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St Patrick's Day cocktails with Irish whiskey mean that neon green beer is out of luck

Cameron’s Kick Cocktail. Photo for The Washington Post by Scott Suchman.

Cameron’s Kick Cocktail. Photo for The Washington Post by Scott Suchman.

Published Mar 14, 2022

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By M Carrie Allan

A good Irish pub, no matter where on Earth it's situated, is a thing of beauty. My favourite time to visit is late afternoon, with an Irish coffee sipped in a snug wooden nook that gets dimmer and more comfortable as you linger. All the better if it's nasty outside, the wet weather highlighting the cosiness and sense of slowed time that exist in the best of the spaces.

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I'm a good chunk Irish myself, but celebrating anything – whether a saint, a heritage or the return of the lower halves of people's faces – with bad drinks in large quantities just doesn't appeal.

My head is spinning from a pitch I got this month, one that declared St Patrick's Day is "not just an excuse to drink, it is an excuse to drink A LOT!" before suggesting a drink made of tequila and matcha – neither of which, for y'all keeping score at home, is Irish. (Of course, for the record, neither was St Patrick.)

I'll be toasting at home with "Paddy Drinks: The World of Modern Irish Whiskey Cocktails," the new book from the team at the Dead Rabbit Grocery and Grog in New York. If you haven't had the pleasure of visiting, the Dead Rabbit is a top-notch Irish bar on the first floor, with an outstanding craft cocktail parlour hidden above. And the bar's latest book is the antithesis of the sloppy green boozing that dominates this time of year. Instead, it's loaded with whiskey drinks that are elegant, precise, often complex, and keyed to the unique qualities of the particular spirits used to make them – drinks that could show dyed-green-lager drinkers the Erin of their ways.

Cameron's Kick Cocktail (Serves 1)

A 1920s-era cocktail upgraded with bitters and nutty oloroso sherry, this concoction by Jack McGarry and Greg Buda of the Dead Rabbit Grocery and Grog in New York City balances rich Irish pot-still whiskey against a peaty single malt.

Ingredients

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Ice (cubes for shaking, one large shard for serving)

3 dashes bitters

22ml fresh lemon juice

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22ml orgeat syrup

22ml oloroso sherry

30ml peated single-malt Scotch whisky

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30ml Irish pot-still whiskey

Freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish

Method

Place a chunk of ice in a large cocktail coupé and transfer to the freezer to chill.

Fill a shaker with ice, then add the bitters, lemon juice, orgeat, sherry, Scotch whisky and Irish whiskey and shake hard. Double-strain into the chilled glass, grate a little nutmeg over the top, and serve.

Precision Pilot Cocktail (Serves 1)

Precision Pilot Cocktail. Photo for The Washington Post by Scott Suchman

Here's a bright and bittersweet Irish whiskey drink from Jillian Vose, head bartender at the Dead Rabbit Grocery and Grog in New York City. The bitter Campari and aromatic grapefruit play off each other.

Ingredients

Ice cubes for stirring, one large cube or sphere for the drink

2 dashes bitters

15ml grapefruit liqueur

22ml Campari

30ml Aperitif Wine of your choice

30ml blended Irish whiskey

Strip of grapefruit peel, for squeezing

Method

Add a large ice cube or sphere to an Old Fashioned glass and set aside.

Fill a mixing glass with ice, then add the bitters, grapefruit liqueur, Campari, aperitif and whiskey and stir to chill and dilute. Strain into the glass, then twist the strip of the grapefruit peel over the surface of the drink to express the aromatic oils. Discard the peel and serve.

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