This Prohibition-era classic is an Irish whiskey Manhattan
OK, we’re not wild about the name of this drink. Back in the day, “paddy” was pretty much an ethnic slur against Irish immigrants. Fortunately, these days the insult has lost most of its sting.
That is the name of the cocktail, though, and has been since the drink was invented (probably in the 1920s). And since the drink tastes really good, we’ll just have to live with it.
Because once you taste this, you won’t want to live without it.
Recipe: The Paddy Cocktail
The Paddy Cocktail is basically an Irish whiskey variant of the Manhattan. As far as we know, a recipe for The Paddy was first recorded in Harry Craddock’s The Savoy Cocktail Book.
The original formula called for equal parts Irish whiskey and sweet vermouth. Too sweet, we say. So we opted for the formulation that Gary Regan devised in The Joy of Mixology: 2 parts whiskey to 1 part sweet vermouth. But tinker with the ratios to suit your taste.
This drink takes about 5 minutes to prepare and serves one.
- 2 ounces Irish whiskey (see Notes)
- 1 ounce sweet vermouth
- 1 to 2 dashes Angostura bitters (to taste; we prefer two)
- lemon twist for garnish (optional)
- Place all ingredients (except garnish) in a mixing glass half-filled with ice. Stir until the contents are well chilled (about 30 seconds).
- Strain into a cocktail glass, preferably one that’s been chilled. Add a lemon twist for garnish, if desired, and serve.
- We tend to serve this drink up (in a cocktail glass), as the recipe indicates. But you can serve it on the rocks if you prefer.
- Most mixologists like to stir drinks that contain only clear ingredients, like this one. By contrast, drinks with opaque ingredients (like citrus juice) generally are shaken. That’s because shaking introduces oxygen bubbles into the drink, which will cloud it briefly.
- But shake away if you like. We often do.
- The traditional garnish for a Manhattan Cocktail is a cherry. That doesn’t work in this drink, though. A lemon twist (which Gary Regan suggests) is perfect. Or just skip the garnish entirely.
- Irish whiskey is, as the name suggests, distilled in Ireland. Most of the Irish whiskeys you’ll find are blended, but you can also buy single malt and/or single pot still whiskey (the latter being made in a pot still rather than a column still, which is a continuous process).
- Irish whiskey tends to be fairly mild, and generally has less assertive flavor than either rye or bourbon. At least that’s true of the ones we’ve sampled. Admittedly, though, we’ve had only blended Irish whiskey, not single malt or single pot still varieties.
- The two brands of Irish whiskey most commonly found in the US are Jameson and Bushmills. You’ll probably see their basic blended bottlings, but each also offers several premium varieties. Use whichever you prefer (or can find easily).
- Many other brands of Irish whiskey are also available, though they may be a bit harder to track down. So feel free to experiment. We often suggest asking your friendly local liquor store personnel for recommendations. We followed our own advice when we made this drink, and we’re glad we did. We wanted to try a new Irish whiskey, just because. Our liquor store expert suggested Clontarf 1014. Good choice!
- Clontarf 1014 takes its name from the battle of Clontarf, which took place (surprise) in 1014. During that dustup, the Irish defeated an army of invading Vikings. So trying Clontarf 1014 allowed us to drink some history, while also experimenting with a brand that was new to us.
- Our usual disclaimer: We’re noncommercial and no one compensates us for mentioning any brand. We buy our booze with our own money. When we discuss brands, it’s because we like and use them.
What’s in a Name?
“Great drink,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “That name, though! It brings up a bit of history that most of us wouldn’t mind forgetting.”
“People in the US were so hostile to Irish immigrants in the 19th and early 20th centuries,” I said. “Many also didn’t like Germans, Italians, Scandinavians, Poles. And the list goes on.”
“Times change,” said Mrs K R. “Fortunately!”
“At least we can have some fun with the name,” I said. “Remember that song by Shirley Ellis? The Name Game?”
“Ah, back in the 1960s,” said Mrs K R. “We were mere tadpoles at the time. Let’s see, she’d change some of the letters and add some nonsense sounds. So Paddy would become:
Paddy, paddy, bo-baddy“Yup,” I said, “Riffs would become:
Riffs, riffs, bo-biffs“Fun,” said Mrs K R. “But time to put an end to this nonsense:
End, end, bo-bendHappy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!
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