I love mangoes and have been known to feast on them in season and without decorum—tearing the thick flesh away from juicy pulp and chomping till my teeth hit stone, hand dripping with juice. And yet, I’m super shy of them in drink—the rich nectar is thick and heavy on my tongue.
Many years ago, in the height of the Nigerian mango season, my childhood memory of drinking Green Sands shandy led me to a renewed obsession with shandies—that delightful combination of lager and soda. This happened right about the same time I bought some mangoes that tasted, much to my shock and horror, like kerosene. A little research revealed that mangoes contain terpenes (as do hops, lemongrass, basil, and cannabis, among others), and the variation in concentration of those terpenes in mangoes make some smell sweet while others smell like petroleum.
As I read about terpenes, and found out that mangoes and hops both contain the terpene myrcene, I realized that my aversion to mango-flavored drinks might be resolved by a mango shandy.
Imagine the earthiness and musk of sweet mangoes combined with both the fizz and aromas of a hoppy lager and lemon-lime soda, accompanied by background notes of warm spice and subtle heat from ginger and chilies—just enough to cut that mango richness and bring dimension to the sweetness. To finish, a squeeze of fresh lime juice gives the shandy a refreshing pop of bright acidity.
Choose both your mangoes (ripe and sweet) and beer (a hoppy lager) wisely and you’ll be rewarded with visions of tropical sunshine and joy in a glass. I leave the ratios up to you: I begin with equal amounts of lemon-lime soda and lager then adjust that ratio according to my needs of the day. More sweetness? More soda. More bitter hoppiness after a long day? More lager. And you can always tinker with ratios on the second round of shandies.