Beer in cocktails provides extra flavor, fun mouthfeel

Updated Aug 01, 2016

From bright pilsners to malty porters, beers come in an endless spectrum of flavor that make them ideal as an ingredient in cocktails.

Of course, beer lovers might not see it that way — why does beer need to be an addition to something when it’s perfectly good on its own? But if you’re wanting to try a different sort of booze in your mixed drink, then beer cocktails might be the way to go.

Beer, in addition to imparting all those myriad flavors to a cocktail, also contributes a nice carbonation that spirits won’t have. (The carbonation will feel like a lively, bubbly party in your mouth.)

But which beer should you choose to mix with? Some styles are going to be better suited to certain flavors than others, as with any ingredient. The cocktail you make can be as simple as adding a bit of citrus, bitters or a solitary spirit — think shandies, this summer’s trendy sipper — although the drink can also get more complex, making it important to get the style of beer just right.

This beer cocktail, It’s Bitter to be Hoppy, relies on the brash nuances of American hops, which include notes of grapefruit, pine and tropical fruit, to blend with the bitterness of Aperol. The hints of caramel and brown sugar in the whisky then mellow it out, smoothing it into a nice, stirred summer potion.

It’s Bitter to be Hoppy

1 1/2 oz. Auchentoshan American Oak Single Malt Scotch Whisky

1/2 oz. Aperol

1/4 oz. fresh grapefruit juice

6 dashes lemon bitters

2 1/2 oz. American-style IPA

Stir all ingredients and strain into a coupe. Garnish with a lemon wheel.

— Master Cicerone Pat Fahey and Auchentoshan Brand Ambassador Robin Nance