by Kristin on June 20, 2013

Oh, Ireland. On a warm, sunny day, all is forgiven. The coldest spring on record that we just had? Let’s not speak of it. The past few washout summers? A distant memory. That day last year in July that I looked out my window at yet another cold, rainy day and actually cried? I’m not holding a grudge.

I’m not greedy. I don’t need, or even want, sweltering Continental temperatures. 20°C (70°F) qualifies as a scorcher here and suits me just fine: warm enough to sit outside with a book, maybe even without a jacket. Is a mere 20°C too much to ask for? Well, yes, apparently. Two weeks ago we had the best weather we’ve seen in years and it was “only” in the low 20°s (70°s) — old American me is laughing at how I now consider that to be a heat wave. In the 14 years I’ve been living here, I’ve never seen the beach as crowded as it was that weekend. Just look at that blue! Not a cloud in the sky, not a care in the world.

Such (rare) spectacular summer weather calls for something cold and refreshing to drink. There are the obvious choices — Pimm’s, G&Ts, maybe even an elderflower Bellini — and those are all fine if you just want one or two. But if you’re looking for something to sip over a long, hot afternoon, a shandy is the drink for you.

Beer cocktails are all the rage now, but the old school shandy isn’t getting much air time. In Ireland, a shandy is simply half beer, half lemonade, but check out all the versions of a shandy around the world, from a black shandy in Canada (stout and lemon soda) to a brass monkey in the US (beer and orange juice) or a tango in Portugal (beer and gooseberry cordial). A rock shandy refers to a non-alcoholic shandy, usually half lemon soda, half orange soda. And despite its wimpy image, shandy is a great drink if you’re out for the night and want to pace yourself.

My idea of a perfect summer day is pretty simple: a good book, a lounger, plenty of sun and something nice to drink. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for lots more shandy weather this year.


sparkling lemonade
light lager beer or pilsner

Half-fill a pint glass with the beer, then top up with sparkling lemonade — though you can of course adjust the ratio of beer to lemonade to your own taste. You could also try some of these variations in place of the lemonade:

  • Ginger beer or ginger ale (in which case, it becomes a shandygaff)
  • Orange soda (called a quianti in Argentina)
  • 7Up (called a Snow White in the Netherlands or a panaché in France)
  • Cola (called a diesel in Portugal and Germany)
  • Apple juice
  • Strawberry chile syrup

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Caroline@Bibliocook July 4, 2013 at 3:50 pm

Looks like there’s more shandy weather to come next week, Kristin! Clink, clink…


Kristin July 4, 2013 at 5:15 pm

I will drink to that!


Magda (@MagdasCauldron) July 7, 2013 at 8:33 pm

I’m actually enjoying myself over the balcony. I’ve tried Pimm’s cocktail for the first time. It is so nice to enjoy weather that doesn’t call for jacket. Well it’s indeed scorching as I’m in my shorts.
Yes, Ireland would be wonderful place if we could just get 4 weeks of good weather in a row. I’m not even asking for 2 months, a month would be fine. But as sun is shining, we will forgive everything :)


Kristin July 9, 2013 at 4:40 pm

I agree, Magda. Just a few weeks of reliable sunshine is all we ask for! Mind you, no one is complaining with this amazing weather we’ve been having this summer. Here’s to more Pimm’s (and shandies!).


Foodie Cork August 6, 2013 at 12:14 pm

A shandy is possibly my most favourite summer drink. Another tipple that was a hit with family and friends at the many BBQs during the spell of lovely weather (which looks like it is returning) was a summer sangria – simply made with red wine, citrus fruits and cloudy traditional lemonade! Sipping this defintely made us feel like we were on holiday!


Kristin August 19, 2013 at 9:33 am

Hard to beat a nice pitcher of sangria or Pimm’s. Lots of lovely things to drink during the summer!


Bell | Wanderlust Marriage August 18, 2013 at 2:14 pm

I had no idea there were that many different shandy types, but beer and orange juice… I’m really not sure about that one!


Kristin August 19, 2013 at 9:33 am

Yeah, some of them sound a little odd at first – but then, so did beer and lemonade the first time I tried it!


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