Have you heard the one about the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?
Legend has it that a couple of poor, Irish farmers were tending their crop when they came upon a leprechaun. This leprechaun promised them whatever they wished so long as the farmers would let him go free. The farmers started wishing for so much that the leprechaun became disgusted. He promised them everything they wanted if they could just find his pot of gold located at the end of the rainbow, leading them on an endless quest for something that didn’t exist.1
Don’t worry—we’re not about to do that to you. The pot of gold we’re talking about isn’t even a gold drink (it’s a green one). Rather than have you chasing rainbows, this pot of gold drink recipe is easy to make and sure to elevate your next get-together. So, follow along to master a brand new cocktail, one of our many Irish drink recipes, that you’ll wish you had been sipping on sooner.
Assembling the Ingredients
While all good cocktails become something more than just a sum of their parts, that doesn’t mean those parts aren’t important. Starting with high-quality ingredients helps ensure that you end up with a high-quality drink. For our pot of gold drink, you’ll need:
Cucumbers – The cucumbers in this drink serve a dual purpose. The majority of the slices will be muddled while making the drink (so don’t worry about how pretty they are). The final slice will be used as a garnish on the glass (do worry about how pretty this one is). For one drink, you’ll need about five slices of cucumber.
Mint – The mint, like the cucumbers, is going to get muddled into the drink, so no need to find only the prettiest sprigs. If you do find a sprig that’s aesthetically pleasing, you can use it as an additional garnish or substitute it for your cucumber garnish. Otherwise, you’ll just need about 8 sprigs for muddling.
Vodka – You didn’t expect to be able to pick all your ingredients up in the produce aisle, did you? Head over to the alcohol and liquor aisle and pick up your favorite vodka to use as the base for this cocktail.
Elderflower – For those unfamiliar, elderflower is, perhaps unsurprisingly, the flower from an elder tree.2 For our purposes, we won’t need the actual flower but a syrup or liqueur that is elderflower-flavored.
Ginger beer – The final ingredient will provide the drink with effervescence—and a bit of a bite. You can choose whatever ginger beer is your favorite, though the quality is important so that the flavor doesn’t get lost.3
Assembling the Tools of the Trade
Now that you have all the ingredients you’ll need, it’s time to make sure you have the equipment to construct the cocktail. You didn’t think this was going to be a case of just adding everything together and then drinking, did you?
Believe it or not, there is a difference between a mixed drink and a cocktail.4 The latter is what you’re about to take on here. It may require a little more work, but the payoff will be worth it.
Shaker – This is the first tool you need to take on any cocktail. Every bartender has their preferred shaker (Boston shakers are always a popular choice). It doesn’t matter which variety you choose, so long as you have something to construct your drink in (and shake it in—hence the name).
Muddler – Not every home bar has a muddler, but every home bar should. A good muddler makes it easy to use fruits in your cocktails, and it sure beats trying to crush a cucumber with the back of a spoon.
Strainer – You may have seen bartenders using the two halves of their shaker to strain their drinks, creating a big enough opening that the liquid comes through while the ice stays put. That’s all well and good, but when dealing with muddled fruit, it’s easier just to use a strainer. In fact, if you want a drink that’s especially neat and tidy—free of tiny fruit bits and ice shards—you may even want to double strain.
Jigger – The temptation when making a cocktail is just to eyeball it when it comes to pouring the liquor. If you’re making something you’re used to, this can be a perfectly fine method. After all, you know what you like. However, for the first couple of tries, it’s advisable to use a jigger that allows you to properly measure your liquor and ensure that you end up with a balanced drink.
Martini glass – You’re going to need something to strain the drink into and, for the pot of gold, a martini glass is a preferred choice. However, you can also use something like a coupe glass or, if you prefer to serve the drink on the rocks, a rocks glass will work just fine.
Fresh Ice – Maybe this belongs in the list of ingredients or maybe it’s just something you take for granted. However, fresh ice is a key element to any tasty cocktail, so much so that it may as well be classified as a tool of the trade. Even the size and makeup of the ice can affect your finished product, so be sure your ice game is on point.
Making the Drink
Once you’re prepped, the pot of gold comes together quickly.
To construct the drink, just follow these steps:5
Step 1 – Put ice in your martini glass and set it off to the side so it will chill while you make the drink.
