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Arnold Palmer (arinahabich / Getty Images/iStockphoto)

It's summer's hottest way to chill — the beer cocktail. These creative libations combine the pleasure of a great brew with the delightful complexity of a handcrafted drink.

While beer cocktails may seem like the latest incarnation of the craft cocktail trend, their origins actually go back centuries. In 700 BC long before the first beergarita, there was a mixed drink made of wine, mead and barley beer that was served at special gatherings. And 18th century sailors drank something called flip, a combination of beer, sugar, rum and eggs served hot. 

Los Angeles-based mixologist Thomas Hamilton is a huge fan of the beer cocktail. "They have a wonderful effervescence that makes them the perfect kind of light, summery drink," he said.

Hamilton shared three of his favorite recipes with us, all made with pale lager — cool, light and just right for summer.

Michelada
Hamilton's michelada is a simple classic, finished off with a colorful rim coating that packs more of a punch than salt.

Ingredients
12 oz. bottle of beer
3 oz. tomato juice
Juice from 1/4 lime
Pinch of celery salt 
Lime wedges for garnish
Rim coating: raw sugar mixed with cayenne pepper, to taste
Ice

Directions
In a pitcher, mix the beer, tomato juice and lime juice. Add celery salt to taste. Moisten the rim of two highball glasses with lime, then dip into the rim coating. Add ice to each glass, pour in the drink mixture, and garnish with lime.

Arnold Palmer Shandy
This variation of the shandy is as refreshing as its virgin namesake and couldn't be simpler to make.

Ingredients
12 oz. bottle of beer
6 oz. lemonade
6 oz. iced tea
Two lemon wheels for garnish
Ice

Directions
Mix the liquids in a pitcher. Pour over ice into two pint glasses and garnish with lemon wheels. 

Cadillac beergarita
Add a note of sophistication to this beergarita with a float of Grand Marnier.

Ingredients
12 oz. bottle of beer 
3 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
2 oz. Triple Sec
2 oz. tequila (optional)
1 oz. Grand Marnier
Coarse salt
Ice

Directions

Combine the beer, lime juice, Triple Sec and (if desired) tequila in a pitcher. Moisten the rim of two margarita glasses with lime and coat with salt. Pour drink over ice, then float Grand Marnier on top. 

 

— By Maxine Nunes, Brand Publishing Writer