Plenty of bad drinking choices are going to be made on March 17. If that’s bad choices because of drinks, we can’t help you much there, but the bad choice of drinks is something we can absolutely solve. Mix one, a few, or all of these cocktails and it’s just about guaranteed your St. Patrick’s Day will taste a thousand times better than what food coloring and poorly named drop shots can deliver.
Also, stick around at the end, because our closing three cocktails are from Stephen Teeling of the Teeling Whiskey Distillery. You know them from the interview we did with them about opening a new Irish whiskey distillery in dear dirty Dublin. We knew it was going to lean pretty heavily on whiskey, so we thought, who better to make a few picks than a guy who, along with his brother, has been in the industry for years, founded the first distillery in Dublin for more than a century, and wants to restore Irish whiskey to its past reputation, while retaining the fun they have making and drinking it.
Dead Rabbit’s Irish Coffee
The Dead Rabbit is an excellent little bar in New York City’s Financial District and that’s not just us saying it. It’s people who should know that sort of thing. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because the name comes from one of the legendary gangs of mid 18th century New York and is approximately the same gang as Liam Neeson’s in Gangs of New York, though the movie did take certain liberties. As the best bar in the world, and one owned by two Northern Irishmen, we thought it best that this list start with something from their bar, and seeing as how this St. Patrick’s Day is looking to be a cold one for at least some of us, Irish coffee seemed a good place to start. To make this one, you’ll need whiskey, Demerara syrup (simple syrup with less refined sugar), and fresh coffee. The whipped cream on top is a combination of Irish cream and heavy cream, because we’d hate for any part of this to not include alcohol. The grated nutmeg garnish is highly recommended too. Recipe
Damn Fine Hot Whiskey
We probably should have given you more time to prepare this one, as the recipe calls for about a week’s worth of infusion time, but if you start right now, you still have time to make a complex whiskey punch. You may also have to take a quick trip to the grocery store, since we’re not sure what your spice cabinet situation is like and it’s going to be doing a lot of work on this recipe. Whiskey, honey, sugar, and lemon juice make up the liquid base of the punch, then cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise, and rosemary add some levels to the flavor. We have a jar of this aging for ourselves at home, so you can bet some of this is coming with us in a thermos, wherever we’re going. Recipe
In Irish mythology, the blackthorn isn’t exactly looked upon as a friendly tree, if there were any such thing. It’s traditionally known to shelter unfriendly fairies, and when Irish mythology mentions fairies, it’s not talking about those hoaxy ones from the Cottingley house. These are fairies that steal children, prophesize death, and strap a talking corpse to your back while you dig in haunted graveyards. Blackthorns are also the source of the iconic shillelaghs, something you recognize as Brendan Gleeson’s weapon of choice in Gangs of New York. Point is, the blackthorn comes with history. That history may be why whoever invented this Irish whiskey Manhattan went with the name. Substitute the usual rye for your favorite Irish whiskey and add a dash of absinthe and you have yourself a good nightcap for your St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Recipe
The story behind the name of this drink is a shame for more than one reason. One, because it’s the tragic story of forcible deportations of Irish people into horrible working conditions and two, because it’s been co-opted by some of the less desirable communities on the Internet. What amplifies the sin of it is, how wild is it that there are black communities in the Caribbean whose accent could pass for that of a small town in Cork? And Montserrat’s Irish pride would put most Irish-Americans to shame. In that spirit, and in honor of the Irish deportees and their unique descendants, Tullamore D.E.W. invented the Montserrat, a relative of the Old Fashioned. It’s simple but full of taste, incorporating brown sugar, bitters, whiskey, and apple juice with an orange twist. Share it and the story behind it with whoever asks. Recipe
Ireland has its fair share of authors and poets, with Yeats, Swift, Joyce, Shaw, and Wilde, making up a few of the names you’ve already heard in a History or English class, and Colm Tóibín and Roddy Doyle being a few still publishing today. If you’re looking to channel a bit of that spirit, give The Copywriter a try. It’s a fairly easy drinker, with honey, whiskey, lemon juice, sweet vermouth and seltzer. Depending on how much seltzer you use, this is a very strong drink or a reasonably diluted drink. Like most things, it’s up to your taste. For us, we’d drink this as an afternoon sipper. Maybe the thing for between the parade in the morning and the bar crawl at night. Recipe
Baileys and Jameson with Fruit
