No. 4: A License to Drink…an Irish Christmas

I come from a long lineage of Irish drinkers (please note: I did NOT say alcoholics, I said “drinkers”) so drinking at the holidays always seemed normal. Being given a half glass of beer or a taste of this or that was never unusual but about the time I turned 12 or 13, I had new boobs, a huge crush on my older cousin, and apparently a license to drink.

It started with my uncle sneaking peppermint schnapps into hot cocoa. Although neither one of us was truly that sneaky, it seemed to make the cocoa taste better if I thought I was pulling one over on my parents.

Peppermint Patty

  • 1 oz peppermint schnapps
  • 1 oz dark crème de cacao
  • 2 oz cream

Shake with ice, strain and serve cold or mix with hot cocoa and serve warm

A few years later it was vodka, soda and a splash of Sprite. Nothing fancy, but it felt very grown-up.  I will never forget the Christmas my uncle swapped vodka for gin and I developed my extreme distaste for anything even smelling of juniper – including the bushes in my parent’s front yard.  This distaste persisted up until just this year when I discovered gin that did not taste like gnawing on a tree.

Gin or Vodka Rickey                                                        

  • 1 1/2 oz gin or vodka
  • Juice of 1/2 limes
  • Carbonated water or citrus soda
  • 1 lime wedge

Combine liquor and lime juice, shake and pour over ice. Fill glass with soda, stir and garnish with lime wedge

My uncle gave me my first taste of whiskey the Christmas I was 17.  He called it an Old Fashioned, but now that I know what an Old Fashioned is, I’m pretty confident it was just whiskey and coke or maybe ginger ale.  I was hooked.  Yes, it took me a bit to get used to the strong flavor, but luckily I was weaned on the good stuff.  While my dad was the beer guy (Bud Light) and my mom was the Margarita Momma, my uncle was all about the Jamesons.  Bless him. To this day it’s not Christmas without a pull of very expensive whiskey.  Nor is it the holidays without my pro-drinking, pro-good time, amazing family.  Merry Christmas to all, and to all a very, very, very good night.

Whiskey Old Fashioned

  • 2 oz whiskey
  • 2 dashes bitters
  • 1 splash water
  • 1 tsp sugar (to taste, I use very little sugar)
  • 1 maraschino cherry
  • 1 orange wedge

Combine the whiskey, bitters water and sugar (I also use a squeeze of orange), serve over ice and garnish with the cherry (NOT the glowing red ones please) and orange slice

Sláinte!

[See all of The 12 Days of a Wagon Christmakwanakah]

About Michelle Simons


Michelle likes beer, booze, bands, beards and boys. And alliteration.