Sunday, March 18, 2012

Exhibit #94: Clean-up on Isle 9

This is the third time St. Patrick’s has come around since we started the Museum, but we’ve yet to run a menu of “Irish” cocktails. With the exception of Irish Coffee and Hot Irish, the remainder are Irish only in terms of the whiskey employed or the names given. These were created by expat barman Harry Craddock in London (mostly) or his British colleagues, and beyond their few years in the sun in particular barrooms, most did not manage to gain traction in the general consciousness. The Irish themselves were quite pleased with whiskey alone – according to James Howell’s 1645 account, “it went down…by the beer glassful.” Of course, the Irish (and Scottish) had already been drinking it in some form for nearly half a millennium at that point.

Christ Cocktail $10
Booze communion. Gin, red vermouth, two dashes of orange bitters, and two orange twists, up. Beyond the extra dash and twist, it’s the Martini’s daddy, the Martinez…a fine drink, but especially so when poured with Old Raj and Carpano Antica, as we are doing.

Emerald Cocktail $7
Dry gin, blue curacao, lemon juice, up. Has the classic tart/sweet balance of a Sidecar-descended drink, and the right color.

Esmereld Cocktail $9
Now it’s time for the whiskey. Equal parts Bushmills and Carpano, with a dash of orange bitters, up. Like the Christ, this is a common drink with a fresh coat of Irish paint - in this case, we’ve got an old school Manhattan. No doubt this cocktail goes under other names as well, we just happened to come across this one first.

Hot Irish $9
Also known as an Irish Whiskey Skin: a generous pour of Redbreast 12yr, lemon peel, sugar, hot water. Honest and whiskey-licious.

Irish Coffee $7
So what, you say? Here’s the deal: as common as this drink is, it is very rarely made with brown sugar, or freshly whipped, unsweetened cream. When prepared thus, one can apprehend how the drink gained such instant success. It was created in 1943 by Irish chef Joe Sheridan on the occasion of a group of travelers stranded by inclement weather at the old airfield in Foynes, Limerick, on the southern edge of the Shannon estuary. We’ll pour it with Powers, as is most common in Ireland, along with the foregoing ingredients and fresh Kaldi’s coffee.

Shamrock Cocktail $7
Equal parts Kilbeggan and Dolin dry vermouth, dashed with green Chartreuse and crème de menthe, up. Kilbeggan is Ireland’s newest distillery and makes a fine whiskey that is considerably more elegant than its reasonable price, and as such makes a good foil for the herbal qualities of dry vermouth.

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