Normally, when people think of St. Patrick’s Day cocktails, their minds go to Irish Coffees, Irish Shots or simply an Irish whiskey served neat. But for those who want something a little more interesting and unique to celebrate the holiday, or for any occasion calling for Irish whiskey, there’s the Irish Blonde. This cocktail comes from bar legend and author Dale DeGroff, AKA King Cocktail. The Irish Blonde combines Irish whiskey with orange liqueur and sherry for a rich and luxuriant drink.
The base of the Irish Blonde is Michael Collins Irish whiskey, a blended Irish whiskey that normally carries a reasonable price tag between $20 and $30 a bottle. It’s elegant and refined but stands up well in mixed drinks. Then, orange curaçao adds sweetness, richness and a smooth mouthfeel. You can substitute another triple sec like Grand Marnier or Cointreau. However, curaçao tends to be darker and sweeter, so adjust accordingly if using another product. In any case, the orange of the liqueur is amplified with a bit of orange bitters—Wondrich uses the classic Regan’s Orange Bitters, but Angostura Orange or another one will do just fine.
Sherry adds remarkable depth to almost any kind of cocktail, even when used sparingly, as it is in the Irish Blonde. The drink gets only a quarter ounce of fino sherry, a light, bright and bone dry style with elements that are almost savory. Though its flavor in the drink is understated, it’s crucial for the overall balance and flavor profile.
The drink is best finished with a flamed orange peel over the top, adding a spritz of caramelized oils. The end result is an elegant and golden cocktail with a silky body and gentle sweetness. It’s a lovely alternative to other St. Patrick’s Day drinks, so much so that you might find yourself enjoying it all year round, not only on the Irish holiday.
- 2 ounces Michael Collins blended Irish whiskey
- 3/4 ounce orange curaçao
- 1/4 ounce La Ina fino sherry
- 1 dash Regan’s Orange Bitters
- Garnish: flamed orange peel
Add the blended Irish whiskey, orange curaçao, fino sherry and orange bitters into a mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled.
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Garnish with a flamed orange peel.