Paddy Ryan’s Wears the Whiskey Crown of the St. Croix

Paddy Ryan’s owner Kirk Mueller pours up one of over 20 varieties from an extensive whiskey collection.

The Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh once composed the lines: O commemorate me where there is water, Canal water, preferably, so stillyGreeny at the heart of summer …He wrote these lines on the Grand Canal in Dublin, and it’s not hard to draw comparisons to the town of Hudson. After all, what are rivers but wider canals? If Dublin’s Grand Canal can inspire such poetic inspiration, surely there must be somewhere along the St. Croix River that can do the same.

Paddy Ryan’s Irish Pub provides no front row river view. Owner Kirk Mueller sees this as an advantage. “You’ll never have to fight for a parking spot,” he says of their strategic location on Rodeo Circle. Skip the fight for downtown short-term parking and enjoy a hearty lunch away from all the crowds.

Mueller says the Paddy Ryan’s regulars are their best advertisers. “They rave about the food. It’s been called ‘epic,’” he says. Perhaps the most epic of all, the four-leaf clover of the menu, are the Jameson marinated medallions. Eight ounces of beef tender is trimmed of fat and marinated in a garlic butter and Jameson whiskey marinade. Once it is taken out of the bath, the meat is cut into medallions and grilled to order, depending on your personal pink preference. Served with veggies and a potato cake on the side, this dish is indeed worthy of the “epic” boast ($16.50).

In addition to the traditional menu of Irish cuisine staples, Mueller and company have brought back Paddy Ryan’s summer menu with some new additions. The Coney Ireland is a dog worthy of its own island namesake. Sourced from RJ’s Meats in Hudson, the delectable Irish sausage is grilled to perfection and slathered with ample scoops of chili and cheese. You’ll have more fun than Bono riding the Coney Island Cyclone while eating this feast of a frank.

One of Paddy Ryan’s biggest points of pride is that their extensive whiskey collection might be the best in the St. Croix Valley. With over 20 varieties of single-malt scotch alone, they have a little something for every palate. Or, if you’re just overcome with indecision, Paddy Ryan’s whiskey flights are the way to go. There are six flight varieties, comprising whiskey selections of every price from every corner of Ireland ($14–$32). If a summer vacation to the Emerald Isle is out of your budget this year, a flight at Paddy Ryan’s will bring flavors from all over the island to you.
In addition to offering exclusive whiskey varieties, Paddy Ryan’s is encouraging their most devout whiskey sippers to join the Paddy Ryan’s Whiskey Club. All restaurant patrons are welcome and eligible to join. Membership grants access to Paddy Ryan’s whiskey club nights, during which club members are offered access to exclusive specialty whiskey. There’s even plans in the works for whiskey dinners, rare label tastings and distillery tours. For more information on how to join, simply express your interest to Mueller or any of the Paddy Ryan’s staff.

Kavanagh says, “commemorate me where there is water.” Where there’s water, there’s whiskey. He speaks of the “heart of summer,” which is closer than you think. To me, it’s a belly full of hearty food and drinks raised with friends. Find Paddy Ryan’s on the high hill in Hudson, and you’ll know exactly what I mean. 

A taste of the tropics in the heart of the st. Croix Valley

Stillwater’s own Nacho Mama’s offers a northern twist on traditional Mexican cuisine.   
“Stillwater is such a summer town,” says manager Rae Rodriguez. “Our atmosphere is great, and we are family owned. We have a great location here.” Being centrally located, Nacho Mama’s is in a prime location to offer thirsty river walkers and window shoppers a place to sit for a minute. And what better way to cool down than with a Key Lime Colada on their new front bar or patio:

½ oz. Blue Chair Bay key lime rum cream
1 ½ oz. coconut rum
½ oz. orange juice
½ oz. pineapple juice
1 oz. piña colada mix
1 graham cracker

Break graham cracker in half. Crumble one half to rim your glass. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add in the rum, piña colada mix, key lime rum cream and fruit juices. For fruitier fare, give the pineapple and orange juice a more generous pour. Or, if you’re feeling extra “sunny,” an extra dash of rum never ruined anyone’s summer. Shake well, and strain into a chilled hurricane glass for full beach bum flair. Garnish with the second graham cracker half, or enjoy it as a well-earned side snack. Mixology is hungry work.