Classic Shandy

A glass of a Classic Shandy cocktail sitting on a wooden table

The Classic Shandy is the perfect hot weather drink whether you are sipping it poolside or enjoying it after work on a hot day. When it comes to beer cocktails,  the Shandy is one of our favorites! It is low in alcohol—so it is more hydrating. And, it is easy to make at home.

The shandy started as a 19th-century beverage called the Shandygaff which combined beer and ginger ale. A few decades later, the beer and lemonade combination was created in Germany. And, there have been many variations since.

Pale ale, wheat beer, or a light lager work best when making a shandy. Dark beers or stouts are not recommended. In a shandy, beer is combined in a 50/50 ratio with a non-alcoholic lemonade. You can use non-alcoholic beer to create alcohol-free shandies.

Classic Shandy Recipe
Yields 4 cocktails

There is some flexibility with the recipe for a Shandy. In this version, we make a strong lemonade that includes lemon zest and mint. But, if you are in a hurry, substitute the homemade lemonade for a good Italian lemon soda.

1 cup sugar
4 wide strips lemon zest
2 sprigs mint
1 cup fresh lemon juice (from 5–6 lemons)
Chilled beer (such as pale ale; for serving)
Lemon slices for garnish

Make the lemon simple syrup
Bring 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Add four wide strips of lemon zest and allow the syrup to cool for 30 minutes.

Make the lemonade (Yields about 4 1/2 cups)
Strain the lemon simple syrup through a fine-mesh sieve into a small pitcher. Add 2 sprigs of mint, 1 cup fresh lemon juice, and 2 cups of cold water and stir until it is well combined.

Chill the lemonade until cold, (about 2 hours).

Prepare the cocktail
To make 1 drink, pour 1/4 cup of the lemonade into a chilled glass and top it off with chilled beer. Taste and add more lemonade if desired. Garnish with a lemon slice (if using).

To serve
Serve this Classic Shandy in a chilled pint glass and garnish with a slice of lemon.

Do ahead
The simple syrup can be made 2 weeks ahead. Cover and chill. Lemonade can be made 1 day ahead; keep chilled.

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