Four Ways to Drink Miller High Life This New Year’s Eve

Bartender-approved tips for turning the 'Champagne of Beer' into a celebratory cocktail.

high life

Photo by Toan Trinh

First of all, nothing can replace real Champagne. I acknowledge that right away. Whether grower, vintage, or a blend from one of the big houses, there isn’t a beverage that can equal Champagne’s versatility or ingrained luxuriousness. But as legendary bartender Josh Childs says, “Everything has its place.”

Even as we approach New Year’s Eve, a holiday largely responsible for guzzling down one-quarter of the world’s Champagne stock, it must be observed that there are a number of fantastic, inexpensive alternatives: Spanish cava, thirst-quenching Italian proseccos and Asti spumantes, and complex sparkling wines from growing regions as disparate as Oregon, Australia, and France’s Loire Valley.

But might we suggest a substitute from the provenance of Milwaukee, Wisconsin?

Yes, Miller High Life, that light, fizzy, self-proclaimed “Champagne of Beers.” Not only is it great a complement to whiskey and other spirits (hence the inherent beauty of the boilermaker), but a perfect cocktail component as well. Any drink that calls for Champagne or sparkling wine—say a Kir Royale, the Last Word, or the classic French 75—also works well with Miller High Life.

“The big criticism from people who only drink craft beer is that High Life, and other beers like it, are watery. But that’s kind of the point,” Childs says. “They’re not supposed to be a big, resiny, high octane IPA. These were beers constructed to be crisp, cold, and refreshing. It’s called the Champagne of Beers for a reason. Compared to bolder craft beers, drinking a High Life is like switching from a full-bodied champagne to something sweeter like a prosecco. Not everything has to be a Tete du Cuvee Champagne.”

To help us create some special Champagne of Beer cocktails for this New Year’s, we asked Childs, a High Life advocate since his days bartending at and Silvertone and Trina’s Starlite Lounge, as well as his Audubon business partner, Beau Sturm, to give us their input.

“High Life is a viable alternative if you’re out of sparkling wine or just want to experiment with something different,” Childs says. “It might be a bit maltier, but it’s not a stretch at all. Yes, it’s funny and a little tongue-in-cheek, but these cocktails also taste really good.”


Rosé of Bottled Beers

  • Big sip of High Life
  • Replace with .75oz Aperol right in the bottle


Wisconsin 75

  • 1.5oz Death’s Door Gin
  • .5oz lemon juice
  • .5oz simple syrup
  • Shake with ice, strain into a Champagne flute or coupe
  • Long lemon peel


Lucy Royale (Lucy is the name of the famous High Life girl)

  • .75 oz Casis
  • 4 to 5 oz Miller High Life
  • Lemon peel
  • Pour directly into a Champagne flute or coupe


Word To Your Mom 

  • .5oz Bols Genever (or other gin)
  • .5oz Yellow Chartreuse
  • .5oz lemon juice
  • .5oz Luxardo Maraschino
  • Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into rocks glass with fresh ice
  • Top with Miller High Life
  • Luxardo cherry and orange section garnish