Our love for beer is sincere and it grows stronger every year (and so does our beer belly, but it's so worth it.) Like whiskey or quality tequila, it can be perfect just by itself, in a glass, alongside a meal and preferably outside.
But beer's unique flavor profile – bitter, sweet, acidic, malty – as well as its texture and carbonation also make it a great backbone for cocktails. And in this ManMade Guide, we're giving you the basics to make the perfect beer cocktails.
The concept of pairing booze and beer is an ancient one, and has been kept alive in neighborhood pubs everywhere in the beer chaser and especially the Boilermaker – a shot and a beer. Here, we're adding other flavors to bring the two together in perfect harmony for a seriously refreshing mixed drink.
Let's get started.
Spirits: Almost anything will work, but we recommend starting with bourbon, vodka, tequila, rum, brandy, or gin, and fortified spirits and liqueurs like vermouth and Curaçao. All of these spirits are used in moderate quantities so they don't kill the beer flavors completely; they're supposed to complement each other, not blow you away.
Mixers: you can choose from a wide variety of mixers for your beer cocktail.
- Juices: anything citrus, really – lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit you name it. Citrus juice will cut through any strong beer notes and will add a super refreshing twist. Cranberry and pomegranate can also help to add a gold balance of sweet and tart.
- Sweeteners: most common ones are simple syrups made at home, agave nectar, and maple syrup. But go easy on the sweet factor! You don't want your drink to taste like cough syrup.
NOTE: To you keep the flavors balanced, most spirit quantities shouldn't exceed 2 oz. per cocktail.
Beers: combinations will vary depending on which kind you use.
- Strong Beers: stout, porter, and alike are best combined with other full bodied spirits.
- Light Beers: best combined with fruity mixers. Avoid any strong spirits that might dull the taste.
Tools: No need for anything crazy other than your regular bar tools.
- Shaker: for spirits and juices, not for the beer!
- Frosty glasses
- Wide spoon: for gently pouring mixes (you'll see why below).
To get you started, try a few of these classic recipes to learn basic ratios and techniques. Then, you can experiment with whatever you have in your fridge and home bar.
This is the “poor man's” version of the original Black Velvet cocktail, which combines beer and champagne, in this case we are substituting the pricey bubbly for prosecco, which is more affordable and tastes just as good in a cocktail.
- 5 oz cellar-temperature stout
- 5 oz chilled prosecco (or any other bubbly wine)
Also have a chilled glass and a spoon ready.
Instructions: Gently pour the stout in a chilled glass making sure not to foam (tilt the glass slightly and keep the neck of the bottle close to the edge). Fill the glass half way through, then using the spoon, slowly and carefully pour the prosecco. Make sure the spoon stops the prosecco from splashing to hard otherwise you won't get that nice ombre effect.
Beer French 75
- 5 oz chilled lager
- 1 oz gin
- 1/2 oz simple syrup
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
Instructions: Pour lager in a tall glass. Add gin, syrup, and lemon juice. Gently stir. and garnish with lemon twist
The Peg Leg
- 4 oz light ale
- 1 oz guava juice (look for in in a can in the Asian or Latin America aisle under the brand name Jumex)
- 1 oz fresh grapefruit juice
- 2 oz spiced rum
- Garnish: lime wedge
Instructions: Combine all ingredients except for the beer in a cold glass. Top ingredients with beer and gently stir. Add lime to garnish and enjoy.
- 1 light beer (lager or pale ale)
- 1 carbonated lemonade or lemon-lime soda (we recommend a less-sweet “natural” soda)
Instructions: Pour 3/4 of the beer in a chilled glass. Fill remaining 1/4 with lemonade or soda. Swirl to combine.
Pale-oma: (get it?)
- 2 oz. blanco or reposado tequila
- 1 oz. fresh lime juice
- 2 oz. grapefruit juice
- 1 oz. simple syrup
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 4 oz. pale ale
Combon the first five ingredients and shake with ice to combine. Pour into a tall glass with ice, and add pale ale. Add straw and stir to combine.
If you have any favorite combos, let us know! We're totally hooked on these refreshing combos.
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