Happy St. Patrick’s Day! In Boston, everyone starts to feel a bit Irish come March 17th. It’s a major holiday here in this city… and one that can get a little bit rowdy! In honor of the holiday, I decided to mix things up a bit by putting an Irish spin on a classic and sophisticated American cocktail: the mint julep. This recipe– The Leprechaun’s Trick— turns the julep on its head. It uses Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey instead of bourbon, while Green Chartreuse adds the herbaceous notes that normally come from crushed mint. As one of the most iconic green liqueurs, Green Chartreuse gives this drink a playful green hue without comprising the flavor’s sophistication! Finally, I topped the drink off with crushed ice, an orange slice, and two dashes of Angostura bitters. The result is a refreshing, elegant drink that honors St. Patrick’s Day but can be enjoyed any time of the year.
The centerpiece of this cocktail is Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey. Compared to its counterparts, Irish whiskeys don’t appear often in cocktails, which made this a fun spirit to work with. This spirit is smooth and light on the initial sip– as you keep drinking, you’ll discover blooming notes of creamy vanilla and honey. The whiskey has a warm, woody finish that’s not at all harsh. Compared with other Irish whiskeys, this is on the sweeter end of the spectrum. Interestingly, this whiskey is aged in rum casks– when I took my first whiff, I detected creamy banana notes. I’d like to play around with the rum cask influences in a future drink!
I paired this Teeling Whiskey with my favorite liqueur, Green Chartreuse, which gave the cocktail its green hue. Green Chartreuse is a bold, sweet liqueur with strong vegetal flavor (it is made from 130 herbs after all). Ultimately, I liked how the whiskey and chartreuse tasted together– they combined to make a complex, spicy, and flavorful drink that was surprisingly delicate. To keep the chartreuse from overwhelming the whiskey, I used a 4:1 ratio of whiskey to Green Chartreuse. For my taste, I thought the Green Chartreuse added enough sweetness, but some may choose to add a crushed sugar cube.
The combination of whiskey with the herbaceous Green Chartreuse reminded me of how mint plays with bourbon in a mint julep, so I decided to top this drink off with crushed ice. Given that The Leprechaun’s Trick is quite alcoholic– the Teeling Whiskey is 92 proof, while Green Chartreuse is 110– dilution from the ice keeps the cocktail from becoming too boozy. If you are new to working with crushed ice in drinks, you will immediately discover that it dissolves into a drink very quickly. When making this drink at home, I suggest you start out with a small handful of crushed ice. Here, I was aggressive in the amount of ice used in order to get the desired photos (I know, I know) but I ended up with more dilution than I normally like.
The Leprechaun’s Trick
-2 oz Irish Whiskey
-1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
-2 dashes Angostura bitters
-Small handful of crushed ice
-1 sugar cube (optional)
Combine together the Irish whiskey and Green Chartreuse in a mixing glass with ice. Stir well, and strain into a tumbler (if you want a sweeter drink, gently crush a sugar cube in the bottom of the tumbler before adding the Irish whiskey and Chartreuse mixture). Top with a handful of crushed ice. On top of the crushed ice, add 2 dashes of Angostura bitters, and garnish with an orange slice.