When most people hear that my name is Caitlin O’Connor, it usually elicits some comment to the tune of “ah, what a nice Irish-Catholic girl.”
I’m not helping any Irish stereotypes when I tell them my dad is the owner of a bar here in San Diego called The Scoreboard (a.k.a. O’Connor’s Pub during the month of March). So when St. Patrick’s Day grew nearer this year, I decided to ask my dad, who also happens to be the in-house veteran bartender, what he would recommend for St. Patrick’s Day drink recipes. He told me there was no such thing.
“Irish drinks aren’t about all that foo-foo stuff,” he said. “Grab a pint of Guinness or Smithwick’s.”
I expected a response like this. When I once mixed Jameson with root beer, he told me my great-grandfather would be rolling around in his grave in disgust.
My dad in a very throwback photo that now hangs on the wall of the bar
I get it, Dad. The Irish like their whiskey neat and their stout beer served warm.
“And you should choose to honor your heritage by following suit,” he pleaded.
But St. Patrick’s Day has become so beloved by the American people that I decided to do exactly the opposite (as every daughter does) and create dangerously non-traditional drinks that would risk making my dad gravely disappointed. That is, until he tastes them and sees how delicious they are!
Non-traditional (but still Irish-influenced) Drink Recipes
This one’s a delicious twist on a classic cocktail. Traditionally, juleps are made with bourbon and muddled mint leaves, but we gave this cocktail an Irish spin by substituting the bourbon for Powers Irish Whiskey. Simple and festive.
2 tsp water
1 tsp sugar
4-6 mint leaves
2 oz Irish whiskey
Muddle 4-5 mint leaves, sugar, and water in a rocks glass. Fill the glass with crushed ice and add your choice of Irish whiskey (Powers, Jameson, or 2 Gingers will do excellently). Top with more ice and garnish with a mint sprig. Serve with a straw.
Here’s a real sweet treat if you’re craving a sugar rush! It’s a fun, original concoction that will make you feel like a kid again (especially if you had an Irish grandpa who let you sample liquor at a young age).
2 cups vanilla ice cream
½ cup Bailey’s Irish Cream
¼ cup milk
Splash Creme de menthe
Green food coloring
Lucky Charms marshmallows
Rub a lemon wedge along the rim of a pint glass and dip into sprinkles. Set aside. Put the ice cream, Bailey’s, and milk in a blender and blend. Add some green food coloring and a splash of Creme de menthe for your desired shade of green. Pour into the glass and top with whipped cream and Lucky Charms marshmallows.
Really Non-traditional Drink Recipes (but they’re green and delicious!)
The only thing that makes this cocktail appropriate St. Patrick’s Day fare is the fact that it’s bright green. The drink itself tastes like a fruity popsicle, so it’s definitely not pre-approved by my Irish ancestors.
1 oz Peach Schnapps
1 oz Blue Curaçao
1 oz Vodka
½ oz Orange Juice
½ oz Pineapple Juice
Fill a pint glass with ice. Combine peach schnapps, blue curaçao, vodka, orange juice, and pineapple juice in a shaker and shake. Strain into glass and garnish with a lime wedge and cherry.
Irish Trash Can
Same goes for this hot mess of a drink. Red Bull is definitely not Irish. But this drink is green. It’s delicious. No further questions, please.
½ oz Gin
½ oz Rum
½ oz Vodka
½ oz Peach Schnapps
½ oz Blue Curaçao
½ oz Triple Sec
1 can Red Bull
Fill a pint glass half full with ice. Add gin, rum, vodka, peach schnapps, blue curaçao, and triple sec and stir. Leave enough room to dump a full can of Red Bull over the top. It will float and slowly empty into the glass, turning the mix green.
Actual(!) Irish Favorites
This is about the most complicated true Irish drinks get. In fact, most Irish folks would define an Irish coffee as simply coffee spiked with Jameson. But if you want to amp up the taste and creaminess, a splash of Bailey’s is a fine idea.
1 oz Jameson
½ oz Bailey’s Irish Cream
Green sprinkles (optional)
Pour hot coffee into a mug. Add Jameson and Bailey’s. Stir. Top with whipped cream. Add green sprinkles for a festive decoration.
Baby Guinness Shooter
OK, it’s not exactly traditional, but it includes Irish cream and it’s made to look like a pint of Guinness. What’s more Irish than that?!
2 ½ oz Kahlua Coffee Liquer
½ oz Kerrygold Irish Cream (or Bailey’s)
Pour Kahlua into a shot glass, almost filling it. Then, carefully pour Irish cream down the wall of the shot glass or over the backside of a spoon to float on top. This will give the “Guinness” its “head” or foam. Too cute!
I owe a huge thank-you to my dad for letting me experiment and concoct all these “craft” cocktails at his bar in Imperial Beach, Calif. — The Scoreboard.