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Orange Juice Shandy: A Beer 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.

orange juice shandy with bagels
Photo: Casey Barber

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 they won’t wreck the rest of the day with a sugar crash and mild hangover.

I’m starting you off nice and easy today with a two-ingredient cocktail: the orange juice 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.)

orange juice shandy with bagels
Photo: Casey Barber

For this drink, I must insist on fresh-squeezed orange juice. The taste of the bottled, refrigerated packages leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Literally, they taste metallic, sour, and absolutely nothing like the liquid that comes straight from the fruit.

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.

orange juice shandy
Photo: Casey Barber

So man up and squeeze that juicy orange fruit, then pair its sunny elixir with a beer. But not just any beer!

Stay away from dark, malty beers like stouts, brown ales, and Belgian dubbels or tripels. You want a light, refreshing beer that already has a hint of citrus in its brew.

There are a few styles of beer that pair well with freshly squeezed orange juice.

You could try a bottled shandy or radler-style beer that’s already infused with citrus juice, like Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy, Sam Adams’ Porch Rocker, or Steigl Radler (made with grapefruit).

Or pick a wheat beer (hefeweizen) or Belgian white, like Allagash White. This style is brewed with a yeast strain that imparts a little bit of herbal spice flavor to the beer, which matches up nicely with the fruit.

If you are a fan of sour fruit beers like lambics and goses, you might want to experiment with pairing two kinds of citrus flavors. Raspberry, cherry, peach, and blood orange are just some of the options on the market.

orange juice shandy with bagels

Finally, if you’re a hophead, extremely juicy IPAs can work here—but be careful, because the line between hopped and overly bitter is a fine one.

So if you’re trying this combination, adjust the ratio of your orange juice shandy for a more 1:1 pairing of juice and beer.

Play around with your favorite flavors and brews and tell me your favorite combination.

orange juice shandy with bagels

Orange Juice Shandy

Yield: 2 drinks
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Instead of a mimosa at your next brunch gathering, try this low-alcohol orange juice shandy cocktail with freshly squeezed OJ and fruity beer.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (8 fluid ounces) freshly squeezed orange juice, from about 2 large navel oranges
  • 1 cold 12-ounce bottle of beer, such as a Belgian white, hefeweizen, sour beer, or juicy IPA

Instructions

  1. Strain the orange juice into a small pitcher.
  2. Add the beer and stir gently to combine.
  3. Divide the orange juice shandy between two 12-ounce glasses.
  4. Drink immediately.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 474Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 33mgCarbohydrates: 58gFiber: 4gSugar: 26gProtein: 5g

The nutritional information above is computer-generated and only an estimate.

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8 Comments

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

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

  1. 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.

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

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

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