By Lauren Wulf

In case you missed the memo, to say St. Patrick’s Day is a big deal in Chicago is an understatement. Almost every bar in town will be boasting St. Patrick’s Day specials, leprechaun themed drinks and of course, green beer. Here’s a ‘how-to guide’ for classic cocktails and Irish staples being served (and over served) this March in Chicago.

Grab a glass. Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day!

Green Beer

There are a few different routes to go to get that perfect St. Patrick’s Day green. With a lighter, more yellowed colored beer, try using blue food coloring instead of green. The mix of yellow and blue will create a dark emerald green color.

For a lighter more lime green color, stick with the traditional green food coloring. A mix of the two is worth trying to get that perfect shade of green.

How To:

Add 2-3 drops of food coloring in to an empty glass. Pour beer in to the glass (no stirring required).


Guinness, unlike green colored beer, is a true Irish import. Dating back to 1759, true Irish pubs in Chicago get their Guinness straight from the source at the brewery at St. James’s Gate in Dublin.

How To:

According to Guinness, there are 6 steps to mastering the pour (Glass, angle, pour, settle, top off, presentation) Using a slightly tulip shaped glass, pour the Guinness about ¾ full at a slight angle. Put the glass down to let settle. Pour the remaining Guinness slowly to the top so the head forms just to the rim of the glass.

Fellow CBS writer, Rachel Azark gives a great list of places to get that perfect Guinness pour in Chicago. Read her picks at!


It doesn’t get more Irish than whiskey! Here’s a brief history of a few of the most famous Irish whiskey brands.

Bushmills: Dating back over 400 years, Bushmills lives on as the oldest working distillery in Ireland. With Bushmills Original, Black Bush, Bushmills Malt 10 Year Old, Bushmills Malt 16 Year Old and Bushmills Malt 21 Year Old (all aged accordingly) there’s something for every level of Whiskey lover to enjoy.

Jameson: Jameson is the top selling whiskey worldwide. Triple distillation is what makes Jameson unique to American whiskeys which are typically only distilled once, and scotch whiskeys which are usually distilled twice. The history began with master distiller, John Jameson in 1780.

Tullamore Dew: First distilled in 1829, the name comes from Mr. Daniel E. Williams (D.E.W) and the small town of Tullamore, Ireland in which it was originally distilled. Tullamore Dew is the 2nd best selling Irish whiskey brand worldwide.

(credit: Lauren Wulf)

Irish Car Bomb

Not for the slow drinkers in the room, this shot is staple in Irish pubs everywhere.


3/4 pint Guinness
1/2 shot Bailey’s Irish Cream
1/2 shot Irish whiskey

How To:

Add the Bailey’s and whiskey to a shot glass, with the Bailey’s on the bottom. Pour the Guinness into a glass or beer mug 3/4 of the way full and let it rest. When you’re ready, drop the shot glass into the Guinness and drink quickly. Beware: If you don’t drink the shot fast enough it will curdle!

Black & Tan

Can’t decide between Harp and Guinness? Have them both! This classic creates the distinct look of two different colored beers (black & tan) stacked on top of each other. Magic!


1/2 bottle of lager beer (such as Harp)
1/2 can or bottle of Guinness

How To:

Slowly pour half of the lager beer into a tall beer glass. Place a large tablespoon, upside-down, about an inch above the Guinness, with the tip of the spoon pointed slightly down. Slowly pour half of the Guinness over the tablespoon, so it gently pours down the side of the glass. Allow the drink to stand a few seconds so 2 distinct layers form.

Bailey's (credit:

Irish Coffee

An Irish coffee is a great way to start St. Patrick’s Day morning before the parades or Sunday, post St. Patrick’s Day festivities. With a jolt of caffeine, warming whiskey and smooth Irish cream, you’ll be ready to take on the day (or on your way to recovery).


1 1/2 oz Irish whiskey
1 tsp brown sugar
6 oz hot coffee
Bailey’s Irish Cream (Amount to taste preference)

How To:

Combine whiskey, brown sugar and coffee in a mug. Stir to dissolve. Pour Bailey’s and enjoy!

Remember, you can’t drink all day if you don’t start in the morning!


Lauren Wulf, CBS Chicago

Lauren Wulf writes about living in Chicago on a budget on her website, A Poor Girl’s Guide Chicago.

Comments (2)