The Shandy Is The Only Cure You Need For The End-of-Summer Sads

You do you while you still can.

September 17, 2020 ‚óŹ 2 min read

By Lauren Friel | Collage by ChefsFeed

Hello, beach bum. Are you biting your nails at the ever-shortening days?

Shivering at the mere thought of the autumnal equinox? Do you insist on continuing to wear white despite the fact that Labor Day is now a distant memory? Have you taken your bathing suit off since August? Be honest.  

We get it. No one wants summer to end. We all want to eat tacos and fried clams with our shoes off all year long. But we can’t because we’re adults and also weather. So, instead of being that person who insists on rocking flip-flops in January, allow us to suggest your next-best shot at an endless summer: the shandy.  

A crushable mix of that light beer you have left over from your 4th of July barbeque and whatever soft drink (juice or soda) strikes your fancy, the shandy is pure summertime joy. It’s low in alcohol and heavy on drinkability, so you can knock a few back and still cruise around on your longboard without yardsailing. (It’s also, like, way easier to throw together than whatever complicated tiki situation the neighbors are concocting in order to fend off flannel season.)

Just don’t call it a “summer” shandy, please—the shandy is summer, in outrageously refreshing form.  

And before all my beer snobs start to freak about the Bud Light Lime-ification of suds, let me remind you that some version of the shandy exists in nearly every drinking culture the world over. In fact, the OG shandy, aka the shandygaff, was a blend of ale and ginger beer brought to us by the Brits nearly 200 years ago. The Germans have the radler—more specific than the shandy in that it’s always lager and lemonade or lemon soda—supposedly popularized by a Munich innkeeper in 1922 when he ran low on beer for local cyclists (radler means cyclist in German) and stretched his supply by mixing it with lemonade. 

But it’s not only Western Europe that digs adulterating its beer in pursuit of the ultimate thirst-quencher. Singapore loves its Kip Lin, a blend of lager and tonic named for architect Lee Kip Lin, and Aussies have a thing called a portergaff, in which an unlikely blend of stout and lemonade does the trick. And let’s not forget everyone’s favorite Mexican tipple, the michelada, in all of its lime-and-secret-sauce glory. Guess what? Technically a shandy. (I dare you to find me a true lover of refreshing beverages who does not love a good Michelada. I dare you.)  

How best to enjoy a Shandy whilst your #beachlife ‘Grams fade into the distance?  

Step 1: Cold, cheap, light beer. Be it a lager, a pilsner, or a hefeweizen, you’re gonna be mixing it with something else, so save that Hill Farmstead for another day (and also, send me one).  

Step 2: Basically, add whatever non-alcoholic thing does it for you. The most common is lemonade, but you can do like the Dutch and all a little Sprite for a Sneeuwwitje (Snow White), or go with cola for a Western European-style Diesel. Cider works, too. Or go totally nuts with lingonberry juice, elderflower syrup, chinato, or clamato. The proportions should be around 50/50 beer/whatever, but adjust it to your taste.

(Alternatively, you can go ahead and buy packaged shandies from the likes of Narragansett, Boulevard, and other sunshine-warrior breweries, but the production season for those treats is, as you are well aware, more or less over by now.)  

Step 3: Make sure it’s cold. Not cold enough? Add ice. The rules were meant to be broken, let’s not stop now.  

Step 4: Drink up, babies. Just promise you won’t wear your bathing suit to bed anymore.