Hoptails: 10 beer-based cocktails to try in London

Typically lagging behind pubs and taprooms in their beer options, bars and restaurants are offering up a new way to enjoy this classic British drink.

Camarillo at Hawksmoor
In their own words, this is Hawksmoor’s take on a ‘grown up Lilt’. Tropical vibes, deriving from the West Coast American hops of Hawksmoor’s own Session IPA, are complemented with rye whiskey, Suze bitters, grapefruit, and lemon.

Brixton Spritz at Nanban
Tim Anderson has always had an affinity with beer, teaming up with Pressure Drop in Tottenham to create the perfect partner to his ramen at Nanban. It also shows in the cocktails, with a special nod to the local – in this case, sake, Prosecco, and Campari, balanced out with Brixton pale ale.

Guadalajara Michelada at Cantina Laredo
Pick a beer off Cantina Laredo’s list – which mostly consists of accessible pilsners – and it’ll be served long with tomato juice, lime, hot sauce, and salt. A refreshing tipple that pairs well with their tacos and tostadas.

The Season of the Witch at The Wigmore
With this Michel Roux Jr. impression of a modern pub comes a welcome dedication to good beer. The Wigmore’s even gone so far as to brew its own, with the help of Bermondsey brewery Brew By Numbers. With Season of the Witch, The Wigmore’s saison is blended with sloe gin, spiced mead, mango, grapefruit, and fresh raspberries.

P.O.S.H at 12th Knot
The fact this is part of Sea Containers, and on the riverfront of a historically significant trade route, has cleverly inspired 12th Knot’s P.O.S.H – a concoction of white port, tequila, strawberry and Champagne cordial, and hops. Back in the day, wine was fortified, and beers were hopped, to help last long sea voyages.

Sloe Whip at Gin & Beer
Most of Gin & Beer’s menu is dedicated to Belgian beer and beer-inspired cocktails. The flavour of the moment goes to the Sloe Whip – a citrussy blend of blackberry gin, witbeer, apple juice and mint.

Black Velvet at Sweetings
The grandfather of beer cocktails, or if not pretty close to it, Black Velvet – i.e. Guinness and Champagne – was created at Brooks’s Club in London in 1861. Some classic establishments, like Sweetings, continue the tradition.

Elderbeer Collins at Belgo
Witbier, or ‘white beer’, usually comes with hints of citrus and coriander. As such, it lends itself well to ingredients imparting similar flavours, as in this ‘hoptail’ of witbeir, vodka, elderflower, and lemon. Try it alongside Belgo’s famous mussels at their restaurants in Soho, King’s Cross, Holborn and Covent Garden.

Hard Shandy at MEATliquor
MEATliquor is pretty liberal with its alcohol. Enough to make you think the prohibition of beer and spirits just finished. They’ve combined the two in the new Hard Shandy – Jack Daniel’s, ginger, honey, and lemon topped up with Brooklyn Lager and a ‘sea spray’ of Lagavulin 16. It’s available by the stein, from 0.5 to 3L.

Raccoon’s Nose at Hide Below
When Ollie Dabbous closed his eponymous restaurant and opened the one-of-a-kind, no-expense-spared Hide in Piccadilly, ex-Dabbous bar manager Oskar Kinberg tagged along. A mixologist not afraid to experiment with beer, here he invents an amalgam of gin with Galia melon, dill, and Toast pale ale.

This is a guest post from freelance food journalist Hugh Thomas. He’s contributed to Foodism, Time Out, Great British Chefs, and is part of British Street Food’s small team of vigilant writers. Find him on twitter @hughwrites.