Beer Cocktails

Mixology for the hophead

It just wouldn't be Austin if the twin deluges of hand-crafted cocktails and craft beer didn’t eventually, serendipitously collide. This has been the summer of the beertailnado.

First, a cocktail lesson for us hopheads from El Monumento's (500 S. Austin Ave. in Georgetown) bar director, Jeremy Corn. The owners of the urbane Mexican restaurant in Georgetown have let him build up his months-old bar with everything from a hand-cranked ice shaver to a slow-drip, limestone filter and vintage glassware, for which he goes thrifting himself. Corn talks like a modern man, but runs a craft cocktail bar nostalgic for a Forties that never happened in Mexico.

“Ultimately, for me, the Old-Fashioned is the only cocktail that really matters,” he says.

A “Real” Old-Fashioned Cocktail from El Monumento

2.5oz. of any spirit, like spicy Rye Whiskey
.25oz. of bitters, Angostura is always appropriate
.5oz. of any sweetener. Sugar or simple syrup suffice, but Corn uses Luxardo Amaro Abano
Combine the ingredients in a mixing glass and stir well over ice. Strain into an ice-filled double Old-Fashioned glass. Garnish with a cherry and an orange twist.

Jeremy Corn pours his heart out. (Photo by Ivy Le)

“In the early-to-mid 19th century a 'cocktail' was a spirit with bitters, sugar, and water added to it.” Hence the name “old-fashioned.” According to Corn, a proper cocktail should more or less follow the ratios in this recipe.

“Anything can be the spirit; there are dozens of varieties of bitters on the market; the sweetener can be anything sweet you can imagine, from sugar to liqueur to specialty syrups.”

So, we’ve learned that Guinness and Baileys is not a beer cocktail. What are real beer cocktails?

"With the signature drinks at Glass Half Full Taproom, we're trying to bridge the gap between the beer drinker and the cocktail drinker," says Bill Norris, Alamo Drafthouse Beverage Director. At the Alamo Drafthouse Lakeline's stand-alone bar, "Local beer like (512) Pecan Porter finds its way into cocktails and beer components like hops and malt find their way into classic drinks like daiquiris and gimlets.”

“Craft brewers spend so much time creating flavor in their brews, that we just want to build on the templates they're laying down for us." Here’s one such beercoction from Norris:

Bill Norris's Full Scotch Irish Breakfast, served all day. (Photo by Cory Ryan)

Full Scotch Irish Breakfast at Glass Half Full

2 oz. overproof rye whiskey such as Rittenhouse Bonded or Bulleit
1 oz. Stout Beer, such as Guinness
1/2 oz. Pure Maple Syrup
2 teaspoons lemon curd
2 dashes Mole Bitters
1 whole egg
Fresh grated nutmeg for garnish

In a cocktail shaker, combine all of the ingredients except the nutmeg without ice and shake vigorously.  Add ice to the shaker and shake again until very cold. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass or large coupe and garnish with fresh grated nutmeg.

Phil Vuong, assistant general manager at Brew Exchange (706 W. Sixth), has had recently his face grace Austin Chronicle’s pages, but here’s a shot of one of his favorite summer creations, the Steamroller.

A Steamroller with a splash of Santo by Phil Vuong at Brew Exchange. (Photo by Reagan Hackleman)

He made cocktails at 6Lounge before manning the 72 taps at Brew Exchange. Here's one of his favorites:

Steamroller at Brew Exchange

3/4 oz Woodford Reserve
1/2 oz St. Germain Elderflower liqueur
1/2 oz Cherry Heering
1/2 oz lemon juice
Mix and top off with St. Arnold's Santo.

When you go in to Brew Exchange for their beer cocktails or 72 taps or to pick up a drunk friend, take this bit of Irish poesy on the wall as garnish:

“The wheat is like a rich man,
That's sleek and well to do.
The oats are like a pack of girls,
Laughing and dancing too,
The rye is like a miser,
That's sulky, lean and small,
But the free and bearded barley
Is the monarch of them all.
- Elizabeth Sterling”

Botticelli's (1321 S. Congress) serves one mixed beer drink in their beer garden. The Kolovitz Mover from Botticelli's doesn't quite qualify as a classic cocktail recipe. The glass of Live Oak Hefeweizen and St. Germain Elderflower liqueur topped with prosecco is delicious but wouldn't fly in a cocktailnado. What do you expect? Did you know that Botticelli's is named after the brothers who own it, not the painter? Good thing you had that poem at Brew Exchange for culture!

Ivy Le is leaving the beer beat to pursue an MBA at the University of Texas.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Cocktails
Cool Off With Cocktails at the Movies
Cool Off With Cocktails at the Movies
Five local movie events to get your air conditioning and cocktail fix

Emily Beyda, Aug. 7, 2018

Palomas Are a Summertime Trifecta: Tequila, Grapefruit, Soda
Palomas Are a Summertime Trifecta: Tequila, Grapefruit, Soda
Local spots step up their game with these classic cocktails

Emily Beyda, June 26, 2018

More Beer
Austin Craft Brewers vs. COVID-19: Zilker Brewing and Nomadic Beerworks
Austin Craft Brewers vs. COVID-19: Zilker Brewing and Nomadic Beerworks
How local breweries are responding to the pandemic (Part 3)

Eric Puga, April 8, 2020

Austin Beer for the World Cup
Austin Beer for the World Cup
Let your favorite local brew determine who you’ll bet on to win

Eric Puga, June 13, 2018

More by Ivy Le
Craft Beer Is Their Creed
Craft Beer Is Their Creed
Forget 'ladies who lunch' – it's ladies who like lager at

Aug. 2, 2013

Home's A Brewin': Here's a Hophead a Newbie Can Drink With
Home's A Brewin': Here's a Hophead a Newbie Can Drink With
Phil Vuong's continuing education

June 28, 2013


El Monumento, Jeremy Corn, Alamo Draughthouse, Bill Norris, Glass Half Full, Phil Vuong, Brew Exchange, Botticelli's, beer, cocktails, recipes

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle