The Lucky Leprechaun Drink is a beautiful golden-green cocktail made with the herby green chartreuse, sweet pink grapefruit liqueur and a little floral hint from elderflower. It is truly one amazing spring cocktail perfect to celebrate St. Patrick's Day!
And honestly, even though this is a green-ish cocktail named the Lucky Leprechaun Drink, at its core, it is just a spring cocktail. I would enjoy this on the patio with a good book while feeling the first real heat of the year from the sun in my face - no matter the date.
For spring cocktails, don't miss out on my limoncello spring spritz!
To make this beautiful spring cocktail, you will need literally a handful of ingredients:
- Green chartreuse - the color of the drink, and the herbs of the drink. If it's important to get a brighter green color, you can use more green chartreuse, but I'll take flavor over color and would then rather just use green food coloring!
- Gin - the spirit base of the drink. You can omit this if you don't want a strong cocktail
- Grapefruit liqueur - the sweetness, slight bitterness, and delicious citrusness!
- Lime juice - just to freshen it up a little
- Elderflower cordial - or liqueur if you like. That floral hint is perfect with grapefruit hence these elderflower grapefruit mimosas too!
- Edible gold glitter - to keep it extra festive and lucky!
What is green chartreuse?
So chances are you found an ingredient you hadn't heard of before - green chartreuse. It's a relatively new thing for me too, but I was drawn to it by all the herbs in the liqueur.
Green chartreuse is the only liqueur that is naturally green, made with 130 herbs, roots, spices and other plants macerated in alcohol. Yes, 130. It is made by the monks in the plant room at the Grande Chartreuse monastery in France.
Chartreuse themselves explain the tasting notes as such:
A Chartreuse green color, a powerful herbaceous, peppery nose.
A fresh palate with minty notes, pine sap and citrus fruits.
Bittersweet tea at the end of the mouth prolongs the tasting.
Sounds pretty good, doesn't it?
However, when serving chartreuse, it is important to keep the liqueur chilled. If not, it can taste harsh, astringent and medicinal.
When it's chilled and/or mixed with other ingredients, according to sommelier Jules Elkovich, the liqueur’s sharp notes evolve into citrus and fresh garden herbs all while keeping that peppery structure. Read more about green chartreuse on Liquor.com.
Bonus; there is a yellow chartreuse too! This is perfect with darker spirits like whiskey. And yes, I am working on a recipe for it (Update: it's in my 99 Summer drinks cookbook). You're welcome.
Other spirits: Green chartreuse is good with light spirits like gin, tequila, vodka and rum. So you can use either of the other spirits instead of gin if you like.
Yellow leprechaun: Use yellow chartreuse instead, and replace gin with whiskey. Instead of lime, use lemon. Omit the floral addition. I guess this turned it into a completely new cocktail, whoopsie!
The Last Word: The Last Word is probably the most famous cocktail made with green chartreuse. It has a lot of the same elements as this Leprechaun drink, but instead of grapefruit liqueur, use maraschino liqueur. It doesn't have the elderflower cordial either, so omit that. Equal parts of everything.
Instead of elderflower cordial: You can use elderflower liqueur if you want. I love St. Germain elderflower liqueur and use it in many of my recipes, including this lemon sorbet and grapefruit mimosa. However, you could also use lavender honey (or lavender simple syrup) if you want another floral note.
Instead of grapefruit liqueur: You can make this less alcoholic with just grapefruit juice instead. I would definitely recommend freshly squeezed though.
The fun thing about cocktails is that you can just unleash your creativity and try all sorts of things! The worst thing that can happen is that you don't like it - then just try again.
If you find a new variety you'd like me to try too, just contact me in any way (DM on Instagram @thegingerwithspice is the quickest, but I'd love a comment on this blog post too!).
More St. Patrick's Day cocktails
As I mentioned above, I believe whiskey is THE spirit of choice for St. Patty's Day. If you'd rather want to go for a whiskey cocktail, I've got you covered:
- Whiskey sour (there's also a ginger version)
- The Penicillin
- Irish coffee
- Chai whiskey toddy with orange honey - perfect if the day is a little colder!
But please don't forget other spring flavors like this delicate grapefruit green tea white wine sangria and rhubarb Moscow mule! After I made this cocktail, my mind is going wild with all new and yummy spring flavors so you might see more of it soon.
If you want the St. Patrick's flavors in the shape of dessert instead, I can recommend Guinness coffee brownies with Guinness coffee salted caramel sauce, chocolate coffee cupcakes with Baileys buttercream or perhaps some pistachio no-churn ice cream.
How to make it
This is super easy to make. Simply add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker, top with ice and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Strain into your favorite glass. Ta-da!
The perks of this not being a classic cocktail, is that it has no "right answer" when it comes to if you want to serve it with or without ice - serve it over ice if you want, and don't if you want it clean.
I like to serve this cute Lucky Leprechaun Drink with a lime slice but you do whatever. Some fresh mint or other herbs would be good too. Enjoy!
Did you like this recipe? Here are more spring cocktails I think you'd love:
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below or tag me @thegingerwithspice on Instagram. And don’t forget to Pin it for later! To make sure you’re never missing another recipe, please feel free to subscribe to my newsletter.
As a thanks you will receive a free e-cookbook Travels Through the Seasons, with many delicious recipes from around the world that suit different seasons of the year.
In order to keep the blog up and running this post may contain affiliate links, it will be at no extra cost to you, please read the disclosure for more information.