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Friday Cocktails: Nostalgic for Green Sands Shandy

by on May 22, 2015
 

If you were born in 19 whatever, you mightn’t have the foggiest idea about Green Sands Shandy.

My Lord, it was the height of refreshment.
Do you remember it? In its green bottle?

It is what we drank when we graduated from Maltina and Chapman. And today and forever, it is the measure of the kind of alcohol I like to drink – weak, sparkling and refreshing.

Judge me please :).

The first time I thought about it after so long was in 2010, on a trip to Barcelona. We’d taken a cable car across the city and ended up high upon a hill with a bar. It was hot, and I wanted a drink. Rather than go for water, I ordered two drinks to make a Shandy – some Heineken lager and Sprite (lemon-lime) soda.

I think of the best club sandwich ever from Shell Club and green bottles of Shandy which we consumed. It had low alcohol content and so we consumed it freely. Freely being dependent on how much you had, which wasn’t ever much after buying jelly babies and said club sandwiches, filled with real roast chicken, boiled eggs and mayonnaise.

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Shandy is beer mixed with a soft drink, carbonated lemonade, ginger beer, ginger ale, or apple juice or orange juice. The proportions of the two ingredients are adjusted to taste, usually half-and-half. Non-alcoholic shandies are known as “rock shandies”. Shandies are more popular in western Europe than other parts of the world.

In some jurisdictions, the low alcohol content of shandies makes them exempt from laws governing the sale of alcoholic beverages; Wikipedia

I don’t know where I learnt how to ‘make’ it but I know that…I’ve always known how – half beer, half Sprite. Sprite being my choice of soda.

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Lately, I’ve learnt one can make it with all sorts of soda (Ben Okri fancies Fanta with his Star beer), and juice, to my fascination.

By this time, the table is groaning with food: goat, stockfish, plantain and rice – all delicious, although the colour scheme is unrelievedly orange, intensified by our Nigerian Fanta (Ben mixes his with Star beer, “a combination some Nigerians go for – it’s great.”). The respite from orange is swampy green edikang ikong “crawling with vegetables”, given to “young ladies before they get married” to fill them “with the juice of sensuality and vigour of living”. Of all the dishes, it is the strangest – with a chewy astringency; The Guardian

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The Apple juice Shandy I made, to compare with a soda one was so awesome, I’m glad for the discovery but more on that in a minute.

I start with pouring beer, into a tilted glass, so the ‘head’/ froth isn’t too much. Then I top up with Sprite and down.

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Comparing…

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The version with Sprite was clear, and that with apple – cloudy but it was the flavour that surprised me the most.

The apple juice combo reminded me of walking in an apple orchard in spring – clean, fruity and very refreshing with all the ‘in seasoness’ of freshly pressed apple juice . I still like my Sprite-Beer combo, but I wasn’t expecting this and so…let me delight :). 

I’ve tried to make versions with Fanta but…not very much to my liking.

In the end, what you add to your lager is your choice but I like to go for clean, crisp beers without too much of a fruity flavour, and sodas that don’t overpower.

I have a few more to try – ginger ale/ beer and more apple juice :). Stay well xxx