WTF Weds: Guinness and Blackcurrant Juice

Posted on
Dec 5, 2012

My beloved, with his beloved.

In case you were unable to gather it from yesterday’s post, Guinness is a big deal in Ireland.

Okay, calm down. Yes, I realize there is far more to Ireland than Guinness (trust me, I GET IT). I’m not trying to upset anyone. I don’t mean to overgeneralize or to come off as a bigot. I’m sure plenty of people in the emerald isle don’t drink the stuff at all.

So please, stop waving your finger around like that and calling me names. Really. Such language.

I simply mean to say that Guinness is important to the Irish. Much like pasta is to the Italians, or koala meat is to the Australians.

KIDDING. I’m KIDDING … Italians don’t eat that much pasta.

Ahem. What was I saying before I started trying to incite an angry mob? Oh, right. Guinness. The point is, a lot of it was consumed during our trip, by my husband and those around us. Me? I’m not a big beer drinker. I never have been. I have my vice. You all know what it is.

And in case you’ve forgotten, here’s a photo that Rand took of me right after my surgery, with said vice:

This is your brain on cake. Any questions?

The point is, I like sweet things. And beer is not sweet.

So while my beloved and those around me drank (responsibly, I should note. Which is not how I eat cake), I stood by and listened to their conversations. They spoke of work, of life, and of beer.

Someone explained that in in Ireland, the traditional way to stave off a hangover is to end the night with a shot of blackcurrant juice. And someone else noted that it can even be added to a pint of Guinness, giving the porter a sweet and fruity twist.

This suggestion shocked and horrified a few people. I’m fairly sure a record screeched, and an old man clutched at his heart, and someone else fainted. But after the commotion died down, it was insisted that Rand try a blackcurrant and Guinness, for the novelty of it, if nothing else.

Note: it looks pretty much like regular Guinness, except that sometimes the head gets purple. #thatiswhatshesaid

And so a shot of the purple-hued juice was added to the dark beer, and given to my husband. He took a sip and promptly made a face.

“You’ve ruined it!” he cried, and the crowd laughed and nodded, and proudly slapped him on the back.

“Yes, yes,” they said. “It’s awful, isn’t it?”

They told us that mixing the two was mostly for tourists or college students or anyone too uncultured to appreciate a proper Guinness. They were so happy he realized how bad it was.

Rand placed the drink back on the bar, where it sat neglected for a few long minutes before I decided to take a sip.

It was bitter and rich and sweet and light all at once. Like a chocolate cake with raspberry filling.

“Yes, yes,” I said, making a face and pretending to know what I was talking about. “It’s awful. An abomination. They’ve ruined a perfectly good something-or-other,” I mumbled. And then I complained about rock music being just a bunch of noise, and the crazy hair that all the kids today have.

And when no one was looking, I took another sip. And then one more for good measure. Because beer may not be my vice, but beer that tastes like chocolate cake with raspberries?

That’s another thing entirely.

Also, it gives me crazy-eyes.

P.S. – Rand would like me to note that in that last photo I am not drinking Guinness, but actually Mourne Oyster Stout – a porter that was brewed especially for that restaurant. Which I totally knew. I was just testing all of you.

You failed.

Leave a Comment

  • Lizzie

    Another non-beer-drinker here–unless it’s a fruit beer, like Lindeman’s Frambroise. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to take care of those maligned, sweet beers!

  • Katharine

    I like Guinness, but I’m sort of obliged to.

    However — please look up the recipe for Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Guinness Cake, if you would like to fuse the themes of this post! I have had to give this recipe to… well, to everyone who’s ever eaten one of these when I’ve brought it someplace. Dead easy, delicious, and as a bonus has the best cream cheese icing recipe I’ve ever enjoyed. (Some recipe instructions are unclear on the cream cheese icing procedure. Add whipping cream at the indicated moment, and continue to beat the icing till the cream is whipped in it.)

  • Dylan

    Haven’t tried it in a Guinness but blackcurrant juice is great with dark rum.

  • I can’t drink Guinness it makes me have a major beer face, haha!

  • Molly

    Seeing as you have been photographed drinking an oyster stout you may know this already, but the oyster stout at the Porterhouse Brewing Co in Dublin is the best beer I’ve ever had.

    Just in case Rand needs another reason to go back to that amazing city.

  • Jen

    My husband recently developed into a beer snob after years of scorning the stuff. So we try all kinds, any place we go. We recently drove to Colorado instead of flying so we could bring as much beer back as possible in the trunk. So far, the only type I like consistently is sours. If you haven’t tried anything in that style yet (mostly Flemish), I recommend it. Avery & New Belgium have some good ones.

  • I really don’t like beer either. When we went to Ireland in September, my husband made me get a 1/2 pint at one pub. After that, he never asked me again because I embarrassed him with the faces I made with each sip. We went to the Guinness Storehouse and he gave me a speech before taking a sip at the end of the tour about how I was not allowed to make any faces there. I think he was worried I would get jumped.

    So instead of drinking a bunch of Guinness while in Ireland, I had Bulmers instead and YUM!

    • Anisa

      I love the Bulmer’s cider. I drank that most of the time instead of the Guinness. Delicious!

