For one, they're not just sugar and cheap Champagne
The pairing of a brightly colored cocktail with brunch is certainly a way to get the breakfast party started. While some of my friends possess the uncanny ability to knock back three mimosas before noon and still see straight, I just can’t can’t keep up. That's why my day drink of choice is a shandy. Part pale beer, part fresh juice, a shandy is the low ABV cocktail I can stomach in the morning without needing a lampshade come lunchtime. While a shandy is typically a half-and-half mixture of beer and a soft drink (citrusy juices or sodas are most common), I tend to make a shandy with a little more beer and a little less fruit because it is still brunch, after all.
The best part about a shandy is it’s completely customizable to your own taste. If you don’t like citrus, try stone-fruit-based nectars like peach or plum. Wishing you could suck down a piña colada or a mai tai but just can’t handle the booze? Stir mango or pineapple juice into your shandy. If you’re not into these fruity-beer combos at all, a spicy michelada might be more your speed.
To make a floral-orange shandy: Squeeze 1 lemon and 1 blood orange (a plain ol’ orange will also do) through a fine mesh sieve into a tall glass, then stir in ½ ounce elderflower liqueur. Pour 12 ounces of a cold pale lager over the fruit mixture.
To make a tropical shandy: Pour ¼ cup fresh mango juice, ¼ cup fresh pineapple juice, and the juice of 1 lime through a fine mesh sieve into a tall glass. Top with 12 ounces of a cold wheat ale.
To make a peachy-grapefruit shandy: Pour ¼ cup white peach juice and the juice of 1 grapefruit through a fine mesh sieve into a tall glass. Add a splash of ginger beer if you’d like, then pour 12 ounces of a cold pilsner beer over the juice.