Best Irish Whiskey: 4 To Drink on St. Patrick's Day

January 03, 2022

Best Irish Whiskey: 4 To Drink on St. Patrick's Day

At Famous IRL we love whiskey, which is why you can find a full collection of whiskey t-shirts. Curious about the best Irish Whiskey for St. Patrick’s Day? We’ve got the answers you need. In this post, we’ll be ranking our favorite Irish Whiskeys to enjoy when the best holiday in March comes around. You won’t be disappointed by any of these bold, flavorful options.

First Thing’s First: What Is Whiskey?

Whiskey is a type of liquor made by fermenting mashed grain. Grains like corn, rye, wheat, and barley can all be used to make whiskey, and different grains can produce unique flavor profiles. 

Every type of whiskey has its own distinct set of flavor notes. One of the most rewarding parts of drinking is appreciating all those notes and training your palette to recognize them. With enough practice, you can identify the type of grain, aging process, and other attributes in a cup of whiskey, which is a pretty impressive party trick.

When Was Whiskey First Made? 

Historians generally agree that Ireland and Scotland were some of the first territories where traditional whiskey was made in distilleries. 

However, the earliest use of distillation to make whiskey-like drinks was recorded in Italy in the 13th century. Here, they made a brandy-like beverage by distilling wine. This drink was sometimes used as medicine; the Italians were definitely on to something there.

What Makes Irish Whiskey Special?

After the Italians began distilling wine in the 13th century, it wasn’t long before the technique traveled to other parts of Europe, including Ireland. 

Irish whiskey (called Fuisce or uisce beatha in Galic) stands apart from other types of whiskey in several ways.

Here’s what you need to know about Irish whiskey and the unique process used to make it:

  • Irish whiskey typically tastes smooth.While other types of liquor have a smoky, earthy flavor (especially Scotch), Irish whiskey tends to taste lighter and fruitier. In comparison to Scotch whisky (it’s spelled without the “e,” BTW), a glass orFuiscehas more discernible notes of vanilla. 
  • Irish whiskey is triple-distilled. The distilling process used to make Irish whiskey usually involves a mix of grains, but mostly barley. Distilling the whiskey more lightens the flavor notes and gives each sip a smoother mouthfeel overall than other liquors. 
  • Irish whiskey’s ABV usually sits somewhere between 40 and 60 percent. For reference, some types of liquor can be as high as 94 percent alcohol, so Irish whiskey won’t get you wasted as quickly as some drinks will. However, since it goes down very smooth and tastes fantastic, it’s easy to go through several glasses over an hour or two.

What Are the Best Types of Irish Whiskey? 

Now, it’s time for the moment you’ve been waiting for… let’s rank some Irish whiskey. We’ve lined up our picks for the best bottle for beginners, the best pick for enthusiasts and longtime whiskey-drinkers, the best budget-friendly option, and the best top-shelf choice. 

Let’s get to ranking so that you can get to drinking

The Best Pick for Beginners: Jameson Irish Whiskey 

 

  If you’re not sure where to start with Irish whiskey, have no fear—we’ve got the perfect introduction for you. 

Jameson is a renowned brand with a sterling reputation, and it’s a textbook example of Irish whiskey done well. As is the norm for Irish whiskeys, Jameson is triple-distilled using water from the Dungourney River. The river is located near the Midleton Distillery, where Jameson is produced, and all of Jameson’s water comes straight from that river. 

Dungourney river water is one of only three ingredients used in a bottle of Jameson, the others being mashed barley and maize (corn). The barley used to make Jameson is sourced from local Irish farms near the Midleton Distillery, and the use of this local barley is thought to play a pivotal role in giving each sip of Jameson its distinct flavor.

The maize is sourced from France’s Bayonne region; corn doesn’t grow too well on the green hills of Ireland. This high-quality corn plays a key role in Jameson's production and flavor profile, too. It’s exactly what you want to see on the ingredient list for a premium Irish whiskey. 

Jameson has been active since 1780, and the company has persisted through the centuries thanks to persistence and a commitment to making damn good liquor. We’re big fans, and we think their whiskey makes the perfect base for some tasty cocktails, including the classic Jameson and ginger ale. 

This St. Patty’s Day, you can make a phenomenal drink by mixing one part Jameson with three parts ginger ale and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Serve it on the rocks.

