Celebrating the Emerald Isle year-round makes every day feel like St. Patrick’s Day at Irish 31, where Guinness and green are always in style. We recently sat down with bartender Robyn Danski, who was already adorned in lucky shamrocks, to discuss getting into the holiday spirit and to learn how to sip like a Leprechaun. Danski also offered us a recipe for a classic drink with an Irish twist.
This year, Irish 31 is celebrating St. Patrick's Day for two days, with special food, drinks and song. First, on the evening of St. Patrick’s Day, Wednesday, March 17, there will be live music from the Steve Sipes band from 6 to 9 p.m. Then, on Saturday, March 20, experience the St. Paddy’s Playback featuring Saint Tone from 2 to 5:30 p.m. and Frederick Miller from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Both days, the kitchen will be serving traditional Irish favorites such as corned beef and cabbage and Mulligan stew.
But what can we wash all that brisket down with?
While Guinness is a tried and true classic of the season, Danski recommends trying other traditional Irish brews. For lighter beer lovers, there’s Harp, a pale lager that comes from Dublin, or Smithwick's, a ruby-red ale that’s been popular in Ireland since the first batch was made in 1710. If you like a sweet pucker, try sipping a Magner’s cider, made from 17 different kinds of Irish apples.
Irish 31 doesn't just serve beer, though. The restaurant actually makes its own whiskey, i31, in Ybor City. The golden liquid can be sipped on its own or blended into a cocktail. The restaurant’s signature i31 Pot o’ Gold is a shimmering concoction made with whiskey, apple cider, fresh lime and mint and finished with an end of the rainbow candy twist.
Other holiday favorites include Irish coffee, a cup of joe spiked with whiskey, or Bailey’s Irish Cream for milky chocolate notes. Danski smiles when describing the popular Green Tea shot, a winning mixture of Jameson, peach schnapps and sour mix. There’s also the festive Tito’s Leprechaun Lemonade, a green-colored take on a citrus sour.
For those of you joining the festivities from home, here’s a recipe of Danski's for a classic with an Irish kick:
Prep time: 15 minutes. Makes one drink.
1.5 ounces Irish whiskey
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1/2 ounces lime juice
3 ounces ginger beer
To a copper mule mug filled with ice, add whiskey, simple syrup and lime juice. Top with ginger beer and give a gentle stir. To garnish, spank a few mint leaves to bring out the aroma and flavors and place them on top.
Irish 31 is located at 3750 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, and is open noon-9 p.m. Tuesday, noon-8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, noon-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon-8 p.m. Sunday. For more info, call (941) 234-9265 or visit the restaurant's website.