In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, Wine Enthusiast tapped 10 bartenders and other industry insiders to hear how they prefer to drink the holiday’s honorary tipple, Irish Whiskey. Here what they suggest, for your holiday inspiration.
“I drink it neat. Nice modest proof (doesn’t need ice) and lingering sweet flavors.” —Allen Katz, cofounder of The Shanty and The New York Distilling Company, New York City
“I think my favorite way to drink the good stuff is the Irish coffee at Fort Defiance in Brooklyn. Powers and simple syrup in a heated mug with fresh espresso and hot water, and then hand-whipped cream on top with freshly grated cinnamon…perfection in its simplicity, and thoughtful construction!” —Abigail Gullo, bartender, SoBou, New Orleans
“I always prefer Irish whiskey neat, sipping it if I’m trying to relax, shooting it if I’m in a party mood.” —Chris Frankel, independent bartender, Houston
“I like certain whiskies to sip, like Redbreast and Michael Collins 10-Year-Old, which is a little peated and Scotch-like. I like Jameson for mixing. It adds different whiskey flavors without being intrusive. I like to let other ingredients shine, like syrups or bitters. Irish whiskey is a little more giving, it doesn’t take over. It’s not as in-your-face as Scotch would be.” —Brendan Dorr, master mixologist, B&O Brasserie, Baltimore
“What’s my favorite way to drink it? Neat, but of course! Or, if it’s cold and rainy then probably in a hot toddy.” —Ivy Mix, cofounder of Speed Rack and bartender at Clover Club, New York City
“I always like my Irish whiskey better when mixed in a cocktail…Probably one of my favorite ways to drink Irish Whiskey is in a toddy. Up in Boston I love to have one made at The Citizen: Redbreast Irish Whiskey 12 Year Old, Demerara sugar, hot water and a zest of lemon. A more unique option is a cold toddy with Jameson, brown sugar, fresh lemon and ginger syrup—shaken and served up.” —Corey Bunnewith, bar industry liaison for onthebar app, Boston
“I love Irish whiskey with ginger ale or ginger beer best. I especially love that when I ordered it that way in Ireland I received many vessels—a small rocks glass of whiskey, a glass of ice and a small can ginger ale. This is awesome because then I can mix my own little drink as I like it!” —Carol Donovan, bartender/mixologist Hearty Boys, Chicago
“My favorite way to drink Irish whiskey is in the classic Tipperary, a round blend of good Irish whiskey, Martini Rosso and Green Chartreuse. It straddles those moments when a Manhattan is too serious and an Irish Coffee not serious enough.” —Jacob Briars, global advocacy and education director, Bacardi, New York City
“My favorite way to drink Irish whiskey definitely comes after a long shift behind the stick. The bar is finally clean, everything is in its place and you sit down to realize that the only thing that would make this moment better is a cold IPA accompanied with a shot of Irish whiskey! Perfection!” —Jason Asher, mixologist, Young’s Market, Phoenix, Arizona
“The Irish Flower: Bushmill’s, house-made chamomile liqueur, Martini Bianco and a dash of Bitter Truth grapefruit bitters.” —Shawn Soole, executive barkeep, Clive’s Classic Lounge, Victoria, British Columbia
Here’s a classic Irish Whiskey-based recipe you can easily mix up at home this St. Patty’s day and beyond. Although Shawn Soole, mixologist at Clive’s Classic Lounge in British Columbia, uses house-made chamomile liqueur, a dose of St-Germain should offer a similar floral sweetness to this sophisticated sipper.
Recipe adapted from Shawn Soole, executive barkeep, Clive’s Classic Lounge, Victoria, British Columbia
1½ ounces Bushmills Irish Whiskey
½ ounce St-Germain elderflower liqueur
½ ounce dry vermouth
Dash of Bitter Truth Grapefruit Bitters
Lemon twist, for garnish
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine all ingredients. Shake well, and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.