Drinks

Red Robin gets funky with beer can cocktails

June 13, 2013 at 11:04 AM ET

beer cocktails
Courtesy Red Robin

I haven’t been this excited about drinking a Coors Light in a long time.

Gourmet burger chain Red Robin has just announced two new beer cocktails - one that blends Coors Light with liquor and fruit juice, and the other that uses Blue Moon as its base. They’re called Can-Crafted Cocktails, and are available through the end of summer.

People have been mixing beer with nectars and booze for centuries, but it’s only been in the last few years that beer cocktails have come into fashion at craft beer bars and gastropubs across the country.

Red Robin has a history of getting creative in the adult beverage department, so embracing the beer cocktail trend seems like a logical development for them, even if it’s a little shocking to see something this fun and funky in a family restaurant chain.

The Coors Light cocktail is a blend of that Coors, ginger liquor and lemonade topped with fresh-squeezed lemons. Take a sip from its sturdy black straw, and you are treated to a sweet and tart pucker of lemon, followed by a candied thread of ginger, and a dry interplay of ginger and lemons on the back end of the flavor that preps your palate for another sip. It’s pretty refreshing stuff.

You really can’t taste the Coors Light in there (hey, it’s hard to taste Coors Light under most conditions), but the beer, which accounts for almost 60 percent of the mix, adds a wonderful bubbliness to the drink without watering down the flavor like club soda might.

The Blue Moon Can-Crafted Cocktail is a mixture of Blue Moon wheat beer, SVEDKA Clementine Vodka, orange juice and fresh lime juice. It has a broad orange flavor with a boozy undercurrent of vodka and a dry lime finish. You can taste the wheaty heart of the Blue Moon in the afterglow of the flavor, as the citrus of the lime fades away.

Both of these fancy beer concoctions are served in sturdy aluminum vessels that look just like topless Coors Light and Blue Moon cans, albeit ones with fruit slices clinging to their edges and straws poking out of their tops.

This slightly odd choice of serving vessels was a carefully calculated move, according to Donna Ruch, master mixologist for Red Robin.

“I wanted our customers to know at first sight that they were looking at a beer cocktail, and the cans help to do just that,” Ruch told TODAY.com. “People get it right away.”

So far the response has been positive, according to Marti Schenck, general manager of the Red Robin in Rockaway, N.J. “People see them on go by on a tray and are like, ‘what is THAT?!’” Schenck told TODAY.com. “It’s something new, something different, and people are really seem excited about them.”

This isn’t the first time Red Robin has had some fun with beers and blenders. Last September, they created their first beer milkshake, which blended Samuel Adams Oktoberfest, soft serve vanilla ice cream, vanilla syrup, and caramel, all served in a Samuel Adams perfect pint glass.

Since then they’ve created a spicy winter shake featuring Samuel Adams Winter Lager, an Irish shake featuring Guinness, Jameson’s Irish Whiskey and chocolate ice cream, and a spring shake, made with Blue Moon Blue Belgian White beer.

The beer cocktails are the first of their kind served by the chain, but expect more to come.

“Our beer shakes were super successful and have become a regular menu item,” said Denny Marie Post, Red Robin’s senior vice president and chief menu and marketing officer. “We think the same will happen with our beer cocktails.”

Of course you don’t have to go to Red Robin to experience beer cocktails for yourself. Check out the website Beermixology.com for a number of interesting recipes that you can whip up at home submitted by their team of mixologists. And there’s always your local beer bar – you’d be surprised what the bartender might have up his or her sleeve if you ask.

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