I worked here in Delaware for a British chemical company, ICI (Imperial Chemical Industries), and one of my British coworkers long ago told me of shandy, a mixture of half beer and half citrus drink (orange juice, orange soda, Fresca, etc., it didn’t matter which, but I do prefer something carbonated). Every Brit I spoke with was very familiar with it. They commonly mixed it for children to cut the alcohol content. (Bad idea, but I didn’t argue the point.)

I know it sounds terrible, but the combination is really quite good and refreshing. The sweet citrus cuts the bitterness of the beer while the beer cuts the acidity of the citrus. (I first tried it by mixing  up a very small amount and stood by the sink to spit it out if it was too bad. It wasn’t.)

I won’t mention the appearance of the mixture, other than to say it will not inspire you to taste it.  Best you close your eyes, or, even better, drink it in the dark.

Over the years, I have drunk it quite often. I usually only drink half a can of beer at a time, and I forget the other half in the refrigerator until a week or so later. By then. it has gone all flat, but tastes fine mixed in a shandy (which is why I prefer a carbonated citrus drink).  I get tired of sweet soft drinks in the summer, and for many years, I was ridiculed by my two sons for drinking a children’s beverage.

Shandy is now being sold by Leinenkugel’s of Wisconsin, (owned by Miller’s), already made up, and one son gave me a sampler of their four varieties for my birthday.  I have to admit they all taste better than my mixtures. (They even tell you how to pronounce their name: LINE-en-koo-guls.) Their shandy contains 4.2% alcohol, about as much as regular beer. It is sold in Delaware almost anywhere beer is sold.  There are other manufacturers, but it is also very easy to mix up yourself from leftovers. The commercial blends do taste better, but not that much better.


About Roger Walck

My reasons for writing this blog are spelled out in the posting of 10/1/2012, Montaigne's Essays. They are probably not what you think.
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