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Sip a Shandy

Sip a Shandy

Just in time for warm days and long, lingering dinners on the patio comes the shandy. European in origin, it's a refreshing combo of crisp beer and sparkling lemonade (or giner ale or other citrus-flavored soda).

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It seems to be a bit of a trend this year in beer; you'll find Shock Top Lemon Shandy, Saranac Shandy, Michelob Ultra 19th Hole Light Tea and Lemonade, and Leinenkugel Summer Shandy, which I happily sipped on my backyard patio after a bit of yardwork. Yum!

Though I was skeptical (I'm more of an IPA or ESB kind of girl), I kept reading about these beers and curiosity prevailed. It's a lively, fresh, hit-the-spot drink, not too sweet as I had feared but more crisp, tart, and quite light (it's rather low in alcohol). And though it tastes nothing like beer, really, I really liked it--the perfect lift during summer's most sweltering waves. Give it a try and let us know what you think.

A Sip of Summer: Introducing the Shrub Shandy!

Inspired by summertime, I went searching for a recipe that would support my energy and digestion and would transport me to blue-sky days spent hiking in the Cascades, kayaking on the Salish Sea, and laughing with friends and family.

And then I found the shandy. It’s a simple (like, SO EASY) beer drink that conjures up laid-back summertime fun like picnics and biking. That makes sense, since the shandy was apparently first invented in 1922 by a German innkeeper whose inn became a poppin’ watering hole during a surge in popularity of cycling as a leisure activity. Supposedly, the innkeeper had 13,000 cyclists show up in a single day! In order to not run out of his beer, he began mixing it with lemon soda — an added bonus to refresh the cyclists. The first shandy was born!

We’ve come a long way since that fateful day, but one thing’s for sure: we at Shrub Farm HQ love cool cocktails, simple recipes, and biking. So we made a shrub shandy that combines our Raspberry and Citrus Shrub with a local lager from Kulshan Brewing. We also love it paired with a Kolsch from Bellingham fan-favorite Chuckanut Brewery.

This shandy pairs well with a classic charcuterie board and a crew of your raddest friends. Cheers!

Cocktails signal the ushering-in of good times. The time-honored way to mark any celebration is to lift a glass, toast, and sip. As more people choose to drink less, the low-alcohol-by-volume acronym has inched steadily up on our collective drinking consciousness: low ABV is trending, and it's increasingly associated with creative imbibing in drinks such as the Hibiscus-Ginger Spritz shown here. Pungent ginger and warm cinnamon are kissed by rum and made vivid by the acidity of a hibiscus flower infusion. Drinks like this embody all the fun of anticipation and good cheer, but fewer of the consequences of overindulgence.

Low ABV drinks certainly contain less fire power in terms of booze, but in no way should a good drink skimp on the defining characteristic of a successful cocktail: alchemy. Mixology is called the art of blending for a reason. The creative challenge in mixing a low ABV drink is to eschew the high-proof hooch, and search instead for other ingredients that deliver sophistication or pure delight. What we look for in a good cocktail is a skilled combination of thoughtful presentation and the imaginative pairing of complementary components. Simply put, the mixed drink needs to look good and taste good. And if it reflects the season, all the better.

How does one lower that alcohol ratio? Lots of ways: cut back on the spirits, use wines or beers as a base, make the most of the effervescence of seltzer, play with fruit (and vegetable) juices and syrups, and work in good vinegars. Herbs, fruit zests, and condiments can be used to build flavor and create nuance. They each play a role in creating drinks to please informed palates, without the anxious fear of missing out.

2. Meyer Lemon Shandy Sangria

Pitcher drinks make prepping for a summer party super easy. Jessica Merchant from How Sweet It Is has mixed up a beautiful summer shandy. While she will do anything to avoid fennel seeds, Jessica loves her signature drink, bubbly. How fitting is this shandy that had a puckered punch from citrus and bubbly drink from citrus beer. No matter the season, this drink is sure to please a crowd.

Photo: Jessica/How Sweet It Is

Hipster Shandy

Originating from the patio spritz cart at Hazel in Washington, D.C., the Hipster is part Spritz, part Shandy and part. well, logic-defying. It’s a curious hodgepodge of ingredients, to say the least, layering an Italian aperitivo, orangecello, soda, orange bitters, salt, and a few ounces of IPA on ice in a hurricane glass—an unexpected marriage of ingredients at first glance, but one that works in ways not dissimilar to fusion in the culinary world. The Hipster works because it bridges a gap between two beloved cocktail styles, all the while skirting the technical criteria of both classic builds.

