Krystyn Decker: Bartender’s Guide to Paddy’s

St. Patrick’s day is sneaking up on us fairly quickly, which is great news for the Irish, great news for people who will take any excuse to party, and an emotional rollercoaster for bartenders who have to deal with rowdy crowds virtually from sunrise.

How would I know? Well, before my 18 birthday I began serving in a restaurant. As soon as I turned 18, as I’m from Alberta, I dived head first into a bar out of excitement for my pockets overflowing with tips. Six years later, and little did I know that I’d have enough ridiculous, hilarious, and cringy stories to write an entire series of books.

Paddy’s Day spirit

St. Patrick’s Day is the day of all days for bartenders. As I mentioned before — an emotional rollercoaster. The sales you make in alcohol alone are phenomenal, not too mention drunk people love their snacks. Basically from the time you step into work until the time you clock out, there’s a constant uproar of drunken crowds ordering fish and chips, Guinness, and green beer — yes, green beer.

I’m sure you’ve experienced green beer on Paddy’s Day, and if you haven’t, you’re clearly hitting up the wrong bars. Okay so honestly, it’s really not that exciting. Every bar I’ve worked at over my lifetime has served green beer on St. Patrick’s Day. Generally speaking, they just use their house lager and add a few drops of green food colouring to every pint. It’s a fantastic way to add some Paddy’s Day spirit into your celebrations at home this March 17.

Not into beer? Me either! There’s an assortment of shots that’ll do the trick, some strong and some not.

Jameson Jell-O Shots are one of my favourites. Simple to make, and fun to eat. Simply make Jell-O shots as you normally would, but replace the vodka with Jameson Irish Whiskey. Add 1/2 cup of fresh lime juice, 20 drops of green dye if you’re using unflavoured gelatin, and for extra flavour, throw in 1/2 cup of fresh mint leaves prior to adding in the gelatin, and muddle with sugar.

Irish Car Bomb 

Combine a half-full pint glass of Guinness and a shot glass one half Jameson, one half Bailey’s. Drop the shot glass into the pint glass, and finish by chugging the whole thing before it curdles. Here you have it, an “Irish Car Bomb”. This sweet and chocolatey shot will mess you up, for more than one reason. Asking for an “Irish Car Bomb” offends a lot of people, especially the Irish. Asking for it in an Irish bar can you get you into trouble, resulting in a possible punch in the face. Seriously, it’s happened. Ignore the name, try it anyway!

This St. Patrick’s Day, whether you’re staying in, having a get-together at home, or going out, make sure you pay respect to your bartenders. You have no idea how hectic it is trying to drop food colouring into a pint of lager while a hurdle of drunken customers are yelling at you from the other end of the bar, and someone else is trying to order Guinness fish and chips with extra chips, crispy batter, hold the tartar, side of ketchup. Finally, don’t order an “Irish Car Bomb”, out loud anyway.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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