The naming of cocktails is a curious pursuit. Sometimes the lineage and legacy of a foundational recipe is evident. Other times the track has a jump or two in the explanation of how one drink relates to another.
It’s helpful to remember these names are one- to two-word everlasting marketing campaigns for the concoctions they represent. If done well, the names of the drinks that come after an established classic can be easily classified by bartender and avid consumer alike contributing to a lexicon that allows for easy progression from one cocktail to another with a high probability that if you like the classic, you’ll enjoy its offspring.
The Dubliner, nestled in the family of Manhattans does just that. This sultry swirl was created by Gary and Mardee Regan in 1999 to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. If the timeline didn’t refute it, one might think its recipe was a riff off the Red Hook. Created in New York at Milk & Honey in 2003, The Red Hook cocktail with its two parts rye, one part split equally of vermouth with maraschino liqueur is technically a creative reduction of a Brooklyn. But it drinks so closely to how a standard Manhattan is served that it is usually the first stop on a tour of drinks that bartenders love to offer to anyone who enjoys a two parts whiskey, one part vermouth Manhattan. In this line roll the Greenpoint, Little Italy, Carol Gardens, and on — all named for neighborhoods in the two boroughs vying for influence in this ethos.
Another point of departure from the Manhattan is to substitute Scotch whisky for the rye. Here we get drinks named for historical Scots, Rob Roy, Robert Burns, and then the better known Bobby Burns. In the Bobby Burns cocktail, Bénédictine is playing the sweet and savory note that Grand Marnier does in the Dubliner and it’s here that Gaz [Gary] and Mardee have accomplished something hard to do.
They tie these two lines back together by naming the Dubliner both for a city and a person from the city who may belly up to the pub and enjoy this insightful, sophisticated dram.
The cocktail drinks so precisely as the name implies that a guest, without all the backstory, is likely to feel by the name alone, that this is just the kind of stirred Irish whiskey drink to have on Saint Patrick’s Day.
What you’ll need
2 oz. Irish whiskey
½ oz Grand Marnier
½ oz sweet vermouth
Dash of orange bitters
Stir together over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Garnish with a twist of lemon.
Join our next virtual cocktail class
Join us at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 17, with host Jackson Cannon and his special guest Patrick Sullivan. They’ll be making cocktails with Irish whiskey on St. Patrick’s Day, catching up about the Boston restaurant and bar scene, and sharing tips the pros use to make great drinks at home. They’ll mix a a traditional Hot Toddy and a modern riff of the Manhattan cocktail known as The Dubliner. Everything you’ll need is listed here.
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