Instead of heading to the land of fake green cocktails for St Paddy’s Day, I’m striking out for the end of the rainbow with this Irish Gold Rush cocktail riff. Instead of using bourbon, I’ve got a lovely Irish whiskey as the base (single malt or a blend if you have it). With a nod to the clover, I have clover honey syrup infused with lavender and a touch of lemon juice. Simple and fast and very tasty. Mine was far too easy to tip back.
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My last name should have been O’Bryan, and my first name is Heather, so I’ve got a little Irish in me. And as much as I love a great bourbon, Irish whisky is always an easy sip. It’s so much sweeter and lower-proof than my usual bourbons that it feels like a nice way to unwind.
But I wanted to play with clover honey syrup, and since I can’t infuse heather with it I chose to add a touch of lavender to this whiskey cocktail. If you don’t have lavender tea at home, using a few drops of lavender bitters is a great alternative.
What is a Gold Rush?
For this St Patrick’s Day Cocktail, I’m looking at the Gold Rush cocktail recipe, created in the early 2000s at New York’s Milk & Honey bar by T.J Siegal. It tastes like a much older cocktail, perhaps a whiskey riff on the gin-based Bees Knees.
It’s very simple, just bourbon, honey syrup, and fresh lemon juice. A classic sour, but the honey syrup makes the drink thick and almost creamy as it coats the tongue on the way down. It’s an easy cocktail to drink if you’re a honey lover because the specific kind of honey you use accounts for most of the taste in the drink.
For more information on the classic whiskey sour (which the Gold Rush and this cocktail are variations of) head to my article How to Make an Easy Whiskey Sour.
Flavors in this Irish Gold Rush
Rather than reinvent the wheel, I just made a few tweaks to the classic Gold Rush cocktail ingredients. I used Irish whisky instead of bourbon, and used clover honey mixed with lavender tea to make the honey syrup. That gave the cocktail a more pronounced floral note that I loved with the Irish whisky.
However, if you don’t have dried lavender or lavender tea, a dash of lavender bitters would add the same floral note to the cocktail in a lovely way.
From the Irish Gold Rush cocktail I adjusted the ratios just a bit. For the honey syrup I made, I dropped the lemon to ¾ oz, but kept the honey lavender syrup at 1 oz. If you prefer a sweeter sour, drop the lemon a bit more. But if you love a great puckery sour, start with ¾ oz and increase the ratio until you reach your preferred sweetness level.
How to Make the Honey Lavender Syrup
To make the honey-lavender syrup, I made a cup of lavender tea (2 tsp dried lavender to 1.5 cups water. Then I added 4 ounces of the warm lavender tea to 4 ounces of honey. The syrup came out brilliantly floral with a strong honey element. If you prefer a strong honey flavor, use a higher ratio of honey to lavender tea.
Other Cocktail Recipes You Might Enjoy
- Honey Rose Old Fashioned
- Rum Tiki Old Fashioned
- A Perfect Fall Pear Sour
- Apricot Rose Julep
- Chocolate Lavender Sour
- Apricot Lavender Sour
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You probably already have these, but you may need them, too:
Irish Gold Rush – Pot o’ Gold
- 1 oz honey lavender syrup**
- ¾ oz lemon juice
- 2 oz Irish whisky
- Optional: lavender bitters
- Garnish: lemon twist and candied ginger
- Combine Irish whisky, syrup, and lemon juice in a shaking tin and fill with ice. Shake for 10-12 seconds and strain into a chilled old fashioned glass with one large cube. Garnish with a lemon twist and candied ginger (or fresh lavender sprigs in summer).
- ½ cup honey
- ½ cup lavender tea (1.5 cup water brewed with 2 tsp dried lavender)