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Food

Yes, there is a Cincinnati cocktail made with beer

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Mixologist Molly Wellmann says light beers like Bud Light and Miller Lite are essentially the same as what's being called a Cincinnati cocktail.

During a segment on Super Bowl-themed food and drink, an NBC morning show named a half beer-half soda water concoction a Cincinnati cocktail. The claim set people off on social media, with many saying they'd never heard of such a thing, and doubting it existed.

But, the owner of Japp's in Over-the-Rhine, Molly Wellmann, says it was a thing in the 1880s. She says there isn't a lot of calls for them anymore.

"Because we have Hudy Delight and we have Bud Light, and we have Miller Lite. Those are light beers that are lagers pretty much that are proofed down with water," she says. "It's nothing new."

Wellmann is writing a book on Cincinnati's drinking history. She says the Cincinnati cocktail was created when German immigrants wanted a refreshing drink without getting drunk. She says families on Sunday would go for a picnic in one of the area's parks.

"Usually they'd have a couple of pony kegs of lager with them, and they would bring what was called Apollinaris water," Wellmann says. "It was a very popular German mineral water that was used in a lot of cocktails here in Cincinnati at that time."

She says Apollinaris water is still available in Europe, but is difficult to find locally.

The recipe on the segment on NBC's Hoda and Jenna called for half craft beer and half soda water.

Wellmann says occasionally, she'll serve one substituting bitters and lemon zest.