St. Patrick’s Day drinks: New tequila brand with SoCal connection unites Mexico and Ireland

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SIERRA MADRE, Calif. (KABC) — St. Patrick’s Day celebrations often involve plenty of green beer, Jameson Irish Whiskey or Guinness, but another option has arrived in Southern California this year: tequila!

You read that right. You can now enjoy a new tequila that blends both Mexican and Irish culture.

Irlandés Tequila, which was released just a few weeks ago, made its retail debut at The Bottle Shop liquor store in Sierra Madre. While distribution is rapidly expanding, some local restaurants carry Irlandés, including Foothill Restaurant in Pasadena.

Founder Colm O’Faolain had lived in the San Gabriel Valley for years and came up with the idea while drinking with his fellow Irish buddies during the pandemic in Burbank.

The Irishman grew up learning about the San Patricios, also known as St. Patrick’s Battalion, a group of 175 Irish soldiers who fought alongside Mexico in the 1840s.

“One of those soldiers, his name was Francis O’Connor, he was mortally wounded, and as he lay dying, he asked a Mexican priest to anoint him with sacred water that he had taken from his village in Ireland,” said O’Faolain.

After a year of searching, O’Faolain found that same sacred well.

“We hand-sourced that water, we take it 5,202 miles all the way down to Mexico to make the first and only tequila in the world that unites Ireland and Mexico,” he said.

Duke McCaffery, a bartender at Foothill Restaurant, said there’s nothing like it out there.

He says the water in any liquor-distilling process absolutely makes a difference in the final product.

“The water’s the most important part,” he said. “If you’re looking at anything that’s 80 proof, you’re looking at it being 40% alcohol, which means it’s 60% water. So the higher quality the water, the higher quality the product.”

For O’Faolain, seeing Irlandés become a reality is a dream come true.

“We actually have one of the best tequilas in the world, so I’m really proud of that,” he said.

To learn more, visit Irlandés Tequila’s website.

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