This coined word combines bock, a type of beer, and cocktail, any mixed beverage. The idea of creating unique cocktails with beer is older than you might think. In fact, in 1862, a beer cocktail was listed in one of the first bartender’s guides, How to Mix Drinks (later published as The Bon-Vivant’s Companion). The Ale Flip was a whipped concoction of ale, eggs, sugar and nutmeg.
Bocktails are now popular worldwide. What’s known as a Shandy (beer with carbonated lemonade) in Britain and North America has international variations, ranging from the Monaco (a Shandy with grenadine) in France to the Quianti (beer with orange soda) in Argentina. No matter where it’s made or what it’s called, it’s essentially a beer spritzer.
Most beer cocktails are fun, light and easy to make. True, there are times when the only thing that will slake a summer thirst is a tall, frothy glass of beer, served straight up. But for adventurous palates and curious drinkers, a bocktail can be greater than the sum of its parts.
1 Black & tan
For this layered cocktail, pour half a pint of pale ale into a clear beer mug. Carefully top the mug with stout by pouring slowly over the back of a spoon that touches the inside of the glass. This allows the stout to run down the side and float above the ale.
2 Black velvet
Stout topped with champagne. Fill the bottom half of a tall flute with stout, then gently layer the top half with champagne.
Combine lager in equal parts with ginger ale or a lemon-lime soda. It’s half the strength of regular beer and has a citrusy tang.
4 Red eye (a.k.a. Saskatchewan Red Eye and Calgary Red Eye)
This common Prairie choice evolved from the Bloody Mary: beer mixed in equal parts with Clamato juice.
This is served as a beer and a shot of whisky. The drinker first consumes a couple of ounces of beer, then lowers the full shot glass into the beer glass. The rest is foggy history.
Mix pale ale or lager with sparkling hard cider. Since the cider is also alcoholic, a Snakebite generally has the same strength as a regular beer but with a fruity “bite.”