Jelly Man

My editor at Bon Appetit asked me to write about cooking with beer. I decided to make a day of it, starting with beer jelly on beer bread. The bread, an Irish soda bread with stout instead of buttermilk, was OK, kind of greenish, but toasted beautifully. The jelly was bitter and too lemony, but people seemed really interested in how I made it. You don’t hear about beer jelly every day, I guess. I read somewhere that it’s popular in the Czech Republic, though. Anyway, the secret is: I made beer Jell-O.

Boil some beer with, say, ginger and a little sugar, mix in gelatin, and pour into jars. Since I used gelatin instead of pectin, the jelly liquifies when it gets warm—so eat fast, especially if you spread it on toast. I’ve tried beer (and bourbon) in more traditional jellies with little luck so far. The water content screws things up.

Beer in breakfast wasn’t a total success, but I have higher hopes for my next experiment, for the WSJ: beer for breakfast.