Photo Oct 28, 12 50 57 PM

STG’s Entrance

We have a few places around town that are comforting favorites. One of those spots is Brian Lewis’s Bocado with the talented David Durnell behind the bar. Another is across the street at Octane coffee bar. So imagine our delight when we were invited to explore the new brunch menu at Brian Lewis’s second restaurant, STG Trattoria in Buckhead, named using the initials of his children Sebastian, Tristan, and Gabriel. With a cocktail menu by David Durnell, our favorite former Octane barista Paul manning the bar, and chef Josh Hopkins as the mastermind of the kitchen, there is just no way to go wrong.

Entrance to STG

Entrance to STG

From the moment you drive up to STG, you know you are in for something special. However, the sleek warehouse exterior and patio belie the warm, inviting atmosphere that washes over you when you open the door. You are led through a tunnel of golden light surrounded by an excellent selection of wines from floor to ceiling on either side on your way to the inviting host desk. Sounds like heaven already doesn’t it? About half way in, you pass a window into the small bar and receive a welcoming smile and nod from Paul. But, before you begin to feel that you’re entering a Disney version of wine cellar, STG opens into a modern space that manages to be welcoming and cutting edge at the same time. The large open space is a beautiful combination of earth tones and steel with a smattering of tables and booths within sight of the two open kitchens. The view of the space is especially commanding from the centerpiece of the restaurant, a high-top communal table.

But what about the food you ask? Be patient. We’ll get there. First the cocktails…

An Amaro Cocktail Paradise

Durnell has carefully crafted a cocktail menu that is amaro-based. For those of you yet to experience this gift of the gods, amaros are Italian herbal liqueurs commonly drunk as an after-dinner digestif. But at STG, they have composed a menu that is creative, approachable, challenging, and refreshing. Durnell’s creations embrace the earthy flavors of Italian amaros and he has blended them into interesting takes on classics as well as unique new concoctions.

Sicilian Dog (L) & Barolo Ginger (R)

Sicilian Dog (L) & Barolo Ginger (R)

Sicilian DogMillers gin, Combier grapefruit, Cynar, citrus, sea salt
I loved this recipe of David’s that goes by a different name at Bocado. A riff on a Salty Dog, this cocktail has the advantage of the added amaro Cynar for a touch of bitterness that matches the bitterness of the grapefruit in the Combier’s Grapefruit. A favorite on the menu, the Sicilian Dog is easy to enjoy and was an excellent complement to the pizza (don’t worry, we’ll get there).

Barolo GingerCocchi Barolo Chinato, lemon, Fee Brothers grapefruit bitters, Fever Tree Ginger Ale, lemon peel
I love Barolo Chinato Cocchi. Its infusion of cardamom, rhubarb, gentian root, and Chinese Calissaja give this wine a beautiful bittersweet taste that when blended with ginger ale becomes a fabulous refreshing drink. The grapefruit bitters and lemon round out the edges.

STG Bloody Mary

STG Bloody Mary

STG Bloody Mary - house-made hickory smoked vodka, Amaro Zucca, house Bloody Mary mix, hot cherry pepper
First of all, I do not drink Bloody Marys. Period. I made an exception here and was so glad I did. The herbal notes of the Amaro Zucca and the smoky flavor of the house-smoked vodka take the STG version of this brunch classic to a new level. The natural flavors were not overwhelmed by peppery spices as in other Bloody Marys. It was complex, but not overpowering. This drink is a perfect compliment to the savory dishes on the menu such as the baked eggs and the oven-roasted duck. Make sure you enjoy the pickled veggies that garnish the drink. Yum.

MimosaAperol, orange, grapefruit bitters, Prosecco, citrus zest
Wonderful surprise! A mimosa with a bitter edge! The Aperol creates an interesting flavor with the Prosecco. Grapefruit bitters shine through and add to a slight bitter aftertaste instead of the typical sweet tones of a traditional Mimosa.

Long Reviver

Long Reviver

Long ReviverBeefeater gin, Cocchi Americano, Suze, celery bitters, bitter lemon soda, lemon peel, spritz of St. George Absinthe
This is an interesting variation of a Corpse Reviver. The aroma of the absinthe spritz across the top of the drink is fairly strong; however, there is no real flavor, just the lovely aroma. There are strong citrus notes, but the highlight is the savory taste of the celery bitters. This is not a cocktail for everyone, but it may have been a favorite for me. It is quite unique and truly savory, which makes it a great pairing cocktail for much of the menu.

