The Ultimate Half and Half

When I started drinking in pubs, at the tender age of 18, I became a regular at an old man pub in deepest darkest Leith. Very close to where a lot of Trainspotting was filmed. I would normally go on a Sunday with my boss. This was the kind of pub where a round for ten people would come to less than a tenner. Drinking on a Sunday started at 1pm and finished for Sunday dinner at 7pm. Most of the afternoon was spent listening to jokes older than the hills, speaking to dodgy folk who were in a hurry and wanted to sell cashmere jumpers (perhaps just sprinted from Princes St?) or in the bookies. It was a great place though: very friendly people, a definite feeling of community and never any trouble (trouble interrupted consumption)

I remember ordering my first round. I listened to the orders (a jack and coke, 3 pints of lager and 2 half in half’s) and then hailed the barmaid. Just as I ordered, the thought ran through my head: what is a half in half?

A half in half is a dram of whisky and a half pint. In those days, before I knew anything about whisky, I would just neck the whisky and sip my half pint. My misguided youth!

I was thinking about this part of my drinking history while talking to Ludo when we were at Girvin distillery. He was telling me that the beer that is used to season the barrels for Grants Ale cask becomes Innis and Gunn. Since they bear such close relation, I thought they would make the perfect half in half. Just to make it more interesting, I put it up against Grants 25 + Innis and Gunn. Which makes the ultimate half in half? Lets find out!

Innis and Gunn + Grants Ale Cask

Grants Ale Cask

Nose: Red apples, brown sugar, pears and honey.

Palate: Soo sweet! Honey, syrup and breathing in perfume.

Innis and Gunn

Nose: Hob nob biscuits

Palate: Crunchie bars and bananas
You can see that they are related. Make a very good and sweet half and half.

Grants 25

Nose: Custard, rhubarb, spices and apple pie.

Where the ale cask is like a perfume, the Grants 25 is a dessert after a nice meal

Palate: Bite in comparison to the ale cask. Tangerines and pastry.More of a treat than the ale cask.

They both work with the Innis and Gunn, but the 25 has more balance. The extra depth and bite in the 25 balances Innis and Gunn’s sweetness.

I hope you read my experiment and try it yourself. Perfect for a sunny day.



  1. never had half and half… it’s not something people do here in Israel.
    i will give it a try.
    but i dont have this beer…
    any other pairing which u think will be good?

  2. Hiya!! I want to try this… and the Smokehead and ginger beer that y’all were talking about at the Experience! It will be tricky to find those two here in Arkansas, but I shall try my best! I love reading your blog!

  3. SH and ginger beer?


  4. To Gal: Yeah smokehead and ginger is certainly one of our most interesting concoctions. If you put some Crabbies Alcoholic ginger beer in there it gets really interesting!

    I am not sure about the best internationally available half. Maybe Budvar and Balblair? Will have to taste it to find out.

    To Meghan: Good to hear from you! Hope everything is good back in Arkansas. If you struggle getting Smokehead, give us a shout and we will find a way to send it over.

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