How To Drink Whisky The Right Way According To An Expert
Bourbon, rye, scotch, Irish whiskey, and Canadian whisky are increasingly popular. Here’s how to make the most of every sip.
Whisky drinking is on a definite upswing, in case you haven’t noticed yet. You’re excused if that’s the case, since we haven’t been able to frequent our favorite bars lately but that’s finally changing.
Data from the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States shows that revenues from the production and sale of bourbon “America’s native spirit,” as they refer to it have grown substantially over the past few years. Rye, Irish whiskey, and Scotch have also been getting more attention.
As it is with food, wine, fashion, and wherever personal taste is involved, there may not be just one best method of imbibing. With a variety of ways to enjoy distilled spirits, your tastes and preferences may evolve or you might choose your whisky drinking style based on the occasion.
Travel + Leisure spoke to an expert on the topic of a growing interest in whisky, bar supervisor and tobacconist Russell Greene at Castle Hot Springs in Morristown, Arizona, who brings years of experience to his role at the resort’s Bar 1896.
“I thought it was going to die out after a few years, but our culture has truly embraced whisky and brought it back to its original home,” he said. “Now I have people of all ages eyeing the whisky shelves, and distilleries are popping up all over the place.”
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Unburdened by the nerdery that surrounds bourbon, without the regional knowledge requirements of scotch and generally more affordable than both categories, Irish whiskey is an easy-drinking spirit perfect for both whiskey beginners and experts alike.
Generally known as a lighter whiskey without heavy notes of smoke or oaky vanilla flavors, there is still a wide range of Irish whiskeys to be sampled and enjoyed. Some are more suited for cocktailing, others can be sipped solo just as you might a fine scotch or bourbon. And, lucky for us, the category just keeps growing and becoming more available in the U.S. Only a few years ago, the Irish whiskey section of your liquor store may have been limited to just three or four big brands. But now, its positively overflowing with bottles marked with different age statements and barrel finishes. Of course, theres always space on the bar for the old standbys. According to our research, here are some of the top Irish whiskeys to drink right now.
Powers Gold Label Irish Whiskey
Powers Gold Label Irish Whiskey is pure passion for whiskey excellence poured into a bottle. Not only is it triple distilled to make an amazing smooth whiskey, but it is also cut from the heart of the distillate to make sure the whiskey is the purest it can be. As a result, no other Irish whiskey tastes like this classic.
This classic whiskey ages well in selected American oak casks, and perfectly combines pot still and grain whiskeys for a bold punch. On the nose, Powers Gold Label Whiskey seduces with cinnamon, russet apples, and ripe pear notes.
A sip will excite you as crisp barley goodness is garnished with orchard fruity sweetness, tender nutmeg spiciness, and a little bit of chocolate and honey. The finish sees the spicy notes pronounced then slowly fade, leaving you with a lingering honey flavor.
You just cant look beyond Powers Gold Label Irish Whiskey when looking for pure whiskey for your Irish coffee. The addition of a wonderfully complex and honeyed taste to your coffee is a bonus.
Clontarf Irish Whiskey draws from the medieval battle of Clontarf where the Irish King led his men to victory against the Viking invaders. However, patriotic sentiment alone is not what sells Clontarf.
Feeling victorious? Clontarf Irish Whiskey is the bottle you should grab. Sip it straight-up, mix in cocktails, or add to your coffee.
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Make A Whiskey Cocktail
Weve already mentioned a few, but there are many great cocktails that can be made with whiskey. Try your hand at some: the Manhattan, the Whiskey Sour and the John Collins, for example, are classics. Go for a Mint Julep for something more refreshing, or a Pickleback for the authentic Irish experience.
What Is Irish Cream
Irish cream is a popular liqueur that is often served on its own over ice, mixed into cocktails, or featured in fun shooters for parties. It is made of Irish whiskey, cream, chocolate, and sugar and can also include other flavoring ingredients such as coffee and vanilla.
Irish creams range from pale brown to beige in color and between 15 percent and 20 percent alcohol by volume . It is also a very affordable liqueur and you can often pick up a good bottle for less than $15. It’s also quite fun to make your own Irish cream and makes a great homemade gift for the holidays.
As with any cream liqueur, Irish cream should be stored carefully. It is not a super-sensitive liqueur in that it needs to be refrigerated, but the cream and sugars can cause it to go bad.
- Finish an opened bottle within a year, if not much sooner.
- Do not expose open or unopened bottles to extreme heat or store it in a very warm location.
- Toss the bottle if you notice any changes in the liqueur, including smell, consistency, color, or taste.
There are also Irish cream flavored syrups available. These are non-alcoholic and can be used in coffee, cooking, mocktails, and for making a non-alcoholic, homemade Irish cream.
