This is the first time I have blogged a drink, but I just had to share this, having enjoyed a few in the splendid sunshine this afternoon. It’s my new favourite summer beverage dahlings! It’s basically a homemade lemonade with beer to make a shandy, but what makes it even more special is that it is herb infused. And it is so delicious. I have slightly adapted the recipe from a post that was Tweeted by the excellent Food 52 blog (if you’re not familiar, Food 52 is a US social network for foodies, definitely worth checking out).
The idea of infusing the syrup with herbs is just inspired; it really works. I keep them in for the drink, post infusion, as I like getting bits in my mouth to chew on. Who knew lager and herbs tasted so good together? The original recipe uses just fresh thyme, but I also added fresh mint for an almost mojito-esque vibe. This is the perfect drink for summer BBQs – very refreshing, giving a little buzz, but not too alcoholic. Adjust the beer to lemonade ratio to please, we did about 60% beer / 40% lemonade. You also could, of course, just enjoy the lemonade with herbs, not adding beer for little ones or non-boozers. I made it with my son, and he loved it without beer, just as a sweet and aromatic drink. I am so enamoured with it, I am going to have it at my wedding as a nice refresher that will also get people in the mood.
If you try one new drink this summer, make this it! It’s so easy and really very sophisticated!
To make a large jugful, enough for 2 people to have a couple each:
For the herb infused syrup:
1 cupful of water (about 200ml)
1 cupful of sugar (about 180g)
Handful of fresh thyme
Handful of fresh mint
For the lemonade
3-4 cups of water, to taste, depending on desired strength
3 lemons, juiced
To make it:
3/4 bottles of good quality lager (we used Mahou which is a Spanish lager)
- Bring the water, sugar and herbs to the boil in a saucepan, covered. Turn off the heat as soon as it’s boiling, and let it infuse for anything from 10 – 30 minutes. We let ours steep for about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, juice your lemons and pour the water into a large pitcher style jug. When the infusion is ready strain it – or leave it in if you think it looks nice like I do. Then pour most of the infusion (keep some back to adjust to taste) into the cold water, add almost all of the lemon juice. Taste and adjust to taste. Add lots of ice, and I add the squeezed lemons too. You have your lemonade!
- Now add your beer, either to the pitcher or to the glass before the lemonade. Cheers!