For a taste of spring in every delightful sip, you’ll love this honeyed Irish Maid cocktail! Shaken with Irish whiskey, elderflower liqueur, honey syrup, muddled cucumber and bright lemon juice, this refreshing cocktail is just what you need to welcome warmer patio days and beautiful springtime blooms. And with that Irish whiskey, this drink doubles as a festive St. Patrick’s Day cocktail — let’s start mixing and toast to the season.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Whiskey — not just for fall and winter: Whiskey shows off warm, rich notes that make it a favorite for cozy cold-weather cocktails. But with all those bright flavors from seasonal ingredients, whiskey lovers get a wonderfully refreshing drink that was made for sitting on the patio.
Lovely for so many occasions: Of course, that Irish whiskey makes it great for St. Patrick’s Day, and it’s much more elegant and tasty than that dyed domestic green beer. Those delicate, dainty flavors also make it wonderful for brunch, Mother’s Day, bridal showers — you name it. Keep this recipe handy.
Easy entertaining option: Looking for a batching option? I have you covered.
Related: If you love this recipe, don't miss my Jameson whiskey sour.
Irish whiskey: I used Jameson, which is the most readily available brand of Irish whiskey. However, you’re more than welcome to use an Irish whiskey from another distillery. In case you need some inspiration, check out this list of best Irish whiskeys.
Elderflower liqueur: I recommend the St. Germain brand — it’s truly the gold standard of elderflower liqueur. And if you’d like some additional elderflower cocktail ideas to put that liqueur to use, you’ll love this French 77 and St. Germain spritz.
Honey syrup: To make honey syrup, all we need are equal parts honey and water. Although you can buy honey syrup, the flavor is much better if you make it yourself, and the process is super simple.
Lemon juice: We want to use freshly squeezed lemon juice. Don’t substitute sour mix or bottled lemon juice — the flavor just doesn’t compare to fresh lemon juice. A cocktail is only as good as its ingredients.
Cucumbers: Cut the cucumber slices so that they’re about ½-inch thick and then cut them again into fourths. I find the smaller pieces break down a bit easier.
Step 1: For our first step, we add the honey syrup and cucumber slices to a cocktail shaker and muddle the mixture until the cucumber breaks down (photo 1).
Step 2: Now we add the Irish whiskey, elderflower liqueur, lemon juice and ice cubes to the shaker (photo 2).
Step 3: We secure the cocktail shaker top and shake vigorously (photo 3). Anywhere from 15-30 seconds works nicely.
Step 4: With our drink mixed, we’re ready to strain it into chilled rocks glass with plenty of ice (photo 4).
Step 5: For the final touch, we add a cucumber slice on the rim of our glass (photo 5). I also like to drop in a couple slices of cucumber directly into the drink for an extra pop of color. Isn’t it pretty?
Take a sip and enjoy that medley of fresh spring flavors.
How to Make a Pitcher
As promised, here’s how to make a pitcher for batching as well as my serving recommendation.
- In a large pitcher, add the cucumber slices and honey simple syrup and muddle as originally directed. If you have trouble reaching the bottom of the pitcher, you can always muddle in a bowl and then transfer the mixture to the pitcher.
- Stir in the Irish whiskey, elderflower liqueur and lemon juice.
- Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. I don’t recommend going past 24 hours because the lemon juice starts to dull in flavor.
- When you’re ready to serve, pour ½ cup per drink into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake.
I recommend still shaking and straining the drink because it both gives us the original aeration and dilution. Plus, the honey syrup can settle a bit. Since shaking takes just seconds, I don’t find this to be too much of a lift when entertaining.
If you absolutely want guests to serve themselves and not worry about shaking, you might want to add a handful of ice to the pitcher, stir the mixture for about 20 seconds and then use a slotted spoon to remove the remaining ice. While you won’t get the aeration, this at least adds some of the dilution.
To make honey simple syrup, add 1 cup of honey and 1 cup of water to a small saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. As the mixture comes to a boil, stir it every so often to help incorporate the two ingredients. Once the syrup becomes one cohesive mixture, allow it to cool and store it in an airtight, sterile container in the refrigerator for about a month.
The classic Irish Maid cocktail recipe calls for simple syrup, so you can certainly substitute it for the honey syrup. That said, I did a side-by-side tasting with honey syrup and simple syrup, and the honey syrup added a more nuanced, complex flavor that’s especially lovely with the elderflower. For best results, you’ll love the honeyed option.
If you don’t have a muddler, you can use the end of a wooden spoon to break down the cucumber. I definitely recommend picking up a muddler if you enjoy making drinks, but that wooden spoon will work if necessary.
Don’t substitute honey for honey syrup: Sometimes I see cocktail recipes that call for straight honey instead of honey syrup, and I question anyone recommending that. This is not a best mixology practice. Honey is too thick to properly incorporate into a liquid without heating it first into a syrup, and it will congeal when it hits ice.
Use the right shaking technique: To get plenty of force, use two hands and hold the cocktail shaker at an angle.
Get the most out of your lemons: Roll the lemon firmly on the countertop before mixing and use a juicer to maximize your output. A handheld juicer is just fine.
For the ultimate flavor marriage, you’ll love this grilled peach pizza with pesto. Whiskey and honey are classic favorites with peaches, and you’ll love how that herby pesto works with the elderflower.
Or maybe you have a sweet tooth. Try this honey-lavender ice cream on the side.
When you need the perfect spring cocktail, you’ll adore every sip of this Irish Maid recipe. With those floral notes, pop of citrus and touch of honey, this is spring in a glass.
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Honeyed Irish Maid Cocktail
- Cocktail shaker
- Jigger or small measuring cup
- Citrus juicer
- 2 cucumber slices cut in half
- ¾ ounce honey syrup preferably homemade (see notes)
- 2 ounces Irish whiskey
- ¾ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ½ ounce elderflower liqueur St. Germain recommended
- Additional cucumber slices for garnish, optional
- Add the cucumber slices and honey syrup to a cocktail shaker. Muddle to break down the cucumber.
- Now add the Irish whiskey, freshly squeezed lemon juice, elderflower liqueur and a handful of ice. Secure the cocktail shaker top and shake vigorously for 15-30 seconds.
- Strain into an ice-filled rocks glass.
- If desired, garnish with cucumber slices. Enjoy!
- To make honey syrup, add 1 cup honey and 1 cup water to a small saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. As the mixture comes to a boil, stir it every so often to help incorporate the two ingredients. Once the syrup becomes one cohesive mixture, allow it to cool and store it in an airtight, sterile container in the refrigerator for about a month.
- Don’t substitute honey for honey syrup. It will congeal and not mix properly.
- Make sure you use freshly squeezed lemon juice. The flavor is much brighter than bottled juice.
- Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.