You don’t have to spend a lot of green to go green this St. Patrick’s Day — you just have to know where to save without sacrificing quality.
These St. Patrick’s Day cocktails will not only set your celebration apart from the typical green-beer-and-leprechaun-decoration fests but will cost you well under $5 per serving to make. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on March 17 with these budget-friendly cocktails.
The langered leprechaun has a little of everything most folks associate with St. Patrick’s Day: the gold of melon liqueur, a rainbow of crushed candies that rim the glass and abundant feeling of cheer you get from sharing an easy-to-make cocktail with close friends.
You can cut costs on your shopping list by making your own melon liqueur. Add 2 cups of chopped honeydew melon and 1½ cups of vodka to a jar and shake vigorously.
Let the mixture stand in a cupboard for three days, and strain it through a fine-mesh sieve lined with a couple layers of cheesecloth, pressing the fruit with the back of a spoon to extract as much liquid as you can.
Pour the extraction in a jar and add 1½ cups of homemade simple syrup — 1 cup sugar dissolved in 1 cup of hot water — then shake well.
To make a langered leprechaun, chill the melon liqueur and gather:
- ¼ cup simple syrup
- ¼ cup fruit-flavored, multi-colored hard candies, crushed
- 1 shot vodka
- 1 shot melon liqueur, chilled
- 1 or 2 shots sweet and sour mix, chilled
- 1 shot ginger ale, chilled
- 1 lime, halved lengthwise and cut into ultrathin slices, about the thickness of a quarter
- 1 lemon, halved lengthwise and cut into ultrathin slices
Pour ¼ cup of simple syrup in a saucer, and spread the crushed candy in an even layer on a second saucer. Dip the rim of a tumbler in the simple syrup, then dip the rim in the crushed candy. Add the liqueur and mixer, and top off with the ginger ale. Drop in a few lemon and lime slices for garnish.
The vivacious citric mintiness of lemon balm melds with the melony sweetness of nectarines for a cocktail that exemplifies restraint. The drink’s floral, herbaceous fragrance cushions any harshness imparted by the vodka.
The daylily (Hemerocallis fulva) garnish plays a key role in the enjoyment of the lilied lass. As you sip, take in the creamy, clovish scent of the lily, rounding out the sensations by engaging the olfactory directly. Daylilies are edible, but have little flavor.
Before using any flower in a cocktail or dish, check its edibility. For example, although daylilies are edible, Easter lilies (Lilium longiflorum) are not, despite the similarity of their common names.
The lilied lass calls for simple syrup, which you can make yourself by heating equal parts sugar and water until the sugar dissolves. Vodka only supplies the alcohol here, so a budget bottle works as well as a premium brand.
To make a lilied lass, gather the following:
- ½ cup ripe nectarines or peaches, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 or 3 lemon balm leaves
- 2 shots green melon liqueur
- ½ shot lime juice
- 1 shot vodka, chilled
- Club soda, chilled
- 1 daylily, cut to 3-inch stem
Muddle the lemon balm and nectarines in the bottom of a cocktail shaker using a wooden spoon. Add the green melon liqueur, lime juice, vodka and fill with ice. Shake to mix and pour into a tumbler or martini glass. Top off with the club soda and garnish with one daylily.
If you’re not lucky enough to have a chunk of Blarney stone to kiss nearby, this drink makes a viable — and much tastier — substitute. A simple blend of vodka, green apple schnapps, lime and ginger beer makes the blarney stone a fun drink best enjoyed as soon as it’s poured.
Like in most mixed drinks, you don’t want to use a top-shelf vodka in a blarney stone — any inexpensive brand will do — but you should use traditional, non-alcoholic ginger beer to get the best results.
For a low-cost St. Patrick’s Day cocktail you can’t get enough of, first chill the following:
- 1 shot vodka
- ½ shot of lime juice
- 1 ½ shots green apple schnapps
- ginger beer
Mix the vodka and lime juice in a cocktail shaker of crushed ice and strain into an ice-filled tumbler. Garnish with a lime twist.
You could romanticize poitín — anglicized as poteen — as a symbol of homemade booze gone legit. Originally made from potatoes or grain in small rural stills, poteen was essentially 17th-century white whiskey, or Irish moonshine.
Fast forward to 2017. Not only has poteen gained legality but achieved a protected European Geographic Indication, up there with the likes of prosciutto di Parma, Stilton cheese and Scottish farmed salmon.
But fame hasn’t changed poteen much, as you can still get a bottle of 140-proof at a modest price. If you can’t get a hold of true poteen, you can substitute pure-grain alcohol in the Celtic clatter.
“Clatter” refers to a strong punch in Irish colloquialism, and hit you it does. To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a taste of 17th-century Ireland, fill a cocktail shaker with crushed ice and add the following:
- 1 shot Irish poitin or pure-grain alcohol
- 1 shot melon liqueur
- 2 parts sweet-and-sour mix
Shake, strain and serve in a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange spiral or a wide, long slice of lemon zest.
Like the eponymous Irish hat, the scally cap combines classy and casual. Similar to a blarney stone but with a little more kick, the scally cap fits in any St. Patrick’s Day soiree, rowdy or respectable.
You can save some dough and make your own orange liqueur for this drink. Peel the zest from eight oranges, and add them to a jar. Pour in 2 cups of vodka, seal the jar and shake vigorously.
Let the mixture stand in a cupboard for at least three days, and strain it through a fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth and into a jar. Add 1½ cups of simple syrup and shake vigorously to incorporate.
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, mix:
- 1 ½ shots vodka
- 1 shot orange liqueur
- 1 shot green melon liqueur
- ½ shot lime juice
- 2 dashes bitters
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lime twist.
This St. Paddy’s Day favorite celebrates “Lanigan’s Ball,” a rowdy Irish folk song dating back to at least the mid-19th century that tells the story of Jeremy Lanigan, a young man who, upon his father’s death, inherits his land and money.
After receiving his inheritance, Lanigan threw a grand ball to repay those who helped him in troubled times. As the song goes, Lanigan’s ball was a roaring success. But as the evening wore on and after a few social faux pas were committed, the ball turned into a raucous brawl.
Numerous Irish and Irish-American artists have covered “Lanigan’s Ball,” including Christy Moore, Enter the Haggis and Dropkick Murphys. Kick off your St. Patrick’s Day with your favorite version of “Lanigan’s Ball” and its namesake cocktail.
In a cocktail shaker filled with crushed ice, mix the following:
- ½ shot sweet vermouth
- 1 shot Irish poteen or vodka
- 1 shot sour apple liqueur
- ½ shot lemon juice
Strain into a tumbler or highball glass, top off with club soda and garnish with a lemon twist.
The shamrock shake doesn’t fit the typical St. Patrick’s Day definition of a drink, but it’s a perfect opportunity to enjoy an ice-cream cocktail while celebrating an internationally recognized cultural and religious holiday.
The shamrock shake offers a sweet respite from green beer and mixed drinks and includes chocolate, which should constitute a holiday in itself. You can use either vanilla or mint ice cream in a shamrock shake.
To make an undeniably delish shamrock shake this St. Patrick’s Day, blend the following ingredients:
- 1 shot Irish whiskey
- ½ shot crème de menthe
- 2 scoops vanilla or mint ice cream
Pour the shake into a chilled cocktail or milkshake glass and garnish with a few long, curly shaves of dark chocolate.