As we write off a second consecutive traditional St. Patrick’s Day celebration thanks to COVID-19, we have options for commemorating the holiday in different ways.
Typically, St. Patrick’s Day, or Scranton’s Parade Day, are in-person or on-premise events with lots of overpriced, basic alcohol. If we are going to stay home for the holiday, though, we might as well kick it up a notch.
Try some upscale cocktails celebrating one of Ireland’s greatest contributions: whiskey.
Irish Mermaid might sound like it will look green or aqua blue or taste sweet, but the cocktail actually is none of these. I used 1 ounce of Powers Gold Label Irish Whiskey, 2 teaspoons each of Heering Cherry Liqueur and Aperol, 1 teaspoon of orgeat and two dashes of Angostura bitters shaken on ice and served with a maraschino cherry or an orange twist.
Powers offered the alcohol and the deep, earthy, oak undertone. Above that, we had the bitterness of Aperol offset by the sweetness of cherry liqueur joining the nuttiness of the orgeat. The combination of sweet and bitter worked well and produced a balanced experience. Despite its Disney-like name, the Irish Mermaid deserves a place in the cocktail cannon.
For those keeping tabs, the Powers brand is owned by the same conglomerate that owns Jameson’s, the French Pernod Ricard.
It’s hard to find many cocktails that include Scotch. The Cameron Kick unites equal parts Scotch whisky with Irish whiskey, adding some orgeat to smooth things out and lemon juice to brighten it up.
I used, or some would say missed, 1 ounce each of Glenmorangie Highland Single Malt Lasanta 12-year with the aforementioned Powers plus 1/2 ounce each of lemon juice and orgeat, stirred on ice and served in a rocks glass with a lemon peel. The result was a marriage and a celebration of two great whisk(e)y traditions, with the low, bass notes of the peet, loam and potpourri lifted by the bright acidity.
If you need orgeat in a pinch, you can heat equal parts water and sugar (resulting in simple syrup) in a saucepan and add almond extract to taste.
The Tipperary offers a twist on the Manhattan, using Irish whiskey but adding Green Chartreuse. Hardly green as a novelty, like green beer, Chartreuse is naturally colored by herbs that Carthusian monks have used in this formula for centuries. Regardless, Chartreuse improves everything and is a blessing on a home bar. I started with 1.5 ounces of Clontarf Classic Blend Irish Whiskey, adding 1 ounce of Spatola Red Vermouth, 1/2 ounce of Green Chartreuse and two dashes of angostura bitters, stirred and strained into a cocktail glass garnished with a cherry or orange peel. St. Patrick himself lived for a time in both France and Italy, so the Tipperary cocktail seems a fitting tribute.
Clontarf is a subdued, light whiskey, so the result highlighted the herbal notes of the Chartreuse and the spice of the vermouth, with a hint of bitter anise at the end. If you prefer whiskey-forward drinks, go with Jameson’s or Powers.
While you may mark the holiday at home rather than at a bar or restaurant, make a point of patronizing those establishments that are open, if you can and make up for lost time.