Every time St. Patrick’s Day rolls around, I’m torn between fighting the crowds at my favorite Irish bars—MacCool’s, The Republican, Piper Down, Murphy’s, the Leprechaun Inn, Fiddler’s Elbow and such—and just cooking up a batch of corned beef & cabbage and celebrating in the relative safety of home.
Should you choose the latter approach, here are some fun Irish-themed libations to concoct for yourself.
If you’re looking to quick-start your St. Paddy’s Day fest, a tasty way to do so is with a Shamrock Shooter. In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine 2 ounces Midori Melon liqueur, 1/2 ounce of Irish whiskey—such as Tullamore Dew or Jameson—and 1/2 ounce of Bailey’s Irish Cream liqueur. Shake and strain into a shot glass. Garnish with a four-leaf clover if you have any around.
Guinness Stout, of course, is a mainstay of St. Paddy’s Day. For an interesting variation, try an Irish Black & Tan. Pour 6 ounces of Irish ale such as Smithwick’s into a pint glass. Then, carefully pour 6 ounces of Guinness into the glass over the back of a spoon. The idea is to create a two-toned drink, with the lighter-colored ale in the bottom half of the glass, and the darker stout on top.
Here’s an eye-popping, delicious green drink: the Emerald Crush. Put half a peeled kiwi fruit and half a lime—both cut into quarters—and 1 teaspoon sugar into a shaker and muddle the mixture well. Add some ice and 2 ounces organic wheat vodka, such as Tru. Shake and strain into a rocks glass garnished with a kiwi slice.
Another easy green-hued drink for St. Patrick’s Day is the Everybody’s Irish cocktail. Combine 2 ounces of Irish whiskey with 1 ounce each of green CrÃ¨me de Menthe and green Chartreuse in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a martini glass, and garnish with a mint leaf.
To add a bit of French panache to your St. Patrick’s Day celebration, I suggest absinthe, or chasing the green fairy—la fée verte, in French. Get yourself a high-quality bottle of absinthe, such as Lucid Absinthe Supérieure, and pour 1 ounce into a French absinthe glass (if you have one), or even just a cocktail or pilsner glass. Lay a flat slotted absinthe spoon or sieve across the rim of the glass and place a single sugar cube on top (optional; some absinthe is naturally sweeter than others). Slowly drip 4 to 5 ounces of ice-cold spring water onto the sugar cube. The sugar will dissolve and melt into the glass, and the water will cause the absinthe to louche—that is, turn cloudy. Sip slowly.
Finally, I guess we can’t really talk about St. Patrick’s Day in America without mentioning green beer. Ninety-nine percent of the green beer you’ll encounter on St. Paddy’s Day is nothing more than light golden beer, such as Budweiser, turned green with the addition of green food coloring. To make a better pint of green beer, simply pour a light lager like Harp, from Ireland, into a pint glass. Allow the head to settle, or the food coloring will get stuck in the foam. Add about 6 drops—a couple at a time, since brands differ in strength—of green food coloring and stir gently until your beer reaches a beautiful emerald color.
For a more natural approach—one with the added benefit of vitamins and minerals—mix a tablespoon of powdered wheatgrass juice into a pint of beer and stir.
Erin go bragh!