So, I made Shandy last week for my New 2 Me Cooking Challenge (wk 28). Shandy? That’s wheat beer w/ concentrated lemonade mixed in. I dunno if that sounds good to you or not. Personally, it’s my second favorite thing to drink in the summer. I’ve talked about sangria, right? I know there are a few different brand you can buy (Shock Top and Leinenkugel off the top of my head)… saw a base recipe for lemonade in The Joy of Cooking and that got me thinking. Then I saw THIS… and I knew I had to try to make my own! This recipe is the fruit of 3 different attempts at lemonade concentrate/ syrup.
Try 1: was pretty easy. It actually took me 6 smallish lemons. I squeezed my lemons and set the juice aside. Then I peeled the pulpy parts off the lemon rinds which I cut into skinny strips. I cooked everything over high heat and let it boil ‘til it was thick & syrupy. It took about 20 minutes. I let it cool a little bit, then used a small mesh strainer to separate the syrup & the peels. Then I added the lemon juice and stuck it in the fridge! This thicker syrup works best in the Shandy recipe. it was nice and sweet. I consumed the results of Try 1 in approx. 3 days. I’m not an alcoholic I promise.
Try 2: As I sat down to write this post I had a “moment”. A moment that made me realize I wanted a nice cool drink of watermelon lemonade. Sadly, I had no more syrup left! TRAGEDY! It must be remedied! I hopped on over to the grocery store and bought a bag of lemons. Yes, a bag… in my defense they were small. And bitter, not sour, bitter. Ya know what I mean? And thin-skinned. Basically they were less-than-perfect. But I’m not the kinda girl who gives up. I also changed things up a little more. This time I didn’t peel the guts off the lemon rinds, and I used all of them. I also simmered it for 25 minutes. None of these ideas where smart. Or, maybe it was just one of those ideas that messed it up? No matter what… I ended up pouring this batch down the sink. It was waaaay too bitter and the color was… gross.
Try 3: is muuuuch better than Try 2. It’s basically Try 1. The recipe I shared is the result of Try 3! It works best for the Watermelon Lemonade because it’s less concentrated, and not syrupy. If you let it reduce a lot, you can always add a little bit of water to thin it out for the lemonade.
So what I learned is to use big & fresh lemons, not bagged ones! Also… this recipe is pretty easy to adapt. It basically comes down to using equal amounts of lemon juice, sugar, and water and ½ of the lemon rinds. So juice your lemons first, and then use the same amount of sugar & water.
Now, down to the important parts! Actually making those delicious beverages!
The Shandy is super easy. Buy your favorite WHEAT beer. I used Hoegarrden. It’s amazing. But hard to find… Shock Top & Blue Moon are easier to find. I also like Harpoon UFO, but I can’t find that here very often. After you buy your favorite WHEAT beer, pour ¼ cup of Lemon Syrup/ Concentrate into the bottom and pour your beer over it. Not Lemony enough? Add more syrup. Drink. Enjoy. Repeat.
Making Watermelon Lemonade is sliiiightly more complicated. First you need to purée some watermelon… I crushed mine with a spoon in the bottom of the glass. If you have a food processor, I’d suggest using that. I was too lazy to get mine out. I used a heaping cup of cubed watermelon, and got ½ cup purée. Pour the purée in a glass, and then add double the amount of lemon concentrate. If you though ahead at any point and froze some cubed watermelon add those to the glass in place of ice. Really. Do it. Then top the whole thing off w/ a shot of vodka. Seriously. I did. This would also work as a party drink ( I think). All you have to do is make the Lemon Syrup/ Concentrate, and make ½ as much watermelon purée, add to a pitcher, and share!
Overall I’m 100% happy with the way this (finally) came out!
Wanna Make it? CLICK HERE!