- L-R: Lemonade + Stout,; Stout + Lemonade; Lemonade + Beer; Beer + Lemonade

How to make a Portagaff for St Patrick's Day

On St Patrick's Day I like to go to the only Irish pub in town for the special Irish drinks on tap, such as Guinness Stout and Kilkenny Beer

6w ago
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I also like the music, the atmosphere, and the special food they serve such as a Guinness Pie or a Shepherd's Pie. But what I really like is the opportunity to have Guinness Stout or Kilkenny Beer on tap.

My drink preference is for something lighter than straight Stout so I have a Guinness Shandy, i.e., mixed with Lemonade, known as a Portagaff. I personally find Kilkenny Beer is better straight rather than as a Shandy.

Each year this had usually gone well until the year before last when the bartender who took my order for a Portagaff had no idea what I meant and asked me to explain. So I said, "Portagaff is half Stout, half Lemonade like a Beer Shandy but with Stout instead of Beer". Some considerable time later as the Lemonade was forced over and over again into the Stout, I received a weird concoction which seemed to be mostly Lemonade added to what remained of the Stout, which hadn't mixed, was mostly froth, and was almost undrinkable.

So in preparation for this year's St Patrick's Day, I've done some research and an experiment. I have some Guinness Stout and Schweppes Lemonade for a Portagaff , and since I also have some Kilkenny Beer in the bar fridge, I'll test this as well for making a Shandy.

Ingredients: There are lots of arguments on the internet about whether lemonade, ginger beer, or soda should be used.

Ingredients: There are lots of arguments on the internet about whether lemonade, ginger beer, or soda should be used.

The test: Lemonade first?

So I set up glasses with equal amounts of Lemonade or Stout, or equal amounts of Lemonade or Beer.

L-R: Lemonade, Stout, Lemonade, Beer

L-R: Lemonade, Stout, Lemonade, Beer

Then I added the Stout to the Lemonade, and the Lemonade to the Stout,

L: Lemonade + Stout, R: Stout + Lemonade.

L: Lemonade + Stout, R: Stout + Lemonade.

and I added the Beer to the Lemonade and the Lemonade to the Beer.

L: Lemonade + Beer, R: Beer + Lemonade

L: Lemonade + Beer, R: Beer + Lemonade

Lemonade first

It looked like the best way to make it is with the Lemonade first. There's probably a scientific explanation to it, like the specific gravity or the amount of sugar, or something else. What I can say is the best flavour was with the Lemonade first then the Stout or Beer added next. Now I'm ready for the next time someone looks at me strangely when once a year I order a Portagaff.

Happy St Patrick's Day!

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Comments (10)

  • Maybe I need to try this -I too find stout too dark.

      1 month ago
  • I am more of a snakebite (Guinness and cider) sort of person

      1 month ago
  • I'd probably try to be fancy and pour both in the glass simultaneously... Also, if you like a lighter way to have Guinness, try asking for a Guinness and Black. It's Guinness served with a touch of blackcurrant syrup. I was amazed at how much lighter it was, it wasn't too sweet, and it didn't take me a year to get through the pint! Win, win!

      1 month ago
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