Clever cocktails

LAURIUM – Not surprisingly, this weekend is a big one for the Irish Times Restaurant in Laurium.

The restaurant will open at noon today, Ronan said, and the menu will be appropriately limited to typically Irish items, such as corned beef and cabbage, fish and chips, cottage pie, and bangers and mash (sausage and potatoes).

“It should be a lot of fun,” Ronan said. “It’s always a good time.”

Local musician Libby Meyer and four or five other musicians will play Irish fiddle music from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. today.

“They jam and have a good time,” she said.

The musicians have been known to ask musically-inclined members from the audience to come up and join them.

“If you can sing or do anything, come on up,” she said.

Although Guinness and other alcoholic beverages are usually a part of the St. Patrick’s Day celebration, there are some people who may not want to imbibe, and for them there are mocktails, or non-alcoholic drinks.

The Eating Well website,, lists recipes for several non-alcoholic drinks, including:

peach cooler – 3 cups seltzer, 1 cup peach juice or nectar, 1 cup sparkling white grape juice, and 4 slices of fresh peach. Combine seltzer, peach juice (or nectar) and sparkling white juice in a pitcher. Divide among 4 ice-filled glasses. Garnish with peach slices.

pomegranate punch – 2 1/2 cups seltzer and 2 cups pomegranate juice.

lemon orange fizz – 2 cups orange seltzer, 2 tablespoons frozen lemonade, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, lemon wedge, sugar, ice cubes.

passion colada – 2 cups ice, 1 cup passion fruit juice, 1/4 cup cream of coconut.

For a bright green mocktail to celebrate the Irish, offers the following recipe:

St. Patrick’s Day Surprise Mocktail – 2 parts grapefruit juice, 1 part sparkling water, 1/4 of a lime, 1 drop green food coloring, crushed ice and ice cubes. Fill a shaker with ice and add grapefruit juice and sparkling water. Squeeze lime juice into shaker and add green food coloring. Shake vigorously until well combined. Pour into glasses filled with crushed ice. Garnish as desired. If too tart, add a little honey.

The Automobile Association of America’s popular “Great Pretenders Party Guide” is available as a digital publication to help all party hosts plan festive holiday gatherings including tips on how to help reduce drinking and driving deaths and injuries.

AAA-Diamond rated hotels and restaurants across the nation have provided tasty nonalcoholic drink recipes for AAA Michigan’s free guide, popular during holidays. The guide includes recipes appropriate for year-round festivities as well as advice on helping party hosts monitor alcohol consumption among guests.

Drunken driving continues to be a serious problem on roadways according to AAA, it is a factor in more than one-third of all traffic deaths.

Among the safety tips for party hosts:

If despite your best efforts, some of your guests have had too much to drink, arrange for a ride with another guest who is sober, call a cab or have them stay overnight.

Choose a reliable “bartender” who will keep track of the size and number of drinks that guests consume. Don’t let guests mix their own drinks.

Plan activities like party games to engage people and make for less active consumption of alcohol.

Serve foods that act as a buffer to alcohol. High protein foods such as cheese and meats are best because protein stays in the stomach longer, slowing alcohol absorption.

Always offer nonalcoholic drinks for designated drivers and others who prefer not to drink alcohol. Sparking grape juice is a good alternative to champagne.

The digital guide is located at

Recipe cards, which include a nonalcoholic drink and promote the digital guide, are available at AAA branches statewide.

For those who will be drinking alcoholic beverages this weekend, obviously it’s best not to drive after drinking, but celebrants who do will have extra police patrols to contend with.

Lt. Mike Loyd of the Michigan State Police Calumet Post said the MSP will have extra cars on the roads in Baraga, Houghton and Keweenaw counties Saturday.

“We’re going to have normal staffing plus two extra patrols to enforce (operating while intoxicated laws),” he said.

In most years, Loyd said there is an increase in traffic for holidays, including St. Patrick’s Day.

“Everybody wants to be Irish on St. Patrick’s Day,” he said.

A written statement from Houghton County Sheriff Brian McLean states his office will put extra patrols on the road for the St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

“Drivers are encouraged to be responsible and further asked not to drink and drive,” McLean stated.