Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all you Irish by blood and at heart out there! While I am not any amount of Irish that I know of (some of my family history is a bit fuzzy…), so I thought this week I’d celebrate today with a loosely Irish-inspired Minnesota cocktail.
The spirit in use today very clearly had to be whiskey… but which one? I actually had a really hard time choosing. I paced the whiskey section of my local liquor store for quite a while until settling on my choice: 11 Wells‘ MN 13 White Whiskey. A few things sold me on this choice: I’d never had a white whiskey before, it’s made in St. Paul, and I wanted something completely outside the box… and yes, I’m realizing I’m using the term “whiskey” very loosely for all of you vivacious Irish or whiskey lovers out there.
I’ve got to admit, I was nowhere near prepared for this tasting experience. First off, the smell was very unexpected. That is definitely not to say that the smell is bad, it just does not smell like the whiskey I’m sure most of us are used to. The reason? Corn.
Minnesota 13 is actually an open pollinated heritage corn that was developed by the University of Minnesota in the late 1800’s. During prohibition, that corn was turned into moonshine (way to be rebels Minnesotans!) and 11 Wells is bringing back that tradition. In short, this is more moonshine than whiskey. In fact, white whiskey is a term used to describe a high-proof distilled spirit that historically would have been produced illicitly.
In terms of flavor, it starts out really mellow, but develops quickly with a slight alcohol taste mixed with a cornfield subtlety. There are definitely also hints of sweetness in the middle. The finish is really short, but surprisingly smooth. Despite the alcoholic taste, there’s really no burn to this baby at all.
So how in the world was I going to make this Irish-y? Well… little known fact, Josh and I have a Saint Patrick’s Day tradition that is a bit out of the box. We’ve always tried to go out for a pint of Irish beer, but I slowly (and stubbornly) discovered that I actually reeeeeally don’t like going to Irish pubs on St. Paddy’s. They are always over crowded, bartenders are extremely busy/stressed/pissed, and inevitably, you get some drunk guy with rancid breath right up in your face. Luckily, most of the Irish pubs we tried to pay a visit to were conveniently located next to Mexican restaurants. One year, after finally having enough, I said “Ah hell, let’s just go get margaritas – those are green drinks too!” With that, the tradition was born.
Therefore, without further adieu, I give you the MN Ginger Moonshine Margarita:
- 2 oz MN 13 White Whiskey
- 1 oz triple sec
- 1 oz lime juice
- 1/2 oz Ginger beer
- Candied ginger for garnish
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and give it a good healthy stir – stir a lot longer than you think you need to. Pour into glass over ice, garnish with a piece of candied ginger, and enjoy!
Cheers and Happy St. Paddy’s everyone!