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Drink · June 26, 2015

5 Ways to Make Cheap Beer Taste Better

Beer Salts

Inspired by the Mexican tradition of putting salt and lime in beer, beer salts are a simple (and portable) way to enhance a crisp lager. The flavor is equal parts citrus and savorythink of a lightweight Micheladawith both salt and lime balancing each other quite nicely. You can buy a premade variety in stores (we recommend Twang ourselves), or make your own at home by blending equal parts salt and lime powder.

Cocktail Bitters

Though normally reserved for classic drinks like a Sazerac or Old Fashioned, a few dashes of bitters add a pleasant complexity to lagers, pilsners, or wheat beers. Angostura bitters are by far the most versatile, but Peychaud's or orange can also be used for a sweeter, fruitier finish.

Apple Juice (Shandy)

If you've never enjoyed a shandy on a midsummer's day, you need to rethink your priorities. A shandy is any combination of beer and sweet beverage: That can be sparkling lemonade in Germany (a "Radler"), Sprite in Spain (a "clara"), or ginger ale in Great Britain (a "shandygaff"). However, our taste skews a little traditional, so we recommend an old English blend of equal parts beer and apple juice. Easy to make, and even easier to drink.

Grapefruit Juice

If you're looking for something with a little more oomph, this will hit the spot. The ingredient ratio is a little different (1 part beer to 3 parts grapefruit juice), but you'll want to adjust it to taste since the grapefruit juice is so potent. We recommend sipping this one on hot and humid evenings.


Another cocktail ingredient converted to the gospel of hops, a splash of Campari is the perfect upgrade for a mediocre beer. Its bitter orange flavor lends a brew a bit of complexity, while the beer's yeasty sweetness helps to mellow out the Campari. Add a wedge of lime for a citrus kick, and you've got a classy (but drinkable) cocktail that will keep you cool all summer.


Nathaniel Nagy

Copywriter, cold brew advocate, purveyor of handcrafted birthday haikus since 2009.