The Old Dutchman

One of the best things about using beer in cocktails is that the possibilities are endless. There are thousands of beers out there, each with its own flavor profile. In addition to just using beer on its own as an ingredient, beer can also easily be turned into a flavored syrup or liqueur, opening up new avenues of creativity for beer cocktails.

I think that the use of beer syrups in cocktails is a fantastic way to incorporate the flavors of a beer without adding carbonation to your drink, because lets face it, not every drink needs to be bright and sparkly. Sometimes you need something stronger that is going to linger in the glass a while.

I came up with this variation on an old fashioned while playing around with an IPA syrup one night at the bar. If possible use a well hopped beer (or dry hopped if you want more of those hop aromas to remain) for the syrup.

To make the syrup:
16 oz beer
1 cup Sugar
Reduce beer by about half using medium heat. Do not allow beer to boil 😉
Remove from heat, add sugar and stir until completely dissolved.
Cool, and fine strain to remove the beer head.
Syrup should be stored cool and consumed within a week. If you are wanting it to last longer, add 8oz Vodka and turn it into a beer liqueur.

The Old Dutchman
2 oz Genever
1/2-3/4 oz IPA Syrup
Dash of Lemon Bitters
Lemon Twist


It seems as though every other person is drinking an IPA these days so it’s a natural extension to move the IPA category into the realm of the cocktail. The goal of the Albatross was to pick up and compliment the citrus notes of an IPA, while adding an aromatic pine note and amping up the alcohol a bit. What really makes this cocktail unique is the use of dried hops muddled with simple syrup. So let’s get to it.


1 oz American Dry Gin such as Bluecoat

1/2 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/2 oz hop muddled simple syrup

6 oz Stone IPA

Rosemary Sprig for garnish

To make the hop syrup, take 1/4 oz of dried aroma hops (such as Cascade, Citra, Simcoe, etc) and 1 oz of simple syrup. Muddle to combine and strain through a fine mesh filter.

For the cocktail, combine the gin, lemon juice and simple syrup in a shaker and shake with ice. Strain into a tulip glass and top with 6 oz of Stone IPA. Garnish with a Rosemary sprig.

The Fire Walker

This past weekend I had the honor of mixing a beer cocktail for Firestone Walker’s “From the Barrel” event at the Santa Margarita Ranch. The entire event was centered around beverages that hail from a barrel — specifically Bourbon, Port and barrel-aged beers.

I was challenged to mix a cocktail with one of Firestone Walker’s delicious ales, as well as Bourbon. To best compliment the vanilla and toasted oak flavors in the Bourbon, I opted to use Walker’s Reserve — a robust porter boasting rich flavors of toffee, caramel and bittersweet chocolate.

In my mind, nothing pairs better with chocolate and vanilla flavors like berries. For this particular cocktail, I chose to use blackberries (quite possibly my favorite of the berry family). Add touch of blood orange juice and a few dash of bitters, and you have one killer cocktail.

The Fire Walker


  • 1 oz. Bourbon
  • .5 oz. Blackberry syrup
  • .25 oz. Blood Orange Juice
  • 2 oz. Walker Reserve Porter
  • Bitters
  • Orange Peel Garnish


Shake Bourbon, blackberry syrup, blood orange juice, and bitters with ice and strain into a martini glass or brandy snifter. Dry shake porter (gently) and strain into glass. Garnish with orange peel.

Simple Start with “Sweet Abyss”

Being fairly new to the “Beermixology” party I figured I should start out slow and work my way into more complicated combinations. That is why my first Beer Cocktail is really easy and was first introduced to me at a Deschutes Brewing #BeerBaseCamp Celebrating Women and Craft Beer event at Soulful Soups and Spirits in Spokane WA.

Now I had never been to Soulful Soups before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Was I pleasantly surprised.

It is not a very big, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in charm. Art adorns the walls and the space is used really well. You don’t feel crowded or like you are sitting on top of other people. Besides being impressed with the look and feel the staff and the food did not disappoint.

As a side note: I was also under the impression that the restaurant had just opened at the end of last year, which I was informed by our lovely waitress was not true. They have been open for about 10 years in that location, with the liquor license being purchased a few years ago, and that the current owner took over at the end of last year, November of 2011 I believe she said.

Ok…lets get to the cocktail!

