Last year we wrote about how to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Irish beers, and we had a blast. This year we’re spicing things up a bit. Instead of choosing the usual Guinness Stout or Harp Lager this St. Paddy’s Day, why not explore a few new Irish drinks?
Whiskey, not “whisky”, is the most obvious choice for those who want an alternative to beer on St. Paddy’s Day. Almost every bar keeps a few bottles of Irish whiskey on hand for their patrons, and connoisseurs of the dark spirit know its power. Drinkers who are new to Irish whiskey can try:
Bushmills Black Bush The blending of triple-distilled single malt whiskey aged in sherry-seasoned oak casks with a little sweeter single malt whiskey gives Bushmills Black Bush a taste of spice with a hint of brown sugar and candied fruit.
- Tyrconnell Single Malt Irish Whiskey This brand offers a good introduction to the rare breed of single malt Irish whiskeys. The oak-cask aging leaves distinct oak characteristics, which combine well with the whiskey’s creamy and fruity notes.
Lighter, sweeter, and bubblier than whiskey, hard cider goes down smooth; but beware: it can leave you feeling a bit rough the next morning, so take it slow. Most American bars don’t stock many choices of hard ciders, but these brands are the easiest to find:
- Magners Outside of Ireland, Bulmers Cider sells as Magners. Whether you drink it as Magners or Bulmers, the same sweet and tart apple taste, with a heavy amount of carbonation, makes this a refreshing choice. Try Magners in a glass over ice.
Strongbow While not an Irish hard cider, Strongbow is by far the most popular hard cider in the world, and is the brand most likely to be available at your local bar. Strongbow is drier and less sweet than Magners, with a stronger alcohol taste.
- If you can’t find a cider in your local bar, supermarkets tend to carry a better selection.
A Most Unusual Tipple
Do you want to impress your friends by ordering an authentic Irish drink that will confuse even the most seasoned Irish bartender? Then order a poteen.
In Ireland it is called poitín and has a long, sordid history as the Irish version of moonshine. Originating in Ireland during the 1600s when home distillation became prohibited, legal poteen only recently returned to the market in Ireland. St. Patrick’s Day is the perfect excuse to sample poteen. Here’s what to ask for:
- Knocken Hills Irish Poteen Farmers Strength Knocken Hill Irish Poteen comes in a variety of ABVs. The Farmers Strength is at the bottom of the spectrum, but still has a hefty 60% ABV. With a splash of water, the spirit tastes of melon and banana. The unique use of whey in the distillation process adds vanilla notes.
- The Teeling Whiskey Co. Poitin Unlike Knocken Hills’ use of whey mash, this poteen uses a blend of barley and maize. It tastes of freshly cracked pepper and raisins.
The Shamrock Shake
Okay, so this isn’t an authentically Irish creation. But if you’re not in the mood for alcohol, why not have a Shamrock Shake?
The Shamrock Shake, a mint flavored
St. Paddy’s milk shake, is green, ready to party, and a serious treat. If you’ve had a Shamrock Shake you know; if you haven’t, well, ‘tis the season. Here’s a recipe that you can make at home.
No matter which beverages you decide to drink on St. Patrick’s Day, choose to drink responsibly.