Summer in a glass: Radler.
Ok. It’s many weeks into summer now and the sweating is getting a little crazy. Here is the perfect beverage to cool you off and not get you silly drunk.
I discovered radler on a super hot day this summer. I was having a mid day lunch meeting at a local gastropub. I wasn’t planning on having a beverage of the alcoholic variety on this particular Wednesday afternoon, but the person with which I was meeting unabashedly ordered a beer. Well, ok, I thought.
I asked the server whether they had any tasty beers on the low ABV side. He assuredly pointed me to the Stiegl Radler, which he explained, is a blend of juice, in this case lemonade but sometimes grapefruit or lime soda, mixed with beer. Ordinarily, I would raise my nose at any beer diluted with juice, but at that moment it seemed like the perfect option.
Against my better judgement, I ordered one.
When it came, I took a big long sip, and immediately fell in love. It’s light, refreshing, beery, and lemony all at the same time. At 2.5% ABV You could literally drink this all day long. Which, no surprise, is what people do. As I mentioned in my last post about our recent beer pairing dinner, I chose to pair my own homemade radler with the first course of fresh hummus and cucumbers. I figured people would show up thirsty and ready to drink some beer. This unexpected treat was the perfect way to start our dinner: Low alcohol, thirst quenching, and easy drinking. The lemon cut through the creamy hummus and garlic and refreshed the palate with every sip.
Radler starts with the best homemade lemonade, which naturally starts with lemons. Pleeeaaaase, don’t even consider using bottled lemon juice. The real deal is 100X better, even if it requires a little muscle.
- 6-8 lemons, juiced
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water (for syrup)
- The peel of two lemons – I like to make big old strands of peel and keep ’em right in the bottle with the syrup
- Water to taste
Prep all ingredients. Start with your syrup: adding the sugar and your cup of water to a pot. Allow the sugar to dissolve fully and turn your stove off (this is how you make any simple syrup). Next, take your lemon peel and toss into the still hot liquid sugar syrup. Let steep for about 5 minutes. This makes the lemonade extra lemony without all that additional acid. Trust me, do this.
Once the syrup has cooled off a bit, place your lemon juice and simple syrup in a pitcher, and start adding water. Honestly, I just keep adding water until the flavor tastes just right. If you like a tart lemonade, add less of the simple syrup. Feel free to combine in whatever ratios you please. Refrigerate your pitcher for at least an hour or two before making your radlers.
When you’re ready to make your radler, simply pour your lemonade into a large glass, halfway full or a little less. Add your favorite summery beer to fill. For this round, I used our own homebrewed Hefeweizen, which was a stellar combination. You can experiment withe the beer you use to make your radler, using hoppier farmhouse saisons for example (we used Sorachi Ace from Brooklyn Brewery at the beer dinner), or a nice Belgian blonde. It is super easy to personalize, so definitely make it your own.
Happy Sunday fun-day! Now go make a radler!