These are just highlights of the brunch cocktail menu and the full menu offers even more tempting Amaro cocktails. I see another visit coming soon.

Brunch with An Italian Twist

Joshua Hopkins, formerly of Bacchanalia and Abattoir, was named by Esquire magazine as one of the country’s four chefs to watch. What is he bringing to the kitchen of STG? His specialty charcuterie of course! He is also creating spectacular pizzas (three of which are on the brunch menu), utilizing the two wood-fired Acunto ovens shipped from Naples.

What was exciting for us was Chef Hopkins desire to explore gluten-free pizzas for STG. As a celiac, it is so hard to visit Antico or Double Zero and pass up their famed pies. Having Chef Hopkins experiment on us was a treat. Not only was our pizza gluten-free, but the entire tasting we enjoyed was as well. So what did we have?

Oven roasted duck hash

Oven roasted duck hash

Oven roasted duck hash, farm egg, and arugula
I won’t even let it be a surprise. This dish was perfect and absolutely my favorite. The hash is a combination of shredded duck meat, potatoes, and peppers in a smoky sauce redolent of fall. It’s topped with a lightly fried egg and crisp, peppery arugula. The arugula is the perfect offset to cut the richness of the egg and duck and add crispness to the smoky flavors. Although we tasted other dishes, I kept coming back to this one. I recommend ordering two – one for brunch and one to go. Just saying.

Oven baked eggs, prosciutto & sausage Bolognese, and white beans
This is another dish perfect for this time of year. While not as smoky as the duck hash, it definitely had an element of fall with the pairing of a delicious Bolognese sauce with sausage, soft boiled egg, and white beans. The staff of STG told us this is one of the most popular dishes at the restaurant and I can see why.

Photo Oct 28, 1 32 14 PM

Shrimp and calamari over polenta

Shrimp and calamari, polenta, pancetta, cherry tomatoes, and basil
I’ve had my share of shrimp and grits, but this is no ordinary rendition. This dish is completely reinterpreted with perfectly cooked seafood, pancetta, roasted cherry tomatoes, and fresh basil lovingly topping creamy polenta. The surprise drizzle of squid ink adds a lovely flavor that balances the other elements of the dish.

GF Margherita pizza

GF Margherita pizza

Gluten-free (GF) Margherita pizza
Next came the star of our brunch, the GF Margherita pizza. While STG has already gained a reputation for its regular pizzas, this was Chef Hopkins first attempt with GF dough. Most GF dough is served extremely thin and comes with a distinct aftertaste, but Hopkins’s crust was thicker and chewier much like a typical whole wheat crust. There was no aftertaste at all, but the thicker crust tended to overwhelm the delicate taste of the fresh tomato, basil, and mozzarella pizza. This could be addressed with a slight increase in the amount of toppings. In any case, STG’s GF pizzas would be a welcome addition to the full menu and provide celiacs a choice just as good as their regular pizza.

Budino

Budino

Budino chocolate terrine with macerated strawberries and ricotta cheese
Our final dish was what else, dessert? And what a dessert it was! Budino is dense chocolate terrine served with macerated strawberries. If that’s not enough to make you happy, it’s finished with ricotta, a sprinkle of sea salt, and a touch of olive oil. While this may seem unusual, the final result is a perfectly balanced dessert that manages to be decadent without a cloyingly sweet flavor.

It’s rare to find a place that provides delicious food, excellent cocktails, an inviting atmosphere, and gracious staff (thanks Josh and Hilary!), but STG Trattoria is that exception. Although perfect anytime, we highly recommend you check out their brunch especially with the holidays upon us. Who doesn’t need a place to impress visiting family and friends or better yet escape them?

STG Trattoria
102 West Paces Ferry Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30305
(404) 844-2879
Reservations

Wine Tunnel

Wine Tunnel

Bin 14

Bin 14

Front Of House Prep Area

Front Of House Prep Area

Bar

Bar

Specials Board

Specials Board

Prep Kitchen

Prep Kitchen

Communal Table

Communal Table

When Nicky, The Piper, and I were in Italy last year, we were surprised by the number of beer pairings we came across at many small restaurants and cafes. Seriously? Here we were in Tuscany, home of the Brunellos and Super Tuscans, and these locals were excited about the fall offerings of new beers and seasonal cuisine? And after just one experience we realized they were right. It seems beers and Italian foods are a match made in heaven. And speaking of heaven . . .

