They say everyone is Irish on St. Patrick's Day. And though that may sound like an excuse to party, you should also think of it as an obligation. This year, do better than slamming back shots of Jameson and pints of Guinness. Lucky for you, there are plenty of Irish bars churning out top-notch drinks on March 17. These are 10 cocktails to drink in bars on this day.
Can't make it to any of the bars serving these great St. Patrick’s Day drinks? Try mixing the Irish Buck at home.
Tanner Smith's is more of a classic cocktail bar styled after early-20th-century New York drinking houses than a true-to-form Irish bar, but that doesn't stop beverage director Kevin Doherty from crafting a variety of drinks using some of his favorite Irish spirits. This one, using Writers Tears Irish whiskey as the base spirit, brings in amaretto liqueur, Amaro Montenegro and a couple dashes of black walnut bitters. He stirs the ingredients together and pours them into a glass with one large rock and garnishes it with an orange peel. "Irish poets are seen as one of Ireland's greatest gifts to the world, and we wanted to thank them with this libation," says Doherty.
Bartender J. Diego Fernández de Córdoba crafted this drink as a way for a traveler to unwind after a long flight from Dublin to Chicago. He starts with Mezcal Unión and adds in Amara Sicilian blood orange liqueur, Dimmi Liquore di Milano, pineapple and lemon juice, and a bit of honey syrup he makes by combining equal parts honey and warm water. Everything gets combined in a tin, shaken and double-strained into a coupe, then garnished with a charred lemon wheel. It almost makes you want to fly more often.
You expect to find some variations of the Old Fashioned in a bar that stocks more than 200 types of whiskey. Here, bartender Ronan Carrol, who moved to D.C. from Dublin (where he grew up down the road from the Teeling distillery), created the Phoenix is Rising with Teeling small-batch Irish whiskey, port wine, muddled orange and cherries, a couple of dashes of Angostura bitters and honey. He combines it all and garnishes the drink with an orange twist and a cherry. And if you happen to be in Las Vegas or Burlington, Vt., pop into the Rí Rá locations and get this drink there.
One of the goals of Rúla Búla bar manager Kyle Ledeboer and his team is to create cocktails that showcase Irish spirits in unique ways not often seen in Irish pubs. Case in point, the Irish Legend. Ledeboer starts with the smooth Tullamore D.E.W. Irish whiskey and combines it with Dolin sweet vermouth, Taylor Fladgate 10-year-old tawny port and a half-ounce of coffee liqueur in a mixing glass. It gets stirred for about 25 seconds before the drink is poured neat into a rocks glass and then topped with the bar's house-made Guinness cream foam. "It appears as a small pint of Guinness but drinks like something completely unique you've likely never experienced before," says Ledeboer.
Out in the middle of Long Island at the Nutty Irishman, bartender Kyle "Tuna" Fortuna, came up with this summertime drink using Malibu rum, Jose Cuervo silver tequila, blue curaçao and pineapple juice. The drink, inspired from Tuna's childhood when he would create a favorite blend from all the sodas on a restaurant soda gun, became so popular that The Nutty Irishman put it on its year-round menu.
To pay homage to the Irish Coffee at Erin Rose in New Orleans, Spilt Milk co-owner Matty Eggleston created his own version of the drink. He uses Tullamore D.E.W. Irish whiskey, Galliano Ristretto coffee liqueur, Metric Coffee Hellion cold-brew coffee, chocolate ice cream and cascara tea. The concoction whirls inside a slushie machine at the Logan Square corner bar so it's always at the ready.
With what sounds like inspiration from the essence of "aloha," head bartender Chad Pata created the Kindness of Strangers, a drink that combines Maker's Mark bourbon, Tuaca brandy liqueur, Campari liqueur and fresh lemon juice with orange zest, by following his heart and blood. His heart, he says, belongs to bourbon, while his blood ties back to Sicily. The drink's name actually takes inspiration from a Tennessee Williams play that "deals with man's duality much like the Italian spirits battle with the bitter and the sweet in this libation," says Pata.
Cocktail director Mike Di Tota takes Aperol liqueur and Teeling small-batch Irish whiskey, two decidedly un-Tiki spirits, and combines them with velvet falernum, Giffard Caribbean pineapple liqueur, rooibos-tea-infused white rum, Bénédictine, pineapple gomme syrup and lime juice. Everything gets combined into a tin with ice before getting a whip shake, strained into a glass and topped with a Peychaud's bitters float.
This simple yet flavorful take on a milkshake uses just three ingredients. To offer a fix for her sweet tooth and fulfill her craving for her favorite Aero mint chocolate bar, bartender Julia Velazquez mixes Kerrygold Irish cream liqueur with Slane Irish whiskey and Death's Door Spirits Wondermint schnapps liqueur. She shakes the ingredients over ice, strains the drink into a Martini glass and tops it with crushed Cadbury Flake chocolate bar and a piece of mint to garnish.
A collaboration between Fadó and Atlanta's 18.21 Bitters company, the Gin Daisy takes inspiration from the somewhat recent gin cocktail renaissance but adds an Irish twist. This light and drinkable cocktail uses Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish gin, which incorporates a variety of Asian botanicals, including cardamom, orris root, star anise, Chinese lemon, Chinese grapefruit and gunpowder green tea, as the base. It then adds in 18.21 lemon-basil rich syrup, simple syrup, egg whites and lemon juice, with a mint leaf as the garnish.