Let us take a moment and bow our heads in reverence for the holiest of holidays, which we honor every March. Not Easter, ye mongo sap! St. Patrick’s Day!
This year, I want all of you to celebrate properly. It’s as heartbreaking to see men and women chugging pints of green beer every March 17 in honor of the Irish blood coursing through their veins (all of your veins; my people are as amorous as they’re witty) as it is to see them pounding Coronas on Cinco de Mayo like Pancho Villa himself delivered them to the table.
The Irish don’t drink that crap. Walk into a real Irish pub and ask for a green pint, and you should right well expect a reply of “Feck off, ye gobshite!” followed by a volley of bottles and fists.
You want to really drink like the Irish on St. Pat’s? As luck would have it, I have some advice for you.
I’ll admit, I am not innocent of this crime. When I was in college, I bartended at a Bennigan’s (a now-defunct Irish Applebee’s, for all you kids out there), and every St. Patrick’s Day, I slung pints of overpriced green Bud Light to all the amateurs outdrinking their livers with the misguided determination of a fat guy running a marathon on January 1. I am not proud of this.
But there’s still time to set you straight. You want to really drink like the Irish on St. Pat’s? As luck would have it, I have some advice for you.
FYI: The drunk’s food of choice in Ireland is Supermac’s, a chain restaurant whose Snack Box is not unlike a Cane’s three-finger combo. Supermac’s recently started selling Papa John’s pizza, so either of those can count as authentic Irish fare.
PISCES (Feb. 20-Mar. 20): Guinness — One stereotype that holds true. The stuff we get here doesn’t hold a candle to the black in Dublin, but it’s better than nothing. If the bartender has the audacity to give it to you in a single pull of the tap, toss it in his face and have him start over.
ARIES (Mar. 21-Apr. 20): Irish Whiskey — Bourbon is fantastic stuff, and we are lucky to have access to the finest here in the States, but Irish whiskey is distilled perfection. Scotch drinkers will start whining immediately when you say this, because they’re used to overpaying for moss-soaked swill in an attempt to seem classy. Screw ’em. Bushmills is my go-to. It’s older, lighter, and smoother, both on the way down and back up again, but Jameson is fine in a pinch. And never mind the whole Protestant versus Catholic argument; that’s an entirely American fabrication.
TAURUS (Apr. 21-May 21): Tea — Now, if you want to start an argument about beverages in Ireland, ask which tea is better: Barry’s or Lyons? When it comes to tea consumption, the Irish will go toe-to-toe with the Chinese, Japanese, and every Southerner who dares to put it on ice. Irish tea is black with milk and sugar, hot, and plentiful.
Just like in Jonestown, when properly mixed, it’ll leave an entire party lying on the ground.
GEMINI (May 22-June 21): Poitin — Take leftover potatoes and distill them into Satan’s lactic secretions, and you get the heart-stopper that is Irish moonshine. It’s been illegal since 1661, but you can get an export-only version called Potcheen. Don’t drink this. It’s worse than the headache you’ll get the next morning. You’d do better picking up any of the white dog whiskeys currently sold as “moonshine” in grocery stores.
CANCER (June 22-July 22): Cidona — This apple-based soda is sold in a distinctive green bottle and doesn’t really compare to the carbonated, alcohol-free ciders that youth groups pass out at church New Year’s festivities. Like anything non-alcoholic, you should feel free to dump whiskey in it.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 21): Club Orange — Club Orange was the first soda to hit Irish markets. Later, Club Lemon was added to the lineup. Mixing the two creates a Club Rock Shandy. This is an excellent chaser for just about anything.
VIRGO (Aug. 22-Sept. 23): TK Lemonade — Taylor Keith’s Red Lemonade is the Irish version of Kool-Aid. Well, that’s not really fair. It’s more like the much cheaper Flavor Aid, and just like in Jonestown, when properly mixed, it’ll leave an entire party lying on the ground.
LIBRA (Sept. 24-Oct. 23): Bulmers Cider — Hard ciders get a rough rap here in the States as a “girly drink” despite regularly carrying a higher ABV than the Ultra Light gym bros order by the bucket without a hint of the shame they should be showing. Now, they do drink it over ice in Ireland, which I don’t subscribe to given the plethora of really decent ciders available on tap here in the States.
Ireland taxes the products as high as hard liquor in an attempt to stem the tide of underage drinking. It works just as well there as it does here.
SCORPIO (Oct. 24-Nov. 22): Alcopop — This is a term for any sugary carbonated beverage with an alcohol content (think Smirnoff Ice, Four Loko, or Mike’s Hard anything). The sweetness combined with high ABV compared with beer makes it a favorite of kids everywhere, which is why Ireland taxes the products as high as hard liquor in an attempt to stem the tide of underage drinking. It works just as well there as it does here.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 23-Dec. 22): MiWadi — MiWadi is a dilutable fruit cordial. If you’ve ever had a Pimm’s Cup, then you’re already familiar with the idea. Less familiar is the concept of ordering a pint of the stuff straight as a hangover cure.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): Irish Coffee — Actually invented in Ireland, the classic mix of coffee, Irish whiskey, and cream is great for any event where one might find himself standing in the chilly morning air for an extended amount of time — a parade, for instance.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 21-Feb. 19): Bailey’s Irish Cream — This stuff is more Irish than you’d expect, since it’s a combination of Irish whiskey and cream from Irish dairies. Delicious stuff, but the low proof should relegate it to cooking or pouring over your cereal. Dropping it in a pint of Guinness just ruins both of them.