AlcoHOLidays | Memorial Day | Kilbeggan Waterwheel



***This post has been sponsored by Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey; a sample was received in consideration for Tuesday’s review as well as today’s recipe share. Other than that, no further compensation has been received and the opinions expressed below are entirely that of the author. No further affiliation with Kilbeggan Distillery is being claimed. And now with that out of the way…***

Memorial Day. Unofficial start to summer. Reason for barbecues and pool parties across the nation. Last 3-day-weekend until Labor Day. Excuse for car lots to piggy-back yet another tent sale with the waving of the red, white, and blue.

‘Oh, yeah, and military stuff, too.’

At least that’s what it appears to mean to most.

Starting after the Civil War, Decoration Day has a fuzzy beginning with several cities claiming first rights–though decorating soldiers’ graves goes back farther than our War Between the States–on both the North and South sides of history. The dates observed were varied, as well, with May 30th being the common date in the North and, gradually, the rest of the country. It wasn’t until that 1967 act that normalized a bunch of holidays into their nearest Mondays, creating those beloved 3-day weekends, that Memorial Day shifted from May 30th to the last Monday in May (though it took a few years to be put into practice).

Granted, if you’ve never lost a friend or family member while they served in the Armed Forces, chances are this holiday might have less personal significance to you, but as a nation it’s a time when we attempt to honor those who died in service and a sense of nationalism overall. For some, this means visiting a relative’s grave and placing a flag or flowers thereupon. Others volunteer to beautify all service-member graves, relatives or not, as a show of thanks for their sacrifice. While others might be more inclined to reminisce with those nearest, some solemnly, others more in the style of an Irish wake.

Or at least that’s how I’m going to segue into today’s cocktail, contributed by Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey.

Kilbeggan Waterwheel
Recipe By Darren McGettigan, resident mixologist at Bar Beoga of the Menlo Park Hotel

1 1/4 ounces Kilbeggan® Irish Whiskey
2 1/2 ounces Pressed Apple Juice
1 1/4 ounces Pressed Pineapple Juice
6 Fresh Blueberries
1 Dash of Cherry Bitters
1 Bar Spoon of White Sugar
additional blueberries for garnish

In a Boston shaker, add blueberries and sugar, muddle hard. Fill the shaker with ice, and add all other ingredients. Shake well, and double strain into a tall glass filled with ice. Garnish with blueberries on a cocktail pick.

I can easily see this multiplied in a frosty pitcher to serve to your barbecue guests both on Memorial Day as well as the rest of your summer events. I’d skip the straining, obviously, and leave the bits of blueberries to float around for color, or freeze some blueberries to use as “ice cubes” to keep the drinks cool without further diluting it.

However you choose to observe this national holiday, please remember to do so responsibly and to use a designated driver or call a cab rather than risk some other sort of memorial being required. If you catch my drift.


Tuesday Reviews-Day: Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey



***This is a sponsored post. Product was provided for the purpose of review, no other compensation was received. All opinions expressed are my own. Now that we’ve got that out of the way…***

Do you change your spirits when you put away your seasonal wardrobe? Frankly, the thought never occurred to me, but I can see how some would be inclined.

Just the way summer is prime time for light and airy clothes, light and airy alcohols seem to follow course. Whisk(e)y and it’s darker brethren are often put away as the temperature raises, but not everyone agrees with that process.

On Friday I’ll have a cooling cocktail featuring Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey, but before we get to that, let’s talk about the whiskey itself.

The Kilbeggan Distillery is the oldest licensed distillery in Ireland. Their distilling tradition goes back over 250 years and the pot still they use is 180 years old. You’d expect after all that time they must have hit upon something that worked, right?

Opening the bottle, it smells like whiskey–no big surprise there. Rich and lightly smoky, there was nothing unpleasant about the nose. The color is amber, not too dark, not too weak. And the taste? Like most whiskeys it’s sharp at first and burns a bit going down. That burn is what some people enjoy and not necessarily my favorite part, but giving the whiskey a few more sips allowed me to enjoy the warmth that whiskey so easily spreads and the rich flavor the whiskey has. And afterward your left with a decidedly sweet flavor, which is perhaps the most surprising facet to me.

Unlike Scotch, Kilbeggan isn’t overly oaky or peaty, and I can easily see how this would work in a fruit-based cocktail for the summer. Still, I’d be more inclined to pull it out on a rainy summer day, but at least there’s no real reason to put it away until fall.