt upright in bed from 3:00am because I swear to God I had been woken by some….one?  thing? knocking on my bedroom door and there is a spooky psycho killer child on The Black Tapes who:

  • Used to communicate only by knocking
  • Can teleport himself into people’s room to kill them

Goodbye sleep, it was nice knowing you. 


What is Tanis?

But I digress.  This is not about The Black Tapes, this is about Tanis.  So what is Tanis?

It’s possibly a mythical place but equally, it might be real.  It may create exceptional song writers who die darkly (Elliott Smith and Kurt Cobain),  assorted madmen, weird dead eyed children and mutant cuttlefish; it may be the place Lucifer landed when he fell from heaven, it may be the fountain of youth, it may be the holy grail.

If it is a place, it may or may not currently exist in the Pacific Northwest, in an area now under lockdown called The Breach. 

Then again, Tanis could also be a person. 

Or possibly a cat.

Black And Tanis 1

Seeking Tanis is radio producer Nic Silver. However, saying Tanis is about a dude looking for a place that or may not exist is like looking at that Munch painting and saying “It’s about a guy who’s having a bad day”.  Technically correct but all the meaning and nuance and complexity that makes it the awesome thing that it is, is totally lost.  Helping Nic is “information specialist” (please don’t call her a hacker) Meerkatnip, (MK to friends).  She is cool and smart and has a wonderful dry sense of humour and is, my favorite character. She finds a lot of information for Nic and really, he would be lost without her. 

The picture below which came from one of Nic’s emails (I know, I’m such a geek.  #sorrynotsorry ) shows some of the details and  connections Nic & MK have uncovered in the search for Tanis however it doesn’t even touch on the links to Charles Manson, rocket scientists writing weird stories, mad trappers, Jack The Ripper, servant girl murders, disappearing planes and two possibly unrelated people with dogs called Monkey. 

As another character, Cameron Ellis might say, “It’s complicated”.  And it is, but in the best, most intriguing way possible.  This is smart, well researched, edge of your seat story telling at it’s best!

So anyway, already long story about to be cut short.  Nic, and others, are seeking Tanis.  So, imagine my surprise when, on our recent trip to Bali, I found it! tweeted this picture and someone tweeted back that they wondered what kind of drinks a Tanis inspired bar would have.  My first idea was for a Black & Tanis which is what I have made today.  Then, joy of joys, the Tanis Podcast then tweeted back a few ideas.  So, over the next month I will be running a mini-series of Tanis inspired cocktails, starting with today’s Black and Tanis.


Black And Tanis 9

After MK, my next favorite character in Tanis is Geoff van Sant. Geoff’s brother Carl was the person who posted the Craigslist ad shown above before topping himself in their basement.  Carl thought he was, or wanted others to believe he was, a runner.  A runner is….OMG can you just all please listen to the podcast?  Because this really is complicated.  Anyhow Geoff’s catch cry is “Wanna grab a beer?” And in Season 1, Episode 2 it also transpired that Geoff, Nic or both are Guinness drinkers.  So, on top of the name being totally appropriate, the Black and Tanis also seems like something Nic and Geoff might actually drink!  

The Black and Tanis

I didn’t want to make a straight up Black and Tan because what would be the fun in that?  I also love a pun so my idea was to anise up a regular Black and Tan which I would then contract down Brangelina style from Black and Tan and Anise to a Black and Tanis! 

The little guy is actually a mini Balinese satay grill but I thought he looked creepy enough to be included here!

Black and Tanis7

I am not a beer drinker so I was a bit worried that beer….oops, sorry pale ale (for the pedantic people out there) and stout and anise would taste revolting together or that there might be a combination  in the three that would send you barking mad.   Remember when you were seventeen and someone told you that if you drank Bailey’s and then drank soda water and then went on a plane your stomach would explode? I was scared of something like that happening.  Of course, we all know that is just nonsense.  Do we? Do we really?  Does anyone know if that can actually happen? Who drinks Bailey’s on planes anyway?  G&T all the way!

Then I found this recipe:

Cinnamon & Star Anise Beer

And, happy days, I knew this was going to work.  Here is my syrup cooking away.

Black and Tanis8

I used a Gage Roads Atomic Pale Ale  as my tan.  I know nothing about beer so I chose this entirely on its name and a tenuous link to Tanis (Jack Parsons who wrote the short story Where is Tanis back in the 1950’s has been called the Atomic Antichrist). But for those who care about such things it is an American style pale ale.  It was really nice – very refreshing.  I could see myself drinking more of these on a hot summer day!

Black and Tanis 3jpgMy black was a traditional Guinness.  I was pleasantly surprised with the taste of the Guinness as I had always assumed it would be very dark and very bitter but it was a lot lighter and more pleasant tasting than I thought it would be.  I won’t be rushing out to buy crates of it but it was a lot more drinkable than I had previously assumed.

