Public Service Announcement

With St. Patrick’s Day nearly here, with Leprechaun Pooh sitting next to my computer, I offer the following piece of wisdom, hard earned through experience.

Green beer is an interesting way to put one in an Irish mood. Don’t try it with Guinness. It won’t work. You simply cannot turn Guinness green.

There is, naturally, a story involved.

It was five years ago, give or take. My friend Jason and I decided, for St. Patrick’s Day, that we would get into the Irish spirit, and that meant Guinness, out of a bottle, not that strange nitrogen-filled aluminum cannister. So, we stocked up, bought a whole case of Guinness. And then, we had another idea. Go to a bar, don’t you get green beer for St. Patrick’s Day? So, back to the grocery store we went, and then to another, and finally a third until we found green food coloring.

The first experiment with mixing Guinness and green food coloring was not promising. Guinness is very dark, almost black. Look at it in a clear glass, and it resembles in color and texture black coffee or Coca-Cola. A few drops of food coloring in the Guinness made no difference. It still looked black. Maybe we didn’t have enough food coloring in the glass to change the color of the Guinness to green. We added more. Still looked black. Perhaps it was green, only the lighting conditions were wrong, that under the lights it would look black, but really be green. So, we both drank a glass of the Guinness, and in the bottom of the glass, it did look sort of green, when you drank the glass down to the final swallow.

Jason and I played with this all through the night. Guinness and green food coloring.

In the morning, or maybe it was afternoon, when we awoke, we made two startling discoveries. First, our hands were stained green. In retrospect, that wasn’t especially surprising, as we had gone through the night, experimenting with the food coloring while progressively drinking more, and some accidents with food coloring were inevitable.

Second, and rather worrisome, our mouths were green. Lips, tongue, even teeth. Green.

It was impossible to hide. Niether of us looked normal for close to a week.

Lesson from all this? To quote John Lennon, “Children, don’t you do what I have done.” Drink safely. Don’t mix Guinness and green food coloring.

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