What’s Cooler Than Being Cool? Beer Ice Cubes

Is anyone ever ready for the first sweltering heat wave of each summer?

Even after suffering through a terribly soggy and chilly spring that makes you beg for a ray of sunshine and a day above 70 degrees, that first high-temperature onslaught always seems to catch you off guard.

And once our house traps heat, it’s all over and done for. Nothing to do but open all the windows, turn on all the ceiling fans, and pray for cross-ventilation.

Oh yeah—and drink a beer.

I’ve long defended the practice of cooling down wine with ice cubes. It’s halfway to wine spritzer territory, people, and only haters can’t find the joy in a spritz cocktail.

smoky michelada made with beer ice cubes
Photo: Casey Barber

But my recent status update–“It’s so hot I’m putting ice cubes in my beer. Desperate times.”–prompted more than a joke response from my friend Chris Clark. “OMG. Beer in the ice tray for times like these. Credit, please.”

Chris, here’s your credit. Brilliant move.

He explained that the idea came from Caffe Capri, a (now-closed) old-school Italian joint in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

The secret to their much-lauded iced coffee was that it was made with frozen coffee shavings instead of ice—so why not take the same granita idea and apply it to a brew?

beer ice cubes for summer cocktails
Photo: Casey Barber

Much like making coffee ice cubes for your summer cold brew or making ice cubes of stock or wine for future use, the boozy shortcut of using beer ice cubes is so freaking obvious.

And even better, having a stash of beer ice cubes means you’re already ready for a beer cocktail, whether it’s a punchy tiki-inspired hefeweizen drink, or a classic michelada.

Scroll down for a list of beer cocktail suggestions you can make with beer ice cubes!

If you’re making beer ice cubes for more generic use, be mindful of mixing and matching beer styles that don’t play well together. My pro suggestion: look for a lager or summer ale with a light and not-too-hoppy flavor profile.

Any beer I would use for my summer house beer is fair game here. Making beer ice cubes with one of these lighter-bodied brews won’t dilute the taste of your drink too too much, especially if you’re downing them without dawdling.

How to Make Beer Ice Cubes

Anyone who’s thrown a sixer into the freezer for a quick cool-down–and promptly forgotten all about it–knows this the hard way: Beer willfreeze fully, and that it expands as it does because of the carbonation.

One 12-ounce can or bottle of beer fits absolutely perfectly into a standard ice cube tray. Pour slowly and gently to avoid foam.

It’s slightly unnerving to see yellow ice cubes that look like a medical waste experiment gone awry, but just remember, that’s delicious beer in them cubes.

beer ice cubes for summer cocktails
Photo: Casey Barber

Once completely frozen, the cubes will have a soft and flaky, crystalline texture because of the aforementioned carbonation.

If that bugs you and you’d rather have a firmer cube, dilute the beer with water (a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio of water to beer, depending on your preference) before adding to the ice cube tray.

Either way, you’ve now got a neat party trick and a guaranteed way to make coping with the next round of heat advisory days (and nights) a little more bearable.

And that’s something we can all drink to. Bottoms up!

Beer Cocktails Using Beer Ice Cubes

How can you use beer ice cubes in your favorite summer drinks? Why not try it out in one of these beer cocktail recipes?

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  1. mmmm beer… ice cubes! I’ll have to try this once I get a “real” ice-cube tray..

  2. Hmm. Don’t know if I would try this. I prefer to put my beer bottle in the freezer for 10 minutes before consumption. I love the way it gets thicker.

    1. Susan, I think you’re on to something. I haven’t experimented with sparkling wine yet, but if beer is carbonated too and it gets an awesome texture – why can’t you have champagne popsicles with fresh raspberries?

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