September 14, 2012 | {category_name}

Irish Mermaid Cocktail

Creating a good cocktail is tough, making it popular is even tougher. There are currently thousands of very talented bartenders around the world who take their profession seriously. Many have honed their skills so they can mix high proof spirits with bitter components to make a worthwhile cocktail, which is no easy task. Once you have a good cocktail, how do you make it popular? That's actually the hardest part, but with enough publicity, anything is possible.

The inspiration for this post came from Max La Rocca (Listen to the Ice) when he sent me a message to promote his idea of making the Irish Mermaid a modern classic. A few years ago I had a similar idea to develop a cocktail by committee with CSOWG and have everyone (the bloggers) promote it to see if the cocktail would "stick". But like the Spruce Goose, the idea never took off. So when Max sent me his cocktail, and the goal, it made perfect sense to me.

As mentioned, most bartenders who take their profession seriously can create a good cocktail, but often times those cocktails have short life spans. They exist on menu's for a few months, maybe a few years, only to fade away when the next great drink comes along. Sometimes the recipe gets published in a newspaper, or book but that still is not enough to make it popular. To make a cocktail popular you need to get it into as many people's hands as possible.

So here is my contribution to making a good cocktail more popular.

As per Max's post: "the name "Mermaid" pays homage to the statue of the little Mermaid in Copenhagen which is where Cherry Heering liqueur comes from."

The name does lend itself to modifications, which is always good for a cocktail. For example, if you substitute Canadian whisky you'll have a Canadian Mermaid, if you sub in Bourbon you'll have an American Mermaid and if you put Scotch in it, you'll have an Ugly Mermaid. Ba-da-dump. Seriously, put a lime in a Scottish guy's single malt and tell me if the result is pretty.

Irish Mermaid
35 ml  Irish Whiskey
10 ml Cherry Heering
10 ml Aperol
5 ml Orgeat
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
Orange twist

Garnish with Brandied Black Cherries cooked and reduced into Cherry Heering (if you find nice brandied cherries or Luxardo Maraschino black cherries is fine too, as long as they're not the cheap red plastic ones)

Irish Mermaid

The Irish Mermaid is a good cocktail. It's balanced, complex and no single component dominates, though all are present if you look for them. It's also approachable to the cocktail neophyte, but won't bore a student of the hipster school of mixology. If you like Manhattan's, you'll like this. There is also an odd similarity to the Filby Cocktail, which is another cocktail I've spent time try to revive. And actually, the Irish Mermaid and Filby Cocktail would make great menu mates.

Why a tea cup? Well, Max started serving this cocktail during tea time so I though it might be interesting to put the drink in a fine crystal coffee / tea cup. Drinking a cocktail in a glass with a handle instead of a stem is quite likeable, I might starting drinking more cocktails this way.

Chad Robinson17/04/2012

I do like the idea of drinking cocktails from tea cups! Especially ones in the style pictured above. Thanks for passing along that idea!


Good job! it looks like a very tasty cocktail too, i got the same challenge so we`ll see what i may come up with, but i need to find decent cherries first…not so easy here.


Hey Darcy, long time listener first time caller.  I want in on this experiment.  I’m a Bev director at a restaurant in manhattan and I’m guessing if we can get enough of my cohorts in the biz to put the cocktail on their lists at the same time then we may get traction.   We will know we have succeeded when people start asking for it a places where it isn’t listed.   This particular cocktail may not be the one however.   The orgeat could be a problem since not every bar has it on hand (I know, this is shocking news to those of you who would’t think of starting a meal without a Mai Tai) .  Brandied cherries still aren’t standard either and some places won’t be interested in the prep of cooking them in heering.  Lastly, the glassware is too specific and most places aren’t going to shell out for a specialty vessel.   All of that being said,  I still like the idea of trying to get a cocktail to stick.   What we need is something that has no more than four common ingredients and a common garnish and glass.

Darcy O'Neil22/04/2012

 Hey SW, I agree with your points, though I thinking getting orgeat into bars opens up the menu a bit. And I think a typical cocktail glass would work fine. As for garnish, I’ve never found it affects the taste of the cocktail, so I don’t worry too much.

Shannon Bachmann01/05/2012

Sounds like a tasty cocktail


Drinking cocktails  from tea cups sounds different but ll this be applicable for other cocktails?


It is not my cup of tea…

Well, I guess, it is very unpredictable, if a drink becomes a modern classic or not.
I think besides of the Orgeat [lets face it, we don’t want to create another LIIT - hence we don’t want to have it in all bars] Aperol will be a ingredient not all bars list.

In fact the simpler the cocktail and the more unique its twist, the more chance it has to stick. One prime example was the Basil Smash, which was adapted worldwide and still remains with an excellent reputation; earlier in times it was Dick Bradsell’s Bramble, which became a new icon of cocktails.

If you look at this drinks, they are starting quite conservative but ending up with very unique twists - the apparent connection to other drinks [in both cases a gin sour] is giving the guests enough confidence, to go a bit out of their comfort zone, the changes are easy enough to remember and to order it again. 

Submit Comment