Georgia’s own Wild Heaven Craft Beer will be joining up with Atlanta’s Italian gem Cucina Asellina to offer a one-night only four-course tasting dinner next Wednesday, October 10, at 7:30 p.m. Wild Heaven’s founder, Nick Purdy, and consulting brew master Eric Johnson will be on hand to present four featured award-winning craft beers: Let There Be Light, Invocation, Eschaton, and Ode to Mercy.

On the culinary side will be Cucina Asellina’s Chef de Cuisine Josh Carden. Chef Carden has created a spectacular tasting menu to pair perfectly with these four brews, and reflect the inventive, contemporary Italian menu of Cucina Asellina. (Personally, we are looking forward to enjoying the rabbit ragu, gorgonzola dolce and black cherry tagliatelle paired with the Wild Heaven Eschaton.)

We would be remiss if we did not mention that there are cocktails to be enjoyed as well. We  love beer and wine, but in the end we have to wind up with our first love, right?

The four-course tasting menu is only $45; space is limited so call Cucina Asellina and make your reservation – 404.793.0141. Cucina Asellina located at 12th & Peachtree.

Table and Main – A Southern Tavern

Not long ago, we were invited to try a little place called Table and Main located in a renovated 1910 house in Roswell, GA. For those of you who know us, you can imagine our first thought was, this really may not be our cup of tea . . . or shaker of Manhattans if you will. But once we were told about the “boozy” desserts and saw their list of whiskies, we decided we had to give it a chance.

We arrived at a charming cottage complete with an inviting porch and lovely patio. But that was nothing compared to the warmth of the interior space, especially the bar. Predominately a wood and brick space, it reminded me of visiting my grandparents house. You know, if they had kept a kickass bar stocked full of hard-to-find whiskies from such great names as Van Winkle, Balcones, Eagle Rare, High West, and more!

Beautiful house Manhattan

The welcoming atmosphere of Table and Main is matched by the embracing nature of the staff. This is especially true of owner Ryan Pernice and head chef Ted Lahey. When we arrived, Ryan was personally making sure every customer was enjoying their dining experience. While we perused the menu to see the night’s offerings (yes, we do eat), the staff started us off with their house Manhattan – Big Bottom bourbon, Dolin Rouge, and bitter. Not a bad way to start the evening!

The evening took a turn in our favorite direction when we began discussing whiskey. While Table and Main does not offer a full, formal cocktail menu, whiskey is their shining star. They offer a variety of whiskey flights for tastings, including a different featured flight each month. For the more advanced palate, Ryan will put together a custom flight to match your tastes and interests.

St. George (L), Balcones (M), High West (R)

So what was his thought for us? Based on our conversation, Ryan said, “I think I’ll put together a weird flight.” Yes please! The delightful threesome he presented was composed of St. George Breaking and Entering bourbon, Brimstone Balcones whiskey, and High West OMG Silver rye. Surprisingly, we had not tasted any of these before. We started with the St. George, which we found to be lovely if a bit middle of the road with the usual light sugary flavor of most bourbons. Then we were hit with the revelatory Balcones. This unusual whiskey has the caramelly nature of bourbon, but has an intense smoky scotch flavor that rivals many Islay single malts we have tried. Finally came the High West, also unusual with a fruity taste profile followed by delightful dried spices like cinnamon and cardamom.

Chocolate Pudding with Peach Whiskey Whipped Cream

We would be remiss if we didn’t talk about the wonderful food available at Table and Main. Chef Lahey’s locally focused menu makes this Southern tavern more than just a place to drink with bar snacks. With a wide variety of options from the traditional Shrimp and Grits to more unusual fare, there’s something to please every palate. Speaking of that, we have to mention the dessert that started this whole adventure – the chocolate pudding. This delight of velvety dark chocolate topped with peach whiskey whipped cream is served in a charming Mason jar. Couple that with a terrific bourbon ice cream and it was a perfect way to close out the evening.

All in all, we tasted close to a dozen whiskies. Heaven? Pretty close. If you don’t live near Roswell, definitely consider a trip to this great restaurant and tavern. If you are in Roswell, what are you waiting for?

