Three Cocktails to Pair with St. Patrick’s Day Legends

A.J. Rathbun
snakebike st patrick's day cocktail
Have a "Snakebite" in Saint Patrick's honor.

St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner, and with it comes not only an honoring of Ireland and the Irish people, but usually a whole lot of tipsy folks running around. Instead of just drinking green beer randomly, why not dig a little deeper with a few choice bits of lore and learning – and some drinks that match up with them.

St. Patrick and his Legends
Not only does he have a holiday named after him, but he also is the patron Saint of Ireland. However, Saint Patrick started his residence there as a slave before returning to his home in England after six years. He eventually went back to Ireland as a missionary and then a Bishop. He is credited with banishing all snakes from Ireland (though some naturalists debate that there were ever snakes there). Because of his lack of fear of serpents, having a Snakebite in his honor and showing your own lack of fear seems only right. Use this easy-to-make recipe from Howard Stelzer’s Beer Cocktails: Fill a pint glass halfway with 8 ounces cider, then top with 8 ounces lager. Tilt back, then repeat until you are unable to continue doing so.

My Wild Irish Rose
This famous song was composed by 19th century Irish-American balladeer Chauncey Olcott in 1899 (his life was later done up in celluloid in a movie that shares this song’s name). He also wrote “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling,” another hit. And while the latter song is dandy, I think you should sing “My Wild Irish Rose” this St. Patrick’s Day, as it’s a little more romantic. If you’ve forgotten the lyrics, they go:

The sweetest flower that grows.
You may search everywhere,
But none can compare
With my Wild Irish Rose.
My Wild Irish Rose,
The dearest flower that grows.
And someday for my sake,
She may let me take,
The bloom from my Wild Irish Rose.

Because singing makes one thirsty, have an Irish Rose cocktail when done. It’s a variation on the classic Rose: Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway with cracked ice. Add 2 ounces Irish whiskey, 1/2 ounce kirsch, and 1/2 ounce Chambord. Stir well. Strain into a cocktail glass.

W.B. Yeats
There’s nothing that says you take St. Patrick’s Day seriously more than quoting a famous Irish poet. Of course, memorizing poems can be tough, and it’s sometimes hard to get pals to slow down to listen to a long, serious poem during a celebration. My suggestion is to memorize Noble Prize-winning Irish poet William Butler Yeats’ shorter poem “A Drinking Song.” It’ll fit the evening and ensure your Irish-loving bona fides are taken seriously. It goes:

Wine comes in at the mouth
And love comes in at the eye;
That’s all we shall know for truth
Before we grow old and die.
I lift the glass to my mouth,
I look at you, and I sigh. 

Reciting poetry is, perhaps, even more thirsty work than singing. Because of that, chase your poem with a Bishop from Wine Cocktails. Just be sure to toast Yeats, and St. Patrick: Add a lemon wheel and 3/4 ounces simple syrup to a cocktail shaker. Muddle well. Fill the cocktail shaker halfway with ice cubes. Add 1 ounce rum. Shake well. Add a few ice cubes to a sturdy red wine glass. Strain the mix over the ice. Top the glass with 2 ounces red wine. Stir briefly and garnish with a lemon slice.

Snakebite photo copyright 2012 Jerry Errico