Boilermaker (beer cocktail)

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The ingredients of the American version of a boilermaker.

A boilermaker can refer to two types of beer cocktail. In American terminology, the drink consists of a glass of beer and a shot of whiskey.[1] The beer is either served as a chaser or mixed with the whiskey. The combination of a shot and beer produce a faster onset of the inebriating effects of alcohol. When the beer is served as a chaser, the drink is often called simply a shot and a beer. In Philadelphia, it is commonly referred to as a Citywide Special, often combining an inexpensive beer with an inexpensive whiskey.

In the United Kingdom, the term boilermaker refers to a half pint of draught mild mixed with a half pint of bottled brown ale.[2] The use of the term in British pubs can be traced back to about 1920.[3]


There are a number of ways to drink an American boilermaker:

  • Traditionally, the liquor is drunk in a single gulp and is then "chased" by the beer, which is sipped.[4][5]
  • The liquor and beer may be mixed by pouring or dropping the shot into the beer. The mixture may be stirred, if desired.[4] If the actual shot glass is dropped into the beer glass, the drink is known as a depth charge.
  • The liquor may be poured directly into an open beer bottle or can after removing some of the beer.

Similar drinks[edit]

Other pairings of a shot and a beer are possible; traditional pairings include:

  • Kopstootje (little headbutt), Dutch pairing of Jenever (Dutch gin) and beer,[6] term attested 1943.[7]
  • Herrengedeck (literally "gentlemen's menu"), German pairing of Korn (grain brandy) and beer.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Walkart, C.G. (2002). National Bartending Center Instruction Manual. Oceanside, California: Bartenders America, Inc. p. 123.   ASIN: B000F1U6HG. “Serve whiskey in a shot glass with a glass of beer on the side as a chaser.”
  2. ^ "Collins English Dictionary". Retrieved 7 August 2013. 
  3. ^ Partridge, Eric (1937). A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English, Edition 8, 2002. Routledge. p. 111. ISBN 978-0415291897. 
  4. ^ a b Hellmich, Mittie (2006). The Ultimate Bar Book: The Comprehensive Guide to Over 1,000 Cocktails. Chronicle Books. pp. 93–94. ISBN 0-8118-4351-3. 
  5. ^ Regan, Gary (2003). The Joy of Mixology (first ed.). New York: Clarkson Potter. p. 226. ISBN 0-609-60884-3. 
  6. ^ Kopstootje: A Little Head Butt from Stillwater Artisanal Ales and Bols Genever, Jonathan Moxey
  7. ^ De pers in Nederland, H. A. Goedhart N.v. Nederlandsche uitgeverij "Opbouw,", 1943, [ p. 162]
  8. ^ Matthew Rowley (2015). Lost Recipes of Prohibition: Notes from a Bootlegger's Manual. The Countryman Press.