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The Story of Irish Whiskey

The Story of Irish Whiskey

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In the 18th and 19th centuries, Irish whiskey was incredibly popular in Britain, with 1,200 distilleries existing in Ireland in 1779. Because many of them were unlicensed, the illicit distilleries forced the government to raise taxes on whiskey production. By 1822, only 20 distilleries were legal and the number of illegal distilleries had been reduced to 800.

In 1838, the number of distilleries was reduced yet again as a result of the Total Abstinence Movement, which created an increased competition between Irish distilleries and forced smaller distilleries to shut down. Among the most successful businesses to continue expanding were those of the families Jameson and Powers from Dublin.

In the early 1960s, the export of Irish whiskey was virtually non-existent, so the three remaining distilleries joined forces and became the Irish Distillers. This was made up of John Powers & Sons, John Jameson & Sons, and Cork Distillery. In 1975, the new company moved its production to a new distillery in Midleton, which is behind the old Midleton Distillery, and now houses the reception area and visitors center.

Irish whiskey comes in several forms. There is single malt, which is made from 100 percent malted barley distilled in a pot still, and grain whiskey, which is made from grains and distilled in a column still. Grain whiskey is light and more neutral in flavor than single malt, and it is never bottled as single grain. Instead, it is used to blend with single malt to produce a lighter blended whiskey.

Pot still whiskey is unique to Irish whiskey. The designation "pure pot still" refers to whiskey that is made of 100 percent barley, mixed malted and unmalted, and distilled in a pot still. The unmalted barley is what gives the traditional pure pot still whiskey a spicy and uniquely Irish quality. Like single malt, pure pot still is sold as is or blended with a grain whiskey. Redbreast, Green Spot, and some premium Jameson brands are pure pot still whiskies.

— Sara Kay, The

Irish Coffee Recipe

Imagine flying 18 hours in what was called a flying boat in 1942. You'd be exhausted and chilled to the bone. That is when and why this Irish whiskey, coffee and cream beverage was created. It happened in Limerick, Ireland, at an airport restaurant.

As I understand it from reading (no, I wasn't there) from 1939 to 1945 air travel from America was by flying boats.

These aircraft were landing at an airport in Limerick, Ireland after a long, cold 18 hour flight (Shannon Airport).

Instead of just offering coffee or tea to the travelers, a Mr. Joseph Sheridan, the Chef at the airport restaurant, developed this beverage - now a famous and favorite restaurant drink recipe.

I sell a great deal of this beverage at the restaurant, especially during the fall and winter months. The restaurant recipe I use is the original as developed by Chef Sheridan (later to move to San Francisco where he introduced the drink to more Americans than just air passengers).

Irish whiskey or Irish whisky? The story of an “e”.

In our archives in Midleton, I’m lucky to have a job where I see history brought to life every day. I do a lot of work searching and examining files relating to old copyrights and trying to establish timelines of historic dates of entry to worldwide markets. As I’ve been cataloging the archives, I’ve uncovered new stories, new facts and new imagery which have helped us to better understand our past and to shape our future.

Recently, after a conversation with a friend, I decided to do a deep dive on the origin of the e’ in Irish whiskey. This turned up another lovely story of the cooperation between old competitors that became allies to save the Irish whiskey category. Having managed the Irish Distillers archives in Midleton for the last few years I was not surprised to discover that right from the very start, the industry was always willing to put their differences aside and come together for the benefit of the sector.
Many people will automatically assume that it’s not Irish whiskey unless it’s spelled that way. However, contrary to popular opinion, Irish whiskey can be spelt both with and without an e’. Under EU law, for a product to be considered an Irish whiskey or whisky, production must take place on the island of Ireland and have a minimum alcoholic strength by volume of 40%. Famed for its light and silky mouth feel, Irish whiskey has great complexity of aroma with a range of flavours which could include fruity, honey, floral and woody notes.

The naming of whiskey dates back to the sixth century when the technique used to create Eau de vie, a French fruit brandy, was brought to Ireland. Thus, our beloved Uisce Beatha (Irish for water of life) was born. The production principles haven’t changed much over the years, which has led to the creation of products with an internationally renowned reputation. The factors that define Irish whiskey include this rich history and reputation, the unique production process, our natural factors, such as the water and climate, and the passion and commitment of the people who participate in the production process.

