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How to Make a Shandy (a.k.a Shandygaff)

Updated on July 27, 2012
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A Shandy, also known as a Shandygaff, is a refreshing summer drink that is a mixture of lemonade and beer. The resulting drink contains <5% alcohol by volume, so in many jurisdictions, is exempt from alcohol laws. In any case, the citrusy, frothy Shandy is simple to make.

The shandy pictured at the top was mixed from 1/2 Franziskaner Weissbier and 1/2 Lorina Sparkling lemonade.
The shandy pictured at the top was mixed from 1/2 Franziskaner Weissbier and 1/2 Lorina Sparkling lemonade. | Source

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Lemonade
  • 1/2 Beer, hefeweizen or lager
  1. Pour a pint glass half full with your beer of choice.
  2. Fill the remainder with your lemonade.

Your proportions can be mixed to taste. Common substitutions include cider instead of lemonade (known as a Snakebite), stout instead of a lighter beer (called a Black Shandy), and orange juice instead of lemonade (the Brass Monkey of Beastie Boys fame).

Finally, if you are, like me, gluten-free, you can use any of a variety of sorghum-based gluten-free beers (most of which are greatly improved by the addition of lemonade).

Have You Made a Shandy? Rate It.

4.8 stars from 5 ratings of Shandy

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    • profile image

      DavidR 3 years ago

      I agree with JK. Shandygaff is beer mixed with ginger beer. No question about it. I drank this in rural pubs in UK when I was under drinking age as my father said that it was below the legal limit. In those days, beer came out of wooden kegs - and the publican had to know his craft - and I am pretty sure that the bitter and ginger beer mix was a good 5%. Of course, in those days, ginger beer was brewed at home.

      If you are looking for a good ginger beer to mix with the beer, try "Stormy" ginger ale - the one with the seal lion on it - or Jamacian ginger beer, usually found in the Hispanic section of the supermarket.

    • MickiS profile image
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      MickiS 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Technically, Shandy and Shandygaff refer to the same thing, JK: beer mixed with citrus flavored soda. Though that is most commonly lemonade it could also mean ginger beer or ginger ale.

    • profile image

      JK 5 years ago

      It's not AKA a Shandygaff. A Shandygaff would be made using Ginger Ale instead of the lemonade.

    • MickiS profile image
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      MickiS 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Interesting to know, IzzyM...and straight from the Publican source. Thanks for the comment.

    • IzzyM profile image

      IzzyM 5 years ago from UK

      An an ex-publican, a lager top is far more popular than shandy. It just takes the bitter edge off lager, leaving a lovely refreshing drink. Some people prefer half an inch or less as a top. I am surprised shandies are not known in the US. Very refreshing in summer and with a very low alcohol content which is ideal.

    • MickiS profile image
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      MickiS 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Makes sense, Horatio, esp, given your comment earlier. Are you a Publican, by chance?

      Lager top. Interesting. Maybe I'll be able to convince my hard core beer friends that this would be a fine alternative to a full fledged Shandy. Thanks.

    • Horatio Plot profile image

      Horatio Plot 5 years ago from Bedfordshire, England.

      The backlash is because it's a cheap way to get drunk quickly. This means that fights will start to break out by about 8.30pm instead of the usual 10.00pm. Puplicans in Britain normally only like to replace their windows once an evening.

      Another variety is a Lager Top which is traditionally drunk in summer and is a pint of lager with about an inch of lemonade at the top.

      H

    • MickiS profile image
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      MickiS 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Interesting, Gordon. Why the backlash against the snakebite by publicans? Compared to the many other forms of alcohol that are far more alcoholic and dangerous, I'm surprised.

      The choice of the Franziskaner Weissbier is purely personal. Lager is the technically correct beer to use, but I like the taste of hefewizen more. I'm intolerant to gluten and only drink beer very rarely and usually as a shandy where it's diluted. The gluten-free beers just taste horrible.

      Definitely let me know what they think of the choice in Munich! If they frown upon it, I will gladly replace the photo with a proper Bavarian lager! LOL!

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image

      Gordon Hamilton 5 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      A shandy is a British classic and it's really refreshing, particularly on a hot day. I'm not a great lover of it simply because I find it a bit too sweet and prefer my beer straight and bitter.

      Snakebites are of course lager beer and cider. The addition of blackcurrant sees them labelled as Diesel. Throughout the UK, they are now frowned upon by publicans but one funny point relates to the fact that they are these days actually illegal for publicans to sell in Scotland. I remember a few years ago when my Dad was visiting from Germany, he asked for a snakebite in a pub (his favoured drink of his youth) and the landlady told him she was prohibited by law from selling it - but she could legally give him a half pint of lager, a half pint of cider and an empty pint tumbler, if he wanted to take them outwith her sight... Crazy, or what?

