Welcome to Party Tricks, a monthly column in which bestselling cookbook author and entertaining pro Alison Roman schools us on the fine art of having people over without pulling out your hair.
You could technically refer to a shandy as a beer cocktail. And while this wouldn’t be wrong, making one takes about as much effort as cracking open a beer. A shandy, loosely defined as beer poured over ice and topped with a tart-sweet mixer, is a gloriously unfussy drink.
It’s all about honoring the tenets of summer, which include consuming alcohol and quenching thirst—ideally simultaneously. If the thought of drinking beer on ice horrifies you, lest the dilution degrade the integrity of the brew or whatever, know that I‘m talking about using the cheap stuff, not some hopped-up IPA or chocolaty stout.
The shandy is especially friendly for hot-weather gatherings that last well into the evening since it’s the kind of low-ABV all-day sipper that keeps you in check (and, uh, hydrated?). I recommend staying away from hard alcohol while the sun’s out—daytime drinking is a marathon, not a sprint.
Making shandies for a crowd requires almost nothing on your part. The ingredients are store-bought, the drink is built right in a cup (no pitchers needed), and people can make their own, regardless of skill level.
Here’s how it’s done: Just fill a tall glass of ice two-thirds of the way with the inexpensive beer of your choice (I’m a Tecate woman), then top with any number of refreshing drinks such as Ting, lemonade, or kombucha to taste. And although this low-key drink is antithetical to garnish of any sort, I wouldn’t say no to one of those cute paper umbrellas.
You know what goes well with beer? Grilled food, that’s what: