Pouring a Guinness/Harps Glass of Magic

With nerves of steel and a spoon, I performed a St. Patrick’s Day miracle called a Black and Tan in the States (or a Half and Half in Ireland). Oh yes, this act was hard-core, high stakes business that I couldn’t f*!# up because I am partly Irish; my maiden name is McGinniss, and if you say McGinniss out loud three times backwards during a pub crawl, you get Guinness. Therefore, I am an heir to the Guinness brewery empire, and I fully expect to be recognized as such someday. (The paperwork is “in-progress.”)

In any case, I didn’t just pop out of the womb knowing how to “Michael Flatley” or pour a proper Guinness and Harps, but my handy Scot Irish husband, Nathan, graduated from the school of O’Youtubery by watching hundreds of thousands of experts pour this lovely, layered drink.

“Do you want to watch one of the videos I saw?” he asked, when he looked over and noticed a Harps, a Guinness, and an actual beer glass precariously lined up on the kitchen counter.

“Nope. Just walk me through it.”

So, Nate took me through each step. This is how it all went down:

Nate said, “Pour the Harps first into the glass, about two-thirds of the way full, and get a thick, foamy head going.”

I ripped open the Harps and let all of the magic out of the bottle. “Whee! This is fun!” I shouted.

To which Nate replied: “Not that foamy! It’s too much! Pull back! Pull back!”

I stopped pouring. Nate shook his head, grabbed the spoon and started tossing some of the foam into the kitchen sink, so the lesson here is: Even if you get too much foam at the top, you don’t have to start all over again. The drink can still be salvaged.

“Now,” Nate said, “you can tilt the spoon slightly downwards within the glass and then pour the Guinness over slowly in a steady stream so that it disperses evenly over the back of the spoon.”

I took a sip of the remaining Harps in the bottle, steadied my spoon hand, and let a caramel- colored stream trickle slowly into the glass. And when I was done, I saw that distinct line that separates the Guinness from the Harps, and I felt like I’d finally found my pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

The drink itself starts out hearty and finishes clean. Serve your Guinness/Harps combination with steak, lamb, more Guinness and Harps, a side of whiskey, or actual pots of gold.



Cecilia Kennedy once taught Spanish and English courses in Ohio for many years. She now lives in the Greater Seattle area, and writes horror stories. Her blog (Fixin’ Leaks and Leeks: https://fixinleaksnleeksdiy.blog/) chronicles her humorous (and perhaps scary?) attempts at cooking and home repair. 

Categories: Essay

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Shawn Berman runs The Daily Drunk. You can follow him on Twitter @Sbb_writer.

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