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Day 314, Cocktails 316 & 317

I know, I know…corned beef is not Irish.  At least not Ireland Irish.  It was the Irish immigrants living next to their Jewish neighbors in New York that picked up the corned beef that we now all eat on St. Patrick’s Day (yet another holiday the native country knows nothing about while we all get slightly inebriated).  Not that corned beef is a bad thing – personally I love it.  The fact that I get to have some Irish whiskey or beer with it just makes it all the better!

So just where the hell is this going?  Well, last Saturday was another installment of the Newcomers International Dining group and the theme was…Irish food.  Despite my protests that it wasn’t Irish, corned beef was on the menu, along with several other authentic Irish dishes.   Kudos to Gwen for an Irish bread pudding that required 10 days of fermentation time with half a liter of Irish whiskey in it!  This also proved to be an ideal opportunity to try out Irish drinks and get them published before St. Patrick’s day.  As it turned out, I put together a total of four Irish cocktails.  Thus, a two part night for the blog.  I started the night with two standard recipes and then adapted them with two off the cuff drinks.  This post will cover the standard recipes and I’ll fill you in on the off the cuff drinks in the next post.

  Nutty Irishman

  • 1-1/2 oz Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • 1-1/2 oz Frangelico

Combine in a mixing glass with ice.  Stir to combine and chill.  Strain into a rocks glass with ice.

It doesn’t get much simpler than this classic.  A nice, creamy, slightly chocolately and distinctively hazelnut flavor greats your palate as you sip this.  While more appropriate as an after dinner drink, I actually started the night of with this cocktail. 

  IRA

  • 1 oz Irish whiskey
  • 1 oz Bailey’s Irish Cream

Combine in mixing glass with ice.  Stir to combine and chill.  Strain into a shooter straight up.

We’re not talking about retirement here.  Named for the old Irish Republican Army, which those readers of a certain age will remember, this is a cousin of the Irish Car Bomb.  (Bonus drink – use 1/2 oz each of the Baileys and whiskey in a shot glass, then drop the shot glass into a rocks glass filled with Guiness for the Irish Car Bomb.)  The Bailey’s tones down the whiskey considerably (I was using Clontarf, a serviceable 80 proof whiskey) but this still packs a punch.  We ended up sipping on this since tossing it back would have led to drinking three more which then leads to table top dancing.  That’s never a good idea (unless your name is Andrea). 

With the IRA we also wrapped up the appetizer and soup courses.  Next, I’ll get into the dinner and after dinner drinks.

Cheers!

Day 279, Cocktail 279

Saturday night was a stay at home movie night…although come to think of it, we ended up watching a bunch of episodes of World War II in Color that were on the DVR.  Not quite a movie, but it was video entertainment.  Gwen and the girls whipped up a cheese fondue for dinner (I guess I should call it a TV dinner since we did eat in front of the TV) – it was delicious!

In keeping with our habit, we both wanted a gin based, martini style cocktail.  I thumbed my way through Sally Ann Berk’s “The Martini Book” and found a cocktail called the Hoffman House Martini.  In its heyday, the Hoffman House was one of New York’s premiere hotels and bars.  Located on Madison Square (before there was a Madison Square Garden), it hosted an A-list clientele.  It was also at the forefront of the movement that took martinis dry — removing the sweeteners out of the cocktail and using dry vermouth.  Alas, this venerable piece of cocktail history is no more.  The Hoffman House was torn down in 1915 to make way for an office building.  Fortunately,  their cocktail lives on.

  Hoffman House Martini

  • 4 oz gin (use a London Dry)
  • 1/2 oz dry vermouth
  • 4 dashes Angostura orange bitters

Combine the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice.  Stir to chill and combine.  Strain into a chilled cocktail shaker and garnish with cocktail olives (in my case, three of them, sans stuffing of any kind). 

I used Beefeater gin for this (although Bombay or even Plymouth would also be good choices).  And it was delicious.  It was like a dirty martini on steroids.  The orange bitters really popped in this drink and brought out the botanicals in the Beefeater.  I normally use Angostura bitters in my martinis, but I believe that I’ve been converted to using the orange bitters going forward.  And trust me, changing my regular martini is a once an epoch event, so you know how much I enjoyed this drink! 

I’d love to hear your take on it – give it a try and let me know how you like it!

Cheers!