These factors are crucial to the Irish whiskey story. However, historically, a separation existed between distilleries in Dublin and the rest of the country. During the golden age of Irish whiskey in the 19th century, differences began to emerge between Dublin’s distilleries and distilleries elsewhere in the country. The Dublin Distilleries produced what they called City’ or Parliament’ whiskey, and referred to anything produced elsewhere (mainly Cork and Belfast) as Country’ whiskey. They implied that their produce was superior to the country stuff and to distinguish it and themselves, they always used an e’. They felt that being closer to the seat of government, they were subject to stricter regulations and quality controls and the use of the e’ allowed the customer to know the exact source of the product. Distillers outside of Dublin, including the Cork Distilleries Company who produced Midleton and Paddy, didn’t use the e’. Where you see exceptions to this on signs or pamphlets, it’s usually a printing mistake, rather than the distillery changing its mind. So, Jameson and Powers would have used the e’, Midleton, on the other hand, would not.

Above: (l) Midleton Whisky Label before the foundation of Irish Distillers (c) Jameson Whiskey label 1896 (r) John Power & Son Whiskey label 1886
Following two World Wars, economic tariffs and the reputational damage caused by counterfeit Irish whiskey during Prohibition, something had to be done to reverse the decline in Irish whiskey sales. The realisation dawned across the industry that, to future proof the Irish whiskey sector, these competitors would have to come together. Rooted in the philosophy that a rising tide lifts all boats, the renaissance of the Irish whiskey sector can be traced back to the formation of Irish Distillers in 1966 when Power, Jameson and Cork Distilleries came together.

In recognition of the shared history of passion and commitment to the industry, Irish Distillers decided to make the e’ universal across all their products. In a name, they unified the industry, whilst also setting the standard all other Irish whiskeys would have to meet. Now, under the umbrella of Irish Distillers, the shared passions for the sector could be more easily recognised at home and abroad. While Jameson and Power had been whiskey distillers since their foundation, the e’ first appeared on Paddy bottling in 1975, at first for export bottling only, but soon after it appeared on all bottles.

Above: Cork Distilleries Company whisky label 1868
The result of this change was immediately seen, and a new era of Irish whiskey was born. Consumers were delighted to rediscover the quality and distinction of Irish whiskey, whilst recognising the innovators thriving in the sector. So, consumers could say that it is not just the unique flavour that sets Irish whiskey apart from other spirits, but also the shared passion its people and the commitment to making it a future focused industry.

The History Of Irish Coffee With Three Essential Recipes

No matter where you come down on the nutmeg or no nutmeg debate, or even the debate over whether to include strong whiskey or the more delicate Clontarf, Irish coffee has a long, storied history. It’s one that’s as charming as it is practical — much like the Irish chef who invented it.

Unlike other drinks born out of creativity and imagination, Irish coffee sprang from necessity. It came about in the 1940s, at a time when Pan Am flying boats were used to make Atlantic crossings before large airports with long runways existed. Meeting his American passengers as they disembarked on the water in Foynes, Chef Joe Sheridan, a head chef at a nearby restaurant, brought the passengers coffee to warm them. Sensibly added to it to ward off the damp night’s chill was some whiskey. Legend has it that after he was asked if they were drinking Brazilian coffee, Sheridan told them it was Irish.

The beverage caught on, and after 1945 when transatlantic flights began to land at the nearby Shannon airport, which was built on a bog, Sheridan’s Irish coffee was served there. It still is today, in a restaurant known as Sheridan’s Food Pub, but it was back in 1952 that a travel writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, Stanton Delaplane, tried it on his way through the airport. He immediately fell in love with the drink, and decided to bring it to America.

36 Gifts and Gadgets For Anyone Who Loves Drinks

A regular at the Buena Vista Cafe in San Francisco, Delaplane and bar owners Jack Koeppler and George Freeberg set about recreating this hot and cool cream-topped warmer. Of course it was a long night of trial and error, but eventually they found the perfect recipe, down to figuring out how to properly float the cream on top of the drink.

Dale DeGroff, James Beard Winner and author of The Craft of the Cocktail, notes the importance of balancing the textures and flavors and simply describes the drink as, “cold cream, hot sweet coffee, laced with wonderful Irish whiskey,” He should know. He made plenty of them over the years especially in the days when Senator Patrick Moynihan hosted his annual St. Patrick’s Day brunch at the now-closed midtown saloon, Charley O’s. In the mid-1970s, DeGroff worked there as the service bartender, and it was his job to keep up with the whipping of the cream to top each and every Irish coffee going into the hands of New York City — and sometimes the world’s — most notable faces. This was a movers and shakers event the kind at which you might have found yourself standing next to Bobby Kennedy as he informally announced his plans to run for President. That really happened, and just another reason, besides pride in the job, that made it so important to get this drink right.

