Crafting the Perfect Beer Cocktail Recipe

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The heat of summer beats down and all you want is to enjoy a sunny afternoon with a cold one. So you stake out your lounging spot and then take stock.

Sunglasses? Check.

Flip-flops? Check.

Favorite vinyl? Check.


Usually you’d have a cooler of beer by your side, but today let’s try something new instead: beer cocktails.

What is a beer cocktail?

A beer cocktail is what it sounds like—a beer mixed with other ingredients. A beer cocktail’s goal is to differentiate it from beer and build upon the beer itself.

IPA, Gin & Grapefruit

  1. Pour of Fresh Squeezed IPA Clone
  2. One-half freshly squeezed grapefruit
  3. Shot of your favorite gin
  4. A few mint leaves

The good news is that beer cocktails can expand far beyond the basics of the black-and-tan and the shandy. The beer cocktail should be creative and is ideal for experimentation.

And while a beer cocktail may still be a novel idea to certain imbibers, it’s not one that should intimate a beer or cocktail enthusiast from trying it out.

How to build a beer cocktail recipe

Just as if you were prepping a food dish, remember that not all dishes are good dishes. Mixing a bunch of ingredients together without thought or purpose can cause confusion, so consider your goal before adding everything in the liquor cabinet.

The Classic Michelada

  1. Kosher salt on glass rim
  2. Juice of a full lime
  3. Tomato juice
  4. Dash of fresh OJ
  5. Pour of Vienna lager
  6. Touch of Worcestershire sauce
  7. Hot sauce to your liking
  1. Think about flavor. It sounds obvious, but it’s so important to consider. Take time to think about why a spirit would go well with a beer style. Think about what other ingredients could complement those flavors. For instance, citrus IPAs will usually match well with gin.
  2. Respect the beer. The beer wasn’t brewed carelessly with everything including the kitchen sink. It’s a thought out, well-crafted beverage. Give it some respect and you’ll be rewarded.
  3. Don’t be afraid. The beer cocktail is a science and an art, so don’t be afraid to create something that might miss the mark. Experiment with all sorts of flavors and ingredients to find your fix.
  4. Avoid diluting your drink. Since the flavor in most beer is not as concentrated as a typical spirit, be careful not to over-dilute the cocktail. The beer will provide much of the needed dilution.

Remember, the brewer didn’t just slap together a beer recipe. Take time to understand the brewer’s intentions. Then try to complement those intentions with a killer beer cocktail recipe.


Looking Past the Beer Cocktail

I think we can all agree that beer is great on its own, a wonderful beverage that need not yield to any other. So remember that the beer cocktail’s purpose is not to compensate for a bland, tasteless brew. Instead, it’s a chance for drinkers to explore new flavors and tastes, and to demonstrate that beer can be more than just a standalone drink.

Stout Iced Coffee

  1. Equal small pours of strong cold-brewed coffee and Yak & Yeti Stout
  2. Shot of Irish whiskey
  3. Touch of honey
  4. Dash of heavy cream

The point here is you can mix beer and do it well—we’ve been doing so since there was beer to begin with! It doesn’t need to be complicated. The beer cocktails that have stood the test of time tend to be simple, non-gimmicky mixtures—some beer, an extra ingredient or two, and done.

We’ve offered a few recipes here, but by all means, experiment and craft your own unique beer cocktails. And if you stumble across a great creation, let us know!