3/19/2021 0 Comments
Any excuse for a party is good by me. Hallmark holiday… Is there drinking involved? I’m in! Holidays that have no relevance to me… Is there drinking involved? I’m in! Celebrating a landmark occasion in another nation’s history, warping it to fit our own cultural ends… Is there drinking involved? I’m in?!
St. Paddy’s Day definitely fits in to the latter category. The first St. Patrick’s Day Parade on record was held not in Ireland at all, but in what is now St. Augustine, FL in 1601. There and in Ireland it was a somber religious holiday. That didn’t start changing until the 1970s. I willfully disregard this particular cultural incongruity, as I disregard the incongruousness of celebrating occasions that have no relevance to me, nor any real relevance at all. I like to celebrate, hang out with friends, drink, dance and laugh the night (or day, whenever) away. As long as I don't feel that it's causing cultural damage, I’m OK with it.
Where my qualms come into play is with the celebration of a horrific event in another culture.
Imagine you’re walking down the street in the Irish city of Dublin. Its nearing 5:30pm. You’ve finished working for the day and are only a block away from your favorite pub, the Welcome Inn. Dublin bus drivers are on strike, so there are a lot of people sharing the sidewalk with you. You notice some of the people near you. There’s a young couple with two infants coming towards you, and an old man who looks like he might be headed to the pub, as well. Across the street you see a teen-aged gas pump attendant waiting for the next car to pull in. You can practically taste your first pint as you reach for the door. Then you hear an explosion! In the same moment you instinctively stop & turn to see “a big ball of flame coming straight at us, like a great nuclear mushroom cloud whooshing up everything in its path.”
That last sentence is a quote from a man who survived this very real explosion. Though our presence in this scene is fictional, the other people are not, they all died in the bombing. It was a car that had exploded, and within 90 minutes of this first attack three other car bombs would go off in or near Dublin, killing 34 people. The date of was Friday the 17th of May 1974.
Though this car bomb attack was perhaps the worst, it wasn’t the first, and it certainly wasn’t the last. It was one of many that took place during the time of “The Troubles.”
The Troubles lasted from the late 1960s – the late 1990s. The conflict was primarily political, between people who wanted Northern Ireland to remain part of Great Britain and people who wanted Northern Ireland to leave and join a United Ireland. There was much violence done by both sides, including such common use of car bombs as weapons that when somebody in the U.S. was looking to name a drink that had all Irish ingredients and involved splashing and bubbling, calling it an Irish Car Bomb seemed pretty clever.
But it wasn’t. The name sucks unless you’re into drinking other people’s misery. It’s a delicious drink though, (that’s right, this fancy mixolologist said it) and deserves to be enjoyed. So, let’s just put this thing to bed and all agree to adopt the alternate name which has gained traction, the Irish Slammer.
Time for a recipe! Today you get a two for one, both the Irish Slammer, and Homemade Irish Cream.
1/3 of a pint of Guinness
A shot glass half full of Irish Whiskey, half full of Irish Cream
Drop the shot glass into the pint. Raise to your lips and chug fast, you want it to curdle in your stomach, not in the glass.
DIY Irish Cream
2 oz Irish Whiskey (I like something around 90 prf, like Teeling)
1 oz Simple Syrup or Demerara Syrup*
1 oz Heavy Cream
Dash Chocolate Bitters
4 drops Orange Blossom Water
Shake with ice, strain in to a rocks glass. Serve neat or over ice. Or with Coffee. Or Ice Cream.
2 parts Turbinado or “Raw” sugar
1 part water
Combine in a pan over medium high heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
History of St. Patrick's Day https://www.history.com/topics/st-patricks-day/history-of-st-patricks-day
Hidden Histories of the Northern Ireland Troubles, a podcaast by Gareth Mulvenna