Irish-American Whiskey Celebrates Shared Heritage

In a nod to both sides of the Atlantic, distillers are blending whiskey from each country, using American wine barrels and reviving old Irish recipes. Explore the world of Irish-American whiskey with these five bottles.
Photo by Meg Baggott

On St. Patrick’s Day, consider a whiskey that blurs the lines between Irish and American heritage. Each of the following melting-pot Irish-American whiskeys nods to both sides of the Atlantic, often with colorful stories and plenty of flavor—and all are suitable to seek out for celebrations year-round.

Irish-American Whiskey: Five Bottles to Try

Brothership Whiskey
Photo by Meg Baggott

Brothership Irish-American Whiskey Aged 10 Years; $50. This unusual bottling comprises 55% Irish whiskey and 45% American whiskey, both 10 years old. Look for a citrusy aroma with a hint of smoke. On the palate, I get lots of bright tropical fruit, lemon curd and pear, with a whiff of smoke. It finishes with drying oak and ginger heat. Sip or mix. 

Prizefight Whiskey
Photo by Meg Baggott

Prizefight Irish Whiskey Finished in American Rye Barrels; $45. This is an Irish whiskey finished in American rye barrels for six months. While it’s not that unusual to see Irish whiskeys finished in Bourbon barrels, you don’t see rye casks used very often.

Sourced from New Hampshire’s Tamworth Distilling, the spicy nature of rye is perfect foil for Irish whiskey’s freshness. I detect bright vanilla and pear, accented by cayenne and clove on the warm finish. The label honors Irish-born boxing legends John Morrissey and Yankee Sullivan, commemorating their 1853 fight in New York.

Ranson Whiskey
Photo by Meg Baggott

Ransom The Emerald 1865 American Whiskey; $75. This limited-edition whiskey is made in Oregon in the style of a mid-1800s Irish whiskey. Cocktail historian David Wondrich found an Irish mash bill dating to 1865, and Ransom founder Tad Seestedt re-created it. Technically, it’s an American straight whiskey but it’s also an intriguing taste of Ireland’s past. It’s lean and herbaceous, with a finish to me that’s long and warm with plenty of nutmeg and clove.

Meet Six American Distillers Giving Scotch Some Serious Competition
Teeling Whiskey
Photo by Meg Baggott

Teeling Single Grain Irish Whiskey; $50. Compared to most Irish whiskeys, which usually feature barley, this one is made almost entirely from corn. In addition, this Irish is matured in former California Cabernet Sauvignon barrels for the entire aging process. The end result produces a rose-gold hue. Its rich, fruity aroma and buttery palate entices with vanilla and custard.

Dead Rabbit Whiskey
Photo by Meg Baggott

The Dead Rabbit Irish Whiskey; $40. This mellow new offering is from the team behind New York City’s The Dead Rabbit bar. It’s a blend of Irish whiskies finished in new American oak casks after spending 5 years in ex-bourbon barrels I find lots of caramel and vanilla flavor to create a spirit that’s like a cross between Irish whiskey and Bourbon. The five-year-old blend was released in February, just in time to commemorate the bar’s fifth anniversary. Currently only available in New York and New Jersey, it’s likely to roll out nationwide soon.

Published on March 9, 2018
Topics: Atlantic Crossing
About the Author
Kara Newman 
Spirits Editor

Kara Newman reviews spirits and writes about spirits and cocktail trends for Wine Enthusiast. She's the author of several cocktail books, including Shake.Stir.Sip. and NIGHTCAP: More than 40 Cocktails to Close Out Any Evening, which debuts in September 2018. Email: spirits@wineenthusiast.net




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