Table and Main
1028 Canton Street
Roswell, GA 30075
(678) 869-5178
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The Balcones Trio

Bar at Table and Main

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Wisdom from Table and Main

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Ryan Pernice

Chef LeHay

Last evening Katruska and I were finally able to make it over to The Pinewood Tippling Room located in Decatur in the old Cakes & Ale space. The space has been converted into a modern take on the standard American bar/restaurant with both the kitchen and bar focusing on re-interpretations of classic recipes. This is not to say that there are not several original creations available.

PWTR Porch Punch

We started our evening with a glass of PWTR Porch Punch. Served over ice with slice of lemon, this refreshing blend of herb and spice tea infused vodka, citrus, mint, and bitters was a charming way to start our experience in The Pinewood. Once we had enjoyed our fill of the punch, we reviewed our options for further imbibing and settled on the PWTR Draft Old Fashioned and Goodwood Julep. Both choices fell firmly in our preferred “boozy” cocktail taste range, but be assured that the menu has something to make every taste profile happy.

(L) Goodwood Julep & (R) PWTR Draft Old Fashioned

We first tasted the Goodwood Julep served in a traditional silver cup with crushed ice, copious fresh mint, and straws for sipping. At first we were put off by the tiny straws that kept us from large tastes…after all we are professionals. But, we soon discovered the advantages of small sips delivering perfect portions of the combination of ice cold bourbon, Averna, Cynar, mint, tarragon, castor sugar, and lemon oil. Truly a delightful take on the traditional version.

Then we moved on to the PWTR Draft Old Fashioned. This cocktail is a bit of a controversy in the cocktail scene with some in the hand-crafted camp firmly against the diminishment of a classic by premixing and serving it on draft. When asked why this choice in service, the bar manager indicated that he could deliver a high quality cocktail quickly when the bar was busy. We have to admit we were a bit skeptical, but he was right. The combination of Old Overholt rye, oleo-saccharum (house made sugared citrus oil), and bitters when served over a large ice cube and finished with a squeeze of orange peel produces a deliciously smooth version of the classic with no loss of elegance in drinking.

To visit or obtain more information on The Pinewood Tippling Room:
254 West Ponce de Leon Ave.,Decatur,GA 30030
Phone: (404) 373-5507
Email: info@pinewoodtr.com
Website: www.pinewoodtr.com

PWTR Menu

PWTR Draft Old Fashioned

Cocktail Components

Nicky and I recently visited The Wrecking Bar Brewpub – one of our favorites – to see what was happening with the spring cocktails, the barrel-age program, and new brews. We were excited, but not surprised, to find lots of good things going on behind the bar and in the brew house.

Barrel-Aged Cocktails
There are several places around Atlanta experimenting with barrel-aged cocktails, but there are only a handful who are really hitting the mark and producing quality, true aged cocktails. Double Zero Napoletana was the first to explore this concept and their barrel-aged Negroni is perfection. Wrecking Bar Brewpub is another libation spot where the bar manager Ian Cox understands what goes into producing quality aged cocktails.

  • Don’t use too large of a barrel.
  • Use a high quality barrel.
  • Allow time for the aging process.
  • Remember to turn your barrel regularly.
  • And, as always, use quality ingredients.

Ian is firm in his belief on exercising patience when aging.  “We are willing to sit on a product to make it right,” he states. He has been turning out some great aged Manhattans. A single barrel holds a hefty recipe of 15 bottles of rye, seven bottles of Carpano Antica, a full bottle of Regan’s orange bitters, a half bottle of blood orange bitters, and marachino cherry juice. The mixture ages for several weeks, with daily rotations of the barrel to maximize the liquid’s exposure to the wood.

School Girl Crush

The result is a mellow, smooth beautiful Manhattan that gets better and better with age. Not only are the barrels reused, but they are also “treated” or flavored somewhat by letting them sit with other liquids, such as the Wrecking Bar’s own Wee Heavy Scottish Ale.

Spring cocktails to built to refresh
Nicky and I both got a little giddy when we started sipping on “The School Girl Crush.” Take a house-made citrus vodka, muddle some lemon and basil, add in vanilla agave nectar, splash in some Aperol and peach bitters . . . Wow! Smooth, easy to drink and so refreshing for warm weather. This “crush” could be a summer love.

The Hipster

“The Hipster” has everything going for it as far as we are concerned. Rittenhouse 100 proof rye? Yep. Fernet Branca? Got that, too. Marry that with some Lairds and Carpano Antica and you are ready for a late night at the bar. Lots of layers of flavor with spice and pepper notes.

