Cigar Aficionado

Celebrate St. Patty’s Day with the Perfect Pint

119.5 seconds. That's the amount of time it takes, says Guinness master brewer Fergal Murray, for a barkeeper to craft the perfect pint of Guinness stout, the beverage millions of people (Irish or not) will be quaffing today and tonight as they celebrate St. Patrick's Day.

Murray was at Ulysses Folk House pub in downtown Manhattan yesterday talking about and demonstrating the famous "double pour" method bartenders employ to serve Guinness.

"[The method] allows people to drink the beer with their eyes first," said Murray, who has been with Guinness since 1983.

The double pour, for those who are unfamiliar, is unique to the Guinness experience. The bartender serving a Guinness fills an imperial pint glass about three-quarters full and then sets the glass down so that the liquid settles before topping off the full pint. The settling Guinness bubbles appear to cascade up and down the sides of the glass, rewarding patient drinkers with a stunning visual. Murray says a well-executed double pour is essential for the formation of the beer's familiar creamy white head and, ultimately, ensures that the beer will be enjoyed the way the brewer intended.

There's even a method, Murray says, to properly drink a well-poured Guinness.

"You want to take a firm stance," says the brewmaster as he spreads his feet to shoulder width. "Then you look to the horizon—never into the beer for that's bad manners. Get your elbow up high and drink through the head so that it remains undisturbed, the same as when it was poured."

While this is good advice, we believe Murray has left out one important step: Bring lit cigar to mouth and draw.

If you're looking for a drink of Irish whiskey on Saint Patrick's Day, watch our video to see how this spirit pairs with various cigars.