We're guessing your St. Patrick's Day memories are like ours...a little hazy. There was that time we tried to visit every single Irish bar in NYC for a pint of Guinness (some of us might have skipped work the next day), and that year when many, many shots of Jameson before dinner seemed like a good idea. (Protip: not really a good idea.)
This year, we're thinking of celebrating a little differently—by mixing up some of our favorite Irish whiskey cocktails. Here are six tried-and-true recipes that really help Irish whiskey shine.
Buena Vista Fizz
We're pretty obsessed with this cocktail from Tradition in San Francisco. It's essentially a chilled-down spin on an Irish coffee, made with a rich demerara-sugar sweetened coffee syrup, rye that's been infused with ground chicory, and good ol' Jameson. A touch of citrus brightens the mix—coffee, lemon, orange juice may sound like a weird combination, but the flavors blend together wonderfully.
This one is simple, I promise: just Irish whiskey (use your favorite budget brand), sweet vermouth (make sure your bottle's fresh!), and orange bitters. An orange twist is optional but works nicely to emphasize the citrusy scent. This cocktail is smooth and rich, perfect for folks whose go-to drink is a Manhattan.
Another easy one. Irish whiskey (again, whatever you've got on hand) gets along nicely with the sweet spice of ginger beer. Add lime juice (or a mix of lime and lemon) and you're good to go.
This classic olive-garnished drink has Irish whiskey, a touch of absinthe for herbal, anisey flavors, and curaçao for a hint of orange. A little maraschino lends its complex, almost peppery sweetness, and Angostura bitters add spice. The flavor comes in waves: at first it's tinged with citrus and malt, followed by a wave of anise from the absinthe. The cocktail ends sweet and herbal with a touch of smoke and salt.
Essentially a honey-sweetened Irish whiskey lemonade, this drink from bartender Steven Weiss is super refreshing since it's topped up with cold seltzer. If you're celebrating St. Patrick's Day at the same time as you're celebrating warm spring weather, whip this one up.
The Irish Derby
The Derby is our kind of drink, rich and sour from a generous bit of tart lime juice. In this variation on the classic, bourbon is swapped out for Irish whiskey. This is the kind of drink that will convince Irish whiskey naysayers that it's worth giving the spirit a second chance.
Got a favorite Irish whiskey cocktail? Tell us about it in the comments below.