The Soulful Soups Deschutes version was just this:

Sweet Abyss

  • 3 oz Abyss Russian Imperial Stout
  • 1 oz Pinnacle Whipped Cream Vodka

Pour all ingredients into a Snifter and gently stir.

The combination of the chocolate and coffee of the Abyss mixed perfectly with the Whipped Cream Vodka and is a great dessert cocktail.

I wouldn’t recommend adding too much of the vodka as the sweetness overpowers the Stout and ruins the combination of flavors. Good to keep the ratio of 3:1.

Wanting to try a different combination I also mixed up one of these using Young’s Double Chocolate Stout and Smirnoff’s Whipped Cream Vodka and it came out tasting pretty similar, but the Smirnoff definitely tasted a lot sweeter than the Pinnacle and in the future will spend the little bit extra to get it instead.

This one was also pretty simple:

Double Stuff Cream Cookie

3oz Young’s Double Chocolate Stout
1oz Smirnoff Whipped Cream Vodka

Mix all ingredients into Snifter and mix gently.

Since you don’t use any ice with this particular cocktail you will want to watch the temperature on the Stout you choose and may even consider chilling the vodka just a little bit.

Once the drink warms up the sweetness intensifies. (Just remember not to go too cold with the craft beer or the Vodka, don’t want to ruin any of the wonderful smells and tastes that you can experience when the drink is first mixed).

Would love to hear what different combinations people come up with for this simple beer cocktail. Been thinking of a Smoked Porter and Marshmallow Vodka combo, will let you know how it is!

Max Mabel

Rum is a distillate of sugarcane by-products like molasses and sugar cane juice, through fermentation and distillation. Unlike some other spirits, such as cognac and scotch, rum has no defined production methods. Instead, rum production is based on traditional styles that vary between locations and distillers. Rum and beer have been mixed together for hundreds of years in a classic cocktail known as The Grog. Personally, I am not a fan, so when building this drink I prefer to be on the opposite spectrum of taste. Sailor Jerry is one of my favorite rums and blends very well in many different cocktails. The subtle cinnamon notes and lightly toasted toffee dance across your palate when enjoying this spirit straight.

Hanger 24 is a brewery located in Redlands, right outside of Los Angeles. At the bar where I sling suds (, we sell a lot of Hanger 24’s Helles Lager. It is a light and refreshing beer that I sell in place of macro products such as Budweiser, Michelob, and Coors. The history behind Helles Lager is interesting: in the mid-19th century, Czech brewers had great success brewing and selling a similar style beer called pilsner. German beer brewers picked up on this style, put their spin on it, and Helles Lager was born.  The most notable difference between these two beers is the increased hop notes and drier finish in the pilsner style.

Fuji apples are in season right now, and I knew that the flavor components of this produce combined with Sailor Jerry and the Hanger 24 Helles Lager would make a wonderful cocktail. Using the house cinnamon syrup at AREAL for the sweetener was a no brainer because of the comparable cinnamon notes in Sailor Jerry. Lemon juice balances everything out.  On a final note, this cocktail is based around one of my best friends in the world. He is a great VFX artist and drinks more rum that anyone I have ever met.

 Max Mabel

  •  2 oz Sailor Jerry Rum
  • 6 quartered pieces of Fuji apple
  • ¾ oz lemon juice
  • 1 oz cinnamon syrup
  • 1 ¾ oz Hanger 24 Helles Lager

Combine all ingredients in tin. Shake vigorously and double strain with a Hawthorne and Chinoise strainer over fresh ice. Garnish with a spear of lemon peel and Fuji apple. Grate fresh cinnamon over top.

Brooklyn Baltic

And for my first trick….

This is very simple but VERY effective. The idea came from a visit to one of the UK’s leading craft breweries where they were creating a salted stout! Sounds silly eh?

Well no – it sounds delicious! Imperial stout is full of deep chocolatey flavours, and chocolate on its own is a savoury flavour, it gets the rep of being a dessert by tasting amazing with sugar, cream and the like. No cream in this imperial stout cocktail though (I’ve found it very difficult to achieve a good result) but there is usually bit of residual sugar in the brew plus coffee and chocolate flavours. Adding a salty edge, especially when it crackles on your lips, is a real real winner. Minerally fresh, biting salt cuts right through the sweetness and makes this combination greater than the sum of its parts.

