How-To & Diy

Herb-Infused Clara con Limón

Every Friday, a DIY expert spares us a trip to the grocery store and shows us how to make small batches of great foods at home.

Today: When life gives you lemons, mix them with beer. Sarah from The Yellow House serves an herb-infused Spanish spritzer that tastes like summertime. 

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If you travel to Spain in the summertime, you're likely to be served a clara con limón, a light spritzer made of beer mixed with lemonade (similar to what many of us know as a shandy). Often maligned as a wimpy drink for people who can't hold their liquor, these types of beer-based cocktails are actually perfect for long, hot summer days: they're refreshing, a little sweet, a little tart, and the alcohol level is low enough that you can sip on one pretty much all afternoon without worry.

Luckily for us, there's no need to fly to Spain to enjoy this summery drink. A good clara con limón is easy and inexpensive to make at home: just mix up a pitcher of fresh-squeezed lemonade, and then top it with beer on demand. My version takes advantage of summer's proliferation of herbs to make an herb-infused lemonade base -- but it's just as good made straight up.

Herb-Infused Clara con Limón

Makes 4 to 5 drinks

For the simple syrup:?

1 cup water?
1 cup sugar?
1 cup loosely packed herbs (I used thyme, which works beautifully, but this is obviously adaptable to your tastes.)

For the lemonade:?

3 lemons, juiced?
4 cups water 

For assembly:

?Lightly flavored beers, such as a pilsner or lager (even low-end beers, like Amstel or PBR, work well)
Herbs for garnish


In a saucepan or pot with a lid, bring simple syrup ingredients (sugar, water, and herbs) to a boil, stirring. Immediately remove from heat, cover, and allow to steep for 10 to 30 minutes, depending on how strong of an herbal flavor you want in your drink. Strain out the herbs if you like; I leave mine in the entire time.

In a pitcher, dispenser, or something from which you can easily pour, mix the lemon juice, 4 cups of water, and 3/4 to 1 cup simple syrup. Taste for sweetness. Since the beer will eventually dilute the drink, I tend to go a bit sweeter than I normally would with lemonade.?

Add ice to the lemonade if you’re serving right away, or add ice glass-by-glass for all-day-long consumption.

To serve, fill a tall glass (with or without ice) halfway with lemonade. Fill the rest of the glass with beer. Garnish with an herb sprig, and drink up.


If you have leftover simple syrup, it will keep, in a sealed container in the fridge, for a week.

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Sarah Searle

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Emily_JK
  • amysarah
  • walkie74
  • nickj
  • boulangere
I'm a public health professional in the nation's capital, and an enthusiastic home cook and writer in my rural Virginia kitchen. I love simple, market- and garden-driven food and entertaining that's accessible and low-fuss. I like to think I write about the life lived between the lines of the recipe.


Emily_JK June 9, 2013
As a pregnant person who really misses the ritual of a summer evening beer, this will be an amazing way to help na beer be more palatable and exciting! Stoked.
amysarah June 8, 2013
I've had fresh lemonade/beer in cafes in Paris many times too - usually called a Panache there.
walkie74 June 8, 2013
Gee, I almost wish I hadn't drunk a chelada now... but hey, all the more reason to go get some lemons!
nickj June 7, 2013
Sorry, how much beer? My browser is being funny
Sarah (. June 7, 2013
Hey nickj---the amount of beer isn't specified because the drink is mixed to taste. For this amount of lemonade, you won't use more than 4 or 5 standard cans of beer. Thanks!
nickj June 7, 2013
thank you!
boulangere June 7, 2013
How interesting. I'm planning to try this with a French hard cider. Thank you, Sarah.
aargersi June 7, 2013
Yum! I am now going to have to have this at my party next weekend - it's perfect! (ps I thought you were infusing Merrill's Clara with lemon and I found that confusing :-)
Sarah (. June 7, 2013
Ha! Too funny.
Merrill S. June 7, 2013
At first, I thought that too!