Surprising Drinks for St. Patrick’s Day

Last year we published Irish ideas for observing  St. Patrick’s Day, and while we still stand by those ideas, this year we want to serve St. Patrick’s Day with a twist. Instead of suggesting Irish drinks (good though they be), let us turn to some non-Irish libations that pay tribute to the early life of the man who would go on to drive the snakes from Erin.

For you see, one of the ironies in thinking of St. Patrick’s Day as a holiday for celebrating Irish Identity (as we do here in the U.S.) is that Saint Patrick himself was not Irish. Worse, according to some of his biographers, he may have been (gasp!) English. As a young lad the future Apostle of Ireland was kidnapped off the coast of Great Britain (possibly England, probably Scotland) and made a slave to an Irish chieftain. Patrick eventually escaped, at which point he studied in France, was ordained a priest, commissioned by the Pope to return to Ireland to preach the Gospel, and subsequently consecrated a bishop. It is that side of Patrick, the side that gets neglected amidst all the shiny shamrocks and green beer, that we hereby wish to honor with drinks.

St. Martin of Tours
Young Patrick studied at the monastery founded by St. Martin of Tours. Although St. Martlemas Martini Hyatt WashingtonMartin had gone on to his eternal reward by then, Patrick was related to the great saint on his mother’s side. To honor this chapter of Patrick’s life, try the drink that we recommend on St. Martin’s Day, a Martlemas Martini:

Martlemas Martini 
2 oz. Grey Goose vodka
1 dash dry vermouth
1 lemon twist
Pour ingredients into shaker with ice and shake forty times. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon twist to represent Martin’s torn cloak.

St. Germanus
Patrick was ordained a priest by St. Germanus, who also recommended him to the Pope for the Irish mission. Germanus’ name graces every bottle of St. Germain, the magical liqueur made from elderflower.


St-Germain Cocktail
2 oz. brut champagne or dry sparkling wine (like Prosecco)
1½ oz. St-Germain
2 oz. club soda
lemon twist
Stir liquid ingredients in a tall glass filled with ice, mixing them completely. Garnish with a twist of lemon.

Pope St. Celestine I
Pope Celestine commissioned Patrick to bring the Irish people into the one fold of Christ and gave him the name by which he is known today.  According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, Celestine called the newly commissioned missionary Patercius or Patritius, “not as an honorary title [as if he were ‘patrician’], but as a foreshadowing of the fruitfulness and merit of his apostolate whereby he became pater civium (the father of his people).”

We have no special drink for St. Celestine, but anyone who sits on the chair of St. Peter deserves to be honored by the drink of St. Peter, which in our book (and we mean that literally– see Drinking with the Saints is  a Gibson:Gibson St. Peter

Gibson Martini
2 oz. gin
1 dash vermouth
pearl onions
Pour gin and vermouth, into a shaker with ice and shake forty times. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with one or two pearl onions speared by a cocktail sword. For a Vodka Gibson, substitute gin for vodka.

St. Maximus
Patrick was on his way back from Rome when he learned of the death of Palladius, the bishop who had first been sent to the Irish but who abandoned the mission after he was bullied by an Irish chieftain (sometimes, the Irish can be ornery). So Patrick went to St. Maximus of Turin (380-465), who ordained him bishop.

There is a legend about Maximus commanding a doe to nurse a thirsty man, so we recommend the next best thing, a Hart. A hart, of course, is an adult male deer: like we said, it’s the next best thing.

1 oz. gin
1 oz. Dubonnet
1 oz. dry vermouth
Pour all ingredients into a shaker filled with ice and shake forty times. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Last Call
Whatever your drink on St. Patrick’s Day, don’t forget the toast. This passage from the beautiful prayer “St. Patrick’s Breastplate” is a good choice:

Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left,
Christ in the fort,
Christ in the chariot seat,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

St Patrick snakes out of Ireland