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What Did an Irish girl do on St. Patrick’s Day?

“May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light, may good luck pursue you each morning and night”


So now that ST. Patrick’s day is behind us I am proud to say that I did not succumb to temptation and drink green beer with friends like we were still in college – in fact I had decided weeks earlier that I would find a way to celebrate the holiday with a more grownup twist.

So with this rule firmly in place, I started searching for wines produced in Ireland, and low and behold YES Ireland does make wine.  Most of the vineyards are located around Cork in the southwest corner; unfortunately, the big brass did not want me travelling to Ireland to explore their viticulture so instead I called a friend.  Jason is from Ireland and he had his family send us some honey mead from Bunratty Castle.  This ancient Celtic beverage is simply honey wine and is simply delicious, also a perfect mood setter: think Celtic parties, pagan rituals, or wenches in taverns.

Next, I went to Spain. The northwest corner of the country is the autonomous region know as Galicia and there you will indeed find some lovely wines; including one of my FAVORITES, Albarino from the Rias-Biaxas region.  The land, the forests and even some of the houses are evocative of Ireland and Scotland in this region of Spain.  Until of course you see Roman ruins and lemon trees growing everywhere.  But when all your friends are sipping warm green beer on Sunday treat yourself to a crisp cool glass of Albarino, you may never drink Pinot Gringo again.

Next, a little closer to home there are a couple dozen wineries in the good ole USA that have strong Celtic ties – Firesteed vineyards in Washington, and Concannon and Plumpjack in California are among my favorites. The reds from all of them would be a dreamy pair with a traditional Shepherd’s pie or corn beef and cabbage.

But sometimes it has to be said that you can’t beat ‘em so you need to join them – in that case drink a beer – but don’t settle for the cheap keg stuff. Treat yourself to a beautiful handcrafted beer. If you like a crisp white wine try a wheat beer; if a fruity pinot noir is more your style then you’ll enjoy a lambec infused with fruit; and if you love sipping a big syrah try a smoky porter.  Ask questions; break out of your rut, try something new.

Oh so what did I actually end up imbibing for this most famous of all drinking holiday’s?  Green milk with my six year old daughter – but it felt very grown up.

Cheers and may you live as long as you want and never want as long as you live.

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