Luck Of The Irish: The Best Whiskey Cocktails For St. Patrick’s Day

No St. Patrick’s day would be complete without adequate refreshment to wash down some of that good ol’ Irish cuisine. While some prefer a pint of Guinness or an appropriately kitschy green beer, we here at colorful plates are firmly in the whiskey camp. In its native Gaelic, whiskey is translated as “water of life,” hinting at its soul-restoring properties. Whiskey can be a lifesaver in your St. Patty’s day menu too, as it is adaptable to a number of creative cocktails. Do the emerald isle proud with these choice favorites.

Old Fashioned

The ultimate whiskey cocktail, old fashioneds are a beautiful balance of smoky, sweet, and citrusy flavors. Their few ingredients (whiskey, simple syrup and bitters) make them a godsend on a busy day like St. Patrick’s Day; it’s quite easy to knock them out consistently without sacrificing quality. To pump up your presentation game and limit waste, we’d recommend saving some peels for garnish if you have a fresh juice program in your bar. 

Whiskey Sour

The other ultimate whiskey cocktail, whiskey sours may be harder to prepare than old fashioneds, but they return the favor by offering a rich, eternally refreshing flavor profile. While no two bartenders share the perfect whiskey sour recipe, we believe that no sour is complete without egg white, lemon juice, and sparkling water. For a green-hued twist, try substituting the traditional lemon wedge garnish with a fresh lime wedge!

Irish Coffee

Together or otherwise, coffee and whiskey never go out of style. The beauty of Irish coffee lies in its expandability; there are hundreds of different ways to go beyond simply adding it to a cup of hot drip. For a modern, millennial-approved take, try adding whiskey to cold-brew and then topping with Irish cream. Though you may be tempted to use iced coffee, we’d recommend sticking with cold brew because its lower acidic content makes the drink much smoother.

Dublin Mule

A simple spin on a classic, the Dublin Mule trades the traditional vodka in a Moscow Mule for whiskey in order to create a smokier, fuller take on the classic cocktail. Although the copper mug isn’t required in this drink, we’d recommend keeping it and topping with mint and lime for some well-deserved style points. Top with ginger beer to taste and pair with corned beef and cabbage to give your customers a taste of innovation and tradition.

Whiskey and Apple

Stateside whiskey drinkers are no doubt familiar with the marriage of whiskey and apple, but we like to turn things up a notch by adding a few fingers of whiskey to fresh-pressed cider. Although there are many different varieties of apples you can use, we’d recommend the winesap variety as it has a particularly bold flavor when juiced and is often used to make alcoholic cider. Finish off with a dash of lemon lemon juice and shake for an easy-going treat.