The Mixologist and the Meyer Lemon

Don’t scoff until you taste what this hybrid citrus can do for an ordinary glass of beer.
meyer lemon shandy

As soon as the Meyer lemons begin to turn vibrant yellow on the dwarf tree in my front yard, the plotting begins. Should I slice the peel into thread-like slivers and make Meyer lemon-infused vodka? What about a Shaker lemon pie? Wouldn’t the fragrant fruit—a cross between an orange and lemon that was imported from China by Frank N. Meyer in 1908—be a perfect aromatic to stick inside a roast chicken? I went through my own crop about a month ago but keep finding them at farmers markets all around L.A. Meyer lemons are so versatile that last year The Los Angeles Times celebrated the citrus tree’s centennial birthday in its food section by publishing a list of a 100 great things to do with a Meyer lemon. But I think I’ve just found No. 101. Chris Ojeda, the head bartender at The Edison in downtown L.A., came up with a Meyer lemon shandy. In British pubs, a classic shandy is half beer and half bottled lemon soda, a tangy, sugar-tinged thirst-quencher for lightweights. Ojeda spruces up the classic by making his own sparkling lemonade with Meyer lemon juice and simple syrup, then adding a dash of Angostura bitters to offset any sweetness. “The beer purists out there might cringe,” says Ojeda, “but this shandy is really tasty and quite refreshing.”

1/2 pint lager (“Stella Artois is popular in the U.K. and I use it here,” says Ojeda, adding “for a German spin, I like Spaten.”)

1/2 pint Meyer lemon sparkling lemonade (Mix equal parts fresh Meyer lemon juice and simple syrup and shake with ice. Top off with your favorite sparkling water. “I like Lurisia,” he says. Strain before serving.)

Add a dash of Angostura bitters.

Subscribe to Gourmet