Cocktail recipe: Toast St. Patrick’s Day with Alloa Aloha

I’m sure they exist, but it’s rare to find an Irish-themed Tiki cocktail. While we all enjoy sipping fine Irish whiskeys and quaffing a pint of authentic (not green!) stout or ale on St. Patrick’s Day, there’s always room for a complex symphony of booze, juices, syrups and bitters. We hope this new creation hits all the right notes.

Alloa Aloha features a healthy dose of Irish whiskey with a splash of overproof rum. It also includes many staple tropical flavors that unite to form a taste-tempting treat greater than the sum of its parts. Blue curacao, not artificial coloring, gives it the perfect hue.

Alloa Aloha by The Atomic Grog, March 2021 (Photo by Hurricane Hayward)
Alloa Aloha by The Atomic Grog, March 2021 (Photo by Hurricane Hayward)

The name, like the drink, is an Irish-Polynesian mash-up. It pays tribute to John Jameson, the founder of the iconic whiskey brand, who was originally a lawyer from the town of Alloa in Scotland before he opened his first distillery in Dublin in 1780.

ALLOA ALOHA
(By Hurricane Hayward, The Atomic Grog)

* 2 ounces blended Irish whiskey (recommended: 1 ounce Jameson original, 1 ounce Jameson Black Barrel)
* 1/2 ounce overproof rum (recommended: Plantation O.F.T.D)
* 1/4 ounce blue curacao
* 1/2 ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
* 1/2 ounce white grapefruit juice
* 1 ounce coconut cream
* 1 teaspoon vanilla syrup
* 1 dash chocolate bitters
* 1 dash absinthe

Pulse blend with a heaping cup of crushed ice. Pour into a small snifter or specialty glass, adding more ice to fill. Garnish with mint and other green things.

Flavor profile: Rich, creamy and boozy with slight anise and bitter notes to create balance and complexity. Baileys Irish Cream meets Tiki.

Ingredient notes

* Feel free to use other Irish whiskeys, but we like the combination of the smooth Jameson original and slightly woody Black Barrel. Plantation’s O.F.T.D. (aka Old Fashioned Traditional Dark) is a complex 138-proof blend of rums from Guyana, Jamaica and Barbados that complements the whiskey perfectly. The other option would be a 151-proof Demerara rum, such as Hamilton or Lemon Hart. Avoid other overproof rums, which don’t have the same dark and rich flavors.

The Atomic Grog's Alloa Aloha is a tropical-themed St. Patrick's Day cocktail featuring Irish whiskey and overproof rum. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward, March 2021)
The Atomic Grog’s Alloa Aloha is a tropical-themed St. Patrick’s Day cocktail featuring Irish whiskey and overproof rum. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward, March 2021)

* Fresh, quality juices are a must, along with a premium blue curacao. If you can’t find white grapefruit or 100 percent real juice, fresh red grapefruit is OK in a pinch.

* Instead of a dairy product, Alloa Aloha features coconut cream to create a similar profile with a tropical flair. We used the old reliable Coco Lopez, but Coco Real is a decent option. There are also many fine homemade coconut cream recipes. Pick up a premium vanilla syrup, or you can infuse homemade simple syrup with vanilla if you’re crafty.

* We were heavy-handed with the dashes of bitters and absinthe, so please adjust to taste. The Bitter Truth Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters is our preference, but don’t hesitate to dash your favorite cocoa bitters. While Pernod, Herbsaint or another anise liqueur might work, try to stick with absinthe for that distinctive floral flavor.

The back story

While my Irish heritage is strong (my paternal grandmother’s family emigrated from Ireland), I’ve never tried to incorporate that culture into Tiki until now. But as I approach my 60th year on earth and the blog’s 10th anniversary, I thought I’d throw caution to the wind and go with my gut instinct. The result is surprisingly coherent. Perhaps age does beget wisdom, at lease where booze is concerned.

The original Baileys Irish Cream features a melding of whiskey, cream, chocolate and vanilla and clocks in at 17% ABV. Alloa Aloha packs a bigger wallop with many of the same flavors.
The original Baileys Irish Cream features a melding of whiskey, cream, chocolate and vanilla and clocks in at 17% ABV. Alloa Aloha packs a bigger wallop with many of the same flavors.

The intention was to create a St. Patrick’s Day cocktail with nods to both classic Tiki and one of Mrs. Hurricane’s favorites, the decadent Baileys Irish Cream. I wanted something both boozier and lighter than the heavy liqueur, but also very much in the spirit of the holiday. The ingredients fell into place quite nicely, but I chalk that up to my Irish luck. Here’s my attempt to link them all to the theme:

* Irish whiskey – This is the foundation, of course, and what makes this cocktail special. I’d like to think my grandmother would be pleased.

* Irish DNA – This may be a stretch, but I’m guessing that among the seven spirits and cocktail experts who created the potent O.F.T.D. rum (all pictured on the label), there’s at least one with Irish blood running through his veins.

* Going Green – Blue curacao is essential in creating this drink’s perfect color, of course, but it only works with the correct complimentary ingredients (such as white grapefruit juice). Lime juice and the green fairy (absinthe) are no-brainers, along with the mint garnish.

* Bullish on Baileys – Alloa Aloha tries to mimic some of the signature flavors of the liqueur, which features Irish whiskey as its base. But instead of heavy cream, I opted for the more tropical coconut cream. (As a bonus, this drink is non-dairy.) Sweet vanilla is a key flavor, but the cloying chocolate is replaced by bitters. The result, we hope, is both familiar and exotic.

Sláinte and okole maluna!

PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY!

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