Few things are as refreshing as a cold beer after a long day, but sometimes a simple beer doesn’t cut it. On those days you need something stronger or more complex than a run-of-the-mill can of lager. You need a beer can cocktail.
Beer, liquor, juice, and a straw is all you need to turn a standby brew into a simple cocktail sure to please (almost) any palate. It’s a concept that fans of Micheladas and Budweiser-amaro will find familiar, and one that all drinkers can appreciate.
Beer cocktails are nothing new. By one account, the Michelada hails from the Mexican Revolution of 1910. In France, spiking cheap beer with a shot of Picon amaro dates back to farmers looking to make flavorless beer a little better and a little stronger, according to Marie Tribouilloy, the co-owner of Ops in Brooklyn.
“It’s a simple way to make questionable beer flavorful while raising the alcohol level, making the drink more efficient,” Tribouilloy says. (And by simple, Tribouilloy means really straight-up easy. We’re talking pouring amaro into a glass and then adding beer.)
Our beer can cocktails are slightly more nuanced than the Micheladas and Picon-bierres of yore, but still easy to make and delicious to drink. All you need to do is drain the beer a little (otherwise known as drinking the beer), add a few ingredients, and garnish. The result is a gorgeous beer-based cocktail in a handy, disposable vessel. Here are four of VinePair’s favorite custom creations.
The New England Julep
1 16-ounce Narragansett
1 1/2 ounces bourbon
1/2 ounce simple syrup
Drink down about a quarter of the beer. Pour in bourbon and simple syrup. Garnish with mint dusted with powdered sugar, and serve with a straw.
The Orange Buddy
1 16-ounce Budweiser
1 1/2 ounces orange liqueur like Luxardo Triplum or Cointreau
Drink down about a quarter of Budweiser. Pour in the orange liqueur. Garnish with an orange twist, and serve with a straw.
The Irish Meal
1 16-ounce Guinness
1 1/2 ounces Baileys
Drink about a quarter of the Guinness. Add Baileys and two dashes of cinnamon. Serve with a straw.
The Tecate Paloma
1 12-ounce Tecate
1 1/2 ounces tequila
1/2 ounce grapefruit juice
Drink about a quarter of the Tecate. Add the tequila and grapefruit juice. Garnish with a grapefruit slice and serve with a straw.