The Best Pick for Enthusiasts: Knappogue Irish Single Malt 16-Year-Old Whiskey 

KNAPPOGUE Whiskey

Knappogue Castle is a brand known for excellence, and they’ve taken home countless awards for their liquor over the decades. 

Whiskey takes on some very desirable qualities as it ages, and the years-long process used for each bottle of Knappogue Irish single-malt whiskey really brings out its best. This whiskey is aged in bourbon barrels then transferred to sherry casks, giving each sip wine-like flavor notes you wouldn’t expect from Irish liquor. It’s something else.

A bottle of Knappogue Castle will set you back more than Jameson, but we guarantee it’s worth every penny. If you’re planning on going all-out for St. Patrick’s Day this year and are a longtime whiskey enthusiast, Knappogue is a perfect choice.

We recommend enjoying this whiskey straight, either neat or on the rocks. However, if you want to make a tasty cocktail using Knappogue as the base, try mixing a bit of simple syrup, a shot, a splash of lemon juice, and some vanilla extract.

The Best Budget Option: Tullamore Dew 

This is the quintessential cheap Irish whiskey with a smooth finish and flavor notes like spice, citrus fruit, and butter. Don’t let the low price on a bottle of Tullamore fool you – this is good stuff. 

 

Tullamore whiskey has won multiple awards, including Gold at 2014’s International Spirits Challenge, beating out tons of other Irish whiskeys for that coveted prize. The best part is that a big bottle of Tullamore Dew costs less than 40 dollars. 

To make the case for Tullamore even stronger, the company has several proprietary cocktails that are perfect for St. Patrick’s Day. One of our favorites is the delicious “Tully Tonic,” which you can make with two parts Tullamore Dew, three parts tonic water, and an orange wedge as a garnish. Serve the drink on the rocks, and it’s bound to be a hit at any St. Patrick’s Day party.

If you want to wake up on St. Patrick’s Day and start the festivities immediately, Tullamore can help you out there, too. The Tully Irish Coffee recipe mixes one part sugar, three parts cold brew coffee, two parts Tullamore Dew, and two parts cream with a pinch of nutmeg to wake you up and put some hair on your chest. 

The Best Top-Shelf Option: Bushmills 16-Year

Bullmills Whiskey

Top-shelf Irish whiskey is the pride of any liquor lover's cabinet, and Bushmills is a perfect example of what you want out of any good liquor. 

Aged in bourbon barrels, sherry casks, and port casks to get a flavor profile that’s out of this world, Bushmills 16-year is aged for over a decade to bring out its unique taste.

When you pour a glass of Bushmills, you can expect notes of nuts, honey, vanilla, and oak, all of which are classic flavors found in high-quality Irish whiskey. In addition, Bushmills has a sweet, floral, and aromatic smell and a rich amber hue that definitely enhances the drinking experience. 

We highly recommend Bushmills for serious whiskey enthusiasts who have big liquor budgets for St. Patrick’s Day. If St. Patty’s is the holiday that you look forward to the most, splurging on a bottle of Bushmills just might be the perfect move. 

If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly alternative, you can also check out Bushmills 10-year, another high-quality offering from this renowned Irish distillery.

Sip Your Whiskey in Style

Whiskey Business T-ShirtWhiskey Neat T-ShirtWhiskey Breakfast of Champions T-Shirt

When St. Patrick’s Day comes around, you need to be dressed for the occasion. That’s where we come in. Our “Whiskey Business” t-shirt lets the world know what your priorities are – good times and a highball glass full of Ireland’s best.

If you want more clever and stylish attire for this year’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities, look no further than our St. Patty’s Day collection. There, you’ll find designs like the “Zero Lucks Given” tee, which is bound to turn heads at any St. Patrick’s Day party you attend. 

When you’re trying to show off your Irish heritage, sport one of our “100% Irish” t-shirts, which pair perfectly with leprechaun hats and plenty of whiskey. 

Drink it straight, drink it in a cocktail, whatever you prefer. You can’t go wrong with Irish whiskey on St. Patrick’s Day as long as you drink responsibly. 

 

St Patrick's Day Clothing

Sources:

A Guide to the Lingo and History of Whiskey | BBC Travel

What's the Difference Between Whiskey and Whisky? What About Scotch, Bourbon, and Rye? | Britannica

What's the Difference Between Scotch, Irish Whisky, and Bourbon? | Condé Nast Traveler


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