Riled and Wrangled (Spicy Shandy With Serrano Honey)

August 1, 2019 Updated: August 1, 2019

Riled and Wrangled

This spicy shandy from Laura Wagner of the Monarch Bar in Kansas City beats the pants off your standard beer-and-lemonade combo. Serrano-spiked honey and herb-inflected green Chartreuse enhance the peppery notes of whiskey and crisp kolsch or pilsner. Individual peppers can pack a varying amount of heat; if you’re nervous, use just a single chile.

Makes about 16 servings in a 2-quart pitcher

  • 2 cups rye (such as Rittenhouse)
  • 1 cup green Chartreuse
  • 1 1/2 cups chilled serrano honey syrup (recipe follows)
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh lemon juice

To serve:

  • 6 bottles or cans chilled kolsch or pilsner
  • 16 celery ribbons (shaved using a sharp vegetable peeler)

Up to 3 days before serving, make the batch. Pour rye, green Chartreuse, and chilled serrano honey syrup into a 2-quart pitcher and stir to mix. If not serving immediately, seal well, covering with plastic wrap if needed, and refrigerate.

Up to 2 hours before serving, prepare lemon juice and stir into pitcher mix. Reseal and return to refrigerator if not serving immediately.

To serve, stir mixture well. Fill pitcher with ice and stir gently until outside of pitcher is cool. Fill rocks glasses with ice, then carefully pour in kolsch to fill glass about halfway (letting foam settle). Top with pitcher mix and give each glass a quick stir. Adjust with additional beer or pitcher mix to taste, if desired. Garnish each glass with a ribbon of celery.

Serrano Honey Syrup

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

  • 1 to 1 1/2 serrano chiles, depending on heat desired
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon honey 

Slice chiles thinly, discarding stems and seeds. Place in small saucepan and gently crush with a muddler (you don’t need to make a puree). Add water and bring to a gentle simmer over medium-high heat. When you spot the first bubble, turn heat to low and keep warm for 6 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a resealable container. Stir in honey until fully incorporated, then let cool and refrigerate until chilled or for up to 1 week.

Reprinted with permission from “Batch Cocktails: Make-Ahead Pitcher Drinks for Every Occasion” by Maggie Hoffman, copyright 2019. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

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