Drink This: Snakebite

By Ryan Cornell

Each week in the month of August, we feature a signature drink from one of the area’s many bars. This is the final installment of the “Drink This” series.

MIDDLETOWN — When it comes to imbibing, drink as the Irish drink.

And there’s arguably no better place to do so than at Middletown’s Irish Isle Restaurant & Pub.

There, owner Brian Coughlin serves up stories from Ireland and layered drinks and draft beer straight from the tap.

“Layered drinks have become the Irish specialty now,” said Coughlin, who hails from Limerick, Ireland. “We were the first to do it with the black and tan, and then decided to go on from that to try other ones with Guinness.”

The Snakebite, which fills a pint glass with half Guinness and half Magners cider, has become one of their more popular, and time-consuming, drinks.

Bartenders have to pour the Guinness on slowly so the two layers don’t mix, sometimes using a round metal device that sits atop the glass called a turtle.

The result is a well-balanced concoction that stays true to its name in terms of potency.

“It’s just got a unique taste,” Coughlin said. “The blend of the Guinness and the sweetness of the cider, you wouldn’t think they would work, but they’re very refreshing.”

Like all layered drinks — also known as pousse-cafés — the distinct split in color between the amber cider and black Guinness is caused by their differing relative densities. Although the cider has a higher alcohol by volume (5 percent) than Guinness (4 percent), which would normally help it float, the amount of sugar in the cider causes it to sink.

Where: The Irish Isle, 7843 Main St., Middletown
When: Opens at 4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; Opens at noon Saturday and Sunday
Cost: $5.50
Call: 540-868-9877
Online: theirishisle.com