What Is A Shandy?

When the sun is shining on a lazy afternoon, there’s nothing quite like a shandy. Not too strong, not too sweet, and really easy to make, the shandy is a refreshing beverage just perfect for a summer day.

What Is A Shandy?

A shandy is a combination of beer and lemon-lime soda. Created in the UK, but with similar variations across Europe, shandies are light and thirst-quenching.

They’re also highly customizable, so you can experiment with a shandy that suits your taste.

Ready to discover the perfect summer cocktail? Learn all about shandy with this guide.

What Is A Shandy Made Of?

If you order a shandy on a warm day, you’ll most likely be served a glass of half beer and half carbonated lemon soda.

But the term shandy refers to a more general mixture of beer or cider with lemon or lime soda. It’s pretty customizable!

The traditional British shandy, and the version you’re most likely to enjoy if you ask for this drink at a bar, consists of a pale beer and a lemon soda.

This is a British lemonade: sparkling, carbonated lemon soda with plenty of sweetness!

But while some cocktails have set recipes, the shandy gives you room to experiment. Instead of beer, you can try cider. Instead of lemon soda, give ginger ale a go.

It’s very much a mix-and-match style cocktail. Any carbonated soft drink can realistically be used in a shandy, so have fun with different combinations. 

There’s one final, optional ingredient to a shandy — the fruit wedge. To finish your lemonade shandy the right way, add a slice of lemon or lime. 

The History Of Shandy

Shandies have been popular for a fairly long time, but the actual origin of the drink is a slight mystery. The first recorded use of the term shandy popped up in the UK in 1888.

The term is thought to come from “shandygaff”, which refers to a mixture of beer and ginger ale. Although, it’s worth noting that the origins of shandygaff are up for debate.

While the shandy has a slightly muddled history, things are clearer for its German sibling the radler. “Radler”, meaning “cyclist”, is a 50/50 mix of beer and lemon-lime soda. It was created and named by innkeeper Franz Kugler. 

In the 1920s, Kugler had set up an inn on a popular bicycle trail, enticing thirsty cyclists to stop for a drink. On one particularly lovely day in 1922, it’s said that more than 13,000 cyclists decided to visit Kugler’s Inn.

To ensure they all had something to drink, and no paying customers were turned away, Kugler stretched his limited beer supply with lemonade. The drink caught on, and the radler spread across Germany.

While there’s no clear origin to the shandy, it could have come about similarly. Or it might have just been an attempt to nail the perfect summer drink.

Whatever led to the creation of shandies, it soon became popular throughout Europe, before spreading further afield.

Radlers, shandies, and the French panaché are all variations of the same basic drink. Beer (sometimes cider) is mixed with a sharp soda to create a refreshing beverage.

A simple concept, but an excellent one. 

How To Make A Shandy

What Is A Shandy?

A shandy is one of the easiest cocktails to make and it’s one you can experiment with. Essentially, fill a glass half with beer, top with lemonade, stir, and enjoy!

But let’s break this down into a little more detail:


Any type of beer can work in a shandy, but pale ales are popular. Lagers and IPAs are also good choices, and anything with citrus top notes will enhance the flavors of your mixer.

Our tip is to make sure your beer is icy cold before pouring. Shandies are best enjoyed in the sunshine. Keeping your beer cold will mean you don’t have to water down the mixture with ice cubes.

Lemon-Lime Soda

The shandy was created in the UK, so you should be using the British version of lemonade. British lemonade is similar to Sprite or 7 Up.

It’s sweet and bubbly, clear instead of cloudy, and with only a hint of sharpness. This is the type of lemon soda you should be using in your shandy!

Cloudy, sharp, and still lemonade can be used to make shandy, but it isn’t your typical choice. 

But shandies don’t really conform to strict rules! This is a fun drink to experiment with, so try other forms of sodas and soft drinks. 

How To Mix A Shandy

A shandy is nearly always made in a pint glass, so you have ample room for both beer and lemon soda. If you don’t have a pint glass, any large glass will do.

Alternatively, you can mix up a pitcher of shandies for when you’re entertaining a crowd.

Begin by filling the glass halfway with beer. This is equal to roughly one cup. Shandy measurements don’t have to be hugely accurate, so don’t worry about getting it spot on.

Next, top up your glass with lemon soda. For a pint glass, this should measure roughly one cup. 

A shandy needs no shaking and minimal mixing, but give it a quick stir to make sure everything is evenly distributed. Finish with a wedge of lemon and enjoy!

If you prefer a stronger or weaker shandy, adjust the measurements to suit your tastes.


When the sun is shining and you have nothing to do, there’s nothing quite like a shandy for aiding relaxation. Made from a mixture of beer and lemon soda, a shandy is an adaptable drink that’s designed to be cooling and refreshing.

How do you like to enjoy shandy?

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s The Difference Between A Shandy And A Radler?

A shandy comes from the UK while the radler was invented in Germany. Other than that, they’re pretty much the same drink consisting of beer mixed with lemon-lime soda.

Why Is It Called A Shandy?

The word “shandy” is thought to come from an earlier drink known as the “shandygaff”. A “shandygaff” was a mixture of beer and ginger ale.

However, where the term shandygaff came from is not exactly clear.

Rees Vaughn
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