Every St. Patrick’s Day, I go looking for something a little more interesting than shot after shot of Jameson, or heaven forbid, that frat boy staple, the Irish Car Bomb. Now, I’d normally never turn down a sip of a hot Irish Coffee around this time of year, but with the West Coast being unseasonably warm right now, I knew I had to get a little more creative to celebrate Ireland’s favorite saint.
So, this year I’ll be drinking a Tipperary, which works perfectly for the occasion. The cocktail pairs a slug of Irish whiskey, with the soft herb and grape notes from Italian vermouth, and the spicy, sweet French green Chartreuse, which ties the whole shebang together. And while the drink would be similar to a great many equal-parts cocktails of differing names and ingredients, its 19th century origins predates it’s cousins, the Cocktail a la Louisiane, Boulevardier, and Negroni.
Harry Johnson reportedly created the blueprint for the Tipperary with the grandfather of equal-parts cocktails, the Bijou, in the late 1890s. The Bijou consists of equal parts gin, green Chartreuse, and sweet vermouth, with a dash of orange bitters and a lemon twist. Now, swap out the sweet, spicy Chartreuse for bittersweet Campari, and you have a Negroni. Replace the Negroni’s gin with American whiskey, and you have a Boulevardier. And replace the Boulevardier’s Campari with Benedictine and toss in a dash of absinthe and some bitters, and you have the Louisiane.
And that’s how most drinks are created, really, by simple substitution. After all, a Margarita is little more than a Sidecar with tequila in place of Cognac and lime in place of lemon, right? Well it certainly appears from a historical perspective that the Tipperary is simply a Bijou with Irish whiskey in place of the gin, omitting the bitters.
And since any respectable bar will carry the three ingredients required to make the drink, with a recipe of proportions that would take some work to screw up, your friendly local bartender should be more than happy to whip up a Tipperary for you. After all, they’re going to need a break from all of the Irish Car Bombs anyway.
•1 oz. Irish whiskey, such as Power’s
•1 oz. sweet vermouth, such as Cinzano
•1 oz. green Chartreuse
Stir ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
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Jeffrey Morgenthaler is the bar manager at Pépé le Moko and Clyde Common, the acclaimed gastropub at the Ace Hotel in Portland, Oregon. He is also author of The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique.