You can get in the St. Patrick’s Day spirit without shots or car bombs

Irish toasts

Bartender Chas Williams at the Oakland.
Bartender Chas Williams at the Oakland.

At the Oakland in Ferndale, they serve all sorts of cocktails made with Irish whiskey, including the Bluth's Original, a banana-infused Irish whiskey Old Fashioned, and the Gorgeous Gus, a Tiki-style creation that mixes Irish whiskey with green Chartreuse, orgeat syrup, and pineapple juice. But perhaps the most satisfying offering on a late winter day is their Irish whiskey variation on the Blue Blazer, straight off the joint's build-your-own-hot-toddy menu: It has the spirit-forward proportions of an Old Fashioned, using cask-strength Redbreast, an age-dated single-pot Irish whiskey with a nice mouthfeel, which is then mixed with hot tea and lit on fire, then poured back and forth. Throwing a hot drink like this ensures it's warm and helps tease out the aromas. The finished glass of hot punch is garnished with a lemon peel cut with angles as square as a fine piece of sashimi.

The offerings are also anything but run-of-the-mill at Kennedy's Irish Pub in Waterford. Mule drinks are hot right now, and they'll gladly serve you an Irish Mule: That's made with muddled lime, 2 Gingers Irish Whiskey, and Gosling's Ginger Beer poured over ice. There's also a Jameson Mule, in which Jameson's Irish Whiskey replaces the 2 Gingers. And for those who absolutely must have something different, Kennedy's offers a Shamrock Mint, which is a cream shot imported from Wisconsin brand Tippy Cow. It's made with real cream, marketed as a "mint rum," and clocks in at an astonishing 14 percent ABV, which means you'll be "tippy" yourself.

For those looking for something comforting in Macomb County, the Three Blind Mice Irish Pub in Mount Clemens will happily fix you up with an Irish coffee. The coffee isn't anything special, at least until it's perked up with Jameson, Bailey's, whipped cream, and a light drizzling of crème de menthe for that green-hued topper. Best of all, it comes in a regular coffee cup, so nobody will know you're tippling until you slip off your barstool.