DeGroff shares, ” The only reason I made it right was that I was taught by Pat and Mike, the original Charley O’s bartenders on staff when Joe Baum opened the restaurant. Baum had emissaries going to Ireland to make sure the drinks and food were made correctly. At Moynihan’s brunch, which lasted from 6 AM until 11 AM when everyone would go outside to join the parade, people would be drinking Irish whiskey or Irish coffee and so you’d find five bartenders behind the bar. For the coffees it was all completely set up on the channel – that was the bar back’s job to set up the glasses. One guy’s job was to do the sugar and dissolve with the coffee, followed by the guy with the whiskey, followed by the guy with the cream followed by the bar back putting down more cups to replace the drinks guests had just picked up. We set up 60 glasses for each walk through and keep re-setting every 15 or 20 minutes. As the least senior bartender my arm was falling off because I was the guy back there hand whipping the cream.”

He shares his techniques for getting the cream to pour across the back of a spoon, “Over whip it and it gets too stiff, but you can add in more cream to bring it back down. If you get it to peak, it’s not going to pour. You want it stiff, but not going so slowly that you have to drag it.”

For many bartenders, making Irish coffee has been seen as a drag and so few do it as its meant to be done. At the Dead Rabbit, even before they opened, they were bound and determined to get it right. Co-owner and operating partner Jack McGarry, also known as the winner of the International Bartender of the Year award from Tales of the Cocktail’s Spirited Awards, shares the experience that motivated him and his business partner Sean Muldoon, “Just before we opened we did an historic walking tour of the Financial District with Dave Wondrich. When we returned to the bar Dave made a punch that was amazing and Dale made an Irish coffee that stole the show. It was even before we opened that the seed was planted for this partnership to further improve our Irish coffee in conjunction with Dale. We just asked him to improve our Irish Coffee and he was totally up for it. It’s one of his favorite drinks and he was constantly giving us tips on how to improve ours when he was drinking in the bar. However, it required him to be fully involved to get it right and that’s what we did.”

He continues, “Sean first tried it in London in the early 2000s at a trade show or late 1990s. He told me all about it, and he explained that Dale asked the audience how many of them had a good Irish coffee and no one raised their hands. He said that most places use the wrong glass, have the wrong portions, don’t treat the coffee right, use the wrong cream, etc. He said it should be treated as a cocktail and that all the proportions should be balanced. It’s a similar type of story that Sasha Petraske told about the Manhattan. That it should taste like a Manhattan and you shouldn’t be able to distinguish the Rye, Vermouth and Bitters. Dale said, it should taste like an Irish coffee not too much coffee, whiskey, sugar or cream.”

Dead Rabbit’s original recipe called for white sugar, which DeGroff swapped out for brown because, as he says, ” I added the brown sugar because I wanted the depth.” As for the other elements McGarry explains, “Our previous Irish coffee used Jameson Original in the Taproom and Powers Signature Single Pot Still in the Parlor. Both of these whiskeys have higher pot still percentages — Signature is 100% — in their make-up than Clontarf does. Therefore, the resulting Irish Coffee was slightly spicier and more whiskey forward. The coffee/sugar mix was drier also.

No matter how you like it, drier or a little richer, one thing is certain: if it looks like a Guinness going by, you’ve done it right. DeGroff concludes, “Hand whipped unsweetened cream through which you’re drinking good sweetened Irish whisky laced coffee is the whole ball of wax. There are people who get it and people who don’t. It’s a marvelous drink.”

Dale DeGroff’s Irish Coffee

  • 4 oz Dead Rabbit Sumatra Mandheling Coffee (hot)
  • 1 1/2 oz Premium Irish Whiskey (Clontarf)
  • 1/2 oz Demerara Sugar Syrup (2 parts Demerara sugar to 1 part water heated until the sugar dissolves)
  • Cream

Instructions: Prepare the drink in an 8 oz stemmed glass. Combine the coffee, sugar syrup and Irish whiskey. Hand whip the cream so that it still pours and floats on top of the coffee. Never sweeten the cream.

