TAKE BEER COCKTAILS TO THE NEXT LEVEL
With St. Patrick’s Day almost upon us, beer sales will be ramping up in a big way. More guests than ever are clamoring for the new and novel, so there’s an amazing opportunity to elevate beer to the level of craft cocktail creation. And by bringing premium spirits into the mix, you’ll be elevating your profits, too.
While there will always be love for traditional Shandies and Boilermakers, mixologists are rethinking this category and coming up with some sensational options to surprise and delight their customers. Some are even approaching beer with the same level of creativity typically reserved for the spirits side of the menu.
To take advantage of this trend, start by offering some of the more recognizable combinations and then supplement your menu with some noteworthy new drink combinations. Mix them up and test them out with your waitstaff to see which recipes rise to the top. Here are some of our favorites.
BEYOND THE BASIC BOILERMAKER
The St. Patrick’s Day season is a time when both beer and whiskey are in high demand and unsurprisingly, the call for the Boilermaker also increases. This may account for the fact that many people assume it to be an Irish drink (made exclusively with Irish whiskey). But the truth is, the Boilermaker owes its origins to British blue-collar workers of the 1800’s. According to legend, they would head to the pub after a long shift working on steam locomotives (boilers) to reward themselves with a combination of beer and whiskey.
What began as a shot of whiskey followed by a pint of beer evolved into the all-in-one libation we know as the Boilermaker. In some traditions, the shot glass of whiskey is dropped into draught beer and consumed in one long draw. This has evolved into a variety of Boilermaker Cocktails that combine the two for one sippable and satisfying drink.
With a bold history and heritage, Guinness is the place to begin your Boilermaker Cocktail adventure. By using Bulleit Bourbon instead of Irish Whiskey, you can create an Irish-American option your customers will adore. Offer the following combinations as a shot with a pint or as a Boilermaker Cocktail.
- Guinness Stout & Bulleit Bourbon: The creamy bitter coffee and chocolate notes of Guinness Stout mix well with the long, rich caramel notes of Bulleit Bourbon. This pairing is soft and warming on the palate.
- Guinness Blonde & Bulleit Rye: With mosaic hops and crystal malt, Gunness Blonde has citrus notes and a dry finish that match well with the herbal hints of Bulleit Rye Whiskey.
- Guinness Nitro IPA & Bulleit Rye: The bitter herbals in Bulleit Rye match well with the piney hops and sweet jasmine notes of Guinness Nitro IPA. As you sip, look out for a unique minty sensation in the aftertaste.
If you’d like to offer guests inspiration from north of the border, try these Crown Royal Canadian Whisky options:
- Guinness Blonde & Crown Royal Apple Whisky: Gunness Blonde’s citrus notes are juxtaposed beautifully with the fruity flavors of Crown Royal Apple Whisky. Turns out you can mix apples and oranges.
- Guinness Stout & Crown Royal Vanilla Whisky: The creamy coffee and chocolate notes of Guinness Stout play well with the rich, buttery notes of Crown Royal Vanilla Whisky.
ALL ABOUT THE STOUT
Take Guinness beyond the basic Boilermaker with palate-pleasing drinks that play up its deep, complex character. Unlike lighter beer that gets overwhelmed by strong flavor notes, Guinness Stout holds its own and then some in the delicious drinks below.
- Dublin Iced Coffee: Mix 2 oz. coffee, 2 oz. Guinness, 1 oz. Crown Royal and a dash of simple syrup in a pint glass and add ice. Gently pour in cream so that it sinks to fill coffee, then top with cinnamon.
- Dark & Stoutly: Add Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum, a splash of simple syrup and a squeeze of fresh lime juice to a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into an ice-filled pint glass and top with Guinness. Garnish with a lime wedge.
- Guinness Black Russian: Pour 1 oz. coffee, 1 oz. Smirnoff and 1 oz. cola into a pint glass with ice. Stir gently to combine and top with Guinness. Garnish with a lime wedge.
FOR ALL THAT ALES YOU
While stout-style beer makes for great Boilermakers, lighter ales like Smithwick’s provide a great base for St. Patrick’s Day beer cocktails. Offering Red Ale, Pale Ale and Atlantic Blonde Ale, all Smithwick’s varieties are crisp and refreshing and play well with spirits. Delight your customers with the tasty options below.
- Orange Ale: Fill a pint glass with ice and add 1 oz. Tanqueray and a splash of orange juice.Top with Smithwick’s Ale and garnish with an orange wheel.
- Raspberry Snake Bite: Add 1 oz. crème de cassis to an ice-filled pint glass. Top with Smithwick’s Ale and garnish with a mint sprig.
- Bloody Good Beer: Add ice, 1 oz. Smirnoff Vodka, a splash of tomato juice, a squeeze of lime juice and a dash of hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce to a pint glass. Top with Smithwick’s Ale and garnish with a celery stick.
THE BOTTOM LINE
St. Patrick’s Day kicks off one of the most important seasons of the year for both the beer category and on-premise events. By capitalizing on the Beer Cocktail trend, you can upsell your guests to a higher price point while quenching their thirst for innovation and flavor. Don’t forget to promote your offerings prominently on table cards and drink menus and use your social media channels to optimize awareness and call!