The History of Beer Poking

An Age Old Tradition: Back & Better Than Ever

Let’s blast to the past so we can take a look at a unique and enjoyable tradition that dates back to the colonial era known as beer poking.

Beer poking dates back more than 400 years ago to the colonial era where they used the mixture of alcohol and heat to create a brand new type of concoction. Colonial Americans started this trend in the winters when they were sitting around tending to the fires, this is when they discovered that the fire poker could be used to warm up their drinks to help warm them from the inside out.

The Europeans who settled the northeastern United States had a mighty thirst for rum. Colonial Americans knocked back gallons of pure alcohol each year. A lot of this alcohol was rum, and a lot of this rum was poured into a drink called the Flip.

“The days are short, the weather’s cold, by tavern fires tales are told. Some ask for dram when they first come in, others with flip and bounce begin.”

-Wayne Curtis

The recipe for a basic flips called for just three ingredients: rum, ale, and a sweetener such as sugar or molasses. It’s the method of preparation that made the drink unique.  Tavern owners adapted the loggerhead- a long iron tool with a *bulbous head used for melting tar pitch - to heat drinks instead. The loggerhead would be kept in the tavern fire, then plunged into a tankard of flip, casing it to heat up and  build a big, frothy head*. It also caramelized the sugar, giving the drink a bittersweet flavor.

*Bulbous - fat, round, or bulging.

*Head- is the frothy foam on top of beer which is produced by bubbles of gas, predominantly carbon dioxide, rising to the surface.


The Goods:

-12oz English-style ale

1 ½ tbsp. Demerara sugar

1 oz. high-proof rum

The Ex-BEER-iment:

In a cup, pour your English -style ale and sugar. Stir ale and sugar. Once your tip is glowing red, plunge it into your drink for 7 seconds allowing the tip to heat your ale and caramelize your drink. Add rum and enjoy!

Beer poking consists of getting a metal rod red hot in a campfire or fireplace and plunging it into an alcoholic beverage of choice; to colonial americans they would opt for what is called the “Rum Flip”.  When plunging the red hot metal rod into an alcoholic drink the chemistry takes over by creating a steaming, bubbling effect as the sugars in the alcohol are being caramelized in front of your eyes. Not only do you get the amazing ex-beer-ience of watching it happen, but you get to ex-beer-iment with all kinds of alcoholic beverages.

Although the colonials enjoyed a nice warm beer poked alcoholic beverage to warm them up in the winters, in today’s age who would want a warm beer? That just sounds like a bad college party. When you plunge that hot metal rod into your beer you don’t want to leave it in too long, just long enough (3-4 seconds) to get that delicious caramelized beer (that is still chilled), just like roasting marshmallows over the campfire.

Beer poking has come back into the light in recent years at beer festivals but now Casual Panache has created a new brand known as 1571F°. 1571F° has created the Beer Caramelizer, the only tool on the market specialized for beer poking. The beer caramelizer is a durable, food safe, stainless steel rod to achieve the perfect beer poking experience from your home. The caramelizer also twists into three sections to make it dishwasher safe and easy for storing, with extension rods available for purchase, also the top of the caramelizer comes with a 1571F° branded beer tap handle which twists off to be interchanged with your favorite beer tap handle. The beer caramelizer is transforming an old tradition and reinventing it to fit our modern day audience.


  • The taste of caramelized beer can be described as “a deeper flavor while offering a smoky tone and creamy aftertaste”

  • Winter is normally known as “Beer Poking Season” because colonial americans enjoyed making an alcoholic beverage that would warm them up

  • You don’t need a recipe to beer poke, just a red hot poker to give your beverage a whole new taste

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