Foynes Meets France

A Francine Cohen Original Recipe

  • 4 oz Dark Coffee (brewed)
  • 1 oz. Brenne Whiskey
  • 1.25 Merlet C2 Café Liqueur (Cognac & Coffee Liqueur)
  • Brown sugar to taste
  • Hand-whipped cream poured over top

Buena Vista Cafe Irish Coffee

  • Some Hot water
  • 6 oz. Hot Fresh Brewed Coffee
  • 2 Cocktail Sugar Cubes
  • A jigger (shot) of your favorite Irish Whiskey
  • Fresh (preferably homemade) whipped cream

Method: To start off, you will need to fill your empty glass with the hot water to preheat the glass. After you fill it, let it preheat the glass for a few seconds and then proceed to dump the water out. Follow by pouring the freshly brewed coffee into the glass until it is about three quarters of the way filled. Then, place the two cocktail sugar cubes into the mix. Stir the mixture until the sugar cubes have dissolved. You can then add the shot or jigger of your favorite Irish whiskey into the coffee and sugar mix. Stir again. Then using a warm spoon, flip it over, and let the homemade whipped cream carefully slide over the spoon’s back and onto your Irish coffee mixture. You want to make sure that the whipped cream does not break into the Irish coffee’s surface.

Sink like a (sham)rock…

What’s “the drowning of the shamrock?”

When St. Patrick banished the devil from the inn, he put a shamrock in his glass before raising it. It may have been customary at the time to add the lucky green leaf to a whisky shot, but today it usually only happens on March 17. Placing a shamrock in your last whiskey of the evening on St. Patrick’s Day night is known as “the drowning of the shamrock.” To complete the ritual, throw the shamrock over your left shoulder once you’ve downed the last drop of sweet brown booze.

The (Second) Rise of Irish Whiskey

The story of Irish whiskey is as lengthy and rich as it is riddled with disappointments and brushes with obscurity.

Currently, it’s the fastest growing spirits category in the world, though if we’d assessed Ireland’s flailing whiskey industry 50 years ago, nothing would have hinted that a recovery this triumphant would be possible.

Chalk it up to the luck of the Irish, but via increasing visibility, a swelling craft distilling movement and a global market with a bottomless thirst for premium whiskey, Irish distillers are prepped for a second gilded age.

Up and down and up again

Ireland’s distilling heritage dates back at least six centuries, likely much further. In fact, whiskey is an Anglicization of the Gaelic uisce beatha, meaning the water of life. If you want to start a row, tell a Scot that the Irish invented whiskey and vice versa. Then kick back with three fingers of whiskey and watch the drama unfold deep into the night.

Some mysteries will never be solved, but this we know: at the turn of the 20th century, pot still whiskeys from the Emerald Isle were some of world’s most prized drams. But as a maelstrom of misfortunes — bureaucracy, turmoil, internal temperance movements and eventual US Prohibition, war and more war — assailed Ireland over the course of years, its once-booming industry dropped helplessly to its knees. By the mid 1960s, Irish whiskey was on life support.

Not counting the thousands of illicit poitin (that’s moonshine) operations scattered throughout its famous hills, Ireland was home to over 100 licensed distilleries in its heyday. Not so long ago, that number had withered to a floundering four (including Bushmills in the North).

The three remaining distillers in the Republic of Ireland — Cork Distilleries Co., John Jameson & Son and John Power & Son — decided that there was strength in numbers even if those were scant and amalgamated as Irish Distillers Group in 1966. The last, limping unicorn of a legacy in tatters regrouped in austerity, limiting production to a single complex in Cork: Midleton.

In 1988, Pernod Ricard acquired Irish Distillers, consciously investing in Jameson as its juggernaut. By 2004, it had become the world’s fastest growing international whiskey brand. Currently it accounts for 70 per cent of Irish whiskey sales worldwide Jameson is the category’s phoenix.

Bernard Walsh from the craft Walsh Whiskey Distillery is one of 26 new distilleries opening up in Ireland.

The workhorse

Even if you’re not a whiskey drinker you’ve had a nip or shot of Jamo, as it’s affectionately called. Maybe you don’t remember it, but it happened. That’s assuming you live in Western civilization and occasionally partake.

Found on the speed rail of every dive, pub, cocktail bar and local in North America and beyond, it’s easy to like and easier to drink. It’s the whiskey in our ginger and in our shot glass it’s what we order to keep our pint company, Irish-style. Jameson’s a party-starter, a nightcap, to be sipped daily or pounded on celebratory occasions. It’s the whiskey bartenders take turns pouring down each other’s throats on their nights off, for what it’s worth.

Its popular-kid-at-the-never-ending-party image aside, the brand has — considering its intent on domination, perhaps unwittingly — been hard at work blazing a trail for the second coming of Irish whiskey.

“Jameson absolutely has helped pave the way for the survival and success of Irish whiskey,” says David McCabe, International Whiskey Ambassador for Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard and tutor at the Midleton Irish Whiskey Academy.

