I can’t believe in all this time of blogging, I have only made one cocktail with Cheerwine. I don’t drink a lot of soda, but this is one of my favorite splurges.
What’s Cheerwine, you ask? Well, you must not be from around these parts. It’s a sweet, cherry-red soda made right here in North Carolina. As far as I know, you can’t really get it in other states. My great-uncle used to bring cases of the stuff home to Georgia, where he savored every last drop.
In honor of American Craft Beer Week, I thought I’d skip the vodka this week and share a beer cocktail instead, just in time for Memorial Day — Cheerwine Shandy. I love using beer as the main alcoholic agent in a cocktail. Beer can bring a wide range of new flavors to a cocktail, not to mention a little foam. The shandy is a classic beer cocktail — a combination of beer and juice or soda.
Adding soda to beer may seem like an unusual choice, but it’s a tradition you can trace to Western Europe, where shandies are still quite popular. The Germans even have a word for it — Biermischgetränke — meaning “beer-based mixed drinks.” The Potsdamer is a traditional cocktail served in Berlin made with light-colored beer and flavored soda.
If you’ve never made your own shandies, I recommend starting at a 1:1 ratio. I find I prefer more beer than mixer, but if you like your drinks on the sweeter side, you may tone down the beer if you wish. There are no rules, really when it comes to shandies. Choose a beer that is light in flavor such as a pilsner, lager or ale, so as not to overcome the mixer you pair it with.
For the Cheerwine Shandy, I chose Weeping Willow Wit, a locally-brewed Belgian white ale. If you can’t find Cheerwine, feel free to substitute black cherry soda or any red-colored, flavored soda for a similar effect. Cheers! // susannah
A refreshing cherry and beer cocktail
- 4 ounces Cheerwine soda or other cherry soda
- 4 ounces beer (a wheat beer, pilsner or lager will work best)
- mint sprig, for garnish
- Fill a glass halfway with the Cheerwine. Slowly, top with beer. Garnish with a mint sprig. Serve immediately.