Skip to main content

Here are 8 stellar ingredients worth considering when deciding what to mix with beer

Thinking about mixing with beer? Here's where and how to start

Close-up of beer in a glass
YesMore Content / Unsplash

Mixology is all about being adventurous. It’s what birthed amazing drinks like the Corpse Reviver cocktail and why we run into unexpected refreshers like cocktails made from Marsala. Simply put, trial and error can get you to some really tasty new frontiers.

For most, a good beer is considered something you enjoy on its own, preferably in a proper pint glass. Well, there’s some truth to that, but it sounds a little stuck in tradition to us. After all, there are so many beers out there, from light and refreshing lagers to winter-ready stouts (shoot, there are even smoothie sour beers). Beer can be enjoyed neat but it can also be mixed into some delicious, suds-based concoctions.

Yes, beer cocktails exist and they’re particularly tasty while it’s hot outside. If you’re gonna mix with beer, here are a few recommendations.

A pair of shandy beers.
Brent Hofacker / Adobe Stock

Juice (or soda)


In 2007, Wisconsin’s Leinenkugel Brewing Co. released Summer Shandy, a mixture of lemonade and traditional German Weiss beer. Both the beer and the style became hit a across the U.S. — nine in 10 shandies sold in America are Leinenkugel, and the brewery has since released orange, grapefruit, and berry varieties.

You can experiment with shandies — or radlers, as they became known as in Germany — at home by mixing lemonade, limeade, or lemon-lime soda to give your brew a sour punch. Wheat beers and saisons meld well with the lemon- and lime-forward drinks. However, flavor palates vary, so try different types of beers with different types of juices. Grapefruit juice meshes well with citrusy hops in IPAs and pale ales, while other IPAs and pales might have more tropical hops that would go with pineapple juice.

A Michelada cocktail.
Brent Hofacker / Shutterstock

Bloody Mary mix


Love a Bloody Mary? A Michelada is a good way to start off a morning at the lake house. Simply mix a bottle or can of your beer of choice with the desired amount of tomato juice or Bloody Mary mix and doctor it up however you would a cocktail — add some hot sauce, a pickle, loads of lime juice, whatever! Salt the rim as you please.

Most light beers will work — Anheuser Busch and Modelo even make canned versions — but Micheladas are usually made with Mexican lagers, like Modelo or Corona. A ‘chelada subtracts the tomato juice, focusing on lime juice and spices.

Beer margaritas
bhofack2 / Getty Images

Margarita mix


To really amp up the beer and the party, combine beer and a refreshing margarita cocktail. A bottle — again, preferably a Mexican lager — can be profitably tipped into a glass of margarita. If you’re serving more than one, make a pitcher by blending the beer with the tequila and margarita mix or limeade. Not a fan of tequila or don’t need the strength? Go ahead and subtract the liquor.

A Black Velvet beer cocktail
Ethanbentley / Commons / Wikimedia


Black Velvet

Adding a bit of sparkle to a beer can make it even more refreshing. The Black Velvet is traditionally made with Champagne and a stout, so if there are some extra heavy beers lying around in the fridge that need to be lightened up for the warm weather, this is a great way to do it. Of course, a bit of dry sparkling wine can add a nice touch of refreshment and effervescence to any style of beer.

Jade_Palace / Pixabay



Putting anything with beer can make some brew enthusiasts shake their heads, but Coca-Cola might be one of the weirder suggestions. It’s a trendy mixture in Germany, where it is called Colabier.

Again, as with all beer cocktails, different amounts will lead to different results. A 50/50 mixture of beer and Coke will be extremely sweet, so suggest a ratio that uses less soda. As for the beer, keep it simple and not hoppy — try light lagers or caramel-like brown and tasty amber ales.

Whiskey in a glass
Ambitious Studio / Rick Barrett / Unsplash



Mixing these two drinks together, which you probably already enjoy on their own, creates what is known as a Boilermaker. Using a light beer to mix with whiskey is actually something that’s known to have begun in the 1800s.

