Debate Night Special Report: Beer cocktails for wherever you happen to stand in the Big Blue Tent

There can be only one: Beer expert, Ben Robinson, has a beer cocktail for you and your Dem debate tailgate

Ben Robinson
June 27, 2019 10:00PM (UTC)

The Democratic party is a big blue tent and this year there are 20 candidates invited to the debate stage over two nights to either cement their presumptive lock (we'll see) or differentiate their way to a real-time spike in Google searches and eke out a little electability (who 'dis?). Whether you are among the undecided or supporting for the candidate trying to hold the donkey's thinning center in place or you're a booster for the aspirant taking that (real or imagined) leap to the left, tonight's second Democratic debate will be much more enjoyable with a beer in your hand. Ben Robinson, author of "Beer Hacks," has recipes a couple of recipes for easy beer cocktails for you and one is bound to help you through.

Amaro and Beer Cocktail


Two simple ingredients make for a remarkable taste transformation.

This is probably the easiest application to upgrade your beer game at home by adding some unique bitterness and sweetness, and it can be adjusted to your preferred taste any way that you want. The only thing that you really need to know is the most basic of bartending skills: pouring things into other things.

You will need:


12-ounce bottle or can of your preferred pilsner or lager

1 ounce Italian Amaro (I would recommend one with a little citrus to it, like Montenegro or Averna, though a little pine and smoke from Braulio would be nice on a cold day.)

A pint glass or Collins glass


How you make it:

  1. Pour the Amaro into the glass, then fill the rest with the beer.
  2. Or: Take a healthy sip from the can or bottle, then simply pour the Amaro directly into the vessel.

Highlife Gimlet

This one’s a little more complicated, but oh, so worth it.

There is no law stating that every beer cocktail has to be simply “topped with beer.” I asked attorneys. There are plenty of other ways to incorporate beer into a cocktail; one is turning it into a syrup. Scared? Just remember that the simple syrup is only sugar and water, so why not try replacing the water with beer? Of course, I’m going to make it less simple. But it’ll be worth it. 


You will need:

2 ounces gin
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
3/4 ounce Simple Beer Syrup (read on for recipe)
A coupe glass (No, not a drinking vessel made from a two-door Honda Civic. It’s the saucer-like, instead of flute-style, type of Champagne glass.)
One cocktail shaker 
A measuring jigger

But first, let’s make the Simple Beer Syrup.


This requires:

8 ounces of lager or pilsner
1/2 cup raw sugar
2 whole cardamom pods
1 whole cinnamon stick
Pinch of salt

Throw all of the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, being careful not to let it foam over. Turn the heat down to low and simmer until the liquid has started to reduce (become far thicker and less beery), then remove from the heat and strain out the spices. Allow it to cool, and you’ll have approximately one cup.
And now, how you make the cocktail:

  1. Using your jigger, measure out the gin, lime juice, and Simple Beer Syrup into a cocktail shaker over ice.
    2. Shake vigorously for 20 to 30 seconds.
    3. Strain into a coupe glass and blow your damn mind.

Excerpted from "Beer Hacks" by Ben Robinson, (Workman Publishing). Copyright © 2018.

Ben Robinson

Ben Robinson is the author of "Beer Hacks: 100 Tips, Tricks, and Projects." He has written for Deadspin, the Huffington Post, Cigar World, Subaru Drive Magazine, and more on topics ranging from running with the bulls in Pamplona, to—far more thrillingly—devising a foolproof scientific system for getting on "The Price Is Right."

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