St. Patrick’s Day never meant much to me growing up. Being German, it wasn’t something my family really got into, nor did I have many friends who celebrated beyond wearing green or ruthlessly pinching me if I didn’t. Haters.
But, since getting married in 2010, things have changed. Our wedding anniversary is March 13, and my husband’s birthday is the 17th – the actual St. Patrick’s Day holiday. You could say it’s a green kind of week for us, whether we like it or not. On our honeymoon in Breckenridge, Colorado, retailers and restaurant workers outwardly assumed we were just some college kids getting in on the mayhem that is spring break in the mountains. I think our modest plans and use of common, everyday manners proved otherwise.
Have you ever wondered how the Irish truly celebrate St. Paddy’s Day? I have. It is their holiday after all. They may drink beer like Americans, but not in the same fashion.
From what I’ve gathered the roots of the holiday have a much deeper meaning. St. Patrick’s Day is literally the “Feast of Saint Patrick,” who is regarded as the most recognized Patron Saint of Ireland.
The first St. Patrick’s Day celebration took place in the early seventeenth century, mostly observed in the Catholic and Anglican community. The day was marked by church services, parades, festivals and the wearing of green attire and even shamrocks. Despite being in the middle of the Lenten season (largely observed by Catholics), alcohol restrictions were lifted for the day so all could celebrate, shall we say, jovially?
Enter: Whiskey. My local liquor store attendant – my favorite one, in fact – informed me that if you’re going to drink whiskey, Jameson is where it’s at. When the bearded man speaks, I listen.
Since going dairy free myself earlier this year I haven’t been able to enjoy one of my favorite Irish drinks, Bailey’s on ice. But because there are so many dairy alternatives available to us today, I simply subbed in coconut milk and went on my merry, jovial way.
Enjoy a glass of this Vegan Irish Cream this St. Paddy’s Day – safely, of course. This stuff is stout enough to keep the saints at bay, trust me. Bottoms up!
Vegan Irish Cream Yields 6, 6 ounce servings
- 3 cups coconut milk beverage (such as Silk), or sub canned light coconut milk or rice or almond milk
- 1 cup very strong brewed coffee OR 1/2 cup espresso
- 1/4 cup raw sugar + 1/2 packet non-bitter stevia (or just 1/3 cup sugar total)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup Jameson or other Irish whiskey
Bring coconut milk to a light simmer in a small saucepan, then add sugar and stevia and whisk. Continue cooking for another 8 minutes, whisking occasionally. You want the milk and sugar to meld together and get hot, but not boil. Remove from heat and add coffee, vanilla extract and whiskey to taste. I’ve recommended 1/2 cup, but use less if you don’t like it as strong. Alternatively, add more if you prefer a stout drink. Transfer the mixture to a clean, large glass jar to let cool with lid off. Then refrigerate before serving. Serve over ice, plain, over ice cream or iced coffee.
Estimated nutrition per 6 ounce serving: 105 calories, 2.5 g fat, 8 g sugar
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Story, recipe and photos by Dana Shultz for DietsInReview.com