The art of the cocktail is something that every good bartender should know and every patron appreciates. This art has evolved greatly from the time when Tom Cruise was flipping bottles back in the ’80s and this evolution has brought beer into the mixture. This has created quite the revolution for many drinkers with craft beer offering an endless supply of mixing ideas.
While the craft beer boom brought forth many unique takes on beer styles it has opened the minds and palates of those in the drink business. Liquor has gone through a revolution on its own, stemming from craft beer with many artisanal spirits coming to the market. This push for craft has led drinkers to look for higher quality cocktails and really pushed forward the idea of the beer cocktail.
Mixing beer with other beer is not anything new, the classic black and tan has existed for quite some time. Even the idea of liquor into beer is not new for those who spent many nights enjoying the classic Irish car bomb. However, truly being attentive to the mixing process of beer and alcohol to unleash flavors that may not have been as present alone is what makes beer cocktails exciting.
So what exactly is a beer cocktail and how does it differ from a regular cocktail? The main difference with beer cocktails is it is heavily focused on the beer. Most cocktails rely on liquors playing off one another or the addition of flavoring to get the desired taste. Beer cocktails use the beer as a launching point and additions are made around the beer.
Beer cocktails range from being a standard 50/50 mix with an alcohol based beverage. The best ones use a mixture of alcohols to showcase the beer. So enough talking about what a beer cocktail is, here are some recipes for great ones to try at home:
2 oz. bourbon
3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
1/4 oz. simple syrup
Bar spoon of orange marmalade
2 dashes orange bitters
2 oz. Ommegang Witte or Allagash White
Procedure: Combine all ingredients and gently shake with ice. Strain over fresh ice cubes into a highball glass and garnish with a lemon twist.
1 1/4 oz gin
1 1/4 oz whisky
1 1/4 oz rum
1 1/4 oz port
1 1/4 oz brandy
1 bottle Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout or Oskar Blues Ten FIDY
1 splash of Champagne
Procedure: Pour gin, whisky, rum, port and brandy. Top with the stout and add a splash of champagne.
Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour at noon on Sundays on WILK 103.1 FM with past episodes available on iTunes.