One of the latest cocktail trends bartenders are embracing in preparation for summer is the beer cocktail. With Memorial Day just kicking off the start of summer, why not try a beer cocktail instead of having just a beer? According to Kyle Ford, Cointreau Master Mixologist,

I believe that beer cocktails are becoming popular because of the unique flavors they can bring to a drink. They can be tricky to finesse at first, but with so many styles to play with, beer can add a complexity to a long cocktail unlike any other ingredient. Plus, made correctly, beer cocktails can be very delicious and refreshing!

These cocktails can easily be made at home. Here are some tips from Kyle Ford on crafting beer cocktails with Cointreau:

  • Witbier, Hefeweizen, and other wheat beers love citrus.  Adding 1 oz. of Cointreau with 1 oz. of fresh lemon juice gives you a simple, yet refined recipe for a delicious shandy.
  • Explore Lambic beers.  Crafted with different fruits, this tart style of beer is perfect for pairing with Cointreau and fresh fruit.
  • Pay attention to your ingredients.  Balance is key in any cocktail.  When using multiple acidic ingredients, you’ll want the sweeter notes to be more prominent.  For instance, in the Briar Patch cocktail, lambic beer and fresh raspberries are very tart.  Where I would normally use an ounce of fresh lemon juice in a beer cocktail, I scaled back to only a half-ounce.  This creates a more palatable drink and allows the Cointreau to balance the drink.
  • Don’t overdo it. 1 oz. of Cointreau is all you need to properly sweeten and stiffen the drink.  Keep in mind that you are finishing the cocktail with 4-5 oz. of beer, which brings additional alcohol.
  • Add the beer last, after you have shaken and strained your other ingredients!  You’ll end up wearing your cocktail instead of drinking it if you put the beer into the shaker.  Simply top your cocktail with your beer of choice and give it all a gentle stir to marry all the flavors.

The beauty of Cointreau is that it adds the perfect amount of sweetness, while fortifying the cocktail with an 80 proof strength. The bitter and sweet orange oils found in Cointreau make it an extremely versatile cocktail ingredient. Cointreau’s natural orange flavor make it the perfect complement to the crisp citrus notes found in many styles of beer. Cointreau’s role is to strengthen the cocktail, while complementing and balancing the other ingredients,

according to Ford. Kyle Ford first crafted the two cocktails below at the tail end of Summer 2012.  He wanted to create a stronger and more refined Shandygaff, which is generally nothing more than beer and lemonade. The White Plume was designed for the remaining hot summer days, while the Briar Patch was created to transition into Autumn. The White Plume is bright and citrusy, and hails its name from the French word for a Shandygaff, panaché, which literally translates to plume. The Briar Patch makes use of Autumn berries and sour lambic beer. It’s striking color and fresh raspberry garnish immediately made Ford think of the thorny bushes from which the fruit hails.

briar patch beer cocktial

Briar Patch

  • 1 oz. Cointreau
  • 1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 3 raspberries
  • 4-5 oz. raspberry lambic beer

Preparation:Add Cointreau, lemon juice, raspberries and ice to a mixing glass. Shake and fine-strain over ice in a highball glass. Top with beer and garnish with a pick of raspberries.

white plume beer cocktail

White Plume

  • 1 oz. Cointreau
  • 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  • 4-5 oz. white beer (like Hoegaarden)

Preparation: Add Cointreau, lemon juice, bitters and ice to a mixing glass. Shake and strain over ice in a highball glass. Top with beer and garnish with an orange wedge.