With St. Patrick's day is almost upon us, it's time to wear everything green in your closet, and drink and kiss everything Irish. I had the good fortune to visit Dublin last summer. We were only in the airport for a few hours, but it was long enough to have a few pints of Guinness, while waiting for our connecting flight to Liverpool. While traveling around the north west of England, we happened to drive by a Guinness Brewery in Warrington. According to our friend, who is a local, that location was selected because it's water softness and quality is similar to the water at the Dublin brewery. Which reminds me to mention that the Guinness in England and Ireland tastes subtly different than the Guinness we have in the States. At first I thought the recipe may be slightly different, but now I think it has more to do with the water used to brew it, rather than the ingredients that go into it.
No St. Patrick's day is complete without Irish whiskey and Irish cream. Jameson' is the classic Irish whiskey. Though I don't often do shots of or sip whiskey, Jameson's is one of the few whiskies I actually enjoy drinking. It's smooth and silky with a touch of woody smokiness.
When it comes to Irish Cream, most people are only familiar with the Bailey's brand. Working in liquor retail, I hear "Where is the Bailey's?", like it's the only Irish cream that exists. I'm here to tell you people; Bailey's is not the end all, be all of Irish cream. Most people think Bailey's is made of Irish whiskey, and heavy cream, sugar, and flavorings, such as chocolate and vanilla. That is what it's supposed to be made from. Many people don't realize that Bailey's has been made with neutral grain sprit (essentially vodka) for more than 10 years. I used to drink St. Brenden's because it is made with real, oak barrel aged Irish whiskey, and it's cheaper than Bailey's. Recently, I was introduced to Kavanagh Irish cream. It's also made with real aged Irish whiskey, but has a richer body style than St. Brenden's, and more chocolaty than Bailey's. It's also reasonably priced at around $12 for a 750 ml, or $20 for the 1.75 ml. I keep a 1.75 in my fridge at all times. It's nice over ice, or in a cup of coffee any time of the year.
Of course, all of these ingredients when combined in a depth charge, creates an Irish car bomb. To make one yourself, pour a can of Guinness into a pint glass, fill a shot glass halfway with Irish cream, then float Jameson's on top, by pouring it slowly over the back of a spoon. Drop the shot glass into pint glass, then drink it down all in one go.
May the luck of the Irish be with you this St. Patrick's day, and enjoy all of the beer and spirits of the emerald isles. Slante!