You’d think that as a person who loves holidays almost as much as I love drinking, I’d be all over the major drinking holidays. But it’s just the opposite. I refuse to leave my house on both New Year’s Eve and St. Patrick’s Day, and as far as I’m concerned, the latter is just an excuse for Americans to get shit faced, barf in the street and swap vom-flavored spit with horny dudes wearing “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” t-shirts. But I know I’m in the minority here, so I made a cocktail for you. I mean, I didn’t create it; I have to be excited about a holiday to actually take the time come up with an original themed drink. Still, finding a decent fucking cocktail to celebrate a day synonymous with green beer isn’t exactly easy.
Sadly, when you google “Irish cocktails,” the first hits include Irish Car Bomb, Baby Guinness, Orgasm, Quick Fuck, and the Slippery Nipple. But those aren’t really Irish cocktails. That’s the menu for a shitty Irish pub opened by three frat guys from Florida. A search for “St. Patrick’s Day cocktails” turns up similarly disgusting results, including Shamrock Juice — which is gin AND tequila AND rum AND vodka AND Blue Curaco plus some orange juice. While I’m impressed that someone could put together a green drink without any food coloring or Sour Apple Pucker, that sure sounds like something you should throw back if you want to pass out face-first into a pile of your own turquoise vomit.
Whilst googling, however, I remembered that a few years ago, the fine folks at Jameson sent me a recipe for a fantastic St. Patrick’s Day cocktail. In addition to Jameson, the South Side Smash is mixed with Fernet Branca, lime juice, and simple syrup. It’s strong, sweet, and a little tart—overall, a wonderful and festive way to begin (or end) a more grown-up St. Patrick’s Day. And since it’s garnished with mint, you’ll have a green drink in your hand that, unlike green beer, won’t turn your shit green. Plus, it kind of looks like an adorable pot of gold, so how’s that for fucking festive?
Jameson recommends using its Black Barrel Irish Whiskey for this one, but I used the regular stuff and it was great.
Sláinte! And enjoy your hangovers, suckers!
The South Side Smash
1½ ounces Jameson Irish Whiskey
½ ounce Fernet Branca
¾ ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
1 ounce simple syrup
6-8 fresh mint leaves
Mint sprig for garnish
Combine the whiskey, Fernet, lime juice, and simple syrup, along with the loose mint leaves, in a cocktail shaker with a handful of ice and shake vigorously (you want to bruise the mint leaves to release some of the oils). Strain into an ice-filled rocks or half-pint glass. Garnish with a mint sprig and enjoy.
NOTE: Jameson didn’t pay me or even provide me any booze to write this, but they did take me on a pretty sweet trip to Ireland for a real St. Patrick’s Day experience a few years ago. So when it comes to whiskey for St. Patrick’s Day, they’ll always be my number-one boo.
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