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  • Writer's pictureFelipe Antunes

Irish Whiskey: A Beginner's Guide & Kennedy's Exclusive Cocktail Recipes

Hey there! Fancy a dive into the world of Irish whiskey? You're in the right place. At Kennedy's Pub, we've got tales and tastes aplenty, and we're excited to share them with you. Let's start at the very beginning – it’s a very good place to start, after all.

Old Photo of Jameson Irish Whiskey Workers
Jameson Irish Whiskey Workers

Origins of Irish Whiskey

Irish whiskey, one of the world's oldest spirits, has been flowing through Ireland since the 6th century. Its hues range from light gold to dark amber, each telling its own story. On the tongue, you'll dance with notes of fruit, floral aromas, and hints of wood and honey – a symphony of natural Irish charm.

But how did it all begin? Legend has it that Irish monks, way back when, were the first to bring distilling techniques to Ireland. They dubbed it "Uisce Beatha" – the "water of life." Originally a term for any distilled drink, it soon became synonymous with the whiskey we know and love today.

Irish whiskey started in homes, often made under the radar to dodge high taxes. But by the 19th century, things were booming – distilleries doubled within just a few decades! However, the 20th century brought hardships: wars, political strife, and the American Prohibition severely hit the industry.

Despite these setbacks, Irish whiskey has seen a remarkable comeback since the 1980s. International recognition of its unique character, like the 1994 EU-US agreement, has helped boost its global reputation. Today, millions of cases find their way across the world, a testament to its enduring allure.

The Quintessence of Irish Whiskey

What sets Irish whiskey apart? Let's break down the process. It starts with whole grains – 100% barley for malt whiskey and at least 30% for grain whiskey. These grains are milled, mixed with local water, and heated to extract sugars, resulting in a sweet wort ready for fermentation. Yeast then works its magic, turning sugars into alcohol.

Irish whiskey undergoes two distinct distillation methods: the traditional pot still method, crafting a richer aroma, and the continuous still method for a lighter spirit. The meticulous selection of alcohols during the "cut" is crucial, regardless of the method.

A key rule: Irish whiskey must age for at least three years in Ireland. It’s a law strictly followed, ensuring that every bottle is imbued with genuine Irish character.

Exclusive Whiskey Cocktails

After learning about the history and preparation of Irish Whiskey, what better way to continue than by making some whiskey cocktails? We have three of our favourite recipes explained to you.

1. Manhattan

Two glasses of Manhattan Whiskey

45ml whiskey

25ml sweet vermouth

2 dashes of bitters

Ice cubes

Cherry (optional)

Method: Start by chilling your glass with ice. In a mixer, combine the whiskey, vermouth, and bitters with ice. Stir well and strain into your chilled glass. Garnish with a cherry if you fancy.

2. Irish Coffee

A cup of Irish Coffee Cocktail in a table

100ml hot, fresh coffee

30ml whiskey

30ml cream

1 tbsp brown sugar

Method: Whip the cream slightly and set aside. In a glass, combine whiskey and sugar. Pour in the hot coffee and stir gently. Gently layer the whipped cream on top.

3. Kentucky Mule

30ml lemon juice

50ml whiskey

15ml sugar syrup

Nutmeg, mint leaf, cinnamon stick (optional)

Ginger Foam:

100mg fresh ginger

200ml water

200ml lemon juice

150ml sugar syrup

1 tsp agar-agar

1 tsp xanthan gum

Method: Shake the lemon juice, sugar syrup, and whiskey in a shaker. Strain into a copper mug over ice. Top with homemade ginger foam. Garnish with grated nutmeg and a mint leaf.

There you have it – a peek into the world of Irish whiskey and some Kennedy’s exclusive recipes to get you started. Remember, at Kennedy's, it's not just about the drink; it's about the stories, the history, and the community. So, pull up a stool and let's raise a glass to the spirit of Ireland! 🥃🍀

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