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Toast the new season with a Cardinal Red Corona Shandy

Baseball’s back. We’re in a global pandemic. Let’s have a drink.

It’s been a long, strange trip, and the journey is far from over. But Cardinal Baseball returns on Friday, so let’s celebrate with a drink.

It’s been oppressively hot here and probably wherever you are as well. I’m planning to watch more games outside this season. Since I can’t visit a local to meet up with friends, the only way to safely watch a game together seems to be at a distance, on the back patio.

So I was looking for a drink to 1) commemorate this strangest of seasons and 2) go down easy on a blistering hot day. I immediately drifted toward a shandy.

I’m using shandy as a broad category for any drink that mixes beer with a non-alcoholic citrus beverage. Lemon sodas and lemonade are the most common, but it’s a broad canvas to work with. A shandy can give you that bright, tropical vibe that goes down so easy on a hot day. The low-alcohol also makes it perfect for sipping throughout a 3+ hour ballgame.

Cardinal Red Corona Shandy

6 oz Corona (or other light lager)
4 oz fresh squeezed orange juice (about one large orange)
2 oz Campari
12 teaspoon Agave Syrup (or other sugar)

Mix the juice, Campari and syrup in a glass (or pitcher). Add the beer. Serve over ice.

Do I need to measure the ingredients perfectly?
Hell no. These proportions should get you near the happy zone, but dial it in based on your own tastes. The real dance is between the Campari, which adds bitterness and the Cardinal red color, and the Agave Syrup, which balances out the bitter with sweetness. You can also play with the proportion of beer and “mix” you add to your glass.

Do I need to use Agave Syrup?
No - you just need to add some sugar to the equation. A simple syrup would work just fine. You can even just stir in granulated sugar; just be sure to get it mixed up so it doesn’t settle. If you really like a bitter flavor or you’re getting a lot of sweetness from the orange, you may not need sugar at all.

Are there other substitutions I can make?
Ugh... I guess. But then why don’t you write your own recipe? I’m partial to Campari, and it provides the nice red color, so I have not tried another bitter aperitif. But something like Aperol would likely work well. You can use a store bought fresh-squeezed OJ, but I would discourage using the boxed, pasteurized stuff. Use any cheap, light beer you’ve got laying around as long as it isn’t skunky.

Can I make this in a larger batch?
You can and you should. If you do that, I’d encourage you to mix just the juice, Campari and syrup in a pitcher, then fill your glass with roughly half mix and half beer. For large batches, maintain a ratio of 1 part Campari, 2 parts juice and syrup/sugar to taste.

However you watch this new season and whatever you drink, I hope you enjoy it. Cheers.