Why It Works
- Mangoes and hops both contain the terpene myrcene, which means beer and mango purée complement one another.
- Ginger and jalapeño add a bracing spiciness to the drink.
- Passing the purée through a fine-mesh strainer ensures a velvety texture.
I love mangoes and have been known to feast on them in season and without decorum—tearing the thick flesh away from juicy pulp and chomping till my teeth hit stone, hand dripping with juice. And yet, I’m super shy of them in drink—the rich nectar is thick and heavy on my tongue.
Many years ago, in the height of the Nigerian mango season, my childhood memory of drinking Green Sands shandy led me to a renewed obsession with shandies—that delightful combination of lager and soda. This happened right about the same time I bought some mangoes that tasted, much to my shock and horror, like kerosene. A little research revealed that mangoes contain terpenes (as do hops, lemongrass, basil, and cannabis, among others), and the variation in concentration of those terpenes in mangoes make some smell sweet while others smell like petroleum.
As I read about terpenes, and found out that mangoes and hops both contain the terpene myrcene, I realized that my aversion to mango-flavored drinks might be resolved by a mango shandy.
Imagine the earthiness and musk of sweet mangoes combined with both the fizz and aromas of a hoppy lager and lemon-lime soda, accompanied by background notes of warm spice and subtle heat from ginger and chilies—just enough to cut that mango richness and bring dimension to the sweetness. To finish, a squeeze of fresh lime juice gives the shandy a refreshing pop of bright acidity.
Choose both your mangoes (ripe and sweet) and beer (a hoppy lager) wisely and you’ll be rewarded with visions of tropical sunshine and joy in a glass. I leave the ratios up to you: I begin with equal amounts of lemon-lime soda and lager then adjust that ratio according to my needs of the day. More sweetness? More soda. More bitter hoppiness after a long day? More lager. And you can always tinker with ratios on the second round of shandies.
- 2 cups (13 oz; 370g) cubed sweet, ripe mango, from 2 large or 4 medium mangoes (see note)
- One 1/4-inch piece (0.2 ounce; 4g) fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
- 1/2 small green jalapeño (0.3 oz; 8g), stemmed (see note)
- 1/2 cup (120ml) cold water
- Two 12-ounce (355ml) cans/bottles lager (see note)
- Two 12-ounce (355ml) cans/ bottles lemon-lime soda (see note)
- Freshly squeezed lime juice, to taste
Combine mangoes, ginger, jalapeño and water in a blender or canister of a hand-held blender. Blend until smooth, about 1 minute.
Set a fine-mesh strainer in a medium mixing bowl. Strain mango purée through strainer, using a flexible spatula to help push mixture through; discard solids left in the strainer.
Pour half of the strained purée into a large jug (the mixture will froth up once you add the soda and lager). Top with half the lager and half the lemon-lime soda.
Stir and taste. If you like the way it tastes, add the rest of the purée, followed by the rest of the lager and soda to maintain the same mango purée to lager to soda ratio. Alternatively, add remaining purée, lager, and lemon-lime soda in proportions that accord more with your taste.
To serve: Pour into chilled glasses and top with a squeeze of lime juice. Garnish with a lime slice, if you like, and serve immediately.
Use your favorite variety of mango; I prefer to use Haden or Kent mangoes, but I know my friends love making this drink with Alphonso mangoes, too. Frozen mangoes can be used as well; defrost them slightly before blending.
Any lemon-lime soda will work, but I prefer Sprite.
Any hoppy lager will work, too, but I prefer to use Heineken.
To reduce the spiciness of the drink, you can remove the seeds and ribs from the jalapeño before blending.
Make-Ahead and Storage
The fruit purée can be made up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container. You can also freeze the purée; I've found it easiest to freeze it in ice cube trays. Once frozen, transfer mango purée cubes to a freezer zipper lock bag for longer term storage.