Greetings and Happy St. Patrick’s Day from Crichton!
As I sit here on this tree limb, where I’ve made my annual pilgrimage since before those TV cameras showed up and that fella started playing music on a piece of drain pipe, I find myself in deep contemplation. It’s similar to the zen I find in the hypnotizing bubbles that cascade ever so gracefully through a freshly poured pint of Guinness, but ironically, it’s got me thinking about alternatives to that traditional St. Patrick’s Day libation.
It’s not that there’s anything wrong with Guinness — at just 4 percent ABV and 125 calories per 12 ounces, the Irish classic is a great, crushable choice for the drinking marathon that is St. Patrick’s Day. It’s just that sometimes we need a little variety in our revelry, so here are some options to expand your drinking repertoire this year.
Top o’ the mornin’ to ya
As the T-shirt says, “You can’t drink all day if you don’t start in the morning,” so start your St. Patrick’s Day off right with a traditional Irish coffee, a delicious, warming drink that’s easy to make at home.
Simply combine one cup of piping-hot coffee with a jigger (3 tablespoons) each of Irish cream (I prefer Bailey’s) and Irish whiskey (Jameson is a good go-to). Top it off with some whipped cream and you’ve got yourself a drink that will prep you nicely for a long day of partying in the OGD.
The “shake ya leg” shot
As a rule I don’t do shots, but there’s one day a year when I will do one shot. I never plan on it, but I inevitably run into that one friend on St. Patrick’s Day who manages to convince me that a shot of Irish whiskey is a good idea.
And you know what? Despite the fact that it makes me shake my leg like a wet hound dog drying off from a rainstorm, they’re right. I don’t know if it’s the extra reserve of strength I manage to mine on St. Pat’s or just the pure will to imbibe with my fellow green-clad revelers, that shot always manages to hit the spot.
Just don’t let me do two …
A pint o’ the black, NOLA-style
While Guinness is the classic example of a dry Irish stout, NOLA Brewing Co.’s Irish Channel Stout is a true American-style beer. Sweeter than Guinness, with notes of chocolate and espresso, this year-round offering from the New Orleans brewery clocks in at 6.8 percent ABV and comes in 16-ounce “tallboy” cans.
Unlike Guinness, which is infused with nitrogen to provide its signature creamy head, Irish Channel Stout is carbonated with carbon dioxide, providing a sharper mouthfeel that mellows out into a delicious, chocolate-fueled creaminess on the back end.
NOLA Brewing Co. is located across Tchoupitoulas Street from the Mississippi River docks in a neighborhood known as the Irish Channel. Named for the working-class Irish immigrants who worked the docks and settled throughout much of the neighborhood, the Irish Channel is the hub of activity on St. Patrick’s Day in New Orleans, and this beer is a nod to that heritage.
So, there you have it — from my perch in Crichton to your eyes here in Lagniappe, a few ways to provide some variety in your St. Paddy’s Day celebrations. Now, if you don’t mind, I’ve got a crowd of people pestering me about where the gold’s at, whatever that means.
Dan Murphy is a Certified Cicerone® and the founding brewer at Fairhope Brewing Co. Follow him on Instagram @Grand_Krewe and on Twitter @Beer_Man_Dan.