What is a Shandy? 

  • By: Max S.
  • Date: December 23, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.

Have you got a beer, a soda, juice, and citrus fruit? Then you’ve got all the ingredients for a shandy. A shandy is a beer cocktail usually made of equal parts ice-cold beer and lemon-lime flavored soda – perfect for a hot summer day. 

This simple combination of two easy-to-get beverages is popular because of its lightness and low alcohol content. What’s more, a shandy can be customized with the beer and soda of your choice, but if you want a traditional shandy, it is best to stick to the 50/50 beer and lemon-flavored soda mix. 

Shandies are popular in the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, as their simple yet delicious notes refresh you immediately. Although shandies are easy to make, some beverage brands have bottled their versions that you can find at grocery and liquor stores. 

This article will cover everything you need to know about shandies and how you can make a pretty dandy one at home. 

What Does a Shandy Taste Like? 

The taste of a shandy depends on the beer and the flavor of the soda. However, traditional shandies are made from run-of-the-mill beer and lemon-flavored soda – making a shandy taste creamy, sweet, and slightly lemony. 

These flavors blend so exceptionally that you no longer taste the beer’s bitterness or the soda’s overpowering sweetness. Shandies are usually so light because the acidity from the lemon soda cuts through the malt tastes of the beer. 

Why is a Shandy Called a Shandy? 

Originally, shandy was known as ‘shandygaff’ in 19th-century England, where brewers mixed beer with lemonade. Many British colonies adopted this idea and used other ingredients to make their versions. Later, the shandygaff was shortened to be called a shandy. 

The origin of the term ‘shandygaff’ remains a mystery. However, Shandy was first mentioned in 1842 in a magistrate’s report.

Moreover, writer Charles Dickens once commented that a shandy was ‘the perfect alliance between beer and (soda) pop.’ But one can be sure that this effervescent cocktail has been a popular drink choice for centuries. 

What Type of Soda Do You Mix with a Shandy? 

A shandy is a simple, classic beer cocktail that combines beer with a mixer. Traditionally, it’s made with beer and lemonade or lemon-flavored soda. Still, there are many ways to get creative with a shandy — the several variations of shandy top beer with Coca-Cola, Fanta, and grapefruit juice. 

Shandy is universally famous because you can customize it for different flavor palates. Below are some of our favorite shandy combinations.

The Diesel Shandy: Beer and Coca Cola 

The Diesel version of a shandy is pretty popular throughout Europe. It combines equal parts beer with a classic chilled Coke and is served over ice with a lemon peel garnish. This light, effervescent, and sweet beer-and-soda combination is perfect for hot summer nights on the beach! 

The Fanshop Shandy: Beer and Fanta

Personally, our favorite, this sweet cocktail mixes Fanta orange soda with beer. The Fanshop shandy is popular in Chile and pairs best with a squeeze or two of fresh lemon juice to balance the sweetness of the Fanta. 

The Radler Shandy: Beer and Lemon Soda

The Radler originates from Germany and combines beer with lemon soda, served over ice. This refreshing combination is a classic take on a shandy. It hits all the right notes without one ingredient outshining the other. It is balanced, refreshing, and perfect for days you want a foolproof, delicious drink.

shandy carib bottles

What to Keep In Mind While Making a Shandy? 

Try different beers to pick the base that fits your taste to make the perfect shandy. Next, use a carbonated beverage – flavored soda or soda water – to accompany your beer. A chilled, fizzy shandy is guaranteed to wow you. 

Add flavors like ginger and rosemary to further elevate the taste of your shandy. But remember to avoid super sweet sodas that may overpower the subtle, earthy taste of the beer. If you use juice for your cocktail, remember to use a carbonated one to retain the fizz. 

What is The Nutritional Value of a Shandy?

shandy lemonade

Shandy is made of wheat beer and flavored soda in equal proportions. A 12-fluid-ounce serving of shandy contains about 89 to 150 calories depending on the beer-to-soda ratio. Moreover, shandies do not have any proteins, fibers, fats, or vitamins. 

Nowadays, beverage companies manufacture and sell their version of shandies, which means the nutrient content depends on the brand. You can always read the label to check your drink’s sugar and alcohol content. 

A shandy’s ABV (alcohol by value) depends on the beer-to-mixer ratio. If you buy a shandy with a 50:50 ratio, it would likely contain half ABV of an average beer. Most commercial brand shandies have 4.2 to 4.5% ABV. 

Do Germans Mix Beer with Soda Called a Colabier? 

Getting creative with beer cocktails can result in some exceptional results. For example, in Germany, mixing beer with Coca-Cola is a trendy cocktail called a Colabier. Instead of using the 50:50 ratio of beer and Coke, a Colabier is customized as per taste. 

Using Coca-Cola in a beer cocktail would make the drink extremely sweet. Therefore, it is best to use less Coke. Instead, you can use sparkling water for the extra fizz to liven up your Colabier, and as for the beer, keep it simple. 

coke bottle being uncorked

Who Else in the World Drinks Shandies? 

Shandies have gained worldwide popularity and a loyal fanbase. Although the drink originated in Victorian England, it has since been adopted by many countries across the globe, including Germany, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, and several European countries. 

In Germany, a traditional beer-and-lemonade shandy is known as the Radler. It was first made by innkeeper Franz Kugler who served about 13,000 cyclists in 1922 when he blended lemon soda with beer when he ran out of beer to serve such a large number of guests. 

Whereas in Austria, a mix of 50/50 beer and lemon soda is called the Russ. It became popular during the inflation from 1921 to 1923 due to the shortage of raw materials. On the other hand, a shandy is called a Monaco, which combines a 50/50 mix of beer, lemonade, and a dash of Grenadine. 

Conclusion

Shandy is a popular beer and soda cocktail that has been around for centuries and is enjoyed to this date. However, because it is an old invention, this easy-to-make cocktail has many variations. You can customize its flavor profile as per taste, but whatever the variation, a shandy is a delicious, refreshing drink that can hit all the right notes, especially during the summer heat.