      I'm fascinated, Micki, by you mixing Weissbier with lemonade. That's a new one on me. In Bavaria (Germany), a shandy is known as a Radler. It usually refers to Helles beer (similar to American beer/British lager) rather than Weissbier (wheat beer) mixed with lemonade but the idea is interesting.

      E-mailing this page to Munich now and I look forward to the opinion. I promise to let you know! :)

    • MickiS profile image
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      MickiS 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Funny 'cause my British in-laws said cider & lemonade. I suppose there are regional differences? In any case, I'll give that one a try, too. Thanks for the comment, CyclingFitness.

    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 5 years ago from Nottingham UK

      We Brits have always known cider and black currant juice as a snakebite not cider and lemonade.

      One of the best things to add to your lager is lime cordial.

    • MickiS profile image
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      MickiS 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Huh. Learn something new every day. The weapon of choice among their American counterparts is just cheap beer. I think I like the English way better...in quantities low enough to avoid that biting hangover!

    • Horatio Plot profile image

      Horatio Plot 5 years ago from Bedfordshire, England.

      I think the key think is the 50p bit. And sometimes when a student’s out for a bit of headbanging of an evening then a G&T doesn’t quite cut the ice. Sometimes it's not about the %. Snakebite remains to this day the weapon of choice among the students of this sceptred isle.

      I would refer you here

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk%3ASnakebite_(sha...

      And here

      http://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=...

    • MickiS profile image
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      MickiS 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Horatio, I've never had a snakebite myself, but I do make the occasional Shandy. English in-laws, what can I say?

      I think that cider in the UK has a higher alcohol content that in the US. If you combine "hard" cider (what Americans call alcoholic cider) with beer, you still get less alcohol content than a glass of wine (~10-11% v. 12.5%). And a glass of snakebite would be about 2 glasses of wine in volume.

      Sorry, but if getting pissed were the goal, grain alcohol is your best bet: 95% alcohol by volume. Even a good ole gin and tonic would be better, no?

    • Horatio Plot profile image

      Horatio Plot 5 years ago from Bedfordshire, England.

      Gosh. A Snakebite huh! Way to go kid. You sound like an Englishman’s dream; a girl that drinks Snakebite by the pint.

      Here’s a challenge for you Micki. Make a Snakebite and then leave it on the side untouched for 12 hours. Then drink it. If you can’t face it then try to imagine what that swirling mass of congealed goo would be trying to do inside your brain.

      I haven’t had Snakebite since about June 1981. The principal reason is that I was no longer a student after that date and no longer had to try to get pissed within ½ hour with only 50p in my pocket. Although given the state of the economy today I might just take a trip down the offie!

      Note to Om Paramapoonya: Please don’t try Snakebite just because you like the sound of the name. That’s like picking a fight with Mike Tyson because he looks cute...

    • snowdrops profile image

      snowdrops 5 years ago from The Second Star to the Right

      Shandy..never heard of this before :) But from the way you present this, it does look good!

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago

      I heard about Shandy before but haven't yet given it a try. I think I might want to try it with cider instead of lemonade.......just because I like the name "Snakebite"!

    • MickiS profile image
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      MickiS 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Wesman, I grew up in Pennsylvania, so I'm quite familiar with quirky liquor laws! So glad I live in California now and travel often to visit British in-laws!

      Enjoy a Shandy! Cheers.

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      I'd give it a try - and I DEFINITELY need to spend some time in British pubs....Simone, you must take me with you to Britain, as your loyal....bodyguard! Yeah, that's it!

      LOL! Fiver percent alcohol by volume is ...considered fairly strong beer here in Texas. I'm not sure if its the same or not - but it used to be that in Oklahoma beer couldn't be that strong...more like three percent.

      What I joke, right? I'm not kidding though.

      We can get REAL beer here in Texas, and I'd give this a try.

    • MickiS profile image
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      MickiS 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Simone, you need to spend more time in British pubs! :-)

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

      I've never read of a combination of beer and lemonade before. What a curious drink!

    • MickiS profile image
      Author

      MickiS 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks for the comment, TnTgoodrich. This is a good one--especially if you like citrus flavored beers.

    • TnTgoodrich profile image

      TnTgoodrich 5 years ago

      Cool! Will have to try this out :)I love flavoring my beers.