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The Classic Irish Whiskey Cocktails You Need to "Sláinte!" in Style this St. Patrick's Day

Most people's idea of a Saint Patrick's Day cocktail is a shot of Irish whiskey washed down with a pint of Guinness, but it doesn't have to be that way. If you're tired of green beer and shoddily made Irish Car Bombs, we've got four classic cocktails from master mixologist Kara Newman that are sure to change your celebrations for the better this Friday.

Irish Coffee

Perhaps the most popular Irish whiskey cocktail, the Irish Coffee was invented in Ireland but made famous in the U.S. According to Tim Herlihy, the U.S. ambassador for Tullamore Dew: Irish whiskey at the time was on its knees, close to extinction. What kept the pulse of whiskey going in the '50s was the Irish Coffee.That's what kept the lights on in the few remaining distilleries."


-Hot Coffee

-2 Sugar Cubes

-1 1/2 Ounces of Irish Whiskey

-Heavy Cream, Whipped


Fill a footed glass with hot water to warm the glass, then discard the water.Fill glass with hot coffee until about 3/4 full. Add sugar cubes, and stir until dissolved. Add Irish whiskey. Hold a spoon, rounded side up,over the drink and gently pour whipped cream over the back of the spoon so it floats on top to form a "collar."

Cameron's Kick

The origin of this perfect blend of Irish whiskey and Scotch dates all the way back to 1922, where it first appeared in Harry MacElhone's Harry's ABC of Making Cocktails. Although the identity of the "Cameron" alluded to in the cocktail's name remains ambiguous, the deliciousness of his cocktail is anything but.


-1 Ounce of Irish Whiskey

-1 Ounce of Blended Scotch Whisky

-1/2 Ounce of Lemon Juice

-1/2 Ounce of orgeat (Almond Syrup)

-Orange Twist to Garnish


Combine all ingredients (except garnish) in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake to chill, and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with orange twist. 

The Pickleback

Even though the clever bastard that first had the idea to take a sip of pickle juice after a shot of whiskey probably seemed a little looney to his drinking buddies, the combo is now legendary thanks to its popularization by the Bushwick Country Club in Brooklyn, New York. It started as a bartender's secret handshake, but it has become a favorite for adventurous drinkers. 


-1 Shot of Jameson

-1 Shot Pickle Brine


Shoot up the whiskey, then immediately down the pickle brine.


First appearing in Hugo R. Ensslin's 1917 book Recipies for Mixed Drinks, the story behind this elegant classic is that a guest walked in and asked for a drink while humming the song "It's a Long Road to Tipperary:" an anthem for Irish soldiers in the British army during WWI. If you're curious, it sounds like this:


-1 1/2 Ounces of Michael Collins Single Malt Irish Whiskey

-1 Ounce Sweet Vermouth

-1/2 Ounce of Chartreuse

-1/2 Ounce Chilled Water

-2 Dashes Irish Bitters

-1/2 Teaspoon Cane Sugar Syrup

-Orange Twist for Garnish


In a mixing glass, stir together all ingredients except garnish with ice. Strain into martini glass. Garnish with orange twist.

Whichever of these classic cocktails you choose to mix up this Saint Patrick's Day (hell, we'll probably be making all four,) make sure to raise your glass with a hearty "Sláinte!" 

Adapted from WineEnthusiast