Spritzes generally involve three classic ingredients: an aperitivo or amaro, sparkling wine and a splash of club soda. The term “Shandy” is typically used to describe a combination of beer and some form of a citrusy drink, such as lemon-lime soda (or “lemonade,” if you’re in Europe, South Africa, New Zealand or Australia). Back in 2018, Hazel’s then-spirits manager Nick Farrell transformed his go-to drink order—an ice-filled pint glass with a shot of aperitivo and a canned beer poured on top—into this bright and complex cocktail that’s one ingredient short of being a Spritz, essentially swapping beer in place of sparkling wine, which pairs up with the rest of the ingredients (a citrusy soda) placing its other foot in Shandy territory. The pinch of salt is key here, softening any hard, acidic notes and highlighting all the things our palate loves about citrus fruits.

Call it what you will, but after you’ve taken your first sip, the Hipster might just become your new favorite cocktail of the summer. Try your hand at making it yourself with this adapted version of the original Hazel recipe.

The Great One's Cocktails

In a cocktail shaker, add 3 peach slices, 1 ½ oz WG Whisky, lime juice, ½ oz ginger simple syrup, gently muddle. Add in ice and shake and pour into a Collins glass. Add more ice if necessary and top with 2 oz soda water. Garnish with a sprig of basil.

The Top Shelf

- 1 ½ oz. Wayne Gretzky Red Cask Whisky

- 1 oz free-pressed apple juice

In a rocks glass filled with ice, add 1 ½ oz WG Whisky, 1 oz free-pressed apple juice, 2 oz ginger ale. Garnish with a lemon slice.

The Great Old Fashioned

- 2 oz. Wayne Gretzky Red Cask Whisky

In a rocks glass, add ½ orange wheel, ½ lemon wheel and ¼ oz. maple syrup. Gently muddle. Fill rocks glass with ice, add 2 oz. WG Whisky and two dashes of bitters. Stir to combine all ingredients. Garnish with a large orange peel.

The Lakeside Shandy

- 1.75 oz. Any Gretzky Syrup (Honey Lavender, Ginger, Old Fashioned, Basil)

- 8 oz. Chilled Gretzky Premium Lager or Session Ale

Build cocktail in a chilled pint glass, stir and enjoy! Garnish with an orange slice. Tip: You could also do ½ ginger ale and ½ beer, if desired! The Story: This mixed drink started as a way for British soldiers to ration their beer by mixing 1/2 ginger ale and Pilsner or Ale.

Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery & Distillery is Niagara’s newest wine country destination. Have our world-class wines, whiskies and spirits delivered right to your door or visit us in Niagara-on-the-Lake to taste, tour and sip.

When It's Hot Out, Don't Choose Between Beer and Lemonade—Drink a Shandy

Come summertime, New York City is a cesspool of heat, stink, and humidity, an unholy trinity that always makes me question why I moved to the sweltering metropolis.

Since I reside in a century-old Brooklyn apartment that lacks central air-conditioning, salvation often comes in the form of a bike, a beach, and multiple beers. The other weekend, with temperatures set to broil, I packed my backpack with frosty cans and pedaled to the Rockaways, where the cooling Atlantic waters were almost as invigorating as my first sip of Sixpoint RAD.

Blended with plenty of grapefruit juice, the wheat beer was a lovely dance of bitter, sweet, and sour, with a dainty alcohol content (just 3.2 percent) that made the sunny afternoon shine a bit brighter. I had two, then three, the RADs as revitalizing as Gatorade.

“It’s a beer, but it’s also a hydrating juice,” says Sixpoint founder Shane Welch.

In other words, it’s a shandy. Technically, of course, it’s not a shandy, but rather a radler—German for bicyclist. Whatever you call it, it’s one of the blended-beer drinks that have long been summertime mainstays across Europe, and are now invading America as well. In the States, shandies and radlers have largely flown under the radar. But as the growth of session beers has proven, there’s a burgeoning desire for flavorful low-alcohol brews. And that’s the sweet spot for radlers and shandies, no matter the refreshing reason for cracking one.

“The beer helps beat the bonk on long bike rides,” explains Christian Ettinger, the brewmaster-owner at Portland, Oregon’s Hopworks Urban Brewery. Since its opening day in 2008, HUB has sold the bracingly refreshing Totally Radler, a 50-50 mixture of house-made lemonade and Organic HUB Lager that’s become popular with local cyclists. (Makes sense: According to lore, the first radlers were served to bikers cruising along a path outside Munich.)

