The shandy is a refreshing beer cocktail that’s easy to make at home! Pour up this low alcohol drink in warm weather or anytime.

Shandy

When it comes to beer cocktails, there’s nothing better than a shandy! This tasty low alcohol drink originated in Europe and has swept the nation. Here’s the thing: this concept was not invented by Leinenkugel. This drink has a history of hundreds of years! It’s so easy to make at home with your favorite beer and ginger ale or ginger beer. Here’s more about the history of this refreshing drink and how to mix it up at home.

What is a shandy?

A shandy is a European beer cocktail, invented in Britain in the mid-1800’s. The original name was shandygaff, which refers to a beer mixed with ginger beer or ginger ale. Today it’s very popular in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, Canada, and is sometimes known as the French name Panaché. Here are a few things to note about the shandy:

  • Why water down your beer? Two reasons: it tastes great, and it’s a low alcohol drink, which makes it more hydrating in warm weather. The shandy is to beer exactly what a spritzer is to wine!
  • What’s a traditional shandy? A traditional shandy or shandygaff uses ginger beer or ginger ale. In Britain today, if you order one at a bar you’ll likely get beer mixed with lemon or lemon lime soda.
Shandy

How to make a shandy

There’s lots of variation for the mixer with the beer in a shandy! You can use ginger ale or ginger beer to make the classic old school version, or lime lime soda (like Sprite) or sparkling lemonade for a summer version. To make a shandy, mix together equal parts:

For this classic version, we used a pale ale and mixed it with the traditional option of ginger beer. It makes for a balanced and more moody shandy than the summer shandy, which is lighter and more citrusy. Speaking of…

Variations: summer shandy and grapefruit shandy

There are a few variations on the shandy that have become popularized via the Leinenkugel brand. But you can easily make them at home: and they taste so much better homemade! Here are our favorite variations:

  • Summer shandy: The summer shandy often uses lemon soda or sparkling lemonade as the mixer, which makes a refreshing, light and citursy flavor. We used wheat beer here, which enhances the light flavor.
  • Grapefruit shandy: This variation uses grapefruit soda as the mixer: but you can also use grapefruit juice, soda water and simple syrup. It makes a sweet and citrusy spin.
Summer shandy

Step it up: add cocktail bitters

Shandy purists may disagree with this idea: and that’s ok! The shandy is a laid back drink that’s all about ease and straightforward flavor. But if you want to step it up a little bit: try adding a few dashes of cocktail bitters!

We added a few dashes of Angostura bitters here, because we love adding bitters to just about anything (including soda water to make a low alcohol cocktail). It adds intrigue and complexity to this basic drink! Let us know what you think about this idea in the comments below.

More beer cocktails

And that’s it: how to make a shandy! Let us know if you try it and what you think. And ,there are so many other great ways to mix beer into a tasty cocktail! Here are some more beer cocktails to try:

  • Beer Margarita Try mixing your beer with tequila and Cointreau for a kick.
  • Classic Chelada This Mexican-style cocktail mixes beer with lime juice and a salt rim for a complex and delicious drink.
  • Michelada The Michelada is like a Bloody Mary made with beer: refreshing and perfect for brunch!
Shandy

When to serve a shandy

This beer cocktail is great for summer…or anytime! Drink it as a:

  • Summer drink
  • Happy hour drink
  • Dinner party drink
  • Late night drink
  • Guys or girls night drink
  • Cocktail hour drink
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Shandy

Classic Shandy


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutese
  • Total Time: 2 minute
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x

Description

The shandy is a refreshing beer cocktail that’s easy to make at home! Pour up this low alcohol drink in warm weather or anytime.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 6 ounces pale ale or lager beer
  • 6 ounces ginger ale, ginger beer, lemon lime soda (Sprite), or sparkling lemonade
  • For the garnish: lemon wedge (optional)
  • Optional: 1 dash bitters adds a complex flavor

Instructions

  1. Add the beer and mixer to a glass and stir gently to combine. Garnish with a lemon wedge.
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: Cocktails
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Shandy

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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3 Comments

  1. When I was a youngster, during the 80’s , my uncle used to make these for “the women”of our family during social gatherings. Maybe it was old fashioned, but I enjoyed the implication. They were tasty, and as a visitor to the U.K. from the U.S. I appreciated the protective consideration. I don’t know the US. equivalent to the lemon beverage component to this drink, but I would certainly like to duplicate it if anyone knows.

  2. There’s another common British shandy drink that you see people drinking a lot. You could do another recipe for that one. It’s Guinness (or any stout) mixed with blackcurrant cordial. To be honest it sounds absolutely ghastly to me. I can’t imagine those two flavours going well together. But it seems to be pretty popular, and I don’t really like regular shandy either, so it’s probably just me lol. You can tell when people are drinking it even from across the room, because the head/foam on it is bright purple instead of the cream colour it normally is. I’ve heard that blackcurrant basically doesn’t exist in the US, because centuries ago it carried a disease which wiped out pine trees, and pine trees were a lot more valuable to Americans than blackcurrants were, so they opted to just completely get rid of all blackcurrants. But these days you can simply go on one of those sites that import British food and buy blackcurrant cordial there (or even amazon sell it, I import American foods to here on UK amazon myself, stuff that isn’t sold here that I’ve always wanted to try). Look for something called Ribena. That’s the big brand that everyone drinks, there’s not many things more British than Ribena. They use something crazy like 90% of all blackcurrants grown in the UK just to make their cordial. You can get fizzy/sparkling Ribena too (pre-made, so it’s not a cordial that you have to dilute), if you wanted to add even more bubbles to the Guinness.

    But yeah, personally if I want a sweeter stout, I get a pint of Mild. Mild is a type of beer that’s dying out, sadly, even though it’s absolutely gorgeous. It’s seen as an old man’s drink. It’s still very similar to a stout, and to be honest many of the real ale/microbrewery/craft beer “stouts” like the common chocolate stouts or vanilla stouts or oatmealare actually just Mild, but they call them stout because younger people don’t know what Mild even is. It’s a bad name, marketing wise, for the target audience of university students who want to party. Even though it’ll still get you drunk. But it you ever visit the UK and you see a pub that sells Mild, you’ve got to try it.

    But “Guinness and black”, which is the name people use when they order it, is decently popular. I see it more than I do people drinking regular shandy. That could just be the type of pubs I go into though. It’s more alcoholic than a regular shandy too because you only need a small amount of the blackcurrant cordial seeing as how it’s a concentrated flavour.

    You might be able to get away with using grape cordial instead, if you don’t wanna import Ribena. I don’t know though. I’ve just heard that whenever something is purple in the US, it means grape flavour, whereas over here it’s always blackcurrant. Like our skittles have a blackcurrant flavour.