Thursday, February 5, 2015

Thirsty Thursday: Winter Citrus Shandy

I want to shout: "I'm back bitches!!" at just the hint that I can drink cocktails again, but alas, drinking hard liquor while breastfeeding is sort of frowned upon. So I'm easing my way back into the adult beverage business with a light and lovely beer cocktail usually reserved for summer sipping - the Shandy.

Shandies are a mixture of beer, lager or pale ale, and lemonade or ginger ale. The low-alcohol, high flavor drink has been enjoyed for hundred of years. Usually shandies are enjoyed in hot weather when you need something light & refreshing, but I've always wondered why summer time gets all the lemonade love. Winter is prime citrus time. And who couldn't use a glass of sunshine when there are 6 more weeks of winter left?!  I've started juicing all the citrus and mixing it with a little maple syrup and water for a wintry lemonade that is a perfect 3 pm pick-me-up. Add a little lager and you've got a darling little drink.

Shandies are also great for breastfeeding mamas because they are low alcohol. There are anecdotal reports that beer drinking (in moderation) can help support milk supply. In fact, our lactation consultant prescribed non-alcoholic beer when I was struggling to breastfeed Ella, because brewers yeast is good for milk production (as seen in these cookies)! But honestly, I just don't enjoy drinking a O'Douls the way I enjoy a cocktail. There is a certain ritual missing. And while I'd recommend waiting until your breastfeeding routine is well established before imbibing, I do think an occasional adult beverage is beneficial, because mama needs to relax a little.

Making your own lemonade is the key to this Shandy. I like a mix of 50% lemon juice and 50% other citrus. Cara cara and blood oranges give the juice a sweet pink hue, while clementines will lend a sweeter sip. Grapefruit juice is ridiculously delicious in a shandy made with a not quite pale ale.

Maple Winter Citrus-ade
makes 1 quart or 8 servings

1 cup fresh citrus juice - I used 4 lemons, 2 cara cara & 2 blood oranges (or about 8 lemons)
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup maple syrup

Combine the citrus juice, water, and syrup in a pitcher. Stir to combine, chill until ready to serve.

Winter Citrus Shandy
makes 2 drinks

1 cup Maple Winter Citrus-ade
12 ounces chilled Lager or IPA

Fill two rocks glasses with ice and divide the Citrus-ade between the glasses. Top with beer and stir gently to combine.

More Shandy Facts & History from NPR
More on Breastfeeding & Alcohol


  1. I've always wondered what a Shandy was, and now I know that I would absolutely love them. Also, dear winter, go away so that I can enjoy these on patios and such.

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