Rim a pilsner glass in honey and dip lightly in salt. Combine gin, lemon juice and zest, and shake with ice. Strain into rimmed glass packed with ice. Fill with beer and garnish with a lemon twist.
Rim a pilsner glass with 1 tbsp simple syrup and crushed nuts. In a shaker, muddle cocoa nibs and remaining simple syrup. Add cognac, shake with ice, then strain into rimmed glass packed with ice. Fill with beer and top with a coconut milk float.
Beer before liquor, or liquor before beer? Hell, why not both at the same time? Mixologists are exploring the potential of craft beers as cocktail mixers, concocting disarmingly delicious drinks with an added kick. The new breed goes way beyond summer standbys like the Michelada and the Shandy. One of the best spots to sample these brews in New York is Joe Doe, the rustic East Village joint run by chef Joe Dobias and his girlfriend-turned-partner Jill Schulster. "When we opened the restaurant [in 2008], we didn't have enough money to assemble a proper wine list," Jill laughs, "so I improvised." Her "prepared beers" soon found a loyal following, and range from mild (pumpkin ale, rum and sage) to wild (stout, bourbon, iced espresso and peanut dust). "Joe and I are both of the 'try anything once' mentality," she says. As holiday entertaining heats up, we asked Jill to fork over two of her favorite recipes—a perennial go-to, and a seasonal special. Whip them up at your next shindig to jumpstart cocktail-hour conversation. - Chris Schmicker