Whether you have Irish roots or not, St Patrick’s Day is a perfect excuse to imbibe the Irish spirit and dabble in some Gaelic fun.
So here are some cocktails and spirits of Irish descent to get you in the green groove…
1. Molly Malone Mule
Named after the ballad that has become Dublin’s unofficial anthem, there could be plenty of renditions spanning bars and pubs across the British Isles when revellers start counting down.
With a good kick and plenty of cheer, try this simple serve using the aptly named The Dubliner Irish Whiskey (£23.72, 70cl, Master Of Malt) – a perfect introduction to Irish whiskey, it’s ‘approachable, warm and smooth’, much like the welcoming manner of the Irish.
A blend of single malt and grain whiskies matured in bourbon casks, it’s honey scented with hints of caramel, orchard fruits and a touch of sweet spice.
50ml The Dubliner, juice of a quarter of a lime, ginger beer, lime wedge and a slice of ginger (optional)
Add ice to a copper julep cup. Pour in the whiskey lime juice. Top up with ginger beer and garnish with a sprig of mint, wedge of lime and ginger.
2. Bushmills Spiced Marmalade Sour
With a long history – Bushmills is Ireland’s oldest working distillery – and triple distilled for a light, pure spirit, Bushmills Black Bush Whiskey (£23.50, 70cl, Sainsbury’s) is the front runner of Irish blends with its fruity, spicy, nutty notes, silky smooth palate and long, sweet finish.
Made with a high proportion of malt whiskey aged in sherry casks and a small portion of grain whiskey, it can be sipped or mixed.
Here’s a zesty cocktail to try at home…
50ml Bushmills Black Bush, 20ml lemon juice, 20ml marmalade, 1ml angostura bitters 2 individual ginger slices, 1 orange
Half fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the ingredients, shake vigorously and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with shredded orange zest.
3. Taking Liberties
Named after one of the oldest (and most raucous) streets in Dublin, ’tis the luck of the Irish to have this limited release as only 31 sherry casks of The Dublin Liberties Copper Alley Irish Whiskey (£65, 70cl, Harvey Nichols) have been produced.
A 10-year-old single malt that’s finished in 30-year-old oloroso sherry casks, it’s the second release in The Dublin Liberties range of premium Irish whiskies.
Worth making a song and dance about, it’s rich and complex with dried fruit, orange peel and spice on the nose, a raisiny, nutty character and a woody sweetness from 10 years spent in bourbon casks before a finishing dose of sherry.
4. Praise the Lord
An innovative spirits brand, Glendalough are reviving the heritage of craft distilling and Ireland’s ‘golden age of whiskey distilling’. In the 18th and 19th centuries, there were more than 200 distilleries, which has whittled down to a small handful.
Try their Double Barrel Irish Whiskey (£32.95, 70cl, 31DOVER) which romped home with a double gold at the San Francisco World Spirits competition and is extremely pleasant to drink.
A single grain whiskey aged in bourbon barrels and finished in oloroso sherry casks, it’s soft, rich and fruity with subtle aromas of raisins and cherries followed by delicate florals, with a sweet, creamy mouthfeel with hints of honey, brown sugar and spiced ginger.
5. A Gin for all Seasons
Don’t have a nose for whiskey? Don’t worry, Ireland’s first craft distillery have unveiled their new all-seasons gin, Glendalough Wild Botanical Gin (£33.95, 70cl, craftgins.co.uk).
Having foraged for Wild Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter Botanicals in previous bottlings (they don’t produce more than 3,000 bottles each season), this latest release is beautifully fresh and uplifting and created to capture the changing seasons.
An orchestra of spring and summer flowers with citrus, autumn fruits and winter spice, the botanicals have been foraged from the hills, fields and forests around the Glendalough valley in Wicklow, or ‘the garden of Ireland’ for gin lovers and purposes here.
6. Feeney’s Espresso Martini
Cream of the crop, Feeney’s Irish Cream Liqueur (£12.45, 70cl, 31DOVER) is dreamy dairy delight. Fresh and sweet with a whisper of chocolate, it’s been named the ‘best and most luxurious Irish Cream Liqueur in the World’, and contains Irish grain whiskey matured for at least three years.
Here’s a delicious digestif to ensure a sweet ending…
30ml Feeney’s, 20ml vodka, 25ml cold espresso, 3 coffee beans for garnish
Half fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the ingredients and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled martini glass, garnish with coffee beans.