Beer at a Super Bowl party is a no brainer.
Using beer as a base in a cocktail, or to top off a drink instead of soda water or ginger ale, can add carbonation and depth of flavor to a drink, says Matt Tocco, the beverage director for Strategic Hospitality, a restaurant group in Nashville.
The grandfather of beer cocktails is the Michelada, popular throughout Mexico and Latin America, which combines beer with lime juice and assorted hot sauces, spices, and peppers. But as bartenders have experimented, they’ve found other flavor combinations and spirits that work well with different beer styles. We talked to bartenders and spirits gurus to find some of the best for your party.
This combination of dark beer and smoky Highland Park Scotch has a velvety-smooth mouth feel from the porter and egg white. The beer, Stuart Ramsay’s WhiskyBack Porter, is brewed in Portland, and specifically designed to drink alongside whisky. Chino Lee, of Bit House Saloon in Portland, Ore., created the drink to showcase a lot of bold flavors, like pimento and nutmeg, to stand up to the winter cold.
1 ½ ounces Highland Park 12
1 ounce Stuart Ramsay’s Whisky Back Porter
½ ounce pimento dram
¼ ounce honey
¾ ounce whole egg white
Freshly grated nutmeg
Combine whisky, pimento dram, honey, and egg into a cocktail shaker. Dry shake for 10 seconds. Add ice to the shaker, and continue shaking until chilled. Add in porter, and strain into chilled glass. Garnish with fresh ground nutmeg.
Photo: Emilia Aghamirzai
This drink is for fans of herbal and hoppy flavors, which are imparted by the gin and IPA. Served at Jacob’s Pickles, which dishes up comfort food alongside a craft beer list in New York, this drink also has a wintery cranberry syrup that you can make at home and use in other cocktails. Infusing the gin with a chili pepper gives it a kick.
1 ounce cranberry cinnamon syrup
1 ounce lemonade
.5 ounce simple syrup
1 ounce chili infused Perry’s Tot Navy Strength Gin
1 ounce lime infused Dorothy Parker American Gin
Alpine Duet IPA
Shake all ingredients except the beer together over ice and strain into a glass. Top with the IPA and garnish with rosemary.
Cranberry cinnamon syrup:
1 quart frozen cranberries
1 quart white granulated sugar
1 quart water
4 cinnamon sticks
Place all items in a pot and bring to a boil. After about 10 minutes, cranberries will begin to “burst.” Stir/smash all the cranberries and then remove from heat. Pass through wire mesh/fine strainer and let cool.
1 chili pepper per one 750 ml bottle of Perry’s Tot Navy Strength Gin
Peel of one lime per one 750 ml bottle of Dorothy Parker American Gin
To infuse the gins, let the ingredients rest in each bottle of gin for at least 18 hours and up to one week.
This simple cocktail is a take on the Snakebite, a mixture of beer and cider that was popularized in the 1980s. The Tilted Kilt, a nationwide chain, recommends combining equal parts Angry Orchard Hard Cider and Guinness Stout. To get the dramatic effect, pour the cider in first, and then pour the Guinness slowly over the back of a spoon, so the beer slides down the side of the glass and rests on top of the cider.
The Hop Collins
This twist on the Tom Collins, a classic cocktail with gin, lemon, simple syrup and soda water, adds a hoppy IPA to give it even more aromatics. Stephen Valand, the co-founder of Brooklyn Brew Shop recommend using Old Tom gin, which is a slightly sweeter version, which will help balance out the beer’s bitterness.
2 ounces Old Tom gin
1 ounce lemon juice
1 ounce simple syrup
3 ounces IPA
Raspberry for garnish
Place 3 or 4 ice cubes in a chilled glass
Combine gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a shaker with ice and shake vigorously.
Pour the mixture into glass.
Fill to the top with IPA. Pour slowly and directly onto an ice cube to minimize foam and maintain the layered effect.
Garnish with a raspberry. Serve with a straw so guests can mix the cocktail to incorporate the beer.
When the competition in the game gets hot, this drink will help cool everything down with refreshing lime and cucumber. The toasted oak and vanilla flavors of the aged Casa Noble Tequila are balanced with the crisp pilsner beer.
2 ounces Casa Noble Reposado Tequila
1 ounce lime juice
¾ ounces simple syrup
2 tablespoons cucumber diced
Place all ingredients, except the beer, into shaker with ice. Shake until chilled. Strain into glass and top with the Modelo Especial and garnish with cucumber wheel.
This cocktail incorporates Hornitos Spiced Honey, which is tequila with a sweet and spicy kick. The honey works well with apple cider, but with beer base is refreshing enough to have a few during the game.
1 part Hornitos® Spiced Honey
4 parts Mexican Lager (such as Corona, Tecate or Negra Modelo)
1 part apple cider
½ part lemon juice
Combine all ingredients except Mexican lager in a shaker, shake vigorously, strain over fresh ice and add Mexican lager.
Photo: Ellen Pelletier
The Check Is in the Mail
The inspiration for this cocktail, developed at Nashville’s Pinewood Social by bartender Jared Dunham and beverage director Matt Tocco, is the classic Air Mail cocktail, which is normally made with rum, lime juice, sparkling wine, and honey. The grapefruit juice serves as a bridge between the rum and the IPA, which has citrus hop notes, and is accented with a homemade cinnamon syrup. If you can’t find Saigon cinnamon, regular cinnamon bark works well, too.
1.5 ounces Wiseacre Anada IPA
1 ounce Afrohead Rum
1 ounce Arehucas Ron Miel (honey rum)
¾ ounce grapefruit juice
¾ ounce lime juice
½ ounce Saigon Cinnamon Syrup
Dash of honey
Shaken with ice and served up with grated cinnamon for garnish.
Make a simple syrup of equal parts sugar and water, adding a couple cinnamon sticks while it’s cooking down. Discard cinnamon.