“It has helped move the stereotypical traditionalist view that whiskey should only be drunk with a dash of water or with ice, which I believe would today alienate a huge amount of consumers from the category.”

The mass appeal of whiskey, like all beverage alcohol, is that it’s fun. Jameson, with its approachable and laidback image, embodies everything we enjoy most about drinking.

“When Pernod Ricard bought Irish Distillers, they did the right thing and backed the Jameson horse,” says Bernard Walsh, Chairman of the Irish Whiskey Association and proprietor of Walsh Whiskey Distillery, which owns brands like Writer’s Tears and The Irishman.

“It’s a brand that you could say is bigger than the category, and Irish whiskey needed that. Now it’s up to everyone else to put their money where their mouths are and really push the category forward.”

It’s independent distilleries like Walsh Whiskey, which will open its own facility in Royal Oak, Carlow, in June 2016, that will help to do just that. Especially now that the Jameson megabrand has primed consumer palates and perceptions, exposing them to the unpretentious charms of Ireland’s drams.

This time around, there’s strength in more serious numbers. The Walsh Whiskey Distillery is just one of 26 new distilleries slated to open in the next two years. Looking at a map of Ireland pinned with distilleries both existing and planned, a grateful patient undergoing a restorative acupuncture session springs to mind a little whiskey therapy is just what Ireland needed.

Part two: pot still whiskey

If bourbon is the all-American spirit and Scotland’s hallmark is single malt, Ireland’s claim to whiskey fame is pure pot still, the unctuous, fruity and generously aromatic dram that first fostered a reputation as one of the original premium spirits.

Distilled from both malted and unmalted barley, Walsh refers to the creation of Irish pot still whiskey as “a kind of happy accident,” a style born from pushback against government taxation on malted barley.

“The Irish were never terribly happy having to pay tax, especially tax imposed by a concrete power,” Walsh laughs. So distillers found ways around it, skirting the ballooning excise on malted barley by including a portion of the unmalted grain in their mash bill.

“The inclusion of unmalted barley is a unique feature of pot still Irish whiskeys. You won’t find it in any Scotch whisky, bourbon or Japanese whisky for example,” McCabe explains.

“The use of unmalted barely is considered to impart a creaminess and mouth-coating texture to the overall taste of the whiskey.”

Inefficient because it clogged up equipment, this mix of unmalted and malted barley nonetheless became Ireland’s stubborn signature. Distilled three times in old fashioned pot stills, it was full, smooth and consistently well made — exactly what the drinking public of the 1800s wanted to drink.

But in the midst of its success, the Irish whiskey industry made a catastrophic miscalculation that wouldn’t manifest until generations later. When Aeneas Coffey, ironically an Irishman, presented the nation’s whiskey titans with his brand-new patent for the continuous still in 1830, they scoffed at a design they felt would strip pot still whiskey of its guts. So, Coffey took his invention to the Scots, who jumped on the cheaper, quicker and generally more efficient distillation method.

“At that stage, Irish whiskey was seen as a premium spirit quite aromatic because of the copper pot distillation. The column still was the opposite, pure and not as aromatic,” explains Walsh. “So the whiskey barons of the day conspired to keep the column still out of Ireland.”

When Prohibition dried up its biggest export market, it was too late for Ireland to catch up to the light-bodied, inexpensive blended whiskies flooding the market from Scotland. An alarming number of Irish distilleries shuttered, and some say that by the 1970s, production of pure pot still whiskey had halted completely.

What’s next

Luckily, pure pot still and pot still blends are what the Irish whiskey renaissance promises to return to whiskey lovers of the world — a demographic that seems to double up daily. Premium brands like Red Breast, Green Spot and Writer’s Tears are championing the old Irish style, and the international market is ripe for quality, top-tier whiskeys.

Even Jameson, a light, crowd-pleasing blend, carries the quintessentially Irish style in its DNA.

“You can pick the pot still out of Jameson easily,” says Jim Murray, author of the Whisky Bible who has penned two books on Irish whiskey. “It’s the hard streak that goes right down the middle. You’ll find that Jameson is a mix of hard and really soft — and that hardness is the pot atill.”

But Ireland’s distillers aren’t set on simply reviving their past. Whether small and independent like the Walsh Distillery, the four-year-old Dingle Distillery or Teeling, which in 2015 became the first distillery to open in Dublin city in 125 years, or larger than life like Midleton, Kilbeggan or Bushmills, they’re united in a plan to push the category forward through innovation.

