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Cheers! A "sawbuck" cocktail for the beer tax

Lester Graham
Michigan Radio
Tammy Coxen of Tammy's Tastings just finished mixing the Sawbuck.

“I was listening to Michigan Radio and I heard about this beer tax being debated,” Tammy Coxen of Tammy’s Tastings said as she poured rye into a stainless steel mixing cup for a cocktail. “That tax has a little bit to do with the cocktail I chose today,” Coxen said.

It’s called the sawbuck, which is an antiquated term for a ten dollar bill. If the bill passes, ten dollars would not quite cover the increased tax on a keg of beer.

The Sawbuck cocktail includes a little beer. Coxen used Atwater Brewery’s Corktown Rye IPA. The company’s website describes it as, “An IPA heavy on rye malt with a caramel backbone, Corktown is spicy, sweet, bitter and aromatic.”

The rye Coxen used for the drink is Long Road Distiller’s rye made in Grand Rapids. “We introduced Long Road Distillers’ Wheat Whisky during our last segment," Coxen noted. 

Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio
Michigan Radio

Here’s the recipe for the sawbuck:

1 oz rye whiskey
1/2 oz cinnamon-infused simple syrup
1/2 oz lemon juice
1/4 oz Nux Alpina walnut liqueur (or a couple of dashes of black walnut bitters)
3 oz rye IPA (I used the Corktown fromAtwater in Detroit)
Combine all ingredients except beer in shaker with ice. Shake and strain into ice-filled beer tulip glass or old-fashioned glass. Top with beer and gently stir.

The sawbuck tastes like fall.

Watch the fun video by Jodi Westrick below!

The beer tax hike of 244% is being proposed as a way to pay for social services associated with alcohol abuse. The legislator sponsoring the tax bill says he does not drink. Legislative leaders have cast doubt on the future of the bill. Brewers across the state have been very critical, but ask why the state would increase taxes by that much for one of the few industries that managed to keep growing and hiring in the midst of the recent recession.


Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Public from 1998-2010.
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