The Bar Cart: It’s Not a Mimosa!

Sometimes a Bloody Mary is too intense. Sometimes you don’t want to crack open a bottle of Champagne just to pour a mimosa or two. Sometimes it’s just plain embarrassing to admit you want a bottle of beer with your egg platter. And that’s why the world needs more breakfast cocktails.

As part of the Bar Cart series on Good. Food. Stories., I’ll occasionally be focusing on these low-maintenance, low-alcohol, high-satisfaction drinks. Better suited for before-noon boozing than Manhattans, Boulevardiers, and other potent classics, breakfast cocktails will start your morning off right, should you be in the mood for that sort of thing, but not wreck the rest of the day with a sugar crash and mild hangover.

orange juice shandy - a breakfast cocktail, via
I’m starting you off nice and easy today with a two-ingredient cocktail, but first, a confession. The taste of packaged orange juice leaves a bad taste in my mouth—literally, it tastes metallic, sour, and absolutely nothing like the liquid that comes straight from the fruit. For this drink, I must insist on fresh-squeezed orange juice. Pressing an orange into a juicer is the hardest thing you’ll have to do for this drink, I promise you, and it’s vital to the balance of flavors that results. Just go with me here.

So man up and squeeze that juicy orange fruit, then pair its sunny elixir with your favorite bottled shandy (what’s a shandy? traditionally a half-and-half blend of a light-flavored, low-alcohol beer such as a lager with lemon-lime soda, lemonade, or ginger beer), like Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy, Sam Adams’ Porch Rocker, or Saranac Shandy. Bottled versions tend to be sweeter than their bartender-mixed counterparts, amping up the lemonade flavors and downplaying most of the beer’s bitter hop tones—which makes a pre-mixed bottle an apt partner for the refreshing natural sugars in a just-squeezed orange.

orange juice shandy - a breakfast cocktail, via
As regular readers know, I’m an enormous fan of incorporating grapefruit into my cocktails, so I’ve chosen Steigl’s creamy-tart grapefruit Radler for the concoction photographed above. If you’d like to downplay the tart side of citrus and enhance the orange flavor even more, Leinenkugel’s new Orange Shandy might be the ticket for you. Play around with your favorite flavors and brews and tell me your favorite combination.

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    • Casey BarberCasey Barber says

      The dirty secret of those photos is that they were basically an excuse to eat a big old bagel with cream cheese. :)

    • Casey BarberCasey Barber says

      Aimee, I think I’m going to start celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving AND American Thanksgiving. If it means double the stuffing, so be it!

  1. Sarah says

    Football starts early in the day here, and I think this might be the perfect bridge drink between breakfast and lunch for those lazy days.

    • Casey BarberCasey Barber says

      Actually, this might be a good drink for watching 1 pm baseball games… maybe like I’m doing right now??

  2. says

    Wait, how did I not know about bottled Shandys? Also I’m planning on drinking this every morning of my vacation! Looks lovely.