The Westie

This Monday, hordes of people will stampede into bars and clubs all across the world. They'll gather in a gangs of green demanding colored beer and sporting a very sexy, original 'Kiss Me, I'm Irish' t­shirt. As they guzzle down their Irish car bombs they'll blabber, “Yeah, my uncle totally grew up in Dublin, that's why I have some red in my beard, 'cause I'm Irish.” They'll leave a wake of destruction and empty Guinness bottles in their wobbling tour-­de-­drunk. The next morning they'll explore the darkest caves of their memories, hunting for the answer to their green­painted genitals.

Brace yourself, it's St. Patrick's Day.

As you can probably tell, I've become a snobby asshole about St. Patrick's Day. Don't get me wrong, I've definitely had my fair share of Irish whiskey­induced debauchery in years past. I, too, have had to scrub green paint off of places I wasn't proud of the morning after ­­it comes off easier than you'd expect. This year, however, I'm okay missing out on corned beef and poorly placed shamrocks on half exposed breasts, which, as a combo, is a reason enough to stay home.

Regardless of my pompous, bitter bartender rant, I'm rather excited to be slinging cocktails at Bar X on this night of celebration. My function is not to serve you green beer, but to pay true homage to a finer selection of Ireland's libations. Here are my choices ­­ a few Irish cocktails and Irish Whiskey to ask for at the bar or enjoy at home. If you do decide to venture out on the drunken Halloween of March, come visit me. I promise I won't pinch you for not being festive enough.

The Ugly Drunk prefers to spend his St. Patrick's Day with:

1. The Emerald (Classic):
If you've ever gone to a bar and asked to have Jameson in your Manhattan, you've already had this one. If the bartender was a keen one, they'd have replaced the Angostura bitters with orange bitters to stay true to the Emerald. Most Irish whiskey tends to play on the sweeter side of things and can be pushed to the back of the line by the vermouth, which is why I enjoy an Irish whiskey that has seen a few more winters aged in wooden casks. A warning to the wise if you order this drink in cheap clubs ­­a quick Google search for the Emerald cocktail results in a long list of ridiculous drinks being made with overly sweet green liqueurs and replacing Irish whiskey with Vodka or Gin. I guess originality isn't a worry when you're crafting green drinks.

  • 2 oz Irish Whiskey (like I said, throw one with some age in there)
  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth (1 oz is traditional, but I bring mine down to .75 oz to highlight the whiskey)
  • 1 Dash Orange Bitters (Angostura Orange has a nice spice to it where as Fee's or Reagan's is sweeter) Stir until proper dilution Coupe, Up, Garnish is optional

2. The Westie (A contemporary cocktail made by Fredo Ceraso LINK):
The Westie is an award winning cocktail created by a friend of mine, Fredo Ceraso. He's quite possibly one of the most intriguing (in a good way Fredo, don't worry) people I've met in a while ­­and I meet a lot of people working behind a bar. I'm hoping to interview him next time he's back in town so he can share his views on cocktails and booze, but for now we'll have to settle for one of his cocktail's. At first I was going to tell you the story and inspiration for this cocktail, but after reading his article several times, I've decided his writing far surpasses mine and deserves to be read in his words (see the attached link at the bottom of this article). That being said, here's his fantastic cocktail that deserves no further introduction, The Westie.

  • .75  oz Redbreast 12 Year Old Pot Still Irish Whiskey
  • .75 oz Drambuie
  • .75 oz Galliano
  • .75 Fresh lemon juice

Fredo's recipe calls for Dutch's Colonial Cocktail Bitters but Angostura will also do the trick nicely. Shake over ice 15 to 20 seconds and double strain coupe, up, cherry garnish (Fredo likes Bada Bing cherries ­­always listen to this man).

3. Knappogue Castle Sherry­Cask Finished 16 Year Old Irish Single Malt Whiskey:
If you learn anything from this Irish whiskey, it's because almost everything you need to know about it is on the label. If I was the marketing genius behind this bottle, I would throw a 'Will Blow your Fucking Mind' sticker on the label as well, but alas, I'm only an amateur writer which leaves me limited to merely gushing. When this bottle crept up onto my shelf at Bar X, my eye was immediately attracted to it. I had just had an intense lesson on sherry and had yet to find an Irish whiskey I truly enjoyed, so my hopes were already high. Knappogue Castle did not disappoint in the slightest. Fifteen years in a bourbon barrel and then another nine years in a Olorosso sherry cask added a nutty malt character and leads to a smooth, light bodied whiskey that is well worth the price . To my knowledge, Bar X might be the lone holder of Knappogue Castle in the Salt Lake valley, so if you want to enjoy this one you'll have to come in and try it out. Hurry though­­ just writing about it is giving me the shakes.

That sums up my choices for this St. Patrick's Day. Have a happy one and be safe out there. I know those Irishmen like to fight, argue, and drink at times, but if you choose to follow that poor stereotype in my bar, I'll call a cab before you decide to leave.

Stay Ugly! 

Jacob Hall