This St Patrick’s Day, we call upon Barney O’Kane – Senior Bartender at the world-famous Little Red Door cocktail bar – to share with us some of his personal insights into the annual celebration as well as his very own St Patrick’s Day cocktail recipe.
Historically, St Patrick’s Day was an ecclesiastic holiday, where families would attend church in the morning followed by a dinner celebration in the afternoon that provided a momentary reprieve from the stringent rules of Lent.
The annual event was transported to America by Irish immigrants, soldiers and clergy, resulting in the first parades in New York City. Nowadays, this has morphed into a global, emerald-splashed party synonymous with dancing, parades, leprechaun costumes, and some serious drinking.
Whilst the gargantuan parades and snowballing of such festivities is neither here nor there to most Irish nationals, the day itself is used as an excuse to meet up with friends for a few drinks.
Beer and dyed green drinks may be the tipple of choice for the parading masses, but this year we decided to ask Little Red Door’s own Barney O’Kane what cocktail he would make to epitomise and celebrate the holiday, as well as quizzing him on Irish hospitality and what the day usually holds for him.
I think I fell in love with the job working in my local pub, then I simply got hooked, nothing exciting, just the most Irish way imaginable I guess.
If you asked the team at Little Red Door they would probably say, “Pain in the ass”, which I think is fair.
Normally for St Patrick’s Day, I would sit in the smallest pub I could find to listen to some traditional Irish music. Usually in Ireland, Saint Patrick’s isn’t as wild as one might think; it’s just a very convenient way to see all your friends together at once.
I would love to sit somewhere and drink some nice whiskey, but this year I will be somewhere in the south-west of France sampling different citrus fruits – not very Irish but I can’t complain.
Irish Hospitality is a strange one. I think the best current example you can find is at Homeboy bar in London, where their entire ethos is about bringing Irish hospitality into the modern cocktail world. If I had to summarise [Irish hospitality] in three words: welcoming, cheeky, and (most importantly) CRAIC!
The drink is called Úllord – the Irish name for “apple orchard”. It is a sort of Irish Manhattan riff, that to me, is my idea of my part of Ireland [Belfast].
Recipe: Úllord Cocktail by Barney O’Kane
Cracteristics: Complex Dry, Fruity
Ingredients: (Serves 1)
40 ml Dead Rabbit Irish Whiskey
15 ml Christian Drouin Calvados
15 ml Baldoria Rosso
15 ml Tempus Fugit Liqueur Rabarbaro
Add all the ingredients to a shaker or glass filled with ice
Stir to combine and chill
Strain into a coupe/ Nick and Nora glass
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