What do a good Irish whiskey and a good Mexican Mezcal have in common? You can use either to raise a toast to the soldiers of el Batallón de los San Patricios (St. Patrick’s Batallion) – Irish Catholic immigrants who deserted from the U.S. Army to join the fight for Mexico during the Mexican-American War of 1847. The men of San Patricios are still celebrated in Mexico as heroes who came to the aid of their fellow Catholics. Indeed, many historians believe that exactly what drove the men to desert and move to Mexico was the minority status and subsequent mistreatment that Irish soldiers experienced in the U.S. Army. Being Catholic was especially difficult when having only two priests for the entire Army meant most were forced to attend Protestant services where their religion was often vilified. The Mexican Army capitalized on the Irish soldiers’ discontent and offered better promotions, a higher salary, and a promise of land once the war was over. The San Patricio battalion, led by John Riley, had a bright green banner that read “Erin Go Bragh” along with the Mexican coat of arms and the slogan “Libertad por la Republica de Mexicana” to symbolize the unity between the two nations. Sadly there was no happy ending for the San Patricios. Their demise came at the brutal Battle of Churubusco where the Irish demanded to keep fighting when other Mexican soldiers wanted to fly the white flag of surrender. In the end, the Americans prevailed and almost 100 soldiers from the battalion were captured. After trials for desertion, most of the men were executed while the remainder were branded with a “D” and otherwise tortured. A handful of the San Patricios escaped and today some Mexican citizens can trace their lineage back to those soldiers. Each year Mexico celebrates St. Patrick’s Day by honoring those Irish-American soldiers who they believe followed their collective conscience and fought to defend a smaller Catholic nation. Soldiers fighting for what they believe in and hold dear is worth a Sláinte, a Salúd, or - in this case - both. Come join us on May 2 at The Celtic Ranch as we honor these soldiers with an intimate Mezcal/Irish Whiskey tasting where we will "hear their story, taste the history."
Only those who are in the closest intimacy with objects venture to treat them familiarly, and the Irish find it easy to joke, without disrespect, of that which is dearest to them. However, only an Irish-American could ever have conceived the ideas of Saint Patrick as an editor of Prayboy magazine. - Henry D Spalding