Derived from a Gaelic term meaning “water of life,” Irish whiskey is one of the oldest distilled beverages in the world. (Irish monks may have actually taught the Scots the art of distillation.) It’s also one of the most popular spirits on Earth. Over the last couple years, Irish distillers have had trouble keeping up with rapidly increasing demand.
A key reason for these robust sales is Irish whiskey’s signature smoothness and sweetness, which makes it incredibly easy to drink. This unique flavor profile is due to two major factors: The whiskey is usually distilled three times, and the barley is rarely peated. (Most Scotch is distilled twice and the malt is often peated.)
While Scotland is home to almost a hundred distilleries, Ireland has only four. But they produce a number of different brands and types of whiskey.
Here’s a shot of spelling with your glass of Irish whiskey. Whisky from Scotland, Canada and Japan is spelled without an “e.” Whiskey from Ireland and the United States is usually spelled with an “e.”
HOW TO DRINK IRISH WHISKEY:
Irish whiskey can be drunk straight, neat or on the rocks. Club soda and ginger ale are also common mixers. Irish whiskey can also be added to coffee, as in the classic sweet-and-creamy Irish Coffee.
NOTEWORTHY IRISH WHISKEY BRANDS:
Bushmills, Clontarf, Connemara, Feckin, Greenore, Jameson, Kellan, Kilbeggan, Knappogue Castle, Michael Collins, Midleton, Paddy, Powers, Redbreast, Tullamore Dew, Tyrconnell
Learn all about even more types of liquor in our Spirits 101 stories on absinthe, bourbon, cognac, gin, rum, rye whiskey, Scotch, tequila and vodka.