How To Pour A Black And Tan Cocktail Like A Total Connoisseur

If you're unfamiliar, the black and tan cocktail is the perfect drink for beer lovers who don't want to choose just one brew — it's the combination of two beers, specifically a stout or porter and a pale ale. The drink is also known for its iconic look: Because of the differences in density — the pale ale is denser — the dark beer sits on top of the ale when poured into a glass.

However, to achieve this, you have to use a specific pouring method. Begin by pouring in the pale ale first, as you would normally pour a beer into a glass. Then, grab a spoon, turn it upside down (so that the curved underside is facing up) and pour the dark beer over the spoon. The spoon is important because it interrupts the flow of the pour, which allows for the dark beer to remain separated from the lighter-colored beer when the two make contact.

What beers to choose when making your black and tan

Just as important as the use of the spoon is choosing the right beer. Of course, to achieve the look of the cocktail, you'll need one light beer and one dark beer — but there are a couple of other factors to consider. The traditional recipe calls for a Bass pale ale and a Guinness stout— these two beers were chosen because of their densities.

For the most part, you can substitute another pale ale in place of the Bass and another stout or porter in place of the Guinness and the layering should work out just fine. However, there is a chance it won't work because beers can have different densities within the same style — in other words, not all pale ales are made the same, and neither are all stouts.

Other pale ale options that are known to work well include Sierra Nevada or O'Hara's Irish Pale Ale, while other dark beers that work include Murphy's Irish Stout. If you don't mind experimenting, you can use your favorite pale ale and your favorite stout instead to see if they work well for the black and tan cocktail.

The history of the Black and Tan cocktail — and why it's offensive in Ireland

The idea of pouring two types of beer in the same glass is a genius idea — so when and where did it start? The concoction seems to have originated in London in the 1700s as a way to work around varying tax rates. By mixing a higher-taxed beer with a lower-taxed beer, they could lower the overall tax rate of the drink. It was then named the black and tan — very likely because of the colors of the drink.

However, if you happen to find yourself in Ireland, ordering a black and tan would be a major faux pas — the name of the drink is considered offensive. This is because back in the early 1920s, a British paramilitary force nicknamed the "Black and Tans" (because of their uniform colors) used violent and forceful methods to counter the Irish Independence Movement. Because of this, the name "black and tan" is a reminder of the tragic series of events faced by Irish citizens at the hands of the British. Luckily for fans of the drink, you can still order it while in Ireland, it just goes by a different name: the half and half.