Springtime means celebration time for many Buffalonians. Leaves begin returning to the trees and the lake emerges from its icy blanket. Yes, it is almost St. Patrick’s Day. And even if you’re not Irish, the holiday provides ample opportunity for the heartiest partier or the most diligent teetotaler to celebrate.
For those who wish to imbibe on this holiday, leave the green beer for washing down corn beef. Irish distilleries produce some of the finest whiskey in the world, and St. Patrick’s Day is a great opportunity to try it. Here are a few ideas made from Ireland’s finest:
Triple distilled Jameson Whiskey became one of the world’s most popular brands by the beginning of the nineteenth century. It smoothly balances a sweet, nutty flavor with a hint of vanilla from the bourbon casks in which it is aged. Along with the "regular" version, it also comes in twelve-year and Black Barrel expressions. While you can enjoy any of these on the rocks or neat, there are plenty of ways to spruce them up. The distillers themselves recommend Jameson Lemonade—50 ml of whiskey mixed with lemonade until it fills a highball glass. Add a spiral of lemon or lime. If cherries are your preference, try a Jameson Cherry Sour. Blend the cherries with sugar (to taste) then add 15 ml of freshly squeezed lemon juice, 50 ml of Jameson, 10 ml of sugar syrup, a dash of egg white, and a dash of bitters. After vigorously shaking over ice, double strain it and garnish with a fresh cherry.
First distilled in 1608, Bushmills has long been regarded as one of the greats in the whiskey world. Its barley is heated with hot air rather than over a peat fire, which makes it less smoky tasting than many other brands. Like Jameson, Bushmills makes for a fine drink neat or on the rocks. For a fine, orange-cinnamon flavor, a good Bushmills cocktail is Fool’s Gold. It consists of equal parts Bushmills, orange cognac, and cinnamon-flavored liqueur. If St. Patrick’s Day is cold, as it often is in Buffalo, you might wish to go with an Irish Coffee. Pour 45 ml of hot coffee into your favorite mug, sweeten it with sugar if you like, add 40 ml of Bushmills, then top it off with whipped cream.
Distilled in a small town in Ireland since 1829, Tullamore Dew is a mild whiskey, perfect alone or in cocktails. The Long Island Iced Tea is a favorite of many and Tullamore Dew has its own version, the Tulley Tea. It’s made of equal parts Tullamore Dew, reposado tequila, gold rum, and dry gin. Add to that a quarter-sized larger portion of lemon juice and a half-sized larger portion of simple syrup; finally, top it off with cola. For a simpler but equally tasty treat, try an Irish Brogue. It’s made up of two parts Tullamore Dew to one part Irish Mist herbal liqueur.
Of course, not everyone is a whiskey fan, so here are some lighter drinks made using popular Irish liqueurs.
Bailey’s Milk Shake:
Pour ½ cup of chocolate syrup and ¾ cup of milk into a blender with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Add the amount of Bailey’s you desire to the mix, and blend. Top this one with some whipped cream or a cherry and serve it icy cold.
Traditional Irish Flag:
You can serve this as a shooter or a larger drink. Pour equal parts green crème de menthe, Irish Mist, and Bailey’s Irish Cream in layers in a glass. If serving as a shooter, pour each carefully and in the order that they are given, and you will have a shot-glass-sized Irish flag. In the larger glass, the colors may run a bit, but you’ll still have a creamy, minty beverage to enjoy.