Working in restaurants for many years on St. Patrick's day has allowed me to see many local traditions in my hometown in Spokane. I am not Irish but I do love a drinking holiday, and you do not have to be Irish to enjoy some of the many traditions celebrated during this day. This may be one of my favorite days for a few reasons; the color green, whiskey, dark beer, good home-cooked food, spending time with family and friends, music, and dancing. I could not ask for much more in a holiday. Here is a list of things that come to my mind when I think of this holiday.
Whiskey is something that I have not always loved the way I do today more than ever. My favorite drink is a glass of Makers Mark whiskey with a large ice cube, a dash of bitters, some soda water, and a few local cherries! It may not exactly be Irish, but it is whiskey! As the legend goes Saint Patrick received a partially empty glass of whiskey then warned the bartender that the devil comes for the dishonest, the next time he came to the establishment everyone's glasses were full as the stories go. Dunking a shamrock (drownding the shamrock) in your last glass of whiskey as a traditional toast to him. If you are serving in a bar this year, be mindful of your whiskey pours, LOL.
(Mark, Pork Chop and I brewing beer)
Dark beer is another thing that I have learned to enjoy over the years. I love a good dark beer with a scoop of vanilla or chocolate ice cream. A BEER-Float if you will, may sound strange to you, but is something that has become something that I will intentionally make time for. Working fancy brewers dinners that were 5-course meals all made with and pared with local beers, our Chef Dave Hill would make chocolate icecreams with local dark beers and use them as our desserts serving them with the beer as a lot. If you have never had the pleasure of enjoying this delicious item, I would recommend you give it a go. Grab a glass of Guinness or other dark beer and have a drink with me even if you do not decide to add the ice cream. Dark beer also goes well in bread, cheese sauces, soups, and much more, make sure you use a beer you like or your dish may not be enjoyable.
Kilts and bagpipes! Live bagpipes are often played in bars and restaurants in Spokane. While working in many different establishments for this holiday I have had the pleasure of watching many live groups play songs, while dancers perform. Wool kilts are not traditionally worn daily and are reserved for special occasions or special celebrations as weddings or joyous life occasions. They are stored carefully until the next occasion, while musicians may wear their kilt more often while performing. It is a true honor to wear a kilt and is a sign of a true man. Each kilt has a specific color and or pattern that is given to each family to be able to easily identify each other, wearing a kilt if you have not received permission from a clan is a sign of disrespect, others may disapprove and some may not so kindly let you know.
Corned beef and cabbage may not have been one of my favorite things growing up, but has been something that I have learned to enjoy as an adult. One of the best things about working in restaurants is learning how to make, cook and design a meal. Making a beautiful creamed horseradish sauce to serve over a finished corned beef meal with potatoes at home for myself and my husband makes me remember the many years working together for holiday and not being able to celebrate together in the traditional sense. Hard work pays off in the end, on the job training provides beautiful life skills.
The color green has been my favorite for many years. The legend goes that on this day if you wear shades of emerald and chartreuse leprechauns will not be able to see you. The color green can mean many different things to many cultures around the world, but to me it represents; life, growth, health, nature, mother earth, and is calming and relaxing. I hope this year we are all able to associate all shades of green with positivity and not greed, infidelity, or bad news.
If you are out and about this year or celebrating the holiday, remember to raise a glass of whiskey, or dark beer and have a toast at the end of the night to Ireland, yell “Eren go Bragh” ( “Ireland forever”) Or “Slante” (“ health”). What are some of your favorite traditions that you will be celebrating this year? Remember to be safe, drink water, eat some good hearty food, and do not drink and drive. Please be kind this year to those working in establishments and remember to tip your bartenders. Tips stand for To Insure Prompt Service!
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