Getting drunk is very fun! This is a truth known to both human and island-dwelling monkey for centuries. But some nights, ALAS, are no good for chasing a Long Island Iced Tea with seven watermelon vodka shots and regret.
It's time for Happy Hour, Gizmodo's weekly booze column. A cocktail shaker full of innovation, science and alcohol.
Some nights, you may want to have a few drinks without getting ripped enough to order Jagerbombs for strangers or texting your ex or whatever you do when you've drank too much.
Getting drunk comes with a long list of drawbacks, like sadness-riddled anxiety hangovers, public sobbing, and finding pictures of a labia on your phone that you don't remember taking. Bonus points if the labia is unidentified.
What to do if you want to toss back a few but you don't want to board a one-way express train to the greater crunk area? Beer cocktails are a perfect middle-ground between sobriety and sloshiness. I've only included beer cocktails without liquor because once you get a taste of the hard stuff, it's harder to keep it to a respectable five.
These drinks are all delicious, easy to make in less than five minutes, and most importantly, low enough in alcohol content that you can drink five without feeling like warm balls the next day.
Michelada con Clamato
Micheladas are served all over Latin America, and they're especially popular in Mexico. The core ingredients are beer, lime juice, salt, and something spicy, but my favourite iteration includes a lot of clamato juice. You can also put Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce in but screw that.
This recipe is pretty basic: You'll do a 1:1 ratio of clamato and Mexican lager. I used Mott's Extra Spicy for the clamato, and I used Corona for the beer but I would have used Negra Modelo if my local beer store had it. Then add a dash of vinegary hot sauce, the juice from three limes, and sprinkle some salt in to taste. I rimmed the glass with Tajin seasoning, which is fucking delicious, and then I sprinkled some in for good measure.
When I went to Equator this summer I kept ordering micheladas and feeling very confused about the across-the-board lack of any hint of tomato juice or clamato. That's because not all micheladas have this component, and I am a dumb Midwesterner.
This is a take on the drink that is very popular in Quito and other places too. It's the same as before, only MORE beer and MORE lime juice and NO clamato. I used the juice from six limes, like a king. Instead of half a Corona, I used the whole thing. The beer to lime juice ratio is more like 70/30, but you can adjust according to how sour you like things you to drink to be. (I am firmly in the "not that sour" camp.)
The Red Eye is basically just a clamato michelada minus the lime juice and spices, and technically minus the clams. It's like the Jimmy Kimmel of micheladas, fundamentally pretty decent but also undeniably bland. I like the 1:1 ratio here too, and swapped the Corona for a Stella Artois. For a standard Red Eye you use tomato juice, but why the hell would you buy regular old tomato juice when clamato exists? I just used Clamato again.
Year-Round Summer Shandy
The shandy was invented by someone hungover at some point in mid-19th century England, likely in the summertime, because this drink is perfect for rejuvenating your WILL to PARTY on a hot July night. It's simple: You do a 60/40 ratio for lemonade and beer.
It's best to make your own lemonade, but we can't all be Gwyneth Paltrow, can we? I used some discount lemonade and splashed in a little ginger ale.
Radler means "cyclist" in German, and it gets its name because it's a perfect drink to imbibe after hoping off your bike. Now, "Radler" is basically just the German word for "shandy". It's just a beer and fruit drink mix. Beer nerds have been fighting about whether there's any difference for years. The distinction, in my mind, comes from the presence of lemon. Lemon=shandy. Other stuff= radler. This distinction is probably not accepted by the shandy and radler purveyors of the world but guess what? This is my blog post! And radlers are best with grapefruit juice!
I mixed a Shoffenhofer Hefeweizen with some random grapefruit juice I bought at the convienence store and it was so good. (Still stuck with a 60/40 ratio, I am boring.) I squeezed the juice of one fresh grapefruit in to give it a pulpier, fresher taste.
This is my favourite fancy shandy. It does involve a little preparation when it comes to the pomegranate syrup, but if you serve this at a brunch people will think you are very classy, like a duchess of day-drinking.
You start by making pomegranate syrup: Heat a cup of pomegranate juice with 1/2 cup sugar until it boils, stirring for about a minute. Let it cool, and once that happens, add it to a 1:1 mix of Stella Artois and lemonade. It's not that hard but it looks pretty and tastes like getting respectably tipsy on Downton Abbey. (I got this recipe from Saveur.)
Jamaican Guinness Punch
Milk-based cocktails are somewhat controversial in certain circles (basically, my friends think this is gross). But Jamaican Guinness Punch is so good and oddly refreshing considering it contains two types of milk and one type of egg (chicken, let's not get crazy).
You take one Guinness, a cup of whole milk, 1/2 cup of condensed milk, and one egg white, and you blend it up. Don't have a blender? Eh, mixing vigorously is probably fine. Sprinkle some cinnamon on top if you want! Yeah! I modified this recipe from a great blog called JehanCanCook.com, which I credit for teaching me that Guinness, which I don't like, can be transformed into a booze slushy via this recipe.