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Creative Cocktails

Let’s talk cocktails. Beer cocktails. The two may not seem to go together but truly this is not the case! There’s also a long history of beer being combined with spirits, going as far back as the late 1600s that originated in colonial America and continued to be popular into the 1800s. This drink is known as “Flip,” was a concoction of beer, sugar, rum, and eggs. First, the beer was heated fireside until almost boiling and poured into a jug where it was combined with the rest of the aforementioned ingredients. Then, yet another jug was used to transfer the mixture back and forth, “flipping” the liquid between the two jugs until smooth; hence where the name “Flip” comes from. Lastly, the drink was poured into a tankard mug, and a hot iron poker was taken out of the fire and plunged into the mug causing the liquid to froth and giving the drink an overall slightly bitter, burned flavor.

While this recipe may not seem all that appealing by today’s standards, there are plenty of beer-based cocktails that are tasty, easy to find on a menu or request from your bartender during your next brunch or night out, but also still simple enough to create in the comfort of your own kitchen.

The Michelada is Mexican in origin and is created with a Mexican lager beer, lime juice, sauces, spices, tomato juice, chile peppers and garnished with a lime. Like its sister, the Margarita, it is usually served in a chilled glass, with its rim dipped in salt. Easy to make at home, a classic version combines Clamato juice (found in your local grocery store), lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, hot sauce, and a dash of chili pepper over ice, and topped off with a Mexican lager, such as Modelo, Corona, Dos Equis or Rare Form’s (Troy, NY) Confetti, a Mexican-style lager, then gently stirred and served immediately. The best part is, that you can play around with the ingredients in order to make it just to your own liking.

A Beermosa is created with beer instead of champagne (Mimosa), mixed with orange juice. A lighter beer or one that has citrus notes fits best with creating a Beermosa, for example, a classic Blue Moon or BrewDog’s (Ellon, Aberdeenshire Scotland) Elvis Juice, an American IPA, or Peak Organic Brewing Company’s (Portland, ME) Sweet Tarts Grapefruit & Hibiscus Sour Ale. With this cocktail, you’ll want a 2/3 beer to 1/3 OJ ratio. No need for ice in this drink, just make sure that your beer and juice are both cold before mixing and enjoy right away!

Next up is the Brewed Mary, which is essentially a Bloody Mary, but made with beer instead of liquor. Hopped beers are exceptionally great to add into this drink so that the flavor of the beer isn’t totally lost in the mix, and some recipes even add Guinness! A few excellent IPA options include Stone Brewing’s (Escondido, CA) Stone IPA, Middle Ages Brewing’s (Syracuse, NY) Salt City IPA, or Prison City’s (Auburn, NY) DDH Mass Riot. (Bonus Tip: Prison City serves both Brewed Marys and Beermosas during their AMAZING Sunday Brunch from 11-2!) Just like the Michelada, you’ll want to pour the tomato mixture into the glass first then top with the beer and stir gently. Garnish with all the things you normally do with the traditional version; celery, bacon slices, pickle spears, skewers of olives, cheese, pepperoncini, shrimp, and more! Get creative!

Lastly, a Shandy makes for a great warm-weather cocktail due to its refreshing nature. Sure, you can find Shandy beers already bottled and canned, probably Leinenkugel Brewing Company’s (Chippewa Falls, WI) Summer Shandy is one of the most popular and widely available. However, a Shandy can be created right in your own home. To note, a Shandy is actually a traditional British cocktail that uses a 50/50 ratio of a light beer to a carbonated lemon soda. Usually, you’ll see it made with lemonade here in the United States and the ratio of beer to lemonade may vary according to personal preference. The best beers to use are either light lagers, wheat beers, or pilsners. Great Lakes Brewing Company’s (Cleveland, OH) Grandes Lagos, a Mexican-style lager brewed with hibiscus, or the famed Belgian Pilsner, Stella Artois, are perfect choices for experimenting with creating your own Shandy. You may even want to get really creative and try Sea Dog Brewing Company’s (Portland, ME) Blue Paw Wild Blueberry, a seasonal wheat beer brewed with wild blueberries, combined with lemonade to get the traditional shandy to a whole new level!

Sometimes, it’s easy to get stuck drinking the same old thing day in and day out. Maybe we want to branch out a bit, but don’t really know where to start. Or perhaps, you’re really into trying new things whenever you can or you’re a home-bartender wanting to create something special. Hopefully, no matter what the situation, this article inspires you to try a few new cocktails! Cheers!

Kristin Merritt
Just your average craft-brew loving gal slinging your monthly pour of beer education and the low-down on all things beer related in the immediate CNY area and beyond. Along the way I hope to give a few recommendations for your grocery list, events to attend, and local hotspots to hit-up for shenanigans with friends, ideas for date night, or at the very least enlighten you with a bit of random knowledge to use towards trivia night or simply give you and your teammates a suggestion on what to drink at the bar! Cheers!