It feeds us, it waters us, it drenches us. And any ray of sunshine is welcomed with open, if not wary and suspicious, arms. Pouring with rain and it's 'a good day in Ireland!' Wellies just aren't done - you get stuck in with the wet and that's that.
There's one thing that is as solid as a rock though; never changing, always reliable. In five minutes of sparing sunshine or wet feet up by the fire, Guinness is the guy who'll warm your toes. An Irish Barry White, if you will, drowning out the sound of force 8 Atlantic winds and sideways rain, with his smooth, melodic gulps.
So what happens when Guinness steps out of the glass and into the saucepan? Surely it's just not done. Never changing, I said. Always reliable.
I meant what I said. Even as the can of Guinness is poured out of its comfort zone into a pan of warm custarding cream, the flavour stays put. Mix it with honeycomb and chocolate, and freeze it into ice cream, and you'll be shouting 'Aim for a FROZEN Guinness!'
6 egg yolks
125g Light Muscovado Sugar
300ml single cream
225 ml Guinness (we added more - and sipped the rest)
2 x 40g Crunchie Bars, broken
Whisk the eggs yolks lightly and melt with the sugar in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Make sure the bowl does not touch the water - you want only the steam to melt the ingredients. Once the sugar has dissolved, remove from the heat.
In a separate non-stick pan, heat the cream and Guinness to just below boiling point. Pour the cream over the egg yolk and sugar mixture, beating well with a balloon whisk. Drink the rest of the Guinness to whet your appetite. Chef's rights.
Return the mixture to the non-stick pan and cook over the lowest possible heat, stirring constantly, until the custard starts to thicken and coats the back of the spoon. This will take about 10 to 20 minutes.
Pour the mixture back into the heatproof bowl and leave to cool completely. It's delicious on its own as a custard, so make sure you don't accidentally 'test' it too much. Stir in 1 1/2 of the crumbled Crunchie bars - You want to leave half a bar to chop over the ice cream on serving. Some of the chocolate may melt slightly and ripple through the ice cream - this is no bad thing.
Turn the ice cream into a shallow plastic container and freeze for 2 hours, then remove it from the freezer and stir well. Return to the freezer until completely frozen.
When ready to serve, remove the ice cream from the freezer and leave at room temperature for 5-10 minutes to soften before serving. All agreed that it tastes better soft and melting. Sprinkle over the remaining chunkily chopped Crunchie bar.
There you have it: Pub versus pud. And bloody good too, so it is.