The shandy has always been a popular drink in Namibia. From the refreshing, icy rock shandy to the crisp beer shandy, as Namibians we don’t quickly pass up the opportunity to enjoy a deliciously light drink at the end of the day or during a hot weekend afternoon. Having said this, we started to wonder…where the drinks came from originally and what different types of shandies are there to be enjoyed?
Well, speculation suggests that the original shandy was created when a light beer was mixed with some kind of soft drink. And through the process of experimentation and personal preference, the unique drink has been twisted, changed and altered to match every taste and design.
When we actually looked into the shandy concept, it was shocking to note all the vastly different variations that have been created up to date. So let’s not waste any time!
The good old, traditional Beer shandy has always been a favourite. Consisting of 50/50 beer and lemonade or sprite, this drink is refreshing and tasty. What we are sure you didn’t know though, was that this trusted, yummy drink has different names in different countries.
In Germany they call the beer shandy a radler – which roughly translates to cyclist in English – and in Spain they call it a Clara. Then another popular drink on a hot summer’s day is the Rock shandy, which consists of lemonade, soda water and a few drops of angostura bitters to make this drink fresh and crisp.
One that not too many people are familiar with is the Malawi shandy. This drink is similar to the rock shandy, but trades the soda water for ginger ale, mixing it with lemonade. Then we have the Kalahari shandy that mixes the ginger ale and bitters with dry lemon. This drink is also popular in the United Kingdom, however they call it the Shandygaff.
Then of course there is always the wine cooler, or rather white wine mixed with lemonade or sprite. This is definitely a fan favourite, especially for those who aren’t particularly fond of the dry taste that often accompanies white wine.
Then there are the lessor known versions of the shandy, some of the more curious ones really caught our eye. An ideal example is the Demi-peche shandy, this French drink is made by mixing beer with peach syrup to get a unique, sweet-bitter taste. Then you have the Diesel, a unique combination of draft beer and coca cola…a slightly odd combination if we’re being honest.
A somewhat tweaked version of the Diesel is the Tango that mixes a draft with gooseberry cordial. And the French have created the Monaco Beer, a unique concoction using lager, lemonade and grenadine to create a refreshing drink. And in Singapore they have the Kip Lin, a mixture of lager and tonic water.
But wait…there are more, even weirder drinks to be discovered. For example, Black Velvet, no it isn’t a dessert of some kind, but rather a stout beer mixed with white sparkling wine. Not exactly most people’s cup of tea, but this drink has an interesting history. It was first mixed in 1861, to mourn the death of Prince Albert in the United Kingdom. The way the drink mixes is supposed to symbolise the black wrist bands worn by the family of the deceased during a time of mourning.
And finally we have the Kalimotxo, a Spanish drink that mixes coca cola with red wine. We aren’t sure if this was created to make red wine sweeter or break the sweetness of the coca cola…either way it seems to be a popular drink in Europe, so could be something to try.
Whatever drink catches your eye, or if you have your own unique mix to keep you going, a shandy is the ideal way to ride out the day or bring the week to a close. With summer already here and extreme heat on its way, we Namibians need to find a way to stay refreshed. And what better way than to sip a cool drink and appreciate our serene country, as we watch the sunset discolour the sky.
If you have any other shandy mix you’ve enjoyed or have a unique mixture of your own, we invite you to share them in the comment section below.
Author – Jescey Visagie is a proud Namibian and is passionate about writing and language. Tag along for the ride as she tries to uncover new insights into Namibia and explores what the country has to offer.