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. When the beer is served as a chaser, the drink is often called simply a shot and a beer.

In the United Kingdom, the term boilermaker refers to a half pint of draft 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:

In popular culture[edit]


Buddy Love (Jerry Lewis) orders a boilermaker in the 1963 version of The Nutty Professor.

Roy Fleming (Don Knotts) is forced through peer pressure, to drink a boilermaker Bomb, but once drunk keeps going for the sake of the party in "The Reluctant Astronaut" in 1967

Several references are made to the drink in the 1974 movie Airport 1975.

Brannigan (John Wayne) orders a boilermaker in the 1975 movie Brannigan.

Boilermakers appear in the 1976 movie The Bad News Bears. They are the favorite drink of Morris Buttermaker (Walter Matthau), the main character.

In the 1992 film A River Runs Through It, Norman Maclean (Craig Sheffer) celebrates his engagement with a depth charge, ordered as a boilermaker.

Boilermakers appear in the 1994 buddy comedy Dumb and Dumber, when Sea Bass (Cam Neely) and his pals order four boilermakers on the tab of Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey).

Boilermakers appear in the 2006 movie The Departed when Jack Nicholson's character, Frank Costello, takes a shot of whiskey with a Budweiser chaser.

Boilermakers appear in the 2011 movie Thor when Erik Selvig orders one each for himself and the titular character.


In season 6 (original air date: 1/7/1978) of The Bob Newhart Show, The Hartleys embark on a sea-going vacation to put work behind them. But Bob can't resist playing psychologist when he undertakes to counsel a married couple. The husband of the married couple enjoys Boilmakers and gets Bob drunk on them.

In season 5, episode 14, of Golden Girls, Sofia mentions "slamming down a few boilermakers."

In Just Shoot Me!, Dennis Finch always ordered this drink. In season 2, episode 13, "Pass the Salt," his father orders "Boilermaker, Boilermaker, Boilermaker!" for his three sons. Finch interjects by ordering a Sea Breeze.

In season 2, episode 3, of Shameless, Frank Gallagher orders a boilermaker. Bartender Kev then drops a shot of whiskey into the beer.

In season 2, episode 5, of Frasier, "Dukes, We Hardly Knew Ye," Duke the bartender offers Frasier and Niles "Duke Specials," which he describes as "boilermakers, shot of whiskey, beer back." He then hands them two shots of whiskey and two pints of beer.

In season 1, episode 22, of Cheers, Carla serves two dignified, middle-aged women, who artfully work their order up from tea to sherry to wine to beer to "two boilermakers — Wild Turkey and Bud." Carla replies, "I’ll run a tab."

In season 6, episode 10, of Cheers, Frasier Crane walks into the bar and calls for a strong drink to "blast [him] into sweet oblivion." Woody Boyd suggests a boilermaker. Frasier instead asks for a mimosa.

In season 2, episode 24 of ALF (TV series) Maura a friend Of Kate, is an alcoholic, Willie confides that in collage her nickname was boilermaker, because she drank 14 in one night.

In season 3, episode 11, of Moonlighting, Cybill Shepherd (Maddie Hayes) walks into Club Metropolis and orders a club soda and lime, then changes her mind and orders a white wine spritzer. She then looks to her left where about a dozen men are ogling her, and orders a boilermaker instead.

In season 2, episode 5, of Breaking Bad, Hank slams one down when the Whites visit him for dinner.

In season 3, episode 1, of Person of Interest, Mr. Reese drops a shot glass whiskey into a glass of beer and slides it over to Mr. Finch, saying "You might as well enjoy your first boilermaker."

In season 3, episode 5, of The Office, Ryan and Dwight drink boilermakers after a failed sales call.

In season 4, episode 1, of Home Movies, Coach McGuirk tries to teach a science lesson on mixing beer and alcohol, and Melissa brings up boilermakers.

In series 3, episode 18, of Absolutely Fabulous, Patsy is seen enjoying a boilermaker in the New York episode "The End."

In season 2 of The Wire, a shot and a beer is the standard drink of the stevedores.


The drink is mentioned in some novels, such as V. by Thomas Pynchon (1963) and Winter in the Blood by James Welch (1974).

The drink appears prominently in the novel King Leary by Canadian author Paul Quarrington. Leary and his entourage go to a seedy bar called the Boiler Room, so called because it is actually located in a boiler room and specializes in boilermakers. They encounter Leary's son, who is already under the influence of several boilermakers. They then order a round of them for the party.

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.