Beer Should The Star Of Your Next Spritz Cocktail

When it comes to adult beverages, beer usually stands on its own. Already strongly flavored with hops and malt, most drinkers would not even think that their beers need any additional flavorings. However, to some mixologists, beer is a versatile canvas where they can work their magic. Beer-based spritz cocktails take this beloved beverage and infuse it with a medley of ingredients, creating refreshing, effervescent, and flavor-packed concoctions that are perfect for a sunny afternoon or a lively gathering with friends.

Before we go any further though, let's discuss the concept of spritz. Italian in origin, a spritz is a wine-based cocktail that incorporates Italian sparkling wine, amaro liqueur, and soda water. The sweetness of the sparkling wine provides a counterbalance against the bitterness of the amaro, making the spritz a very popular summer cocktail. By replacing sparkling wine with beer, it makes the drink more accessible, easier to drink, and just plain fun.

Making beer spritz cocktails

To make the most basic beer spritz, you need some light-tasting beer — such as Miller High-Life or Bud Light — and some amaro liqueur, a syrupy and bitter liqueur of which Aperol and Campari are prime examples. Instead of light beers, you can also use a fruit-forward beer such as Schofferhofer, a grapefruit-flavored German wheat beer. Pour a small measure of Aperol into the bottom of an ice-cold pint glass, then top it with beer. Stir to mix, and garnish with an orange or grapefruit wedge, and enjoy.

Another way to create a spritz cocktail with beer is based on the radler — a Bavarian shandy that mixes light beer with carbonated citrus soda or sparkling lemonade. You can create a radler on your own, but there are also many radler- style beers created by craft brewers. To make a radler-based cocktail, mix light beer, sparkling lemonade or citrus soda, and Aperol in an ice-cold glass, before stirring to combine. The result is a light, beer-based cocktail that is light in alcohol and high in flavor.

Other beer cocktails to try

Although you may not hear about them often, there is actually a family of cocktails that are beer-based. One of the most well-known is probably Michelada, a savory mix of Mexican beer, tomato juice, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and lime juice. It is often served in a chili-salt-rimmed glass. Optional ingredients and seasonings include clam juice, Old Bay seasoning, chili powder, and celery salt for the rim.

Another beer-based cocktail, which also happens to be one of the earliest ones invented, is the Black Velvet. Said to have been created in 1861, this drink combines dark stout beer with champagne, served in a tall champagne glass or wine goblet. The champagne cuts through the heaviness of the stout and brings some sweetness to balance out the stout's characteristic bitterness. Finally, there is also the stout-based black and tan, which layers light-colored lager with stout to create a two-layer drink. Just be sure to call it a half-and-half if you're in Ireland where the term "black and tan" might be justifiably offensive.