Knocking back a few brews is one of the great pleasures in life. So why not take that pleasure to the next level? Beer cocktails are hot, and while it may seem like sacrilege to pour more ingredients into that beer you love so much, you really can add to the experience with a few tweaks. Try a few of these easy beer cocktails, and you’ll never look at reaching for a cold one in the same way again.
1. The Michelada
The Mexican Michelada Cocktail is like a lesson in Beer Cocktails 101: easy to grasp and good preparation for the more complex things to come. While it’s traditionally made with a Mexican label, any lighter beer will do.
The basic Michelada format is pretty simple. Rim glasses with salt, pour in tomato juice and lime, and then mix in up to a full bottle of beer, depending on your tastes. Treat that as your base, and go to town adding any sort of spices or other ingredient that you crave. Think of it as a cocktail test tube: it’s great for experiments. Drop in pepper, hot sauce, soy sauce, Worcestershire—pretty much anything that you’d use in a typical Bloody Mary. Put a little salt on the rim, take a sip, and any reservation you have about using beer as a mixer will be out the window faster than you can say “uno mas.”
2. The Shandy
Think of this one as a half-and-half: a traditional shandy is beer and a soft drink (usually juice or soda), mixed in equal amounts. You can also measure it to taste; if you’re craving a stiffer drink, fill the glass three-quarters of the way with beer and top off the glass with your mixer. You can even add some hard alcohol for an extra kick, like we did—our Shandy Beer Cocktail mixes beer, lemonade and vodka, plus a few extra ingredients. Or go in the opposite direction and make a shandy that’s very low in alcohol content by filling the glass mostly with your mixer and just topping it off with beer.
Shandy fans will debate just what mixer is best; some people prefer a light-colored soda, such as lemon-lime or ginger ale, while others like on lemonade or fruit juice.
And in addition to the mixer, you can change up the flavor of your shandy with your choice of beer. Most shandy recipes call for some type of light beer, but another one of our go-to beer cocktails, this Raspberry Beer Hard Lemonade, starts with a raspberry lambic:
Lambics have a sour, more cider-y taste compared to regular beer, and typically get their flavor from fruit that’s added after fermentation begins (although some brands simply add flavored syrup when brewing is complete).
3. The Black Velvet
Have half a bottle of champagne left from a party that you want to kill? Your first instinct probably isn’t to mix it with Guinness™, but trust us—you’ll be impressed. Grab a flute and fill it halfway with the bubbly (any dry sparkling wine will do), then top it off with your stout beer of choice. The smooth brew complements the bubbles in a way that you’d never expect.
And besides the taste, this drink has a pretty cool backstory going for it, too. In 1861, Prince Albert (Queen Victoria’s Prince Consort) passed away, and a bartender at London’s Brooks’s Club, created the Black Velvet in his honor. The drink’s name (and color) represents the cloth armbands worn by Albert’s mourners.
4. The Beer Mimosa
A typical mimosa is equal parts champagne and citrus juice—so right off the bat, we’ll admit to playing a little fast and loose with the definition of mimosa. But we think these Peach Beer Mimosas would be equally at home at a Sunday brunch.
So how do we do it? For starters, we use beer instead of champagne. Then we mix that with a fast DIY peach syrup made with real fresh peaches, and garnish each glass with a peach wedge. Just as sweet, fruity and fizzy as the original.
5. The Beergarita
What’s a beergarita? Beyond “the unofficial drink of summer,” it’s a frosty, frozen margarita that you top with beer to make a slush punch. Like the michelada, these Beergarita Slushies are best made with a Mexican brew, but you can substitute any lighter label.
If tequila isn’t usually your thing, you should still give this one a try—the beer is like a built-in chaser that takes the edge off. And if you ARE a fan of tequila, we’ve just given you one more delicious way to enjoy it.