Beer is good onto itself, so why mess with it? Because the world is filled with strange concoctions and curiosity demands it. Plus adding ingredients to beer boosts the complexity of the flavor, making it taste even better.

The formula for making beer cocktails, also known as beertails, is simple. Combine beer with one or two ingredients and you have the makings of a beer cocktail. So long as you exercise some restraint and don't guzzle them down, feel free to have more than one. The concoctions are the ideal beverage for informal social gatherings and the experimental boozehound. 

Black and Tan

Black and Tan

Photos: Enrique Gili

As a gesture of Gaelic solidarity, the Black and Tan is popular among bar patrons on St. Patty's Day. However the cocktail comes with a bit of historical baggage. Back in the day, the Black and Tan was the name given to paramilitary forces out to crush Irish nationalists, during Ireland's battle for independence from Britain in the 1920s. In Ireland, where suds are known to flow freely, the Black and Tan is called the Half and Half.

Yields: 2 drinks

Black and Tan

Ingredients

  • 16 oz. stout or porter, preferably Guinness Drought
  • 16 oz. pale ale, preferably Bass
Mixing directions
  1. Hold pint-sized glass at an angle. Gently pour 8 oz. ale into glass.
  2. Place glass upright on countertop, insert a tablespoon upside down into glass, so the rounded tip touches the foam. Gently pour stout into glass so that it cascades down spoon along side of glass.

Ginger Drop

Ginger Drop
Double down with this eye-popping combination of ginger beer paired with ginger-infused vodka. Ginger has a powerful kick to it, a bit like placing your tongue on a battery coil and having your tongue electrocuted, but in a good way. Adding ice cubes mellows the ginger, a bit, making a bitingly refreshing drink even better.

Yields: 1 drink

Ginger Drop

Ingredients

Mixing directions
  1. Drop crystallized ginger into tall glass. Add ice cubes. Gently pour ginger beer into glass, then vodka. Add a dash or two of bitters and stir.

Mechelada

Mechelada
Countless variations of this beer cocktail also known as the cerveza preparada appear on menus throughout Mexico and Latin America. The combination of beer, hot sauce, lime and salt results in a spicy beverage that tastes somewhere between a Blood Mary and a margarita.  Muy bueno!

Yields: 1 drink

Mechelada

Ingredients

  • 12 oz. Mexican beer, such as Pacifica, Corona
  • 2 oz. tomato juice
  • 1 ice cube
  • 1 lime, quartered
  • 1 tbs. sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 dashes hot sauce, such as Tabasco sauce
Mixing directions
  1. Place salt and chili pepper on saucer. Rub rim of tall glass with section of lime. 
  2. Invert glass over sauce so salt clings to glass. Add ice to glass and fill with beer, add Worcestershire, hot sauce, 1-teaspoon lime juice. Gently stir, adding a wedge of lime to garnish.

Snakebite

Snakebite
Adam and Eve's proverbial exit from Eden likely had something to with forbidden fruit. Apparently, bartenders in Britain feel the same way about mixing hard cider with beer.  The problem, the sour and tart combo goes down a bit too easily. Thereby, demolishing the inhibitions of college students on booze benders. Proceed with care! Albeit tasty, the pint-sized cocktail does pack a punch.

Yields: 1 drink

Snakebite

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. hard apple cider
  • 8 oz. lager
Mixing directions
  1. Pour cider and beer into pint-sized glass.

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