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How to Make Green Beer & 4 Other Festive Drinks for St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day just wouldn’t be St. Patrick’s Day without green beer — even if the official color of the holiday is actually blue because it’s the color associated with St. Patrick.

We’ll give you a moment to let that fun fact sink in…

OK, now that you’ve wrapped your head around how bizarre that is, let’s get back to why we’re all here: green beer. And we have a step-by-step guide for how to make the best green beer ever. Don’t worry, though, if beer isn’t your thing, we’ve got some pretty tasty green cocktail recipes for you too.

More: Boozy Lucky Charms Milkshake Will Start Your St. Patrick’s Day Off Right

Now, let’s get down to business. Here’s all you need to know to get your suds a vibrant shade of emerald green.

1. Buy light beer

No, it doesn’t have to be low in calories, but the color of the beer you use is important. You want to use a light-colored beer so the food coloring will easily mix. Using a dark beer (like Guinness) will require too much food coloring, which may change the flavor of the beer — or not even color the beer at all.

2. Food coloring goes in first

Making green beer is super-easy, being as that there are only two ingredients: beer and food coloring.

Start by adding three drops of green food coloring for each bottle of beer. Adding the food coloring to the bottom of an empty glass works best because when you pour the beer on top, it will help mix it. Adjust the color by adding more dye if you like.

3. Blue & yellow make green

Blue food coloring works also because when mixed with a brighter yellow beer, it makes for a nice green-colored brew. But be sure to test a drop of blue in a taster of the beer to see the result.

Now, on to the cocktails!

Emerald Isle martini recipe

Image: DrinkedIn

Makes 1 cocktail


  • 1 ounce gin
  • 1 ounce green-colored crème de menthe
  • 2 drops bitters
  • Mint leaves for garnish


  1. Combine all liquid ingredients in a martini shaker with ice. Shake until frothy.
  2. Strain into an ice-cold martini glass and garnish with a few springs of mint.

Drunken green fairy recipe

Green shot St. Patrick's Day hat
Image: TasiPas/Getty Images

Makes 1 cocktail


  • 1 shot Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • 1 shot absinthe
  • 2 shots Irish whiskey


  1. Pour the Irish cream into a tumbler. Top with absinthe, then top with whiskey. The cocktail will have a layered effect.
  2. This can also be made into a shot by using 1/2 shot of Irish cream and absinthe and 1 shot of whiskey layered in a shot glass.

Emerald beach martini recipe

midori cocktail with lime garnish
Image: calvste/Getty Images

Makes 1 cocktail


  • 1 ounce Midori
  • 2 ounces vodka (plain or flavored)
  • Few drops white cranberry juice
  • Berries or lime for garnish


  1. Combine all liquid ingredients in a martini shaker with ice.
  2. Shake well and pour into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with fruit.

Green goblin recipe

Image: Real Housemoms

Recipe from Rachel Willis of Real Housemoms

Makes 1 cocktail


  • 1-1/2 ounces cherry-flavored vodka
  • 1-1/2 ounces peach schnapps
  • 1-1/2 ounces sour apple schnapps
  • 1/2 ounce sweet and sour mix
  • 1 drop green food coloring for a richer green color (optional)


  1. Pour all the ingredients into a shaker filled halfway with ice.
  2. Cover and shake well.
  3. Pour over ice in an Old-Fashioned glass.
  4. Add lime wedge to rim for garnish, if desired.

More: 11 Foods to Dye Green For a Festive St. Patrick’s

A version of this article was originally published in March 2009.

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