In Ireland, St Patrick's Day is recognized as a national holiday — it isn't in the US. While many cities in the US may celebrate the day and their Irish heritage, it isn't a national holiday and most people will celebrate after work on the day, or on the surrounding weekends.
Detroit held its St. Patrick’s Day parade on Sunday March 12 in the Corktown section of Detroit. The city and sponsors/organizations who sponsor the parade decided holding the parade five days before, rather than a day or two after the March 17 holiday. They might come to regret that as the revelers were dodging snowflakes.
Corktown is the hub of the Irish community in Southeast Michigan. The origin of the neighborhood dates back to the 19th century. The Great Famine of of the 1840s resulted in extensive Irish migration to the United States and Canada. By the middle of the 19th century, they were the largest ethnic group settling in Detroit. Many of these newcomers settled on the west side of the city; they were primarily from County Cork and the neighborhood came to be known as Corktown.
By the early 1850s, half of the population of the 8th Ward (which contained Corktown) were of Irish descent. Historically, the neighborhood was roughly bounded by Third Street to the east, Grand River to the north, 12th Street to the west, and Jefferson Avenue/Detroit River to the south.
There’s no getting around the fact that most St. Patrick’s Day, or St. Patrick’s Week, celebrations involve a certain amount of corned beef and cabbage, Irish Stew, Guinness Stout and a few drams of whiskey. There are some whiskey-based cocktails that have become standard fare for Irish pubs. Naturally, considering the holiday, many default to one of the popular Irish whiskies—Jameson’s or Teeling.
But we can certainly use Bourbon as an alternative for these tasty cocktails.
The Irish Maid: The Perfect St. Patrick's Day Cocktail
- 2 ounces Jameson Whiskey or Varchas Bourbon or Varchas Rye
- 3 slices of cucumber.
- 5 ounce Elderflower Liqueur.
- 75 ounce Fresh Lemon Juice.
- 75-ounce Simple Syrup with a drop of honey (the honey is optional)
- Ice Cubes.
- Type of Glass:
- A standard whiskey or rocks glass.
Corktown Bourbon Sour Cocktail
- 5 oz. Varchas Bourbon or Rye
- 5 oz. Lemon juice
- 75 oz. simple syrup
- 1 egg white
- Rocks glass
- Shake well and strain into ice filled rocks glass
- Garnish with lemon wedge and equal number of maraschino cherries and tart/sour cherries.
The whiskey sour is a classic cocktail that goes back a long time! It might be that its first mention was in the 1862 edition of Jerry Thomas Bartenders Guide. Typically this cocktail uses a bourbon or rye whiskey. Varchas has you covered either way.
Spirit, citrus and sugar—the original big three—combine to form the classic sour. It’s traditionally made with whiskey/bourbon/rye, lemon juice, sugar and egg white, an ingredient that tames the tart flavor and creates a smoother texture. The egg white has become optional at bars today because most bartenders don’t want to bother with it. But if you go to a high-end bar with professional mixologists, you’ll get the eggwhite as was intended. When using egg white, you’ll want to perform a “dry shake” and shake all the ingredients without ice before shaking again with fresh ice.
Like most classic cocktails, the Whiskey Sour has spawned variations. In the Mitten-state, we can create a Michigan Sour by adding some preserved sour cherries from Traverse City.
Next time you visit Corktown where the Central Train Station of Detroit I undergoing renovation by Ford Motor Co. to turn the building and surrounding campus into a mobility research and development hub, visit The Gaelic League pub, or one of the other community Irish pubs like McShane’s Irish Pub & Whiskey Bar; The Old Shillelagh; Donovan’s Pub; CorkTown Irish Pub or Nemo’s Bar…..And ask for Varchas!