This time of year, folks tend to pull out the bright green Midori or, worse, green food coloring to tint their drinks the hue of emerald. A humble request: Please don’t! On St. Patrick’s Day, appreciate a frosty pint of Guinness or a dram of Irish whiskey on its own merits. Or try one of these three whiskey drinks, with the ever-reliable Jameson, for your St. Paddy’s pleasure. Two of them are even green (ish), no artificial coloring required.
Easy: Irish Coffee
A properly made Irish coffee is an important drink to have in your arsenal. With all due respect (we suppose) to Bailey’s, there’s no need to include it: Whiskey, coffee, a little sugar, cream, that’s it. Making freshly whipped cream in your cocktail shaker is key. While folks differ on their coffee-to-whiskey ratios, we don’t feel the need to make a big mug; using equal parts lets the whiskey really shine through.
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Instructions: In a heatproof glass, stir together two ounces of strong hot coffee and an ounce and a half of Jameson, together with half an ounce of simple syrup. Stir to combine, then top with around two ounces of softly whipped cream. Garnish with a few cracked coffee beans.
Here’s how to make whipped cream in a cocktail shaker. Take your Hawthorne strainer, with the spring around the edge, and pop out that spring. Put it in your cocktail tin, along with as much cream as you’re whipping up (in this case, two ounces), and one ice cube. Then shake the heck out of it. The spring acts like a whisk, and after about 30 seconds or so, you’ll have a soft whipped cream.
Intermediate: Basil & Whiskey
Depending on where you live, spring has either arrived or is dragging its little feet — but either way, by this time of year, we love giving our cocktails a lift of something fresh and herbal. Light, lively Irish whiskey is a great pair for basil and lemon in this simple sour. This goes down easy, despite a full two ounces of Jameson; consider yourself warned.
Instructions: Add five large basil leaves and two ounces of Jameson to the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Gently press the leaves with a muddler — you’re just massaging them, not pounding ‘em — then add 3/4 ounce of fresh lemon juice and half an ounce of honey syrup (that’s honey cut 1:1 with hot water, so it dissolves more easily). Shake that all up, and double-strain (through a fine mesh strainer, as well as the shaker’s own strainer) into a rocks glass with fresh ice and garnish with a few more big basil leaves.
Advanced: Whiskey and Melon
If you’re starting your St. Paddy’s drinking off early (hey, who are we to judge), here’s the sort of morning-friendly cocktail you might consider — bright with the flavor of fresh honeydew, with a good pour of club soda so it’s light and refreshing. There’s half a cup of melon in each one… that’s basically breakfast, right?
Instructions: In the bottom of a cocktail shaker, muddle half a cup of diced honeydew (it’ll break down to about a quarter-cup once it’s all smashed up). Add an ounce and a half of Jameson, half an ounce of honey syrup (that’s honey cut 1:1 with hot water, so it dissolves more easily), and a quarter-ounce of fresh lemon juice. Shake that all up, and double-strain (through a fine mesh strainer, as well as the shaker’s own strainer) into a tall glass with fresh ice. Top with two ounces of club soda, and garnish with a few honeydew slices and a lemon wheel.