As a bachelor of some particular vice, I’m no stranger to cocktails. One specific comes up every March that I wanted to talk about.
When the Irish think of St. Patrick’s Day, it’s not the same as the American celebration. When the Irish think of the phrase “Irish Car Bomb”, it sure as shit ain’t the same either. The cocktail is almost completely unknown in Ireland. If you told them the ingredients, at best, they would probably call it “a waste of good liquor”.
Similarly, many Irish would call the holiday in America “a waste of good culture”. With so many Americans who celebrate this holiday by embracing a painfully insensitive caricature of the Irish, I’m not sure my writing could slow that down. But could we at least wind back on the name “Irish Car Bomb”?
I’m an Irish immigrant and I’m a young man and I was still living in Ireland when car bombs were filling coffins. While you’d be forcefully removed from the pub for ordering this drink in Belfast, it’s an acceptable and even celebrated order here in the states.
I’m calling for a moratorium on the name of this beverage. But I’m not going to critique without offering an alternative, though. bell hooks calls that “an incomplete intervention”. Just like the beer cocktail “The Black And Tan” could be considered really inflammatory, despite being one of many similar Guinness mixes, but has found a more acceptable title in the “Half and Half”. I’d hate to think of depriving the masses of painfully sober people that are out every March, so I’ll give you three potential new names for the Irish Car Bomb:
- The Wilde Ride
Much like the cocktail in question, Oscar Wilde is certainly popular with a select community. And much like the beverage, the Irish have to claim ownership of the ingredients that made him so popular, even if some might be a little embarrassed. So after you drop and the Baileys starts curdling, think of the Portrait of Dorian Grey because the longer you watch it, the more horrific your night is about to become.
- Snake Juice
There never were any snakes in Ireland. The idea of St. Patrick “driving the snakes out” is just an allegory for him bringing Catholicism to the godless pagans (as symbolized by the serpent, or snake). What better way to get back at the man who stripped a country of its native faith than to cannonball the primal spirits of the earth, the spirits of grain and barley and milk, and knock them back faster than the bishop can say “lenten restriction”. Couple this with the existing legacy of the mysterious beverage from the TV show Parks & Rec, and this could be a very popular new name
- The Rattlin’ Bog
Named after the folk song of the same name, this will give your drink an auld country charm. Between the literal rattling of the curdling Baileys and the supposed ingredients to Guinness Beer, I think it’s quite fitting too. You could even borrow from the barsong tradition and sing while you pour the Jameson/Baileys combo for everyone:
Oh ho the rattlin’ bog
The bog down in the valley-o
Oh ho the rattlin’ bog
The bog down in the valley-oh
And when your crew finally gets poured up and you all resolve the final “down in the valley-oh”, you can drop your shots and chug that rare drink, that rattlin’ drink.
These are just a few options that speak to me as an Irish born American. I think about how I would feel if I was in the middle facing the other way. It would be just as disturbing for me to watch the Irish celebrating one of the most culturally important icons in american history by acting in a way that stereotypes Americans while doing rounds of a drink named after a notoriously violent crime that has claimed hundreds of innocent lives.
Think about Irish kids getting together on Presidents Day every year, wearing Red White and Blue, eating McDonalds and taking turns downing a cocktail called a “Mass Shooting”. Would that not be considered at least a little insensitive?
I’ve heard of many Irish pubs who patronize their patrons trying to order an Irish Car Bomb by asking them what the ingredients are. They follow up with “Oh, you mean a 9-11?” Which makes the point, but I’d prefer not to stoop to that level.
They will sometimes respond with “Get the fuck out”. Which will certainly relay an appropriate message about acceptable nomenclature, but I’d hate to ruin somebody’s good night just because they didn’t know any better.
Some barkeeps I’ve met prefer the term “Irish Slammer”. Which is innocuous enough, although the phrase Irish Slammer makes me think of the Dirty Protests in the 70s. Moreover, it just doesn’t have the same color and ferocity that I would like to see from a beverage made of the three most popular spirits to find their way out of the Island of Saints and Scholars.
Anybody have any suggestions they would like to offer for my list of potential new names?