Whiskey plays a strong role in Ireland’s contribution to the food and drink of the world. There are different types of whiskey all over the world, which have their own histories. However, one of the longest whiskey traditions comes from Ireland. After all, the word “whiskey” is the Anglicization of the word Irish/Scottish words uisce beatha or uisge beatha, which means “water of life.” This St. Patrick’s Day, learn about the traditional spirit of the Irish Isle. Both the history and flavor of Irish whiskey are robust and delicious.
Using malted barley and oats, monks started to distill whiskey in Ireland in 1000 A.D. after these monks learned about distillation while traveling to the Middle East. Due to strict taxation in the 17th and 18th centuries, most Irish whiskey distilleries went underground, and in 1784 Bushmills surfaced as the first legally registered commercial distillery in Ireland. Today, Bushmills is a conglomerate that holds more than 100 whiskey brands.
Irish whiskey is distilled three times to produce a smoother, lighter distillate than most other whiskey, which are distilled three times. Irish whiskey is also aged for at least three years in wood barrels. The alcohol-by-volume (ABV) of Irish whiskey ranges from 40 percent to about 95 percent, depending on the style. Typically, you will see these four styles of Irish whiskey: single malt, grain whiskey, blended whiskey, and pure pot still whiskey. You can also experiment with specialty flavors by purchasing Irish whiskey with peat included (which is always marked on the bottle).
H2= Single Malt Irish Whiskey: Single malt Irish whiskey is made with only malted barley using a pot still from a one single distillery.
H2= Grain Whiskey: Grain whiskey uses corn, wheat, rye, and/or barley, which are distilled in a column still.
H2= Blended Whiskey: Blended whiskey is the most common style of Irish whiskey. Blended Irish whiskey is a combination of malted and unmalted barley, and sometimes includes other grains, as well. Blended Irish whiskey is made in column and pot stills from a mixture of single malts produced at different distilleries.
H2= Pure Pot Still Whiskey
Irish pure pot still whiskey is made from malted and unmalted barley, but is produced only in a pot still by one distillery (versus from various different distilleries).