St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday in the United States like no other place in the world. Ireland’s celebrations, while exuberant, are nowhere near what we do here. Ireland has always treated it as a religious holiday, more of a somber time to spend with family and friends. Of course, on the way home if you stop off in the pub for a pint or two, no one is going to say much. In fact, this multi-day religious festival offers a little haven in a sea of Lent; to properly celebrate their patron saint, religious fasting restrictions were lifted and people cut loose. The celebrations have gotten bigger in the last several decades, and they put away 13 million or so pints of Guinness that day and have a few parades, but they are still a long way from what we do here. We hit the party hard from Kegs and Eggs in the morning to checking for Uber at night for a safe ride home. It is a one day blow out that celebrates all things green, orange, and white. The first celebrations in the U.S. were parades that celebrated Irish pride while also fighting for the rights of the Irish in their adopted home. The treatment of the Irish in Gangs of New York is not entirely fictional. But if you are going to hit it hard all day, you may want to mix it up a little. Add some food. Pace yourself. You’ll still have a well-deserved hang over the next day. But first…
It has a reputation for being the most important meal of the day for a reason. Getting some food in your stomach right off is going to help you soften the blow of the liquor for a little while. Eggs, rashers (thinly sliced bacon), and toast are a nice way to start. It is lighter that the traditional Irish breakfast (more on that later), but still enough to pad the stomach. Eggs and rashers contain protein to help fight off the toxins, and a chemical called cysteine, which absorb all the nasty toxins that are starting to build in your body. It goes without saying you drink coffee with it, and what better way to start the day than with an Irish Coffee? Not coffee with a little Irish cream, like this was another day at the office. The good stuff.
1 oz. Irish whiskey
1 tsp brown sugar
4 oz. good coffee
1 oz. whipped cream
Warm up a coffee mug with hot water, then dry out the mug. Add brown sugar, Irish whiskey, then coffee, leaving some room to add the whip cream. Stir the ingredients together until the sugar dissolves, than add the whip cream. Let it sit on top, as it keeps the coffee warm.
Most recipes will call for one and a half ounces, but we are starting off light, remember? Of course, if the thought of food only interrupts the buzz you are trying to build, there is another Irish breakfast you can try.
1 part Irish whiskey OR Irish cream
1 part butterscotch schnapps
2 parts orange juice
Mix the Irish liquor of choice and the butterscotch schnapps in one glass, have the orange juice in the other. Drink the shot, then follow it with the orange juice.
Maybe you eat. Maybe you don’t. But you are still drinking with the best of them. If you are going traditional, you are waiting 119 seconds for a perfect pour of Guinness at The Dublin Pub, Harrigan’s, Murphy’s, Paddy’s, Flanagan’s Pub, or any of the other bars in town that are pulling pint properly. If you are not a dark beer fan, Bass is a delightful pale ale that will satisfy your thirst just as well. Smithwick’s red ale splits the difference nicely, with some of the roast notes from the stout and the lightness of the pale ale. Harp has been the traditional lager of Ireland, but Guinness released a Blonde Lager last September to compete with it. Even though Harp is their lager they created in the 1960’s. Any way you slice it, there is a traditional Irish beer for any palate. If you are not a Guinness person, you can still enjoy a Guinness by floating it on a variety of other lagers or ales. Black and tans, the most well-known of the layered Guinness drinks, start with a layer of Bass and finish it off by pouring the
Guinness over a spoon. The spoon (or other similar device) modulates the flow of the Guinness, slowing its impact on the liquid in the glass to create the sharp cut we are accustomed to. It is all about the liquid density, ladies and gentlemen. While Guinness has a dark color, that is about the only thing heavy about it. It floats nicely on a wide variety of other beers like Blue Moon (Eclipse), Newcastle Brown Ale (Black Castle), or any hard cider (Snake Bite).
While we are discussing hard ciders, they are a well-loved in the British Isles. Cider was not terribly hard to make; leave some apple juice alone in a dark place for a while, and it will turn itself into an alcoholic version of its former self. The Celts were enjoying this before the islands they lived on were British (or even Roman), and it has been a staple drink ever since. One of the best-selling hard ciders on the Emerald Isle is Bulmers, better known in the rest of the world as Magners. American ciders have come a long way since super sweet Woodchuck dominated the scene in the 1990’s. Crispin and Angry Orchard have produced a variety of hard ciders that are less sweet and tarter, like a good cider should be. Woodchuck has come around in recent years, creating ciders with a much more traditional flavor. And for those of you who love hops, Woodchuck even has a dry hopped cider, Hopsation.
In case you did not notice, I have not mentioned green beer. There is a good reason for that.
You REALLY need to put something in your stomach at this point. It is entirely possible you have been drunk, sobered up, and now are working your way back to drunk at this point. You green hat is sitting a little crooked on your head, and you probably freshen up your green and orange make up a little. When you are ready for dinner, and still feeling very Irish, you’ll order up the corned beef and cabbage. Half of that meal is traditional for the Irish. Cabbage has been a staple in Ireland for a very long time. Corned beef has not. Remove the nicely sliced corned beef and add the rashers, and you now have a meal that the Irish would love. Add some soda bread, and you have another liquor-absorbing meal to get you ready for the home stretch. A boxty, a potato pancake filled with meat and vegetables, would also be wonderful at this point of the day.
How about a nightcap? You’ve had your fill of beer by this point; relax, enjoy the bands, and have some Irish whiskey. It is nice to sip either neat or on the rocks, and is milder than other whiskies. Jameson is the most recognized brand of Irish whiskey, but it is not the only one. Green Spot, if you can find it, is widely recognized as one of the best new Irish whiskies to hit the United States in years. Redbreast is a light and complex whiskey, great for sipping neatly. Bushmills offers a delightful line of whiskeys as well, with a little something for everyone in their portfolio. Tullamore DEW is another lesser known but well respected Irish whiskey to be discovered on this most Irish of holidays. Powers, one of the most popular whiskies in Ireland, is also a lesser known and underrated option for your day of drinking. The Irish don’t seem to really mix their whiskey into anything fancy, other than the coffee or tea most people are familiar with.
THE NEXT DAY
You already know it is going to be a rough one. Let’s hope you drank plenty of water while you were out drinking to minimize the effects of the drinking. Maybe, if you believe it works, have a few aspirin before bed, a bottle of Gatorade or Powerade, and just hope the hangover is not THAT bad. There are two traditional cures the Irish use. The first one is a bit impractical; head up to the Great Miami River with a friend and a shovel. Dig a hole, hop into it, and bury yourself up to the neck in the soft sands of the bank. That is going to be EXTREMELY cold and fairly inconvenient, so let us suggest a second option: a full Irish breakfast. This has a little bit of everything for you: sausage, rashers, black and white pudding, fried eggs, baked beans, thick bread, and some tomatoes. That will fill you up AND take a little edge off the hangover. Add some black coffee, and you will be ready to head back to work. Just leave the Irish whiskey out of the coffee. You swore you’d never drink again last night, remember? Sláinte!