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Dubliner Cocktail

We’ve got an inadvertent theme going this week — whiskey-based cocktails that are closely related to one another and yet very distinctly flavored.

We were back to Irish whiskey last night with this entry from Gary Regan’s The Joy of Mixology. Lovely drink, and a very close cousin (if not sibling) of my own St. Dominic’s Preview. The whiskey was once again Tullamore Dew, the bitters Regans’, and the vermouth Martini & Rossi.

The recipe specified a garnish of a green maraschino cherry, which visually is in keeping with the theme of this cocktail. Unfortunately green maraschino cherries are macerated in a mint syrup and taste absolutely vile, and fortunately we didn’t have any. A brandied one was substituted.


2 ounces Irish whiskey.
1/2 ounce sweet vermouth.
1/2 ounce Grand Marnier.
3 dashes orange bitters.

Stir with ice for no less than 30 seconds; strain into a cocktail glass.
Cherry garnish optional.

Up the Dubs! (Well, cocktail-wise, anyway. If I cared about such things I’d be a Galway man. Actually, on the rare opportunities I get to do so I love watching hurling; it’s really exciting.)

Hmm … do I need to invent a cocktail called “The Galwegian”?

Cocktail of the Day: The Marconi Wireless

This one, a very tasty Manhattan variation, came from The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book. For best results, use a high-quality, spicy sweet vermouth like Carpano’s Punt E Mes or Antica Formula, and Regans’ Orange Bitters No. 6.

The Marconi Wireless Cocktail

2 ounces applejack (or straight apple brandy, preferably).
1 ounce sweet vermouth.
2 dashes orange bitters.

Stir with ice for no less than 30 seconds.
Strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with a cherry.



Irish Coffee (and Irish Channel Coffee)

Earlier today, in our discussion of Irish drinks for St. Patrick’s Day and especially the Tipperary Cocktail, I mentioned that other than “Paddy & Red” (Paddy Irish Whiskey mixed with fizzy red lemonade into a highball of sorts), there really isn’t any one historically quintessentially Irish cocktail.

“What about Irish coffee?” you ask. A lovely drink it is, but I’d always thought of it as kicked-up coffee rather than an actual cocktail. That said, I do love Irish Coffee.

It didn’t exactly spring up from local pub culture; it was invented by head chef Joseph Sheridan at Foynes Airport in Co. Clare (precursor to the modern Shannon Airport). As the story goes, “passengers from America would come into the Foynes airport via seaplanes (flying boats), chilled due to weather conditions. Typically they would order hot cups of coffee or tea when the arrived to their terminals. Brendan O’Regan, the manager of the Foynes catering service, believed the passengers would like something stronger than just coffee or tea and so Joseph Sheridan created the Irish Coffee.” This would have been sometime in the 1940s, and Sheridan moved to Shannon when Foynes was closed in 1945, taking his recipe with him.

Irish Coffee made it to the United States in the 1950s when a travel writer for the San Francisco Chronicle brought the recipe from Shannon to Buena Vista Café in San Francisco, who subsequently made 30 million of them, and up to 2,000 of them every day. Some will claim that the Buena Vista invented the Irish Coffee; others will claim that Tom Bergin’s Pub in Los Angeles did the same. Correct them kindly but firmly.

I’m not sure if many people in Ireland other than tourists ever order this in a pub, but that aside it’s really good when made well, and is perfect for taking the chill of a wintry day. It’s easy to make, although having hand-whipped cream on hand isn’t generally a daily occurrence in my house (and don’t you dare use that stuff from the can).

Joseph Sheridan’s Original Irish Coffee

Heat a stemmed whiskey goblet.
Pour in one shot of Irish whiskey.
Add three sugar cubes.
Fill with strong black coffee to within one inch of the top. Stir gently.
Top off to the brim with heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks.
Drink the whiskey-laced coffee through the cream; do not stir.

The way I make it is this: The whiskey must be Jameson’s or Power’s. The sugar should be brown, and it should be cut down to one cube, maybe two; I generally use a rounded teaspoon of brown or turbinado (raw) sugar.

For a New Orleans version, the Irish Channel Coffee, use good, strong New Orleans dark roast coffee and chicory, preferably Community or Union; use French Market or CDM if that’s what’s around.

Cocktail(s) of the Day: Tipperary

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Duit! (Happy St. Patrick’s Day, and all that.) Ná cuir ceist orm … níl a fhois agam! (I do know, actually; I just like saying that.) Oh, and NO feckin’ green beer today, please. Black.

Okay, so it’s St. Patrick’s Day … there may be drinking involved. (No! I don’t believe it!)

If I were to offer a Cocktail of the Day today, it might be simply this:

Guinness Draught

One pint Guinness, poured properly. Sip through the head. Savor. Enjoy. Repeat.

