A Radler is perhaps the best known mix of soft drink mixed with beer. But the oldest beer cocktail is actually the Black Velvet from 1861- a mix of stout and champagne. We all know of the beer cola or the Snow White, or that dash of grenadine (something which I’ve never understood). But beer cocktails, or ‘beertails’, are of a different sort these days and of a far superior quality. Beer is an essential component of the cocktail, which makes for a surprising and intense taste experience.
Because of the rise of more extreme flavour profiles in beer, its versatility has become an enormous source of interest for creating cocktails. Strongly hopped, refreshing and fruity beers, complex barrel aged beers with whisky tones, or beers with intense toasted or smoked flavours. In a quality cocktail all ingredients have an opportunity to shine; the art lies in looking for the right balance between beer and other drinks.
How do you make a good beer cocktail?
By shaking of course! There are other techniques you can use to make a good beer cocktail as well. Blending with ice for example, which can thin out the drink by 40%. If you’ve chosen to stir with ice and strain, then stir the ice and ingredients until the desired consistency is reached, before straining the cocktail into another glass. With floating cocktails, multiple layers are created by pouring the drink carefully over the curve of a spoon (see our Black Velvet recipe). Then you’ve got the muddle technique, in other words the bruising of fruit in a glass. Last but not least, you can always order a beer cocktail on the rocks - exquisite.