PUBS, PATIOS & BARS: Why so sour? It’s Whisky Day
The third Saturday in May (which happens to fall tomorrow, May 15) is World Whisky Day and, with no disrespect to Scotland, Ireland certainly rates as a 1A or 1B when it comes to magical elixir. Or, one might say that Ireland produces the best “whiskey,” Scotland the best “whisky,” though, of course, others may protest for bourbon or, locally, rye.
In any case, as one ponders the geographical and grammatical conundrums (and for the record, American whiskey gets the extra e, Canadian does not), there is perhaps no better time to enjoy a wee dram than the present, which clearly and sorely needs the “lifting of the heart and soaring of the spirit” attributed to the drink.
And as you sip, PP&B will focus on the Irish vintage this week, as the whiskey industry in the Emerald Isle continues a prominent global resurgence from near collapse in the 20th century after at one time leading the world. Indeed, in the last decade alone the number of distilleries have jumped from four to nearly 40, and global sales have increased 140%.
Which entirely makes sense if what the Irish say is true: “What whiskey will not cure, there is no cure for!”
Here then on the occasion of Whisky Day are some Irish whiskey-related did-you-knows and, better still, a few you-can-do’s:
• Coming from the old Gaelic phrase ‘uisce beatha’, meaning ‘water of life’, Ireland is the place where whiskey found its name, the home of whiskey distilling, and the country where whiskey has been produced for longer than anywhere else.
• The first written reference to whiskey distillation came in the Red Book of Ossory, written in Ireland in 1324, nearly two centuries before the first written records of whisky distillation in Scotland.
• Operating since 1608, the Old Bushmills Distillery in County Antrim is the oldest licensed distillery in the world, and, for the record, has always spelled its spirit as whiskey with an ‘e’.
Recommended: Bushmills 10-Year-Old Single Malt, triple distilled from 100% malted barley and matured for a minimum of 10 years in former sherry casks and bourbon-seasoned casks, giving the whiskey a honey, vanilla, and milk chocolate aroma.
• Jameson Irish Whiskey has been around since 1780 and is most popular Irish whiskey in the world.
• Beyond the big two – Bushmills and Jameson – renowned brands include Kilbeggan, Tullamore D.E.W. and Teeling, while new characters and brands also abound, from the likes of the Glendalough, Slane, Dingle, Walsh, and Echlinville distilleries.
• Irish whiskeys have a unique flavour – smooth, light and sometimes with a hint of sweetness, and can be found in single pot still, single malt, single grain or blended varieties. They are typically enjoyed neat (straight up/no ice), or in classic or experimental cocktails.
Recommended: Relatively new brand Roe & Co Irish Whiskey is made in Dublin’s whiskey district, the Liberties. This blended single malt is inspired by renowned Irish whiskey maker George Roe, who helped build the golden era of Irish whiskey in the 19th century.
• When the time is right, whiskey-lovers will find 24 distilleries open for visits with distillery tours and whiskey experiences, both long-standing and new.
• A host of distilleries offer extensive website information and whiskey histories, and virtual tours, among them Teeling, Walsh, and Bushmills.
• For those who want to plan a whiskey trip to or during a visit to Ireland, IrishWhiskey360° (Irishwhiskey360.com) provides a map and information on the island’s most important distilleries that offer tours, tastings, and behind-the-scenes secrets about their golden elixirs.
• But remember, there is no better to experience Irish whiskey than in a pub. In Ireland.
Recommended: Cheese. Check out this six-minute YouTube video on whiskey and cheese pairings, courtesy of Teelings:
With glass purposefully in hand, we at Travel Industry Today continue our series on some of the planet’s best bars, patios and rooftop venues. For more articles in the series, click here:
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First published at Travel Industry Today