Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day – the lucky holiday — by discovering one of these true Irish whiskeys this year. Whether you prefer the favorable Irish spirit sipped neat or mixed in a cocktail, you’ll find a wealth of flavor profiles in these recommended expressions from the Emerald Isle. Single and blended malts are particularly ideal for whiskey cocktails such as Irish Coffee, Whiskey & Soda, Whiskey Sour, Whiskey & Ginger (aka an Irish Buck), and the ever-popular Old Fashioned.
McConnell’s Irish Whisky
Established in Belfast in 1776, McConnell’s https://mcconnellsirishwhisky.com/ is Ireland’s oldest whisky brand. (Yes, “whisky” without the “e” as it was spelled 250 years ago.) After a 90-year absence, one of the most storied names in Irish whisky was recently reintroduced with this 5-year aged spirit. Next, McConnell’s will open a new distillery in a historic building near its birthplace.
In time for St. Patrick’s Day, author/photographer Natalie Migliarini of Beautiful Booze created the McConnell’s Irish Buck cocktail to showcase the personality of this renewed aged spirit, which comes in a distinctive bottle with a hefty cork stopper. “The Old Fashioned is one of the best cocktails to mix for allowing a spirit’s profile to be the star,” Migliarini says. “My first sip of McConnell’s was eye-opening, and while the profile is super-elegant, my taste buds just loved the lingering honey and spice.”
McConnell’s Smoked Honey Old-Fashioned
2 oz. McConnell’s Irish Whisky
0.5 oz. Monin honey syrup
2 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters
2 dashes orange bitters
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
Method: Smoke the inside of a double Old-Fashioned glass using a torched sprig of rosemary. Combine all the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir to mix and chill ingredients. Strain into the smoked double old-fashioned glass over fresh ice. Garnish with an orange twist.
Glendalough 7-Year-Old Single Malt Mizunara Finish
When the luck of the Irish graces you with a special bottle of whiskey, it’s often best sipped straight — either neat or over ice — in a lowball glass. That’s certainly the case with Glendalough, the first Irish whiskey brand to use exotic Mizunara, bringing Irish single malt and Japanese oak together to create a unique flavor profile. The trunks of these uniquely beautiful trees are prone to growing twisted, and they must grow to be twice the age of most oak trees before they can be felled. It then takes three years to dry, and even then, is notoriously difficult to cooper due to its porousness – yet whiskey can seep deeper into the wood, resulting in an alluring flavor.
Proper No. Twelve
Taking on Irish whiskey brands as old as 300 years isn’t for the weak. Leave it to Ireland’s one and only two-time Ultimate Fighting Champion, Conor McGregor, to knockout the competition by introducing Proper No. Twelve in 2018. It’s now the fastest-growing Irish Whiskey in the US. Unlike typical grain-only Irish whiskeys, Proper No. Twelve is a blend of golden grain and single malt with hints of vanilla, honey-like sweetness, and toasted wood, resulting in a smooth taste, made for mixing.
Proper Punch Up
2 oz. Proper No. Twelve
2 oz. Pineapple Juice
2 oz. Cranberry Juice
2 oz. Ginger Ale
Method: Fill cocktail shaker with ice. Combine Proper No. Twelve, pineapple juice and cranberry juice into the shaker and shake until chilled. Strain into glass, fill with ice, and tip with ginger ale. Garnish with lime.