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The Champagne of beer

The new suds-based cocktails come with tongue planted firmly in cheek

Author Kelly O’Brien Photography Colette Levesque


In these days of house-made bitters and cocktails whose provenances could, and do, fill volumes, it’s refreshing to find a drink that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Take the Milwaukee Champagne Cocktail at Prohibition in Atlanta, which reimagines the classic champagne cocktail as a bitters-soaked sugar cube topped with a twist of lemon and Miller High Life. Or look at Ryan Maybee, who substitutes Schlitz for bubbly in a champagne cocktail–style drink at the Rieger Hotel in Kansas City, Mo. You’ll find a particularly whimsical take on the trend at The Barn Light, a coffeeshop-cum-bar in Eugene, Ore. There, bartender Jake Bliven serves the Tracktown 75, in which grapefruit- and hops-infused vodka, lemon juice and local honey are topped off with Pabst Blue Ribbon. As a bonus, you get to keep the can, as well as what’s left in it.

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›  1 ½ oz. grapefruit- and hops-infused vodka
›  ¾ oz. honey syrup (1 part honey to 1 part water)
›  ¾ oz. lemon juice
›  12 oz. can of Pabst Blue Ribbon

1. Combine one 750 ml bottle of Monopolowa vodka with approx. 2 oz. fresh hops and the peel from half of a grapefruit. Let it infuse for 48 hours and then strain.
2. Add 1 ½ oz. infused vodka to shaker full of ice.
3. Add lemon juice and honey syrup and shake to combine.
4. Pour over ice in a 12 oz.  glass (or mason jar for full effect) and top with Pabst.
5. Garnish with lemon and serve with the can.

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