Radler: a refreshing beer cocktail
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.
Jul 07, 2017 @ 17:30:37
It’s a interesting drink. Not my cup of tea however, I perfer “Kobushi” now there’s a refreshment that has many fringe benefits! Have you heard of it or do you ferment it?
Jul 08, 2017 @ 14:14:15
I’ve never heard of it, but I’m about to google it!
Jul 07, 2017 @ 17:57:09
Interesting topic. I like having an understanding of what the basics are for some of these specialty drinks.
Jul 08, 2017 @ 14:16:07
Very simple, really. The best kind. Mix some frozen juice concentrate, sparkling water, beer, maybe throw in some ice and enjoy while looking out at the view on the balcony.
Jul 07, 2017 @ 19:21:12
My attitude about Radlers used to be, “Why ruin beer?” Then I had a few not-so-sweet ones and am a convert. So much for stubbornness.
Jul 08, 2017 @ 14:17:56
I like to mix them myself because then I can get the taste just right. I don’t like very sweet drinks, but then I’m not a huge fan of very bitter drinks either. Homemade radler about fits the bill!
Jul 08, 2017 @ 13:44:48
I know exactly which limited flavour you mean! Zlaty Bazant Bylinky, it was available last summer and I enjoyed it the most of all flavours too, so I bought couple cases (sixpacks) for storage, but right now I am running out. I didn´t see them anywhere this year, did you? Thanks.
Jul 08, 2017 @ 14:20:14
Yes, Zlaty Bazant Bylinky! It wasn’t as sweet as others. I bought one this spring, but don’t see them either. I should have stored up, like you! Obviously this needs to be a regular flavour, not just a limited edition.
Aug 31, 2017 @ 19:34:01
I discovered recently a new Birell flavour, Elderflower, Thyme and Lemon mix, it reminds me slightly of our favourite Bylinky mix and its also not too sweet. You can give it a try 🙂
Sep 01, 2017 @ 21:19:12
I’ll have to try it, thanks for the tip!
Jul 09, 2017 @ 14:29:56
Kombucha. Is the correct spelling. Are you familiar with it ?
Jul 09, 2017 @ 14:31:18
Kombucha. Is the correct spelling. Sorry my first spelling was off Are you familiar with it ?
Jul 10, 2017 @ 18:02:40
Kombucha, yes, I know of it. I have a mushroom in my fridge actually, but I haven’t made anything with it yet. I made it years ago, but I seemed to be the only one that drank it. Maybe now that the kids are older they will drink too, especially in this heat.
Jul 12, 2017 @ 19:16:51
thank you for this lovely idea of home-made radler 🙂
I´ll try it at our barbecue with my friends.
Greetings to you and your lovely family!
Jul 14, 2017 @ 16:09:32
I hope it works out well! Greeting to you and your family as well!