Celebrating Irish heritage doesn’t have to stop at Guinness, Smithwick’s, Bushmill’s or Jameson. These well-known brands are worthy of their fame during the holiday (they beat green food coloring in Budweiser, for sure), but it never hurts to explore by appreciating other Irish-oriented beverages this St.Patrick’s day.
Irish Wine, You Say?
Wines made in Ireland are difficult to find, which is partly due to a wine tax that leaves only half the money received for wine to be shared between numerous parties. This leaves a small amount of money going to the wine itself, making it near impossible to produce a quality wine worth drinking.
St.Patrick’s Day, however, is about celebrating the Irish heritage and culture, and the Irish have a deep history with wine across the globe. As Jon Bonne writes in his article on Irish wines, “These ties can be found almost anywhere wine grapes are grown, from northern France to South America. Respected California wineries like Chateau Montelena and Murphy-Goode claim ties to Mother Ireland, as do some of Bordeaux’s most renowned negociants and wineries. At least 14 chateaus there are named for Irishmen, including such long-established properties as Lynch-Bages, founded by Michel Lynch, a French-born descendant of the Lynches of Galway. Their wine ties date back to the 14th century.”
So, here you have a few wines to try this St.Patrick’s Day:
- From France, Ch. Leoville-Barton, a bold red blend perfect for a rich Irish dinner.
- From South Africa, a chardonnay by Hamilton Russell Vineyards.
How Do the Irish Drink Their Coffee?
With Whiskey, of course.
And according to David Lebovitz in his blog, Living the Sweet Life in Paris, the brand doesn’t matter one bit. You can be picky, of course. No qualms here with that; this is the recipe I’ll be following by Jim Slaughter. But if you want to be as close to the Irish version as possible, fill a glass (not a mug) half full with your Irish whiskey of choice, pour in some hot drip coffee, and seal the mixture beneath a thick layer of whipped cream. Repeat as many times as your morning requires.
Oh, But How the Irish Love Their Tea
If a strong dose of whiskey with a little coffee isn’t an option for your morning routine, find a nice Irish Breakfast Blend tea. It’s a combination of black teas, so the caffeine content is high enough to substitute your morning brew. Irish Breakfast tea is usually available at most stores, but if you’re having trouble, you can also mix Assam and Ceeylon. I highly recommend the looseleaf teas from Adagio Teas. Because of the strong flavor of the tea (and the many dairy farmers in Ireland), the Irish add up to 1/3rd cream or rich milk (don’t go 2%–full glory for this beverage), so it’s good to have some on hand. Not feeling it for the morning? Drink it all day long. The Irish do.
“It’s Not YOUR wadi; It’s Mi Wadi!”–How About an Irish Soft Drink??
One of the top ten beverages in Ireland is MiWadi, a cordial, or concentrated fruit syrup, that you add to carbonated water. You can order a bottle, which will serve you up to 20 glasses, here. The company’s website boasts MiWadi beverages can add to your “8 glasses of water a day” requirement, and they proudly serve some flavors with no sugar.
Poitin: The Irish Moonshine
Poitin (pronounced put-cheen) is so strong it made Time’s top 10 list of Ridiculously Strong Drinks. Poitin was usually homemade in a pot-still with potatoes and barley. Because of the high potency, it was made illegal in 1661 for consumption until the 1990’s. The new versions of poitin (or poteen), are all a gentler shadow of their ancestors, except for one award-winning brand: Knockeen Hills at 90% ABV.
That sums up my list of recommended St.Patty day drinks intended to expand and enrich your celebration. Have a great holiday. Please drink responsibly, and let me know how your Irish beverage exploration goes!