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Welcome to the Shandy Shanty

June 28, 2012

I had always thought that mixing beer with juice or soda was solely appropriate for toxic party mixes. That was until a few years ago when I had my first Ginger Shandy, an absurdly refreshing mix of ginger and wheat beers at Pianos in the LES. Turns out wheat beers are actually ideal for beer-based cocktails. The addition of citrus (see Blue Moon and Hoegaarden) is obviously common place but most often it’s only a wedge here or there. If you up the ante a little bit with fresh juice, it’s amazing what a beer cocktail will do for you.

The line from last night, if I remember correctly was… “This drink feels great!”

Blood oranges tend to be a little sweeter than the standard navel, and the vibrant color makes for a stunning cocktail. Truth be told, I got a little duped into buying some “fresh blood orange juice” which wasn’t all that special. Luckily for me, I’ve found that honey is the great equalizer. A little bit of honey won’t make the juice taste overly sweetened but rather it evens out some of the acidity from processing. That being said, the kicker to this Shandy is by far the rosemary. In my last post, I talked about making simple syrups from fresh herbs. In this case, fresh rosemary sprigs are strong enough on their own to impart the slight flavor profile you are looking for. But the real key here is in the aroma. As you bring that glass up for a swig, the fresh rosemary smell blends with the citrus and wheat making for the ultimate summer, beer based cocktail.

If I lived on the beach, I would open the Shandy Shanty and this would be one of my signatures…shit, that’s actually a really good idea…no one steal that, okay?

Rosemary and Blood Orange Shandy

12 oz wheat beer (Hoegaarden, Shocktop, etc.)

4 oz blood orange juice

3 drops of orange bitters (optional but a great addition)

1 rosemary sprig for stirring

In a pint glass add the bitters and orange juice followed by the beer. Stir with the rosemary and serve as is.

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