Sure, you could celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by heading to your local watering hole and ordering a pint of Guinness. But much as we love the full-bodied taste of the Emerald Isle’s best-known beer, it’s not the only adult beverage the Irish are famous for. The country’s whiskey tradition is equally storied, and this March 17, we suggest skipping the beer and cozying up with a cocktail instead. The smooth flavors of most Irish whiskeys make for easy drinking and good mixing in cocktails, as these five recipes prove. Sláinte!
1. Blarney Stone
A twist on the ever-popular whiskey and ginger, the Blarney Stone calls for spicier ginger beer rather than sweet ginger ale. Lime juice adds a bright, citrusy flavor to this easy-to-make (and easy-to-drink) cocktail. Recipe from Brian Means of The Fifth Floor in San Francisco via Serious Eats.
- 2 ounces Irish whiskey
- 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice, from about two limes
- Ginger beer, chilled
- Lime twist for garnish
Directions: Add whiskey and lime juice to a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake until well chilled, about 15 seconds. Strain into an ice-filled highball glass. Top with ginger beer and garnish with lime twist.
2. Precision Pilot
Grapefruit-flavored liqueur adds a refreshing note to this sophisticated whiskey cocktail, which was developed by Jillian Vose, bar manager at The Dead Rabbit, an Irish bar and cocktail parlor in New York City. While you’ll have to seek out some specialized ingredients for this drink, it’s probably worth it; Food Republic declared the cocktail “impossible to dislike.”
- 1 part Tullamore D.E.W. Phoenix
- 1 part Lillet Rosé
- ¾ part Campari
- ½ part Combier Pamplemousse Rosé
- 1 dash Peychaud’s bitters
Directions: In a mixing glass filled with ice, add all ingredients, except for bitters. Stir well until chilled and well mixed. Strain into a cocktail glass, dash bitters and express Grapefruit twist over the glass before discarding.
3. Boozy Shamrock Shake
We know you secretly love McDonald’s Shamrock Shakes. So why not make the minty, seasonal dessert even better by spiking it with some liquor? This recipe for boozy shakes from Host the Toast is made with crème de menthe, Irish cream, and whiskey and serves 6.
- 1 (48-ounce) container vanilla ice cream
- ½ cup crème de menthe
- ⅓ cup Irish whiskey
- ⅓ cup Irish cream
- Whipped cream, to top (optional)
- Mint leaves and/or sprinkles, to garnish (optional)
Directions: Combine vanilla ice cream, crème de menthe, whiskey, and Irish cream in a blender. Mix until thoroughly combined.
Pour milkshakes into serving glasses. Top each with some whipped cream and mint leaves or sprinkles for garnish. Serve immediately.
4. The Montserrat
When it comes to drinks inspired by the Caribbean, you’re more likely to see rum as the signature spirit than whiskey. But Montserrat, a tiny island in the Lesser Antilles, is home to many people of Irish descent, in addition to being one of the only places outside of Ireland where St. Patrick’s Day is recognized as a national holiday. With that history, it’s only appropriate that whiskey would be used in the island’s namesake cocktail. Recipe courtesy of Tullamore D.E.W.
- 2 parts Tullamore D.E.W. Original
- 1 part cloudy apple juice
- 1 brown sugar cube
- 1 dash bitters
Directions: Muddle sugar cube, dash of bitters, and a small amount of Tullamore D.E.W. in the bottom of a rocks glass. Fill glass with cubed ice, and stir to dilute, adding the 2 parts of Tullamore D.E.W. slowly. Add more ice as necessary, then add apple juice. Garnish with an orange twist.
5. Irish Coffee
If the weather is still cold wherever you’ll be celebrating St. Paddy’s Day, a piping hot Irish coffee is sure to warm your bones. This now-classic drink was invented in the 1940s by a bartender at the Shannon Airport, who served it to cold and tired passengers arriving on international flights. Now, it’s a popular drink worldwide. This recipe comes from Dutch Kills, an Irish bar in Long Island City, N.Y., via Chowhound.
- 2 tablespoons Demerara or turbinado sugar
- 3 ounces Irish whiskey
- 4 ounces freshly made espresso
- 4 ounces water
- 3 ounces heavy cream
- 2 fresh mint leaves, for garnish (optional)
Directions: Place 4 teaspoons of the sugar, the whiskey, espresso, and water in a small saucepan and stir to combine. Set over low heat and stir occasionally until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is hot but not boiling, about 5 minutes.
Place the remaining 2 teaspoons sugar and the cream in a medium bowl and whisk until the cream thickens and the sugar has dissolved, about 2 minutes.
Transfer the hot coffee mixture to two 8-ounce heatproof glasses or mugs, top with a heaping spoonful of the whipped cream, and garnish with the mint leaves (if using). Serve immediately.
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