“The Handyman” or Steve’s Shandy
As someone who has an affinity for beer, I must also admit that I am not a one libation kind of a guy. Like many beer drinkers out there, I can enjoy a decanter of wine, a tokkuri of sake, or a dram of whatever distilled spirit you put in front of me. Yes, be it fermented, brewed, or extracted from the vapors, I will imbibe.
But where my real passion lies is in cocktails. Finding that perfect balance of flavors to create something that is so much more than the sum of its parts has always held a passion for me. In fact, one of my greatest joys comes from mixing up a one-off cocktail for a special occasion. And often, that occasion will come during a celebratory event for family and friends, where I will make a signature drink based around the personality of the guest of honor.
One such signature drink was on the occasion of the birthday of Steve Woodward, my buddy and fellow NOLA Beer.com Co-Founder. Aside from being a beer drinker and one hell of an idea man (this website was his brainchild), he is one of the handiest people I know. He can renovate a house, build a deck, landscape a backyard, and design a greenhouse, all before most people can get their toolbelts on. And as such, when his wife Amber invited us to his birthday party, I almost immediately decided on the name of the signature cocktail for the event…The Handyman. And as Steve is as much of a beer lover as I am, the cocktail of choice was to be the Shandy.
For those unfamiliar, the Shandy, sometimes known as a Radler, is normally a fairly simple and straightforward recipe. Mix one-part ice cold light beer with one-part chilled citrus soda, drink, repeat. It’s a bit like a grown-up Arnold Palmer, and always goes down great on a hot summer day. While generally interchangeable, the real difference between a shandy and a radler is that a radler is beer mixed with a citrus based drink, while a shandy can contain any type of effervescent carbonated soda. You can also find several local breweries tapping the keg on their house shandy, including a house squeezed lemon shandy at Urban South and a watermelon-lemon shandy from Abita.
When making a shandy, the beer can be just about any type of light beer, and the amount of soda can vary, depending on style of beer and personal taste. With a wheat beer, most will cut it with slightly less soda, while a lager will often get a bit more. I personally prefer a citrusy IPA, one with a bit of sweetness and a mild hops bite. I find that it adds a roundness to the flavor that a pilsner or lager can’t quite match. And while the traditional shandy uses lemonade, it’s far from the only mixer to use. Two of my personal favorite shandys come from combining equal parts Fever Tree ginger beer with a Red Strips Lager, and from mixing an Avery White Rascal with a splash of blood orange soda from World Market.
But there is a bit of a jump when you are talking about a basic shandy or radler and a true beer cocktail. And since I wanted The Handyman to have that jump, I went for a slight detour when making it. I was pleased with the outcome, as I (and everyone at the party) seemed to think I did Steve justice with his drink. Below is the recipe, and I would love to hear some feedback on what you think, and what types of beer cocktails you enjoy. And, as I intend to make Beer Cocktails a regular blog post, if you reach out to me and let me know a bit about you and the kind of flavors you enjoy, I will create a signature cocktail for one of our awesome members to be served at an upcoming event!
Combine in a shaker:
1 oz. Bullet Rye
¼ oz. Belle Isle Honey Habanero Moonshine
¼ oz. Fresh Lime Juice
3 drops Lacknow Fennel extract
Shake vigorously with ice
Pour into pint glass containing 4 oz. Silk Road Cucumber Mint soda (World Market sells it)
Top off glass with 6 oz. Parish Brewing Co. Nova Vert IPA