Unusual St. Patrick’s Day Cocktails

St. Patrick’s Day offers a surprisingly limited choice of cocktails, even though it’s the year’s most drink-centric holiday. Sure, there’s the Irish Coffee and the popular (and dramatically named) Car Bomb—both are tasty, if proof that St. Pat’s is not much of a day for mixological experimentation.

Well, we’re going to change that. We snagged three recipes for surprising Irish-inspired drinks: one with its origins in the mountains of Mexico; another washed in the faux-tropical breezes of tiki culture; and the third inspired by the classic drinks of the Caribbean.

WHISKEY + MEZCAL:

Manhattan watering hole Mayahuel is one of the best places in America to get a tequila or mezcal drink, thanks to the genius of bartender Phil Ward. His The Good Cork is a powerful stirred creation that balances the smokiness of mezcal, the rich sweetness of Irish whiskey, the herbal complexity of Bénédictine and the anise notes of Peychaud’s Bitters. It’s a combo we’d never have thought of, but we’re sure glad Ward did.

COFFEE + RUM:

Another spot you’re probably not hitting during St. Patrick’s Day is a tiki bar. But that didn’t stop Paul McGee of Chicago tropical haven Three Dots and a Dash from tikifying the Irish Coffee. His appropriately named Emerald Isle of the Caribbean calls for rum, a trio of spiced syrups and even an allspice liqueur-spiked whipped cream in addition to hot java.

IRELAND BY WAY OF BARBADOS:

At New Orleans’ Cane & Table, managing partner Nick Dietrich specializes in the “proto-tiki” cocktails of the colonial-era Caribbean, including the Swizzle, a cooling concoction popular in former British colonies like Trinidad, Guyana and Barbados. His Serpent-less Swizzle, which replaces the traditional rum with the full-bodied Powers Irish Whiskey, is great if you’re expecting a St. Paddy’s Day heat wave.

So try one of these drinks on Monday. They’ll make your St. Patrick’s Day extra-memorable! (And if you’re in need of a few more traditional Irish whiskey cocktails, check out our gallery of eight favorites instead.) Erin go bragh!

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