St. Patrick’s Day may be a bank holiday in its home country, but it is a completely different celebration in the United States. You’ll find costume-laden adults drinking what they think are truly Irish concoctions. If you’re not interested in the goofy side of the holiday but still want to participate, it may be hard to find the perfect balance between having some holiday fun and dressing like a leprechaun while drinking green beer.
Luckily, you don’t need dyed beer and shots that resemble the Irish flag to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. So drop the Irish Car Bombs, and elevate your holiday celebrations with these Emerald Isle alternatives.
Beer That Won’t Turn Your Tongue Green
The gold standard in Irish beer is none other than Guinness. This frothy, iconic stout will flow in countless bars throughout the country.
But if you’re a Michigan craft beer purist, you may want to try out a few local takes on the Irish stout recipe. Short’s Brewing Company’s Uncle Steve’s Stout and Arbor Brewing Company’s Michael Faricy’s Stout are both Michigan-made stouts that tip their hats to their Irish origins. A few other Michigan stouts to try out (just for fun) include Bell’s Brewery’s Kalamazoo Stout, Dark Horse Brewery’s Plead the 5th, Greenbush Brewing Company’s Apathy Stout, and B.O.B.’s Brewery’s Spaceboy Stout and Infinite Density Imperial Stout.
If you want something more authentic, try out these Irish beers (if you can find them!): Harp Lager, Smithwick’s Irish red ale, Kilkenny Irish ale, and Murphy’s Irish stout or Irish red ale.
Whiskey That’s True to Its Roots
You’re probably already aware of the two most popular Irish whiskeys in the United States: Tullamore Dew and Jameson. These are great options for St. Paddy’s Day and every other day of the year, but there are plenty of Irish whiskey alternatives that you probably haven’t tried yet.
A few whiskeys, all made in Ireland, that you should try out:
- Paddy Irish Whiskey
- Connemara Peated Single Malt
- Redbreast Irish whiskeys
- 2 Gingers Irish Whiskey
- Midleton Very Rare
- Bushmills Irish Whiskey
Recipe: Irish Rose (from Real Simple)
- 2 ounces Irish whiskey
- 1 ounce lime juice
- ½ ounce grenadine maraschino cherry, for garnish
- lime slice, for garnish
- Combine the Irish whiskey, lime juice, and grenadine in an ice-filled cocktail shaker.
- Shake vigorously until very cold, about 30 seconds.
- Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a maraschino cherry and a lime slice.
Other Irish Classics
Beer and whiskey may be the go-to drinks for this holiday, but there are a number of different drink options that still hold true to Irish tradition.
Among Guinness and Jameson, you’re likely to find plenty of Irish cream on this holiday’s featured drinks menu. Luckily, it does more than just spike your afternoon coffee. Try reaching for an Irish cream by Baileys, Kerrygold, or Kavanagh for your next creamy cocktail.
You may be surprised to hear that hard ciders are a popular alternative to beer and liquor on the Emerald Isle. Magners, also known as Bulmers, is the most common brand in the country, but not as easy to find in the States. Fortunately, Michigan is home to some of the greatest apple producers in the country, which has led to the growth of local craft cider. In true Irish spirit, visit The People’s Cider Co. for ciders with a whiskey kick. You can also find great cider in your grocery stores by local brands such as Vander Mill, Painted Turtle Hard Cider, Farmhaus Cider, and Sietsema Orchards.
For those who need a break from the alcohol altogether, try tea! Tea is the warm drink of choice in Ireland, enjoyed morning, noon, and night. Try an Irish breakfast tea by the beloved household brands Barry’s Tea or Lyons Tea.
Recipe: A Real Irish Coffee (from New York Times Cooking)
- 1 cup Demerara sugar
- Heavy cream, to taste
- 1 ½ ounces Irish whiskey
- 4 ounces hot, freshly-made coffee
- Dash of ground nutmeg
- Warm an Irish coffee glass or mug by filling with hot water, then draining.
- Make Demerara syrup: Put the sugar and 1/2 cup water into a small saucepan; place over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Let cool.
- Whip the heavy cream in a cold mixing bowl until it acquires a ropy consistency. Quickly place in refrigerator until needed.
- Build the drink in the warmed glass: put in 1/2 ounce of syrup (store the rest in refrigerator for future drinks), then the whiskey, then the coffee. Gently spoon cream onto the top until cream is at least 3/4 inch thick; if whipped properly, it should float. Dust with nutmeg.
Don’t miss out on the festivities in Downtown Grand Rapids! You can find plenty of these drinks and more at The B.O.B. this St. Patrick’s Day.