Saturday, July 27, 2013

Weekend Cooking...Let's Try a Shandy

Today, in honor of the new wee Prince George, we are going to have a toast to his good heath and exciting future.
But what to drink for the toast?
What we need is a nice summer drink that might be consumed in the UK.

And once again, I remember a beverage from one of Peter Robinson's Inspector Banks mysteries. No less than Adam Banks himself was stopping at a pub for some afternoon refreshment, as he frequently does, and he ordered a Shandy.

"What in the world is a shady?" I said.

Well, according to Wikipedia..."A shandy, or shandygaff, is beer mixed with a soft drink, carbonated lemonade, ginger beer, ginger ale, or apple juice. The proportions of the two ingredients are adjusted to taste, usually half-and-half."

I must say, as a person who likes beer, this sounded vile. But I needed to do my research! As always, just for you my dear readers.

So off I went to the liquor store to get some supplies for my test.
There are a large number of bottled shandys, so I bought a couple of them and then some regular beer..many sites suggest a white wheat beer to mix with lemonade to make a 'homemade' version. Then I threw a ringer in, with a beverage from the Evil Bud Beer Company, the Bud Light Lime-a-Rita, sort of a mixture of beer and margarita. Hmmm..



So, how did the taste test go? First, the bottled shandys.

The first one I tried was the Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy.
Their site describes it like this..."Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy is crisp wheat beer brewed with natural lemonade flavor which makes it a perfect summertime refresher for those sun-splashed summer days."
It does seem very popular by the amount the store had on hand, in bottle and cans. It did certainly taste like lemon, I will say that.
It smelled like beer and tasted like fake lemon. Odd.

Next I tried Tenacious Travelers Shandy which says it is "a ginger shandy—the perfect combination of spice and sweetness!"
OK, I think I missed the ginger part.
Tasted OK, but nothing to write home about.

So, lets try a homemade shandy! 1/2 lemonade...half beer. And by far the best. Lemony in a nice way and yet still a flavor of beer. So IMHO, if you want to explore the shandy world, make your own as the first try.
Quick, easy, cheap.

And finally, what of this Lime-a-Rita?
I will say, I expected to hate it.
And I did not.
It is tasty. Sweet. Not quite a margarita, not at all a beer, it's a malt beverage flavored to taste like a margarita.
If you like Mike's Hard lemonade you may like this. It is similar with a bit more fizz.

BUT...do not be fooled but the "Light" on the label. This is a sugar packed drink, contains 8% alcohol by volume with 220 calories and 29.1 grams of carbohydrates per 8oz serving.
So that 24oz can they sell would have 600 calories! And at 8% ABV, that is a lot of booze. 


So, what did I finally decided about this whole shandy issue?
Personally, I doubt I will drink any of them again.

When I want a beer, a want a beer.
When I want Lemonade, I want lemonade.
And when I want a delicious, icy cold Margarita..well, you get the idea!

Still, I do have three more cans of that Lime-a-Rita in the fridge..and I hate to waste...


This is my contribution this to this week's Weekend Cooking.
"Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend."
Be sure to check out the other entries this week. As always, hosted by Beth Fish Reads.


26 comments:

  1. How incredibly ironic! I just read a book that had the protagonist drinking a shandy - I had to look it up! Then I thought, hmmm, is that really that good?!? So glad you cleared up the question!

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    1. I live to answer this critical questions!

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  2. My husband and I have been drinking shandys (shandies?) in the summer for years. We mix our own, using ginger ale (which makes quite a different drink than using lemonade). We like them because they're refreshing yet keep the alcohol content down on a hot (& thirsty!) day.

    I agree the store-bought pre-mixed ones are really not any good, but I'm glad you had some fun with your trials. :-)

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    1. And it may make a difference that we're using Canadian beer which (used to anyway) have more alcohol than American.

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    2. yes, I was not sure about the plural! lol

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  3. They used to sell a beer/lemonade mixture when we lived in France that was awful. So, what kind of beer did you use to make your shandy?

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    1. yes, I realized I forgot to post that picture. It was a Stevens Point Brewery Hand-Crafted Belgian White Wheat Ale. Which was nice all alone..

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  4. When I was a girl my parents let me have a shandy as a treat - but it's much too sweet for me now. My latest fad is having a little glass of very dry sherry just before dinner. Cheers

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    1. as I have written before, as a child, I had quite a love of beer...when I could sneak some. And I mean a wee child.

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  5. It sounds interesting, but I'm not sure...I'm kind of a purist myself. In Poland, when I ordered one of their glorious beers on tap, they always asked ME (not my husband) if I wanted it with juice. Apparently the girls like it that way. No thanks. I'll have mine straight up thanks.

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  6. I lived above a British pub when I was an exchange student a million years ago, and it was the first time in my life I had seen Shandy. I have seen it around in the US recently, but haven't given it a try. It sounds like it isn't worth it -- I'll try mixing my own! Thanks for the recipe.

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    1. By far the best if your want a shandy I think.

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  7. Ha! I do like the Lime-a-Ritas (I was dismayed to discover this about myself, too...). I've never had a true shandy, though I have tried that lemon brand you mentioned. I may mix my own for a Weekend Cooking post one of these days and report back. Happy summer!

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    1. yes, I hate to admit I liked it. what is the world coming to?!

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  8. I don't like sumer shandy....the Leinenkugel tastes like pledge or something. It's a very "hipster" drink now-a-days and I feel like I'm being left out of the party since I'm not joining in. I refuse to drink those lime-a-ritas because they sound absolutely appalling....there is nothing about the packaging or description that makes me think "Delicious! Let me try that immediately!!"

    I suggest Sam Adams summer ale for the tiniest hint of lemony summery goodness :)

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    1. Pledge! That is it!
      And little did I know it was a hip drink...explains all the cases of it at the store.
      Must agree...stick with Sam!

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  9. The younger crowd enjoyed the Lime-A-Ritas on our recent family vacation. I did not try them, maybe next time.

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  10. I feel so well informed and up-to-the-minute after reading your post and all of the comments! I didn't know what a shandy was and haven't been in a liquor store recently enough to notice them, I guess.

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  11. The shandys my husband knew from a high school trip to the UK were made with ginger ale (vile), but the ones from a local craft beer company are made with lemonade (even viler).

    Funny story - earlier this summer, my daughter and I passed a billboard for lime-a-ritas on the way to the grocery store. Somehow they ended up in our grocery cart... and they're actually pretty good! Wish you hadn't old me about the calories! ;-)

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  12. I haven't had a shandy since vacationing in England. I like it but I liked the crafted local ales much better.

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  13. What a fun review! Maybe I'll try ordering one in a pub, if I ever get to England.

    Joy's Book Blog

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  14. Caite, I think I would prefer just a regular beer too. Thanks for sharing your review! Have a happy week!

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  15. Weird! I was here on Saturday and left a comment ... what happened to it??? Anyway, what I said was that I agree -- I like my drinks more pure. BUT when I was in the UK the Shandy was much better because the lemonade was Schweppes lemonade, which is a kind of lemon soda that's not too sweet and slightly carbonated. In the 80s, when I lived there, if you ordered a lemonade, that's what you got, not the common US version. You cannot get the equivalent here.

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    1. well, that might explain the difference in the 'homemade' ones but does not excuse the vileness of the bottled ones, which were far worse.

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  16. I had a shandy once - it was beer and ginger ale. Since I'm not a big beer drinker and I don't like ginger ale, it's no surprise I didn't like it much at all! It sounds like a fun taste test, though - I think I might enjoy your homemade version, with the lemonade!

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