Lager is also the base for Sam Adams’s lemony radler variant, Porch Rocker, while Amstel uses lemon juice in its namesake Radler. On the other hand, Narragansett opted to make its shandy with tart lemon concentrate from frozen-drink purveyor Del’s, a longtime Rhode Island favorite. Released in May, Del’s Shandy proved so popular that the initial run sold out in one week. It’s testament to the shandy’s mass appeal, says Narragansett Beer CEO Mark Hellendrung. “We’re seeing people drinking the Del’s that haven’t had our lager or other craft styles, as well as people who would have otherwise ordered white wine or cocktails.”

Sour on lemons? Go for grapefruit. Minnesota-based Schell’s makes the marvelously quaffable Schell Shocked Grapefruit Radler, while Wisconsin’s Stevens Point packages the zingy Coast Radler. And this summer, the shandy-focused Traveler Beer Company rolled out the zippy Illusive Traveler. Brewed with wheat beer and gobs of fresh grapefruit, it’s anything but traditional.

“We’re American,” says Traveler founder Alan Newman. “We take any tradition we want and mess with it.” When Newman first tinkered with shandies more than 20 years ago, he couldn’t crack the right flavor combination. “We were thinking about how to mix lemon-lime soda and a lager,” says Newman, who previously founded Magic Hat. He shelved the idea until he had an epiphany: American IPAs don’t follow time-tested recipes. Why should a shandy? “I threw out the notion that we had to make a classic shandy,” says Newman, who also makes the lemon-limey Curious Traveler and strawberry-infused Time Traveler. “We’re opening the world of beer to a broader clientele.”

These blended drinks are also opening the eyes of beer geeks like myself. Look, I’ll never claim that the Amstel Radler is the world’s greatest beer. I was ready to hate it the second the sample arrived inside a massive plastic lemon. But after returning from a long, sweaty bike ride, I decided to crack a can. Weighing in at a wee 2 percent, the lemony beer disappeared in a blur, reviving my flagging energy. Right time. Right place. Right beer.

While shandies and radlers are poised to break big this season, with offerings from Mike’s Hard Lemonade and Shock Topcrowding store shelves, what happens when the leaves turn? “If you have a refreshing offering and it’s good, people can drink it all the time,” says Traveler’s Newman. “Refreshment is always in season.” To keep shandy sales rolling year-round, he’ll release the pumpkin-flavored Jack-O Traveler in fall, while wintertime will see Jolly Traveler. This fall, Leinenkugel, whose category-leadingSummer Shandyaccounts for more than 50 percent of company sales, will debut the Cranberry Ginger, Harvest Patch, and cocktail-inspired Old Fashioned Shandy.

Only time will tell if the shandy can solve the seasonal conundrum. For now, summer has arrived. And today is another scorcher. My bike, the beach, and another couple cans of RAD are beckoning.

From Punch (

  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce ginger syrup (1:1, ginger juice: granulated sugar)
  • 1 can kolsh, preferably Reisdorf

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3-Ingredient Happy Hour: A Fortified Shandy

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Actually, this is more than a shandy, as it has an extra ingredient to help it out. While I’m not against the mixing up a “traditional” recipe of equal parts beer and citrus soda (or lemonade), I find them to be a little sweet and a bit weak in the ABV department. To fix this very serious problem, I added a shot of vodka. I like plain ol’ Reyka , but you could also use any of the Deep Eddy citrus (or cranberry) flavored vodkas, which are surprisingly good.

Because this drink has no ice, it’s important that all of your ingredients be chilled beforehand, so keep everything in a cooler if you’ll be mixing them up al fresco. To make the fortified summer sipper, you will need:

  • 1 ounce vodka
  • 3 ounces cheap beer (You’re going to be adding soda, so get something that is fairly flavorless.)
  • 3 ounces citrus soda, any flavor you desire

Pour everything into a pint glass (or red Solo cup, or insulated tumbler) and gently stir. Sip while floating down a river or, failing that, at least dangle your feet in a pool.

Grapefruit Mimosa

Grapefruit mimosas are perfect for any celebration. Make one with LUNA PALOMA cocktail mix for fresh, light flavor and a delicate finish.

6 oz Sparkling White Wine, Prosecco or Champagne
1 oz Sparkling water
2 oz Summer Lakes Beverage LUNA PALOMA cocktail mix

How to Prepare
Pour Sparkling wine into a 12 oz champagne
Add sparkling water and top with LUNA PALOMA cocktail mix
Stir slightly just to combine

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