Black and Tanis6

You can see in the photo above, how much “tanis” there was the glass originally.  Despite my best intentions of careful pouring the “black” bled into the tan a lot so the final result looks a lot more black.  If I was making this again I would add even more of the pale ale so after adding the Guinness, it would look more like 50/50.  Still, I love the ombre effect. I also think the Guinness might have been colder than the pale ale because it created a weird condensation at the top of the glass. 

The Fussiest Eater in the World, who is a beer drinker, liked this very much.  I did too.  And it was great fun to create. 

Black And Tanis
A Black and Tan with Anise to celebrate the podcast Tanis.
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For the Cinnamon and Star Anise Syrup
  1. 1/2 cup sugar
  2. 1/2 cup water
  3. 2 cinnamon sticks
  4. 2 star anise
For The Black and Tanis
  1. 1 can of Guinness
  2. 1 can or bottle of Pale Ale, I used Gage Roads Brewing Co. Atomic Ale
For The Star Anise and Cinnamon Syrup
  1. Combine the sugar, water, star anise, and cinnamon sticks in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has melted, about 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the syrup to cool, at least 1 hour.
For the Black And Tanis
  1. Place a tablespoon of syrup into the bottom of your glass.
  2. Pour in the beer and give it a light stir.
  3. Place a spoon with the back side up against the side of the glass. Very slowly pour the Guinness over the spoon until the glass is full.
  4. Enjoy!
Adapted from Star Anise and Cinnamon Syrup from Giada De Laurentiis
Retro Food For Modern Times
 Have a great week.

And remember, keep looking!


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Cherry Beer Margarita – My Way

Dear readers…you have no idea of the indignities I sometimes have to suffer to bring you this. 

But first, let me tell you how my recipe for Cherry Beer Margaritas recipe came about.  A little while ago, I was pottering around on Pinterest and I found several recipes for Cherry Beer Margaritas. Happy Days, I thought and began a clicking frenzy.  Only, not one of these recipes was what I expected.  I thought that these would be Cherry Beer Margaritas….i.e. margaritas made from Belgian Cherry Beer.  Instead, they were all beer margaritas with some sort of cherry flavouring. 

I could not find a Cherry Beer Margarita the way I envisaged it for love or money. And so I decided to make one.

Cherry Beer Margaritas

First problem.  I thought I would just run down to my local bottle shop and pick up some cherry beer and make me some margaritas.  Uh uh.  Not so speedy there, Gonzales. 

Cherry Beer Margaritas3

They had Ginger Beer, Mango Beer, Lychee Beer, Chilli Beer, about a billion flavours of Cider and Perry but no Cherry Beer.  This was repeated everywhere.  I actually shelved the idea for several months simply because I could not find Cherry Beer anywhere. 

That changed on the weekend.  But not without a cost.

Cherry Beer Margaritas5

I finally tracked down the one bottle shop in Melbourne that sells Belgian Cherry Beer. 

I asked for two bottles but they were on a very high shelf so the shopkeeper needed to climb up a ladder to get them.  Whilst he was climbing he started telling me that they were getting more, different cherry beers in a few weeks.  He rattled off some names. 

Cherry Beer

“I used to drink a Cherry Beer…but it wasn’t either of those”

“Was it Belle Vue?”

“Yes!  That’s the one”.

He said “That was a while ago”. 

I had totally lost interest by then and was looking round the shop to see what else I could buy.  “Yeah, I guess”

Cherry Beer Margaritas2

“Wow….was a REALLY long time ago”  The dude was giving me a look that quite clearly said “Would you like a pension card and a zimmer frame to go with your two beers, Granny?”

 “I beg your pardon what?” I asked him, giving him my best death stare and resisting the urge to kick that ladder right out from under him. 

“Erm…nothing.  Would you like anything else with that?”

How about one of these?

Giant Cup

The Cherry Beer Margaritas were everything I wanted them to be. A gorgeous deep red, a great cherry and citrus taste, a good kick of salt and a pleasant hit of booze.  Perfect drinking for a sunny afternoon! 

I used a  mix of vintage merlot salt I bought at Gewurzhaus and sea salt for the glass.  The merlot salt is such a gorgeous colour and looked really pretty on the glass  but any salt would do. 

It’s almost a shame these tasted so good because I won’t be going back to that shop in a hurry. Anyway, I doubt these ancient bones would make the trip! 

Anyone up for a lychee beer margarita?

Cherry Beer Margarita
A delicious cherry beer margarita with a twist - it contains Belgian Cherry Beer!
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  1. 30ml tequila
  2. 30ml lime juice
  3. 30ml triple sec
  4. 250ml Belgian Cherry Beer, I used Floris
To Garnish
  1. Salt, I used a Vintage Merlot Salt but any salt will be fine
  2. Lime circle
  3. Maraschino Cherry
  1. Fill your cocktail glass with ice and place in the freezer to chill.
  2. Mix the tequila, lime, triple sec together in a large measuring cup.
  3. Remove the glass from the fridge, tip out the ice.
  4. Rub the rim of the glass with lime and roll in the salt.
  5. Pour the tequila mix into the glass and top with the beer.
  6. Garnish with the lime and cherry.
  7. Enjoy!
Retro Food For Modern Times
 Have a fabulous week!

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