The Best Irish Whiskeys According to Bartenders
Irish Whisky is steadily gaining popularity worldwide, and it’s easy to see why — Irish whiskey is easy to drink but delicious, affordable and still very exciting! This year, Irish whiskey’s biggest fans are bartenders. In the 1960s, there were only two distilleries in Ireland; today, you’ll find over thirty.
There’s no doubt the category is on the next level, so it’s time we all revisit the mellow, floral malts from the country that invented whiskey in the first place! Here are the best whiskeys, according to bartenders. Choose with your eyes closed; they’re all wonderful libations.
Jameson is the best-selling Irish whiskey, and it has been that way since forever. Jameson has been around since 1780, and today it sells over eight million cases every year. Everyone loves Jameson Irish Whiskey, not because it’s overly complex, but because it’s easy to enjoy, familiar and comforting.
Bartenders value Jameson’s straightforwardness, particularly in cocktails, as the spirit plays well with other ingredients. For a much more intriguing version of the good-old, blended whiskey, try the Jameson Black Barrel, matured in charred wood for a spicy take on everyone’s favorite Irish malt.
Bushmills is another classic Irish whiskey distillery in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, and predates Jameson’s, founded in 1608. That’s over four hundred years of doing things right, and bartenders appreciate a good story.
Bushmills’ Black Bush contains high amounts of single malt whiskey, often matured in Sherry casks. This gives the sweet malt a polished taste. Also, the blend spends time in Oloroso and Bourbon Casks, that bless the dram with toasted grain and fruit aromas to enjoy straight, on the rocks or in a smoky cocktail.
Tullamore is more than your average triple-distilled Irish whiskey, the relatively young distillery, founded in 1829, specializes in masterful blends; they use high amounts of malted barley in their blend, and you can tell — Tullamore is always honeyed and creamy, and it has a long finish reminiscent of old wood.
Three types of grain, distilled three times, aged three years in ex-Bourbon and ex-Sherry casks. That’s the secret behind the Irish whiskey that never disappoints. On its own or in cocktails, Tullamore D.E.W. is always a great choice.
Now, let’s get serious. Irish Whiskey Single Malts are all the craze right now, as they’re as complex as the neighboring Scotch and much more affordable, and that’s what bartenders are looking for — good value.
The Tyrconnell was born in 1876; the distillery’s first whiskey batches commemorated a now-famous horse race where the chestnut colt Tyrconnell defeated the oddmakers, becoming a local legend. The Tyrconnell Whiskey has a rich texture and a mellow aftertaste — it’s never over-oaked but balanced, and balance is the name of the game when it comes to fine spirits.
Last but not least, if there’s an Irish whiskey that has earned a place in every bartender’s heart, that’s Teeling, the “unconventional” Irish whiskey. The awarded Teeling Small batch spends time in ex-Bourbon barrels before aging in Central American Rum casks to get a unique combination of oak spices and unmatched flavor depth.
For an even more robust malt, try the Teeling Blackpitts Single Malt Irish Whiskey, one of the best Irish whiskeys in the market. This one’s aged in Sherry, Port, Madeira, White Burgundy and Cabernet Sauvignon casks!
What is the best Irish whiskey? That depends. What are your favorite Irish whiskeys? Let us know! It’s okay; you can choose more than one.