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Easy Activated Charcoal Cocktail

Forget Frosé — Here’s the New Big Drink For Fall

Sad to see frosé season come to an end? Us too, but that frosty pink drink is definitely made for warm weather. We've got some good news, though. Just in time for Fall, there's a hot new cocktail trend: boozy drinks spiked with activated charcoal.

Charcoal's been big on the wellness scene for a few years now; it's said to purify by drawing toxins from the body and absorbing them. You've probably seen it everywhere; brands have been including in all kinds of products from face washes to cold-pressed juices. Now, bartenders are experimenting with charcoal in cocktails; it doesn't change the flavor of your drink but transforms it into a rich black color. (Bonus: It may help prevent a hangover.)

The bar at Hotel San Jose, a motor inn-turned-boutique hotel along the trendy South Congress Avenue in Austin, Texas, is one hot spot with a new charcoal cocktail on their menu. They call theirs the Activated Pop Shandy. To whip up the smoky-colored beverage, lounge manager Breezy Mayo recommends stirring charcoal powder into lemonade, freezing it into ice pops, then topping them with a local light beer. It's a perfect beverage for tailgates and Fall parties because it's super easy to make and tastes light and refreshing — and the black hue makes it a festive choice for Halloween, too.

Mayo slings the drink with Shiner Light Blonde, a crisp lager from Texas, but you can try the cocktail with any light beer of your choosing. As you sip, either leave the pop in your glass and let it melt, making your drink darker and darker (read: spookier) as it goes, or pull out the pop halfway and eat it as you drink the beer. The different ways to drink this cocktail gives it "a fun, choose-your-own-adventure kind of element," says Mayo

Charcoal Cocktail

From Hotel San Jose


Want to stay totally authentic to this drink and use a Shiner Light Blonde but aren’t anywhere near the Lone Star State? You might still be able to find it: Check out Shiner Brewery's website for a tool that helps you locate nearby stores that stock the beer.

Easy Activated Charcoal Cocktail


  1. 1 teaspoon activated charcoal powder (find it at
    3 cups lemonade
    Lemon slices, for garnish
    6 cans Shiner Light Blonde, or your favorite light beer


  1. Add activated charcoal powder to the lemonade and stir until dissolved. Pour the lemonade into 6 ice pop molds, leaving a little room at the top. Place in freezer for up to 8 hours, or until solid.
  2. Remove ice pops from molds, and place one in each glass. Pour a light beer of your choice over the pop. Garnish the glasses with lemon slices and serve immediately.
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Laurel Leicht
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