You’re going to see a lot of posts today showing you how to make a proper corned beef or soda bread or any sort of Irish food that may tempt you. I’m not. Yes, corned beef and cabbage is great; I love it. In fact, it’s what’s in my crock pot right now. However, it’s not especially Irish–just an American ideal. And, yes, soda bread is fantastic, especially with homemade butter, and I’ll be making some when I get home. However, the best things you can ever do for yourself on St. Patty’s Day have very little to do with food and more to do with enjoying life and experiencing the world.
1) Try a Guinness
I hear so many people say that Guinness is too strong. It’s not. It’s also not heavy. Trust me; if you want strong & heavy, I’ve had strong & heavy. Guinness, which is completely different in Dublin, is not a beer. It’s a craft…an art form, and pouring it takes skill. Surprisingly, Guinness only has about 125 calories per 12 ounce serving (more than the equivalent serving of Bud Light) and an abv of only 4.2% (most beer is 5%). If you look at it the right way, Guinness is actually good for you. (“Guinness is Good for You” was a marketing phrase from the 1920s.) Oh, and if you’re really adventurous, have your Guinness at the Storehouse at St. James Gate in Dublin. The Gravity Bar is a true bucket list experience.
2) Have yourself some Jameson or any Irish whiskey
As Americans, we are so programmed to drink sweet wine, light beer, fruity drinks with umbrellas, and wine coolers (!?!?!?!). Why not try something that’s real? Whiskey is regional, and there are 5 regions producing true whiskey…Scotland, Ireland, Kentucky (bourbon), Tennessee, and Canadian. Personally, I only drink Scotch and Irish, with Irish coming out on top every time. Irish Whiskey is unlike any whiskey (or bourbon) you’ll ever try. It doesn’t burn and don’t ever say that it tastes “smokey,” because it can’t. The malted barley that goes into making Irish Whiskey is NEVER exposed to closed ovens, and therefore, NEVER exposed to smoke. Instead, Irish Whiskey has a vanilla flavor that makes it especially tasty, and for me, dangerous. If you’ve never had straight liquor, try your Irish Whiskey with a little ginger ale. Once you’ve enjoyed it, you’ll be drinking it straight (or on the rocks) in no time. Again, for the adventurous sort, go to the Old Jameson Distillery on Bow Street in Dublin. Tours start early in the morning and finish with tastings and souvenir glasses.
3) Enjoy other Irish Beer
Aside from Guinness, there are a few other Irish beers that I highly recommend…although not all are sold in the US.
Smithwicks Irish Ale…150 calories (12 oz pour) and 4.5% abv
Harp Lager…155 calories (12 oz pour) and 5.5% abv
Murphy’s Irish Stout…240 calories and 4.0% abv
Beamish Stout…131 calories and 3.8% abv
Kilkenney Irish Cream Ale…4.3% abv
Murphy’s Irish Red…171 calories and 5.0% abv
Ohara’s Irish Stout
4) Don’t wear green; buy yourself a sweater made from Irish wool (from Irish sheep)
I don’t think I own anything green. However, I’m pretty sure that my sweater from the wool mills at Blarney beats out your “Kiss Me I’m Irish” WalMart t-shirt any day. It is the softest, most comfortable, warmest sweater I’ve ever owned. When I finally wear it out, I will go back to Ireland to get another.