Do you love beer but fancy mixing it up? Like the idea of a cocktail, but not a fan of hard liquor? We’ve got the perfect drink for you! Enter the red beer.
This delicious drink is a fresh twist on the tried and tested Bloody Mary. But instead of using vodka to give it a kick, this is made with beer.
If you’re wondering if this is for you, why not give it a go? Follow our simple step by step guide to how to make a red beer. We’ll even show you how to make the perfect side dish to accompany it.
Just step this way for a taste sensation!
Ingredients and equipment
- Chilled pint glass
- Wedge of lime
- Half a teaspoon of Kosher salt
- Half a teaspoon of chili powder
- Half a teaspoon of black pepper
- Tomato juice or V8 juice
- Worcestershire sauce (optional)
- Hot sauce (optional)
- Celery stick
And if you want to try making our fried pickles as an accompaniment:
- 32 ounces of dill pickle slices
- ½ cup of all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon of seasoning sauce
- ½ cup of water
- ¼ cup of milk
- 2 cups of vegetable oil
- Ranch dressing for dipping
- Medium-sized bowl
- Heavy bottomed skillet
- Wire rack
- Paper towels
How to Make a Red Beer
Step 1: Choose your beer
There are lots of ways to give your red beer your own individual twist. But perhaps the most important is to start with your preferred beer.
You can use pretty much any pale lager you want. If you’re mixing for a crowd, you can’t go wrong with a mainstream brand like Bud Light. Keystone, Michelob, Busch Light and Pacifico also work well in a red beer.
Steer clear of stronger beers. The roots of red beer come from Nebraska, where it’s traditionally drunk in the morning. So you don’t want anything that’s going to be too much for your digestive system!
And if you have a gluten intolerance, everything in this recipe can be made with gluten-free alternatives. Bard’s, made from sorghum malt, is a good choice of beer for anyone who needs to stay away from gluten.
Step 2: Prepare your seasoning
You want your glass to be ice cold, so begin by popping it in the freezer for half an hour or so.
While your glass is chilling, it’s time to prepare the seasoning that you’ll put around the rim. Some people keep it simple and use only kosher salt. We think adding in a pinch of black pepper and chili powder makes it more exciting.
Don’t worry about being precise about the amounts. If you like it hot, add a little more chili. The main thing is that you want enough seasoning in your saucer to coat the rim of your glass.
If you want to minimize preparation time, you can use your choice of ready-made seasoning mix instead.
Pro tip: If you have a favorite seasoning for Bloody Marys, this will work well here too. Blogger An Affair from the Heart recommends a mix of cayenne pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion salt, celery salt, ground mustard and black pepper.
Step 3: Salt the rim of your glass
When half an hour is up, remove the glass from the freezer. The sides should have a lovely cloudy appearance, showing that it’s properly chilled.
Now take your wedge of lime and rub it along the rim of the glass. Make sure you cover every bit with lime juice. This is what is going to make the seasoning stick to the glass.
We’ve seen some recipes that substitute honey for lime juice. If you have a sweet tooth and that sounds good to you, go ahead – it’s certainly sticky enough to hold your seasoning. But we think the bitterness of the lime works well with the salt and spices here.
Turn the glass upside down and press it into the saucer of seasoning. Turning it slightly in both directions as you press down will help the seasoning to stick. You can see how to do it in this YouTube video from The Frugal Chef.
Step 4: Pour the beer
It’s now time to add your beer to the glass. We suggest filling it about three-quarters full, but the ratio of beer to tomato juice is another thing you can vary. If you want your beer very “red”, you can take the beer component all the way down to a quarter of a glass.
Tip your glass at a 45-degree angle as you pour, and let the beer run down the side of the glass. As the beer hits the sides, the impact will release some of the carbon dioxides it contains. This will then rise to the top as bubbles. The result will be a thicker, foamier head, with a great aroma.
Step 5: Add the tomato juice
Now fill up the rest of the glass with your choice of tomato or V8 juice. Tomato juice is the traditional choice for red beer, and it will give you a lovely tangy drink.
Another option is to use tomato puree instead. That will still give you that delicious tomato tang, and you’ll need less of it. That means there’ll be more room in your glass for the beer!
If you choose V8 juice, you’ll still get that distinctive red color. You’ll also get a wider range of vitamins and minerals. Flavor-wise, it will suit those looking for a herbier taste from their red beer.
Step 6: Add extra flavor
Many people will stop at step 5. But for a really tasty red beer, add some Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce.
If you’re gluten intolerant, make sure that your sauces won’t upset your tum. Lea and Perrins, French’s and Kroger Worcestershire sauce are all gluten-free. And Dave’s Gourmet and Crystal are great gluten-free options for hot sauce.
A healthy dash of Worcestershire sauce will give your red beer extra zing. And hot sauce will jazz it up still further.
Again, the exact amounts you add are up to you. We like to add roughly twice as much hot sauce as Worcestershire sauce.
If you’re not sure what you’ll like, try adding small amounts and then tasting. Take your time as you do this. Remember the golden rule of cooking: you can always add more, but you won’t be able to take it away!
Step 7: Present it in style
The final step is to mix together all your ingredients. We like to do this with a celery stick, which you can then leave in the glass to serve. Alternatively, place one or two green olives on a cocktail stick, and balance it on the edge of the glass.
There are plenty of other options to present your red beer in style. Anything salty or pickled works well as an accompaniment. Pickled okra, salted cherry tomatoes – let your imagination run wild!
Step 8: Make a side dish of fried pickles
If you want to provide something for guests to enjoy with their beer, fried pickles are a perfect choice. And they’re very easy to make.
Begin by placing some paper towels over a wire rack. This is where you’re going to dry off your pickles after you’ve finished cooking them.
Remove the pickles from the jar, draining away the liquid. Then dry them using a paper towel.
Now mix the flour and seasoning sauce together in a bowl. Add the milk and water, and whisk it all together. This is the batter.
Take your skillet and heat the oil in it. You want it to be medium to hot, about 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
It’s now time to dip the pickles in the batter. Dip each one quickly so that it’s completely coated. Then put it straight into the hot oil. Cook between six and eight at a time, so you have plenty of room in your skillet.
Turn each pickle frequently, roughly once every 30 seconds or so. That will allow them to cook evenly and the batter to turn golden and crispy all over.
When they look the right color, remove them from the pan. Leave them to dry on the paper towel-covered wire rack.
They can be eaten warm or cold, as you prefer. Serve them with some ranch dressing, and you’ll have the perfect salty side dish to go with your red beer!
Ready to try making red beer?
We hope you’ve enjoyed our step by step guide to how to make a red beer! This versatile drink can be made in any number of ways to suit your personal preferences.
If you have a gluten intolerance, you can enjoy this too. Just make sure your beer, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce are all gluten-free. There are plenty of good options out there.
And don’t be afraid to experiment! Try mixing things up with tomato juice or puree, or max out your vitamin intake with V8 juice. And there are a world of choices when it comes to the seasoning for the rim of your glass too.
We hope you’re soon enjoying a refreshing red beer – and perhaps some fried pickles to go with it!