Patio season and the Victoria Day long weekend is finally here, after a long and tough winter. We’d never dissuade you from enjoying a fine Canadian brew, straight up, while you enjoy the spring weather, but sometimes you just want a drink that’s a little fancier. But you also want beer! What’s a good Canadian to do?
You could mix up one of these 16 beer-based cocktails, for starters. These drinks combine the best of the current trends for craft brewing and old-fashioned bartending by mixing great beer with spirits, fruit juices, and other ingredients.
There’s something here for everyone, from your mimosa-loving mother-in-law to the friends you watch the game with — and we’ve got recipes to take you from the May 2-4 straight on through to Thanksgiving. Hopefully the warm weather does the same!
Dark Storm: This cocktail from Perch in Los Angeles is a variation of the classic Dark ’n’ Stormy and involves dark rum, lime juice, Belgian beer, simple syrup, and ginger beer.
Find out how to create it at The Savory.
Summer Shandy: It doesn’t get much easier than a shandy: half beer, half lemonade. Try customizing this one with lime juice, or make your own take on raspberry lemonade by using a raspberry ale like Kawartha’s Raspberry Wheat.
Bubbly Manhattan: Classic cocktails like Manhattans are having a moment right now, and this variation is the perfect way to introduce the drink to a beer fan — with the addition of a bitter IPA like Black Oak’s 10 Bitter Years, preferably.
Mexican Michelada: A classic michelada — beer with lime juice — is delicious enough, but why not take it up a notch with some spice? You’ll want to use both Mexican beer like Negro Modelo and Mexican hot sauce for this one.
Bulldog Margarita: Here’s another cocktail that uses Mexican beer, but this time you’ll want to go light with a Corona. It’s the perfect complement to the margarita flavours.
Beer Mimosa: Champagne is bubbly — and so is beer. That means that you can recreate champagne-based cocktails with beer and get something completely new. We like this take on the mimosa, which uses grapefruit juice instead of the typical orange. Use a wheat beer with this in order to keep it light.
Smokin’ Hops: This is a perfect beer cocktail to pair with some meat off the grill. It also gives you a great excuse to try mezcal, which is becoming increasingly popular.
Moscow Mule: If you’re a Mad Men watcher, you’ve probably heard of the Moscow Mule, which is a lighter take on the Dark ’n’ Stormy that uses vodka instead of dark rum. Try making it with an alcoholic ginger beer for a modern take.
Beer Screwdriver: Wheat beers like Blue Moon are often served with a slice of orange, so why not play with those citrusy flavours? This cocktail is similar to a screwdriver, thanks to the vodka and orange juice.
Sleepy Hollow: Save this recipe for the fall! With rye, apple brandy, maple syrup, and a pumpkin beer like Propeller Brewing Company’s Pumpkin Ale, it’s perfect for crisp weather.
Peach Moon: Here’s another beer cocktail that uses Blue Moon (or another wheat beer) — this time the addition of peach schnapps is the twist. If you really love peach flavours, try it with peach juice instead of orange — or even a beer with peach flavours, like the Peach Cream Ale from the Tin Whistle Brewing Company.
Beer Julep: Have you jumped on the bourbon craze? Here’s another way to try the southern spirit, one that we approve of even if the Kentucky Derby is already over.
Spring Beer: Did you ever drink a concoction of cheap beer, cheap vodka, and powdered lemonade at a college party? We promise that this is a lot better. With real lemons, a hint of ginger, and decent ale, this is a refreshing drink for barbecues that you can mix up by the pitcher.
Costa Rhode Island: This one is a cross between a Michelada and a Margarita, but with tequila and grapefruit juice instead of lime and salt. Elderflower liquer adds a little extra something.
Strawberry Beer Lemonade: Take advantage of in-season produce and make this beer cocktail with fresh strawberries — or give it a try with your own favourite berry.
Captain’s Keg: Enjoy the flavours of the islands, even if you can’t take a vacation right now, with this combination of beer, spiced rum, and tropical fruit juices.