I was going to post this last night, but then I thought it would be better to put Part II of the two-part post on forgiveness up. I didn’t think a serious post about forgiveness should be interrupted with a post about making a good shandy.
But I have been on a quest for the perfect American shandy. Shandies are quite well-known in the UK and in Europe, but virtually unheard of here in the States. A typical shandy is one part beer and one part carbonated (or “sparkling”) lemonade. You can make a shandy with ginger ale or citrus soda (such as orange Fanta or Squirt, a grapefruit-based soda), but of course that makes for a completely different taste. I like the basic, lemonade-flavored shandy the best. And therein lies the problem.
Carbonated lemonade is as scarce as hen’s teeth in the U.S. Sunkist’s web site says they make one, but in the stores I have only seen their orange and mandarin sodas (aside: “mandarin” oranges refers to clementines, tangerines, and satsumas). I found one sparkling lemonade at the grocery store, but it was from France and cost over $3.00 for one liter. OK for an occasional treat but not something I could justify spending more than, say, once in a blue moon.
After some searching, I found a good recipe for sparkling lemonade that can also be used for regular lemonade: take 1/2 cup of water and put it in a small pan on the stove. Add 1 cup of granulated sugar (I used Florida Crystals unrefined sugar) and boil for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, squeeze between 3/4 cup and 1 full cup of lemon juice (depending on your taste). That took 4 lemons for me, but they were rather large. (Some people say add 1/4 tsp. of finely chopped lemon zest, but there are people here with texture issues. I strained the pulp out of the lemon juice for the same reason, but that’s up to you.) After the syrup has finished cooking, allow it to cool a little and then add the lemon juice to it. Put the lemon syrup in a jar and refrigerate.
To make a glass of lemonade, put 3 tablespoons of the lemon syrup in a glass and add 1 cup of cold water (and ice cubes if you like). For sparkling lemonade, add 1 cup of cold club soda or sparkling water (such as Perrier) instead.
NOW, for a shandy, make sure the beer, lemon syrup, and club soda are all nice and cold. (I like to put my glass in the freezer for a while too.) Add the syrup to the glass, then a cup of the cold club soda (if you get the small bottles of club soda, add a whole bottle), and then slowly pour the beer in until the glass is full.
I think a shandy is best when made with a light-colored lager (yes, hipsters, that would include PBR), but you can experiment with different varieties to find the combo you like best. Just be sure to comment back on here what you used and how it turned out!
(I’m thinking now that a shandy made with Izze Clementine soda would be worth trying . . .)