Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Black Cherry Limeade Summer Shandy

Black Cherry Limeade Summer Shandy |

Lemonade. Limeade. Iced Tea. The three most quintessential American summer beverages. Outside of this trifecta, we have other popular warm weather drinks such as iced coffee and chai tea latte, coconut water, agua fresca (like horchata) and infused water. The list goes on.

So when it comes time to relax with an adult beverage (or five), it's only natural to factor lemonade, limeade or tea into the equation. Hence the popularity of summer shandies, spiked half and halfs (1/2 lemonade 1/2 tea) and REAL long island iced teas (without the nasty cola). Since I've already posted my Hibiscus Tea Cocktail recipe, I figured it was time to share my latest shandy concoction. 

Never heard of a shandy before? These days, a shandy it typically considered a beer-lemonade cocktail. The drink can range from 1/2 beer, 1/2 lemonade to 3/4 beer with a few splashes of lemonade. It's a refreshing way to stay hydrated while also enjoying alcohol. For those of us who aren't big day drinkers (it usually makes me sleepy), this is a wonderful alternative to passing out after a measly 1 1/2 beers. 

And before you fall into a holier-than-thou-beer-snob rage, please note that this cocktail is not a modern invention marketed toward hipsters. It's been popular in Britain since at least the 19th century and in other countries before then. Check out this NPR article for more info.

While I have the beer elitists' attention, let me also point out that I do not condone using high-quality beers for shandies. Of course you're welcome to do so, but in my opinion, that would waste a perfectly good beer. Instead, I recommend opting for dirt cheap domestic beers. 

Specifically, the "ice" versions because they have a higher alcohol content. You can hardly taste them with the lemonade or limeade mixed in. Which is awesome, since 99% of the time I avoid those beers. They're flavorless and watered down. But in a shandy? Totally drinkable. 

I probably just offended a bunch of domestic beer drinks. OH WELL. I've been known to give my friends and regular customers (when I worked at a bar/grill) crap for drinking domestics. That's how I am. If you really love domestics that much, my opinion shouldn't matter one bit to you. Drink and relish it. Don't let any one else give you guff. 

Except this beer snob kitty. He can do that. 
Beer Snob Kitty
Image Source
When I make shandies at home, I normally mix homemade lemonade into the beer, but this time, I had a jar of unsweetened black cherry juice hanging around the fridge after making my red wine sangria.

And since I'm a Kansas girl who grew up on fast food cherry limeades (raise your hand if that applies to you, as well), I was thrilled to fix my own healthier version sans the copious high fructose corn syrups and artificial dyes that infested the ones I drank growing up. Not to mention those darned maraschino cherries. You don't even want to know how they're made. Oh, you do? It's downright disgusting. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Black Cherry Limeade Summer Shandy
A refreshing beer cocktail perfect for warm weather made with a mixture of homemade black cherry limeade and light beer.
Yield: 2 drinks (10 ounces each)

1 cup of purified water (I prefer reverse osmosis)
2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice or organic 100% bottled lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons of organic cane sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened 100% black cherry juice
12 ounces of light beer

Recommended Equipment
swanky collins glass
Combine all ingredients except for the beer in a pitcher or large glass. Stir until the sugar has dissolved completely and taste. Add more lime juice if you want it more tart, sugar if you'd like it sweeter or black cherry juice if you want it fruitier. Once it suits your taste, pour six ounces of beer (1/2 a bottle or can) into each chilled glass and measure in approximately 4 ounces (1/2 the amount you made) of the black cherry limeade on top of each beer.

Notes & Tips
If you want it to taste more like beer with the limeade as an accent, use 8-12 ounces of beer and 2-3 ounces of the limeade.

Conversely, if you're not a big fan of beer and want to taste mostly limeade, use 4 ounces of beer and 8 ounces of limeade. You'll have to make more limeade for this. Simply double or triple the recipe.

If you don't have any cherry juice, leave it out. It'll still taste delicious with homemade limeade.

More Drink Recipes From The Rising Spoon:

Question for Discussion: What's your favorite refreshing beverage to drink in the summertime?

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