Walsh hints at an interesting loophole: similar to many world whiskeys, Ireland’s must be aged for a minimum of three years but unlike most whiskeys, Ireland is not legally limited to oak casks. This opens up an exciting realm of experimentation with various kinds of wood and finishes. He’s is also interested in exploring Irish terroir.

“I love what Scotland’s done with the regions,” says Walsh, who plans to introduce new brands with the opening of his distillery. “If we can do something similar with Ireland — it will take a long time — but we’d love to be able to start to show some regional variances.”

The big guy, Midleton, has built a micro-distillery in order to experiment with various cereal grains and resurrect old whiskey styles. Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard has also offered technical assistance to fledgling distilleries in order to help guide and maintain Ireland’s renewed reputation as a country that makes exceptional whiskey, according to McCabe.

Since 2003, annual exports of Irish whiskey have rocketed 220 per cent and show no signs of slacking. The Irish Whiskey Association, formed in 2014, has a set a goal: to hit 12 per cent market share by 2030 currently, that number is at four per cent. Ambitious to be sure, but all things considered a target of 300 per cent growth over three decades seems … pretty likely, actually.

“With the addition of new distilleries opening up in Ireland, I think we are on the way to becoming a great whiskey producing nation once again,” says McCabe. “We were once and we will be again!” Considering the statistics, it’s impossible not to be optimistic.

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Sarah Parniak

Sarah Parniak is a freelance writer, bartender and consultant with a (healthy) spirits obsession that she channels into a weekly drinks column for Toronto’s NOW Magazine. She’s represented Canada in international bartending competitions and currently works behind the stick at People’s Eatery in Chinatown on weekends. When she’s not working in bars, she’s usually drinking in them. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @s_parns.

A Story of Irish Whiskey

A Story of Irish Whiskey: how three families saved it from extinction.

A five-part series brought to you by Irish Distillers on the rise, fall and rise again of Irish whiskey on the world stage.

Tracing the story of Irish whiskey's meteoric rise in the 1800s to its fall in the aftermath of revolution and wars in the 20th century to finally its renaissance in the 21st.

With a cast of colourful, innovative and fearless characters from the three main Irish whiskey families - the Jamesons, Powers and Murphys - experience this story of Irish whiskey as never before.

The Tasting Club – Powers Irish Whiskey

Welcome to the Irish Distillers Tasting Club a six-part series for whiskey lovers.

Over the series we’ll meet true masters of their crafts from Midleton Distillery. From flavours and aromas, to cask selection and the wonderful stories behind each product, we will share insights into how Irish Distillers create some of the world’s most enjoyed Irish whiskeys.

For the final episode in this series, our host Ger Garland is joined by Master Distiller Brian Nation to discuss an iconic Irish brand, Powers Irish Whiskey. With its bold style and complex taste, Powers is all about the finer cut, and together Brian and Ger delve into the qualities that make Powers firm a fan favourite.

The Tasting Club – Method and Madness Irish Whiskey

Welcome to the Irish Distillers Tasting Club a six-part series for whiskey lovers.

Over the series we’ll meet true masters of their crafts from Midleton Distillery. From flavours and aromas, to cask selection and the wonderful stories behind each product, we will share insights into how Irish Distillers create some of the world’s most enjoyed Irish whiskeys.

In episode 5, Master Blender Billy Leighton returns to discuss one of the most innovative launches from Irish Distillers in recent years. For this episode he is joined by Distiller Katherine Condon, and alongside our host Ger Garland, they discuss how Method & Madness Irish Whiskey celebrates the skill of our masters while harnessing the insatiable curiosity of their apprentices.

The Tasting Club – The Spot Range

Welcome to the Irish Distillers Tasting Club a six-part series for whiskey lovers.

Over the series we’ll meet true masters of their crafts from Midleton Distillery. From flavours and aromas, to cask selection and the wonderful stories behind each product, we will share insights into how Irish Distillers create some of the world’s most enjoyed Irish whiskeys.

In episode 4, our host Ger Garland is joined by Master of Maturation, Kevin O’Gorman. Kevin has a fascinating job sourcing casks and managing the maturation of our whiskeys. Kevin explains the range of aromatics and the depth of flavour that can be found throughout the Spot range, be it Green Spot, Yellow Spot or Red Spot.

The Tasting Club – Midleton Very Rare

Welcome to the Irish Distillers Tasting Club a six-part series for whiskey lovers.

