Pour it On!: St. Paddy’s Day
Experts pair drinks with traditional Irish fare
It's often said everyone is Irish on St. Patrick's Day and, yes, your Kelly green-bedecked patrons will drink plenty of Jameson and Guinness. Hopefully they'll also eat some Irish fare to help soak up that booze.
So what to pair with that? We asked two experts—Azrhiel Frost, bar manager at The Gage in Chicago, who honed her skills at Chicago bars like Aviary and Celeste and was named to Wine Enthusiast's 2016 Top 40 Under 40 Tastemakers list; and Tom Dowd, executive general manager for the Philadelphia and Chicago locations of Fadó Irish Pub, who is also a certified cicerone and was named 2003 "chef of the year" for his former restaurant Thornton's Irish Pub by the Irish Herald San Diego—for their insight.
Bangers & Mash
Frost: A riff on a mimosa with vodka or gin, Luxardo Maraschino, orange juice, prosecco and Regan's orange bitters. The brightness of the OJ cocktail is nice, but the Luxardo brings out the savory notes of the sausages.
Dowd: Our banger is made with apple and sage and works beautifully with a pinot noir like Meiomi or cider like Stella Artois Cidre. To highlight the brightness and to end the meal is a good whiskey sour, which would cut through the cream of the potatoes and would be surprising on the palate.
Fish & Chips
Frost: Fish and chips tend to be pretty oily, so something brighter and acidic like a cross between a Brandy Crusta and a Jack Rose: OJ, Curacao, lime, Cognac, grenadine and Angostura bitters to cut through the greasiness.
Dowd: A grain whiskey with soda and a wedge of lemon will help brighten the oil from the batter and fry.
Frost: A creamy beer cocktail, which I love, with Irish whiskey, amaro and a touch of lemon, topped off with a dark creamy beer like Guinness or Irish Blessing, seems homey.
Dowd: A Rum and Black, regular spiced rum with black currant syrup, works beautifully as it has a nice round mouthfeel and has the chocolate notes of a nice Bordeaux.
Corned Beef & Cabbage
Frost: Beer would go best, something lighter with mild hops like a session ale. We have a golden ale we collaborated on with Revolution Brewing called Gagelicious and that goes well. It's mild and easy drinking like corned beef and cabbage is easy eating.
Dowd: A Riesling as sweet as you could find to play off the vinegar and pickling spice. If served with a mustard sauce, the sweetness of the Riesling cuts through all the roadblocks to pairing.
(eggs, bangers, rashers, Irish baked beans, grilled tomato, black pudding, toast)
Frost: Irish coffee beefed up with Sambuca: half Irish whiskey, half Sambuca topped with coffee and cream. Coffee and sausage work well together.
Dowd: Sauvignon Blanc works perfectly, but Irish coffee works because you're having breakfast, so have a coffee. We use Tullamore Dew with brown demerara sugar and hand-whipped cream. It takes on the nuances of the coffee vs. overpowering it with whiskey flavor.
Frost: It's so hearty, so you'd want something like a full-bodied red like Napa cabernet or a tempranillo to stand up to it.
Dowd: A Manhattan would work. We use a sweet vermouth and Black Bush. The mouthfeel creates that rich chocolate and coffee feeling. I also like a whiskey and cola. I would use a proper single malt like a Green Spot, which is sweeter and hits the back of your palate.