Catholic Drinks for Memorial Day

Emil Kapaun

Fr. Emil Kaun celebrating Mass on the hood of a jeep during the Korean War. Fr. Kapaun is the only person in history to be awarded the U.S. Medal of Honor and declared Servant of God by the Catholic Church, the first step towards canonization.

Memorial Day honors those who have died serving our country, and although it is not a liturgical feast, it makes sense that Catholics–who are pretty good at remembering the departed–should mark this solemn occasion with more than just grilled hot dogs. This Memorial Day, when you raise a glass, toast to (and pray for) those who have fallen in defense of our nation. And if you’re uncertain what to put in that glass, we make the following suggestions:

Beer and Wine. Think domestic. After all, it’s a patriotic day. Of course, you can also enjoy English beer or French wine and tell your guests that these are tributes from our allies for saving their hinies twice in the last century.

michael patron saint of soldiersCocktails. St. Michael is the patron saint both of the U.S. armed forces and of the faithful departed, the first because of his role in defeating Satan and the second because he is the angel who escorts souls to their eternal reward. The St. Michael’s Sword cocktail is a DWTS original.  According to an old Irish legend, when Michael cast Lucifer out of Heaven, the devil fell on a blackberry bush and cursed and spat on the blackberries, thereby rendering them sour after September 29, the feast of Michaelmas. The St. Michael’s Sword contains blackberry brandy, as well as Jim Beam Devil’s Cut Bourbon, which comes in military-strength 90 proof. The “Angels’ share” is the portion of the whiskey that escapes into the air during distillation, but the “Devil’s cut” is the portion that seeps into the wood of the barrels. Jim Beam’s claims to have stolen this cut back from the Devil, and so we gratefully offer this portion to St. Michael for a job well done. Jim Beam Devils Cut

St. Michael’s Sword
1½ oz. Jim Beam’s Devil’s Cut bourbon
¾ oz. blackberry brandy
2 dashes orange bitters
1 cherry for garnish
Pour all ingredients except cherry in a shaker with ice and shake forty times. Strain into a cocktail glass. Use a cocktail spear (St. Michael’s sword) to transfix the cherry (the Devil, red with shame and rage).


Other Patronages. If there is a particular branch of the military you wish to honor, we’ve got you covered. All of the recipes to the drink suggestions can be found in Drinking with the Saints.

U.S. Army                                                           St. Martin of Tours, a Martlemas Martini

U.S. Army Cavalry                                            St. George, a St. George Martini

U.S. Army Chaplain Corps                              St. Titus, a Sidecar

U.S. Army Field Artillery                                St. Barbara, a Barbara cocktail

U.S. Army Infantry                                           St. Maurice, a St. Maurice or St. Moritz cocktail

U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps                    St. Martin of Tours, a Martlemas Martini

U.S. Army Special Forces (Green Berets)      St. Philip Neri, a Heart Warmer

U.S. Coast Guard                                                St. Christopher, a Christophe cocktail

U.S. Marines                                                       St. George, a St. George Martini

U.S. Navy                                                             St. Brendan, a St. Brendan’s Isle cocktail


More. Are you still unsatisfied? Then turn to these drinks with military names, even if they’re not terribly Catholic:

  • Admiral
  • Artillery
  • Aviation
  • B-52
  • Black Hawk
  • Navy Seal
  • Orange Bomber


Last Call. The offertory verse from the traditional Requiem Mass can be adapted into a touching Memorial Day toast: “May the standard-bearer St. Michael lead our fallen troops into the holy light which our Lord God once promised to Abraham and his seed.”