From Farm to Bottle, Irish Creme Liqueur and Other Irish Products

PHOTO: Kathy Tran

Ah, St. Patrick’s Day. A day to wear green, drink green, and tell your friends that your 23 and Me profile proves your Irish ancestry, so this is your day, too.

There were lots of fun “Irish-y” events last weekend to celebrate the March 17th birthday of St. Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland, and I had planned to write about them. Until, that is, I received a press release from a company that represents a bar in town that offered $5 Irish Car Bombs.

Well, maybe I’m not as hip as I thought because I had never heard about the drink, but I had heard about the Irish Republican Army’s use of car bombs to scare and kill their enemies. In fact, I know someone who lost a relative in an Irish car bombing.

That cocktail wasn’t invented in Dallas, but it’s been stinking up St. Paddy’s Day celebrations since around 1979 when a bartender in Connecticut renamed it from “Grandfather” to the Irish Car Bomb.  I want to believe that anyone still referring to that drink as an ICB simply doesn’t know the history behind the name and means no harm. Naming a cocktail after a weapon that was used to kill and terrorize people for 30 years (not even that long ago, not that it matters) is offensive. No, this isn’t “cancel culture,” it’s recognizing ignorance and insensitivity and calling it out.  So, let’s come up with a better name for it, shall we?

Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk. This article will get more light-hearted, I promise.

I called my friend Rachel Gaffney, a well-known Irish culinary ambassador who lives in Dallas and has a successful business promoting Ireland in the United States and in her native country by introducing an American audience to products and people who represent Irish culture and by taking Americans on thoughtfully bespoke trips to Ireland. First, she agreed, the drink’s name is quite offensive, then we got to talking about Irish food products readily available in Dallas and I chose three of my favorites (and hers) to write about today so we can celebrate the goodness of Irish culture.

PHOTO: Kersten Rettig

Five Farms Single Batch Irish Cream Liqueur
This is farm-to-bottle bliss. Made in County Cork, Five Farms Irish Creme Liqueur is made with cream from five area family farms whose happy cows graze on vibrant green grass almost 300 days a year. The fresh cream is collected each Friday and within 48 hours it becomes this creamy, dreamy drink with distinct flavors of butterscotch and vanilla and a little punch of whiskey. It’s absolutely delicious and packaged so beautifully in a black glass milk bottle with a latch which is too pretty to recycle when you finish it up. You can find it at Total Wine and More.

Keough’s Potato Chips
I love potato chips and have reviewed at least 50 different kinds of chips on my KerstenEats Instagram page.  My favorite brand is Keough’s, not just for the quality of the chip, the size, potato flavor, and high-quality flavoring that comes in flavors such as Shamrock (green onion) and Truffle and Irish Butter, but because of the pride and care they have for the product.

Ireland’s Food and Drug Administration’s equivalent passed a law that all Irish food must comply with traceability rules.  Established in 2002 to create accountability and safety measures should an outbreak of food-borne illness occur, producers must keep records of the ingredients/products it receives from whom and where they’re sent after production. 

Keough’s, like other Irish food manufacturers, is required to document a food’s provenance, but they also share more personal information, such as the field from which these particular spuds came, the variety of potato and, even who cooked it.  They call it Spud Nav and it really is just brilliant. It’s a fun thing to look up every time you eat a bag of Keough’s, which for me, is regularly. You can buy these at World Market and try funky flavors such as Guinness and Flame Grilled Steak.

PHOTO: Cashel Blue Cheese

Cashel Blue Cheese
From Tipperary, a name so lyrical everything produced there sounds more appealing, Cashel Blue is the first ever Irish blue cheese. It debuted in 1984 and has been growing in popularity and distribution ever since. It’s very popular, so much so that I couldn’t get my hands on any to try, but Rachel assures me that if you like blue cheese, and I do, this is the best you’ll ever have. She recommends combining the blue cheese with a seedless red grape and an almond for a simply glorious bite. It is sold at Whole Foods, Central Market, and other select stores.

The saying “Erin go Bragh” means “Ireland til the end of time,” a rallying cry during the Irish Rebellion of 1789. By the looks of these photos, I want to go to Ireland to the end of time, so beautiful.

Erin go Bragh and enjoy your corned beef and cabbage or tacos or pizza or whatever you plan to eat for your St. Patrick’s Day feast.