Boo! Happy Halloween! Here’s a drink to try at tonight's Halloween party that is festive, yet not overly sweet or complicated. It's a twist on the traditional Snakebite, a drink popular in England consisting of cider and lager. We made two versions, one pumpkin version and one stout version, which just looks spooky.
The traditional drink in England calls for equal parts cider and lager and is sometimes served with a dash of blackcurrant cordial called Snakebite and Black. It's super refreshing, but goes down quick so has a reputation as a young, student drink. I took part in that great tradition while studying there and had my fair share of Snakebites. However, I am now just rediscovering them 10 years later and found that they are a delicious way to change up my regular beer order every now and again during the fall season.
To celebrate Halloween properly, I always have a Pumpking beer by Southern Tier Brewing Company. In my opinion it's the best pumpkin beer on the market and tastes the most "pumpkiny." For the first Snakebite we continued that tradition and mixed equal parts Pumpking beer and hard apple cider to create a Pumpkin Snakebite. The drink mostly tasted like the delicious pumpkin beer, but a brighter and more refreshing version with a little tang. It worked perfectly since sometimes pumpkin beer can get a little heavy and rich and the cider balanced those flavors really well.
The next Snakebite we made was the stout version, which seems to be more popular in America. We tried this two different ways, once with pumpkin cider and once with regular cider, and it turns out we enjoyed the regular hard apple cider more. Don't get me wrong, the pumpkin one was good as well, but the pumpkin flavor was hardly noticeable. This was my favorite Snakebite of the two and it felt like a more adult version of the kind I drank as a youngin' in London. The cider really compliments the stout by adding a lightness and bubbly-ness that changes the flavor, while still keeping the essence of the stout. I chose EvilTwin Brewing's stout because of the name and our spooky theme- and while it was super tasty with the cider, if we used Guinness or a heavier stout there would have been more separation from the cider and it would have looked cooler.
With each Snakebite you add the cider first and then pour equal parts of the beer very slowly over the back of a spoon so the two will separate in the glass. Again, it works better with Guinness, but even with the other stout and the pumpking beer we were able to get a nice ombré effect on both.
Enjoy and have a spooky, scary night!
(all photos, Jamie Grill photography)