It was a hot day and we were bond for a picnic and some buffalo watching in Elk Island National Park. I wanted to find a simple cocktail that would hit the spot after some hiking, but not leave us stranded in the wilderness at the end of the day due to high alcohol content.

We’d first encountered these in the Alsace on a similar hot day when we decided to sit in the shade at a road-side bistro and watch the people flow by. It was on the menu and the locals were drinking them so we decided to give it  a try. What made it memorable was the one member of our party who exhibited a “beer face” every time she’d tried a beer or beer-like cocktail actually liked it.

Low in alcohol, high is refreshment, a panaché (French for “mixed”) has variants all across the world, the most well-known being a Shandy. It’s proportions vary from 1:1 all the way down to 4:1 with a panaché on the light side of the scale. Traditionally they are made with french carbonated lemonade but 7-Up or Sprite with a squeeze of fresh lemon works just as well.

A few days later we tried again, this time with some Italian lemon soda which )I think) approximated more closely the original panachés we had tried in France.


  • 100 ml (3.5 oz) light beer (we used 1664 French beer)
  • 300 ml (10 oz) 7-up or carbonated Italian lemon soda
  • a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • garnish with a lemon slice

The verdict: As good as ever. With two non-beer drinkers in the party, it was still a received and refreshing drink for a hot day. Simple, easy to make, light on the palate and a guaranteed success — if you’ve never tried one, you really should.

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