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Top tips for celebrating St Patrick’s Day

Say “no” to green beer, “boo” to Bourbon and Scotch, and approach cocktails with caution – these are just some of our top tips for celebrating St Patrick’s day properly.

St Patrick’s day is a unique celebration to say the least. It inspires nations of all heritage and history to come together in celebrating Ireland’s semi-mythical saint, who wasn’t even born in Ireland, and his dubious snake-related exploits several hundred years ago. And it celebrates the colour green, despite the official colour of Ireland having been blue, both during British rule and long before.

Despite this confusion, people can’t help but love to party with Paddy. It is of course true that New York pays witness to the largest St Patrick’s day party in the world, bigger probably than all the parades and parties in Ireland combined. It is also (probably) true that there are Irish pubs in countries where not even an Irish embassy exists, with all of them spreading cheer every year on March 17.

But how best to celebrate this explosion of muddled but infectious cheer? The answer is simple: drink like the Irish do. That’s not to say in grossly excessive quantities (you can of course do so if you want, but we couldn’t possibly comment). Rather, it’s about drinking authentically.

So, in that vein, here db lists its top (tongue-in-cheek) tips for celebrating St Patricks Day in style.

Click through for more…

Green beer is mean beer (in a bad way)

It’s a fairly recent occurrence, this green beer fad, so lets hope it is still small enough to stamp out for good.

If you want to drink like the Irish on St Patrick’s day, then there are few things Irish people hate more than naff things, and green beers are certainly naff.

It would be funny to look at, and will provide a conversation piece for about 10 seconds, but then after the novelty has worn off you are left with a pint of green fluid that you have to drink, while everyone else looks awkward about being seen near you. Hardly a cause for celebration.

What beer to drink instead?

Fear not – Guinness is perfectly acceptable to accompany your St Pats bonanza. However, Smithwick’s Irish ale, which some argue may be held in higher regard in Ireland than even Guinness, would help you stand out from the rest, clouding yourself in an aura of smug authenticity.

Not into stout or ale? Then opt for Harp lager. The Irish, especially the Northern Irish, swear by it as much for its decent taste as for its branding and classic TV adverts (see below).

A word of warning: You can’t ask for a pint of Harp in Belfast without a fellow patron shouting “and a packet of dates”…

 Whiskey in the jar

That’s whiskey with an “e”, fellow revellers, and not an American “e” either! That means it has to be Irish grain – yum!

Particular favourites for St Patricks day would be Jameson, which often goes through a tasteful label makeover every year to celebrate the day (pictured); and Bushmills, which enjoys the title of being the world’s oldest distillery still in operation (it dates back to the a licence to distill in the area being granted to Sir Thomas Phillipps in 1608 by King James I).

What you choose to mix it with, if anything, is up to you. A dash of tepid water, or lemonade for those with a sweeter tooth, are encouraged. Or lime cordial, to bring green back into the equation in a way infinitely more permissible than beer.

Wine time

A slightly looser definition of wine is required to really get into St Patrick’s day spirit – because it can only be Buckfast tonic wine (and only in the hip-flask shaped bottles).

With its cenobitic links to religion making it perfect for the saintly day, and it’s long-standing association with party-goers across the island of Ireland, it’s at least a must-try on March 17.

Legend has it that bottles featuring the number 21 on the label taste superior to the other variants of supercharged monk juice. What these numbers refer to is anyone’s guess, but it is a myth befitting the celebration of an alleged snake-chaser.

Once a sip or five of those is had (we really don’t recommend too much), take it easy with something green, in the ecological sense! That means some natural wine. We can’t think of any natural wines with links with saintly-ness, but recommendations are welcome!

Irish coffee at the right time of day

Irish coffees have long been a staple of the stodgy-meal digestif. But a commitment to drinking like the Irish will require you to forget about saving it for after your stew, and bring it forward – way forward – to the start of the day.

Noting that it’s coffee, and that the whiskey really acts as little more than a warming sweetener, we recommend kicking off your St Patricks day the right way with an Irish coffee. 

Cocktail catastrophes

This delightfully congealing stomach-churner is tastefully known as the Irish car bomb – A shot of Bailey’s mixed with Guinness

And now, a word of warning. Holiday themed cocktails are usually a very touch-and-go area, as they often involve the forcing together of various ingredients associated with said celebration and assuming that they will therefore taste nice. This is dangerous territory.

What ingredients can we associate with St Patricks day? Well, there’s Guinness, there’s whiskey, there’s Baileys – it doesn’t look good.

That isn’t to say that inventive bartenders will work through these apparent problems and configure something worthy of a saint – but our advice is to approach with caution.

Besides, cocktails aren’t terribly Irish anyway (barring the ‘cocktail’ pictured), are they?


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