The aforementioned beer is still unreleased and so I felt it was a good oppotunity to have my say in the matter. Coffee and hazelnut are going to be no brainers with Black Chocolate stout, simply amplifying the sweetness and delicious flavours already bouncing around in the beer. You up the booziness of course and smooth off the edges.  The twist is a simple maldon salt rim (make it neat or I’ll punch you over the internet). The smack of crunchy saltiness and suddenly we’ve gone from something quite innocent to sailing the stormy, force 10 gale in the briny Baltic and you’re sneaking a little from the barrel of the  Tzarina’s favourite beverage for courage and sustenance. Simple, fortifying and potent that’s what we’re looking for here.

Brooklyn Baltic


  • 1oz Kahlua
  • 1oz Frangelico
  • 4oz Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout (or any not too hoppy imperial for that matter)
  • Maldon Sea Salt (fine)

Method: Pour the lot and then stir over ice 20 seconds or so – try and lose  most of the fizz but be quick so as not to dilute too much! Pour in to martini glass prepared with a nice neat salt rim.

Chasing the Green Fairy to Amsterdam

This is the cocktail that I submitted for the Bols Cocktail Competition, so cross your fingers for me.

I love these beer syrups, the honey is amazing with Lindemans Gueuze Cuvée René. The sour and sweet blends harmoniously and opens the floral components of the beer nicely. The cocktail is delicately sweet and surprisingly refreshing. Plus, blood orange makes for a stunning color.

Red Light District


  • St. George Absinthe (luge)
  • 1.5 Bols Genever
  • .75 Bols Sloe Gin
  • .75 Blood Orange juice
  • Lindemans Gueuze Cuvee Rene
  • .75 beer honey syrup (recipe below)
  • Angostura bitters
  • Blood orange slice


1. Absinthe Luge: Fill glass with ice and about a quarter ounce of absinthe, swirl it around and dump it out. Essentially, you are  washing the glass with absinthe and ice.
2. Put genever, bols sloe gin, blood orange juice, and beer syrup to a shaker with ice. Shake and double strain into absinthe-luged glass.
3. Add 1 oz Lindemans Gueuze Cuvée René to shaker, dry shake, and add to glass, creating a nice foam on top.
4. Add a few dashes of Angostura Bitters and garnish with a blood orange slice.

Lindemans Gueuze Cuvée René & Local Honey Syrup (1:1 Ratio)
Warm Honey on a stove top at a medium temperature until liquid. Increase to high heat. Slowly pour in Beer and stir constantly for approximately 20 minutes reducing beer into the honey. Remove from heat and let cool.

Dog’s Nose and Champagne Velvet

I’m a bit of an Anglophile. I like the empire and all of its trappings, especially with the boozing and the wenching and more boozing. It gave us things like the gin and tonic – actually anything and tonic, IPAs, and naval strength spirits. The Victorian Era saw a whole proliferation of beer cocktails. Many of them made possible by the reach of both the commercial and colonial empire that reached its zenith during this time.

Spices and sugar from around the world, spirits and wines imported from all over Europe, and industrialization bringing luxuries into the reach of more and more people of all classes. Right in the middle of this era was Charles Dickens. He imbued many of his novels with wonderful descriptions of the indulgences at table and bottle, using them to help set the scene and illustrate the atmosphere.

If you were to carefully read all of his books you could collect all of the drinks and track them down and see what they were drinking. Thankfully, Dickens’s great grandson Cedric Dickens had done us the favour of collecting them for us in a book called “Drinking With Dickens.” It’s been fun going through it and picking out some beer cocktails from his great grandfathers’ era to play with. The first two to catch my eye were the Dog’s Nose and the Champagne Velvet.

The Dog’s Nose consists of Guinness, gin, brown sugar, and nutmeg. In the interests of research I was joined by Paul Clarke as we worked through various iterations with different gins, then with the sugar, then nutmeg, and with two different beers. We discovered that a hotter and more juniper forward gin went better in the drink. This would make sense as any gin being served in a tavern or public house at the time would have been of higher proof and less balanced. The gin really enhanced the iron qualities of Guinness but then was calmed down very much by the addition of sugar. Overall, though after the whole drink was assembled my favourite version consisted of a lighter-bodied ale, the hotter gin, and a really minimal amount of nutmeg, just enough to perfume the foam.

