CHARLIE McCarthy from A Drop Of Irish shares some gems of knowledge about Irish whiskey
1. The Scots and the Irish both contest that they created whiskey. However the current leading opinion among drinks historians is that its origins were either Moorish or Arabic.
2. Did you know that the ‘e’ in Whiskey came about, when a few Dublin distillers introduced it, as a way of differentiating their ‘Pure Pot-still’ Irish whiskey from what they considered to be inferior blended Scotch whisky?
3. When the Phylloxera plague devastated European vineyards in the 1870s Irish whiskey replaced brandy to become the world’s favourite spirit.
4. By the 1930s a combination of prohibition in the US, the Great Depression, the War of Independence, the Civil War, the Economic War, and the growth of the Pioneer movement created a perfect storm that nearly crippled the Irish whiskey industry.
5. Irish whiskey is experiencing a massive renaissance. It’s currently the fastest growing spirit category in the world. Last year there were four whiskey distilleries operating in Ireland. Today there are over 15 more distilleries either already operational, or in development. Meanwhile in the US, Dead Rabbit NYC, run by Irish lads Jack McGarry and Sean Muldoon, is garnering worldwide renowned for its expertise in Irish whiskey cocktails.
6. ‘Pot-still whiskey’ is a uniquely Irish style of whiskey, with exceptional fruit and spice characteristics, and a luxurious creamy texture. It is made by combining both malted and unmalted barley in the mashbill, prior to fermentation, and then distilling in traditional copper pot stills.
7. Most people think of Irish whiskey as blended, triple distilled and unpeated. While this is true of many Irish whiskeys, there are wonderful examples of fine Single Malt Irish (Bushmills 10), Single Grain Whiskeys (Teeling Single Grain), Single Pot Still (Redbreast & Greenspot), Peated Single Malt (Connemara), and double distilled Irish whiskey (e.g. KiIlbeggan).
But if you’re looking for a great triple distilled blend, look no further than Jamesons, Tullamore Dew or Powers
8. In June 1875, a bonded whiskey warehouse in the Liberties caught fire, and rivers of burning whiskey flowed through the streets of Dublin like lava. The Great Dublin Whiskey Fire caused enormous devastation to the area, with the tragic loss of 1,900 barrels of whiskey, and 13 lives.
9. If you want to brush up on your whiskey knowledge or just have a good day out sampling the stuff, there is a whiskey museum in Dublin on Grafton Street or try the Jameson Distillery experience in Cork.
10. Irish whiskey makes an exceptional base for cocktails. But then we would say that wouldn't we?