The Snakebite Drink made with equal parts Guinness and hard cider may just be your new favorite beverage! Crisp, refreshing cider is accented perfectly with a layer of dark and creamy beer in this tasty beer cocktail.
Layered beer cocktails are a really fun way to dress up your beverage menu without breaking the bank. You don’t need to go out and buy high-priced bottles of booze or mixers you’ll never consume.
The Snakebite Drink is a very simple, two-ingredient drink that’s really easy to make – once you know the trick.
Guinness is a St. Patrick’s Day tradition for many of us, but a Snakebite made with hard pear or apple cider is an excellent choice for fall too. It’s a fun beertail to serve at a game day party during football season.
forced) persuaded my bartender-in-another-life husband to spend an afternoon with me pouring beer cocktails while I photographed the process. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon, I might add.
Table of contents
What is a Snakebite Drink?
The Snakebite is a layered beer cocktail made with equal parts beer and hard cider. It gained popularity in the United Kingdom in the 1980’s where they primarily use a lager beer. As it grew in popularity in the U.S., it became common to use an Irish stout, like Guinness, in place of a lager.
It’s a smooth, refreshing, and downright delicious drink that is gorgeous to look at.
Why is it Called a Snakebite Drink?
There are a lot of tales that explain the name, but no one really knows why it’s been deemed the Snakebite. Some think it’s because it was initially popular with young people in Britain who were looking for a less expensive way to imbibe. A beer cocktail is a budget-friendly drink with a “bite”.
Some UK pubs have been known to refuse to serve the Snakebite because of the drink’s reputation and the patrons it might attract.
The Best Beer and Hard Cider for a Snakebite
Although the original UK version of this drink is made with a lager beer, we prefer Guinness Draught. It’s a dark, creamy beer that is a bit smoother than Guinness Extra Stout. It’s available in both a can and bottle. The slightly bitter finish is offset perfectly when layered with a sweet, hard cider.
Snakebite drinks are frequently made with hard apple cider. But, we love them with Ace Perry Hard Cider, made from a refreshing blend of pear and apple juice. When you crack one open, be sure to give it a try on its own. It’s got a lovely pear and apple aroma and a crisp, sweet flavor.
Beer Cocktail Layering Technique
There is technique involved in pouring the perfect layered Snakebite Drink.
First, the order is important. The hard cider is poured first. Then, the beer is poured slowly to form a defined layer over the top.
By pouring the beer over the back of a spoon, it slows down and interrupts the pour. This helps it land more gently on top of the hard cider layer, keeping the liquids separate.
It can take a little practice to perfect this technique but it’s fun and the result is really impressive.
How to Make a Snakebite Drink
Fill a pint glass half way with your hard cider of choice. Aaahhh, the bubbly…
Then, slowly pour the Guinness over the back of a spoon onto the side of the glass. Allow it to gently pour down over the hard cider. This is the key to the layering effect.
If you take your beer cocktails seriously, you can pick up a Guinness pour spoon or beer layering tool.
Since Guinness contains less sugar and is slightly lower in alcohol content than hard cider, it will float on top of the higher density cider layer if poured correctly.
No rushing allowed. Pouring the beer very slowly ensures it will not mix down into the cider layer.
Once the head settles down a bit, you’ll have the nice layering effect we’re after.
- Snakebite and Black – When a dash of blackcurrant liqueur is added to a Snakebite Drink, it becomes the more potent Snakebite and Black or a Diesel.
- Snakebite Shot – The Snakebite Shot is not at all the same as a Snakebite Drink. It’s a sweet and tart whiskey shot made with Yukon Jack and splash of sweetened lime juice.
More Cocktail Recipes
- Cosmopolitan Recipe
- Paloma Cocktail
- Ranch Water
- Blackberry Lemonade Margaritas
- Strawberry Beer Margaritas
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- 4 (14.9 ounce) cans Guinness Draught
- 4 (12 ounce) bottles hard cider, apple, pear, or a combination like Ace Perry Hard Cider
- Fill a tall beer glass half full with the hard cider. Insert a the back side of a spoon into the glass, with the tip touching the inside of the glass above the cider. Gently and slowly pour the Guinness over the spoon and allow it to pour down over the cider.
- Give the cocktail a moment to settle and serve.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated using generic ingredients, and is an estimate not a guarantee. For more accurate results, please refer to the labels on your ingredients at home.
Questions and Reviews
This drink is not a Snakebite, that would consist of Lager & Cider. The drink shown is a “Poor Man’s Black Velvet”, which consists of equal measures of Cider then Guinness on top. A Black Velvet would actually be Champagne & Guinness, or even White Wine & Guinness.
Hi Darren. Most of what you’re saying was covered in the post – “The Snakebite is a layered beer cocktail made with equal parts beer and hard cider. It gained popularity in the United Kingdom in the 1980’s where they primarily use a lager beer. As it grew in popularity in the U.S., it became common to use an Irish stout, like Guinness, in place of a lager.”
I use a clean ping pong ball. Nails it every time
Am serving this “cocktail” tomorrow at a Family Gathering…celebrating Birthday and St. Patrick’s Day. Two Questions: 1) is the bottled Guinness Draught Stout the same as the canned Guinness Draught? 2) What brand are your beautiful pilsner glasses, and how many ounces are they? Your photographs are beautiful! Thank you so much!
The two beers are a bit different but I think either would work just fine. Unfortuanately, I can’t recall where I got those glasses. We’ve had them for ages. Enjoy! 🙂
I love the fact that this is layered! So pretty, and it sounds delicious too!
So cool! I love layered drinks and this one sounds extra delicious!
Fun! This looks like something I would have enjoyed very much in college!
Love the looks of this layered cocktail!
Sounds dangerous, but so darn delicious!! I am lovin’ the idea of guinness with hard apple cider!
That layering looks so cool. I love ciders and haven’t tried a pear one yet, but will be on the lookout for it because it sounds delicious!