March 12, 2018
For many Canadians, St Patrick’s Day is an excuse to wear green, while kids cut shamrocks from paper and fashion cardboard leprechaun hats.
St Patrick’s Day: From Sombre Feast to International Party
St Patrick’s Day, while widely regarded as a celebration of Irish culture, is actually a day that marks the death of St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. For decades the date was marked with a sombre feast and a national holiday. But it has since evolved.
These days we tend to celebrate St Patrick’s day with drinks. Whether at a typical Irish pub, or a local watering hole, the toasting is done with traditional Irish beer and festive mixed drinks and cocktails.
Go for Guinness!
Arguably Ireland’s most popular export is Guinness. The brewery, founded in 1789 has come to symbolize Ireland. The company famously signed a 9,000 year lease on its digs in Dublin, and that paperwork is still symbolically displayed, imbedded in the floor inside the brewery.
Guinness is a traditional dry Irish stout beer made from roasted barley, yeast, hops, and water. But there are rules around how it must be poured, served and even sipped (elbows up, make the first swig a big one to break through the slightly bitter head to the creamy beer below).
Guinness has a 6-stage technique bartenders are required to follow to serve up the perfect pint. Read all about what the brewery calls the Two Part Pour here. Of course you can serve yourself Guinness by purchasing it in cans from Co-op Wine Spirits Beer since it’s designed to be just as good as the keg version.
Understanding the Widget
Each can of Guinness beer contains a nitrogen filled ball, “widget,” or “smoothifier” which is what gives Guinness it's signature creamy foam or head.
There’s science behind this little gizmo. Breweries normally use carbon dioxide to give a beer its bubbles, but using nitrogen creates a silkier experience. Nitrogen bubbles are smaller than carbon dioxide so the foam is finer and softer and the taste is smoother and more delicate.
Drink It Solo or Mix It Up for St Patrick’s Day
You can drink Guinness solo or create a Half and Half, which lightens the Guinness by mixing it with beer, often a lager.
Step 1: Fill a 20z pint glass with beer, such as Harp Lager.
Step 2: Add Guinness to the beer by pouring it over the back of a spoon to create two layers. (it takes practise!)
Step 3: Enjoy!
There's another version of this drink called a Crown Float that uses cider instead of beer or lager, but it's essentially the same recipe. Try it using Magners Cider with your Guinness.
It's Easy Being Green!
What's St Patrick's Day without a green cocktail? An easy one is the Grasshopper. It's got all the flavour of creamy mint chocolate chip ice cream and all the colour you need for St Patrick’s Day fun.
You’ll need McGuinness Creme de Menthe liqueur, Bols Creme de Cacao and some milk or cream, depending how decadent you want to be.
It’s simple: mix equal parts of those three ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice, shake, strain and serve in a cocktail glass. Bonus points if you use gummy shamrock candies as a garnish!
Warm Up with Irish Coffee
Irish Coffee is a traditional after-dinner cocktail which features sweetened coffee, Irish whiskey, and whipped cream. It's kind of like liquid dessert in a glass; the perfect way to wrap up your St Paddy's Day meal. Ask for the new Co-op Private Label Irish Whiskey for your drink, or sip it neat.
Celebrate the history or Ireland by raising a glass of traditional beer or spirits this St Patrick’s day. Stop into Co-op Wine Spirits Beer for even more suggestions for your party or dinner.
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