Behind the Bar: Beer Cocktails

Every month, we feature Craig Green, Manager of Culinary Services, in an article where he shares tips, recipes, fun cocktails and great information on all the latest bar trends or happenings at Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen.

Recently, I attended a beverage conference in sunny San Diego in search of new drink recipes. Last year, beer cocktails were all the rage, and everyone was discussing how they were featuring them and adding them to their menus. Although I’m unsure if this trend will actually take off, there are a few great ideas to make on your own.

I don’t know if you’re like me, but sometimes, I want the refreshing flavor of a beer, but with a bit more of a flavor kick. When looking to enhance the flavor of a beer, you can simply add fresh orange juice or grapefruit juice, which are great additions to Shandy’s or other flavored beers, and make beer cocktails. On the other hand, if you’re looking to add both a kick of flavor and increase the alcohol content, go with flavored vodka. There are so many great flavors out there that can be added to enhance the appeal.

One great idea I saw in San Diego was Sofie mixed with OJ. Sofie is a drink line within the Goose Island family that started in Chicago. Goose Island is nationally distributed by Anheuser-Busch, so it’s available wherever you are located. Sofie is a Belgian-style farmhouse ale that is wine-barrel aged with orange zest, making the addition of orange juice a no-brainer. If you’re not into mimosas, this is a great alternative to reduce the sweetness and enjoy a great beer cocktail at brunch! Also, don’t worry about how much OJ to add. It’s your beer, so you can adjust it to your taste.

The other option is making a cocktail with cider. I know and understand that it’s not a beer, but cider is on the rise, and it’s like beer’s cousin, right? Cider can suit all tastes from super sweet flavor to dry and crisp. There are many local places making cider, so it’s easy to try and figure out what you like. I do suggest trying a few different flavors because ciders can be quite sweet.

One of the original beer cocktails is the Michelada, so if you have been drinking this, you are already way ahead of the curve.

Here are a few beer and cider cocktails to make at home.

Tropical Cider

  • 1 ¼ oz. Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey
  • ½ oz. passion fruit puree
  • ½ oz. pineapple juice
  • 3 oz. Angry Orchard Cider

Pour the Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey, passion fruit puree and pineapple juice into a glass. Then add Angry Orchard Cider.

Sweet Tea Cider

  • 1 ¼ oz. Firefly Sweet Tea
  • ½ oz. simple syrup
  • ½ oz. sweet & sour
  • 3 oz. Ace Apple Honey Cider

Pour the Firefly Sweet Tea, simple syrup and sweet & sour into a glass. Then add Ace Apple Honey Cider.

Michelada

  • Mexican lager beer
  • ½ oz. lime juice
  • 2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 drops of hot sauce
  • pinch of celery salt
  • pinch of black pepper
  • salt
  • cayenne pepper
  • lime wedge

Rub the lime wedge along the rim of a pint glass and then dip into a mix of equal parts salt and cayenne pepper. Add the lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, celery salt and hot sauce into the pint. Pour the lager and then garnish with a lime wedge.

Although Cheddar’s doesn’t have any beer cocktails on the menu at this time, we have a full-service bar and passionate bartenders who can craft something for you. Visit your local Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen for a refreshing cocktail!

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