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6 holiday beer cocktails

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CATEGORIES: Beer   Feature  

Don’t bring the usual winter-warmer six-pack to your next holiday get-together; show your enthusiasm for all things boozy with a festive beer cocktail.

By Amanda Savage


Claire Smith, head of spirit creation and mixology, Belvedere Vodka

This fruity, flavor-packed cocktail puts the traditional fruitcake to shame. Perfect for any party or a nontraditional dessert after a holiday meal, “It’s a sophisticated and refreshing twist on a traditional beer cocktail, with a hint of passionfruit and Campari,” says Smith.

1 ounce Belvedere Pink Grapefruit vodka

1/2 ounce passionfruit syrup

dash simple syrup

½ ounces lemon juice

egg white

½ ounces Campari

2 ounces Blue Moon

Combine the vodka, syrups, lemon juice, egg white and Campari in a cocktail shaker and shake. Strain into a cocktail glass and top with Blue Moon.



Mathias Simonis, mixologist, DISTIL Milwaukee

Getting stuck making Old Fashioneds at grandma’s house on Christmas Eve as a kid inspired Simonis to spice up the traditional drink by substituting traditional brandy for maple-flavored rum and pumpkin whiskey, creating homemade cinnamon simple syrup and adding beer. Pair it with the usual party spread of nuts, chocolate and firm cheeses like Manchego and parmesan.

3 maraschino cherries

2 orange slices

1 ounce homemade cinnamon simple syrup* or store-bought Monin cinnamon syrup

2 dashes Angostura bitters

1 squeeze of lemon

1 ounce Great Lakes Distillery Pumpkin Whiskey

1 ounce Great Lakes Distillery Maple Rum

Miller High Life

Muddle cherries, orange slices, cinnamon simple syrup, bitters and lemon in a shaker, and add the rum and whiskey. Add ice and shake well for 15 to 20 seconds. Strain into a highball glass and top off with the beer. Stir with a spoon and garnish with orange peel.

*Cinnamon simple syrup: Bring 2 cups sugar, 2 cups water and 4 4-inch-long cinnamon sticks to a boil, remove from heat, cover and let cool.



Jonathan Pogash, cocktail consultant

Known as the “Cocktail Guru,” Pogash puts a wintry twist on one of his favorite drinks, the Mai Tai, with splashes of beer and Cognac. “By the time you finish the drink, you’ll feel warm enough to beat the cold outside,” he says. “The fresh fruit and spice notes from the rum and almond syrup remind me of cool nights and blustery days.”

3/4 ounces almond syrup

3/4 ounces fresh lime juice

1 ounce Appleton Estate Reserve Rum

dash Angostura bitters

Brooklyn Lager

lime wheel and mint leaf, for garnish

Set aside beer, and shake all remaining ingredients together with ice. Strain into a chilled pilsner glass, top off with the beer and garnish with a lime wheel and mint.



Christine Sismondo, author, “Mondo Cocktail: A Shaken and Stirred History” and “America Walks Into a bar: A Spirited History of Taverns and Saloon, Speakeasies and Grog Shops”

Sismondo channels holiday desserts with this cocktail full of cranberry, nutmeg and cinnamon flavors and splashed with a white beer, sweet Chambord and a kick of rum. “If you pour carefully, you can get a nice little white foam on top of the light pink drink,” she says.

1 ounce Flor de Cana 5-year-old rum

1/2 ounces Chambord

1 ounce cranberry juice

2 ounces Unibroue Blanche de Chambly

fresh grated nutmeg and cinnamon, for garnish

Shake the rum, Chambord and juice together with ice and strain into small tulip glass. Top with the white ale and, using a microplane, add a dusting of nutmeg and cinnamon to the top.



Jill Schulster, owner and mixologist, Joe Doe, New York City

“It really looks like a snowman jumped into a beer and started to melt,” says Schulster, who suggests a seasonal winter beer for this dessertlike cocktail. Although the drink resembles the slush outside, the creamy coconut taste mixed with the strong flavor of the black lager, rich chocolate and hazelnut make this a highbrow dram that’s an ideal after-hours snack.

cocoa nibs and chopped hazelnuts, for garnish

1/2 ounces simple syrup

1 teaspoon cocoa nibs

1 ¼ ounces Cognac

1 to 3 ounces Magic Hat Howl

splash coconut milk

Use simple syrup to rim a pilsner glass with crushed hazelnuts and cocoa nibs. In a pint glass, muddle 1 teaspoon cocoa nibs and the simple syrup. Add the Cognac and shake with ice. Strain into the rimmed pilsner glass, add ice and top with beer. Float a splash of coconut milk on top.


LADY IN WHITE [pictured]

Onyx Bar & Lounge at The Four Seasons Resort, Scottsdale, Ariz.

A beery take on a mimosa, this cocktail’s the secret to a brew-lover’s holiday brunch, and a veritable vacation in a glass with its sunny vibe.

1/2 ounces St. Germain Elderflower liqueur

1/2 ounces Grand Marnier

1 ounce any hefeweizen

orange and lemon twists, for garnish

Shake together the St. Germain Elderflower liqueur and Grand Marnier and pour into a Champagne glass. Top off with hefeweizen, and garnish with orange and lemon twists.



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