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Beer Cocktail: Snakebite

Cooking with Beer

Have you ever sat down for a pint and couldn’t decide between a beer and a cider? Why choose when you can have both in one drink? Enter the ‘Snakebite’. Popularized in the UK during the 1980s, traditionally this drink is the combination of equal parts lager and hard cider, creating a smooth & fruity beverage that packs a punch. Its ease of drinkability has sparked stories and rumors that it is actually banned in the UK! (This is, of course, not true, although several pubs choose to not serve them).

There are a few variations on the Snakebite. The most notable is replacing the lager with a dry Irish stout, such as Guinness, which is like a budget friendly version of a Black Velvet (traditionally stout & champagne). The next and more interesting variation is adding a touch of blackcurrant syrup to make a ‘Snakebite and black’ or a ‘Diesel’.

    What You Do

  1. Pour the cider first, then the beer, into a pint glass, and top with the syrup (if using).
  2. For those with a steady hand, try the “back of the spoon” method. Pour the cider into the pint glass, and gently pour the beer over the back of the spoon. This allows the beer to pour down the edge of the glass and rest on top of the cider, forming pretty layers (generally only done with using a stout). Sip and Enjoy!

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9 comment(s)

9 Responses to Beer Cocktail: Snakebite

  • Matt says:

    I've had this, all though the bar called it a black velvet. Then again, I always thought a black velvet was champagne and beer, so who's to say!

    The important thing is how *delicious* it is!!

    Posted on August 3, 2011 at 3:33 pm

  • I like to mix my homemade AppleJack Cider with an amber ale, like Fat Tire, for my snake bites - Cider on top though.

    Posted on August 3, 2011 at 4:12 pm

  • BBS says:

    Hey Matt,

    We always thought the black velvet was beer mixed with champagne or sparking wine too! Both sound delicious. Hope you enjoy :)

    Hi Nate,

    That concoction sounds amazing! Thanks for the idea!

    Posted on August 3, 2011 at 5:25 pm

  • Amy says:

    In England snakebites are called "lunatic soup" and consumption is limited or banned altogether in some areas. Something about the reaction between the ingredients in each drink. If you've ever had mulitples this likely rings true.

    Posted on September 15, 2011 at 8:28 am

  • res says:

    in england I grew up on snakebite black (black denotes the use of blackcurrent juice), using guiness sounds a bit wrong but then guiness and black is big here too

    Posted on May 2, 2013 at 4:03 pm

  • Kim says:

    You don't neccessarily need fresh blackcurrant juice, in fact I'm pretty sure the vast majority of pubs in England just use cordial... like robinsons or ribena!

    (okay WHAT I just looked on wikipedia and found that this is not something generally available in America... mind blown. Well I still think it would be better to order some from a specialist website than to buy fresh blackcurrant juice, because it doesn't go out of date for like.... years.)

    p.s. in England I think it definitely would not be refered to as a snakebite without the blackcurrant...!!

    Posted on May 6, 2013 at 11:48 am

  • in the UK, snakebite is lager and cider , stout and cider is called a poor man's black velvet, hence cider is cheaper than champagne, which is used for the original black velvet, or it can be called a blackadder if the drinks are poured differently ;)

    Posted on December 21, 2013 at 3:40 pm

  • wade says:

    Be careful with this one, every time our rugby team had 'snake bite' nights, bad things happened. Many people do go more nutty on this stuff than other alcohol, and I can account for this first hand...

    I would love to know the reason, possibly because it tastes so nice, you tend to drink more, but I have heard something to do with the beer and cider together..who knows... Does taste lovely though!

    Posted on July 3, 2014 at 7:11 am

  • Greetings all!

    When I was at Uni in Manchester, my flat-mate got me drinking Snakebite-in-black (SIB). I never had the slightest difficulty ordering it any where. Mind you, I also don't remember lager ever being added, just the cider and blackcurrent cordial (which is impossible to find in the US, along with Skips, Ginger jam/conserves, Paprika crisps, and many other yummy things). I have a feeling that it might be that whole regional variant thing going on.

    For some reason blackcurrent is not a flavour readily found here, and I would be thrilled to find a source for Robinsons, Ribena or another type of blackcurrent cordial! I definitely miss Blackcurrent Ricola, along with many other items in that flavour.

    To sum up, I vote yea for Snakebite-in-black! If anyone knows of sources for UK treats please share! Aside from those already mentioned, it is also impossible to find custard or worse, clotted cream!


    Posted on October 30, 2014 at 4:39 am