Beyond the Boilermaker: Whiskey and Beer Cocktails for the Summer

Photo: © Gabi Porter

There's nothing wrong with a boilermaker - a shot of whiskey alongside a bottle of beer, in case you aren't familiar. It's classic, satisfying, and provides a bracing start to a long night of steady drinking. It's just that sometimes you want something that's a little more refined, so why not try a cocktail that combines the two? Bartenders around the country are crafting cocktails that utilize both whiskey and beer, along with a other excellent ingredients, to create refreshing libations that amplify the distinctive flavor profiles of brew and brown spirits.

Auchentoshan single malt whisky Ambassador Robin Nance and Master Cicerone Pat Fahey came up with a few ideas for whiskey-beer cocktails that you can make at home, like this bitterly potent combination of whisky, IPA and Aperol.

It's Bitter To Be Hoppy


1.5 ounces Auchentoshan American Oak Single Malt Scotch Whisky
.5 ounces Aperol
.25 ounces Fresh Grapefruit Juice
6 dashes Lemon Bitters
2.5 ounces IPA


Stir all ingredients and strain into a coupe. Garnish with lemon wheel.

"American IPA is all about brash, American hop flavor – grapefruit, pine resin and tropical fruit are common flavors. In this drink, the bitterness of the IPA melds with the bitterness of Aperol, but is mellowed by brown sugar and caramel tones from the American Oak."

The IVY Kitchen in Dallas, Texas features a whiskey-beer cocktail that utilizes locally distilled bourbon and locally brewed IPA. The Withering Sunrise is made with Witherspoon Bourbon, Deep Ellum IPA, mango, agave, bitters and lemon.

Withering Sunrise


1 1/2 oz. Witherspoons Bourbon
1 oz. pureed mango
1/2 oz. agave nectar
2 lemon wedges
2 oz. Deep Ellum IPA
1 dash Fee Bros bitters

Combine bourbon, pureed mango, agave and juice from 2 lemon wedges in shaker. Fill with ice, shake hard and strain over one large ice cube. Top with IPA and bitters; garnish with a mango slice.

At New York City's Long Island Bar, bartender Tristan Willey has created whiskey-beer cocktails featuring Samuel Adams beer, perfect for summertime drinking, like this sweet mix of bourbon and summer ale.

Dog Days of Summer (Ale)

1/2 oz. Cherry Heering
1/2 oz. Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz. Lemon Juice
1/2 oz. Bourbon
8 oz. of Sam Adams Summer Ale


Pour all ingredients over ice and serve.

Santa Monica wine bar and restaurant Rustic Canyon celebrates ten years of being in business this December. Bar manager Aaron Ranf has added a Summer Shandy to the menu, made with Logsdon Farmhouse Saison, Uncouth "Wildflower" vermouth, McKenna 10 year bourbon, lemon, and apricot shrub.

Summer Shandy


8-10 oz. Saison beer
1/2 oz. fresh lemon
3/4 oz. apricot shrub (see instructions below)
3/4 oz. Henry McKenna Bourbon
3/4 oz. Manuel Acha blanco vermouth


In a pint glass filled with ice, add Saison-style beer (Rustic Canyon's Bar Manager Aaron Ranf likes Logsdon Farmhouse Ales) until about 3/4 full and set aside. Separately shake the rest of ingredients over ice and strain into the beer glass. Garnish with a lemon wheel.

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