Summer Shandy

The Perfect Summer Shandy

As the summer heat intensifies, there’s nothing quite like a refreshing drink to cool down.

Enter the Summer Shandy, a beer cocktail that’s perfect for those balmy afternoons.

This delightful blend of beer and lemonade, or other citrus-flavored soda, is a staple in many summer gatherings. Its origins trace back to Europe, but its refreshing qualities have made it a favorite worldwide.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to make your own Summer Shandy at home. We’ll also share tips on how to choose the right beer, balance the flavors, and even present it in a way that’s sure to impress.

Whether you’re a seasoned home bartender or a beginner looking to try something new, this guide has something for you. So, let’s dive in and learn how to make the perfect Summer Shandy.

What is a Summer Shandy?

A Summer Shandy is a beer cocktail that’s known for its refreshing taste. It’s a blend of beer and lemonade, ginger ale, or other citrus-flavored soda.

The traditional ratio of beer to lemonade or soda in a shandy is 1:1. However, this can be adjusted to suit personal taste preferences.

The best types of beer to use for a Summer Shandy are light ales or wheat beers. These beers complement the citrus flavors well, resulting in a balanced and refreshing drink.

In essence, a Summer Shandy is the perfect drink for those hot summer days when you’re looking for something light and refreshing.

The Perfect Summer Shandy

Summer Shandy on the Beach 

The Origins and Popularity of Summer Shandy

The shandy has its roots in Europe. It’s a popular drink in countries like Germany and England, especially during the summer months.

The name “shandy” is derived from the German word “schorle”, which refers to a drink mixed with carbonated water. Over time, the term evolved to “shandy”, and the drink became a blend of beer and lemonade or soda.

Today, the Summer Shandy is enjoyed worldwide. Its refreshing qualities make it a favorite choice for outdoor gatherings, barbecues, and casual get-togethers.

The popularity of the Summer Shandy continues to grow, with many craft breweries now offering their own versions of this classic beer cocktail.

Choosing the Right Beer for Your Shandy

The choice of beer is crucial in making a Summer Shandy. Light ales and wheat beers are often the best choices.

These types of beer have a mild flavor that blends well with the citrus notes of the lemonade or soda. They also have a light color that gives the shandy its characteristic sunny hue.

Avoid using dark or heavily flavored beers. They can overpower the citrus and create an unbalanced taste.

Remember, the quality of the beer matters. Choose a beer that you enjoy drinking on its own for the best Summer Shandy experience.

While light ales and wheat beers are often recommended for creating a delicious Summer Shandy, light lagers can also be a fantastic choice, adding a distinct character to the drink. In some countries, using a lager in a Summer Shandy is a traditional practice that brings its unique flavor profile to the mix. Although lagers may have a stronger and more distinct taste compared to ales or wheat beers, their crisp and refreshing qualities can complement the citrus notes of the lemonade or soda beautifully. When incorporating a lager into your Summer Shandy, consider the balance of flavors and adjust the proportions to achieve your desired taste experience. Experimenting with different types of beer, including lagers, can add a new dimension to the classic Summer Shandy recipe, offering a delightful twist for your summer gatherings.

The Classic Summer Shandy Recipe

Creating a classic Summer Shandy is simple and straightforward. The key is to use fresh ingredients and maintain the right balance between the beer and the citrus component.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to making a classic Summer Shandy:

  1. Fill half of a chilled pint glass with your chosen beer.
  2. Top up the rest of the glass with cold lemonade or a citrus-flavored soda.
  3. Stir gently to mix the two components together.
  4. Taste and adjust the proportions if necessary.
  5. Serve immediately, garnished with a slice of lemon if desired.

Remember, the best Summer Shandy is one that suits your personal taste. Feel free to experiment with the proportions until you find your perfect balance.


A glass of freshly made Summer Shandyphoto by Etienne Girardet (

Tips for the Perfect Shandy Balance

Achieving the perfect balance in a Summer Shandy is crucial. The beer and citrus components should complement each other, not overpower.

The traditional ratio is 50:50, but this can be adjusted. If you prefer a stronger beer flavor, use more beer. For a sweeter, more refreshing drink, add more lemonade.

The temperature of the beer can also affect the taste. Cold beer tends to blend better with the citrus, creating a smoother, more harmonious flavor.

Remember, the key to a great Summer Shandy is experimentation. Don’t be afraid to tweak the recipe until you find your perfect balance.