Over the series we’ll meet true masters of their crafts from Midleton Distillery. From flavours and aromas, to cask selection and the wonderful stories behind each product, we will share insights into how Irish Distillers create some of the world’s most enjoyed Irish whiskeys.

In episode 3, our host Ger Garland talks to Master Distiller Brian Nation about his role in producing a whiskey which is often referred to as the ‘pinnacle of Irish whiskey’. Brian joined the ranks of some legendary figures of Irish whiskey when he took over as Master Distiller. In this episode he discusses how he came to work for Irish Distillers and the craft behind the production of Midleton Very Rare.

The Tasting Club – Redbreast Single Pot Still

Welcome to the Irish Distillers Tasting Club a six-part series for whiskey lovers.

Over the series we’ll meet true masters of their crafts from Midleton Distillery. From flavours and aromas, to cask selection and the wonderful stories behind each product, we will share insights into how Irish Distillers create some of the world’s most enjoyed Irish whiskeys.

In episode 2, our host Ger Garland meets Master Blender Billy Leighton. Billy is responsible for creating iconic blends within the Irish Distillers portfolio of brands and together they take a closer look at a very special whiskey – Redbreast Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey.

The Tasting Club – The Jameson Caskmates Series

Welcome to the Irish Distillers Tasting Club a six-part series for whiskey lovers.

Over the series we’ll meet true masters of their crafts from Midleton Distillery. From flavours and aromas, to cask selection and the wonderful stories behind each product, we will share insights into how Irish Distillers create some of the world’s most enjoyed Irish whiskeys.

In our first episode, host Ger Garland meets Dave Quinn, Master of Whiskey Science at Midleton Distillery. Dave takes us through the origins, character and taste of one of our most successful innovations - the Jameson Caskmates series.

The Story of Irish Whiskey - Recipes

Mr O’Connor said: “The mashbills chosen are creating a map, a language about how all these things might have worked.

“What was the reason for creating a mashbill? What was going through their heads when they were putting them together?

“There’s a lot of things you can do to whiskey to influence the taste. The bulk of these mashbills haven’t been tasted in over 70 years and the earliest ones I’ve found come from the early 1800s.

“It would be a shame if all that history and those flavours were lost. This project has been about making up for lost time.

“Many people know the story of Irish distilling’s rise and collapse, but the story of the lost tastes and aromas, the knowledge that most of those whiskeys were different to ours, comes as news to most people.”

He first discovered the mashbills in archives in the Republic and Northern Ireland, and credits Boann’s courage in bringing them back into production.

The programme will culminate in the coming months with a gathering of 30 leading figures in the Irish distilling industry for a sensory analysis tasting of the mashbills and their ranking over a number of different criteria.

It will include experts from Ireland and Scotland and is in association with Heriot-Watt University’s brewing and distilling programme.

Boann managing director Pat Cooney said his family, which employs 15 staff operating three huge copper pot stills, want to be seen as “one of the most progressive distilleries in Ireland”.

“Every mashbill tastes different, depending on whether there’s more barley, less malt, more wheat, less rye,” he said.

The family is also in the process of building a visitor centre, an online shop and launching Silks Irish Gin, named in honour of the local Bellewstown Races, running since 1726.

Boann is producing samples of each different mashbill, with an arrangement that customers can book their cask by paying a deposit and choosing their cask after tasting the various mashbills.

Here are 5 Whisky Cocktail Recipes in Times of Self Isolation

As the saying goes – When life gives you lemons, make cocktails – or something like that.

The Irish Lemonade

If there is one thing to look forward to during the unrelenting and cruel Indian summers, it is the soothing comfort of the Irish Lemonade. This instant whiskey cocktail is the added incentive in times like these when ingredients are scant, and the urge to drink whiskey keeps tugging at you.

The best part about the Irish Lemonade is that you can have plenty of it all at once if you’re stuck at home with a roommate, or your entire family, and you know they are going to love it. If you have been self-isolating all alone, the Irish Lemonade can also help you conjure a few leprechauns to keep you company. All you need to whip up a quick glass, or a jug (no judgement) of Irish Lemonade are four ingredients, and one of those is WHISKEY!

As the name suggests, the Irish Lemonade is typically prepared with an Irish whiskey, and most often with Jameson Irish whiskey. If you only have Indian whisky at hand, you can use the amazing Blenders Pride, or Royal Stag as an alternative. They are both perfect whiskies for a cocktail like the Irish Lemonade.

You can find the Irish Lemonade recipe here.

