April 7 is here, which means so is National Beer Day! National Beer Day was created to celebrate the 1933 bill, the Cullen-Harrison Act. After the start of Prohibition, when all alcohol was illegal, this federal act meant that people could sell and drink low-alcohol content beer. It was a huge day to celebrate!
For us, we can honor this historic bright spot during a pretty depressing period of American history — literally the Great Depression — at a time when we may need a bright spot ourselves. With COVID-19 still in the air, we’ve put together a list of five easy beer-based cocktails to make from home.
A quick note before we dive in — never shake the beer!
Easy Beer-Based Cocktail No. 1: The Shandy
The Shandy is the easiest of easy beer-based cocktails and is a classic. In many European countries, the Shandy is a typical drink you can order at bars, so it’s an easy crowd favorite. In some countries, it’s also known as a Clara or a Radler, but no matter what it’s called, it’s delicious and refreshing.
- 6 ounces lemonade
- 1 ounce lemon juice
- 1 ounce simple syrup (equal parts sugar dissolved in water)
- 4 ounces water
- 6 ounces beer
Typically a light lager, such as Coney Island Pilsner or Miller Lite, is the best way to go, but if you opt for a wheat citrusy beer, like Blue Moon or Ommegang Witte, you can use more beer and less lemonade. Fill half a pint glass with beer and top with lemonade, and voila!
Easy Beer-Based Cocktail No. 2: The Michelada
Micheladas are a favorite for Bloody Mary lovers and fans of Mexican cuisine. They have just the right balance of spice and tanginess and are a refreshing take on a classic brunch cocktail. And they’re super easy to make!
- Salt, chili powder, and cayenne powder for the rim and garnish
- 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice (about half a lime)
- 1 lime wedge for rim and garnish
- A few dashes of Cholula Hot Sauce
- A few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
- 12 ounces beer
For this one, a Mexican lager will be best. Go for a Corona or a Tecate, or if you want a craft option, Flying Dog Numero Uno is a great choice. Rim your glass with the salt mixture, fill your glass with ice, then the lime, hot sauce, and Worcestershire. Tilt your glass to pour the beer over the ice — slowly — and sprinkle some of the spices over the drink, and ya esta!
Easy Beer-Based Cocktail No. 3: Grapefruit Beer Bellini
Now we’re branching off into some less traditional beer cocktails, but they are just as yummy. This grapefruit beer-based cocktail is perfect for brunch as a twist on the bellini.
- 1 grapefruit, peeled and cut into wedges (or grapefruit puree)
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 3 ounces Prosecco
- Grapefruit beer
This recipe calls for a grapefruit beer, and there are some great options out there! The most popular is definitely the Schofferhofer Hefeweizen, but Ballast Point also has a great craft grapefruit beer. Blend the grapefruit with the sugar and pour the puree into the bottom of flute glasses. Top the puree with the Prosecco, then add the beer, and there we go!
Easy Beer-Based Cocktail No. 4: The Beergarita
A Beergarita is a perfect and easy beer-based cocktail for the margarita lover. It’s basically exactly what you’d expect — a margarita plus beer.
- Salt for the rim
- 1 ounce lime juice
- .25 ounce simple syrup
- 1 ounce tequila
- .5 ounce orange liqueur (such as triple sec or Cointreau)
- 1.5 ounces beer
Since it’s a Mexican-style cocktail, a Mexican-style lager will be the way to go here, like with micheladas. First, rim a rocks glass with the salt, and then pour all your ingredients (except the beer) into a shaker with some ice. Shake, shake, shake it up, and strain into your salted rocks glass. Add a few cubes of ice and top with the beer, and you will be livin’ la vida loca.
Easy Beer-Based Cocktail No. 5: Chocolate Stout Affogato
Yes, this is a dessert beer cocktail, and yes, it is delectable. The affogato is actually a traditional Italian dessert with coffee or espresso mixed with ice cream. Now, we get to add beer and make a unique dessert even better.
- 1 scoop coffee, vanilla, or chocolate ice cream
- 2 ounces hot espresso (or coffee if you don’t have an espresso machine)
- 1.5 ounces chocolate liqueur (Godiva Mocha or Patron XO Cafe Dark Cocoa)
- .5 cup chocolate stout beer
Our mouths are already watering. This is the ideal easy-to-make cocktail to close out a day of beer celebrations. The best beer for this will be a chocolate stout like the Harpoon Chocolate Stout or the Great Divide Chocolate Oak-Aged Yeti, but any stout will do. Simply add the ice cream to a rocks glass and pour over the other ingredients. Then dig in!