Shamrock

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Cocktail History

The Shamrock is a vintage cocktail that was created in the 1930s by Harry Craddock at The Savoy Hotel in London, England. It’s a simple and refreshing recipe that calls for Irish whiskey as the base spirit and pairs it with dry vermouth, Green Chartreuse, and dark crème de menthe, which is what gives it its festive green color and makes it a great pick for post-dinner sipping on St. Patrick’s Day.

Cocktail Ingredients

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Irish Whiskey: This is a type of whiskey made in Ireland made with unmalted or malted barley, cereal grains, spices, and water. We used Bushmills Original Irish Whiskey because it has a rich, warming taste. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Spiritless Kentucky 74 Non-Alcoholic Bourbon Whiskey in place of the Irish whiskey.

Dry Vermouth: This is a fortified wine made with grapes, sugar, botanicals, herbs, sugar, and alcohol. We used Dolin Dry Vermouth de Chambéry because it has a light and airy flavor profile with notes of Alpine herbs. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic Apéritif Dry in place of the dry vermouth.

Green Chartreuse: This is a liqueur made in France with over a hundred herbs and plants, spices, sugar, and alcohol. For a mocktail version of this drink, try winter herb syrup in place of the Green Chartreuse.

Green Crème De Menthe: This is a liqueur made with mint, sugar, green food coloring, and alcohol. We used Drillaud Green Crème De Menthe because it has a refreshing mint flavor and bright color. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Monin Premium Green Mint Syrup in place of the mint liqueur.

Mint Sprig: This is an herb. We used Mojito mint.

Bartending Tools

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following bar tools:

Jigger: This is used to measure and pour ingredients. We used the Japanese jigger from the A Bar Above 14-Piece Silver Bar Set.

Mixing Glass: This is used to hold the ingredients while they’re being stirred. We used the Viski 17 oz Cocktail Mixing Glass.

Bar Spoon: This is used to stir ingredients. We used the Barfly Stainless Steel Teardrop Bar Spoon.

Julep Strainer: This is used to strain out ice and solid ingredients after the cocktail is stirred. We used the A Bar Above Julep Strainer.

Tasting Notes

The Shamrock features aromas of menthol and has an ice-cold taste comprised of whiskey and dry vermouth with mint and Chartreuse’s herbal notes on the finish.

Our Opinion of This Cocktail Recipe: When we first came across this recipe, we were excited to add it to our list of upcoming tastings because, on paper, the ingredients sound great together; however, we ended up agreeing that they were much too dry. We tried another version of the Shamrock made with sweet vermouth instead, and that was much better, albeit definitely muddier brown in color.

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Alex’s Take: ⭐⭐
“Full disclosure: In the first drink we made for this tasting, I accidentally used sweet vermouth. While the color ended up somewhere between forest green and brown, its visual unattractiveness was offset by its tastiness. The version featured here, adapted from a recipe by Harry Craddock, is fairly decent but much too dry for my liking. Its striking green color sets it apart from others, but its combinations of dry vermouth, whiskey, and very little else to really sweeten it makes it a bit too dry for modern palates. If you’ve come this far and are actually reading our tasting notes on these drinks, I implore you to make this with sweet vermouth instead and let us know what you think.”

Kendall’s Take: ⭐⭐
“When a cocktail has a lovely green color, it’s often a signal that it’s going to be made with kitschy dyed ingredients. This one’s fairly different though because, aside from the green crème de menthe, it’s a serious, boozy drink. We ended up accidentally trying two versions—one with sweet vermouth and another with dry, which was the correct one—and the cocktail with sweet vermouth ended up being much tastier. I still wouldn’t make this again though. The flavor is unique, but it’s also kind of weird. I didn’t love it, but hey, it’s worth a try if you want to serve something minty and green after dinner on St. Patrick’s Day.”

Recipe

This cocktail recipe was adapted from Difford’s Guide, an online guide to cocktails, spirits, and liqueurs.

AuthorDifford's Guide

Yields1 ServingPrep Time5 mins

Ingredients
 1 ½ oz Irish Whiskey
 1 ½ oz Dry Vermouth
 ¼ oz Green Chartreuse
 ¼ oz Green Crème De Menthe
 1 Mint Sprig

Method
1

Add whiskey, dry vermouth, Green Chartreuse, green crème de menthe, and cubed ice to a mixing glass.

2

Stir for 30-45 seconds.

3

Strain into a cocktail glass.

4

Garnish with mint sprig.

Ingredients

Ingredients
 1 ½ oz Irish Whiskey
 1 ½ oz Dry Vermouth
 ¼ oz Green Chartreuse
 ¼ oz Green Crème De Menthe
 1 Mint Sprig

Directions

Method
1

Add whiskey, dry vermouth, Green Chartreuse, green crème de menthe, and cubed ice to a mixing glass.

2

Stir for 30-45 seconds.

3

Strain into a cocktail glass.

4

Garnish with mint sprig.

Shamrock

Make It a Mocktail: Use Spiritless Kentucky 74 Non-Alcoholic Bourbon Whiskey in place of the Irish whiskey, Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic Apéritif Dry in place of the dry vermouth, winter herb syrup in place of the Green Chartreuse, and Monin Premium Green Mint Syrup in place of the mint liqueur to try a booze-free version of this drink.

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More Whiskey Cocktails

If you like this whiskey-based cocktail recipe, here are a few others we’ve tried that you may enjoy:

Drunken Leprechaun Cocktail Recipe

Drunken Leprechaun: A whiskey cocktail made with orange juice, blue curaçao, Green Chartreuse, an orange wedge, and a cherry

Dubliner Cocktail Recipe

Dubliner: A whiskey cocktail made with sweet vermouth, orange curaçao, orange bitters, and a green cherry

Pot of Gold Cocktail Recipe

Pot of Gold: A whiskey cocktail made with honey ginger syrup, lemon juice, egg white, and gold flakes

Boo Radley Cocktail Recipe

Boo Radley: A bourbon cocktail made with Cynar, cherry liqueur, a lemon peel, and an orange peel

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