Authentic Irish Drinks for St. Patrick’s Day

Need drink ideas for your St. Patrick’s Day celebration? Look to the Emerald Isle for libation inspiration!

We asked a few North Shore Irish pubs for their top suggestions:


St Paddy’s Day isn’t complete without Guinness. Patrick Breslin, owner of The Celtic Knot in Evanston, recommends storing this beloved stout at 39 degrees.

He also advises: “A proper pour is very important. Pour about 3/4 of the glass, let it settle, then add the rest.”

If stouts aren’t your style, try Smithwick’s, a red ale with a clear ruby color and creamy head. It goes down smoothly and pairs well with hearty Irish food.

For a completely different taste, sample a Magners Cider.  This tart and refreshing brew can be had on its own or combined with equal parts Guinness to create a Snakebite (bars call this concoction by various names, so be specific when ordering).

Similarly, combining equal parts Guinness and Harp (an Irish pale lager) creates a Half and Half.

If you decide to combine Guinness with other beers, follow these steps:
1. Fill the glass halfway with the lighter beer
2. Pour the Guinness very slowly, letting it flow over the back of a spoon. This prevents any splashing or premature mixing.
3. Enjoy, and don’t worry what any Guinness purists say about mixing it with other beers!


Irish whiskey is said to be one of the oldest distilled beverages in Europe, and its popularity endures today.

If you’re new to the world of whiskey, Richard Rice, bartender at Hackney’s on Lake Avenue in Glenview says “Jameson tops the list of Irish whiskeys” but also recommends Tullamore Dew, Bushmills and Powers as good entry points.

A newer whiskey is Feckin, a cheeky brand aimed at the adventurous drinker, available at Bridie McKenna’s in Highwood.


Maybe blended drinks are more your speed? Mix up one of these classics:

Irish Coffee
Courtesy of The Celtic Knot
Into an Irish Coffee glass, add 1 ounce Irish Mist whiskey liqueur and 1 ounce Jameson’s. Fill with hot coffee and top with whipped cream.

Baby Guinness
Courtesy of Hackney’s
Fill a shot glass halfway with Kahlua, and slowly pour Baily’s Irish Crème on top. This can also be served over ice, although then the visual image of the black and white liqueurs is lost.

Not sure where to go for the best Irish grub? Check out Julie Chernoff’s article for St. Patrick’s Day dining options.