An Irish Maid Cocktail is a bright and refreshing Irish Whiskey based drink featuring the fresh flavours of cucumber and lemon juice and light floral notes of Elderflower Liqueur.  It tastes like spring in a glass, and is the perfect cocktail to welcome the fresh new season on those first sunny patio days.  And of course, being made with Irish Whiskey and featuring the green-ish hues of cucumber and mint, it is a suitably festive cocktail for St Patricks Day!

An Irish Maid Cocktail is seen from above garnished with cucumber curls, lemon slices and fresh mint and surrounded by white tulips

If you’re searching for something more elegant and delicious to drink than cheap green beer this St Patrick’s Day, then the Irish Maid is the cocktail for you.  With its pretty styling and refreshing taste, you won’t want to keep it confined to March 17th though.  Save the recipe for spring brunches, Easter celebrations and Mother’s Day too.

What goes in an Irish Maid Cocktail?

  • Irish Whiskey:  This is a mixed drink with other strong flavours, so you won’t want to use the very best Irish Whiskey on your bar.  There are some truly amazing Irish Whiskeys on the market that are best sipped and slowly savoured – but this is not the place for them.  Since there’s quite a bit of Whiskey in this drink however, and its flavour will shine through, you don’t want to use the cheapest whiskey either.  For mixed drinks, look for mid-range bottles that offer enough flavour and complexity to rise above the other ingredients, but won’t break the bank (or break your heart).
  • Elderflower Liqueur:. I use St Germain as it is the most widely available brand of Elderflower Liqueur in my corner of the globe, and the elegant bottle looks so pretty on my bar cart.  An Irish Maid Cocktail requires just a small amount of Elderflower Liqueur to add a delicate floral flavour that balances the Whiskey so well.
  • Cucumber:  The fresh taste of cucumber in this drink comes from muddled cucumber slices in the cocktail, as well as from the cucumber garnish.  To learn how to make the cucumber strips and curls that I use to garnish these drinks, scroll down to the Recipe Notes section below for full instructions.
  • Lemon Juice:  Please be sure to use freshly squeezed lemon juice here for the freshest flavour.
  • Simple Syrup:  This drink, like any good cocktail, is a balance of flavours.  In the Irish Maid, the oakiness of the whiskey is rounded out by the floral notes of the Elderflower liqueur, the freshness of the cucumber and the tartness of the lemon juice.   To round it out, all this drink needs is a little sweetness, which is delivered by the simple syrup.  You can buy simple syrup at the store, but see below for instructions on how to make your own,  It takes almost no time at all and once you see how easy and inexpensive it is to make, you’ll never buy simple syrup from the store again.
The ingredients tools and garnishes for an Irish Maid cocktail are seen on a sparkling bar

Simple Syrup

You can buy bottles of simple syrup in many grocery stores, but once you make simple syrup you’ll see just how, well…simple it is to make at home.  With two basic ingredients – sugar and water – and less than 5 minutes your time, you can make a jar of simple syrup to store in the fridge, or simply make some up whenever you need!


  • Combine one part white sugar with one part water in a small saucepan.  Bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat, whisking until sugar has dissolved.  Do not boil.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.  Transfer to a clean jar and chill in the fridge until ready to use.  Simple syrup can be kept in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to one month.


The instructions are simple and the “recipe” can be scaled up or down, depending on how much you need.  To make four Irish Maid Cocktails, you’ll need a total of 3 oz of simple syrup.  In case you like your Irish Maid Cocktail on the sweeter side, you’ll want to be sure to make a little extra to you can adjust the drinks to taste.  A half cup of sugar and a half cup of water will make just shy of 1 cup of simple syrup (about 7.5 oz), which will give you more than enough for a round of drinks for you and three friends.  Any extra can be stored in the fridge, and it’s not a bad idea to have some on hand because I really think you’re going to like this cocktail.

At The Lakehouse during the summer, where we throw a lot of parties, I make large quantities of simple syrup at a time, so it’s ready to go at a moments notice.  Cocktails for twelve? Let’s shake it up!  Two cups of sugar and two cups of water yields a big jar of syrup, which I keep handy in the fridge for whenever the cocktail mood strikes, or the party pulls up at the dock.



A Quick Note About Whiskey…or is it Whisky?

