Friends, I've found my favorite summer drink!
It's called a Shandy, and it's a combination of sparkling lemonade and wheat beer.
I had my first one a couple weeks ago at baseball game. Everything about that day--the sunshine, the baseball, my cool, sparkling, refreshing, slightly alcoholic drink--just said summer. I was so happy.
Annnd, I get to recreate that feeling every time I have a sip of one of these.
There are many easy ways to create a Shandy. You could use Sprite, or ginger ale, or some Crystal Light or Country Time Lemonade. BUT, right now I'm going to have to insist that you make your own homemade sparkling lemonade.
It takes just a little bit of effort and makes a world of difference.
I'd never actually made homemade lemonade before this, which is maybe kind of embarrassing. However, after making it, I've decided I'm going to continue making it all summer. There are so many fun variations (I've listed a few at the bottom) AND it's so good for you.
The hardest part is squeezing all the lemons, so having a little lemon juicer is crucial. I have one that I bought at IKEA for $6.00. The only other ingredients are simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water) and sparkling water. Chill everything until it's really really cold, then combine with cold beer. Are you thirsty yet?
Just to show you how easy it is, I made you a little video.
For some reason I thought it would be cool to shoot this video on my phone, using a hiptastic indie video app. The result is yellow and grainy and decidedly un-cool, BUT it's my first video attempt and you get to see my goofy face at the end.
Here's some advice, friends. Make a batch of this homemade sparkling lemonade this Thursday night. When you get home from work on Friday, pop open a beer and make yourself a shandy. Then go sit somewhere outside, take a deep breath, and savor summer.
Shandies with Homemade Sparkling Lemonade
Homemade Sparkling Lemonade:
1 cup fresh lemon juice, squeezed from 6-8 lemons, strained to remove pulp and seeds
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2-2 1/2 cups sparkling water
While you're squeezing the lemons, combine sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then cool, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat. Bring to room temperature or refrigerate, if time allows.
In a pitcher, combine fresh lemon juice, sugar water, and sparkling water. Add extra lemon slices as a garnish if desired.
1 pitcher homemade sparking lemonade
2-3 bottles of wheat beer (Blue Moon would be good. I used this Bavarian Trader Joe's brand and loved it)
Pour sparkling lemonade into 4 glasses. (Each glass should be a little less than half lemonade.)
Top each glass with wheat beer.
*Serves 4-6, depending on how much lemonade you like in each serving.
Optional Fun Twists:
Lavender Honey Lemonade--substitute honey for the sugar. Add a teaspoon of culinary lavender to the simple syrup. Strain mixture to remove lavender petals.
Mint Lemonade--add a tablespoon of fresh mint leaves to the simple syrup. Strain mixture to remove mint leaves.
Berry Lemonade--add frozen blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries to the sparkling lemonade.
Sparkling Arnold Palmers--Instead of beer, combine sparkling lemonade with a couple shots of sweet tea vodka.