Friday, 25 June 2010


Another heatwave, and more warm summer evenings in the cabana (garden hut) to enjoy. When it's hot, I crave Greek salad, Tabbouleh, a smear of Tzatsiki or Taramasalata on pitta bread, long-marinaded meat cooked on the barbecue with a piquant dip. To go with the food that always speaks of the Mediterranean, a chilled glass of white wine or Prosecco is wonderful. But sometimes I don't want an alcoholic drink, so I turn to a fantastic non-alcoholic cocktail: Rock Shandy.

So called because it originated at the Blackrock Swimming Club of Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Rock Shandy has a number of variants. The one I know and like is half lemonade and half club soda with a dash of Angostura bitters, a slice of lemon, and lots of ice. It's delicious and refreshing. According to Wikipedia, this version is popular in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia. True Irish Rock Shandy is half lemonade and half fizzy orange juice. Yet another version is half lemonade and half ginger ale. It's a great alternative to a "proper drink" or cocktail, and when I've offered it to friends who are driving, they are surprised at how nice it is.

I first came across Rock Shandy at a cafe called Raoul's in Notting Hill. It was so delicious that I started making it at home, but often if I asked for it in a pub, I was met with blank looks. However, at the Wookey Hole Inn in Somerset, a wonderful gastro-pub with an innovative menu and open-minded staff, the barman actually made a Rock Shandy according to my instructions, and the pub has subsequently included it on their drinks menu. Cheers, guys!

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