Step 2 – Put the (non-garnish) cucumbers and mint into your shaker and muddle them. The juice released from the cucumbers should help with the muddling of the mint. Make sure you aren’t left with any overly large chunks of unmuddled cucumber.
Step 3 – Using your jigger to measure, add a 2 ounce shot of vodka and ½ an ounce of elderflower liqueur (or syrup). Fill the shaker with ice.
Step 4 – Shake well. If you’re using a Boston shaker or a shaker and glass, be sure that a tight seal has been made before shaking. If you plan to use a shaker with a cover, be sure it’s on tightly so there’s no spillage. Plus, this drink is so tasty you’ll want to savor every drop.
Pro tip – While shaking, holding the shaker near your ear allows you to listen to the ice. Initial shakes should be loud as the ice starts breaking down. If things become too quiet, your ice is starting to break up too much and you might be overshaking your drink.
Step 4 – Dump the ice out of your martini glass and into a sink or bowl. Using your strainer, strain the drink out of your shaker and into the glass.
Step 5 – Top off the drink with your ginger beer. Remember that shaking could cause the ginger beer to go flat. So, be sure to add this in afterward and complete it with a light stir to combine.
Step 6 – Garnish with either cucumber, mint, or both.
There you have it, your own pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The final result should produce a light green color (from the mint and cucumber). It makes a perfect St. Patrick’s Day drink or something you can sip on whenever you’re in the mood for something light, floral, and slightly spicy. Way better than a gold rush.
Pot of Gold Variations
The beauty of cocktails is that they don’t have to be one-size-fits-all. Unlike the spiteful leprechaun in our original tale, we won’t hold it against you if you’re wishing for something a little different.
Here are a couple of variations you might try:
Gin instead of vodka – Using vodka as a base liquor creates a blank canvas that allows your other ingredients to shine through. However, if you want a slightly more complex variety, you can always use gin. While any preferred gin will do, find one that pairs well with cucumber in order for this recipe to reach its full potential.
Flavored vodka – For some people, the heavy juniper quality of gin may be overpowering. If you still want to experiment with your base liquor, feel free to go with a flavored vodka to see how that changes your final product. Cucumber-flavored vodka would be an easy swap, or you can try your hand at a house-infused ginger vodka for extra spice.
Fruit change – If you’re not a big cucumber fan, you can always go for a more traditional elderflower martini (which is a gold drink in color). Simply take out the cucumber and mind, add in fresh lemon juice (or lime), and a little bit of simple syrup. The result will be slightly tart and sweet while maintaining the floral elements of the elderflower.
No ginger beer – Some people love it; others find it to be a bit too much. If you’re in the latter category, simply omit the ginger beer from the recipe. You’ll still have a delicious drink that goes down smooth without the bite of ginger. Still want your fizzy fix? Add in a splash of your favorite seltzer instead.
If you need more Irish drink recipes, we’ve got you covered from an Irish Car Bomb to an Irish Maid Cocktail to make St. Patrick’s Day the drinking holiday it was meant to be.
Get Ready-to-Drink Cocktails at DRNXMYTH
The joy of a good cocktail is about taking seemingly disparate elements and combining them into something complex yet balanced in a way that keeps you wanting more. The pot of gold is just one such cocktail you can make yourself. But if you want the joys of a cocktail without doing all of the heavy lifting, DRNXMYTH is here to help.
Our ready-to-drink cocktails are created by some of the best bartenders in the business. Whether all this talk of ginger beer has you craving one of our Ginger Drops or you’re in the mood for a classic Bourbon Sour, we have the selection and quality that, until now, you could only find in a bar. Try one for yourself today—no muddling required.
US Money Reserve. The Pot of Gold at the End of the Rainbow: An Origin Story. https://www.usmoneyreserve.com/blog/pot-of-gold-at-end-of-rainbow-origin/
Web MD. Elderflower - Uses, Side Effects, and More. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-708/elderflower
Delish. 10 Ginger Beer Brands To Help You Make The Best Moscow Mules. https://www.delish.com/food-news/g37964199/best-ginger-beer-brands/
DRNXMYTH. 6 Bartending Tips & Tricks to Master. https://drnxmyth.com/blogs/news/6-bartending-tips-tricks-to-master
The Spruce Eats. Pot of Gold Cocktail. https://www.thespruceeats.com/pot-of-gold-cocktail-recipe-760968