Variations on the Traditional Summer Shandy

The beauty of the Summer Shandy lies in its versatility. While the classic recipe calls for lemonade, you can experiment with other citrus flavors.

Try substituting the lemonade with orange or grapefruit juice for a different twist. You can also add a splash of lime for an extra tangy kick.

Here are a few variations you might want to try:

  • Orange Shandy: Substitute lemonade with fresh orange juice.
  • Grapefruit Shandy: Use grapefruit juice instead of lemonade.
  • Lime Shandy: Add a splash of lime juice to the classic recipe.

Remember, the best Summer Shandy is the one that suits your taste buds. So, feel free to experiment and create your own unique version.

Innovative twists on the classic Summer Shandy involve incorporating a diverse range of fruit juices beyond the traditional citrus options. From peach and cherry to watermelon, berry, tropical blends, and more, the creative possibilities are endless. By infusing these vibrant and unique flavors into the refreshing beer cocktail, you can craft a medley of Summer Shandys that cater to a spectrum of taste preferences and provide a refreshing twist on this beloved summer beverage.

Non-Alcoholic Shandy Options

Not a fan of alcohol? No problem. You can still enjoy a refreshing Summer Shandy without the beer.

One option is to use a non-alcoholic beer. There are many great options available in the market today.

Another option is to simply skip the beer. Mix lemonade with a citrus-flavored soda or sparkling water instead.

Remember, the key to a great shandy is balance. So, adjust the ratios to your liking and enjoy a refreshing non-alcoholic Summer Shandy.

Serving and Presentation Tips

Presentation matters when serving a Summer Shandy. Start by choosing the right glass. A tall, clear glass is ideal to showcase the drink’s vibrant color.

Garnish is key. A slice of lemon or a sprig of fresh mint can add a touch of elegance.

Finally, consider the temperature. A chilled glass can keep your shandy cool longer, enhancing the refreshing experience.

Scaling Up: Summer Shandy for a Crowd

Making a Summer Shandy for a crowd is simple. Just multiply the ingredients by the number of guests.

Remember to keep the beer-to-lemonade ratio consistent. This ensures the perfect balance in every glass.

Serve in a large pitcher or a drink dispenser. This allows guests to serve themselves, adding to the casual, relaxed vibe of your gathering.

Pairing Your Shandy with Summer Foods

A Summer Shandy pairs well with a variety of foods. Its light, refreshing taste complements spicy dishes, grilled meats, and summer salads.

Consider serving it with a classic BBQ spread. The citrus notes cut through the richness of the food, providing a refreshing palate cleanser.

For a lighter option, pair your shandy with a fresh seafood platter. The beer’s effervescence and the citrus tang enhance the flavors of the sea.

Enjoying Your Homemade Summer Shandy

Creating your own Summer Shandy is a fun and rewarding process. It allows you to explore the art of mixology and discover your personal taste preferences.

Remember, the perfect shandy is the one that you enjoy the most. So, experiment, adjust, and most importantly, savor every sip.

Shandy Fruits

Top Readily Available Shandys

Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy – A classic blend of crisp wheat beer and refreshing lemonade, perfect for hot summer days. It boasts a balanced sweetness with a hint of tartness, making it a popular choice among Shandy enthusiasts.

Schöfferhofer Grapefruit Hefeweizen – This German import combines the traditional flavors of Hefeweizen with the vibrant zest of grapefruit. It offers a refreshing and tangy taste profile, with a smooth and effervescent finish.

Del’s Narragansett Shandy – Inspired by Rhode Island’s iconic Del’s Frozen Lemonade, this Shandy features a blend of Narragansett Lager and Del’s Lemonade. It delivers a nostalgic citrus flavor with a crisp and satisfying finish, perfect for summer sipping.

Paulaner Radler – Made with Paulaner’s premium lager and natural lemon juice, this Radler offers a harmonious balance of citrusy zest and crisp beer. It’s light and refreshing, with a subtle sweetness that makes it a popular choice for warm weather enjoyment.

Jack’s Abby Blood Orange Wheat Radler – Crafted with Bavarian yeast and blood orange puree, this Radler from Jack’s Abby Brewing offers a bold citrus flavor with a hint of tartness. It’s smooth and sessionable, making it an ideal choice for outdoor gatherings and leisurely days in the sun


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