Monday, March 11, 2013

Thoughts on St. Patrick’s Day Liquor, Big Gingers and Irish Car Bombs!

Big Ginger in Collins Glass

Ok folks, we’re getting a bit closer to St. Patrick’s day and now it’s crunch time on ordering your bar supplies.  In the last story we went over proper Irish beer to stock.  If you missed it, go back HERE!  If you caught it . . . let’s move on to spirits, and the supplies you need to quench the forthcoming thirst!

There are few things Irish folk enjoy more than a cold pint.  Many would agree there is but one alternative or compliment to the beloved beverage . . . Whiskey!  As with beer sales, your whiskey sales will likely see a HUGE increase this St. Patrick’s day, especially those distilleries that call Ireland home.  

Leading the pack of Irish distilleries by distributing an amazing 32 million bottles a year throughout the world is the widely recognized Jameson brand, according to the wikipedia.  In the same article, we learn that John Jameson (actually a Scottish dude) established his distillery in Dublin way back in 1780.  Nowadays, Pernod Richard (a French company), owns the brand.   It's distilled in Cork, but vatting still takes place in Dublin and they pump out more than a million gallons a year.

Now get this!  There is a pub in Minneapolis called The Local that holds the world’s record for the largest amount of Jameson served averaging well over 20 bottles a day!  Wow.  Just . . . wow!  Apparently, their signature drink, the Big Ginger, was responsible for much of this unbelievable Jameson consumption.  

A Big Ginger is super easy to make.  Grab a Collins glass like the ones found here.  Fill it with cube or half dice ice.  Add two shots of an Irish whiskey.   Fill the rest of the glass with ginger ale, and garnish with lemon and lime wedges from your condiment dispenser.  

Condiment Dispenser from Rapids Wholesale

The Big Ginger is a hugely popular drink in the twin cities, not surprisingly due to the influence of one incredible Irish born personality, Kieran Folliard.  He is the founder of The Local, The Liffey, Cooper, and Kieran’s Irish Pubs scattered throughout the metropolis.  Not only have these pubs garnished their own individual success, but they became the testing grounds for his next endeavor . . . 2Gingers Irish Whiskey.  Folliard committed to creating his very own Irish Whiskey.

In their own words, 2Gingers claims, “The award-winning spirit is smooth, malty, and slightly sweet to start, with a tingle of honey and citrus. The woody essence of this four-year-aged blend suggests caramel and vanilla to the finish.”  And I have to admit, I agree with their description.  It is a really a solid Whiskey!

2Gingers was just acquired by Beam Inc. last December, but will continue to be distilled and bottled at Kilbeggan on the River Brosna in Westmeath County, Ireland.  Kilbeggan along with New Midleton, Old Bushmills and Cooley round out the four major distilleries in Ireland.

Now, for the super cool part!  Rumor has it 2Gingers is currently outselling Jameson in the Twin Cities area and can be found in most of the upper midwest spreading like wildfire.  I was able to pick up a bottle at my favorite spirits provider (and Rapids customer) Benz Beverage Depot.   Word on the street is Mr. Folliard himself is on tour promoting his Irish success with his motto “Bring your own luck!”  And he is coming to visit my home town for St. Patrick’s Day!  

You can join Kieran, and likely me, for a Big Ginger at Cedar Rapids’ very own Mahoney’s Irish Pub St. Patrick’s Day Street Party, Saturday March 16 through the 17th.  Mahoney’s, in the Irish district, has been one of our favorite local Irish pubs and a valued customer for years!

Image courtesy of Mahoney's Pub

If you’re not in the area, or working the holiday, be sure to support the little and independent guys in your area when making your holiday plans.  There is nothing as charming and as real as the passion these guys have for their craft!

Now onto the dirty stuff, the Irish Car Bomb.  It’s a love/hate thing.  To some the name is offensive, which isn’t surprising.  But people buy it, especially on St Patrick’s day.  You need to be prepared for it and be careful, this one is tricky.

The problem isn’t the ingredients, it’s the technique.  All you need is Guinness, Bailey’s Irish Creme and an Irish Whiskey.  Unlike a lot of other bomb shots --cherry bombs, Jager bombs and saki bombs, for example-- you can’t easily get away with using a Bar Maid Bomb Cup.  The foam from the Guinness would be problematic.

So, first grab a regular pint glass or frosty mug and fill it 2/3 full of Guinness.  While the head is settling, fill a 1oz shot glass half full of Bailey’s Irish Creme.  On top of the Bailey’s, in the same shot glass, layer an Irish Whiskey.  The customer should then suspend the shot glass over the pint glass and drop IMMEDIATELY BEFORE chugging it in it’s entirety.  If dropped prematurely, or not consumed instantly, it will start to curdle.  This will stimulate a gag reflex in many, and soon you’ll be calling for the mop bucket.  Avoid this catastrophe, and be prepared!

Happy St. Paddy's!



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