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Best Beer Cocktails for the Summer

Recipes and expert tips on using your favourite brew to make crisp, summer cocktails.

One of my all-time favourite drinks is the Michelada—a beer cocktail.

I make mine with sweet Dos Equis Amber beer, adding copious amounts of fresh lime juice, ice, salt, and, if I’m feeling adventurous, a splash of spicy clam cocktail. Either way, the drink is totally crushable, thirst-quenching, savoury, sweet and tart all at once; a refreshing combo that I fell in love with on my first trip to Mexico many years back. It’s still my cottage go-to cocktail.

I was so attached to it, in fact, that I used to think it was the only beer cocktail that was any good. Well, that and the classic Black Velvet—an inspired mix of Guinness and Champagne, which lightens up the heavy stout, making it ideal for lazy summer afternoons. So that doubled the number of beer cocktails in my repertoire—to two.

Then I met Mirella Amato, Canada’s first Master Cicerone (which is like being a sommelier, except for beer, instead of wine), who pushed my boundaries, forcing me to open my eyes to a whole new world of beer cocktails. The key is understanding how much of each style of beer a cocktail can handle. When using a pilsner, kölsch or, for that matter, the kind of lager that generally gets used in my beloved Michelada, you can be liberal with your pour. With stout, porter or super-hoppy IPA, a little goes a long way. Even if those are your favourite beers, exercise restraint, since they can easily drown out every other flavour.

Amato assembled all her advice about beer and beer cocktails in her book, Beerology: Everything You Need to Know to Enjoy Beer … Even More, and has designed four new original creations forHOSSreaders to try this summer at home. Or, better yet, dockside.

Near Old Fashioned

½ oz orange juice

½ oz orange simple syrup

½ ozSazerac rye

4 ozkölsch(Cowbell Absent Landlord kölsch, if available)

2 dashes mole bitters

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass, add ice and stir. Strain into a rocks glass (straight up). Garnish with an orange peel.

Frutta Cake

½ ozStrega liqueur

¼ oz Hennessy VS Cognac

½ oz pomegranate juice

1 oz porter beer (Clifford’s porter, if available)

Chill a small stemmed glass. Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass, add ice and stir. Strain into the chilled glass. Garnish with an orange peel.

Winter Spell

½ ozSortilège maple whisky

½ oz Triple Sec

1 ½ oz American-style IPA (Nickel Brook Headstock IPA, if available)

This cocktail is served at room temperature. Build in a small stemmed glass and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Cucumber Pils

1 ½ thick slices of cucumber (peeled)

1 tsp granulated sugar

½ tbsp fresh lime juice

½ oz gin

2 ½oz pilsner (Steam Whistle, if available)

Cucumber wheel for garnish

Cut the cucumber slices into thin strips. Muddle the lime juice, cucumber, and sugar at the bottom of an 8 oz rocks glass. Add gin and stir. Half fill the glass with ice. Gently pour in the pilsner and garnish with a cucumber wheel.

-by By Christine Sismondo