Whether you’re Irish or not, a drink from the Emerald Isle on St. Patrick’s Day is key to a successful day of celebration. While green-dyed beer works in a pinch and a perfectly poured Guinness is delicious, nothing beats good ole Irish Whiskey. The word ‘whiskey’ actually comes from the Gaelic uisce beatha, meaning “water of life.” Irish whiskey is one of the earliest distilled drinks in Europe, arising around the 12th century, and was once the most popular spirit in the world.
You don’t have to travel far to enjoy a shot or two; the core has plenty of watering holes where whiskey is a staple. It won’t take the luck of the Irish this St. Paddy’s Day to find amazing cocktails in the core. Irish whiskey is an easy-drinking spirit.
We stopped by three of the most popular craft cocktail spots on the First Coast to taste their signature Irish whiskey cocktail. Cheers!
The Emerald Breakfast at MOJO No. 4 Urban BBQ Whiskey Bar
The first stop is a place where the only thing more famous than their collection of whiskey is their barbecue, Mojo No. 4 in Avondale. Casual dining at its best, Mojo has over 200 whiskeys in their collection.
“Many of the whiskeys people love owe a lot to Irish Whiskey, which is the root of most modern whiskey distilling,” explains John Preston Moore, Mojo operations partner. “Irish whiskeys have a beautiful grassy and sometimes buttery flavor to them, and are generally soft on the palate.”
Moore’s cocktail is the Emerald Breakfast. Whiskey of choice is Tullamore DEW, a legendary triple distilled, triple blend Irish Whiskey whose history dates back to 1829. This cocktail contains two different Tullamore blends, Cointreau triple sec, lemon juice, and orange marmalade. This is a citrus-forward cocktail that pairs perfectly with brunch. The Cointreau, an orange liqueur, adds the necessary sweetness to balance out the lemon juice and pairs well with the notes of vanilla and fresh fruits from the whiskey. The marmalade gives the drink a richer mouthful and helps the fresh citrus pop.
How to make it:
1-1/2 oz. Tullamore DEW
1/2 oz. Tullamore DEW 12 YR Special Reserve
3/4 oz. Cointreau
1 oz. lemon juice
1 tbsp. orange marmalade
Irish Summer Mule at The Blind Rabbit in Riverside
The Blind Rabbit on King Street is where the marriage of burgers and whiskey makes for the happiest meals of all. The vibe of the restaurant is top notch due to its clean, hip, and comfortably sophisticated atmosphere. There are seven handcrafted burgers on the menu, and the whiskey menu is quite extensive. Blind Rabbit’s Irish cocktail has a fruit twist to it and is appropriately called the Irish Summer Mule. They use one of the most popular brands of Irish Whiskey, Jameson. The Jameson Black Barrel is a blend of rich pot still and grain whiskey that is matured in a mixture of sherry casks and bourbon barrels. Along with the whiskey, they add peach puree, lime juice, turbinado sugar, and top it off with ginger beer. The cocktail is tart and bright, making it the perfect spring cocktail. It makes you want to be outside basking in the sun. Very refreshing and you want more with every sip.
How to make it:
2 oz. Jameson Black Barrel
1 oz. peach purée
3/4 oz. lime juice
3/4 oz. turbinado sugar
Topped with Barritt’s Ginger Beer
Fumblin Dublin at Grape & Grain Exchange
The last stop is in the heart of San Marco in the San Marco Square at Grape & Grain Exchange. Along with pouring craft cocktails, Grape & Grain is also a retail shop where whiskey is a specialty. The bar at Grape & Grain has a great local vibe. It is small and intimate, so it’s an awesome place to meet people who live in the neighborhood.
For St. Patrick’s Day, co-owner Jackson Somphonphaky created a cocktail to really capture the spirit of Ireland. “I pictured the countryside of Ireland,” he says. “I wanted the drink to represent the history of the country, the flag, and the feeling of being there, summertime on the coast.” The Fumblin Dublin ingredients are Teeling Irish Whiskey, known as “the spirit of Dublin,” The Peat Monster, which is a blended malt scotch, an almond syrup called orgeat, and fresh lemon juice. This blend is garnished with orange and mint. Looking at the cocktail, you can see Ireland’s green, white and orange national palette. This is a full-flavor cocktail. It’s smoky, thanks to the scotch, with a hint of floral fruit. It’s lite and easy to drink, and by the third sip the flavor really opens up. It is one of those cocktails that unfolds as you drink it, so as you finish you feel like you are just getting started. Which only means you need to order another round.
How to make it:
1-1/2 oz. Teeling Irish Whiskey
1/4 oz. The Peat Monster
1/2 oz. orgeat
1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice