Of all our bottles, Irish whiskey is the one people most often tell us to replace. It is also our most popular bottle, and the fastest growing spirit category in the United States. So, as far as we’re concerned, it’s here to stay. As with Scotch, barley is the key grain behind Irish whiskey and, also like Scotch, malted grain is key to the Irish whiskey making process. Along with the Irish traditionally favoring an extra distillation over their Scottish cousins, the chief difference – and we’re simplifying here – is that when the Scottish embraced the more economical and pure (and often less flavorful) column still, the Irish held on for dear life to their pot stills, which produce a funkier, more complicated and less economical spirit – and it was almost the death of them. Fortunately, times have changed, and Irish whiskey is making a comeback.
Today, pure pot still whiskeys such as Green Spot and Redbreast remain the truest expressions of Ireland’s distillation heritage while the more familiar brands such as Bushmills, Jameson, and Powers cut the pot still distillate with grain neutral spirit (vodka) to offer more “easy drinking” and lower cost blends. When it comes to making cocktails, we think Irish spirit soars, especially in a classic Whiskey Sour.
PREMIUM ($40 – $50 / 750 ml)
Some claim that to mix these whiskeys in a cocktail is tantamount to heresy. We say it’s heavenly.
Declared by whiskey expert Jim Murray to be “unquestionably one of the world’s great whiskeys,” this bottle will surely get the staunchest Scotch drinker to think twice. While it may be more difficult to track down, you will be absolutely rewarded for your efforts.
Redbreast 12 y.o.
This is a bold enough whiskey to stand up to any mixed drink and come out shining. With notes of toasted nuts and gingerbread, it is amazingly complex yet smooth. More importantly, it makes, by far, our favorite Whiskey Sour.
MID-RANGE ($15 – $20 / 750 ml)
Powers Gold Label
Who are we to argue with the best-selling Irish whiskey in Ireland? While you won’t get the complexity of its pure pot still cousins, you will get something a bit bolder than Jameson, making Powers a great budget mixing whiskey.
As with all of our spirit reboots, these bottles represent just the beginning, and we’ll remain on the lookout for more exciting Irish whiskeys to send your way.