It has become a tradition to be honorarily Irish on St. Patrick's Day, regardless of one's ethnic history, and associated oneself with all manner of green-ness. On the annual holiday, one is to wear green, sport green shamrocks, eat green things, and drink green drinks, especially green beer. And according to Scott Roberts' "Complete Listing of National Food Days," March 17 is National Green Beer Day. (It is also National Corned Beef and Cabbage Day, according to The Nibble.) Since beer isn't naturally green in coloration, it needs a bit of help, so here are five ways to make your beer green.
But first: Where did National Green Beer Day come from? Actually, that is not known for certain. However, it is believed (mostly just by this writer) to have derived from a confluence of two things: The aforementioned propensity for St. Patrick's Day revelers to attempt to put a little green in their lives and a tradition -- appropriately called Green Beer Day -- started by the University of Miami (Ohio) in 1952 where students would drink green beer the Thursday before Spring Break. (This year, it was held on a Friday, March 8, according to HerCampus.com.) Arch-rival Ohio University (whose school colors are green and white, as opposed to Miami's red and white), in the spirit of contentiousness, have also celebrated the "holiday" since the 50s (and this year on Wednesday, March 13). Although neither school will formally adopt the tradition, it is celebrated annually by both schools and their alumni. It also gives them a chance to drink green beer twice a year.
But enough history. It's time to something yellow green...
Since certain food dyes have become associated with various disorders and ailments, natural additives to beer (and any other food) has become a popular concern. Jill Ettinger at Organic Authority had these three ways to take your beer from yellow to green.
1. Spirolina. Spirolina is a blue-green algae that's packed with B vitamins and antioxidants. It's been a staple of health-food nuts for years. Not only will it turn your beer green, it just might help ward off that hangover you could possibly acquire from drinking a bit too much 'o the green... beer. Just add between 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon to a mug of beer.
2. Powdered Wheatgrass Juice. Another natural additive that is packed with vitamins and minerals, wheatgrass juice will also turn your beer a nice shade of green. A teaspoon of the juice added to a pint will suffice.
3. Organic Food Dyes. There are several organic dyes that can be obtained at health food stores that will work in the achieving of camouflaging your drink for St. Patrick's Day as well.
4. Food Dyes. At MyRecipes, they experimented with both blue and green food dyes. Both worked well to alter the color of the beer to green. However, they also found that the blue dye gave the beer foam a bluish coloration, so there is that to consider. Whichever you choose, 2 drops of dye per beer is recommended.
5. Blue Curacao Liqueur. Petalac at Yahoo Voices provided an interesting twist to the green beer concoction by sharing an old family recipe for the creation of it. A shot of blue caracal, a liqueur made primarily from the peels of the laraha citrus fruit (a cousin of the orange), is suggested. Add to glass or mug prior to pouring oneself a beer. Petalac also cautions that one should be prudent when imbibing the mixture due to its higher alcoholic content.
So there you have it. Five ways to make yourself a green beer. (Of course, as Ettinger points out there's a sixth: You can brew your own using spiraling, but you'd need to get a good head start to have it prepared by National Green Beer Day.)
Remember to drink responsibly. A bit too much and people can turn green as well (figuratively speaking, of course). And if you do happen to quaff a few too many, be sure to arrange for or find a designated driver or hire a cab. Have a happy National Green Beer Day (and St. Patrick's Day).
(photo credit: SpaceAgeSage, Creative Commons)