Irish Whiskey

Irish whiskey is one of the most widely consumed alcoholic drinks globally. Its light, fruity, oaky flavor is beloved by cocktail lovers and whiskey enthusiasts alike.

How Is Irish Whiskey Made?

Irish whiskey is primarily made from water, barley, and a yeast strain called saccharomyces cerevisiae. Barley is used to make most kinds of whiskey because it’s easy to ferment, and it happens to grow in abundance in Ireland. 

The barley is first malted, a process of soaking, heating, and kiln-drying that causes the grains to germinate. However, some Irish whiskeys use a combination of malted and unmalted barley. It’s then ground into a coarse powder called “grist,” added to water, then heated to 60 degrees Celsius. The resulting sugary liquid mixture is filtered and introduced to the yeast, resulting in a frothy, beer-like liquid. It’s then distilled three times before putting into an oak wine or bourbon barrel, where it will rest for at least three years.

What Types Of Irish Whiskey Are There?

There are four basic types of Irish whiskey: single malt whiskey, pot still whiskey, single grain whiskey, and blended whiskey. Although all Irish whiskey is made with similar ingredients and methods, each type of Irish whiskey is distinguished by its distinct production methods.

Single Malt

Single malt Irish whiskey is always made entirely from malted barley in a single location. It’s the only type of Irish whiskey that isn’t triple-distilled.

Pot Still

Pot still Irish whiskey is made with a blend of malted and unmalted barley in a pot still, a unique distillation vessel made of copper. This method produces a unique, spicy flavor known as “pot still character.”

Single Grain

Single grain Irish whiskey is made in a single location and includes other grains besides barley, like maize or wheat.

Irish Blend Whiskey

Irish blends consist of a mix of single grain, single malt, and pot still whiskey.

What is the Difference Between Irish Whiskey and Scotch?

Irish whiskey and Scotch differ in many ways. In Ireland, malted barley is dried over a kiln, whereas the barley used to make Scotch is dried over peat smoke, giving it a distinctive flavor. Scotch whisky is also distilled twice instead of the traditional three times in Ireland. Scottish distilleries never produce pot still whisky.

Also, as anyone in Ireland will tell you, Irish whiskey is always spelled with an “e.”

What Are The Best Irish Whiskey Brands?

The most famous Irish whiskeys in the world are blended whiskeys:

Irish single malts beloved the world over:

Single pot still Irish whiskeys that Irish whiskey lovers particularly love:

What Are The Best Irish Whiskey Cocktails?

Irish Coffee

  • 1 ½ ounces of Irish whiskey
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • 6 ounces of coffee
  • Optionally, 2 ounces of Bailey’s Irish Cream Liqueur and/or a dollop of whipped cream

The Irish Buck (AKA the Irish Whiskey Ginger)

  • 1 ½ ounces of Irish whiskey
  • ¼ ounce of lime juice
  • 2 ounces of ginger ale
  • Serve over ice and optionally garnish with a lime wheel

The Tipperary

  • 1 ½ ounces of Irish whiskey
  • 1 ounce of sweet vermouth
  • ½ ounce of green Chartreuse
  • 2 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • Garnish with an orange twist