Dogfish Head’s Off-Centered Spirits are a Canvas for Creativity



Dogfish Head is well known for its unique lineup of beers. Dogfish Head Distilling Co. – which has been producing spirits since 2002 – is far less known. That is something Graham Hamblett is actively trying to change.

“I’m not really a sales person, but whenever I’m somewhere new, I find myself educating people about Dogfish Head’s spirits,” Hamblett said. “Most people don’t even realize that we distill, let alone that we’ve been doing so for more than a decade and a half.”

Hamblett is Dogfish Head’s Head Distiller. He joined the team 2014, after he himself became aware of the distillery for the first time.  At the time, the Dogfish Head ethos of pushing the boundaries of creativity really appealed to him, as did the freedom to play with flavors that other distilleries might find questionable.

“The brewery has such a long history of doing off-centered ales and using cool ingredients that I’ll find myself walking around the cold storage room and rummaging through ingredients that the brewers are experimenting with, and then borrow some of those ideas as inspiration,” Hamblett said.

He added, “Even zany ingredients that you wouldn’t think would work, when you add them into a big pot of other equally untraditional ingredients, suddenly it magically adds another layer of flavor.”

While Dogfish Head’s spirits do push the limits in terms of unique flavor combinations, Hamblett knows that even the most daring spirit needs to remain balanced – and dare we say practical – to find a home among consumers and bartenders.

Case and point, Compelling Gin.

“First and foremost a gin needs to work in a gin and tonic,” Hamblett said. “If it doesn’t do that, then it will never catch on. That was sort of my target when developing Compelling Gin. If it makes a good gin and tonic, everything else should sort of fall into place.”

While Compelling Gin does in fact make a convincing G&T, the culinary-inspired spirits really do work best when mixed and sipped in truly creative concoctions. To help spark a little inspiration, the beverage development team at Dogfish Head’s Chesapeake & Maine shared with us a few of their most off-centered cocktails, from the savory Martinez to the indulgent Mr. Peanut.




Rum Mint Tea

1.5 oz. Dogfish Head Barrel Honey Rum

1 oz. agave syrup

1 oz. lemon juice

2 oz. black tea, chilled

6 mint leaves

Method: Combine all ingredients into shaker packed with ice and shake until chilled. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice and garnish with mint sprig. 


Bon Temps

2 oz. Dogfish Head Barrel Honey Rum

1.5 oz. honey sage syrup

3 dashes old fashioned bitters

4 dashes creole bitters

absinthe rinse

Method: Rinse a chilled rocks glass just a bit of absinthe. Fill with ice and set aside. In a separate mixing glass filled with ice, combine Honey Rum, honey sage syrup and both bitters. Stir until well chilled, and then strain into the absinthe rinsed rocks glass filled with ice.




2 oz. Dogfish Head Compelling Gin

.5 oz. sweet vermouth

3 dashes orange bitters

Method: In a mixing glass, combine gin with sweet vermouth and bitter. Add ice and still until well chilled and partially diluted. Strain into a chilled rocks glass or beer tulip. 


The Grass is Always Greener

2 oz. Dogfish Head Analog Vodka

2 oz. lemon grass green tea

.5 oz. lemon juice

1 lemon wheel

Method: Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker packed with ice and shake until well chilled. Strain into a Collins glass filled with ice. Garnish with lemon wheel.



Mr. Peanut

1.5 oz. Dogfish Head Roasted Peanut Vodka

2 oz. chocolate milk

1 oz. chocolate liqueur

Chocolate syrup for garnish

Method: Take a well-chilled martini glass and drizzle the inside with chocolate syrup to create a lace pattern. Set glass aside. Next, combine all remaining ingredient into a cocktail shaker packed with ice and shake until well chilled and incorporated. Strain into the chocolate-laced martini glass.  


Moscow Mule

2 oz. Dogfish Head Analog Vodka

.5 oz. fresh lime juice
.75 oz. ginger syrup (ours is house made from freshly squeezed ginger juice and simple syrup)
Soda water

1 lime

1 piece of candied ginger

Method: Combine first three ingredients in a mixing glass. Whip with one cube of ice until chilled and just barely diluted. Strain into an ice filled Collins glass and top with soda water. Garnish with a lime wedge and a piece of dried candied ginger on a pick.

Sea Mule

1 oz. Dogfish Head Compelling Gin

2 oz. ginger beer

.5 oz. lime juice

.5 oz. lemon juice

4 oz. SeaQuench Ale

Method: Combine all ingredients into a glass filled with ice. Give it a quick stir to combine and serve immediately. 


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