If you’ve followed the Style and Grace site for a while, or follow me on Instagram, you probably already know that I am Canadian.  We make great Whisky in Canada, and yes we spell it whisky without an “e”.  As we do see whisky spelled “whiskey” as well, I did a little research to discover the difference.  While I was hopeful for a clear cut answer, that was not to be found.  It appears to be a complicated issue, and I’ll leave you to do your own research if you really want to get into the details, but it appears to be mainly a geographical discrepancy in spelling.  For example, in Canada, Japan and Scotland, whisky is typically spelled without the “e”.  However, in Ireland and in the United States, the spelling is generally whiskey with the “e”.  There are lots of exceptions to that rule, but Ireland is fairly consistent in their spelling of whiskey with the “e” and so this recipe spells it the Irish way.  Just thought I’d clarify that (well, kind of).

An Irish Maid Cocktail sits on a sparkling bar with Elderflower Liqueur, Irish Whiskey, lemons and white tulips

What else can you make with Elderflower Liqueur?

Elderflower Liqueur, with its sweet, floral flavours is a great addition to any bar.  It can be sipped on its own as an aperitif, and enjoyed in a whole host of cocktails.  Try a gorgeous Hugo Spritz, the ultimate Après Ski refresher that also doubles as the perfect summertime sipper.

Frosted glass filled with a Hugo Spritz cocktail garnished with fresh mint and lime wheels on a wooden table surrounded by peonies


What to serve alongside an Irish Maid?  Something salty!  The sweet, tart, oaky flavours of this cocktail are enhanced by salt and crunch, making plain, salted potato chips a simple and genius match.  Charcuterie boards featuring aged cheeses, cured meats, crunchy nuts and pickled vegetables, offer something salty but more robust to serve with drinks.

Here’s what I’ll be serving with Irish Maid cocktails this St Patrick’s Day.

A St Patrick's Day charcuterie board featuring Irish cheddar, roast beef, beer cheese, pickled carrots and Irish soda bread is seen from above.

This St Patrick’s Day themed charcuterie board features aged Irish Cheddar cheese, sliced roast beef, a homemade beer cheese spread, pickled carrots and Irish soda bread with orange scented honey butter.  And of course, lots and lots of salty kettle chips.

An Irish Maid Cocktail garnished with cucumber curls and fresh mint sits on a sparkling bar surrounded by bottles of Irish Whiskey and St Germain Elderflower Liqueur

Irish Maid Cocktail

Style and Grace
Author: Sarah Gallienne
The Irish Maid is a refreshing cocktail that's perfect for St Patrick's Day, a summer afternoon or any time that calls for an aperatif that's crisp, fresh and bright!
Prep Time 3 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine European
Servings 1 cocktail


  • 3 slices of cucumber, plus more for garnish
  • 2 oz Irish Whiskey
  • 1/2 oz Elderflower Liqueur, such as St Germain
  • 3/4 oz Simple Syrup (see Recipe Notes for instructions)
  • 3/4 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Fresh mint for garnish (optional)


  • Add the cucumber slices to the bottom of a cocktail shaker and crush with a muddler to release the cucumber juices.
  • Add the Whiskey, Elderflower Liqueur, Simple Syrup and lemon juice to the cocktail shaker, then top with ice. Shake the cocktail vigorously to combine and chill.
  • Strain into a cocktail glass over ice. Garnish with cucumber slices and fresh mint leaves (if using).
Keyword Cocktail, Cocktails, St Germain, Whiskey, Whisky


  • How to make the cucumber strips and curls:  Cut an English cucumber in half.  Working with one half at a time, lay the cucumber flat on a cutting board.  Starting at the cut end, run a Y-shaped vegetable peeler along the length of the cucumber to create a thin strip of cucumber.  The strip can be wound along the inside of the cocktail glass before the ice and beverage are added to the glass.  To create curls. roll the cucumber strip up into a tight curl.  Nestle the curls into the finished drink around the ice cubes.  To make curls in advance, place them snugly, side by side, in a small covered container. Cucumber curls can be prepared up to a day ahead.  Place in the fridge and keep cold until ready to use.
  • If you don’t have a muddler, use the end of a wooden spoon to crush the cucumber slices.
  • To get as much juice as possible out of your lemons, roll the lemons firmly on the countertop before squeezing.  


An Irish Maid cocktail is seen from above surrounded by cucumber slices, lemon slices and white tulips


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