Book Review: Paddy Drinks by The Dead Rabbit

| March 15, 2022

Nearly ten years ago, two boys from Belfast opened one of New York City’s iconic cocktail bars. Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry took a dilapidated five-story townhouse against advice, partnered with one of the best bartenders in the world, Jillian Vose, and with a little Irish Luck, The Dead Rabbit was born. Despite some downs— a fire, a hurricane, and a global pandemic— The Dead Rabbit continues to push cocktail boundaries with traditional Irish Hospitality.

After writing their first Drinks Manual and A Whiskey Lover’s Guide to Ireland, Muldoon and McGarry have recently released Paddy Drinks: The World of Modern Irish Whiskey Cocktails. Much like their other books, Paddy Drinks has a deep introduction section filled with a rich history. With a beautiful foreword from David Wondrich and a great deal of information, Paddy Drinks presents everything in a comprehendible way and keeps the reader engaged.

Paddy Drinks is a great book if you want to expand your knowledge of Irish Whiskey or want to significantly up your cocktail game. Even as a bartender myself, I find myself overwhelmed by the cocktails. Mainly because I would have to add a significant number of bottles to my home bar to concoct them. Many of the cocktails contain seven to ten ingredients. They all sound delicious, but I do not even like bartending at home. If I must mix more than three or five ingredients, I am out. I will pour myself a whiskey neat instead.

Paddy Drinks (image via Courtney Kristjana)

Paddy Drinks (image via Courtney Kristjana)

However, each recipe is clearly written, simply organized, and accompanied by gorgeous photography. Each cocktail has a byline of three notes or quick descriptors, so if you want a rich or tart cocktail you can easily choose the right flavor profile. To the side, the drink’s creator explains the inspiration and thought process behind it. The instructions are easy to follow, but you must have all the ingredients prepared, especially if it calls for any of Dead Rabbit’s house syrups, tinctures, or infusions.

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My favorite section of Paddy Drinks is the last 39 pages excluding the glossary. This section is filled with The Dead Rabbit’s house syrups, tinctures, and infusions. While I do not want to make superbly complex cocktails, I will take the time to make a delicious ingredient to elevate cocktails. The nice thing is you can store or use the syrups, tinctures, and infusions in a variety of ways. This section is the least daunting and most inspiring.

Paddy Drinks is not for everyday cocktailing at home but is great to bring out for special occasions. This may not be worth spending the $28 on it, but it does have its uses. Given its comprehensive history sections, anyone could host an Irish whiskey tasting with friends and family. Some cocktails have overlapping elements, so you can make a couple of different ones to try. The cocktails rebel against the preconceived notions of Irish cocktails. Paddy Drinks is not for the novice cocktailer, but if you already enjoy making drinks and are ready to move beyond the basics, then this is the right cocktail book for you.

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Courtney Kristjana

Courtney Kristjana is a leading whiskey taster in the country. She left a career in Gerontology after an article on Heather Greene inspired her to follow her passion for whiskey. She is studying to become a Master of Scotch and someday hopes she is nominated for the Keepers of the...