This has to be the weirdest recipe on the list, simply because we wouldn’t have expected the combination to work. Not the Baileys and Jameson. We know that works. It’s the peach schnapps and orange juice. Putting the four of those together feels more like what a toddler would make if they were left unattended with the house bar wide open. But, much to our surprise, the drink works. The Jameson and schnapps give it the alcoholic kick you’d want, but the smoothness of the Baileys eases the drinking and the zest of the orange juice and peel freshen it up. The drink’s almost a compromise between the late spring you wish it was and the winter we’re just leaving. Recipe
The Tom Collins is a time honored drink and no one should disparage it. But as soon as we heard there was an Irish whiskey variation, we knew it was something we’d like. We also modified this recipe a little for ourselves, opting for far less club soda than it calls for. Gin’s a powerful alcohol in terms of taste and, so far, we haven’t found one that lends itself to sipping the way whiskey does. And because whiskey doesn’t benefit from dilution the way gin does, we thought less club soda makes sense. Besides, if you put it in a tumbler instead of a tall glass, everything works out. Recipe
The Bitter Irishman
It’s no secret that Irish and Italian immigrants and descendants in the United States have their differences. Martin Scorsese’s pretty much built a career on that idea. But every so often, Irish and Italian Americans come together to make something great, like Robert De Niro, Brooklyn, or families with 15 kids. Though, as time goes on, the communities grow closer and families that were unthinkable a hundred years ago are common today. Plus, we get great cocktails out of the deal too. The Bitter Irishman is one such cocktail, mixing Irish and Italian in its whiskey and Averna. This feels like one of the more appropriate drinks for the holiday, since it’s a more genuine expression of everyone being Irish on March 17. Recipe
The Emerald is pretty similar to drinks we’ve already mentioned, as it’s really just another Manhattan variant, but it’s different enough that we can rationalize including it. It’s incredibly simple in execution, with only whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters, but that, like other Manhattans, is part of the charm. The main difference comes in the bitters, as Instead of the standard Angostura, the recipe calls for orange bitters. This brightens up the flavor of the cocktail rather than keeping the sort of low-light speakeasy energy of the traditional Manhattan, and it’s a change we’re welcoming. We like Manhattans, but it’s a cocktail with a bitterness that compounds, so we can never really have more than one. Come to think of it though, that’s a safety feature too. Recipe
The Teeling Selection
Like we said, our last three picks are coming courtesy of Stephen Teeling at the Teeling Whiskey Distillery in Dublin. If you’re looking for some drinks straight from the source, almost no better place than here.
Most people’s exposure to Tipperary comes in the form of the folk song. It’s been around for a little more than a hundred years and it’s most high profile rendition was that of Irish soldiers in World War 1. This drink is supposedly older than that, first published in the earliest years of the 20th century. For taste, it’s starts close to a Manhattan, with its base of whiskey and sweet vermouth, but the Green Chartreuse adds some complexity to differentiate the drink. It’s perfect for St. Patrick’s Day, being that it’s so steeped in Irish history and tradition, and could be considered a fitting tribute to World War 1 combat veterans. Also known as the guys who kept Europe from speaking German. Recipe
The Dublin Minstrel
It could be just us, but as we compiled this list, we realized a lot of Irish cocktails have great names. Cocktails with not embarrassing names are rarer than you’d think, especially since the highest profile ones are things like “Sex on the Beach” and “Fuzzy Navel.” But there’s not a name on this list we’d feel self-conscious ordering. The Dublin Minstrel incorporates whiskey, maraschino liqueur, Green Chartreuse, and lime juice, all at almost 1 to 1 ratios, though the whiskey does get a little favoritism. It’s a fresh looking drink, assisted by its ending garnish of cucumber, thyme, or rosemary. Really any earthy tasting herb. This one might be a drink better suited for St. Patrick’s Day venues experiencing springtimey weather, since there’s more crispness to the cocktail. Recipe
Teeling Irish Coffee
We know the Dead Rabbit already has their coffee earlier in the list, but Teeling’s recipe is different enough that we’re going to be making both. Plus, if there are two coffee recipes, that just means your afternoon caffeine boost will taste different from your morning one. The base of both is the same, with plenty of fresh brewed coffee, but Teeling’s Small Batch Single Malt whiskey is one of the more complex flavored whiskeys we’ve ever had, so right there we’re getting a strong difference. They also aren’t asking for whipped cream on top, opting instead for floating orange zested cream. It’s the orange zest that caught our eye, as we’ve never really thought of mixing citrus fruits into our morning pick-me-up. Recipe