The Radler

We’re big fans of strong, boozy drinks over here. (Well, ok, pretty much just me.) And that’s ok most of the time. But sometimes it’s hot out, and maybe you’re moving around a lot, and you want a drink that won’t leave you dehydrated or lightheaded. In that case, let’s turn to the Germans, who have invented a drink for just such a purpose: the snappy beer-based Radler. – Andrew



Illustration by Shauna Lynn for Oh So Beautiful Paper

The Radler

6 oz Beer
1 oz Limoncello
2 oz Sparkling Water

Combine the beer – preferably a citrusy German Hefeweizen or Belgian Witbier – with the Limoncello, and sparkling water in a flute or highball and give it a stir. Garnish with a lemon round and enjoy!


The name Radler – German for cyclist – belies its origins. Over a century old, the Radler is just the sort of thing a cyclist or a race spectator might want for just a touch of a buzz. It’s also perfect for those times when you’d like to drink for a while, say, while grilling with some friends or at a game without getting blitzed.


This is thanks to the Radler’s low proof. The Germans make their Radlers by mixing beer with equal parts of lemonade – the German lemonade, a lemon soda – reducing beer’s already-low proof even more. Since I can’t leave well enough alone, I made by own lemonade by mixing limoncello, an Italian liqueur made from lemon peels, with soda water. The result is crisp and bubbly, lemony with just a bit of sweetness.

Consider the original Radler recipe as an inspiration instead of a rule. Beer, citrus, a touch of sweetness, maybe a dash of liquor (but not too much). Have fun.


In any case, keep your beer cold and your limoncello colder. Italians drink limoncello as an after-dinner digestif and serve it ice cold in tiny glasses. Follow their example and keep your bottle in the freezer.

Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper

    • Claudia, we can buy Radlers in the States too, but when I decided to feature it this week, I figured I needed to gussy it up a bit. My general rule is: two ingredients aren’t a cocktail, they’re an emergency.

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