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How To Make an Irish Maid Cocktail

It’s about that time again—that sweet spot of the year when daylight saving time rolls forward to give us an extra hour of sunlight, the chill in the air gives way to subtle hints of spring, and one of our favorite holidays pops back on the scene. 

That’s right—it’s almost St. Patrick’s Day. Whether you’re hopping from bar to bar in your favorite shade of green or celebrating from the couch, we’ve got an Irish whiskey cocktail recipe that’s equal parts magic and mischief.   

With its illustrious blend of cucumber, lemon juice, elderflower liqueur, and—most importantly—Irish whiskey, this Irish Maid cocktail recipe is just as easy to craft as it is to enjoy. Follow along below to put your mixologist skills to the test just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.  

What is an Irish Maid Cocktail?

Born from New York City bartender Sam Ross’ Kentucky Maid Cocktail, the Irish Maid is a variation of his acclaimed recipe.1 It’s the epitome of springtime, and its artful mix of fresh flavors, light notes, and juxtaposing sweet-and-sourness make it taste like liquid gold found at the end of a rainbow.

Crafting Your Irish Maid Cocktail

Lemon juice and honey simple syrup, elderflower liqueur with Irish whiskey—the thought of it alone is enough to rocket you back Outlander-style to the pre-colonial, misty cliffs of Ireland. Getting excited? We won’t hold you back from the real thing. Here’s all you need to make and enjoy our favorite St. Paddy’s Day drink.

 

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Step 1: Assemble the Bar Equipment

Like with any cocktail, a few basic equipment essentials are needed to make the Irish Maid. Here are the three that will keep you covered:

  • Cocktail shaker – Most stores—both brick-and-mortar and online—stock a range of cocktail shakers, but the most beginner-friendly type is the cobbler shaker. It’s an all-in-one device featuring a tin, cap, and built-in strainer. Made to streamline the cocktail-making process, it makes life a little easier by mixing up drinks a little faster.
  • Jigger – Cocktail recipes often require liquids to be proportioned into ounces, and the standard tool with which to do so is a jigger. With its hourglass shape, most jiggers measure 1.5 oz on one side of the hourglass and 0.75 oz on the other.
  • Muddler – A muddler is a tool used to lightly mash fruits, herbs, and spices in order to release their essence into cocktails. For the Irish Maid drink recipe, you’ll need a muddler to lightly mash the cucumbers.

Step 2: Gather Your Ingredients

Most easy-to-make cocktails feature easy-to-find ingredients, and the Irish Maid is no exception. For this recipe, you’ll need:

  • 2 ounces Irish whiskey
  • 3 slices of cucumber
  • 0.5 oz elderflower liqueur
  • 0.75 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 0.75 oz honey simple syrup 
  • Ice cubes

Step 3: Put it All Together

Now that you’ve gathered all of the goods, it’s time to get started:2 

  • Muddle the cucumbers – Drop two slices of cucumber into the shaking tin and twist the muddler against them. The idea is to mash the cucumbers in order to help release the concentrated liquid of the fruit into the drink.
  • Add the liquids – Mix in your choice of Irish whiskey, elderflower liqueur, lemon juice, and simple syrup. If you want your cocktail to be cold, this step is also where you add in your ice.
  • Strain, garnish, and serve – Here it is—the final step. Using a strainer, pour the mixture into a cocktail glass filled with ice. If you’re using a cobbler mixer, use the top with the built-in strainer to separate the liquid from the muddled ingredients. As a garnish, place the last slice of cucumber on the rim of the cocktail glass, and voila! Liquid gold awaits.
  • *Cue* – The Hallelujah chorus or your favorite Irish folk music. (We won’t judge you if you sing it out loud.)
Cucumber and lemon slices

Choosing Your Core Ingredients Correctly

While each element of an Irish Maid comes together to make a beautiful chorus, Irish whiskey and elderflower liqueur are the soloists who sing the loudest. When choosing which brand to purchase, always make sure that the ingredients are grade-A so that they can ace your taste test.

Irish Whiskey

Irish whiskey is a dark distilled spirit that has garnered popularity for its incredible smoothness and unique flavor. As with any alcohol, the quality of the spirit used in a cocktail matters. Make sure to do your research and have fun experimenting with different brands of Irish whiskey to certify that your Irish Maid drink recipe is the best of the best.

