There seem to be two camps when it comes to Irish whiskey: those who absolutely love it, and those who don't. But this drink might just please everyone, and it's a great way to bring some Emerald Isle authenticity to your St. Patrick's Day party.
I found the inspiration for this drink in Ted Haigh's Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails—a great book for anyone looking to expand their mixing repertoire. The Derby cocktail dates back to 1947, using a generous portion of tart lime juice alongside sweet vermouth and orange curaçao. It's traditionally made with bourbon as the base, but the formula seemed ready for the substitution of a spicy, slightly sweet, slightly citrusy Irish whiskey like Redbreast.
Redbreast is a bit milder than bourbon, easily overpowered by lime, so I needed to tinker a bit to balance the new drink. Once the lime was cut back, the whiskey was increased, and some Angostura was dashed in, it all tied together wonderfully: the Irish Derby is a multilayered and flavorful drink with a strong essence of orange oil and a sweet floral aroma. With something this delicious to toast with, who needs green beer?
About the Author: Elana Lepkowski is a Los Angeles based mixologist who photographs and shares her cocktail recipes at StirAndStrain.com. You can find her on Instagram and Twitter as @stirandstrain documenting what she drank last night and occasionally a picture of her dog.