Half lemonade + half beer = one refreshing radler

After a few days of rain, we’ve been getting some nice, sunny skies and warmer weather. I can’t tell whether it’s still spring or the beginnings of summer (I am new to living with four seasons,) so whatever it is we’re having, I’m loving it!  If you are also looking to take advantage of the sunshine with a backyard barbecue or a couples-only picnic, don’t forget to mix up a batch of Spicy Ginger Lemonade, the perfect drink for sipping on sunny days. And, if you’re in the mood for something a little different (and maybe even more perfect!) why not make it a radler?

Radler is a refreshing blend of lemonade and wheat beer you can get anywhere in Germany. Served ice-cold, it is a crisp, refreshing drink with just a bit of sweetness and light citrus taste. You can easily make this with one part bottled lemonade to one part wheat beer (look for any label that says white beer, wheat beer, weissbeir or hefeweizen)  or you can use the recipe below for Spicy Ginger Lemonade.

Homemade Radler with Spicy Ginger Lemonade
using ginger juice will make it spicier than using sliced ginger simmered in sugar and water

2 cups fresh-squeezed lemon juice (about 9 large lemons)
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup sugar PLUS Stevia equivalent of 1 cup sugar (if you’re using the Truvia brand it’s 1/3 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoons)
1/4 cup fresh ginger juice* OR peel and thinly slice a 4″ pice of ginger
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
chilled seltzer, club soda or cold water
light-colored beer (such as Stella Artois (good one for this drink,) HB, Franzis Kaner Weissbeir, Blue Moon Belgian White)
lemon slices and fresh mint for garnish (optional)

*(to make ginger juice: grate two 5″ piece ginger, put pulp into cheesecloth, squeeze & twist juice into a measuring cup. Discard pulp.)

Directions:

In a medium sauce pan, stir sugar and stevia into water (add ginger slices, if using) and heat over medium high heat until it just starts to simmer, about 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let simmer for another two minutes, turn off heat. Add lemon juice, fresh ginger juice (if using) and stir well. Remove ginger slices and stir in cayenne. Chill at least 3 hours.

In a pitcher, pour in equal amounts of concentrated lemonade mixture and chilled seltzer or club soda. Gently stir to combine. If too sweet, add more club soda to taste.

In a tall glass, fill halfway with lemonade, top with cold beer (pour slowly, see below!) You can garnish with lemon and mint sprigs to make it extra fancy. Prost!

Whoops…be careful when pouring the beer into the lemonade, especially if you’re pouring from about 10″ above the glass!

 

Be creative by using concentrated pink ginger lemonade and floating the seltzer and beer on top! (dip a slice of fresh beet into the lemonade concentrate…instant color!)

Don't let the name fool you, no fearsome creature hides in this bottle. Just a clean, crisp (yet soft) Chardonnay.

In addition to food, I also enjoy trying all kinds of low-budget wine. Normally my husband and I are red wine fans, but we also occasionally enjoy an unoaked Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blancs, dry Rieslings or sparkling wines.

We picked this out randomly (and based on price,) and the 2008 Dragon’s Hollow Chardonnay from China was pretty much what we like in a Chardonnay:

1) NOT oaky
2) clean
3) delicious with or without food
4) cheap

Simple criteria, but isn’t this all anyone really wants in a good wine? :) It’s pretty clean and a little on the light side, but also has red apple and soft vanilla-ey characteristics. At around $8 a bottle, this was an incredible bargain. And aside from what I use for cooking, it is my first Chinese wine!