The Tipperary, No. 1

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The Tipperary is an old cocktail, with two variations listed in the Savoy Cocktail book.  In this post, I will discuss the first variation, which is equal parts of Irish whiskey, green Chartreuse, and sweet vermouth.


“It’s a long way to Tipperary, |
It’s a long way to go. |
It’s a long way to Tipperary |
To the sweetest girl I know! |
Goodbye Piccadilly, |
Farewell Leicester Square! |
It’s a long long way to Tipperary, |
But my heart’s right there.”

The refrain to Jack Judge’s song, “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary” (1912)

The first thing that popped into my head when I looked at this cocktail was that it is a Bijou without bitters, without garnish, and with whiskey instead of gin.And when tasting it, it really did remind me of a Bijou, though it lacked the depth of flavor from the orange bitters, the botanicals of the gin, and the aroma of the lemon oils.  However, it still does taste similar, having the same two other large flavor components, which dominate the palate, especially when all the ingredients are equal. In order to create a drink where the whiskey is prevalent, a strong full bodied whiskey should be used; after consulting with Forrest Cokely of Hi-Times Wine Cellars, I decided to go with John L. Sullivan Irish whiskey because of the price, but also the fact it has a full body and heavy mouth-feel, and also seems to carry a strong, yet pleasing, flavor.  I have had this whiskey before, and the most prevalent flavor besides the grain notes is ta light honey taste on the mid palate. 

Apparently there are two versions of this drink as listed by the Savoy Cocktail Book.  Version one, is the recipe I am using, and seems, somewhat Irish to say the least because of the use of Irish whiskey (Craddock 161).  The second version is really strange, being an amalgamation of orange juice, grenadine, french vermouth, dry gin and green mint (Ibid).  Gary Regan, the famed mixologist, has his own third version that he created, which is a more modern version to make it less sweet and more strong, as well as increase the flavor of the whiskey in the overall cocktail and balance it for a more modern palate: his recipe, dubbed Tipperary No. 3 is 1/2 ounce green Chartreuse (discarded out of the glass after coating it), 2 ounces Irish whiskey and 1 ounce sweet vermouth (Regan, “A Scotsman named…”).   Furthermore, according to Regan, a recipe for the cocktail can be originally found in a book by Hugo R. Ensslin, in his 1916 book Recipes for Mixed Drinks, as well as in Harry McElhone’s 1922 text, ABC of Mixing Cocktails (Ibid).  As I’ve mentioned McElhone before, we know that he went out to work in the New York Bar in Paris, which is a well known site for cocktail culture.

Regan writes that the song is predated by the cocktail, according to Albert Stevens Crockett in the Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book (Regan, “It’s a long…”).  Regardless, the song is still linked with the cocktail thanks to the shared name.  Concerning the song: it was written in by Jack Judge in 1912 (Wikipedia).  Outside of that, we know that Judge was the offspring of Irish parents, and that John McCormack helped contribute to its’ worldwide popularity by recording it in 1914 (Ibid).  The song has the rumors that it was created for a five shilling bet, and was performed at a concert hall the night after it was produced (Ibid).  Reports say that the song was sung during the first World War by an Irish regiment, where it was adopted by other regiments shortly thereafter (Ibid).

Basically, this drink is really similar to a Bijou, and is a bit more tame thanks to the whiskey.  However, depending on the type of whiskey, the drink could be rather complex as well.  Because of the use of Chartreuse, the drink should probably be served as a digestif to help settle the stomach, and because it is a fairly strong cocktail in and of itself.

The Tipperary No. 1:
3/4 ounce Irish whiskey
3/4 ounce green Chartreuse
3/4 ounce sweet / red / Italian vermouth

Stir together equal parts of all three ingredients with ice until well diluted and chilled.  Strain into a cocktail glass.

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Biggs, David. 2004. Whisky and Bourbon Cocktails.   London: New Holland Publishers.

Craddock, Henry.  1999.  The Savoy Cocktail Book.  Originally published 1930.  London: Pavilion Books.

Regan, Gary.  2006.  “A Scotsman named Harry finds the road to Tipperary.”  March 16, 2006. San Francisco Chronicle.  SFGate.com. http://articles.sfgate.com/2006-03-16/wine/17285433_1_professor-cocktail-second-chance (accessed March 17, 2010).
–.  2010.  “It’s a long way to new Tipperary Cocktail.”  March 14, 2010.  San Francisco Chronicle.  Accessed via SFGate.com.  http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/03/12/FDNS1CCO08.DTL (accessed March 17, 2010).

Wikipedia contributors. “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It%27s_a_Long_Way_to_Tipperary (accessed March 17, 2010).