Skip the green food dye this St. Patrick’s Day – Try an Old Fashioned cocktail instead

If you want to cringe, try Googling “what to drink on St Patrick’s Day.” Cocktails with names such as “Shamrock Juice”, “Emerald Rain”, “Boozy Lucky Charms Cereal Milkshakes” and “The Tipsy Leprechaun” abound among the recommendations from first-page results.

Cocktail recipe blog Mix that Drink shares 17 ideas not without first noting that “The St. Patrick’s Day holiday has a rich history in Irish culture, but let’s face: it’s now basically an excuse to paint stuff green.”

Actual screenshoot of a Google Images search on “what to drink on St Patrick’s Day”

It really doesn’t have to be this way…

If you want to celebrate St. Patricks Day with a cocktail or a pint, you might as well treat yourself to something better.

With Irish whiskey having such a boom in recent years, this might be the perfect occasion to prepare a whiskey-based cocktail.

And which whiskey-cocktail is more popular and timeless than the Old Fashioned? The classic whiskey cocktail has a history that traces back to the 19th century, and while traditionally it calls for Bourbon, the mellow spiciness of many Irish whiskeys makes them a worthy alternative.

Black Bush Old Fashioned Recipe

After attending two inspiring events about women in the drinks industry last week; the first being the launch of the Wine and Spirit Women organisation and the second being Women & Whiskey at Café en Seine, and after writing about the “wine glass ceiling“, I’ve been making a conscious effort to be more vocal in my support of brands with women in leadership roles behind high quality products.

From Patrick Corrigan’s widow Ellen Jane, who took over the company in 1865 to its current master blender Helen Mulholand, who last November entered the Whisky Magazine Hall of Fame (and was the first woman to become part of this outstanding array of whiskey people), Bushmills is no stranger to a woman in charge.

Helen Mulholland Whisky Magazine Hall of Fame

Below, you’ll find an Old Fashioned cocktail recipe using Black Bush, a triple-distilled blend that combines approximately 80% malt whiskey matured in former Oloroso Sherry casks and 20% batch-distilled grain whiskey. Some of the oldest whiskeys in the blend are aged for as long as 18 years.


– 50ml Black Bush Irish Whiskey
– 1 teaspoon of demerara sugar syrup*
– 2 dashes of Angostura bitters
– Orange peel
– Ice


1. In a mixing glass, slowly stir the Black Bush, sugar syrup and Angostura bitters over ice until chilled.
2. Strain over fresh ice in a chilled rocks glass.
3. Garnish with the orange peel.

*To make the sugar syrup, simmer 1 cup of unrefined demerara sugar with 1 cup of water until the sugar is fully dissolved. Allow to cool and decant into a glass bottle.

If you’re eager to try other Irish whiskeys from distilleries in which women are high up in the decision-making process (from master blenders to CEOs), check out Chappel Gate Whiskey’s small batch releases, Roe & Co, and The Sexton.

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