A Boilermaker Is The No-Fuss Cocktail For Beer And Bourbon Lovers

Beer cocktails are underrated workhorses. They pack hefty strength, they're refreshing, and the flavors are unique and complex. Knock back an Edna's Lunchbox, Michelada, Summer Shandy, or Black and Tan and see what we mean. Today, we're talking about a drink tailor-made for beer and Bourbon lovers.

The Boilermaker cocktail should not to be confused with the more utilitarian "Boilermaker" beer-and-a-shot combo. This vibrant red drink is a combination of smoky bourbon, beer, sweet vermouth, lemon juice, and Cherry Heering. If you've never worked with it before, Cherry Heering is a Danish liqueur made from Stevens cherries, spices, and a neutral grain-based spirit. It's technically classified as cherry brandy and is responsible for the Boilermaker's signature ruby hue. In addition to aesthetics, Cherry Heering also contributes sweet-tart-herbaceous notes of strawberry jam, almond, and pine for a dimensional profile sure to make a believer out of even the staunchest beer cocktail doubter.

To whip up a Boilermaker, combine a can of beer with a ½ ounce each of all the remaining ingredients. Serve in a chilled pint or highball glass, stirred. As a time-saving bonus, Boilermaker cocktails can be assembled right in their serving glass, no need to wash a shaker. Its simple assembly also makes this cocktail a good fit for beginner mixologists. Garnish with a lemon slice, a lime wedge, a blood orange wheel, or a few whole cherries with stems intact.

Woodsy, funky, cherry sips

The type of beer you choose to build your cocktail makes a significant difference in taste. To make a true Boilermaker, opt for Samuel Adams Summer Ale. The bright, pale American wheat totes bright acidic notes of lemon and lime, a complement to the sweet vermouth and cherry liqueur. Whatever beer you select, steer clear of IPAs for a Boilermaker. With the bourbon (roughly 40%), vermouth (16%), and cherry liqueur (24%), you could end up with a dizzying ABV.

Don't cut corners on ingredient quality with this one; Kirsch liqueur may be cherry flavored, and you may already have it on hand, but its bitterness will break your Boilermaker. Cherry Heering is far from a one-trick pony. It can be subbed anywhere you would normally use maraschino liqueur, and it's a crucial component of Singapore Slings and Blood and Sands. For whiskey fans, buying a bottle will pay off in spades for your home bar. (Pro tip: A shot of Cherry Heering is also delicious in a glass of ice-cold Coca-Cola.)

To further emphasize the cherry notes in your Boilermaker, you could opt for a cherry-forward bourbon. Evan Williams Cherry Bourbon Whiskey is a solid budget-friendly option at $19.99 for a 750 ml bottle. On the higher end, the acclaimed Traverse City Cherry Bourbon Whiskey retails for $139.99, but depending on how often you plan to enjoy a Boilermaker, the investment could be well worth it for the quality.