Skip to main content


Beer Cocktail Recipe: Cucumber Basil IPA Cooler

Beer Cocktail Recipe: Cucumber Basil IPA Cooler

Beer Cocktail Recipe-Cucumber Basil IPA Cooler1

Citrus IPA’s will rule the summer of 2016, and with good reason.

Ballast point, and their well-distributed Grapefruit Sculpin is often pointed to as the genesis of the grapefruit beer obsession when it fact it was more of a large scale manifestation of our growing love from the beautiful flavors citrus gives to beer.

While IPA’s get the brunt of the citrus infusion, no beer style has been immune. From blood orange stouts to orange witbier, beer will always play nicely with citrus fruit. In part because so many hops already carry nice citrus notes into your beer, so chances are it’s a flavor you’re used to tasting.

This summer more breweries than ever plan to give you a fruit infusion in one way or another. How are they going to do it? Let us count the ways:

Hip hops:  The cool kids in the hop world right now are those ripe with citrus flavor. Some of the most common are Amarillo, Citra, Centennial, and Cascade all have a nice natural citrus flavor.

Beer Cocktail Recipe-Cucumber Basil IPA Cooler5

These are hops, fresh from the hop bine

Radlers: A radler is a bit of a beer cocktail that can be carried out in a variety of ways. A radler is basically beer and grapefruit. It can also include sparkling grapefruit soda, or lemon-lime soda plus grapefruit juice. It can be mixed at the bar or pre-mixed and bottled or canned ahead of time.

Shandy: The lemon version of a radler. Same as above, it’s a beer cocktail that includes beer, lemonade or lemon soda. It’s most often pre-mixed.

Brewed with fruit: This is a trend that will take over your bottle shops in the next few months and I couldn’t be happier about it. Brewers are including peels, fruit, juice, and any other incarnation of citrus that their creative minds can think of. From sours to little known German styles, all types of beer are being experimented with.

 Extracts: This is fairly rare. Occasionally brewers will use a flavor extract (think vanilla extract when making frosting) to infuse a beer with flavor. Most often this is a last resort when working with an ingredient that is either incredibly inconsistent (like peppers) or when the flavors are hard to work with in the brewing process (like mint). Citrus isn’t either of those things so extracts are pretty rare when making citrus beers.

Randall: Imagine one of those plastic tubes that goes into a vacuum that drive up bank tellers use. Now imagine it’s filled with cut up grapefruit. Now imagine it’s between a keg and a tap handle at your bar and your beer is being pumped through it before getting into your glass. This is a Randall and it’s a fun way to experiment with flavors without having to brew a new batch. Look for them at hardcore tap-rooms and beer bars. Next time you’re at a beer bar or tap-room ask if anything "is on randall."

Beer Cocktail Recipe-Cucumber Basil IPA Cooler3

Beer Cocktail Recipe: Cucumber Basil IPA Cooler

Servings 1 cocktail


  • 1 ½ ounces vodka
  • 2 basil leaves chopped
  • 6 slices of cucumbers
  • 3 ounces sparkling lemonade*
  • 3-6 ounces IPA with citrus notes
  • Garnish: cucumber slices and small basil leaves


  • Add the vodka, basil, cucumbers and sparking lemonade to a shaker half filled with ice. Shake several times, pour into an IPA glass.
  • Pour beer into the glass, gently stir. Add cucumbers and basil. Serve immediately.


If you use lemon flavored sparkling water, or any other soda that is unsweetened, make sure to compensate for the lack of sweetness with about 1/2 ounce of simple syrup or agave.

Beer Cocktail Recipe-Cucumber Basil IPA Cooler2

Beer Sangria

Beer Sangria2

The first cocktail ever invented was a beer cocktail. Although the term cocktail will need to be defined as "a beverage made by mixing two or more alcoholic liquids" to come to that conclusion, and legions of cocktail snobs will stand up to debate that with me, I firmly defend the beer cocktail as being the spark that ignited a cultural inferno.

Beer Sangria4

It was the early 1600’s and rum had just been discovered on sugar cane plantations in the Caribbean, after what I’m assuming wasn’t much more than a school-yard dare, when workers decided to taste the fermented mixture of water and molasses. It was such an instant success it quickly became an accepted form of currency.

Beer Sangria

Sailors were given a "rum ration" on long voyages (which gave rise to the popular pairing of pirates and bottles of rum, yo-ho-ho). As a way to extend those rations, they began to mix rum with beer, water, sugar, and whatever else they could find. They called this charming mixture of beer, rum, and whatever: Grog. Although the hangover-inducing thought of that might not sound so appealing, it’s definitive proof that beer mixology isn’t a new phenomenon.

In fact, beer mixology predates liquor mixology.

Beer Sangria-3

At the time, it was out of necessity, beer was cheaper and more abundant than other liquors so it made economic sense. These days, craft beer has a database of flavors that no other liquor can touch.

From caramel and molasses to grass and apricots, this is booze that makes sense to mix into your cocktails.

It’s not about improving beer, it’s about improving the cocktail.

Beer Sangria

Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Servings 4 servings


  • 1 cup peach nectar I used Kerns
  • 2 ounces fresh lemon juice
  • 2 ounces simple syrup
  • 4 ounces Pisco Reservado
  • 2 cups frozen peaches
  • 24 ounces summer style ale see note


  • In a large pitcher stir together the peach nectar, lemon juice, simple syrup and Pico. Refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.
  • Add the peaches and beer, serve immediately.


Beer: A lot of the new summer release beers will work really well for this, look for a beer with notes of citrus, apricots, peaches, or basil.
Pisco: Pisco Reservado is a liquor made in the winemaking regions of Peru and Chili, a brandy made from wine grapes. Most liquor store will carry it, call around to find some in your area.
Peaches: You can cut and freeze your own peaches or you can buy them frozen. Using frozen peaches instead of ice will help to avoid a watered down pitcher of booze.