Rock Shandy

Angostura bitters
Didier Descouens/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 3.0
Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 3 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 drink
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
58 Calories
0g Fat
14g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 58
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 21mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 14g 5%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 13g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 9mg 43%
Calcium 46mg 4%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 31mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This beverage might be your new favorite poolside companion. Refreshing, citrusy, and with the right amount of bitterness, this import from South Africa is here to stay. Centuries ago, a shandy was originally known as a shandygaff in England and was made with beer and unsweetened lemonade. The drink quickly spread to the British colonies, which developed their own versions with native ingredients like the ginger beer used in the Caribbean shandy or the so-called Malawi shandy with ginger soda.

This drink has a negligible amount of alcohol, which comes only from the addition of Angostura bitters. However, it should not be served to kids or people who need to abstain from alcohol consumption. The sweetness and powerful alcoholic punch are intentionally left out of a shandy, creating more of a tangy beverage that is refreshing and meant to cool people down without getting them tipsy. Given the subtropical and desert climates that can be found in South Africa, it's not hard to understand why this beverage is an ideal choice.

Adjust the ingredients to make a bigger batch, mix it in a pitcher with lots of ice, and start your next summer gathering with a refreshing note. If you'd like to use this base and experiment on a cocktail version, add one shot of vodka to our recipe.


  • 4 ounces soda water, or sparkling mineral water

  • 4 ounces lemonade

  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon aromatic bitters, or to taste

  • 1 slice lemon, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Fill a large balloon glass or highball glass with ice.

  3. Pour the soda water and lemonade into the glass.

  4. Add the Angostura bitters and mix well.

  5. Garnish with a slice of fresh lemon. Serve ice cold.

  6. Enjoy.

Lemon and Ginger

The shandy as is makes a wonderful beverage, but it can be adjusted to your personal preferences with two simple swaps:

  • Homemade Lemonade: Switch things up by making a batch of fresh-squeezed, homemade lemonade to use in the recipe instead of the standard store-bought variety. While store-bought products are great if you're in a time crunch, making a fresh batch of homemade lemonade is a great way to really provide an additional pop of bright, citrusy flavor to this delicious shandy. Especially during the summer months, this slight adjustment will really create a more refreshing beverage for you to enjoy. For an extra special lemonade, use sweet and bright Meyer lemons. Use a 5:1 or 4:1 ratio of water to pure lemon juice, depending on how tangy you want the lemonade, and anything from 1 cup of sugar or less to sweeten it. Stevia or monk fruit are great low-cal sugar replacements.
  • Ginger Ale: Replace the soda water with ginger ale. The ginger ale will provide a little bit of that sweetness that you're craving, without taking it over the edge. If using ginger ale, adjust the sugar amounts in your homemade lemonade to avoid an overly sweet cocktail.

How Strong Is a Rock Shady?

It isn't strong at all, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have alcohol. When mixed with 1 full teaspoon of Angostura bitters, one glass of this beverage has barely 0.88 ABV, or 1.7 proof, which is insignificant considering most low-alcohol cocktails mix up to 10 ABV, or 20 proof. Diluted with ice, the ABV falls even lower.