By Annette Gallagher Weisman
TheWineBuzz – March/April 2008

I love sherry. I’ve been drinking it since I was ten. Irish women often sip sherry when making Christmas puddings. During this annual ritual the kids have been known to have “a drop.” I can still picture my brother David, after many drops, grinning like Disney’s Dopey as he emerged sloth-like from behind the sofa.

My first official drink as a teenager was a Shandy: 50% beer and 50% carbonated lemonade. It was common for “young ladies” to have one in the lounge of a pub before a Dinner Dance (the equivalent of a prom), which was held in fancy hotels like The Shelbourne on St. Stephens Green.

Jameson whiskey was my father’s preferred drink. He also liked lager and Guinness stout. “Guinness is Good for You” was the slogan even back then. Still, I never acquired a taste for it, with the exception of a Black Velvet. To make one, just pour some champagne into a flute and slowly add the same amount of Guinness so that there’s plenty of foam on top.

Which reminds me, once, after carefully pouring cream over the back of a spoon to top off an Irish coffee, I was aghast to find the recipient stirring it vigorously – denying the pleasure of sipping it through the cream.

My mother’s tastes ran to festive drinks and those she discovered abroad. On returning from vacation, our cocktails at home received a boost when she’d add a new favorite such as a Cuba Libre or Sangria.

Yet, I’ve never had a green beer. For me, a Dubliner, it’s similar to the invention of Sweetheart’s Day – a good idea, but fake.

However, maybe I’m missing the point; on this St. Paddy’s Day, in memory of my festive-drinking mother, I’ll try one!