3 drinks with Marin ties perfect for St. Pats

March 17 is this Sunday. So, the question becomes: How are you celebrating St. Patrick’s Day? Maybe you’ve got your green beer, your St. Patrick’s shirt, a four-leaf clover and perhaps, you’re even going to try speaking some Gaelic?

Well, guess what, none of those things are Irish. The Irish speak Irish (the English call it Gaelic), the symbol of Ireland is the regular three-leaf clover (representing the Trinity), not the four-leaf variety, St. Patrick himself was Roman-British and green beer? Really?

Of the two largest culturally appropriated drinking holidays (the other being Cinco de Mayo), St. Patrick’s Day might be the most widespread. Chicago even dyes its namesake river green. But the truth is not everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, at least not in the obvious ways. And you can take that from an Irish-Scottish-American guy with a Germanic last name.

But traditions die hard. “A tradition is kept alive only by something being added to it,” once said American-British-possibly-Irish author Henry James. (I do hereby claim him on behalf of my Irish ancestry.) So it’s in that spirit that we seek to add something new to that tradition. And not simply by hyphenating it. I’ve taken the liberty of assembling some libations to help celebrate (or even bemoan) the upcoming holiday.

For those still looking for an “authentic” Irish experience but with minimal effort, there’s always the Buena Vista’s Irish coffee, which was invented in Ireland for American tourists and then made famous by San Francisco’s Buena Vista bar. It’s also readily available at the Buena Vista’s sister restaurant, the Trident in Sausalito. And there’s nothing that literally screams an American-style St. Patrick’s Day like a tourist sitting in a Sausalito bar drinking Irish coffee.

Part-time Sausalito resident Marimar Torres' refreshing wines will pair well with corned beef and cabbage. (Courtesy of Marimar Estate)
Part-time Sausalito resident Marimar Torres’ refreshing wines will pair well with corned beef and cabbage. (Courtesy of Marimar Estate)


Danny’s Irish Style Red Ale, Moylan’s Brewery, Novato, 6.5% ABV, $4.50 a 16-ounce can, $14 for a four pack

It’s doubtful that any green beer is actually Irish beer. It’s usually inexpensive American lager beer with green food coloring added. The Irish do make a red beer (red ale specifically), utilizing kiln-dried malt and barley, which gives the beer its unique reddish color and toffee taste. Moylan’s Brewery in Novato makes a splendid example. They also make a superb Irish stout, but since their Irish stout is a nitrogen-pressed beer, it doesn’t travel particularly well. So, you have options for St. Pat’s. You can either get your red ale to-go, or plop down at the bar and get your stout. I will let you decide which is more Irish.

More information at moylans.com/brewery.


Marimar Estate, Don Miguel Vineyard, Albariño, 2022, $34

Wait, what? Wine? And isn’t part-time Sausalito resident Marimar Torres of Spanish descent? We are in California after all, and yes, she’s of Spanish descent (her family is the Spanish wine giant Torres), but the Portuguese version of the Albariño grape is called “vinho verde,” which means “green wine,” so we’re going with it here. It’s no less Irish than green beer, right? It also happens to be a wonderfully crisp and refreshing white wine that goes with virtually anything, perhaps up to and including corned beef and cabbage. And if it doesn’t, any of her pinot noirs certainly will.

More information at marimarestate.com.


Moylan’s American Single Malt Whisky, 43% ABV, $52

Irish whiskey is typically made from barley and distilled three times before being aged for at least three years. However, typical is not mandatory. The only legal requirement is that it’s aged for at least three years, which is one year longer than the minimum requirement for American straight whiskeys. And so, Brendan Moylan makes the list again. This time with his Stillwater-distilled Moylan’s American Single Malt Whisky (a 2022 gold medal winner at the U.S. Open Whiskey Championship). Moylan drops the “e” on his whiskeys because he follows the Scottish styles. Irish whiskey usually has an “e” but borders are often just arbitrary lines on paper that then become fortified positions. The same is true with the “e.” Moylan’s whiskey is rich and full bodied, mellowed by multiple barreling, first in new oak as required by U.S. law, and secondly in orange brandy barrels. At 43% ABV (86 proof), it’s relatively easy drinking. Great in an American/Irish coffee, or best on its own with a splash of water.

More information at moylansdistilling.com.


Jeff Burkhart is the author of “Twenty Years Behind Bars: The Spirited Adventures of a Real Bartender, Vol. I and II,” the host of the Barfly Podcast on iTunes (as seen in the NY Times) and an award-winning bartender at a local restaurant. Follow him at jeffburkhart.net and contact him at [email protected]