Pictured: Irish Fix recipe from Chowhound
Typically relegated to the period around St. Patrick's Day, Irish whiskeys are unfortunately approached with the same wariness given to green beer and blinking shamrock headbands. But they needn’t be! Irish whiskeys are typically smooth, lightly flavored, and lacking the heavy peatiness that makes people think whiskey is only for cold-weather months. Take a look at our roundup below, and open your spring-ready heart to some easy sippers.
An Irish-American selection to start us off, this little Minnesota-born Irish whiskey was made for blending. Light and a little fruity, we like it in our own Irish Fix (though they recommend their own dubiously named “Big Ginger”). They definitely seem to be aiming for the entry-level whiskey drinker, advertising themselves as an easy-drinking brown liquor, rather than an Irish whiskey. Learn more here.
A blended Irish whiskey, and blended with all the best: single pot still, single malt, and single-grain. Self-described as soft and mellow, and we’re apt to agree. Easy sipper, but not so expensive that you’ll feel bad blending with a little ginger ale. Learn more here.
3. Tullamore Dew
Biscuity with caramel and toffee, Tullamore Dew is delicious just about every which way you’d have an Irish whiskey. Fun fact: The Dew in the name is actually the initials of the distillery’s general manager in the late 19th century. How’s that for employee appreciation? Learn more here.
4. Tyrconnell Madeira Cask
Tyrconnell whiskeys date back to the early 18th century, though they were only recently revived by the Suntory conglomerate. After 10 years in new American oak and a finish in Madeira casks, this single malt entirely won us over with its honey and strawberry aroma. Learn more here.
5. Red Breast
Complex and creamy, this pure pot still Irish whiskey is spicy and full-bodied, with a long finish. It's an Irish whiskey Scotch drinkers can get behind. Learn more here.
A light and lemony single-grain whiskey. With vanilla and spicy oak, this easy sipper wants for nothing but sunshine and a sweeping green vista to look out over. Learn more here.
7. Glendalough Premium Poitín
Lovingly called Irish moonshine, this rural spirit has had a cult following for years but was illegal to produce or ship to the United States until the '90s. Now, there are a couple of producers, but we’re keen on Glendalough’s premium offering, made with sugar beets and malt grain. Learn more here.
8. Midleton Very Rare
We can’t discuss very good Irish whiskeys without discussing the Very Rare Midleton. Only 50 casks are produced each year, and much of that is already allocated to preferred vendors. Produced only in pot stills, it’s creamy and spicy on the palate with a long finish. Learn more here.
For more whiskey and food pairings, check out Chowhound's St. Patricks Day recipes.
Kelley Peters is a Brooklyn-based wine writer and educator. She still sometimes gets confused in wine shops.