The Refined Saint Patrick’s Day

whiskeyWelcome one and all to our strategy guide to having the most refined version of Saint Patrick’s Day we can recommend. Co-opted by drunken fratboys generations ago, there remains a ton of reasons to enjoy the day without refunding a day’s worth of drinking on the sidewalk. So let’s explore how to enjoy the day beyond pints of Guiness, shots of Jameson, and Irish Carbombs (and god help you if you are simply putting green food colouring in your Budweiser).

First and foremost, learn to spell Whiskey!

There are two different ways to spell whiskey and it is dependent on the region from which the drink originates. WhiskEy (with an e before the y) is used in reference to American and in our context, Irish spirits. Whisky (without the e) is used in Canadian, Scotish, and Japanese versions of the drink. One way to remember is if the country name has an E (or in the case of the US, multiple Es), then Whiskey has an E. If there is no E in the country name (Canada, Scotland, and Japan), there is no E in Whisky.

5 Irish Whiskeys Beyond Jameson and Bushmills

Connemara-Peated-Irish-WhiskeyFirst, if you are drinking Bushmills on Saint Patrick’s, you are doing it wrong. That is Protestant whiskey! (Actually, that is a bit of a myth, but who doesn’t like a good The Wire reference.) But even limiting yourself to Jameson is to forego a great many varieties of Irish whiskey, so here are just a few to expand your drinking resume:

  1. Connemara 12 – A peated single malt with a deep gold colour. This is a bit smokey and most resembles a Scotch whisky.
  2. Redbreast 12 – Slightly sweeter with only a touch of smoke, this whiskey has a creamy taste upfront and a kick of spice in the aftertaste!
  3. Knappogue Castle 12 – This is one of the smoothest Irish whiskeys you can drink, and as such, a party favourite.
  4. Tullamore – Slightly paler in colour than the others on this list, this sweet whiskey has a bit more of a caramel taste and smell.
  5. Greenore 8 – The youngest whiskey on this list, this is a fruity spirit with a complex palate (raisin, citrus, and more).

Have a classic Irish cocktail

Sure, Irish Carbombs and Drunken Irish are fun to drink if you have a singular purpose to end your evening early by knockout, but for those who wish to take their time and enjoy a fine cocktail, the Emerald Isle has much more to offer. Here are just a few (leave your food colouring at home):

The Emerald (an Irish Manhattan):TheEmerald

  • 2 ounces whiskey — whiskey
  • 1 ounce vermouth — Italian vermouth
  • 1 dash orange bitters

Stir well with cracked ice, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Irish Whiskey SkinIrishWhiskeySkin

  • 2 ounces whiskey — Irish whiskey
  • 1 sugar cube
  • lemon peel
  • 4 ounces water

Combine the whiskey, sugar cube, and lemon peel in a stout mug, then add boiling water and stir. Dust with nutmeg. This will keep you warm on a cold March night!

Irish Old Fashioned:IrishOldFashioned

  • 2 oz Irish Whiskey
  • .75 oz Bénédictine
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • 2 dashes Orange bitters

Add all ingredients to a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir, and strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with an orange slice.

Memorize a little Yeats!

WilliamButlerYeatsOkay, this one is a little show-off-y, but we live in an age where the appreciation of poetry is few and far between. Therefore, why not be that one cultured fool who thinks he can wow a crowd with a recitation. Here are just a few:

He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

HAD I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

The Municipal Gallery Revisited

[…]Think where man’s glory most begins and ends,
And say my glory was I had such friends.

Finally, enjoy your drink with the greatest of Irish blessings:

May your glass be ever full.
May the roof over your head be always strong.
And may you be in heaven
half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead.


Follow Tom on Twitter @thomaskagar

(Post Script: I forgot one of the finest points of advice any person could receive to keep an evening refined. Never be the drunkest person in the room! -something I fail miserably at more often than not…)

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