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Craft Beer Cocktails: “Wicked Snakebite”

July 25, 2011

After my recent experiment with beer sangria, a thought occurred to me. Considering the rapid growth and variation in craft beer these days, it seems that craft beer mixology should be the next new frontier. With so many styles and flavors of beer to choose from, the possibilities for craft beer cocktails are literally endless. So once again, I figured it was time for me to throw on my lab coat and get to work. For science.

I started by looking up existing mixed drink recipes featuring beer, in Stephen Kittredge Cunningham’s The Bartender’s Black Book (8th ed.). The thing that struck me about all of these recipes is that they generally only call for “ale or lager,”  apparently just as a filler. Well with the way that the craft beer landscape has shaped up in recent years, it’s possible to get a bit more specific.

I found a recipe for a drink called an “American Snakebite”: (in a 12 oz. glass) 3/4  hard cider, 1 or 2 oz. of vodka, and then fill with ale or lager. I chose to work on a variation of this recipe (mostly because it seemed easy), using quality craft beers instead of just any old ale or lager. After tinkering around with it a bit, I came up with a recipe that I’ve dubbed the “Wicked Snakebite”:

(in a 12 oz. glass)

-50ml (approx. 1.6 oz.) of vodka

– equal parts Maine Brewing Co. Peeper Ale and Julian Hard Cider.

The robust hoppiness of the Peeper Ale perfectly complements the bitter apple flavors of the Julian Hard Cider, and the vodka just kicks it all up a notch. With its golden straw color and refreshing bitterness, it’s a great warm weather cocktail, and is perfectly suited for a slice of lime or some ice on a hot summer day. As for the name, the “wicked” comes from New England (in reference to the Maine Brewing Co.), and the “snakebite” bit is to pay tribute to where I got the idea from. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how new beverages are born. Try it out, you may be surprised. Or come up with some cocktails of your own, and post your discoveries in the comments. In the meantime, I’ll be in the laboratory devising some new recipes, so hopefully there will be more to come.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 26, 2011 3:57 pm


    Thanks for the advice… nothing compares to a well made snakebite!

    I think we need to send you back to the lab to test different cider, ale, and vodka combinations to make sure that you found the best one!

    As they say, only practice makes perfect!


    • July 26, 2011 4:42 pm

      You’re right, I should probably go back and check my hypotenuses. Science is a tough business.

  2. September 7, 2011 1:18 am

    I love a good Snake Bite. Have you thought of using Lairds Apple Brandy or calvados instead of vodka?

    • September 10, 2011 8:15 pm

      I hadn’t actually thought of that. But then again I wouldn’t want to drown out the complex hoppiness of the Peeper Ale with too much apple. I’ll have to give it a try and find out.

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