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Gently Float The Cream Onto The Drink
To achieve that perfect layer of cream, spoon it onto the coffee gentlyyou want it to float on top, merging into the coffee gently as youre drinking it, rather than blending in all at once. To get that coveted float, Conyngham said, pour it gently over the back of an angled teaspoon. At the Dead Rabbit, Vose has another trick. We do a serious amount of volume of the Irish Coffee at our bar, so we use protein shaker bottles and are continuously refilling them.
Make an Irish Coffee properly, and I promise, you wont think of it as a St. Patricks Day novelty drink anymore.
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How To Read The Price Of An Irish Whiskey
Like any alcohol, the cost of Irish whiskey runs the gamut, but blends tend to be cheapest because theyre less intensive to make, McGarry says. Age also factors in, with older whiskeys typically costing morebut that doesnt necessarily mean they taste better. Some older whiskey tastes phenomenal and some just tastesold, Bryson says.
And if your selection makes you wish youd ordered a green beer, try another type of whiskey first. There is a whiskey out there for everybody, Gillespie says.
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What Is Irish Whiskey Made From
Barley is commonly used to produce a classic style of Irish whiskey. Many distilleries use unmalted barley, some incorporate a portion of malted barley or other cereal grains, and single malt Irish whiskey is made entirely of malted barley. Grain Irish whiskey has a lighter flavor and is distilled from other cereal grains, such as corn or wheat, using column stills. Its also often used when blending Irish whiskey after aging. Single grain Irish whiskey uses just one type of grain.
A Whisky Primer With Tasting Tips Reviews And Recipes By Shane Helmick
Ireland is a curious spot in the whisky world. The laws there have had a history of being notoriously lax, often creating exploitable confusion about what certain terms mean, case in point, the Irish term Single Pot Still Whisky . One would think that calling it Irish Single Pot Still Whisky would mean it was distilled in a single pot still it does not. The term is actually more about the mash bill.
The term and style came to be from a creative volley between the distillers and excise men of Ireland. Distillers had been hiding the whisky they distilled to avoid being taxed for it, so excise men put forth a tax on malted barley making it more difficult to evade taxes on their production. Taxing the raw materials made it harder to hide how much distillers were producing.
Ever the crafty bunch, distillers began using less malted barley and began padding their production with untaxed, un-malted barley. The enzymes from the malted barley helped break open the proteins of the unmalted and turn the carbs into sugars, but the un-malted barley still gave the whisky a unique body and flavor profile. This blend of barley types is, more or less, what makes an Irish Single Pot Still whisky. Not that there are very many distillery groups operating in Ireland today, but at the moment, theres really only one group distilling in this style the Irish Distillers Group.
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How Long Is Irish Whiskey Aged
Irish law dictates that all Irish whiskey must be aged for at least three years. Some distilleries barrel age their whiskeys beyond the minimum, so youll see Irish whiskey aged for a decade or two . In blended whiskey, an age statement indicates the youngest whiskey within that blend. Ireland also has its version of moonshine called potcheen , which is unaged but technically cant have Irish whiskey on the label.
The Glencairn Whisky Glass
Similar in shape to the tulip-shaped glass, the Glencairn is considered a more robust vessel, although its equally suited to appreciation. Its short, solid base makes for a stable glass popular amongst those who dont favour stems. The glass is also somewhat thicker and this means its more substantial for convivial drinking. Due to its size, the Glencairn is the perfect glass for learning how to swirl whisky too, a practice commonly used to open up the aromas of whisky for full appreciation. Again, a bowl-shape channels aromas towards a narrowed rim. This ones the modern, less showy relative of the tulip-shaped glass, and one solely dedicated to whisky.
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A Guide To Whisky Glasses
Whisky glasses are shaped to enhance the experience of drinking and nosing whisky. The most popular glasses feature a bulbous body shape which allows aromas to collect and be directed through a narrow rim.
Choosing the correct whisky glass can really help to improve the drinkers enjoyment and theres a shape and style of glass for every whisky fan. These range from the compact Glencairn to the extravagant snifter. Our guide should help find the perfect one for you. For that matter, they make an excellent gift why not get one personalised as a gift for the whisky drinker in your life? Here are the most common whisky glasses:
What Are The Most Popular Irish Whiskey Cocktails
Want to enjoy some of the most popular Irish Whiskey cocktails? How about an Irish-style Manhattan recipe popularized at Ireland’s horse tracks called a Tipperary, or if trying a top-shelf, you can’t go wrong making an Irish Old Fashioned with orange bitters .
Or, if it’s still morning, the classic Irish Coffee recipe can’t be beaten. Great over New Year’s Day brunch or anytime you have a sweet tooth. If you are looking for another new recipe to try, look no further than our Irish Gold cocktail recipe.
