As the temperatures climb into the 70s and 80s, so do our diets adjust to the changes. Root vegetables are swapped out for fresh tomatoes and ramps; mulled cocktails and dark beers for bright ales and fruity wines.
To be sure, certain foods and drinks hit the spot perfectly during certain times of year. And right now, with the warming weather, we can’t think of anything better than the lemon shandy.
It’s a mixture of beer and lemonade that’s one part frosty brew, one part citrusy tang, and a million parts delicious.
The lemon shandy couldn’t be easier to make on your own (try this recipe from Philly Homegrown), but if you’re sporting some springtime lethargy to match these balmy temps, plenty of Philadelphia restaurants offer their own spins on the drink, and don’t require you to lift a finger. Here are our picks:
• Square Peg: Square Peg is the laboratory for mad-scientist-chef Matt Levin, inventor of the Tastykake slider and the Four Loko-pairing dinner. But when it comes to a shandy, the Peg keeps things simple, with classic American lager and pert, homemade lemonade.
• Rex 1516: The newest foodie-friendly addition to South Street West, Rex 1516 showcases flavors from the American South. A shandy here is a great match for a hot Southern day, combining pilsner, ginger beer and lemon juice.
• Hawthorne’s: This popular beer bar and restaurant offers a classic shandy in addition to an extensive menu of American dishes for dinner, lunch and brunch. The cocktail, uniting American pale ale and fresh, homemade lemonade, is the ideal fuel for a post-meal stroll around Bella Vista.
• Irish Pub: This watering hole offers a shandy as straightforward as its name. Mixing pale ale and sweet lemonade, its flavor combination is classic and delicious, to match the old-school surroundings.
• Zahav: The Old City modern-Israeli restaurant from James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Solomonov brings it at the bar just as much as it does in the kitchen. Their shandy here unites Pennsylvania-made Yeungling Lager with lemon soda and citrus bitters — the ideal, multilayered companion to sweetbread schnitzel or grilled duck hearts with carrot-turnip salad.
• The Dandelion: Stephen Starr’s tribute to the British pub is all about classic ingredients, prepared right. Its shandy uses Wells Bombardier, a malty treat that’s one of England’s most popular beers, and unites it with lemon-lime soda for a drink that’s a tad less light than a traditional shandy, but no less delicious.