What is a Shandy? A Refreshing Beer Cocktail with a Twist

A shandy is a refreshing beer cocktail that originated in Britain in the mid-1800s.

It is a mixture of beer and lemonade, with the ratio of beer to lemonade varying depending on personal preference. The original name for shandy was shandygaff, which referred to a beer mixed with ginger beer or ginger ale.

Today, shandy is enjoyed all over the world and is a popular summer drink.

Shandy is a versatile drink that can be made with different types of beer and lemonade. Some people prefer to use lagers or pilsners, while others opt for ales or stouts.

The lemonade can also be substituted with other citrusy sodas, such as lemon-lime soda or grapefruit soda. Some people even add a splash of fruit juice or a shot of liquor to their shandy for an extra kick.

While shandy is a popular drink during the summer months, it can be enjoyed year-round. It is a light and refreshing drink that is perfect for those who want to enjoy a beer without feeling too full or heavy.

Whether you’re lounging on the beach or enjoying a barbecue with friends, a shandy is the perfect drink to sip on and cool down with.

What is a Shandy?

A shandy is a refreshing beer cocktail that typically consists of equal parts beer and citrusy lemon-lime soda or lemonade.

The origins of the shandy can be traced back to the UK, where it has been a popular pub drink for centuries. The name “shandy” is believed to have originated from the French word “chandelle,” which means candle, as the drink was once served in a tall glass resembling a candlestick.

The beauty of a shandy is its versatility. You can customize it to your liking by choosing the beer and soda or lemonade of your choice.

The traditional British shandy is made with a 50/50 ratio of beer and lemon soda, but you can adjust the proportions according to your taste. If you prefer a sweeter taste, you can add more soda or lemonade, and if you prefer a stronger beer flavor, you can add less soda or lemonade.

Shandies are perfect for hot summer days or as a refreshing alternative to a heavy beer. They are also a great way to introduce non-beer drinkers to the world of beer as the sweetness of the soda or lemonade can help mask the bitterness of the beer.

Some popular variations of shandies include:

  • Radler – a German shandy made with lager and lemonade or grapefruit soda
  • Michelada – a Mexican shandy made with beer, lime juice, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce
  • Black Velvet – a British shandy made with stout and champagne

Overall, a shandy is a light and refreshing drink that is perfect for any occasion.

Whether you are looking for a way to cool down on a hot day or just want to try something new, a shandy is definitely worth a try.

History of Shandy

The history of shandy dates back centuries.

The drink originated in England in the 19th century and was initially known as shandygaff. The term shandy is actually short for shandygaff, which was a mixture of beer and ginger ale or ginger beer that was popular in Victorian England.

Charles Dickens even called shandy a “perfect alliance of beer and lemonade.”

The drink became especially popular in the summertime when people were looking for a refreshing, light beverage to enjoy on a hot day.

Over time, the recipe for shandy has evolved. Today, it is typically made by mixing beer with a lemon or lemon-lime flavored beverage, such as lemonade or ginger beer.

The citrus beverage may or may not be carbonated, depending on personal preference.

Shandy has also become popular in other parts of the world, including Germany and Austria, where it is known as radler. Radler is typically made by mixing beer with a citrus soda, such as Sprite or Fanta.

Despite its long history, shandy remains a popular beverage today. It is enjoyed by people of all ages and is often served at outdoor gatherings, such as barbecues, picnics, and sporting events.

Types of Shandy

Traditional Shandy

A traditional shandy is a classic beer cocktail served in the UK, which is light and refreshing.

It is enjoyed throughout Europe and other places around the world. A traditional British shandy is made with equal parts beer and citrusy lemon-lime soda.

The proportions of the two ingredients are adjusted to taste, but are usually half lemonade and half beer, resulting in a lower alcohol by volume (ABV) for the finished drink.


A radler is a type of shandy that originated in Germany.

It is made with a mixture of beer and fruit soda or juice, typically grapefruit or lemon. The ratio of beer to fruit soda or juice is usually 50/50, resulting in a lower ABV for the finished drink.

