Of all the major holidays in the United States, none are more closely linked to alcohol than St. Patrick’s Day. Ostensibly a celebration of St. Patrick bringing Christianity to Ireland, it has more recently become a celebration of the Irish spirits and beers that we have come to know and love. Irish whiskey might still be a relatively small piece of the broader industry, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to choose from. So… which whiskey should you stock for your celebration?
Best Sipping Whiskey: Redbreast 12 Year Irish Whiskey
My friends and colleagues who live in Ireland all are unanimous in their opinion: Redbreast is the best tasting Irish whiskey. And for good reason.
This spirit has a lot of fruit notes in it, making it complex and interesting all on its own, with enough depth to keep you coming back time and again. The flavors are even bold enough to resist a bit of ice (if that’s how you prefer to take your spirits, but I wouldn’t recommend it here). This is great just as it sits in the bottle.
Best Mixing Whiskey: Jameson Caskmates Stout Edition Blended Irish Whiskey
Irish whiskey has a tendency to be sweeter, lighter, and generally less capable of standing up to competing flavors in a mixed drink. Think of it like a delicate scotch– and very much the opposite of the bold and beautiful Guinness stout beer.
The good news is that, for those looking to make an Irish old fashioned, there’s still hope. Jameson has a version of their famous whiskey that is aged in brown beer barrels, which gives it a significantly darker and richer flavor than normal. That richer flavor has the ability to stand up to ice and mixers, letting you actually taste it even through some bitters and providing a delicious experience.