For a holiday so frequently associated with tipsy merriment, St. Patrick's Day is certainly celebrated with a bum bunch of drinks.
Okay, there's Guinness—I'll give you that as the primary redeeming tipple for the day, with a tip of the hat also to the decent drams of Red Breast. But what else do you see being poured? Buckets of American lager tinted with vegetable dye, mugs of Irish coffee so laden with sugar and whipped cream that a drinker will lapse into a diabetic coma before inebriation sets in, and in the more raucous places the young folks frequent, the unfortunately named Irish Car Bombs.
There are pitifully few decent cocktails mixed with Irish whiskey—like scotch, it just doesn't play well with other ingredients—but here's one that's not only suitable for the day, but absolutely enjoyable: the Emerald.
Of course, there are a number of different drinks that have traveled under that sobriquet over the years (here's one), but this version is quite pleasant, and worth coming back to even on days when people aren't speaking with painfully fake brogues. 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.
- 2 ounces Irish whiskey
- 1 ounce sweet vermouth
- 2 dashes orange bitters
Pour all ingredients into a mixing glass and fill with cracked ice. Stir well for 30 seconds and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a piece of orange or lemon peel, or nothing at all.