As bartenders get more creative in our endless pursuit of guest satisfaction, beer cocktails have come into fashion more than ever. We’ve expanded on the already popular pub drinks like Black-and-Tans (a blend of pale ale and stout), Boilermakers (a glass of beer and a shot of whisky), Irish Car Bombs (stout and Irish cream liqueur) and Red Eyes (beer and tomato juice).
What we’ve learned through experimentation is that beer, liquor and juice complement each other well, and that blending the two different forms of alcohol with a splash of juice can create a very pleasing experience. The range in beer styles — from the lightest lagers to the deepest, richest ales — can produce drinks with some of the most interesting flavours and textures.
Whether you’re a professional bartender, or simply an at-home drink slinger, there are a few rules to follow when crafting beer cocktails.
I suggest taking hints from some of the classic culinary applications of beer — for example, a beer-glazed roasted ham with pineapple conjures up thoughts of rum, tropical fruit, clove and wheat ale. Also, take a look at what different breweries use to flavour their beers. We’ve all seen fruit beers with raspberries or cherries, so why not try a combination of fruit liqueurs, citrus, and a bold IPA? Chocolate porters are also quite popular at this time of year — try combining whisky, chocolate liqueur and a rich Irish stout.
Here are a few recipes to get you started on your beer-mixing adventure:
The Michelada is a very popular brunch cocktail from Mexico that’s starting to pop up on North American menus, and that blends the Bloody Mary/Caesar with a light lager. My version has been tweaked with a Canadian element of course! (Pictured above)
Using a mortar and pestle, add:
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 1/4 tsp chili flakes
- 3 cloves
Crush the ingredients until you have a fine powder. Set aside and use for the rim of your glass.
- 3 oz Walter All-Natural Craft Caesar Mix
- 3 oz Phillips Phoenix Gold Lager
- 3 dashes of Tabasco Sauce
- 3 dashes of Worcestershire Sauce
- 0.5 oz lime juice
Mix ingredients together with a mixing spoon. Rub the rim of the glass with lime juice, and dip the glass in the prepared rim mixture. Pour cocktail over ice and serve.
2. Whisky Radler
A Radler — usually a 50/50 mixture of beer and lemonade, or sparkling lemon soda — has a long and storied history across Europe and is a popular warm weather thirst-quencher. This twist on the original substitutes in Canadian whisky and adds a refreshing splash of honey and citrus.
- 1 oz Lot 40 Canadian Whisky
- 0.5 oz Giffard Apricot Liqueur
- 0.5 oz lemon juice
- 0.5 oz honey syrup (1 part honey, 1 part hot water)
- 1 oz grapefruit juice
- 3 dashes Angostura Bitters
- 2 oz R & B Sun God Wheat Ale
Shake all ingredients, except the wheat ale, together with ice. Pour over fresh crushed ice and top with the wheat ale. Garnish with fresh lemon peel.
3. Kiss the Cod
You don’t have to become an honourary Newfie — or put your lips on any fish, for that matter — to enjoy this quintessentially Canadian drink, which blends pure “Screech” Rum, maple syrup, cinnamon and stout along with a maple-smoked bacon garnish. As they say on The Rock, “May there always be wind in your sails!”
- 1 oz of Newfoundland Screech Rum
- 1 oz fresh apple juice
- 0.5 oz fresh lemon juice
- 1 pinch grated cinnamon
- 0.25 oz maple syrup
- 3 dashes Angostura Bitters
- 1.5 oz Old Yale Brewing Sasquatch Stout
Add ice and shake cocktail for 20 seconds. Pour over fresh ice and top with the stout. Garnish with maple smoked bacon.