Beer is great on its own, though it's also a fantastic base for mixed drinks. With the variety of beer styles and craft brews available today, it's a great time to find a new recipe that will break up your beer-drinking routine.
Call them beer cocktails, if you like. Technically, drinks made with beer are not cocktails since most don't include liquor. Instead, they're beer mixed drinks or beertails. By any name, these recipes are effortless to make, so have fun exploring the many ways to mix your beer!
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Black and Tan
You may have noticed a spoon dangling from the beer tap at your local bar. It seems a little out of place at first, but it serves a very specific purpose. Often called a black and tan spoon, it's used to create a series of layered beer drinks, and the black and tan is the most popular of the lot. This recipe pours half a pint of a pale ale, then tops it with a dark layer of Guinness Stout. It's tasty, looks great, and isn't difficult to pour once you know a few tricks.
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Among the most popular bar drinks that feature beer is the iconic michelada. It's a spicy way to dress up beer, and there are no bartender secrets to making it that you can't handle at home. The michelada requires you to add a few common kitchen ingredients to your favorite Mexican beer. Start with a little lime, add soy and Worcestershire sauces, then give it a hot sauce kick. It's a fun recipe that is designed to be adapted to your personal taste.
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If you enjoy a splash of lime in your beer, you're making something similar to the chelada. Designed to showcase refreshing Mexican beers, any light lager will work. It uses all the juice from a large lime and is really only complete with a rim of coarse salt or Tajin seasoning. If you're not sure about the rim, there's no need to commit to a full drink. Add the seasoning to just half the glass and try it both ways.
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What would summer be without a tall, refreshing shandy? If you have yet to enjoy this drink, you're missing out on a real treat. The basic shandy recipe is nothing more than an equal mix of beer and lemonade. Despite its simplicity, it is a spectacular combination. Best of all, it becomes an entirely new experience with every beer you pour. Explore your options, but try not to go too dark or heavy.Continue to 5 of 18 below.
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If the shandy is the ultimate summer beer drink, the lilac shandy is the beertail for spring. The catch is that you can only make it when the lilacs are in bloom because the key ingredient to this unique recipe is lilac syrup. It's used to sweeten a homemade lemonade and is easy to make: harvest the flowers and steep them in simple syrup. The fragrance makes the task enjoyable, and the finished drink is amazing.
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This grapefruit shandy starts with a homemade grapefruit-ade made by mixing simple syrup with grapefruit juice and water. It's then shaken with ice, strained, poured into a tall glass, and topped with half a bottle of ice-cold beer (wheat beers are best). It's the perfect drink for hot days and barbecues.
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Basil-Rosemary Orange Shandy
The basil-rosemary orange shandy is a beer-based cocktail that starts with a homemade basil-rosemary simple syrup. It adds a sweet, herbal touch to orange juice. The fresh orangeade is mixed with a wheat ale or lager for a refreshing and garden-fresh summer drink.
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Cranberry Ginger Shandy
There's no need to reserve shandies for summer. Give the drink a cool-season twist with this cranberry ginger shandy recipe. Made with cranberry juice, ginger beer, and a pale ale or wheat beer, it can be served all year long, even for the holidays. For a fun presentation, rim the glasses with sugar and garnish the drinks with lemon wedges.Continue to 9 of 18 below.
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Spicy Pineapple Shandy
Add a little island flair to your next cocktail with this spicy pineapple shandy recipe. The heat comes from jalapeño simple syrup, which is easy to make. It's mixed with tequila, lemon and pineapple juices, and a pale ale for this snappy, flavorful drink.
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Watermelon is such a refreshing fruit, and it's a thirst quencher like no other when mixed with an ice-cold beer. Watermelon beer is a simple variation on a shandy, and it's made with three ingredients—watermelon, vanilla simple syrup, and wheat beer. The recipe is a fantastic use for leftover watermelon, which is easy to juice with your muddler.
The Best Beer for Mixed Drinks
When mixing with beer, you'll generally find that lighter beers are the best option. The softer characteristics allow the drink's other ingredients to shine, whereas darker, heavier beers will cover them up. "Light" doesn't mean watered-down, low-calorie beers, though! Stick with golden beers, such as lagers, pale ales, and wheat beers, as they're excellent mixers. There are, however, a few recipes that specifically call for dark beer, especially stouts like Guinness.
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When you really want to dress up your beer, the black velvet is the recipe you need. It's simple yet fascinating, and this old-fashioned drink is the ultimate way to celebrate any occasion in style. You'll need a dark stout (Guinness is a good choice) and a bottle of Champagne. The two are mixed in equal parts, and the result is an invigorating glass of bubbly that is sure to impress wine and beer drinkers alike.
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While you have Guinness in stock, mix it into another drink from the U.K. It's just as easy, though a little more casual, and a fun twist on two everyday beverages. The Trojan horse disguises cola under the cover of the dark stout. It's a rather interesting mix, with the soda giving the beer a nice sweetness and the caffeine offering a jolt for happy hour.Continue to 13 of 18 below.
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Enjoy a savory beer drink mid-morning with the classic red beer recipe. You might know it as the "red eye" or simply tomato beer, and it does not get much easier than adding a little tomato juice to your favorite lager. Salt gives the beer drinker's answer to the bloody mary a nice flavor boost.
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Liquor is not forbidden from beertails. When you can't decide between a shot of tequila and a bottle of beer, mix the two, and that is exactly what you'll find in the Corrido prohibidos recipe. For this one, you'll choose a nice blanco tequila and your favorite Mexican brew. It's both simple and refreshing and even better if you take the time to rim your glass with salt.
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Cold in the Shadows
Step beyond the simple beer drinks and really do it up with this cold in the shadows recipe. It's a complex array of flavors, pairing the bitter aperitif Campari with a raspberry liqueur, a little lime, and a splash of honey. The beer of choice is a good IPA. When it all comes together, you'll have the perfect drink for dinner.
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Twist & Shout
Pull out the blender for a beer-based milkshake; an over-the-top drink like this could only come from a joint like the Hard Rock Cafe. The twist and shout recipe blends Guinness with spiced rum and chocolate liqueur, chocolate and caramel syrups, and ice cream. The best part may be the garnish, and the bacon crumbles come highly recommended.Continue to 17 of 18 below.
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A snakebite may refer to a Yukon Jack shot or a mix of beer and hard cider in bars. This raspberry snakebite is a spin on the latter. The recipe adds fresh raspberry and lemon juices to the mix and is a fabulous use for a vanilla porter.
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Beer, Bourbon and Barbecue Cocktail
Can you get three iconic elements of a summer cookout into a single glass? It is possible, and if you think that the name of this beertail is a joke, think again. This recipe really does include beer, bourbon, and barbecue sauce, though the sauce is watered down to make a "BBQ water." The preferred beer is a hefeweizen, and you'll need both Maker's Mark and Evan Williams Honey Liqueur. It's surprisingly tasty!