Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.
Consider the Shamrock Shake. It’s green, it’s creamy, you can get it during the month of March, and since McDonald’s introduced the thing in 1970, they’ve sold more than 60 million of them - the equivalent of 39 gallons of Shamrock Shake for every single person currently alive in Ireland. That’s a whole lot of shake goin’ on.
But of course there are other things you can drink for St. Patrick’s Day. Green beer, well, yeah. I think we can safely move on from that addled inspiration. Ditto the giant foam leprechaun hats. So how about a green cocktail, then?
Another classic - in at least as it summons images of the late-’50s and early-’60s - is the Grasshopper. (It is also apparently the ideal drink to bring chilled in a thermos to a beauty pageant, at least according to one Texas lady of a certain age with whom I’m acquainted.)
Again equal parts, this time of crème de menthe, crème de cacao and fresh cream, shaken with ice and strained into a chilled cocktail glass, it is mighty green indeed. Up north, they sometimes use mint ice cream and a blender, but that’s not what I grew up with.
Finally, on this green theme, there’s the Death in the Afternoon, an aptly named drink invented by Ernest Hemingway. Why he invented it, I do not know. But in any case: Find a Champagne flute and pour an ounce and a half of absinthe into it. (Not all absinthes are green, despite the stuff being nicknamed “the green fairy,” so if you insist on drinking one of these for St. Paddy’s day, choose appropriately; Lucid works very well.) Now add Champagne to fill the glass.
The result will be milky in hue, with a kind of opalescent green shimmer, the way one might expect cobra venom to look. Hemingway’s advice was to drink “three to five of these, slowly,” which to me sounds ambitious, and possibly lethal. I’d stick to one, personally.
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