The two alcohols work well together with their nutty undertones. With a 50/50 mixture, meaning one pitcher of beer and one shot of whiskey, you have yourself a Boilermaker. You can change up the beer and whiskey you choose, such an IPA and an Irish whiskey or a light lager with a bourbon.

Beer flight tasting types
Natalie Jeffcott / Getty Images

Other beers

Black and Tan

That’s right, mix your beer with other beers. It’s the reasoning behind the rather famous Black and Tan, a British blend of one part pale ale, one part stout or porter. In Ireland, it’s simply called a half-and-half, and it’s not only a tasty drink, but looks cool in the glass, especially if you later the darker beer on top (pour it over the back of a bar spoon to get a proper fade).

But don’t stop there. Try mixing some of your favorite sour beers with hoppy options like IPAs. Think about complementary flavors, like chocolate and berries, and use your imagination. A nice stout can do fine split evenly with a huckleberry or raspberry wheat ale.

Hard apple cider in a glass, surrounded by apples.
Brent Hofacker / Adobe Stock

Hard cider

Hard cider is a natural choice when mixing with beer, as it can add some welcomed fruity tones and sweetness. We suggest keeping things dry and using a lighter beer, like a pale ale or lager, as the base. Try mixing with different apple varieties to see what you like the most and don’t shy away from fruit-infused hard ciders if you’d like an extra layer of flavor in there, such as pear or pineapple. A good hoppy beer like an IPA can do well in the company of hard cider, too, as the fruit flavors of the cider round out the bitter tones. Some are even partial to drinking a concoction that’s equal parts Guinness and hard cider.

Now you know, and that’s just part of the adventure. Mixing with beer can lead to some real refreshment. So start whipping some up, and don’t overlook beer as the backbone of your next favorite beverage.

Editors' Recommendations

Mark Stock
Mark Stock is a writer from Portland, Oregon. He fell into wine during the Recession and has been fixated on the stuff since…
How to make the Vancouver cocktail: Reviving a vintage classic
Add this obscure drink to your home bar cocktail list
The Vancouver cocktail

Born in the Canadian city for which it is named, the Vancouver is a fairly obscure cocktail that nearly went extinct. Its serendipitous rediscovery some 15 years ago has aided its rise among the cocktail-loving cognoscenti. When made properly, the combination of gin, Bénédictine, sweet vermouth, and orange bitters makes a brilliant match, with earthy complexity thanks to its fruity, spicy, and herbaceous profile. While it’s all the rage in western Canada, the Vancouver cocktail is one drink that’s poised to become a universal classic.
How to make the Vancouver cocktail


Read more
How to make a heavenly Sidecar cocktail
It's a classic cocktail for a reason — let us show you how to add the Sidecar to your cocktail repertoire
Sidecar cocktail

Cognac is back, and it's anything but your granddaddy's go-to drink. The grape-based spirit within the brandy family has undergone a renaissance and one of its best forms, the classic Sidecar cocktail, is coming back to life in bars across the country.

Western France's most famous distilled export jumped an estimated 15% in sales in 2023. It's being appreciated more and more for its wine-like complexity and inventive cocktail bars all over the globe are finding new ways to use the stuff.

Read more
What is pisco? Exploring South America’s grape brandy
Introducing this unique brandy and how to drink it
Pisco sour

What is pisco, you ask? Pisco is one of the many sub-ategories of grape brandy — a spirit distilled from fermented grape juice (aka wine). Just as Armagnac, cognac, and American brandy each have rules and regulations on how and where they can be made, so does pisco.

Pisco hails from South America and can only be produced in Chile or Peru. In the mid-16th century, Spanish conquistadors brought European grapes to South America, where they planted many vines for fruit. After a surplus of fruit due to Spain's decision to limit wine exports, locals were forced to think of other methods to preserve their wines and opted for distillation — a relatively new concept at the time. By the 17th century, the first piscos were made (at the time, they were referred to as Aguardientes), and they eventually made their way into North America, where they became popular in U.S. cities, including San Francisco. They can be sipped neat or as part of a cocktail like the pisco sour.

Read more