The Irish Coffee, the Blarney Stone, the Celtic Twilight — plenty of cocktails have originated in Ireland. But of all the countless drinks to come from this country, there’s only one known simply as The Irish Cocktail.
First appearing in the 1888 edition of Harry Johnson’s Bartenders’ Manual, The Irish Cocktail has certainly been around the block. Since then, its recipe has popped up in the likes of Harry MacElhone’s 1927 Barflies and Cocktails, Patrick Gavin Duffy’s 1983 Official Mixer’s Manual, and as recently as the 2013 Savoy Cocktail Book.
And there’s a reason this recipe has withstood the stand of time: The combination is unexpected yet decidedly delicious. Its blend of whiskey, absinthe, curacao, and maraschino liqueur is a bit like a Sazerac-meets-an-Old-Fashioned, but then it’s garnished with a flaming orange twist and — get this — a green olive.
Yes, it sounds a bit weird, but we promise that this recipe works. At first, the concoction comes off sharp thanks to the malt of the whiskey and the citrus of the curacao. Soon, that licorice-y taste of the anise creeps in, followed by a hint of sweetness from the maraschino, smoke from the burnt orange, and a bit of saltiness from the olive. It hits so many of the human taste sensations all at once, it’s the perfect drink to whet your appetite before a meal.
It’s also the perfect drink for St. Patrick’s Day, which is why we’ve decided to make it our March Cocktail of the Month. Enjoy it alongside some salty bar snacks, or try your hand at a new variation, such as swapping the curacao for amaro for an additional bittersweet kick. Slainte!
THE IRISH COCKTAIL
2 ounces Irish whiskey
1/4 ounce absinthe
1/4 ounces dry orange curacao
1 tsp maraschino liqueur
1 dash Angostura bitters
Orange peel and green olive, for garnish
In a cocktail shaker with ice, stir together whiskey, absinthe, curacao, bitters, and maraschino liqueur. Strain into a chilled sherry glass. Flame the outside side of an orange peel and squeeze over the cocktail. Garnish with a green olive.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Jameson