Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day


March 8, 2024

Words by: Marcia J. Hamm

Drinks inspired by the Emerald Isle

St. Patrick’s Day may have started as a religious holiday to honour Ireland’s primary patron saint, but today, March 17 is a day for many to wear green clothing, adorn themselves with shamrock-related accessories, drink green beer, and make a wish over a four-leaf clover. 

Ireland is not typically thought of for whisky production, but whisky from the Emerald Isle is unique, because unlike other whiskies of the world, much of Irish whiskey is triple-distilled and unpeated, and often incorporates a proportion of unmalted barley. This extra distillation translates into a smoother taste and finish in the mouth. Also, note the Irish spelling of whiskey—as opposed to whisky, as it’s spelled in Canada.

The Pearse Lyons Distillery, located in Dublin, is a family owned business set up in St. James’ Church. The building was restored and fitted with state-of-the-art pot stills that create world-class spirits. The Pearse 5-year-old single malt was the first whiskey to be produced by a new distillery in Ireland in more than 25 years. They now have a 12-year-old single malt, aged in barrels that were personally selected by the original owner, Dr. Pearse Lyons. With no colouring added, this smooth whiskey features a citrus character complemented by spiced pears. This is a solid whiskey found in select stores for around $105 (CAD) per bottle.

Like many distilleries producing whisky,  gin is often in the portfolio, too. Starting as a clear spirit and adding botanicals creates a gin, while adding the unaged, clear spirit to a wood barrel creates a whisky. 

Xin Gin is a creation of Michelle and Gareth McAlister, a husband and wife team who own Ahascragh Distillery in Galway County. Upon returning to Ireland after spending many years in Asia, they wanted to create a gin made of botanicals from both countries. The resulting product shows both Asian and Irish botanicals of persimmon, dill, cinnamon, and, of course, juniper. 

If cream liqueur is a favourite, it’s hard to go back to any other Irish cream after tasting Five Farms Irish Cream, the world’s first farm-to-table Irish cream liqueur made in County Cork. As the name suggests, five local family farms are the sources of dairy cattle that produce the cream base that is then combined with premium Irish whiskey to create this outstanding liqueur. 

And because green cocktails can be a popular indulgence on St. Patrick’s Day, we can’t forget to mention spirited concoctions like the Verdant Lady, a strong, yet refreshing cocktail shaken with gin, green Chartreuse, lime, and mint. To complement the spiciness of Chartreuse, we suggest using an herbaceous gin like the heather-infused product made by Grace O’Malley of Dundalk.


Verdant Lady
Yields 1

1 ½  oz Grace O’Malley Irish gin
¼  oz green Chartreuse
½  oz fresh lime juice
¼  oz simple syrup
4 large mint leaves

In a cocktail shaker filled halfway with ice, combine the gin, lime juice, simple syrup, chartreuse, and mint leaves. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds, then strain into a coupe or martini glass. Garnish with a mint sprig if desired.

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