A good Irish pub, no matter where on earth it is, is a thing of beauty. My favorite time to visit is a late day when drinking Irish coffee in a comfortable wooden nook that becomes dimmer and more comfortable when you linger. Especially when outdoors is disgusting, humid weather emphasizes the coziness and sense of slowing down time that exist in the best of these rooms.
I love them. And here in the United States, on St. Patrick’s Day, I will do my best not to enter.
American Irish pubs are becoming various beasts on the holiday, proclaiming the holy snake charmer of the Emerald Isle, and easing restrictions on COVID-19 could make this year’s holidays especially tumultuous. It’s nice to see other people again, but my post-quarantine brain is not yet ready to press the drinks, which should not be green, in the hands of people decorated with shamrocks and leprechauns, who beat drinks and fake brogues and occasionally expel excess Guinness from their holes .
I am Irish myself, but celebrating anything – be it sacred, heritage or the return of the lower half of people’s faces – with bad drinks in large quantities is simply not attractive. I still get dizzy from what I got this month, which stated that St. Patrick’s Day is “not just an occasion to drink, it’s an occasion to drink A LOT!” before offering a drink of tequila and a match – neither one nor the other, if you keep accounts at home, is Irish. (Of course, for the record, St. Patrick wasn’t either.)
I’ll be greeted at home with “Paddy Drinks: A World of Modern Irish Whiskey Cocktails,” a new book from the Dead Rabbit Grocery and Grog team in New York City. If you haven’t had the pleasure of visiting yet, Dead Rabbit is a first-class Irish bar on the ground floor, over which is hidden an outstanding cocktail hall. And the bar’s latest book is the antithesis of the untidy green drunkenness that prevails at this time of year. Instead, it is saturated with elegant, accurate, often sophisticated whiskey beverages that match the unique qualities of the individual spirits used to prepare them – beverages that can show lovers of colored green camp their way.
The title of the book is a bit cheeky, as Dead Rabbit founders Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry explain in their foreword. A few years ago, Muldoon and McGarry went to Death & Co., another famous craft cocktail bar in New York City, to check out the menu of the new head bartender. They were surprised to find a specific section on Irish whiskey drinks.
In New York, both Irish felt alone in their gratitude for Irish whiskey, whose reputation has not yet been restored. So, they were happy to meet with “extremely well thought out and well-executed cocktails”, in the center of which are some of the best bottles in Ireland. They were less pleased with the title of this section of the menu: “Paddy Drinks”. “Paddy” is an old slang term for the Irish, which is sometimes used kindly, but often insulting. Both Muldoon and McGarry feared that the term “reflected an attitude that saw no real quality or sophistication in the drinks”.
But it is clear that such good drinks should not have been easily given up.
The bartender who compiled this menu, Gillian Wooz, herself realized Irish whiskey. When she took over as head bartender at Death & Co., she saw several new Irish whiskeys, but faced some resistance to their use and storage.
It was in the era of “We Don’t Like Vodka,” notes Wasse: “Admittedly, especially in New York, people were snobs about certain spirits. So it was with Irish whiskey. It was just like that. “
Based on some of these attitudes in her teachers, she suggested that the category should not be good. But as she tasted more of them, especially long-standing brands that have stood the test of time, and learned to trust her tastes and opinions, she realized that some bottles – and drinks that could be made from them – were too good to say.
Muldoon and McGarry met Wooce (who is half Irish) and eventually hired her as the head bartender at Dead Rabbit. All three are co-authors (along with Conar Kelly) of “Paddy Drinks.” The title, as Muldoon and McGary write, was their way of getting even an earlier relationship to Irish whiskey, “returning Paddy Drinks as a category that deserves – no, demands – respect for its merits. Whiskey, which we know is gloriously delicate and distinctive, offers a wide panorama of flavors and aromas.
Take, for example, Precision Pilot, where Axis filmed a slight variation of Negroni. She chose Tullamore Dew, a blended whiskey, because she believed it “wouldn’t have too much tannin or too many spices that would be too dominant. It has a lot more fruity notes, ”she says. “But the capacity and single malt in the mix also allow the body to maintain other ingredients.”
An update to a classic called Cameron’s Kick from The Dead Rabbit is another example of how to properly put whiskey in place. Redbreast 12, a rich whiskey that doesn’t survive, can withstand the peaty Scotch whiskey of Isle, with which it shares a glass, and time in barrels of sherry makes the bar add oloroso (not a 1920s recipe) inspired touch.
The book is loaded not only with drink recipes, but also with explanations of production processes that make different types of Irish whiskey the way they are, and taste profiles that give novice mixologists thoughtful advice on combining and mixing.
Thanks to a foreword by drink historian David Vondrich, there is also a look at the history of the Irish pub in America and how Irish immigrants shaped the way people drink in America. Vondrich notes that German immigrants were more likely to assimilate American exquisite cocktail culture, noting that by the end of the 19th century “most of America’s most famous mixologists were German immigrants in the first or second generation.”
But he argues that some of the Irish bartenders who found themselves behind the bar at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, a very influential place, contributed to the formation of American cocktail traditions by showing the restraint needed to weed out some of the more Baroque. drinks of that era.
“Thus pruning some of the larger branches of the cocktail tree, [these Irish American bartenders] could have made it less decorative, Vondrich writes, but they also made it stronger and better suited to withstand the harsh winter, which, according to the bar’s great American tradition, began in 1920 and ended only with the cocktail renaissance of the twenty-first century. ».
“The whole idea of Dead Rabbit was to move the Irish pub into the 21st century, and to pay tribute to the real pubs of Ireland,” says Vosse. No green beer can be seen here.