Elderflower Liqueur

If you’ve dabbled in natural, plant-based remedies before, chances are you’ve heard of the magical healing powers of elderberries. We’re here to tell you that, while elderberries may help to cure coughs, elderflower liqueur (sourced from the dainty, white flowers that bloom on an elderberry tree) helps to heal your soul.3

Like with Irish whiskey, the quality of the elderflower liqueur used in the Irish Maid recipe can make or break it. So, be sure to do your research ahead of time, and enjoy!

Honey Simple Syrup

Honey simple syrup is the healthy counterpart to standard simple syrup, which is typically made using sugar.2 This sweet alternative is extremely easy to make, and the notes that it brings to the cocktail pair spellbindingly with the elderflower liqueur used in the recipe. In order to make honey simple syrup at home, all you’ll need is honey, water, a small saucepan, and a heat source. Once you’ve gathered everything:

  • Combine equal parts water and honey – For this recipe, you will need to combine ⅓ cup of water with ⅓ cup of honey in a small saucepan.
  • Boil, then simmer – Once combined, bring the liquids to a boil, then immediately turn down the heat to a simmer. Simmer the liquids for ten minutes, stirring constantly to ensure that they don’t burn.
  • Thicken, cool, then pour – Once the liquid thickens, remove the saucepan from the stove. Let the mixture cool enough to safely pour into a container, and then transfer it to your container of choice. The honey simple syrup can be used immediately or stored in a refrigerator until you are ready to use it.

Cucumbers

Believe it or not, there are a variety of cucumbers—all with different flavors, textures, and superpowers—and the ones you select truly make a difference when it comes to taste and quality. For this recipe, we recommend the English cucumber. The English cucumber is a long, thin cucumber typically found wrapped in plastic at local grocery stores. They tend to be much sweeter than their American cucumber counterparts, making them excellent additions to craft cocktails.4

Lemon Juice

When it comes to ingredients, the fresher, the better. That’s why we suggest freshly squeezed lemon juice over the store-bought bottles. Opt for real lemon juice to liven up the flavors and bring that exciting contrast to the honey simple syrup and elderflower liqueur.

Pro tip: Make sure you’re getting as much lemony goodness into your drink as possible by adding another tool to your collection: a lemon juicer. By using a handheld lemon press, you’ll be able to easily extract all of the flavor without having to worry about slurping up a rogue seed or two. 

Secrets for Crafting a Libation Everyone Will Love

Whether your favorite bartender mixes it up, or you try your own hand at the process, always remember that the ingredients you use are important in the outcome of your cocktail (and your overall wellness too). 

Here are a few more secrets we’ll clue you in on to help set your drink recipes apart from the rest:

  • Research the ingredients – Go the extra mile to source quality ingredients. Spend a day at your local farmer’s market to get your hands on the freshest ingredients from local farmers. Plus, they might even be able to point you in the right direction if you’ve got questions about what grade of honey or type of cucumber is best for your concoction.
  • Experiment – Part of the fun of cocktail-making is, quite literally, mixing things up. Test different brands (or even add a festive, green-colored dye) until you find the flavor that’s exactly right for you.
  • Remember the key ingredient – No cocktail is complete without a little love for the craft itself. With anything you mix, make sure that it’s made with the care and attention to detail that you deserve.

Mix Things Up With DRNXMYTH

St. Patrick’s Day looks a little different every year. Whether you choose to party hard in your favorite bar or curl up with a Celtic cocktail on your couch, DRNXMYTH has a cocktail to snazz up any occasion. 

Drink up different shades of green with classics like our Eastside cocktail—an innovative blend of fresh cucumbers, cold-pressed lime juice, cane sugar, and mint water—or try our personal spin on the Irish Maid cocktail. The Bourbon Sour with cold-pressed lemon and orange juice, Bourbon whiskey, cane sugar, and blackstrap bitters—an undeniably delicious twist on a classic Irish Maid. 

Whether you’re adding an Irish Maid to your docket of drinks or leaving all of the mixology to us, this St. Patrick’s Day, ditch the beer, level up your bar, and mix things up with DRNXMYTH. 


Sources: 

  1. Liquor. Irish Maid. www.liquor.com/recipes/irish-maid/ 
  2. This Worthey Life. The Irish Maid: The Perfect St. Patrick’s Day Cocktail. https://www.awortheyread.com/the-irish-maid-the-perfect-st-patricks-day-cocktail/
  3.  HuffPost. St. Germaine Liqueur: What It Is And What To Do With It. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/st-germain-liqueur_n_1590006 
  4.  The Spruce Eats. A Brief Guide to Types of Cucumbers. https://www.thespruceeats.com/cucumber-varieties-4069657