St. Patrick’s Day is almost here, and with it comes the inevitable sea of green clothing, social tolerance for pinching, and green beer benders. This year, as a “classier” alternative to parading the streets in a drunken escapade, we’re making a spirited list of cocktails inspired by your favorite Irish authors. After all, what better drinking model to kick off the celebrations than that of beloved authors from the land of Jameson and Baileys?
Drink up, read up, clad yourself in green, and stay safe this St. Patty’s day!
Flann O’Brien – Irish Stout
Image courtesy of BBC
Let’s start with the basics. A good Irish stout will set the celebrations in motion, and give you an authentic taste of the motherland. Go for a classic Guinness, or try any number of other fantastic brews.
The stout was a particular favorite of author Flann O’Brien, a love that made a literary mark in At-Swim-Two-Birds, which features a poem commemorating the beloved velvet brew:
When food is scarce and your larder bare
And no rashers grease your pan,
When hunger grows as your meals are rare –
A pint of plain is your only man.
James Joyce – Irish Coffee
Image courtesy of the Spicy Apron
Try this sweet treat to subdue the harsh flavor of whiskey. Made with thick cream and coffee, this drink will give you the lethal sugar-caffeine buzz you’ll need to make it through the 900+ page maze of Ulysses. Re-apply whipped topping between chapters, or as frequently as needed.
Brendan Behan – Whiskey on the rocks
As the author described as a “drinker with a writing problem,” you won’t be surprised to find Behan side step the sugar coatings and goes straight for the hard stuff. Behan is praised as a playwright, novelist, and poet, and adored vicariously through the Behan themed Pub in Boston, a frequented spot by locals and tourists alike. The bar is appropriately named, given Behan’s long term affair with liquor. According to Behan he only drank on two occasions – when’s he was thirsty and when he was not.
W.B. Yeats – Wine, wine, wine
For those of you who want to opt for a tamer drink, wine is always Yeats-approved. Red wine, white wine, rosé – Yeats doesn’t specify in his poem, “A Drinking Song” so neither will we.
Wine comes in at the mouth
And love comes in at the eye;
That’s all we shall know for truth
Before we grow old and die.
I lift the glass to my mouth,
I look at you, and I sigh.
Oscar Wilde – The Pitcher of Dorian Grey Goose
Image courtesy of Ketel One
For the author who writes about eternal youth and hedonism, here’s an indulgent elixir to perk you right up. Made with inordinate amounts of vodka (2 whopping cups), fresh mint, frozen lemonade concentrate, and cucumber garnish, this one is sure to be the serum of youth (and the throbbing hangover that youth subscribe to).
Jonathan Swift – Lilliputian shooter
Image courtesy of Pinterest
Inspired by Gulliver’s Travels, the Lilliputian shooter is a minuscule little drink. But don’t be fooled by the size of this single shot, with ½ oz. vodka, ½ oz. peach schnapps, ½ oz. cranberry juice, and ½ oz. grapefruit juice, this little guy has a powerful kick. You can get this recipe and tons of other literary inspired drinks in the Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist recipe book.
Bram Stoker – Dracula’s Kiss
Image courtesy of Brotique
Many people are surprised to find that Dracula was written by an Irishman. The eeriness of a blood sucking vampire, the Transylvanian accent, the grotesquely pale skin – we could have easily guessed a brooding Russian writer. However, Dracula was written by Irish novelist Bram Stoker, and like most good Irishmen, and authors in general, he fancied himself a hardy drink. This drink, although never known to be a favorite of Stoker’s, is a literary fit to the nocturnal ambience of the novel, made with 1 oz. back cherry vodka, ½ oz. grenadine, cola, and a maraschino cherry garnish.
This one can dually serve as a great Halloween cocktail when October comes around.
C.S. Lewis – White Witch
Image courtesy of Canadian Living
Lewis may not have lived in Ireland, but he was definitely Irish-born. Celebrate St. Patty’s Day and the childhood nostalgia for The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe with the White Witch. Step into the wardrobe – and get a little buzz – with vodka, fresh lime, blueberries, sugar cane syrup, and blue curacao. It may not be green, but it sure is delicious.
Elizabeth Bowen – September morning
Image courtesy of Mix that Drink
Try this The Last September inspired drink, made from 1 ½ oz light rum, 1 teaspoon cherry brandy, ½ oz lime juice, ½ teaspoon grenadine, 1 egg white. It’s a nice departure from traditional Irish whiskey to the tropical taste of rum.
Dylan Thomas – The Magic Rose Manhattan
Image courtesy of Country Cleaver
After a few of the prior drinks, we’re betting you’re willing accept Welsh authors just as readily as Irish. It’s just a skip across the bay, and the sip of a few cocktails away from being Ireland. If you need further convincing, rest assured Dylan Thomas shared the Irish love for whiskey, and a palate for the hard stuff. This drink is inspired by Thomas’s poem Clown in the Moon and the lines: “my tears are the quiet drift of petals from some magic rose.” Mirroring the sweet poeticism of his words, this sweet drink combines whiskey, simple syrup, rose water, bitters, orange, and a maraschino cherry garnish. We figured this a safer alternative than Dylan Thomas’s love for straight whiskey, with a side of whiskey, followed by a whiskey chaser, and yet another whiskey.