Radlers are often served during the summer months and are popular among cyclists and hikers as a refreshing, low-alcohol beverage.

Clamato Shandy

A Clamato shandy is a unique twist on the traditional shandy that is popular in Canada and the United States.

It is made with a mixture of beer and Clamato juice, which is a blend of tomato juice and clam broth. The ratio of beer to Clamato juice is usually 50/50, resulting in a savory and slightly salty flavor.

This type of shandy is often served with a garnish of celery or a pickled bean.

Gose Shandy

A Gose shandy is a type of shandy that is made with a mixture of beer and a sour, salty, and slightly spicy gose-style beer.

two glasses of gose beer

The ratio of beer to gose is usually 50/50, resulting in a unique and refreshing flavor. Gose shandies are often served with a garnish of fresh herbs, such as mint or basil, to enhance the flavor of the beer.

Overall, there are many different types of shandies that can be made by mixing beer with other ingredients. Each type of shandy has its unique flavor profile and is often served during specific seasons or occasions. Whether you prefer a traditional shandy or a more adventurous variation, there is a shandy out there for everyone to enjoy.

How to Make a Shandy


Making a shandy is easy and requires only a few ingredients.

Here is what you will need:

  • Beer (pale ale or lager)
  • Lemonade or lemon soda
  • Ice
  • Lemon or lime slices (optional)


Follow these simple steps to make a refreshing shandy:

  1. Fill a standard pint glass halfway with beer.
  2. Fill the rest of the glass with lemonade or lemon soda.
  3. Add ice to the glass, if desired.
  4. Garnish with a slice of lemon or lime, if desired.
  5. Stir gently and enjoy!

Remember, the ratio of beer to lemonade/soda can be adjusted to your liking. For a stronger beer flavor, use less lemonade/soda. For a sweeter taste, use more lemonade/soda.

Experiment with different types of beer and lemonade/soda to find your perfect shandy recipe. Cheers!

Shandy vs. Radler

Shandy and Radler are two beer-based drinks that are often confused with each other.

While they share some similarities, there are some key differences between the two.

Firstly, Shandy is a British drink made by mixing beer with lemonade. It is typically made with a pale ale or lager and has a sweet, citrusy taste.

On the other hand, Radler is a German drink made by mixing beer with fruit juice, typically lemon or grapefruit. Radler has a more tart, fruity taste compared to Shandy.

Another difference between the two is the alcohol content. Shandy typically has a lower alcohol content than Radler, as it is diluted with lemonade.

Radler, on the other hand, has a higher alcohol content as it is mixed with fruit juice, which contains natural sugars that can increase the alcohol content.

When it comes to serving, Shandy is typically served in a pint glass, while Radler is served in a tall, narrow glass. Both drinks are popular during the summer months, as they are refreshing and light.

Overall, while Shandy and Radler share some similarities, they are two distinct drinks with different flavor profiles and alcohol content.

Whether you prefer the sweet, citrusy taste of Shandy or the tart, fruity taste of Radler, both are great options for a refreshing summer drink.


A shandy is a simple beer cocktail that has been enjoyed for centuries.

It is a refreshing and easy-to-make drink that can be customized to suit your taste preferences. Traditionally, a shandy is made by mixing equal parts of beer and lemonade, but there are many variations that use different mixers such as soda, grapefruit juice, and even Coca-Cola.

While the origins of the shandy are not entirely clear, it is believed to have originated in the UK as a way to make beer more palatable during the summer months.

Today, it is enjoyed all over the world and is a popular choice for those looking for a light and refreshing drink.

Whether you prefer a traditional shandy or a more creative variation, there is no denying that this beer cocktail is a delicious and refreshing way to enjoy your favorite beer.

So next time you are looking for a refreshing drink to enjoy on a hot summer day, why not try making a shandy?

Please drink responsibly, be fully accountable with your alcohol consumption, and show others respect.

Written by Lauren McKenna

Lauren is a soon to be Temple University graduate. Her love of travel has introduced her to food and drinks from all over the world. She provides MyBartender with a global view of all things alcohol.

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