Brew Blog: Left Hand Good JuJu Shandy

I consider myself to be a man who keeps his word. I also consider myself a chronic procrastinator, prone to a relaxed pace. That's why I'm just getting (back) around to this one. I'd like to say I had it on my to-do list all along, but that's not entirely true. I'd pretty much forgotten that I'd ever brought it up.

That is, until I stumbled upon a lone bottle of Left Hand Good JuJu hiding at the very back of my fridge, crouched behind bottles of newer discoveries. As I fished it out, I suddenly remembered my shandy intentions, which I'd already half fulfilled.

Months ago, I did just what I said I would, preparing a Good JuJu Shandy with Jarritos Toronja soda. It wasn't very good. While I'm a fan of the soda on its own, despite its relative lack of real kinship with actual grapefruit, it was pretty awful in this guise. Mostly adding sweetness and a slight acidic kick, the combination actually amplified the artificiality of the soda, masking the nature of the beer in the process. I'd intended to experiment with a more natural-tasting grapefruit beverage, but hadn't gotten around to it. This lapse has now been addressed.

It turns out that Safeway/Randalls' O Organics brand Pink Grapefruit Italian Soda makes a damn find Shandy. Since the soda is made with actual juice (only 12 percent, but still), it tastes more like the real thing. Aside from that, you're basically adding sugar, water, and more fizz. The combination was more or less exactly what I'd hoped for.

Grapefruit rang clearly, and seemed to have a synergistic effect with the ginger, whose zing was even more pronounced. It did come across as slightly sweeter than the straight beer, but only just. The extra fizz was even pleasant, adding an effervescent lightness to the overall experience. I wish I had gotten around to this during the summer, when this drink would really shine. I know what I'll be drinking come May.

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