  • Glad to hear Rand appreciates Guinness… yet another sign of good taste on his part.
    Thank heavens I was never offered the blackcurrant option… “ruined it” sounds about right!

  • “Guinness and black,” as I’ve heard it called. Which is silly really, because Guinness is black. And blackcurrant’s purple…

  • David

    For a sweeter glass of Guinness, have you tried turning it into desert by adding ice cream? As sacrilegious as is may be to conservative aficionados (cough… snobs), it actually works pretty well with the chocolaty creaminess of the stout. To avoid public ridicule, it’s probably better tried in private at home though, rather than at the pub!

  • Andi

    Often in the pub when I was at University in London, my friends would get a Snakebite. Black currant, lager and cider. Very strong and too sweet for me, but it was a very popular drink at the student pub.

    • Alexandra Shiels

      I’m kind of a booze snob (but not about beer, mostly wine and whiskey) but I will happily make the exception for Guinness cake (and eat a whole cake by myself) because it is delicious.

  • Elizabeth C.

    Hi Geraldine!

    Two things:

    1. If you like the juice and Guinness together, try a raspberry Lambic and a chocolate stout together. Heaven in a pint glass, I tell you!

    2. When I went to Ireland with a friend, we were the only only ones in the bar actually drinking Guinness (and Jameson later, but I digress…). What, you might ask, were the bona fide Irish guys drinking? Fosters!! Out of a can, even, so I could tell really easily. They also were really excited about the American girls who had easy access to Budweiser beer.

    Love your blog!

  • Elizabeth C.

    Oh! Also, Guinness is excellent to add to chocolate cupcakes! With that and some Irish-cream laced frosting, that’s a ready-made St. Patrick’s Day feast, and the Guinness just deepens the chocolate flavor and makes it absolutely perfect. It’s wonderful.

  • We Aussies don’t eat koalas!! However we DO eat our other national emblems – the kangaroo and the emu. Also the crocodile (apparently tastes like chicken).

    Being half Italian, and vegan, I say BRING ON THE PASTA!!!

    (On a side note, I was watching The Amazing Race last night and the teams landed in Barcelona and were running around the dock. All I could think about was your *ahem*.. incident.. involving the overpriced stale bread, and subsequent kleptomania!!)

  • Guiness and blackcurrant has always been regarded as a drink for pregnant women in Ireland. Fact.

  • Avalee

    I’m not much of a beer fan either (I’ll drink it but I don’t love it) but one thing I do love is Chocolate Guiness Cake — there are all sorts of versions online, and most have a thick layer of sour cream icing on the top to look like the head on a pint. In any case, it could be a nice way to please both of your palates 😉

    Bonus: when you pair it with a glass of Guiness, it makes the Guiness taste like a glass of milk. (I know — weird.)

  • Anisa

    Geraldine, you make me laugh. I loved the # that’s what she said. I say this all the time. I even have it on a shirt. If an opportunity presents itself to say it and I don’t say anything, people will look at me waiting for me to say it.

  • Lynn Chou

    When I saw the title of the post, I was like, yes yes! While not a big beer drinker myself, I do love fruity beers and drinks in general. And plus, I’ve been craving this specialty drink from France called “kir royale” (champagne with blackcurrant schnapps) for some time now. It’s not easy to find blackcurrant schnapps in the US…I’ve actually never heard of this fruity Guinness drink before, but when I was living in France, I used to always order “Monaco” which is essentially beer with grenadine syrup and a splash of 7up. Yum…I’m going to try this Guinness this weekend! 🙂

  • Kate

    …or you could try a Baby Guiness: shot glass, three quarters filled with a coffee liqueur, slide on a little layer of Bailey’s off the back of a spoon. Sweet, alcoholic and cute as a button.

  • Have you ever had a shandy? Beer with lemonade. That’s how I roll with beer drinking types. I would imagine that Guiness and currant juice might produce the same effect of making it possible for someone who is not fond of beer/stout (don’t hate me) to look like one is enjoying it. I even managed to explain to a bartender in Spain what I wanted (while my companions were outside).

  • Guinness and black(currant) is sometimes a starter drink for those about to embark on a life of stout drinking. Stout is a bit of an acquired taste (I kid you not) so the black helps the weaning process.
    Another weaner (so to speak) is the “Black & Tan”, 50-50 stout and ale/bitter. Experienced pouring skills required.

  • Ann

    My Husband and I went to Ireland for the first time in May. We loved it and can’t wait to go back. Awesome people….awesome place. Anyhow, I vowed to have Irish coffee and Irish beer before we left. Loved the coffee and loved the Guinness…..however I am not a beer drinker, I am a Captian and Coke girl. So taking the advice of the pub bartender he did put two drops of blackcurrant in the beer. I loved it. So call me a winnie when it comes to beer…thats ok. 🙂 I liked it…enjoyed it
    and would drink another.

    By he way you are a great writer.

  • louise

    My daughters just went to Galway and had Guiness with Black Current juice and loved it!! I want to try it!!

  • Deanna Hopkins Christman

    I went to the Guinness factory in Dublin and they are the ones who told us about the black currant.. They said for those who don’t like the bittlerness in the beer like the black current as it softens the taste. I liked it!!

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