Blog post published USBG Pulse March 17, 2015
By: Trent Simpson
Possibly one of the most prominent “drinking holidays,”St. Patrick’s Day was historically noted for paying homage to St. Patrick by lifting the Christian Lenton, or Lent, restrictions on eating and drinking for the day, which propagated the popularity of drinking on March 17th.
As a bartender, what does St. Patrick’s Day mean to you? Do you look at St. Patrick’s Day as an event that can make or break the month of March? Do you pull a 20-hour shift and rake in two months rent working at an Irish pub? Maybe you take the night off to indulge in the revelry and shenanigans of the holiday, or you work at a fine dining establishment and cherish in the slow nature of the night concocting a special with some new promising Irish whiskeys or Guinness inspired cocktails?
In San Francisco, we were fortunate to have Ireland native Andrew Sweeney, who is immersed in the traditions of Irish culture, especially whiskey production, take us through his extensive and delicious line of Irish whiskeys. It was not only educational but also eye opening—from the smooth Kilbeggan to the fruity Greenore and peaty Connemara. After many decades of being rendered obsolete, Irish whiskey has made a re-emergence, with the fastest growth of any whiskey category, including scotch and bourbon. The Irish whiskey market is booming, with many distilleries opening up even as we speak. From single malts to single grains, peated drams and specialty finishes, these delightful whiskeys are already available to the US consumer or coming very soon.
Perhaps it’s time to rethink your Irish traditions and expand your horizons beyond the traditional Jameson and Guinness. In any case, whichever your tipple may be, and wherever you end up, indulge responsibly and encourage your guests to appreciate the finer things in life as they pay homage to their revered St. Patrick.
Special thanks to Mr. Andrew Sweeney for providing the photographs, USBG SF, Jennifer Sobb and Beam Suntory.
Treasurer, Northern California USBG
Bar Manager, La Urbana