Never Order a Black and Tan in Ireland

Never Order a Black and Tan in Ireland

I believe that I have already confessed that despite loving their commercials and their record book, I don’t actually care for the taste of Guinness. It’s one of those drinks that I want to like but just haven’t developed the palate for it. In the past though, I have enjoyed drinking a Black and Tan. To the average American a Black and Tan is a pint of half lager or red ale and half stout, poured in a way that the two drinks form an attractive layer and resulting in a drink that is much easier on a wimpy beer-drinker like myself. It’s most often made with Guinness and Harp and can be found on the menu at most “Ye Olde Irish Pub” type establishments as if it were a traditional Irish drink. Be warned though, as Charlie and I discussed in Episode Eleven, while the Irish don’t have any objection to the mixture a stout and lager, many of them do have quite a problem with the name Black and Tan.

The Real Black and Tans

It wasn’t until I did some research on the history of St. Patrick’s Day and traditional Irish drinks that I learned why this is such a sensitive subject. The Black and Tans were the name of a British Paramilitary troop that was formed in the 1920’s to put down an Irish uprising in a particularly bloody and awful kind of way. Ordering a Black and Tan in many Irish bars would be the equivalent of ordering a “General Sherman” in the Deep South.

Baby Guinness

Ok so lesson learned, never again will I ask for a “Black and Tan” and will instead order a “Half and Half” or maybe I will just buck up and work on developing a taste for plain Guinness. But in the meantime I still love my layered drinks and a pint of beer isn’t enough to drink for St Patrick’s Day. So the other drink that I made for Charlie in Episode Eleven was a Baby Guinness. Despite its name, a Baby Guinness does not contain any actual Guinness. Instead it is a combination of Kahlua and Bailey’s that is layered so that it looks like a wee-tiny little pint of Guinness. Just pour ¾ a shot of Kahlua into a shot glass, make it a clear glass one if you want to maintain the visual effect, and then pour ¼ a shot of Bailey’s over a spoon into the shot glass. There you have it, a cute little shot that is not at all Irish but darn tasty none the less.

Photo of the Black and Tan by Justin Litton


3 Responsesto “Never Order a Black and Tan in Ireland”

  1. Calamity Dawn says:

    Thanks for the lesson! I will remember to order Half and Halfs from now on… when I’m not drinking Bourbon Barrel Ale that is. And I will make a Baby Guiness tonight! Can’t wait for the show!

  2. Good on you for not making the same mistake I made by ordering a Black and Tan in an Irish Pub. It nearly got me tossed.



    • Ginny says:

      I don’t know if you noticed but I actually linked to your article in this one. A much funnier account of the history than we had and it has the advantage of being a true story!