Spiked Iced Tea

A hot summer day can immediately be made better with a tall glass of chilled ice tea. Nearly all of us have our different preferences when it comes to iced tea, but you cannot possibly hate it. Now if you do know someone that hates iced tea, we can bet they won’t hate our second pick for the perfect lockdown cocktail – the Spiked Iced Tea!

There is almost nothing on the face of the planet that cannot be made better by adding whisky to it. If someone disagrees with you on that one, you can stop seeing them because we do not need that kind of negativity in our lives.

The Spiked Iced Tea is the perfect summer whisky cocktail because it is simple, it is easy and most of all, it is absolutely delicious! The Spiked Iced Tea couldn’t be more perfect, except during this unfortunate lockdown its short list of ingredients and minimalist recipe make it simply irresistible.

Start making your own large batch of Spiked Iced Tea with a simple recipe you can find here

Old Fashioned

The Old Fashioned is one of those timeless whisky cocktails that have been named just right. This whisky cocktail is just so easy to make that it has endured for over two centuries! Not to mention the fact that it’s the one of the best sipping cocktails to enjoy when you have company.

There are a lot of people who love sipping on a whisky cocktail instead of chugging on a tall Long Island Iced Tea, and the Old Fashioned is just the right fit for them. The best part about the Old Fashioned is that it does not require any elaborate contraptions or bar tools. You can fix yourself a glass of goodness within a matter of minutes!

Don’t have the largest whisky collection known to mankind? No reason to worry. Find cocktails too complicated to make? Relax! Don’t want to end up washing a dish load of spoons and glasses later? We have got you covered. Bonus fun fact – The Old Fashioned cocktail is the reason the Lowball tumbler glass was named ‘the Old Fashioned glass.’

Want to try out the Old Fashioned? You can find the easiest recipe here.

Mint Julep

One cannot possibly imagine the best summer whisky cocktail without two ingredients – Lime & Mint! Of course you don’t need us to be Captain Obvious and say ‘ICE’ do you?

The Mint Julep is an immensely popular drink in places with a hot weather. In fact, Mint Julep is the official cocktail at the Kentucky Derby, and the unofficial Bourbon capital of the world gets quite hot during the summer.

Now we know it could be difficult to have the choicest of base spirits for your cocktails during a lockdown. Some great whisky, sugar syrup, mint leaves and lots of ice are all you need for a refreshing summer drink. Being a responsible citizen does not mean you cannot enjoy a whisky cocktail. You have earned the right!

Get the best summer whisky cocktail recipe here.

Irish Coffee Flip

Now if our whisky lovers with a sweet tooth were under the impression that we would forget them, they were terribly misinformed. The Whiskypedia always believes in saving the best for last and what better than the Irish Coffee Flip. All the goodness you could possibly imagine, combined into a chilled glass of sinful indulgence.

The Irish sure love their whisky, and if you are Irish at heart *wink wink*, you know what we are talking about. Of course the presence of whiskey isn’t the only thing to love about this cocktail, since it also has two universally beloved ingredients – coffee and whipped cream!

The Irish Coffee Flip has a lot going for it. The fact that it needs only four ingredients and can be prepared in less than five minutes are our favourite things about it. Oh and the fact that there is whiskey in there. Actually our most favourite thing about the Irish Coffee Flip is that it has whiskey in it.

Want to enjoy the delightful Irish Coffee Flip on a perpetually long indoor vacation? Click here.

Take it easy and enjoy these instant whisky cocktails with your loved ones. Stay indoors and stay safe.

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Cherish ‘Em Right: Friendship Day

Can you imagine a world without your friends? Have you ever taken the time to let them know how important they are to your life? Well, there’s a special day to do just that, and this time round you can make sure the occasion leaves some special memories. Whether you’ve known them all your life or you’ve just been acquainted, there’s a whisky for each conversation and occasion so what better way to celebrate your friends than with a dram of whisky?

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  1. Combine butter, chicken stock, milk, and then whisk in flour to thicken as needed.
  2. Add onion, celery, carrots, potatoes, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper in a crock pot / slow cooker and cook on high for 2 hours.
  3. Remove Fish, Shrimp, and Mussels from the freezer and place in another pan to thaw.
  4. Chop fish into 1-inch chunks (size as desired) and place into the slow cooker on low for 30 minutes or until fully cooked.
  5. Add shrimp and mussels and continue cooking until they are fully warm on low.

Like any recipe, if you don't want to include alcohol, please feel free to eliminate the Irish Whiskey. It will change the flavor slightly but still be delicious!

Watch the video: ΙnsideFood - Η Ιστορία του Whiskey S11E01