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Beer Cocktails Making it Big from NYC to L.A.

Hot & Cool Food Trends

Beer Cocktails Are the Latest Libation Sensation

With three months of hot and humid summer days looming before us, one of the favorite alcoholic beverages for many is an ice-cold beer. Whether enjoyed on draft, in bottles or cans, it’s hard to beat the refreshment of a cold one when the weatherman says it’s going to be a hot one.

But lately, beer has found a new home: mixed with other potent potables. The beer cocktail is making its presence felt in restaurants, bars and taverns on both coasts—and we’re not talking about the whiskey-in-beer boilermaker of a bygone era…nor even the Michelada, a Mexican concoction of beer and, typically, lime juice and peppery spices.

Newer, fresher ideas in beer mixology are garnering notice and gaining a following.

As reported by Frank Bruni in The New York Times, a growing number of NYC joints are mixing beer with spirits such as vodka and gin. The simple fact that beer cocktails have more volume than other mixed drinks and are served in larger glasses, make them an ideal choice for spring and summer, Bruni opines.

Among the places in New York where beer cocktails currently flow—

  • Goat Town, an East Village restaurant that offers several choices including one that combines beer and house-made lemonade and is infused with an array of herbs.
  • Rosa Mexicano not only serves a Michelada, it also pours the El Betabel, which mixes beer, beet juice, lime juice and Cholula (a spicy Mexican pepper sauce); and their La Sangrita mingles beer with the house sangrita, a blend of several fruit juices including orange and tomato.
  • WD-50, a hip restaurant on New York’s Lower East Side, has introduced a beer cocktail it calls the Black & Yellow. Modeled after the Irish favorite, Black & Tan, it’s a two-layer concoction with dark ale up top and a mix of kumquat-infused gin, yuzu juice and St. Germain liqueur on the lower level. The most popular drink at the WD-50 is something called the pH, which has vodka, lychee syrup, lemon juice, raspberry puree, rose water and a raspberry-flavored beer, Framboise limbic.
  • PDT, another East Village place, makes a drink called the N. 38 Special which has beer, tequila, Italian amaro, and hot sauce, among the ingredients.

Over on the Left Coast, the buzz about beer cocktails is humming along as well, especially in Los Angeles, as reported by the LA Weekly bogger who calls herself Caroline on Crack. Some of the tinsel town places she makes note of—

  • Spare Room in Hollywood has a drink with ginger beer, Plymouth Gin, and Guinness.
  • The Big Bar in Los Feliz mixes a Gin & Chronic, made with hops-infused Plymouth Gin, tonic, lime juice and soda water. It’s said to be a “cannabis-type” cocktail.
  • Hemingway’s Lounge in Hollywood brews up a mix of chocolate stout with Old Rasputin Imperial Stout, Chivas 18, mole bitters and Angostura bitters.
  • Hostaria del Piccolo serves an Italian Iced Tea made with Perroni beer, Aperol, Averna and orange peel. It comes across as “a hoppy beer with a boozy kick,” writes Caroline.

The beer cocktail beverage trend has clearly taken hold in the big cities on both coasts. We expect it will trickle toward the nation’s midsection in the coming months, but we shall see.

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