8 Irish Whiskey Cocktails for St. Patrick's Day

There's more to Irish whiskey than just shots. [Photo: Elana Lepkowski]

Everyone knows what to do with green beer: you drink it and carry on with your St. Patrick's Day shenanigans. But many people are at a loss when it comes to Irish whiskey—not that there's anything wrong with a shot, but there are lots of deliciously different ways to sip it. If you're looking for inspiration, you've come to the right place: here are eight of our favorite Irish whiskey cocktails to mix at home this St. Patrick's Day.

The Irish Derby

The Irish Derby

[Photo: Elana Lepkowski]

The Derby cocktail, made with a generous portion of tart lime juice alongside sweet vermouth and orange curaçao, dates back to 1947. It's traditionally prepared with bourbon as the base, but the formula seemed ready for the substitution of a spicy, slightly sweet, slightly citrusy Irish whiskey. (Perfecting the formula took a little tinkering: Irish whiskey is more delicate than bourbons, so the drink needs a little less lime.) The final result is multilayered and flavorful, with delicious hints of orange oil.

Get the Irish Derby recipe »

The Emerald

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[Photo: Wes Rowe]

Essentially a Manhattan made with Irish whiskey, and with orange bitters in place of Angostura, the Emerald is the kind of drink that doesn't need a dose of green dye to be shamrock appropriate.

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Buena Vista Fizz

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[Photo: Wes Rowe]

This chilled-down spin on Irish coffee is one of our all-time favorite drinks. Sure, there are a few steps to making it, but the results are so fantastic that it's worth a little light effort. It's made with Irish whiskey plus a rich demerara-sugar-sweetened coffee syrup and rye that's been infused with ground chicory. A touch of citrus brightens the mix.

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Behind the Times

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[Photo: Nick Caruana]

This smooth drink was inspired by the Manhattan-like Up to Date cocktail found in Hugo Ensslin's 1916 Recipes for Mixed Drinks. But instead of spicy rye and rich Grand Marnier (plus sherry), this variation goes a little lighter, calling for easy-sipping Irish whiskey instead of the bold rye, Pierre Ferrand's Dry Curacao instead of heavy Grand Marnier, and Dolin Blanc vermouth instead of sherry. It's a fresher, crisper take on the classic.

Get the Behind the Times recipe »

The Copywriter

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[Photo: Wes Rowe]

Here's a no-fuss drink that's easy to guzzle: The Copywriter is a tall, cool whiskey lemonade, enriched with honey and a little sweet vermouth. A little seltzer makes it fizzy, and a lemon twist boosts the lemony scent.

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The Irish Cocktail

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[Photo: Nick Caruana]

Looking for a classy drink for an Irish-themed dinner at home? This cocktail recipe dates back to at least 1927, mixing up Irish whiskey with maraschino, orange curacao, and a touch of absinthe, plus a little Angostura thrown in for good measure. It's garnished with a twist as well as an olive. The odd combination ends up quite tasty, tinged with citrus and malt, followed by a wave of anise and wormwood from the absinthe. The cocktail ends sweet and herbal with a touch of smoke and salt. It's a great pre-dinner drink, especially if you're serving salty snacks.

Get the Irish Cocktail recipe »

The Bitter Irishman

[Photo: Elana Lepkowski]

How to boost complexity in a simple Irish whiskey drink? Sweeten with rich demerara sugar and add an amaro-like Averna, which packs a ton of caramelly flavor spiced with roots, herbs, and citrus rinds. A little lemon lifts it up.

Get the Bitter Irishman recipe »

EVR's Whiskey Sour

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[Photo: Wes Rowe]

Not sure what to do with Pimm's when it's not quite drinking-Pimm's-Cups-on-the-lawn season? Here's your answer: Mix it with two whiskeys (a bit of lighter Irish whiskey and a little moody Scotch), plus fresh lime and a little agave nectar for a whiskey sour that's not much like the ones your grandparents drank.

Get EVR's Whiskey Sour recipe »