Welcome to the first installment of three-ingredient Thursdays! Every Thursday from now on, I will do my best to present you with a delectable, yet simple, cocktail made out of just three ingredients. As someone who still considers herself a beginner when it comes to cocktail making, I know how good it feels to have a couple of easy, go-to cocktails to wow your friends.
I chose what I call an Americano Shandy as the first cocktail in this series for two main reasons: 1) everybody needs a shandy in their arsenal for grilling season, and 2) it features complex flavors without being overly fussy. If you’ve never had a shandy cocktail or an Americano, you are probably feeling pretty lost right now, so let me briefly introduce you to each one. Shandies are usually a mixture of beer and flavored soda. Some of my favorite combinations are beer and lemon or raspberry soda. You tend to use light beers like lagers to make them, although these days they are made with all sorts of beers including IPAs. You can mix them to taste, but equal parts beer and soda usually does the trick.
An Americano is a classic three-ingredient cocktail that first came to be in the 19th century. It usually contains Campari, sweet vermouth, and soda. It’s also one of those cocktails that works really well before dinner, kind of like a Negroni. If you’ve ready my previous post on Negronis, you know that it’s one of my favorite drinks, which is why infusing a shandy with these flavors seemed like a good idea.
As usual, I’ve deviated a bit from the classic by using Aperol instead of Campari. Aperol, like Campari, is an Italian aperitif and, therefore, bitter in flavor. If you don’t have any at hand, you can definitely substitute some Campari, but keep in mind that one of the differences between them is that Aperol is a tad sweeter. I personally feel that this shandy needs that extra bit of sweetness to keep it from becoming too bitter. My vermouth of choice is Punt e Mes, which packs a perfect balance of bitter and sweet, but feel free to use your favorite vermouth. Finally, I’m a sucker for Mexican beer. I usually favor Corona, but I recently started drinking Estrella Jalisco, and I find it to have a bolder flavor than Corona. Since you are using other bold flavors in this cocktail, I feel that the Estrella stands up better to them than the Corona does. It’s technically a pilsner, but I won’t tell anyone if you don’t.
I’ve garnished my shandy with slices of orange because I feel that they complement the vermouth and Aperol really well, but some grapefruit slices would also be lovely. I would also suggest chilling your beer glasses beforehand; I forgot to do it once when I was testing this recipe, and I noticed that if you don’t do it, the drink tends to get warm a bit too fast for my taste.
I hope that you have fun experimenting with this recipe and make your own shandies this summer!
The Americano Shandy
This shandy cocktail inspired by an Americano features bold flavors with none of the fuss.
- 6 oz of your favorite light beer (I used Estrella Jalisco)
- 1 oz Punt e Mes or your favorite vermouth
- 1/4 oz Aperol
- Step 1 I recommend chilling your glasses prior to serving this cocktail, but feel free to skip this step.
- Step 2 Put the Punt e Mes and Aperol at the bottom of a tall glass.
- Step 3 Top with the beer and garnish with a slice of orange or grapefruit.