Tying the beer and cocktail menu together is a tall, cool, refreshing summer sipper. “Hop Tea” combines muddled lemon and hop syrup with Bolivian AGWA, hopped grapefruit bitters and Wrecking Bar’s Victor IPA. Lot of citrus on the front end, with a nice hoppy finish. This was a favorite at the table.

Still on the menu is the Wrecking Bar signature drink, “In The Park,”and for good reason. A salute to the neighborhood, this cocktail muddles fresh basil with grapefruit and gin for a light, cool patio libation.

Hop Tea

Just want whiskey? Bourbon and rye are in abundance at Wrecking Bar. Over 50 choices. Add to that the 20 or so single malts and Irish selections and you have a whiskey lover’s paradise.

Brunch cocktails
There are more special cocktails that show up for Sunday Brunch. Variations on the Bloody Mary include the “Smokey Mary”  (classic with a float of Laphroaig single malt). There’s also a Beermosa, the traditional French 77, and The Count – the Wrecking Bar’s take on a Negroni.

What’s brewing?
Not to wander too far away from cocktails, we would be remiss if we did not mention the creative, innovative and delicious brews being developed by owner and brew master Bob Sandage.

The Piper stopped by recently and was blown away by the Punch Yo Momma Smoked Porter.  (I believe the text he sent to all of us said – “This is the best porter, no, the best beer I’ve ever had! It tastes like bacon.”) Named after one of Bob’s favorite quotes from Smokey and the Bandit, the guys smoked 55 pounds of Munich malt over Alder wood (from the Pacific Northwest) to provide a subtle, unique smoky quality. The complex “maltiness” comes from the smoked English grains and medium crystal, black and chocolate grains. Here’s hoping this one becomes a staple.

Taking it to another level, somebody behind the bar had the brilliant idea of taking the Wrecking Bar Bloody Mary and topping it with a splash of “Where There Is Smoke There Is Fire” – the Punch Yo Momma smoked porter aged with chipotle peppers in the cask!

You can check out what’s brewing, what’s being served, and what is being dreamt up by visiting the Wrecking Bar Brewpub online. Even better, stop by one week for New Brew Thursdays and sample the new creations!

With an ever-changing beer menu, there is always something new to sample. Classic cocktails anchor the menu with seasonal specialty drinks rotating off and on, and the food is consistently amazing. And keep your eyes out for news on the big anniversary celebration coming up this summer! We have a feeling there will be something special in store for this occasion.

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The Wrecking Bar Brewpub is located 292 Moreland Avenue in L5P/Inman Park. Brewery tours are held each Saturday at 4:30 p.m.

One of the biggest drinking holidays in our country, Cinco de Mayo brings folks out of the woodwork to throw back shots of cheap tequila and put away pitchers of artificial, prepackaged mix margaritas. We want to repeat our rules – imbibe responsibly, imbibe properly, and imbibe well. Again, we have laws of libation and we will enforce them.

Now, let’s start by taking pity on the abused margarita and overuse of cheap tequila.

TEQUILA AND MARGARITA DRINKING RULES
Rule number 1 – There is no reason to settle for a margarita made from a mix. None. Fresh is the only way to go and there are plenty of great places here in town to enjoy an amazingly fresh margarita. We even list a few of those places for you in this post.
Rule number 2 – Go with good tequila. Treat yourself to a margarita made with a nice, top shelf tequila such as Herradura Estate, Cazadores Resposado, Sauza Tres Generaciones or Reposado, Don Julio, or maybe an Cabo Wabo.
Rule number 3 – Pace yourself. Almost everyone has a bad tequila experience story. It usually involves shooting tequila. Bad tequila. Pace yourself. If not for your sake, then for the rest of us who have to endure your drunken state.
Rule number 4 – Don’t be the idiot who asks for the tequila with the worm. Tequila is not bottled with a worm. Only Mezcal is bottled with a worm. They are not the same thing and should not be confused. The Mexican standards authority (NOM) prohibits adding insects or larvae to tequila. (Email us if you want the whole story on the types of worms, coloring, and larva facts associated with Mezcal. We love to talk insects.)
Rule number 5 – Don’t end the night with tequila. The agave gods will punish you and it will not be quick and swift. And it will most surely involve vomiting and various acts that you will regret for years to come.

