Our Best Beer Cocktail Recipes to Liven Up Your Lager and Stout

stout shandy and dubliners delight
Photo: Kirsten Francis

Mix it up: Add hot sauce, juice, tequila, and yes, even other types of beer to your beer. The possibilities are endless, but we've gathered some of our favorite ideas here.

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pitcher of beer and sliced oranges and limes atop cutting board
Nicole Franzen

A slim glass of beer sparkling with condensation and topped with white froth is one of the best drinks we know. The day may be summer-hot or ski-slope cold, but that frosty brew beckons. And our appreciation of beer does not have to end there. Try a beer cocktail: Mixing the hoppy and effervescent beverage with a judicious dash of hard liquor, a shake of a pantry-staple condiment, or a splash of soda or juice can produce very appealing, lower alcohol by volume drinks. A perfect example? The Orange Wheat Shandy that's pictured here: A traditional wheat beer bursts with citrus flavor thanks to the addition of freshly-squeezed orange juice. An optional splash of almond adds further depth of flavor.

As an opener to a meal, a toast at a party, an easy and celebratory punch on St. Patrick's Day, or a partner to a spicy meal, beer cocktails are easy to adapt and easy on the wallet. They are also remarkably food-friendly. A cornucopia of beer styles can be drawn on as a base, setting the tone for the flavors to follow. We know the black bitterness of Guinness, the yeasty appeal of a weissbier, the hoppy complexity of IPA's and the light snap of a classic lager. And that's just a smattering of what is available to the beer mixologist. Artisanal breweries produce a dazzling range of choice for your brew, and even big-beer brands offer the goods to yield a dignified and delicious beer cocktail.

From multiple creative interpretations of the classic shandy and the iconic black and tan to the feisty Michelada (a cocktail gift from Mexico!), we have collected our best beer cocktails to launch you on your exploratory quest. Prost!

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Stout Shandy

stout shandy with grapefruit slice
Kirsten Francis

Trust us, bitter on bitter works, especially when you combine good stout with a thirst-quenching and sparkling grapefruit soda, whose sweetness offers relief.

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Ginger-Campari Punch

ginger-campari lager punch
Linda Pugliese

Fix a large jar of this punch to carry along on a picnic or simply sip it in the late summer sun in your backyard. Fresh lemon juice is key to balancing the sweet spice of ginger beer, the bitterness of Campari, and the dry, crisp lager.

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Michelada

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One of the best beer cocktails to serve with food, the Michelada is a brilliant feat of blending: dry, ice-cold beer is spiked with two heavy hitting condiments—Worcestershire and soy sauce—before brightened with fresh lime and hot sauce. Barbecue, anyone?

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Black Velvet Stout

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Nicole Franzen

Traditionally the Black Velvet combines working class stout with luxurious Champagne; its origin is attributed to a British bartender who created the dark drink to mourn the death of Prince Albert in 1861. Our version relies on fruitier—and more economical—Prosecco, which takes an extra edge off the uncompromising Guinness we like.

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Sweet and Spicy Beer Punch

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Andrew Purcell

For easy sipping with a meal, refreshing citrus juices and mellow honey work wonders on a straight up, uncomplicated lager. Don't forget the essential dashes of hot sauce!

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Sparkling Black and Tan

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Marcus Nilsson

Our version of a Black and Tan lightens the mix by substituting a sparkling apple cider for the traditional paler beer in the two-toned cocktail.

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Tequila Shot Pilsner

pitcher of beer shot glass and sliced limes atop cutting board
Nicole Franzen

Cold, hoppy pilsner sipped from a salt and lime-edged glass smooths the fire of a good silver Tequila, served in a shot glass alongside.

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Cherry Beer

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Served with fresh lemon wedges, the fruity combination of wheat beer and cherry juice is a summer pleaser.

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Wassail

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Apples are the bookends for this spiced Christmas cocktail, with origins in olde England. Cider and fresh apple slices provide sweetness, while the fire of Calvados gives adds backbone to the ale-based libation.

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Cranberry and Ginger Shandy

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CHELSEA CAVANAUGH

This sophisticated take on the Shandy calls for chilled pilsner stirred through with a homemade cranberry and ginger syrup. And ice. Lots of ice.

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Stout Eggnog

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Bryan Gardner

Party-perfect, the rich egg custard is made a day ahead and blended gently with rum and dark stout before being chilled. The finishing touch is a swirl of whipped cream topped with shaved dark chocolate.

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Lime Shandies

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Freshly squeezed lime juice is sweetened with some sugar before being stirred into your favorite, light-bodied beer. It's an easy and delicious sip.

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