Irish Whiskey and How to Use It

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When many people think of Irish whiskey I can almost guarantee that they think of a long skinny green bottle or maybe dropping a shot glass into a half-filled pint of Guinness.

Well, believe it or not, there is a lot more to what the Irish call the “water of life.” In fact, since Irish whiskey has the least amount of constraints on how it’s too be made, it has the most opportunity for a variety of flavors. Some Irish whiskeys can be extremely sweet when they are aged in Sherry casks, or clean as a whistle when made with the perfect malt build.

Now, there is nothing wrong with Jameson — that’s the skinny green bottle I was referring to — but it gets too overplayed and soon it becomes tasteless.

To invigorate your St. Patrick’s Day with some new flavors this year, try some of these different Irish whiskeys that are available at the local liquor stores.

Jameson Caskmates

Caskmates FULL

It does seem a little hypocritical to start a non-Jameson list with Jameson. There is a reason. Caskmates is original Jameson that was aged in stout casks from Franciscan Well Brewery in Ireland. This whiskey gives off notes of coffee and milk chocolate.

How to use it:

This is one that I would normally suggest just having straight to see how much the aging process changes the familiar taste we’re all used to. That’s too easy.

For this, I would suggest starting of your day with a classic Irish Coffee complete with Bailey’s and Creme de Menthe.

Bushmills 10 Year

Bushmills-22072012-641

Even though Bushmills is technically older than Jameson, it gets overshadowed as “the other guy.” It shouldn’t — and especially not this version that sits in Bourbon seasoned barrels for 10 years. This gives you notes of vanilla, honey and caramel.

How to use it:

Since this was finished in bourbon barrels I would use it to make an Irish Old Fashioned. An Old Fashioned already calls for two ounces of bourbon or rye, so the Bushmills 10 Year would lend a smooth taste without sacrificing all of the bourbon taste.

2 Gingers

2 Gingers

If you’re going for something a little more economical, 2 Gingers will be your best friend for the weekend. It has all the flavors you would expect from a traditional Irish whiskey without the burn on your wallet. It’s a sweet, malty and smooth whiskey that is great with a few ice cubes.

How to use it:

This is the one that I would use to make the classic whiskey and ginger ale. I can attest to this being the perfect mixer for ginger ale. I had to slip this go-to cocktail in here somewhere.

Expand your palate this St. Patrick’s Day by trying one of these or other kinds of Irish whiskey.

Let us know what kind of Irish libations you will be partaking in this St. Paddy’s Day.

James Werner
Author: James Werner

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