Green beer: a Tipperary cocktail made
with Irish whiskey. Credit: Eric Witz
As an at least partly Irish sort of fellow (my mother’s father’s family), it’s heartening that Americans finally seem to have caught on to the appeal of Irish whiskey. Not to insult Scotch or Bourbon, but Irish has a mellow sweetness that’s awfully hard to resist—or it certainly seems that it’s hard to resist, given we’re drinking about two-thirds more of it than we were a mere five years ago.
What makes Irish whiskey distinctive (I can hear my ancestors saying besides the fact it comes from Ireland, ya big eejit?) is that it’s typically a blend of mixed-grain and single-malt whiskies, like a blended Scotch, but is usually distilled three times rather than two; also, the malted barley used for Irish is dried in kilns rather than over peat smoke, so it lacks the smoky, sometimes iodine-y character of many Scotches.
I’m not going to get into the whole Jameson’s/Bushmill’s Catholic/Protestant divide, (1) because that way lies madness and (2) because in the end both companies are owned by giant drinks multinationals—one French-based (Pernod-Ricard) and one English-based (Diageo). That said, they’re both perfectly tasty whiskies.