WHO HAS GREAT MARGARITAS?
Now that you know a few of the rules, where can you get a fresh, handcrafted margarita in Atlanta? There are many great spots, but we will mention a few of our favorites here. And if you have a particular favorite, feel free to comment and let us know!

AGAVE – Agave serves up 10 choices of top shelf margaritas. Try the Herradura Estate Top Shelf margarita with Herradura Estate Silver, Grand Marnier, fresh lime juice and sour. Or endulge in the Peachtree Margarita with Cabo Wabo Resposado, Gran Marnier, Peach Schnapps, fresh lime and sour.
POZOLE – Pozole offers one of the largest tequila selection in the Highlands. Over 50. Everything from Corazone Silver, to Caadores Resposado, to Gran Centenario Anejo and Don Julio 1942 premium. So a perfect margarita is no problem. You have a choice of a dozen or more variations. The sour mix is all house-made fresh and the lime juice is freshly squeezed. But if you are of a spicy nature, we suggest you try the Jalapeno Margarita made with fresh jalapeno juice.
ALMA COCINA – El Clasico, Just Wear Black, Amatitan, Naranjarita . . . try them all. This is a perfect place to experience a classic and follow it with a creative twist on the margarita. Everything here is made to love!
ZOCALO – This is your tequila heaven. Zocalo has the largest collection of tequila in the southeast, offering 650 plus different tequilas. You will find a large selection of tequila Joven (young), blanco (white), resposado (rested), and anejo (aged). Needless to say, you want a top shelf margarita? This is the place to get it.
PURE TAQUERIA – This Inman Park taqueria blends quality ingredients to produce killer margaritas. Try a Prickly Pear margarita, or the Reposadorita.
ORIGINAL EL TACO – Over 50 tequilas are on the shelf here – from blanco to anejo, and a few mescals thrown in to boot! The Original Margarita uses freshly squeezed citrus and is on the rocks. For the strong of heart, take on the El Big Boy Margarita! The combination of 1800 Silver 100 proof, orange liqueur, and fresh citrus sour will make your night!
NO MAS – Located in the heart of historic Castleberry Hill in downtown Atlanta, No Mas! is an award winning 350 seat Mexican Restaurant with some fabulous margarita options. We like the Santos Margaritas – Classico and Dulce. Yep. We even have the bracelets to prove it.

MAKE YOUR OWN AT HOME
The margarita is hands down the most popular cocktail in the United States. For the bottom line on a classic margarita, we turn to Dr. Cocktail, Ted Haigh, author of Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails. According to Haigh, the margarita originated in Texas at the historic Balinese Room, where the head bartender, Santos Cruz, is said to have created the cocktail for Peggy Lee in 1948. He continues by stating that the margarita is actually a descendant or cousin of the Picador, created in England in the mid 1930s, and featured in the W.J. Tarling Café Royal Cocktail Book. Yes, tequila had a greater popularity in the UK at the time. It should also be noted that a key component is the use of Cointreau, which was originally a triple sec. According to Haigh, the triple secs that followed are imitations. The original margarita was also shaken and served straight up as was its “father” the Sidecar and “grandfather” the Brandy Crusta.

Ted Haigh’s favorite, classic margarita recipe
1.5 oz blanco tequila
1.5 oz Cointreau
1.5 oz fresh lime juice

Combine all ingredients in an iced shaker, shake, strain and serve up in a salt-rimmed cocktail glass.

There will be celebrations all across town, so choose wisely, and remember – you deserve the best!

Imbibe well, friends! Salud!

The day of our people has arrived . . . St. Paddy’s Day! Before you begin celebrating the day we commemorate St. Patrick (387-461 AD), let’s make sure you have a few facts straight so you don’t look ridiculous after a few drinks tomorrow.

1. It’s St. Paddy, not St. Patty
It is Paddy, not Patty. No one in their right mind in Ireland would ever call a Patrick by the nickname “Patty.” Ever.  Paddy comes from the Irish name “Padraig” (Patrick). “Patty” is a girl’s name. Or a burger. Make sense? Good.

2. Beer is never green
Another thing that every good Irish person knows – The good Lord did not intend for beer to be green. Ever.  And if a beer is pale enough to be tinted green, then it is not a serious beer for an Irishman anyway and you should just say “no.”

