We’ve discussed this before, but it bears repeating: there are no good St. Patrick’s Day drinks. Again, in bold: there are no good St. Patrick’s Day drinks. Anything a bar serves for the “holiday” will likely be either tinted with green food coloring or laden with an insultingly gross amount of green Chartreuse, green crème de menthe, or Midori. Even “authentic” drinks like the Irish Car Bomb are terrible, stereotypical drinks made by combining ingredients that are either vaguely green or vaguely Irish. If you do want to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, you should do it with a strictly Irish drink — a Guinness, a Jameson, a Bailey’s, etc.
We do have one almost-Irish drink I can offer — basically, an Irish Manhattan. I’ll defer to David Wondrich, Esquire’s drinks correspondent, for the recipe; it’s not a complex recipe, but it is a bit singular, in that we don’t have many drinks that utilize Irish whiskey. I suspect that’s because Irish whiskey is made mainly to be drinkable on its own, not as a mixer; nonetheless, a good Irish whiskey can be a base for a good cocktail. And this one’s a decent example.
So: the Emerald, or the Irish Manhattan. Wondrich suggests it should be made with orange bitters; while he admits the color might not be right for an all-Irish beverage (at least, politically speaking), it does improve the flavor dramatically. I’d suggest sticking with his suggestion. And if you don’t want to drink this on St. Patrick’s Day, drink whatever you want. Just don’t try to claim your drink, or you, are Irish. Just enjoy it because it’s good.
- 2 oz. Irish Whiskey
- 1 oz. sweet vermouth
- 2-3 dashes orange bitters