Radlers are not originally Slovak, although they are now popular here. Basically, a radler is a beer cocktail, a mix of beer and a sweet drink. Beer connoisseurs may scoff, but I find radlers very enjoyable and perfect on a hot day.
Radler means cyclist in German. In many areas, cycling around the countryside is very popular, and people stop off for a drink at cafes along their journey. A radler can quench thirst without getting one tipsy, and are not as sweet as pop/soda. A radler is the same as a shandy in British English.
They came to Slovakia some years ago, and now you can find all kinds of flavours. A look in our small local grocery store came up with these flavours: lemon, lavender black current, lemon elderflower mint, strawberry rhubarb, peach basil, grapefruit, raspberry lime, and ginger. My favourite is a limited edition but not pictured – a mix of various herbs.
Beer belongs to the category of foods that I wish I liked better, but don’t really, like Brussels sprouts. I’ve had a few that I liked, but in general I can take it or leave it, and mostly leave it. People of refined tastes are supposed to distinguish between minute differences in beer and frequent small artisan craft beer makers. I like the idea of artisan craft beer makers, at least.
The simple way of making a radler is very easy – mix a lager beer and a pop like Sprite or ginger ale to taste.
If you have flavoured syrups on hand, however, you can make some very creative radlers. Pictured is a rader I flavoured with elderflower syrup and a squeeze of lemon.
Use any fruit to make a syrup (with honey or sugar) following the instructions for Apricot Syrup or a herbal or floral syrup (lemon balm, lavender, etc) made with sugar following the instructions for Elderflower Syrup. You could also use frozen concentrates, like pink lemonade or grapefruit.
You are limited in flavour only by your imagination.
Drink cold for a refreshing summer drink!
A sweet beer mix, radlers can be a simple combination of beer and pop, or a more fancy treat with homemade flavoured syrup.
- 1-2 tbsp syrup (links in notes) or juice concentrate per glass
- carbonated water
- squeeze lemon (optional)
For fruit syrups, use any fruit to make syrup following instructions for Apricot Syrup.
For herbal or floral syrups, use various herbs or flowers following instructions for Elderflower Syrup.
Recipes are not exact - mix according to taste. More beer for a less sweet drink, more syrup for a sweeter drink.