For me, the warmer, sunny days of spring mean patio lounging and a cold, crisp beverage. It’s during this season that beer spikes in popularity in my house, becoming my libation of choice. But cracking a cold one doesn’t necessarily mean simply turning up the bottle or emptying its contents into a cold mug. On the contrary, beer cocktails are excellent thirst quenching alternatives to other mixed drinks. They offer a refreshing effervescence and lower alcohol content, perfect for springtime afternoon sipping. Below you will find our take on some classic beer cocktails and styles. Beer purists may wish to read no further.
A traditional shandy is a beer mixed with lemon-lime soda. For this take on the cocktail, I use a pale ale and the Alabama-made, deliciously spicy Buffalo Rock ginger ale.
8 oz. pale ale – chilled
7 oz. Buffalo Rock ginger ale – chilled
1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
Pour beer into a pint glass and top with lemon juice and ginger ale. Garnish with a twist of lemon.
Recipes for the Michelada almost always include a Mexican beer, tomato juice, and lime. With the following, I spice it up a bit and incorporate one of my favorite herbs—cilantro.
FOR THE TOMATO JUICE MIX:
16 oz. tomato juice
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
4 cilantro sprigs, chopped and stems removed
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
Juice of 1 lime
Juice of ½ lemon
1 tablespoon Cholula hot sauce
Combine the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until cilantro is finely minced.
FOR THE RIM:
Red sea salt, or a blend of Kosher salt and paprika
Cilantro simple syrup (Boil ½ cup sugar, ½ cup water, and 3 cilantro sprigs for 4 minutes. Let cool. Remove cilantro)
FOR THE COCKTAIL:
4 oz. Mexican beer, such as Tecate
4 oz. tomato juice mix
Rim the glass with the cilantro simple syrup, then the red sea salt. Fill glass with ice, add beer, and top with tomato mixture.
Fruli is a Belgian fruit beer that combines wheat beer with fruit juices, the most popular being strawberry Fruli. I was drawn to the beautiful local strawberries in Cullman, Alabama, and thought this cocktail would be a refreshing way to showcase them.
10 oz. unfiltered wheat beer, such as Hoegaarden
2 strawberries, diced
1 teaspoon honey
2 dashes orange bitters
1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Muddle the strawberries in a glass with honey, bitters, and vanilla, until almost a paste. Top with ice and beer. Stir and serve.