Global Citizen is a community of people like you

People who want to learn about and take action on the world’s biggest challenges. Extreme poverty ends with you.

Citizenship

17 alternative drinks for St. Patrick’s Day

Wikicommons: Bbkbrad

St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday celebrated all across the world. While the actual celebrations don’t bear much connection to the origin of the holiday, millions of people enjoy honoring all things green and Irish each year on March 17th ( 7.5 million pints of Guinness are sold on St. Patrick’s Day alone). Not everyone enjoys green beer and Guinness, though. So if you need some ideas for an alternative, here are 17 to get you started. Some are Irish, others more global, and others will keep you from getting pinched if you’re not wearing green. Seriously, where did that tradition come from?

1. Potato vodka

A photo posted by Jenn (@jenniferkvelez) on

The potato is a truly global vegetable--originally cultivated in Peru over 10,000 years ago prior to becoming a staple food throughout Europe, it’s been a major staple food in Ireland for centuries. True, it was a symbol of plight during the Great Famine (in Ireland) that caused mass starvation and disease, but this same plight led to a massive emigration that made St. Patrick’s Day more globally celebrated and contributing to a widespread Irish diaspora. So why not incorporate this worldly veggie into your beverages of choice on St. Patrick’s Day this year? Plus, it’s #glutenfree.

2. Wheatgrass shot

If you’re set on the green theme of St. Paddy’s Day, this is your healthiest and most environmentally friendly option. Wheatgrass is loaded with vitamins, amino acids, and can slow down the aging process...What?! If that’s not enough check out this article for 50 more reasons. Bonus: your burps will smell like freshly mowed grass compared to all those beer drinkers.

3. Green smoothie

Greensmoothie goodness from the lovely @yumezakka

A photo posted by VIVARISE.com (@vivarisellc) on

Mmm the green smoothie. It can be made so many ways with so many greens--kale, spinach, green apples, lime cheetos (just kidding those are red). For an easy recipe combine a bunch of kale, splash of coconut or almond milk, banana, and a few chunks of pineapple for a delicious, creamy and green smoothie.

4. African liquor - Amarula

Marula01.jpgImage: Wikimedia: Rotational

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated ALL over the world--in Tokyo, Dubai, Cape Town and elsewhere. South Africa puts on a beautiful display during this holiday by lighting Table Mountain green. Celebrating with a South African liquor like Amarula, made from sugar, cream, and the fruit of the African marula tree, is one alternative to classic Irish options. Based on this video that shows animals becoming intoxicated after eating ripe marula fruit, it’s probably their fruit of choice for St. Paddy’s Day too.

5. Healthy green beer?

If you really want to show off and stick to beer you can turn your beer green by adding the seaweedy supplement Spirulina. It’s a powerful antioxidant with a strong blue-green color. Much healthier than any food coloring combo.

6. Irish coffee

Confession--I thought Irish coffee consisted of simply adding whiskey to your coffee. I’ve since learned that’s not the case. Irish coffee is a legitimate cocktail you can order post-dinner as a digestif. It’s made of coffee, Irish whiskey, sugar and is topped with cream. It was created when a Joe Sheridan, a top chef from Limerick in the 1940s, served it to US passengers on a flight.

7. Aloe juice

Aloe has many uses--from easing the pain of sunburns, eczema, and psoriasis to antibacterial properties, it’s basically a miracle plant. The aloe plant also makes a delicious drink. Aloe drinks range from sugary juices with chunks of gooey aloe that come in a variety of flavors to pure aloe extract juice.

8. Green tea

green tea leaves Image: Flickr: j_arlecchino

Another plant-based green drink to cleanse with on this green holiday is green tea. It’s not as popular as beer but it’s close. Last year alone Americans drank 11 billion servings of green tea.

Fun fact: it’s made from the same plant as oolong and black tea: Camellia sinensis. The difference is green tea uses fresh leaves, while oolong and black tea uses leaves that undergo a process of withering and oxidation.

9. Canada Dry Ginger Ale

via GIPHY

Created by a Canadian pharmacist in 1890, this drink is now nearly as global as Coca-Cola. Today, it’s produced in Mexico, Colombia, the US, Middle East, Europe and Japan, but will always be Canadian at heart.

10. Matcha

5-trendy-foods-matcha.jpgImage: Flickr: syntheticpanda

Similar to green tea, but if you need a little more caffeine to get through all your festivities, matcha will help you out. It’s made from ground green tea leaves (yep--same as number 8) and is a ceremonial drink in Chinese and Japanese cultures. Recently, it’s become a trendy beverage in the US.

11. Avocado smoothie

Avocados are eaten on the most fun of days--Cinco de Mayo, Super Bowl Sunday, free Chipotle day. Anytime avocados are involved, in my opinion, the day gets a little better. Which is why either ordering guacamole on St. Patrick’s Day or making an avocado smoothie are both great ways to celebrate.

12. Green apple sangria

A photo posted by Juan'Carlos (@j20seven) on

This recipe for Green Apple Sangria is a refreshing alternative to beer. Especially if you’re celebration occurs somewhere warm, like Spain or Portugal--the birthplace of Sangria.

Fun fact: Cabo Roig in southeastern Spain is known to have a large St. Patrick’s Day event. Check out 19 surprising cities that celebrate St. Patrick’s Day here.

13. Sparkling water

Not every green drink needs to be fancy. It’s okay to indulge in some sparkling water that comes in a green bottle as a way to avoid getting pinched for being that person who’s not wearing green.

14. Honeydew bubble tea

A photo posted by Matthew Pho (@supaflym5) on

Bubble tea hails from Taiwan. In the 1980s a teahouse owner experimented with adding tapioca, fruit, and syrup to cold milk tea and created bubble tea. Now you can find bubble tea in cities across the globe, just like St. Patrick’s Day parades.

15. Hard cider

Another gluten free alternative to beer is hard cider. Several brands are packaged in green bottles, which is quite festive. Or you can try Magners Irish Cider if you want to stay with a truly Irish beverage.

16.  Miwadi Lime

Miwadi is an Irish soft drink made in Dublin. Perfect for kids or adults according to this commercial.

17. Mint ice cream shake

What’s more global than the celebration of St. Paddy’s Day? Well, the Global Goals. Also, McDonalds. With locations in 119 countries McDonalds is undeniably global. The franchise also offers a Shamrock mint milkshake on St. Patrick’s Day that you can get in the US, Canada, France and several other countries. You can also make your own to avoid the 54 ingredients and 880 calories.


These are just a sample of some other green, Irish, and global beverages you can turn to on St. Patrick’s Day. There’s also plenty of other ways to celebrate the day such as attending parades, (the largest of which takes place in New York with over 150,000 participants!) wearing green, watching a river turn green, or being in a city that lights up monuments in green.  

Do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Share your thoughts on the holiday in the comments below.