Beer is base for trendy new drinks

The Short but French shandy made at Sassper's Tapas Bistro.

A craft cocktail is serious business. You don’t free pour a craft cocktail: it’s carefully constructed, it’s precise and it’s steeped in tradition leading back as far as alcohol can be remembered.

For a while, craft cocktails went by the wayside, giving way to dive bars and easy pours. But the pendulum has swung back. Released early last month, “Hey Bartender,” a documentary chronicling the rebirth of the bartender and comeback of the craft cocktail, sheds light on the changing world of bartending.

Craft cocktail bars have been cropping up across the desert. With La Quinta’s Twenty6, downtown Palm Spring’s Workshop Kitchen + Bar, and Bar, along with one of Palm Desert’s newest additions, Sassper’s Tapas Bistro, craft cocktails have gained some footing and are on the verge of evolving once again.

The TKTKTK cocktails made by Sassper's Tapas and Bistro.

“The evolution has come around to beer,” said Sassper’s bar manager and sommelier Javier Santana. “Beer is a complex ingredient going from the crispness of a light pilsner to the complexity of a deep dark porter. There’s a wide range. It’s an untapped resource that we as bartenders have yet to really grab a hold of.”

Santana, who is a member of the United States Bartender’s Guild and formerly the bar manager of Workshop, is referencing beer cocktails.

“The beer cocktail I think evolved from a shot and a beer. A shot of whiskey and a beer, which is still really popular, you go out to the Midwest or the East Coast and depending on where you are that shot will change,” he said citing Frenet in San Francisco and Jameson on the East Coast

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