Some bars devote a separate section of their menu to Boilermakers. Yes, right there next to the Aviations, Last Words, and Ramos Gin Fizzes, you’ll find a highly curated selection of beer-and-shot combos. And despite the setting in a place, and on a menu, some people might find intimidating, the democratic nature of the Boilermaker shines through again. Because while you may not know what the hell quinquina is, or whether or not you’d like elderflower liqueur in your cocktail, you can definitely navigate a roster of whiskeys and beer to find a matchup that suits you, no matter how fussy some of the pairings are.
Is there another drink out there with this kind of versatility? As brilliantly simple as a Martini is, it’s still possible to mess up, and it’s probably not your best choice in a dive bar. You might risk a Gin and Tonic at a dive, but you’ll probably end up being disappointed. The Boilermaker carries no such risk: you know exactly what you’re getting, and regardless of the bartender’s skill level, he or she will deliver exactly that.
You can’t mess it up, and you also can’t stop it: the Boilermaker has been around since the early 19th century, and it’s still going strong in the 21st. Sure, it’s benefitting from the craft cocktail movement’s embrace at the moment, but the Boilermaker is no trendy flash-in-the pan. It’s an ingeniously simple idea with the functionality and the all-inclusive appeal to stand the test of time. Kind of like democracy.