“Hello, Vegas? Yeah. We would like some more alcohol. And you know else? We would like some more beers.”
My name is Sara, and I am constantly quoting episodes of FRIENDS.
This one is from “The One in Vegas: Part 2” but really it should be titled, “The One Where Rachel Looks Like Pancho Villa.”
Or, “The One Where Rachel Has a Moustache.”
Or, “The One with All the Beers.”
Or, “The One with Mr. Rachel.”
Anyway. I digress. But it’s only because I’m here with more beer. (See what I did there?)
I’d say that I saved the best for last, but honestly … I love them all. Every time I tried a new one, or made one again (to photograph or just to enjoy), I’d say “Oh yes, this one is my favorite.” But then I said it for all of them!
Truly though, this one is so fun! It’s a great color, has such an interesting flavor, and features one of my new favorite citrus fruits: pomelo.
You know (or you should by now) that I’m a grapefruit girl. The pomelo tastes exactly like a grapefruit without any of the bitterness. It’s not sweeter, it’s just not bitter.
I don’t find grapefruits particularly bitter anymore (unless they’re super out of season), but eating pomelo was such a nice way to experience all the flavor and complexity of the fruit without those bitter notes. It’s also just fun to try new foods.
The original inspiration for this recipe was a swirl of two colors (now, wouldn’t that be a good name for a recipe?!). I knew we were on the tail-end of the season, but I really wanted to make a juicy persimmon puree as the base of a winter shandy. I envisioned it, bright and orange, swirled with dark pinky-red blood orange juice. It felt moody but still peppy, perfect for winter.
So early one Saturday morning, I hauled Jonn out of bed and braced against the winter chill to visit Pike Place Market before the thick throngs of gawking tourists and brunch-goers filled the streets and sidewalks and stalls. We bounced from fruit stand to fruit stand as the vendors were finishing setting up their displays for the day. I was looking for one thing, and one thing only.
“I’m actually looking for persimmons,” I said quietly when one man asked if I needed help finding anything. “Oh. Well. We’ll see ya in October then.”
We laughed and picked out blood oranges, Cara Cara oranges, grapefruits and a few apples instead.
But secretly, I was forlorn. This was the genesis of my entire shandy experience. My entire idea hinged on an ingredient that was now gone for a year.
So, as I do with all things, I twirled ideas around in my head. Based on what we picked up at the market, I stumbled on the alliterative “winter citrus shandies.” From there, the idea took off and this little mini-series was born.
And THEN I found the pomelo. This ginormous neon-tinted citrus fruit the size of a honeydew. The pomelo-pale-ale alliteration (and internal rhyme, because honestly I don’t know when to stop) stuck.
So, even though my original recipe idea couldn’t come to life this season, these final recipes gave me a lot of opportunities for play and practice — with my photography (and nailing the pour shot!), with lighting and editing, and with challenging my palate in new, clever ways.
And, while the original inspiration for this recipe and months-long creative endeavor is gone until next fall, I still got my swirl.
There’s just a lil boop, a teensy splash, of blood orange juice in this recipe but, honestly, it’s enough. It adds just the right amount of zingy flavor and the color is just drop dead gosh darn gorgeous. The Dry Soda blood orange was a last minute addition that adds some sweetness, pumps up that citrus flavor and gives the final drink a delightful effervescence. (Also, it’s really fun trying to photograph the inevitable rush, and potential spill over, of bubbles and foam.)
I feel like talking about all of these shandies has made me sound like the most uppity hipster pretentious foodie marketer … (oh, hello, self doubt), but it’s all true. I’m honestly a bit of all of those things, and these shandies are also that good. They deserve these words. And you deserve to make one, for yourself or someone you love. Kick back. Cuddle up. Give winter the finger and pour yourself a beer.
We earned it.
Blood Orange & Pomelo Pale Ale Shandy
For the juices:
2-3 blood oranges
For one shandy:
4 ounces pomelo juice
2 ounces blood orange juice
6 ounces pale ale
2 ounces Dry blood orange soda (or sparkling water or blood orange flavored Italian soda)
Put a 16-ounce glass in the fridge to chill.
Carefully slice the pomelo half into wedges and then, using a sharp paring knife, cut the flesh from the pith. (This is similar to how you cut watermelon from the rind.) Dice the pomelo flesh into cubes, removing any obvious seeds or membranes (the tough parts in between the fruit segments). Discard the pith and save the other half of the pomelo for another use. (More juice? Eat it? It’s all good.)
Put the pomelo chunks in a blender or food processor with a splash of water and process until blended. Strain through a fine wire mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth. (I used a nut milk bag. Highly recommend.)
Juice and strain the blood oranges. You want at least ¼ cup.
To make a shandy, mix together the juices in a chilled glass. Add the beer and stir. Top with soda. (It might bubble over, so pour gently and watch out!)
If you haven’t already, check out these other winter citrus shandies: