Tales from the Bonny Blue House

Thursday, March 16, 2006

An Ode to Whiskey

If anyone tries to serve you green beer tomorrow, politely decline. Or maybe not so politely. I never understood the appeal of that particular concoction. A Black and Tan, some Guinness, even a long tall Killian's is acceptable but the true drink of the day is that liquid amber, that ambrosia of Eire....Whiskey. The custom of imbibing alcohol on St. Patrick's Day comes from an old Irish legend. As the story goes, St. Patrick was served a measure of whiskey that was considerably less than full. St. Patrick took this as an opportunity to teach a lesson of generosity to the innkeeper. He told the innkeeper that in his cellar resided a monstrous devil who fed on the dishonesty of the innkeeper. In order to banish the devil, the man must change his ways. When St. Patrick returned to the hostelry some time later, he found the owner generously filling the patrons' glasses to overflowing. He returned to the cellar with the innkeeper and found the devil emaciated from the landlord's generosity, and promptly banished the demon, proclaiming thereafter everyone should have a drop of the "hard stuff" on his feast day. This custom is known as Pota Phadraig or Patrick's Pot. The custom is known as "drowning the shamrock" because it is customary to float a leaf of the plant in the whiskey before dowing the shot. Taken from Saint Patrick's Day History by Peggy Trowbridge. Here in the Bonny Blue House Jameson's is the hands-down favorite but there are many good ones out there. Another traditional libation is Irish Coffee. This is awonderful close to a meal with friends. Irish Coffee 2/3 part freshly brewed coffee 1/3 part Irish whiskey 2 tsps brown sugar lightly whipped cream Into a stemmed glass, put two teaspoonfuls of sugar, preferably brown; add one-third Irish Whiskey and two-thirds really hot, really strong black coffee, preferably freshly brewed, not instant. The glass should be filled with this mixture to within half an inch (1cm) of the brim. Stir well at this point to ensure all of the sugar is dissolved, and then carefully float over the back of a spoon a collar of lightly-whipped cream, so that the cream floats on the top of the coffee and whiskey. Do not stir any more. Serve the drink without a spoon or a straw, as part of the pleasure comes from sipping the hot coffee and whiskey through the cool cream. From the book The Spirits of Ireland, written by Ray Foley, Foley Publishing. A more feminine cocktail... Dublin Handshake 1/2 oz Baileys Irish cream 1/2 oz Irish whiskey 3/4 oz Sloe gin Combine in shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into rocks glass with ice. From the book The Spirits of Ireland, written by Ray Foley, Foley Publishing. An of course just a Bailey's on the rocks is wonderful. You can't truly imbibe on this great day with out a great toast, so here is one for you to memorize... When we drink, we get drunk. When we get drunk, we fall asleep. When we fall asleep, we commit no sin. When we commit no sin, we go to heaven. So, let's all get drunk, and go to heaven! Since I will not be indulging this year be sure to have a wee dram for me. Being pregnant on Saint Patrick's Day is a true Lenten Penance.


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