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Walk into any dive bar in America and you’ll find plenty of character in the wobbly bar stools, well-worn pool table, and charismatic patrons. Just be careful not to hit your head on the low ceilings. As you belly up to the bar, you’ll notice patrons have found a certain drink pairs perfectly with the laid-back environment. Most call it a boilermaker. Others call it a beer-and-a-shot. Some even call it a kopstoop or a head-butt, depending on where you’re drinking. But everyone agrees—it’s a go-to drink at any dive.

Where did this dive bar staple originate? And what are some of the best shot and beer pairings? Let’s dive right into it.

Whose idea was this, anyway?

Drinking a beer with a shot of liquor has roots in the Netherlands and Germany for generations. But the first official reports of it in America date back to the 1890s in Butte, Montana. After long days working the mines, workers would retreat to the local saloon for a refreshment. Soon enough, the boilermaker combination of whiskey and beer became the drink of choice. The Irish barkeeps affectionately referred to it as a Sean O’Farrell. The origin of that name is up for debate.

Wait, does the shot go in the beer?

If you’re a boilermaker newbie, don’t fret. The only wrong way to enjoy it is by not ordering it at all. Some boilermaker advocates claim it’s best enjoyed by dropping the shot directly into a glass of beer, similar to other drinks like a u-boot or a Dublin Drop. But the most common way to drink a boilermaker is by downing the shot in one gulp, then sipping on the beer as a chaser. Either way, it’s a no-frills drink with no judgments—just like the dive bar itself.

So, what are the best shot and beer combos?

Everyone has their preferences, but these are some of the pairings that we’d recommend trying at your local dive:

  • Sazerac Rye and an American lager
  • Southern Comfort and an amber ale
  • Buffalo Trace and a pilsner
  • Henry Ramos Gin and an IPA



Events


Drink & Learn: A Punch Perfect Summer

Friday, June 14, 2024
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Join us for an exciting evening of cocktail exploration as we dive into the art of batched cocktails, perfectly suited for summer gatherings. Local drinks Historian Elizabeth Pearce will lead this elevated experience. Participants will enjoy four iconic cocktails as they discover the secrets behind balancing flavors, selecting quality ingredients, and mastering the art of batching cocktails for entertaining. $45 per person. All guests must be 21 to participate. Guided Sazerac product tasting. Approximately 90 minutes. 45 people maximum capacity

Elevated Sazerac Cocktail Tasting

Sunday, June 23, 2024
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

June 23rd is named Sazerac Cocktail Day for a reason! Join us as we explore the evolution of New Orleans’ official cocktail: The Sazerac! This is an elevated, boozier version of our daily tasting class which featuring Sazerac products: Cognac de Forge, Sazerac Rye Whiskey, Peychaud’s Bitters, and Herbsaint Liqueur. $45 per person. Approximately 75 minutes.

Sazerac Cocktail Day! House Tour

Sunday, June 23, 2024
11:00 am - 4:30 pm

The Sazerac House Tour will be transformed for this one-day-only experience! Join us in celebration on June 23rd, the day in 2008 when the Sazerac Cocktail was named the official cocktail of New Orleans by the Louisiana State Legislature. Guests of the Sazerac House will experience an elevated museum experience which includes amplified tastings and storytelling of the spirits that make the Sazerac Cocktail so special!  Peychaud’s Bitters and Peychaud’s Aperitivo Spritz Samples in Peychaud’s Apothecary  High end Sazerac de Forge Cognac sampling  Specialty Herbsaint cocktail  Sazerac Rye Whiskey sampling (our in-house distilled spirit!)  The Perfect Sazerac Cocktail Guests must be 21 and over to enjoy the samples. Tickets are $10 per person. Guests under 21 or not wishing to drink may purchase a free ticket to enjoy the museum and storytelling.

Sazerac Cocktail Day! House Tour + Speakeasy Access

Sunday, June 23, 2024
11:00 am - 4:15 pm

This ticket type includes the full Sazerac Cocktail Day experience PLUS access to the beautiful Charente Speakeasy Tasting Room to relax and enjoy a full-sized Sazerac Cocktail featuring Cognac de Forge. The Sazerac House Tour will be transformed for this one-day-only experience! Join us in celebration on June 23rd, the day in 2008 when the Sazerac Cocktail was named the official cocktail of New Orleans by the Louisiana State Legislature. Guests of the Sazerac House will experience an elevated museum experience which includes amplified tastings and storytelling of the spirits that make the Sazerac Cocktail so special!  Peychaud’s Bitters and Peychaud’s Aperitivo Spritz Samples in Peychaud’s Apothecary  High end Sazerac de Forge Cognac sampling  Specialty Herbsaint cocktail  Sazerac Rye Whiskey sampling (our in-house distilled spirit!)  The Perfect Sazerac Cocktail Guests must be 21 and over to enjoy the samples. Guests under 21, or those not wishing to drink, may purchase a free ticket to enjoy the museum and storytelling.