Is Budweiser Back?
by Lisa Elbert, Tastemaker in Residence
The cult and thirst of the urban hipster has taken us from Pabst Blue Ribbon to Narragansett and Genesee tall boys, and now, it seems, back to where it all began with the one and only king of beers: Budweiser (cue the Clydesdales).
Bartender Robert Krueger of Brooklyn's Extra Fancy is demonstrating that Bud may indeed be back, and has a rightful place in cocktail culture. “Putting Bud in a drink has a 'huh?' factor,” says Krueger. Comprised of 1 ounce Mezcal Joven, ½ ounce Hibiscus Cordial, ¾ ounce fresh lime juice, and a splash of Bud, Krueger's Gringo Rojo benefits from Bud two fold, “having a little more umph than soda water and not being as omnipresent as ginger beer is in drinks these days,” he says. This drink also has it-factor. Extra Fancy patrons are still requesting Gringo Rojos even though it's been off-menu for a while—a testament to both Bud's renaissance and Krueger's clever finesse as a bartender.
The Gringo Rojo is home to mostly Mexican-born ingredients, and splashed with the good ole St. Louis lager, qualifying its cheeky title. “The name is a reference to the 'Americanizing' of a drink that would be otherwise more traditionally Mexican in flavor and ingredient,” Krueger says. It's smokey and sweet, tannic and tangy, and crowned with 'merican beer royalty. Despite Gringo Rojo's underlying Mexican profile and InBev's unspeakable coup—eradicating Anheuser-Busch ownership from its Missouri roots—Krueger's affection for the drink lies in how “you feel American when you drink it.”