Saints, Snakes and Shamrocks

Music is an integral part of St Patrick’s Day and everything that comes with it. So give a listen to The Pogues above (or any other Irish band that suits your fancy) before, or while, you read on.

The color green has become synonymous with St. Patrick’s Day-a day theoretically Irish but really invented by Irish-Americans and perpetuated by Americans who just like a good excuse to party. Though the Irish are among the top heavy-drinkers in the world (on average, they drink almost 12 liters of pure alcohol a year!) Americans have taken over St. Paddy’s Day, drinking upwards of 3 million pints on the one day alone-and that’s just Guinness).

Guinness, a symbol representing all things Irish, was first created in 1759 by Arthur Guinness. That year, he signed a 9000-year lease on the small, run-down building that would become his brewery. His aim was to create a healthier beverage option. Pickings must have been slim 250 years ago.

The man behind these celebrations was born around 400 AD in Britain, not Ireland. It wasn’t even until Paddy was kidnapped and sold as a slave in Ireland that he became a professing Christian. Now, he’s the patron saint of the country.

March 17, the day we celebrate the man, is thought to be the day of this death. All of the traditions surrounding the celebrations stem from legends of the saint, too-he supposedly used three-leaf clovers as a metaphor for the Holy Trinity.

The color of the day used to be blue but due to the green in the Irish flag, the nickname of the “Emerald Isle,” and the day falling on the just before spring the color was changed to green in the 17th century. Of course, we know green as the color of shamrocks and leprechauns, but their color was changed, too, from red.

Speaking of leprechauns, they are the ones who started the whole pinching thing, so make sure you wear your green.

Legend also says St. Patrick stood on a hill and banished all snakes from the island. This legend has been dashed by those who have told us there never any snakes on the island to begin with. The snakes were actually symbolic of evil on the island-something St. Paddy did try to drive out in his time as a missionary and bishop.

Even though snakes were never a thing in Ireland it doesn’t mean they can’t still be a part of the celebrations.

This year, get your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations going with this tasty Irish “Snakebite” cocktail.

Ingredients:

  • Guinness
  • Hard Cider
  • Black Cherry Syrup

Directions:

1. Pour the cider into a pint glass, filling halfway. We used Harpoon craft cider out of Vermont.

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2. Fill the rest of the pint glass with Guinness.

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3. Top with a splash of syrup.

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This is possibly one of the easiest cocktails you will ever drink and definitely one of the best to kick off St. Party’s.

And if you need a little food to absorb the exorbitant amount of alcohol you will probably be consuming, try the Irish tradition of corned beef and cabbage.

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