3. Guinness is not beer.
Guinness is a sixth food group all unto itself. It is full of health properties and is one of the lowest calorie ales on the market. So drink up and feel good about it

Varieties of Guinness drinks:
Black and Tan – Guinness and Bass
Black and Red – Guinness and Kriek
Black Velvet – Guinness and Champagne
Irish Car Bomb – Guinness, Bailey’s, Jameson Whiskey (Involves a shot glass of Bailey’s and Jamesons dropped into a pint of Guinness. This is a popular choice and should be experienced at least once!)
Black Monk – Guinness and Trappist Ale
Guinness Float – Guinness and vanilla ice cream (This one may be a stretch to pull off at the bar but try it at home for your late night dessert!)
Half and Half – Guinness and Harp

4. Irish Whiskey: Protestant or Catholic?
An ongoing debate in our country seems to be associating Jameson as a Catholic whiskey and Bushmills as a Protestant whiskey. Yes, there are people tomorrow who will swear by this distinction. The truth is, it is really all relative to geography, as Bushmills is located deep in the heart of Northern Ireland Protestant territory and Jameson is from the Catholic area of Cork.

Interestingly enough, Bushmills was licensed in 1608 by King James I and again located in the heart of Protestant country. However, Bushmills has a Catholic as a master distiller. Jameson was founded almost 200 years later by a Scot, who most likely was a Protestant. So there you have it.

By the way . . . we attended a Bushmills tasting this week at Fado and sampled several of the Bushmills whiskies. We can recommend the 16 year single malt, the Black Bush, and the 1608 Anniversary Edition.

Irish breakfast at FADO

5. Is an Irish Breakfast necessary?
Yes. You will need it to give you the energy to make it through the long day of celebrating. Our moms always told us that we should begin the day with a hearty breakfast. How about a nice Irish breakfast of two eggs, Irish sausages, rashers, black and white pudding, mushrooms, tomatoes and pan-fried potato bread? And of course a pint of Guinness. (Remember, Guinness IS a food group.)

Nicky and I will be at Fado at 7:30 a.m. (they open at 7:00 a.m.) to raise a glass, take a shot of good Irish whiskey, and load up on their big Irish breakfast before we start out day of celebrating. And while you are at Fado, don’t forget to enjoy the traditional PickleBack! A shot of Irish whiskey (try the Bushmills Black Bush) followed by a shot of pickle brine.

Fado will open at 7:00 a.m. as they continue the tradition of hosting Atlanta’s largest St. Patrick’s Day party. Rugby fans will enjoy non-stop live action, including the exciting match when Ireland takes on England. A $10 cover charge gets you in to the viewing area.

The Fado street festival begins at noon for a day filled with beer, bagpipers, Irish dancers, and lots of live music. Tickets are $15 at the door. The fun will go until the wee hours and wrap up around 3:00 a.m.

Squinting Patrick Celtic Band

6. Drinking with or without music?
Oh, you have to have some good Irish music to truly celebrate this great day. And there are some great opportunities all over town.

One of our favorite groups in town – Squinting Patrick – will be helping open up the new Olde Blind Dog in Brookhaven. They will be playing to the crowd outside from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. covering some Flogging Molly and Gaelic Storm tunes as well as presenting a new twist on some traditional Irish songs.

All the local pubs will be featuring bands from early afternoon through the wee hours, so grab your ghillies and shillelagh and get moving.

7. There must be a parade
You simply cannot have St. Patrick’s Day without a rollicking parade. The Atlanta St. Patrick’s Day parade is celebrating the 130th year of this event! The parade steps off at 12:00 noon on Peachtree at Ralph McGill and proceeds down Peachtree toward Woodruff Park. See these sites for details.

8. You have to be drunk to enjoy the day.
NO. Wrong all the way around. While this is a great day to enjoy Guinness, fabulous Irish Whiskey, music, food and dancing, remember to imbibe in moderation.

Finally, here is a toast to you as you begin your celebrations!

Go raibh tú daibhir i mí-áidh
Agus saibhir i mbeannachtaí
Go mall ag déanamh namhaid, go luath a déanamh carad,
Ach saibhir nó daibhir, go mall nó go luath,
Nach raibh ach áthas agat
Ón lá seo amach.

May you be poor in misfortune,
Rich in blessings,
Slow to make enemies,
quick to make friends,
But rich or poor, quick or slow,
May you know nothing but happiness
From this day forward.

Slainte!
Katruska and Nicky

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