The Rattle Skull

The Rattle Skull is perfect for a campfire.

What's better than beer and pizza paired together? Pizza and a beer cocktail, of course. It may seem like a new trend, but the practice of mixing beer and spirits goes back centuries. In colonial America, it was fairly common to mix beer or ale with hard liquor. The colonists guzzled drinks with names like Flips, Bellow-Stop, Yard of Flannel and Stone Fence – each were a mix of beer and booze. There’s one such drink that I’ve taken a fancy to over the years: The Rattle Skull. It mixes two of my favorite things, rum and dark beer. The name itself was a British slang term for a person who talked too much.

At first, the flavors of the dark beer – this recipe uses brown ale, but The Rattle Skull is also commonly made with Porter – and aged rum, mixed with the tartness of the juice, are novel to a modern palate, so give it a few sips to start. Once your palate gets used to the combination of flavors, you’ll start to taste pleasant, palate-sticking notes of semi-sweet dark chocolate, mocha and citrus. And with no ice, shaking or fancy techniques required, The Rattle Skull is easy to make around a fall campfire.

The Rattle Skull

Boone County Brown Ale from Bur Oak Brewing Co. in Columbia, Missouri, or American Brown Ale from The Civil Life Brewing Co. in St. Louis work well in this recipe.

Serves | 1 |

Brown Sugar Syrup

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup water

The Rattle Skull

  • 2½ oz Diplomatico Añejo rum
  • ½ oz fresh lime juice
  • ½ oz brown sugar syrup (recipe below)
  • 10 oz brown ale
  • freshly grated nutmeg (for garnish)

| Preparation – Brown Sugar Syrup | In a small saucepot, combine both ingredients and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Bottle and use as needed; syrup will keep in refrigerator for up to 1 month.

| Preparation – The Rattle Skull | In a pint glass, combine rum, juice and syrup. Add a little bit of beer and stir to incorporate, then top with remaining beer. Garnish with nutmeg.