Wines are OK for St. Patrick's Day, begorrah
The annual ritual of St Patrick's Day is one that conjures levity, a sea of green and, for many, the once-a-year treat of corned beef and cabbage.
Beverage of choice is sometimes a traditional American lager with a tint of green food coloring or the famous Irish stout Guinness. While touted to have been first brewed in the 1700s, the first shipment of Guinness came to New York City around 1840.
Fast forward 100 years. Between 1950 and 1974, Guinness breweries begin to open up around the world. What the brewer calls "extra stout" is a beer that tastes of rich, roasted malt and has a bittersweet finish. Guinness is great with a hearty beef stew, shepherd's pie or roasted salmon. All very acceptable St. Patrick's Day fare.
But Guinness with corned beef and cabbage? I prefer a beverage that plays well with the range of flavors in the dish: sweet, salty, fatty and a touch of bitterness left in the steamed cabbage. My wine of choice is a dry Riesling. The Alsace region of France (located in northeast France, bordering Germany) and Germany produce very good dry Rieslings.
Blue Fish from Pfalz, Germany, is one such wine. This wine offers aromas of peach and apricot and flavors of fruit and a touch of acidity. A great balance for your once-a-year indulgence. Red wine is OK here, too – light pinot noir with its slight sweetness and acidity would pair well.
For some, this is less of a food holiday and more of a celebratory drinking holiday with the necessity of food. Jameson Irish Whiskey produces more than 54 million bottles a year and is probably the most well-known Irish whiskey. Frequently consumed neat or on the rocks, there also are some delicious cocktails recipes made with Jameson.
Two of my favorites: Jameson and ginger ale with a fresh-lime garnish and or an "Irish Mule" that consists of Jameson and ginger beer. The ginger beer (a nonalcoholic carbonated ginger soda) gives this drink a refreshing, clean finish.
Now that we have had a few Irish beers, food and whiskey, how about some coffee to top off the day? Irish coffee is the answer.
Bailey's is a liqueur made with Irish whiskey and cream. The ingredients are emulsified, resulting in a smooth and attractively sweet sipper. While Bailey's on the rocks is just fine, it is the Irish coffee that makes it shine.
For a proper Irish coffee, measure 2 oz. Baileys, 6 oz. hot coffee and an ounce of Jameson Irish whiskey. For some additional festiveness, top it with a dollop of whipped cream. By the bottom of the glass, you will be singing the Londonderry Air Danny Boy with pride and passion.
Wherever you go and whatever you do, take the luck of the Irish with you. Sláinte.
Laura Owen is executive chef with CJ's on the Bay. She is a wine connoisseur, and along with Adamo Serravalle of Marco Prime and DaVinci's, and Marco Porto of chop239 is a regular contributor to this column.