Much to my surprise, several of my more worldly friends had experienced this drink, commonly known as a Radler.
I needed a drink to go to a foodie party hosted by the city’s Ice Cream Queen, Soup Lady, and Confiture Gent, and my original plan was the Riesling and Cranberry Juice with Pomegrante, but at the last minute decided to make a jug of Radler because a large quantity of Riesling was not available and I was too poor to buy fancy fruit. Lemons and beer it is!
My research skills discovered that Radler is German for Cyclist. Automatically I should feel some kind of connection to this drink, as my bike is like…an extra leg…with wheels…and 24 speeds. Best leg/simile ever. Apparently, this drink is said to have been invented when a group of cyclists rode into town for some refreshments and a bar owner, itching for sweaty change, discovered he didn’t have enough beer to fuel them all, so he cheated them by filling the pints half way with Sprite. Or a lemon-lime soda of some kind. The cyclists found this drink so refreshing and appropriately low in alcohol for their heavy cycling lifestyle, they likely cheered the shady bartender and the Radler was popular ever after.
At first, I was intrigued by the idea of an unprounounceable drink mixed with homemade lemonade. But as I arrived home from my day of staring at pretty things I can’t buy because I spend all my money on butter and sugar, I put the beer and lemons on my counter and started to worry.
Was I really going to bring this to a foodie party?
I took baby steps, understanding with some dread that if this turned out to be revolting, I would have to go empty-handed. I had no idea what this party was going to be like.
I poured the wheat-beer into the jug. Let the 16 inches of head prove why I never became a bartender.
I make the lemonade. Admittedly with a bottle of lemon juice. Again, I spend all my money on butter etc…
When I combined the two, I didn’t much care for it (whoa, really? didn’t see that one coming) so I upped the ratio of lemonade to beer. Still gross, but less so. I topped it off with lemon slices and shoved the jug into a plastic wine store bag (always classy) and went to buy cigarettes to easy my anxiety and give me a reason to go to a party, but not actually be inside the party, which is just plain stressful.
Once there, I realized there were lots of people and the lighting was low enough that I successfully kept my jug of shame hidden in a dark corner sheathed in plastic. I think I caught a glimpse of a couple of drink-hunters sniff it out, grimace, and steal someone else’s wine. Score?
To be fair, the flavour matured and improved with the oils from the lemon skins. Either that or my constant sipping managed to adjust my tastebuds to the Radler. I dunno. But what I do know is I’m never making this again.
Oh, and the unfortunate thing was we left the party early to go eat Vietnamese soup and I only realized later that I’d left them, as a horribly disappointing host gift, 1.6 litres of Radler.