Better Ways to Go Green for St. Patrick’s Day

If you think that green beer is the only way to get festive for St. Patrick’s Day, then it’s time to branch out and go in a different direction. The city’s best bars and bartenders are making it easy to do so, with an array of green-hued libations to enjoy, incorporating everything from matcha and chartreuse to cucumber and arugula.

Arugula Martini at Marcel’s
With Hendrick’s Gin, St. Germain, arugula leaves, agave nectar, fresh lime juice
Marcel’s knows a thing or two about whipping up a well-made martini, but they aren’t afraid to change things up, either. Enter the Arugula Martini, a popular choice on the cocktail menu incorporating fresh-pressed arugula leaves for a peppery hit that plays well with the combination of Hendrick’s Gin and St. Germain. Marcel’s: 2401 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, DC;

Banjaxed Cured at Firefly
With Jameson, Ardbeg, dry curacao, tomatillos, Green Cholula hot sauce, cilantro, jalapeno, basil, thyme, rosemary, cucumber, capers, green peppers, Irish blackening seasoning
Brendan Ambrose has taken the tomatillo Bloody Mary up a few notches here. “Banjaxed” is Irish slang for a person who’s hungover. Ambrose therefore opted for Jameson whiskey as the base spirit, and kicks it up with peaty Islay scotch from Ardbeg, green jalapeno, hot sauce and an array of seasonings and add-ons. If this doesn’t cure what ails ya, you might be in trouble. Firefly: 1310 New Hampshire Ave. NW, DC;

The Dhaniya Cooler at Rasika West End
With Sipsmith London Dry Gin, Fonseca Siroco, Giffard Orgeat syrup, lemon juice, cilantro
The Dhaniya Cooler gets its green hue from fresh cilantro. The herb is pulverized with an immersion blender before the drink is shaken and strained. The refreshing libation is then topped with a cucumber garnish for an extra green-on-green effect. Rasika West End: 1190 New Hampshire Ave. NW, DC;

Et Tu, Brute? at Urbana
With Grappa Mazzetti, green chartreuse, Luxardo Maraschino, lime juice
Lead bartender Andrea Tateosian came up with the Et, Tu Brute? as part of her new Fall of Rome cocktail menu. She promises it will “entice history buffs and cocktail enthusiasts alike” as it offers an Italian riff on the classic The Last Word, with grappa in place of gin. Urbana: 2121 P St. NW, DC;

The Green Barrel at The Rye Bar at Rosewood
With Jameson Black Barrel, green chartreuse, lime juice, honey syrup, Manzanilla sherry, basil leaves
Food and Beverage Manager Diego Zeballos came up with this complex drink, which incorporates a trifecta of green with chartreuse, lime juice and basil leaves. Along with its color, it’s named in honor of its signature spirit, Jameson Black Barrel whiskey. “The muddled basil and green chartreuse add gentle herbal and liquorish-like notes, and the Manzanilla sherry is that last bit of dryness on the edge of the tongue, resulting in a cocktail of many flavor layers,” Zeballos says. The Rye Bar at Rosewood: 1050 31st St. NW, DC;

The Green Monster at All Set Restaurant & Bar
With ceremonial grade matcha, lemon juice, lavender syrup, Bittermens Boston Bittahs, gin, cava
The Green Monster from Assistant GM and Beverage Director Molly Horn is named in homage to Fenway Park. The Bittermens Boston Bittahs are therefore an appropriate inclusion. “Brunch means tea and mimosas, so I wanted to incorporate that with an interesting twist on a sparkling cocktail,” Horn says. “Between the matcha, lavender syrup and chamomile bitters, you’ll never want a hot tea again!” All Set Restaurant & Bar: 8630 Fenton St. Plaza 5, Silver Spring, MD;

Green Thumb at The Hamilton
With Corsair Gin, cucumber sour mix (cucumber juice, lime juice, simple syrup, salt), cucumber slices
Beverage manager Samantha Withall came up with the Green Thumb, which has been a favorite drink on the menu at The Hamilton since they first opened. Withall’s concoction was actually inspired by her grandmother’s cold cucumber soup, although she vows that the soup did not, in fact, also have gin it. The Hamilton: 600 14th St. NW, DC;

Matcha Mule at Bourbon Steak
With Babicka Vodka, lime juice, matcha, pennywort, fresh ginger, soda, watercress, candied ginger
Visit the farmer’s market section of the expansive Bourbon Steak cocktail menu for one of head bartender Torrence Swain’s creative concoctions. The Matcha Mule is served tall over ice and plays its part well – you’ll feel healthier just looking at it. Bourbon Steak: 2800 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, DC;

Matcha Picchu at Dirty Habit
With pisco, guava puree, Velvet Falernum, lime juice, egg white, matcha powder
Head bartender Sarah Ruiz came up with the drink and its multi-pun-layered name. Macchu Pisco is the base spirit, and it’s paired with matcha powder. Ruiz describes the drink as “joining together Eastern and Western flavors.” The matcha and pisco tandem is balanced by the guava, Velvet Falernum, lime juice and egg white for a drink that’s vibrant in flavor, texture and appearance. Dirty Habit: 555 8th St. NW, DC;

Teahouse Tipple at Dram & Grain
With Jensen’s gin, basmati syrup, lemon juice, matcha green tea, egg white, yuzu-lillet espuma
Created by Andy Bixby, the Teahouse Tipple is from the San Francisco portion of the Dram & Global cocktail menu. “The inspiration for the cocktail came from the city’s lush, beautiful Japanese tea gardens,” Bixby says. “The oldest public Japanese garden in the United States, they still perform traditional Japanese tea ceremonies, which mainly focus around the preparation and consumption of matcha tea in the presence of nature.” Dram & Grain: 2007 18th St. NW, DC;


Jake Emen

Jake Emen is a freelance writer focused on food and drink, as well as travel and lifestyle. Currently based outside of Washington, D.C., he has been published in a wide range of print and online outlets, including Whisky Advocate, Eater, Vice Munchies,, Tales of the Cocktail, Washington Post Express, Distiller, Roads & Kingdoms, Time Out, Tasting Table, Destination Weddings & Honeymoons, and a range of others. He also runs his own site,, and can be followed on Twitter, @ManTalkFood.