Bleeding Heart Shandy (a non-alcoholic blood orange shandy)
It's the Super Bowl / Valentine's Day beer cocktail you didn't know you needed
Ahhh, Valentine’s Day, that most feminine coded of holidays, all reds and pinks and chocolate and out-of-season roses and teddy bears and heart shaped everything. Most people say publicly that they hate it, and I suspect secretly wish a particular someone in their life would entirely ignore their performative protestations and do something grandly romantic, even if the holiday’s cloying aesthetics may not be their thing. (Or maybe this was just me until I got sober and got over trying to be a cool girl?)
When it comes to Valentine’s Day beverages, beer is probably not the first thing that springs to mind. (That’s likely champagne, and if you’re still interested in that, I did a round up of decent non-alcoholic bubblies for Food52 back in December that will work just as well for your romantic purposes.) But because the Super Bowl is the day before this year— and because I can’t resist the opportunity to thumb my nose at the weird gendered idea of what constitutes “Girly Drinks” and “Manly Drinks”— I decided to make a non-alcoholic beer cocktail that would work for both.
Thanks for reading 5PM Eternal! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
Shandies are, traditionally, just half beer and half lemonade (of the “fizzy,” English variety), but I’m taking some liberties here and using Liber & Co.’s Blood Orange Cordial, and a couple of non-alcoholic spirits to add a little kick and some food friendly complexity. The cordial is a highly concentrated blend of juice and sugar, and you won’t need that much to get a distinct burst of that raspberry-meets-citrus blood orange flavor— just an ounce to six ounces of beer. This has two advantages over blood orange juice, which I also tried: one, you don’t have to buy an expensive bottle of blood orange juice, or squeeze a bunch of blood oranges yourself, and two, you don’t have to dilute the drink with a large volume of noncarbonated liquid that quickly kills the bubbles in the beer.
I’ve written about how much I love it more than once, so obviously I had to make Bonbuz Slowburn my Valentine. The spicy ginger and chili pepper kick on top of a sweet and sour blood orange base makes this drink something of a michelada/shandy mashup. A little bit of Lyre’s Apéritif Rosso, a zero-proof sweet vermouth alternative, added to the mix gives the drink a deeper, almost savory flavor, that is not at all bitter but altogether better.
For the beer, I used Athletic Brewing Company’s limited edition Valentine’s Sour for obvious reasons, but also because I ordered a six pack of it and found it to be disappointing compared to its description, which says that is has “aromas of strawberries, raspberries and hints of citrus,” none of which I actually detected. I thought the flavor was rather weak, especially when compared to their other, better sours. Soul Sour, created in collaboration with Black artists and released during Black History Month, is a lip smackingly tart blend of blueberry, lemon, and mango (BLM, get it?), and 100% of the profits go to organizations working to increase diversity in the brewing industry. If you want a beer that leans heavily into the headier, tropical side flavor of mango, the Tropical Sour, with brightly acidic and floral passion fruit, is also excellent. Both are available right now for a limited time, so I recommend stocking up because they are especially refreshing after a hot summer bike ride and picnics in the park.
I haven’t tried to make a Bleeding Heart with either Soul Sour or Tropical Sour, because they’re so fruity flavorful and citrus-y tart on their own (and I’m sadly running low on Slow Burn and needed to conserve it for photo taking purposes), but I did make try it with the Athletic Brewing Company Upside Dawn, a golden ale that’s comparable to a decent lager, and with their Free Wave Hazy IPA. If the lighter beer version is spicy, tart, and flirty, the IPA version is assertive, extra savory, and aggressively bitter. This punchy combo is just as delicious as the version with a lighter sour, but the heat of the Slow Burn is tempered quite a bit by the huge amount of hops, and I would not recommend it to anyone who isn’t a fan of IPAs.
Don’t feel like you have to limit this to celebrating either the grand high holiday of American football or the grand high holiday of Hallmark, either. While blood orange, for me, is strongly associated with late winter because of its growing season, this would still be a lovely summer refresher and tasty all year long!
RECIPE: Bleeding Heart Shandy
1 ounce Bonbuz Slowburn
1 ounce Liber & Co. Blood Orange Cordial
½ ounce Lyre’s Apéritif Rosso
6 ounces well chilled lighter colored non-alcoholic beer like Athletic Brewing Company Valentine’s Sour or Upside Dawn
1 blood orange slice to garnish (optional)
In a beer glass or pint glass, mix the Slow Burn, Blood Orange Cordial, and Aperetivo Rosso until well combined.
Slowly pour the beer over the mixture. (You can stir gently with a bar spoon, but be careful because it might foam over if you stir too vigorously!)
Garnish with blood orange slice and drink immediately
Kick back and watch football, or sip them with someone you love, or do both. This drink works surprisingly well with dark chocolate desserts, as well as all things buffalo, be they hot wings, veggie fake chicken nuggets, or cauliflower. I mean, it’s a drink designed for the Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day— you’ve got your serving suggestions right there!
Until next week, enjoy the big game on Sunday and Happy Valentine’s Day on Monday! Keep your drinks zero proof and you’ll be able to celebrate both and still roll into the week hangover free!