There’s a caveat, though — make sure that the places you order Guinness from the tap actually do it well. A couple of weeks ago we went with some friends to The Knitting Factory in Hollywood to see The Sacred Cowboys, a country/Southern rock band whose lead singer is W. Earl Brown, whom you may know better as Dan Dority, Al Swearingen’s evil henchman on “Deadwood”. They were great, but I swear … the Guinness I was served there was without a doubt the most god-awful pint it has ever been my displeasure to have pass my lips. It tasted old, stale, heavily metallic and … well, Jaysis knows what other shite was in that line. It may have been the single most disagreeable pint of Guinness served to anyone since Arthur Guinness started his brewery in Dublin in 1759. Needless to say, do not ever order a Guinness at The Knitting Factory. (Andy said even the whiskey tasted “off”, so you’re probably better off with bottled beer.)

If there isn’t a decent pub in your neighborhood, apparently you can just order a pre-built pub and they’ll deliver it to you (which I find fascinating and bizarre).

Speaking of whiskey … it should be Irish this weekend, of course. We have a pretty decent collection at home, consisting of, if I recall correctly: John Powers Gold Label, John Powers 12 Year Old, Jameson, Jameson 12 Year Old, Tullamore Dew, Kilbeggan, Locke’s 8 Year Old Single Malt, Redbreast 12 Year Old, Paddy, Bushmills, Bushmills 10 Year Old Single Malt, Bushmills 21 Year Old, Midleton Very Rare 2003.

There will be sipping.

Then there’s the cocktail question. Well, sad to say, Ireland isn’t much of a cocktail-drinking country. I love the pints and the pure drop, but when were were last there I did miss the ould cocktail. (The Octagon Bar at the Clarence in Dublin filled the bill, although at an eye-popping €15.50 per drink for starters.)

There isn’t really a “typically Irish” cocktail, although you’ll see lots of things with Irish names, many green for the sake of being green, and that greenness coming from awful doses of green crème de menthe. (“What about Irish Coffee?” you ask. Follow the link for a bit on that.)

There’s one cocktail I’m quite fond of that’s becoming associated with this day, although I doubt that a single person in Ireland will drink one today (as opposed to the 150 pints of Guinness that are being pulled per second for each of the 24 hours of St. Paddy’s Day). It’s Irish whiskey-based and quite lovely, but calls for a bit of a tolerance for the intensely herbal liqueur Chartreuse (a tolerance very much worth acquiring). I believe the original recipe came from Hugo Ensslin in 1919, but this is the version appearing in the Savoy Cocktail Book:

The Tipperary Cocktail
(original version)

3/4 ounce Irish whiskey.
3/4 ounce green Chartreuse.
3/4 ounce sweet vermouth.

Stir with ice for no less than 30 seconds and strain into a cocktail glass.

In yesterday’s edition of The Cocktailian, Gary Regan’s fortnightly column in the San Francisco Chronicle, The Professor, our cocktailian bartender, offers a different version; same ingredients, different proportions — “More whiskey, less vermouth, less Chartreuse.” This is the way to go for me.

The Tipperary Cocktail
(The Professor’s modern variation)

2 ounces Irish whiskey.
1 ounce sweet vermouth.
1/4 ounce green Chartreuse.

Pour the Chartreuse into a chilled cocktail glass, and by tilting the glass and rotating it at the same time, coat the entire interior of the glass. Discard the excess Chartreuse. Fill a mixing glass two-thirds full of ice and add the whiskey and the vermouth. Stir for approximately 30 seconds and strain into the prepared cocktail glass.

Plus there’s the Dubliner, and its sibling, my own St. Dominic’s Preview. I think you’ll have plenty to drink to celebrate the day. If you do follow all of the above suggestions … well, try to space them out a bit.

P.S. — Here’s a version of the Tipperary from Larousse des Cocktails by Fernando Castellon in which he uses rye instead of Irish. It’s a good variation, but you’re not allowed to make it on St. Patrick’s Day. Use a nice, big, spicy rye and the best sweet vermouth you’ve got (Carpano Punt E Mes or Antica Formula).

Tipperary Cocktail No. 2

2 ounces rye whiskey.
1 ounce sweet vermouth.
1/2 ounce green Chartreuse.

Stir with ice; strain into a cocktail glass.


Version française, Larousse des Cocktails

4 cl de rye whiskey
2 cl de vermouth rosso
1 cl de liqueur Chartreuse verte
5 ou 6 glaçons

Mettez les glaçons et les ingrédients dans le verre à mélange.
Remuez à l’aide d’une cuillère à mélange pendant 8 à 10 secondes.
Filtrez au-dessus du verre martini à l’aide d’une passoire à glaçons.
Servez aussitôt.