If you’ve never heard the word “snit” before, don’t worry–you’re far from the only one. This four-letter word looks and sounds like a curse word, but in actuality, it’s much tamer.
Snits have an interesting history and useful application in the world of cocktail consumption. Keep reading to get all the delicious details.
What Is a Snit?
A snit is three to five ounces of beer consumed with or after a Bloody Mary. Similar to how a pickleback is consumed after a shot of whiskey, the snit is a smooth pairing for the piquant spiciness of Bloody Marys.
If you had already turned to a dictionary to learn what a snit is, chances are you got confused. Now you know that this type of snit has nothing to do with its etymological counterpart.
History of the Snit Chaser
So, where does a snit come from anyways? What’s its significance and why do bartenders and mixologists use it? As it turns out, the snit is a drink shrouded in some mystery.
Most websites that have written at any length about the snit claim it began in Minnesota, namely during the 1950s. Russians have long been credited as the creators of vodka, and they definitely enjoyed it in the late 1940s. As a result of WWII being declared over, Russians turned to vodka in droves and consumed essentially all that was available.
Combine this with several other supply chain complications, and other countries–including the United States–faced vodka shortages in the 1950s. Vodka is the normal alcohol used in Bloody Marys, so you can imagine where this is going.
Instead of vodka, bartenders turned to beer to serve up the ol’ Mary. Though beer’s flavor differs from vodka’s, it’s mild enough to work as a substitute. The catch is that many beers come in 10- to 12-ounce cans.
You only need about seven to nine ounces of vodka for a Bloody Mary, so what do you do with the rest of the beer? You either dispose of it or find a new use for it. Being resourceful people, Minnesotan bartenders poured the remaining beer into a lowball glass and served it with the Bloody Mary.
Our Favorite Beers for Snits
Whether you’ve paired beer chasers before or this is your first time, the snit is nothing to mess around with. Bloody Mary aficionados expect their beverage to be tart and spicy, which means the beer needs to match.
That being said, it’s smart to experiment until you find the right beer for your variation of this classic cocktail. Here are three of our top recommendations.
What to Look for When Pairing Beer With a Classic Bloody Mary
Before diving into the beers themselves, there are a few things to keep in mind when pairing beer with a Bloody Mary. You want to think about both the spice level of the mix and the strength of the beer. The Bloody Mary’s level of spiciness varies widely depending on who’s making it.
Pilsners or Lagers
Light lagers or pilsners are clean and fruity beers, with notes of citrus and sometimes tropical fruit flavors. A Bloody Mary mix with high tomato content and is fairly mild in terms of spiciness goes well with this type of beer. The beer’s sweetness balances out the intensity of the Bloody Mary and the citrus flavors bring out the tomato flavors.
Amber or Dark Lager
Similar to pilsners and lagers, an amber or dark lager is a clean and mild beer with little bitterness and strong sweetness. However, they’re bolder in both color and flavor, and they are sweeter and less citrusy than light lagers or pilsners. These beers go well with a spicier Bloody Mary mix that has high horseradish content.
India Pale Ale (IPA)
India Pale Ales, or IPAs, are stronger, more bitter, and more highly carbonated beers. This beer type has strong hops and, lots of citrus flavor, and a bit of sweetness. If you’re making a beer Bloody Mary with more than the normal amount of Worcestershire sauce or hot sauce, an IPA is a great pick.
The Snit Is the Secret Sauce
Snit–the word itself is memorable, but the drink is even better. Using or requesting your favorite brew for your next Bloody Mary with beer opens up a world of flavor possibilities.
While you’re at it, maximize the Bloody Mary itself with our all-natural mixes. Try our single-serve pouches for convenience, or grab our Chilies and Peppers variation for something extra spicy. We even have a vegan version. Got questions? Shoot us a message and we’ll get back to you right away. Here’s to your next snit-tastic Bloody Mary!