Beer-Based Cocktails

Beer-Based Cocktails

From Mexico’s Michelada to London’s Shandy Gaff, beer-based cocktails from around the globe are gaining popularity. In addition to these cool classics, creative bartenders are drawing fresh libation inspiration from beer, ranging from local brews to international lagers, lambics and more. And for restaurants without a full liquor license, “beer-tails” are a way to expand a drinks menu.

Classic Beer Cocktails

Michelada (Mexico)
A classic and refreshing drink made with Mexican beer sassed up with hot sauce and lime juice.

1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon chili powder
1 lime wedge
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Dash of hot sauce
Chilled beer, such as Corona

In a plate or shallow bowl, stir together salt and chili powder. Run a lime wedge around the edge of a pint glass, then turn glass over onto plate and rotate or roll edge of glass to attach salt mixture. In the rimmed pint glass, combine lime juice, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. Top with beer.

Shandygaff (UK)
Dating back to the late 19th century and sometimes referred to simply as a “Shandy,” the word “shandygaff” is thought to come from the British vernacular for a pint of beer, “shant of gatter” (shanty being a public house, gatter an idiom for water).

6 ounces cold beer or ale
6ounces cold ginger beer, ginger ale or lemonade
Lemon zest or mint sprigs for garnish

Pour equal amounts of beer and ginger beer into a chilled glass. Stir gently. Garnish with lemon zest or mint sprigs.

Berliner Weisse mit Schuss (Germany)
Berlin’s traditional wheat beer is often drunk with a shot (schuss) of either red raspberry syrup or green waldmeister syrup.

16 ounces cold Berliner Kindl Weisse, or other light German-style wheat beer
1 ounce shot of raspberry syrup or Waldmeister syrup

Pour the shot of syrup into a large glass, then slowly pour in the beer.

“New Classic” Beer Cocktails

Brooklyn Tai
By Jonathan Pogash, The Crowne Plaza, White Plains, NY

A riff on the classic tropical Mai Tai drink, this cocktail takes its name from its secret ingredient: Brooklyn Lager Beer. From The Crowne Plaza, which launched its drink menu at the end of November.

1 ounce Appleton Estate Reserve Rum
¾ ounce almond syrup
¾ ounce fresh lime juice
1 dash angostura bitters
Brooklyn Lager Beer

Add all ingredients, except for beer, to a cocktail shaker with ice and strain into a chilled pilsner glass. Top with the beer. Garnish with a lime wheel and mint sprig.

Scotch Sangaree
By Arturo Vera-Felicie, The Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange, in Kansas City, MO.

An unusual take on the classic Sangaree.

1 ounce cream Sherry
Harviestoun Old Engine Oil Black Ale
Nutmeg, for garnish

In a 12-ounce beer glass, pour the cream Sherry and ale. Grate nutmeg on top.


Dark Wood Flip
By Corey Bunnewith, Citizen Public House, Boston

It may look like a glass of dark ale, but—surprise!  It’s a cocktail with rich flavor and texture, thanks to a heady mix of 10-year-old Bourbon, maple syrup, and egg yolk (not white).

3 ounces Abita Nut Brown Ale
1 egg yolk
¼ ounce Maple Simple Syrup (3 parts water to 1 part maple syrup)
1½ ounces Eagle Rare 10-year-old Bourbon
Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Bitters, to garnish
Fresh grated nutmeg, to garnish

Pour ale into a pilsner glass and set aside. In a cocktail shaker, combine egg yolk, maple simple syrup and Bourbon. Shake vigorously without ice (dry shake); then add ice and shake again. Double strain into the pilsner glass with the ale.

Garnish with Whiskey Barrel Bitters, and a light dusting of fresh grated nutmeg.

Japanese Michelada
By Matthew Bax and Ryan Clift, Tippling Club

This experimental cocktail was served at Tales of the Cocktail, a drinks conference held in New Orleans. It’s not from Japan, although all of its ingredients certainly are!  Rather, it’s a creation of Matthew Bax, of the Tippling Club (Singapore), and Ryan Clift, of Der Raum (Australia).

1 cup yuzu juice (a Japanese citrus fruit; lemon juice may be substituted)
3 ounces wasabi
1 cup soy sauce
Togarashi spice mix (rim)
1 can of Japanese beer

Blend together yuzu, soy and wasabi. Rim glass with Togarashi (wipe lime juice then dip in dry spice mix). Pour 2 teaspoons michelada mix (soy/wasabi/yuzu) into rimmed glass, then top with beer.

Published on December 23, 2010