While Micheladas are the rage in South Florida, Shandies, the American version of the beer cocktail is catching on in the U.S.A.  

 Shandies to Drink This Summer

 by Pervaiz Shallwani

shandiesAMERICAN DRINKERS have, historically, preferred their beer straight, whether poured from a bottle or drawn from a tap. Lately, though, stateside bartenders and brewers have begun to mix things up with a style of beer cocktail that's well-established in other parts of the world: the shandygaff. Also known as the shandy, it typically consists of equal parts beer and ginger beer or lemon soda. You'd think it would have caught on sooner, light and refreshing as it is, with just enough booze to take the edge off a hot day.

Though the drink's precise origins are unknown, it dates at least as far back as the mid-19th century. The British hold the strongest claim to its invention, and the shandy can be found, with slight variations, throughout the Commonwealth. Its cousins around the world include the German radler (beer and lemonade) and the Mexican michelada (beer, lime juice, chili sauce, Worcestershire and spices).

Over the past couple of years, U.S. brewers including Leinenkugel's, Samuel Adams and newcomer Traveler Beer Co. have released bottled shandy blends. But it's bartenders who are really remaking the shandy, cutting brews with everything from spirits, aperitifs and drinking vinegars to fruit purées and even kombucha, the fermented tea touted in some quarters for its liver-cleansing benefits.

"Detoxing while you're toxing" is how Eric Childs, founder and co-owner of New York kombucha company and homebrewing center Kombucha Brooklyn, describes the effects of his own kombucha-pilsner shandy. At Chicago's Billy Sunday, owner Matthias Merges combines lemon juice and a star-anise-infused rhubarb simple syrup with a bottle of Japanese hefeweizen to make what he calls a Shandinsky, in tribute to the Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky.

The shandy meets the Bloody Mary at Sunshine Tavern in Portland, Ore., in a cocktail of light kölsch-style beer, tomato juice, horseradish and lime juice finished with a few dashes of Tabasco for extra kick. And at New York's Back Forty, the Penn Shandy is a combination of floral gin, freshly squeezed lime juice, ginger simple syrup and crisp pilsner—a play on the classic French 75, with beer taking the place of Champagne. Hybrids like these provide a lower-alcohol alternative to the cocktails that inspire them, a sensible choice at a time of year when you're all too likely to drink more than one.

—Pervaiz Shallwani

Penn Shandy

Make ginger simple syrup: In a saucepan, simmer 2 cups water with 2 cups sugar until sugar dissolves. Peel ½ pound ginger and cut crosswise into ¼-inch-thick slices. Pour simple syrup and ginger into a blender and purée. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible. // Combine 1 ounce Bluecoat gin1 ounce fresh lime juice and 1 ounce ginger simple syrup in a cocktail shaker, add ice, shake and strain into a pilsner glass. Top with pilsner beer, such as Victory Prima Pils.

—Adapted from Back Forty in New York City

The Quattro Pazzo

Fill a highball glass with ice. Pour in 1 ounce pale lager, such as Peroni, 1 ounce Aperol1 ounce Prosecco and 1 ounce blood orange juice or San Pellegrino Blood Orange soda. Stir and garnish with an orange pinwheel.

—Adapted from Alla Spina in Philadelphia

Sidewalker

Fill a pitcher with ice. Add 1¼ cups Dogfish Head Positive Contact beer1¼ cups freshly squeezed lemon juice¾ cup maple syrup6 tablespoons apple cider vinegar4 cups Dogfish Head Namaste beer and ¾ cup chilled club soda. Stir and serve in highball glasses garnished with lemon wedgesServes 8.

—Adapted from Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton, Del.

 

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