Since gin is the spirit of the summer, I’m going to include one more gin cocktail before the summer comes to an end: a gin shandy. Gin shandies are really my go-to summer drinks. They are refreshingly simple cocktails to make at home without any special tools. Additionally, their sophistication comes not only from the three simple ingredients, but also from the perfect balance of bitter and sweet flavors. In other words, the gin shandy is a great classic cocktail.
If you are not familiar with shandies, they are usually a mix of beer and carbonated beverages or sodas. Its origin is unclear but has been attributed to a variety of British sources, like notorious king Henry VIII or Tristram Shandy, an 18th-century novel. Originally, the shandy was dubbed “Rich Man’s Shandy Gaff” and was a mix of champagne and ale. Those who couldn’t afford bubbly subbed in lemonade or ginger beer, and the modern shandy was born.
Shandies have also become increasingly popular in recent years, with large beer manufacturers (Leinenkugel, Sam Adams etc.) coming out with their own canned or bottled versions. This recipe is different from the classic lemonade shandies because it uses gin and ginger beer (which actually has little to no alcohol content) in addition to the usual lemonade.
Read more about the history and subsequent popularity of the shandy here.
Recipe: Simple Lemon Gin Shandy (serves 4)
1 cup lemonade
3/4 cup gin
12 oz bottle ginger beer
optional garnishes: lemon wedges, herbs
Assembly: mix all ingredients together in a large pitcher and pour in chilled glasses with ice. Then, garnish with basil or lemon rounds.