On March 17th, we’re all a little bit Irish!
The Irish have contributed greatly to Canadian society, from joyful fiddle music to the magic of leprechauns, and the pleasures of fine literature and Irish whiskey. These are just some of the ways the Irish have shared their traditions and enhanced our culture.
St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th is named after Ireland’s patron saint, who may possibly have chased the snakes out of Ireland (though it’s not clear that there were any snakes in Ireland, so that may be a bit of Irish blarney). It’s a day when all things Irish are celebrated, whether you have Irish roots or not. So wear something green and head out to one of Ottawa’s great Irish pubs!
The Heart & Crown, D’arcy McGee’s Irish Pub, and Patty’s Pub are just a few, and they will be hosting unforgettable all-day parties on March 17th. They’ll welcome you warmly with live music, Irish food and drinks, and a good energy that makes you feel right at home. Why do folks wear green on this day? Tradition says that wearing green makes you invisible to mischievous leprechauns, who like to pinch you. This is likely the reason for green beer, too. You don’t want the leprechauns stealing your beer!
As the Irish say:
May your troubles be less
And your blessings be more.
And nothing but happiness
Come through your door.
Several excellent beers and ciders are made in Ireland, and their whiskey is well-known too. Here are a few of the most popular:
A dry and refreshing pilsner-style lager. It’s light, crisp, and smooth, with a slight hint of vanilla and a hoppy finish. There’s definitely going to be more of this one at my house as the weather warms up.
LCBO#271619 • 5% • $3.00 — on sale til March 26
SMITHWICK’S PREMIUM RED ALE
A favourite red ale, brewed since 1710. It has appetizing malty and caramel flavours, with a slightly bitter hops finish. It’s very versatile with foods such as barbeque ribs, spicy foods, or a pulled pork sandwich.
LCBO#270439 • 4.5% • $3.25
MAGNER’S ORIGINAL IRISH CIDER
A medium-sweet cider made with 17 varieties of apple. It’s lightly carbonated and tastes predominantly of juicy yellow apples—a great alternative to beer for those who are gluten-free.
LCBO#699389 • 4.5% • $4.05
BAILEYS SALTED CARAMEL
Caramel. Salt. Chocolate. Cream. Need I say anything more? Oh yes, there’s whiskey in it, too! Fabulous poured over ice cream, into coffee, or simply on its own.
LCBO#400259 • 17% • $33.30
Ireland’s iconic best-selling whiskey that was triple-distilled for smoothness. Lovely subtle aromas of white flowers, nectarines, ripe pears and cloves, with a mellow palate that adds vanilla, honey and ginger flavours. I highly recommend this memorable whiskey, which you can enjoy neat or add to your coffee on a windy March evening.
Fun fact: To distinguish Irish whiskey from that stuff made in Scotland, it is spelled “whiskey”, with an “e”.
LCBO#10157 • 40% • $38.95
For a hilarious crash course on Irish whiskey, watch comedian and writer Aisling Bea:
Irish blessings are a beloved tradition. This one, with images of wind, sun and rain, reflects Ireland’s deep connection with Nature.
May the road rise up to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields,
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.
On March 17th, we can all be little bit Irish. So get in touch with your inner leprechaun and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day!
For more wine and food discovery from Jane Staples, visit www.bellovinoj.com
Header photo: iStock