Infusing the malty, earthy, fruity and floral flavors of beer with cocktails adds acidity and effervescence. And what better day to serve a beverage with extra bite than on Super Bowl Sunday?
“Using beer is appealing in cocktails because it adds another added layer of spice, rather than using water as a base,” says Todd Thrasher, partner, sommelier and mixologist for EatGoodFood Group’s six venues in Alexandria, Virginia, including the recently opened Society Fair. For budding at-home mixologists, Thrasher suggests experimenting with different varieties of beer behind the bar. “A dark beer can make something bitter into something really palatable and easy to drink,” he explains.
His What I Drink cocktail is a great way to kick off any big game-watching party. It’s light, refreshing and citrusy, thanks to the triple threat of lemon club soda, lemon syrup and lemon bitters. Though the base is dark rum, the zesty libation is topped with Amstel Light, which adds fizz but doesn’t compete with the drink’s other flavors. Here are other brew-centric creations bound to score you big points at your football fête.
What I Drink
Courtesy Todd Thrasher, Eat Good Food Group, Alexandria, VA
1½ ounces lemon club soda
1 ounce lemon-infused syrup*
2 dashes high-quality lemon bitters, such as Fee Brothers, divided
1½ ounces dark rum
Amstel Light, to top
Lemon wedge, for garnish
Add the club soda, lemon syrup, 1 dash of lemon bitters and dark rum in cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake until chilled. Strain into a chilled highball glass filled with ice. Top with Amstel Light and a dash of lemon bitters. Stir and garnish with lemon wedge.
*For the lemon-infused syrup, add ¼ cup water, ¼ cup sugar and ¾ cups fresh lemon juice to a saucepan set over medium heat. Bring to a boil, and then let mixture simmer until the sugar dissolves. Let cool.
Courtesy Todd Thrasher, EatGoodFood Group
Fans of brown spirits will rush to receive Thrasher’s Shock Me cocktail, which mixes Southern Comfort and small-batch whiskey from Virginia’s Catoctin Creek Distilling Company, topped off with Brooklyn Brown Ale. The addition of maple syrup water adds a tinge of sweetness—try serving it with sticky Teriyaki wings or sweet cocktail meatballs.
¾ ounce Southern Comfort
¾ ounce Catoctin Creek Organic Roundstone Rye
1 ounce maple syrup water (equal parts warm water and maple syrup)
2 ounces Brooklyn Brown Ale
Squeeze of lemon
Add all of the ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice and stir until chilled. Double strain the cocktail into a chilled rocks glass.
Courtesy of Casey Robison, BARRIO Mexican Kitchen & Bar, Seattle, Washington
If your guests crave a savory hop-tail, Casey Robison, bar manager of Barrio Mexican Kitchen & Bar in Seattle, recommends a Mexican classic. The Michelada melds a Bloody Mary with Mexican light-style ale, while its salted rim gives a small nod to the country’s other signature drink: the margarita. The idea with the Michelada, says Robison, is to add additional flavors to an otherwise light beer. “You look at the beer as the base spirit, and build your flavor profile around it.”
For hosts who don’t want to miss a minute of playtime (or commercials) during the big game, Robison suggests setting up a build-your-own Michelada bar. “Just keep cans of light Mexican beer on ice at a table with Tabasco sauce, limes, salt, pepper and any other ingredients you think might go well,” says Robinson, like jalapeños, extra tomato juice and garnishes including cucumber slices, celery spears, olives and pickled green beans. This winning drink is great alongside guacamole and chips.
1¾ ounces traditional sangrita*
½ ounce fresh lime juice
Mexican lager (such as Sol, Carta Blanca or Modelo Especial) to top
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1 lime wedge, for garnish, plus 1 lime wedge for rimming the glass
¼ cup rimming salt
Other garnishes (optional), like cucumber, olive or pickled green beans
Pour the rimming salt into a small glass bowl. Rub a lime wedge over half of the outside of a Mason jar or highball glass, then rim the glass by dipping it in the salt. Add the sangrita and lime juice and stir. Fill the glass with ice, and top with the Mexican lager. Add a pinch of salt and black pepper to taste, and garnish as desired.
2 ounces tomato juice
2 ounces fresh squeezed orange juice
1 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
½ ounce simple syrup
½ ounce Tapatió hot sauce
½ ounce Tiger Sauce
¼ ounce salt
¼ ounce black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir until well incorporated.
*While the recipe can be divided to make a smaller batch, Robison advises to use these measurements.
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