The shandy is one of those what’s-old-is-new cocktails that are having a moment of late. It is a traditional British beverage consisting of beer topped with what they call “lemonade” but what we would recognize as sparkling lemon-lime soda, akin to Sprite. Its popular German relation is the Radler, meaning “cyclist”; a low-proof sipper, it likely got its name for its ability to refresh a rider’s body and mind without knocking him off his bike.
Because of its cooling properties, the shandy is typically thought of as a hot-weather cocktail. But CBD Provisions, a self-described “modern Texas brasserie” in Dallas’s hip Joule Hotel, has accomplished the seemingly oxymoronic feat of creating a winter version. For its foundation, the Apple Shandy uses Laird’s apple brandy, a 100-proof spirit from the United States’ oldest distilling company. (Although apple brandy is rarely seen on cocktail menus today, it was once distilled all over colonial America. And when John “Johnny Appleseed” Chapman roamed the early-nineteenth-century countryside planting apple trees, he favored the wild, sour varieties that were ideal for making cider and apple brandy.) Added to the apple brandy are fresh lemon and ginger juices, then it’s all topped off with White Rascal, a witbier (unfiltered Belgian white ale) from Colorado’s Avery Brewing that’s seasoned with coriander and orange peel. Grated nutmeg is the final flourish.
The bar program at CBD Provisions (and of the hotel’s hotly anticipated new watering hole, Mirth & Refuge) is the handiwork of highly acclaimed cocktail innovators Chad Solomon (a native Texan) and Christy Pope, longtime partners who cut their teeth at New York’s Milk & Honey and Pegu Club, two of the most influential bars in the country. With the Apple Shandy, they not only demonstrate a deft hand at creating a neoclassical drink that honors the original but also illustrate the nuances involved in adapting a cocktail from one season to another.
Recipe by Chad Solomon and Christy Pope
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz ginger syrup (recipe below)
3/4 oz Laird’s 100-proof straight apple brandy
White ale (we recommend Avery White Rascal)
Measure lemon juice, ginger syrup, and apple brandy into a shaker (without ice). Dry shake to mix and aerate, then pour into a Collins glass over ice. Top with white ale and stir. Grate nutmeg over the top of the drink to garnish. (Ginger syrup: Stir 1 cup of freshly extracted ginger juice and 1 cup of sugar until sugar is completely dissolved. Use a blender to speed up sugar dissolution.)
David Alan is a writer in Austin.