Do me a favor this St. Patrick's Day: skip the green beer. Please. But, while you're not drinking that silliness, do try some Irish Whiskey. Often overlook by bourbon and Scotch drinkers, the Irish whiskey tradition is as old as it is varied. In fact, they kinda invented it.
Irish whiskeys are made from both malted and unmalted barley, which contributes to its unique flavor profile. They're often distilled three times, giving the whiskey a lighter flavor compared to Scotch, and the styles are varied: “single pot still”, “single malt”, “single grain”, “blended”, etc.
Like with most spirits, you can spend a fortune, but you don't have to. With that in mind, here are five favorites under $30. Of course, you can opt for the most popular Irish whiskey – Jameson – and there's nothing wrong with it. It's kinda like Jack Daniels or Budweiser or Glenlivet – they're well known for a reason. These picks are intended to stretch your palette a bit without breaking the bank. Sláinte!
1. Bushmills Black Bush – $28.99 – This blend only costs about $6.00 more than the standard Bushmills, and I think it's worth the upgrade, especially if you're drinking it neat with a small splash of water to open it up. Mostly malt and aged in sherry casks. Very good.
2. Kilbeggan Traditional Irish Whiskey – $23.99 – Another solid blend. Very smooth and sweet, with a grain flavor that's a great introduction to the flavor of pot still whiskey. Kilbeggan is the oldest licensed distillery in Ireland.
3. Tyrconnell Single Malt – $29.99 – A great option for trying an Irish Single Malt at an affordable price. Tyrconnell was a legendary racing horse who won at 100:1 odds. Also distilled at Kilbeggan.
4. Tullamore Dew – $21.00 – An excellent value at just over a Jackson. Its green label reads “the Legendary Irish Whiskey” and features the signature of Daniel E. Williams, the master distiller in the late 19th century who perfected the recipe. A great option to bring to share with friends.
5. Powers Gold Label – $23.00 – This is the one I'd order if I were at a bar. More character than Jameson, and likely costs a few dollars less. Would work will as the shot half of a Boilermaker, and would complement bitter or yeasty beers well.
Do you have a favorite Irish whiskey? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Also, check out the ManMade roundup of affordable favorites of all styles of whiskey:
This post was originally published on March 13th, 2014.