In the two years since starting this blog, I’ve felt ridiculous guilt for not appeasing my beer-drinking friends. At every party I bring a boozy gelatin mold to, some bearded dude asks the inevitable – where’s the beer?
Being a beer liker (not a beer lover), I couldn’t begin to imagine a beer gelatin mold. My limited beer appreciation involves the following: (a) Budweiser, which my parents let the adolescent me drink on special occasions, (b) Guinness, which I drank a lot of in the late 90’s to impress an Irish-phile I was unrequitedly in love with; and my favorite, (c) Austin local brew Fireman’s #4, which I gift to beer-loving friends and order at every Alamo Drafthouse movie I see.
About a year ago, my bearded friend Kerim mentioned how he enjoys an occasional Shandy, and I finally had an idea for a beer gelatin mold. Interestingly, the word Shandy can mean many different cocktails, but usually refers to mixing beer with something sweet. The first time I heard the word Shandy was at Dim Sum with my dear friend Bindiya. For Bindiya, a South Asian raised in Singapore/London and now residing in Texas, a Shandy consists of a light beer combined with equal parts Sprite. Now I love my dear friend like a sister, but I personally couldn’t imagine a less appetizing cocktail. However, when my friend Kerim mentioned a Shandy as beer combined with lemonade, a light went off in my head. Hence, the Shandy gelatin mold was born.
It took several trials to perfect this recipe. Due to the high carbonation of beer, it was difficult to find a balance that kept the effervescence but still held shape. See the picture at the left – this is what happens when you attempt to float cherries in a high-carbonation gelatin. As my high school friend Kelli said, it looked like brains.
So several trials later, I finally created a solid Shandy gelatin mold for my good friend Matt’s birthday. I’m very happy with this recipe, seen here with candied lemons. I hope you can enjoy it as well.
Recipe for 5 cups
- 3 packets Knox gelatin
- 1 cup water (for blooming gelatin)
- ¾ cup water (for syrup)
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¼ cup strained lemon juice, with zest reserved
- 2 cups wheat beer (I used Leinenkugel Sunset Wheat)
Put 1 cup of cold water in a large bowl and sprinkle 3 packets of gelatin on top of the water. Set bowl aside.
Put remaining water and sugar and in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a low boil until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add lemon zest. Cover and let stew for 10-minutes. Strain the lemon syrup, and add to the bloomed gelatin. Stir until gelatin dissolves. Stir in strained lemon juice and beer. Spoon mixture into mold(s), and put in refrigerator until set (at least 4 hours).
To remove gelatin, put mold(s) into a bowl or sink full of warm water for a few seconds. After removing from water, gently shake the mold side to side. When the gelatin jiggles away from the edges of the mold, put plate on top of mold and flip over. If gelatin does not come out, try repeating the process or run a knife around the edge. Be careful not to melt the mold in the process.