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The Ultimate Irish Whiskey Guide
Whiskey is a much-beloved beverage around the world, but it has many more aficionados than connoisseurs who know about its origins and making. Given that Ireland is generally considered the birthplace of whiskey, it is no surprise that Ireland produces some of the best and most unique whiskeys in the world. Read on to find out about the production of Irish whiskey, its history, how to best enjoy it, and a host of other facts about this emblematic beverage.
Adding Baileys To Your Irish Coffee
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Best For Sipping On Ice: Green Spot
Region: Ireland | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Green Apple, Apricot, Honey
Originally created in the 1800s for merchant company Mitchell & Son using distillate from Jamesons Bow Street Distillery, the name Green Spot comes from the method in which the Mitchells would mark the ages of their whiskey casks. A green spot on a barrel would mean a certain age, while a blue spot would mean another, and so on. The green-spotted barrel won out, and today it lives on as a blend of single pot still whiskeys aged in both ex-bourbon barrels and sherry casks.
I am a big fan of Green Spot for its light body and delightfully fresh green apple notes, says Yamachika. Pouring the spirit over a single large ice cube only enhances those crisp, fruity notes, transforming the Irish whiskey into a refreshing drink.
What’s The Difference Between Irish Whiskey And Scotch
What’s so different about Irish Whiskey and Scotch Whiskey? To answer that question, it helps to explain Irish Whiskies’ difference from Scotch Whisky. Firstly, notice that ‘Irish Whiskey’ has an extra ‘e.’ That’s the least of the distinctions though, and the main difference is in the process in which it is made.
Scotch Whisky is distilled twice, but Irish Whiskey must endure triple distillation in pot stills triple the size of most copper stills. This gives the Irish version a much more refined flavor and a lighter color than Scotch.
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What Is Irish Whiskey And How Is It Made
Irish whiskey is whiskey made on the island of Ireland. Irish whiskey is made from grains, most commonly barley. The process has many steps, and each one must be carefully controlled to ensure the whiskey has the desired flavour in the end.
Firstly, some of the grains are usually left in water, so that they start germinating, and are then dried out, in a process known as malting. This allows the grains to develop enzymes which will be important later on.
A mix of malted and non-malted cereals is then ground and warm water is added, creating a cereal mash which is stirred for several hours in a special tank called a mash tun. The enzymes in the cereal itself break down starch into sugar, which is released into the water. Sugar water is slowly filtered out of the tun.
Next comes fermentation: yeast is added to the sugar water and left to ferment for 48 hours or more. The result is a low-alcohol liquid called wash.
The next step is distillation, which consists in the evaporation and cooling of a liquid in order to purify it. The desirable components of the wash evaporate faster and condense in a separate tank, while the impurities are left behind. Distillation happens in large tanks called stills, which are either made of copper or have copper tubing. Copper effectively removes sulphur-based impurities which would otherwise spoil the taste.
Fun fact: although whiskey is made from cereals, it is gluten-free and safe for celiacs to consume.
Irish Whiskey : How Its Made
Irish whiskey is distilled from a mass of malted cereals, with or without whole grains, McGarry explains. There are four types of Irish whiskeys, all with relatively similar names, so the devils in the details. Here goes:
Irish whiskey is most often aged in American ex-bourbon barrels, which impart a lot of caramel, vanilla, tropical fruit, and citrus notes, McGarry says. Sherry barrels are also commonly used, and lend the whiskey notes of dried fruit, cinnamon, chocolate, coffee, and tannins. Distillers are starting to use a wider range of barrels to mature whiskey, McGarry adds, whether rum, other varieties of wine, or even cider.
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Irish Whiskey Is Highly Versatile And Lends Itself To A Range Of Cocktails
Since Jameson Irish Whiskey’s conception in 1780, taste has always been at the heart of every sip it produces. And, while it stands alone so beautifully either on the rocks, with a dash of water, or neat it also lends to a range of delicious cocktails to suit every occasion. Whether youre staying in, or heading out, try one of these mixes to stand out from the crowd, rather than to mingle. To help add some flavour to your day , here is a handful ranging from old classics to new twists every whiskey drinker, whether aficionado or beginner should try.
The Neat Whisky Glass
A new kid on the block, and one for the technically minded, the NEAT glass is the ironic result of a mistake made in a glass blowing factory. Subsequent testing of the peculiarly shaped vessel revealed it was perfectly shaped to direct harsh alcohol vapours away from the nose. The NEAT glass, standing for Naturally Engineered Aroma Technology, squeezes the lighter molecules of ethanol out of its opening, leaving behind the heavier, more enticing molecules within whisky. This is a glass well suited for appreciation, but also for people new to the spirits category in general for its ability to negate harsh aromas. Drinking from it may take a bit of getting used to because of its unusual shape.
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