Recipe for a British/Euro style Shandy?
May 9, 2018 8:10 AM   Subscribe

In the U.S. - what type/brand of beer, which type/brand of carbonated lemon soda, and what proportions do I need to make a regular old beer-and-lemonade shandy?

I loved drinking shandies in the UK and Europe, but when I've tried to make them back home in the U.S., with pilsner and 7-up or Sprite, they taste either way too sweet or way too beer-y. I'm not sure whether it's the corn syrup in the soda, or the wrong kind of beer, or maybe things just taste better when you're on vacation. Please share your recipe if you have figured it out!
posted by hiker U. to Food & Drink (22 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Half and half, lemonade first to limit the foam. Lemonade is an issue in the US. If you're willing to splash out on Lorina clear lemonade, that'll make a difference compared to Sprite. (This applies also to Pimm's.)
posted by holgate at 8:27 AM on May 9, 2018 [3 favorites]

I'm guessing it's because you are using 7-up and Sprite that it tastes overly sweet. British lemonade can refer to those, but to me it's neither as I have to ask for Sprite or 7-Up specifically if I want those and not lemonade. I'm not sure what the equivalent is that you can find in the states. When I order "lemonade and orange" in the pub I think it's the Schwepp's brand that they dispense out of the soda hose. It's less sweet than 7-Up or Sprite to me. British style lemonade is definitely something I wish was was more widely available in America.
posted by like_neon at 8:33 AM on May 9, 2018

Depending on your location in the US, you might have more joy looking for radlers than making your own shandies -- radlers are the German version of a shandy, and are more readily available in cans. They're becoming fairly popular, and are less sweet than a shandy made with standard-issue US soda. Schöfferhoffer Grapefruit Radler and Boulevard's Ginger-Lemon Radler are both pretty good.
posted by halation at 8:39 AM on May 9, 2018 [2 favorites]

Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy?
posted by jillithd at 8:39 AM on May 9, 2018

Pilsner shandies are a thing, but a beer with a lighter flavour (some sort of generic lager or other light beer) will work better. Wheat beer shandies are delicious too.
posted by pipeski at 8:43 AM on May 9, 2018 [2 favorites]

You may also want to experiment with using a lager that's not a pilsner as I think pilsners taste more beer-ish and from what I recall, pubs default to the house lager to make a shandy.

Also try mixing with ginger beer instead of lemonade, it won't taste like a lemonade shandy of course, but you may find it just as refreshing with some ice.
posted by like_neon at 8:44 AM on May 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yeah, the lemonade in the UK is not the same as Sprite/7-Up. See if you can find a carbonated lemonade that isn't too sweet and start experimenting.
posted by cooker girl at 8:45 AM on May 9, 2018

If you do want to mix your own, though, you might try Dry's blood orange or Izze's clementine sodas. Nehi Lemon would also work but I've not seen it in ages and I suspect it's long-discontinued.

If you're near an import shop and can find it, or are willing to spend a bit to have it shipped to you, proper (i.e., imported) Fanta or Club would be the way to go for your own mix. Or make your own fizzy lemonade with seltzer, lemon juice, and just a touch of simple syrup?
posted by halation at 8:47 AM on May 9, 2018

If US Sprite tastes the same as the Sprite they sell in Australia, you can make it into something that tastes almost like proper lemonade by mixing it half-and-half with soda water.
posted by flabdablet at 9:30 AM on May 9, 2018

corn syrup in the soda, or the wrong kind of beer

You have not even mentioned the kind of beer you used in your European shandies (TBH it would never occur to me to order a shandy outside of England, so I'd guess some lager like Scottish Fosters or Kronenbourg 1664, but I've not been there for a while). That said, I'm going to guess it's the soda.

As per comments above, try a packaged radler if they're available, but for a temp-fix, maybe an American rice beer, with a far smaller addition of American lemonade.
posted by pompomtom at 9:34 AM on May 9, 2018

Yes, non-pilsner lager, and btw Fentiman's Victorian Lemonade is now available at many markets in the USA (a bit expensive, but delicious).

Personally, if I want to get a good shandy and not spend that much, I mix up my own lemonade with cane sugar, a bottle of lemon juice (or fresh squeezed), and unflavored sparkling water. This may be a bit different than a shandy served at a UK pub, but it will be far better than what you've been making.
posted by SaltySalticid at 9:40 AM on May 9, 2018

Try using a limonata like San Pellegrino.
posted by Stewriffic at 11:06 AM on May 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

Lemonade in the UK, as used in a shandy, is traditionally R Whites. You can buy it in the US at British food specialty shops. The beer isn't special; it's lager, bog standard lager. If you're dedicated to getting one you might get in a pub, Stella or whatever, or you can probably easily get the export Canadian Carling?
posted by DarlingBri at 11:51 AM on May 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

Lager for sure. Maybe give Lemon Lemon a try, it's Pepsi's sparkling lemonade with cane sugar and stevia and is less sweet than limonata. I also like Stiegl grapefruit radler.
posted by clavicle at 2:09 PM on May 9, 2018

I've made them with Lorina Sparkling Lemonade or Fever Tree Bitter Lemon. Both are less sweet and more properly lemony than Sprite. I find them at fancy grocery stores but Amazon might be a source.
posted by oneirodynia at 6:10 PM on May 9, 2018

If you've had a Radler (a shandy) in or around Stuttgart and like that, the lemon soda they use is a Süßer (sweet) Sprudel, which is more like Sprite watered down with plain seltzer, if you wanted to try that.

Older Germans will also drink a half-half, which is half of the sweet stuff and half sour (plain) seltzer. This is how I knew I'd hit middle age: when the already not-so-sweet soda was too sweet.
posted by JawnBigboote at 6:10 AM on May 10, 2018

Leinenkugel and other US-origin premixed shandies / Radlers tend to be too boozy: they're still at 4-5% ABV, when your classic pub shandy is around 2.5%. Imports like Stiegl and Schöfferhofer get it right. And yeah, this is one of those situations where it's fiddly and expensive to recreate something cheap.
posted by holgate at 10:03 AM on May 10, 2018

Half generic Euro beer and half ginger beer has been my go-to the last couple of summers. I admit that I buy the Aldi Warsteiner knockoff for this exact purpose.
posted by yggdrasil at 12:00 PM on May 10, 2018

I had a Red Stripe & Ting shandy today that was excellent. Served over ice with an orange slice.
(nb: Ting is grapefruit soda, not lemon)
posted by bashos_frog at 4:53 PM on May 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

I sometimes make shandies. One can each of the cheapest available lager and club soda, and two tablespoons frozen lemonade from concentrate. The club soda gives that extra carbonation, and I adjust the frozen lemonade to taste. Frozen glass for the hot days.
posted by Alex Voyd at 12:18 PM on May 12, 2018

Thanks for confirming my suspicion that there is STILL no easy equivalent to British carbonated "lemonade."

I went to World Market and bought several lemon sodas and carbonated lemonades to mix with Stella. They were out of Fentiman's. "Lemmy" and "Bubble Up" were both too sweet.

But! Lorina brand lemonade and the World Market imported "French Lemonade" shandies both tasted good - crisp and refreshing. Missing a little "bite," which I figure might be smaller bubble size or lower carbonation level. But close enough! I'm definitely going to try a few of the other ideas here, too.
posted by hiker U. at 10:36 AM on May 15, 2018

(A late, cheap suggestion: Fresca. It's artificially sweetened, and it's lime-grapefruit, but it's somehow more lemonade-y to my palate than lemon-lime sodas.)
posted by holgate at 3:19 PM on May 20, 2018

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