Libation alternatives for St. Patrick’s Day cocktails.

On a holiday where everyone gets to be Irish for a day—regardless of homeland or heritage—why not celebrate the green with something other than green beer? WE offers up an Irish whiskey with the volume turned way up, a clear spirit that hails from the verdant island and an alternative to that creamy smooth liqueur, all with cocktails to match:

Redbreast 12 year old Irish whiskey
Though Jameson gets a lot of the attention at Dublin’s Midleton Distillery, pot still-produced Redbreast 12 year old Irish whiskey is a hidden gem, according to Brand Manager Simon Fay. He points out that pot still Irish whiskey is akin to single malt Scotch—complex, multi-dimensional and designed for the whiskey aficionado seeking something to surprise the palate. Unlike that found in many Scotches, the malted barley in Irish whiskey sees no smoke. That, coupled with its triple distillation, renders a smooth spirit. Redbreast used to be called the “priests’ whiskey,” as every man of the cloth seemed to have a bottle on hand. But you don’t have to treat the bottle so reverently. It works neat, on the rocks and in cocktails like the Manhattan-esque Esmerald:

Courtesy of Pernod Ricard
1½ ounces Redbreast 12 year old Irish Whiskey
½ ounce sweet Vermouth
1 dash of Gary Regan’s Orange Bitters

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with cracked ice. Stir well and strain into a chilled coupe glass.

Boru Vodka
Proving that the Irish don’t just distill the brown stuff, Boru Vodka is made with a variety of grains, quadruple distilled and charcoal filtered for a clean, smooth finish. It’s named for the legendary King Brian Boru, which makes it definitely worthy of raising a glass. The company produces four versions: Original, Orange, Crazzberry and Citrus. Substitute Boru in your usual vodka libation—on March 17 and beyond. It’s fitting in the Irish Martini, where a small amount of Irish whiskey provides just enough of a caramely smooth kick:

Irish Martini
2 ounces Boru Vodka
½ ounce dry Vermouth
½ ounce Jameson Irish Whiskey
Lemon twist, for garnish

Pour the Irish whiskey into a chilled cocktail glass. Swirl around to coat the glass and then pour out the excess. Add vodka and Vermouth to cocktail shaker filled with cracked ice. Stir until chilled. Strain into the prepared cocktail glass and garnish with the lemon twist.

Coole Swan
“Irish Cream” is synonymous with the Emerald Isle. But ubiquitous Bailey’s (delicious as it may be) is not the only game in town. Coole Swan is an ultrapremium cream liqueur made with chocolate, Madagascar vanilla, Irish cream and Irish whiskey. The spirit won World’s Best Liqueur and a Double Gold medal at the 2009 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. While it’s perfectly quaffable neat, on the rocks, in coffee or over vanilla (or chocolate) ice cream, it’s also great in dessert-style cocktails. The Coole Cabana is a rich, tropical and creamy twist on the traditional Brazilian Batida. Sure, St. Patrick’s Day falls in March, but this libation will have you dreaming of days lounging by the pool and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Coole Cabana
1¾ ounces Coole Swan
1 ounce Cachaça
1 ounce passion fruit purée
Fresh passion fruit, for garnish

In a blender, combine first three ingredients with a generous scoop of ice. Blend well until the mixture is light and smooth. Pour into a tall glass and garnish with fresh passion fruit.

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