Dog’s Nose

  • 1 pint of Porter or Brown Ale (Guinness or Samuel Smith) – room temperature
  • 2 oz gin (Gordon’s, Martin Miller Westbourne Strength, or Plymouth Naval Strength)
  • 1 tablespoon brown or Demerara sugar
  • Pinch of nutmeg (it was still really expensive)
  • Combine all in a pint glass and dust with the nutmeg

The Champagne Velvet on the other hand was a bit of a more decadent drink. After all, if you wanted actual French champagne you’d need to pay the import duties though it was definitely much more posh and you’d be seen as being low-class or a cheapskate if you used a sparkling wine from elsewhere. A nice light drink for the morning the extra fizz was uplifting and helped to ease the your head after a long boozer. This definitely was a nice way to drink during the day. As you pour champagne you start to get an effect like a Ramos Gin Fizz, making a challenge to see how high you can take the head up.

Champagne Velvet

  • ½ pint Guinness
  • ½ pint champagne

Nikki Blackberry

When I first started constructing this cocktail, I had no idea it would be the first in a libation line up dedicated to my friends and their x-rated alter egos. If you aren’t familiar with this fun and hilarious game, this is how you name your character or alter ego: combine your first pet’s name and the name of the street where you grew up. Giving credit where credit is due, my comedian friend Garet Webb came up with the idea for the line up while helping me name this particular cocktail.

I chose Nolet’s Silver gin because of its incredible floral notes, and it is one of my personal favorite gins currently on the market. Nolet’s Silver has been distilled in The Netherlands for over 300 years. Historically, the Nolet family became famous for their distillate known as Ketel One.

When tasting this beautiful gin you will perceive Turkish rose, peaches, and berries, not only on your tongue, but also in your olfactory.  There are also several other background botanicals that you will encounter, such as coriander and citrus peel.

Adding blackberries to this libation was a no brainer, but the rosemary was the particular ingredient that sealed the deal. Going against the grain of traditional gin cocktails, I chose lemon juice. Agave is the sweetener because of the binding abilities that this natural substance posses. The beer in this cocktail is a Belgian white called Blanche de Bruxelles. This is my favorite Belgian white, hands down. Since the beer and the spirit have similar ingredients, this cocktail goes down super smoothly and pairs well with spicy charcuterie or a shellfish dish.

In case you are wondering after whom the first cocktail is named, she is one of my favorite people, a great friend, and the singer in a band called Dig The Overground.

Nikki Blackberry

  • 2 oz Nolet’s Silver Gin
  • ¾ oz lemon juice
  • 3 blackberries
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • ¾ oz agave
  • 2 oz Blanche de Bruxelles

Add ingredients in the tin. Shake with ice and double strain into a Collins glass with fresh ice. Garnish with a rosemary sprig. Enjoy!!!!!

Strawberry Blonde Brewjito

Spring has finally arrived, taunting us with its warm sunshine and thoughts of the beach and other outdoor adventures. Along with the much anticipated change in weather, the changing of the seasons has also brought with it a new and fresh focus on cocktail recipe development.

When it comes to refreshing cocktails, I’m a huge fan of the mojito — a refreshingly effervescent mint and rum-based cocktail. Any cocktail that uses soda water, is an excellent candidate for a beer cocktail, in my book. Beer provides the needed carbonation while imparting interesting flavors into the drink. Although the original mojito recipe is tasty on it’s own, it also makes a great base for variations. I love adding fruit, berries work especially well with mint, or even infusing simple syrups for a fun twist.

This particular recipe was inspired by Maui Brewing’s Bikini Blonde Lager — a Helles-style lager brewed with floral hops and Pilsner and Munich malts. Refreshingly crisp, the Bikini Blonde Lager boasts light biscuit flavors, moderately low noble hop bitterness, and a clean, dry finish. It’s rather neutral flavor profile makes it an excellent canvas for a light and fruity beer cocktail.

Strawberries, mint, agave nectar, rum and beer come together to make this cocktail a perfect sipper for the beach, backyard BBQ’s, or even on those cold, rainy nights spent dreaming of the sunshine to come.

Strawberry Blonde Brewjito


  • 1 oz. Bacardi Rum
  • .5 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • .25 oz. agave nectar
  • 5 oz. Maui Brewing Bikini Blonde Lager
  • 1 strawberry, quartered
  • 5 mint leaves
  • sprig of mint garnish
  • strawberry garnish


Muddle strawberry, mint & agave nectar until strawberry is completely pulverized. Add lemon juice, rum and ice and shake vigorously for 5-10 counts. Add beer, shake lightly, strain over ice into glass of choice. Garnish with halved strawberry and sprig of mint.