When you’re ready to expand your knowledge of Irish drinking beyond Guinness, there’s an increasingly large array of options to consider. With the luck of the Irish on your side, you may even be able to try some of the country’s best and newest whiskeys during your St. Patrick’s Day adventures in and around the District.
The newest from Jameson is the exciting Jameson Caskmates release, taking Jameson Original and finishing it in barrels that previously held the Franciscan Well Brewery’s Irish stout. Caskmates adds notes of coffee, cocoa and hops to classic Jameson.
“Imagined from a conversation in a neighborhood pub, Jameson Caskmates is a product of shared passion for craft, quality and collaboration,” says Sona Bajaria, Pernod Ricard USA’s Director of Jameson Irish Whiskey.
It sounds like a whimsical story, but it’s true, as longtime friends came up with the idea over drinks. It just so happens that the friends were Dave Quinn, master of whiskey science at the Old Jameson Distillery, and Shane Long, head brewer at Franciscan Well.
Another Jameson expression worth exploring is the still relatively new Black Barrel. Aged in bourbon barrels that have been twice-charred, Black Barrel delivers added, intense notes of vanilla, spice and nuts.
Insider Recipe: While Caskmates is best enjoyed neat, perhaps with an Irish stout by its side, try Black Barrel in an Irish classic, the Tipperary. Use 1.5 oz. Black Barrel, .75 oz. sweet vermouth and .75 oz. green Chartreuse.
The Quiet Man launched at the start of 2016, in conjunction with Luxco and Niche Drinks, based in Derry, Ireland. Ciaran Mulgrew of Niche Drinks founded the brand in honor of his father, John, a career bartender.
“In more than 50 years behind the bar, my father saw and heard it all,” says Mulgrew. “But like all good bartenders, John Mulgrew was true to the code and told no tales. He was ‘The Quiet Man,’ or as they say in the pubs of Ireland, ‘A Fear Ciuin.’”
Insider Recipe: Two varieties are available, including their traditional blend and eight-year single malt. Try the blend in the brand-recommended Quiet Irish Sour. Use 1 oz. of Quiet Man Blended, two ounces lemon juice, .5 oz. of simple syrup and a dash of bitters, shaken with ice and served up.
Teeling Whiskey is now proudly the only operational distillery actually located in Dublin. Production is underway there, while the brand still has supply from its previous operation.
The current lineup includes a single grain, malt and small batch blended offering, as well as several premium expressions. Each bottled at 46 percent ABV, they can offer some oomph to cocktails while also being enjoyed neat.
Insider Recipe: Try the Teeling Souring Inferno, made with 1.5 oz. Teeling Small Batch, .75 oz. simple syrup, .75 oz. maraschino liqueur and an egg white. Shake it all together and serve it up. To elevate it further, set it on fire – literally. You can brûlée the egg white with a lighter to give it an exciting twist.
Tullamore D.E.W. has unveiled their oldest-ever release, Trilogy.
“We’re really excited about it – [it’s] 15 years [old] – and it’s got the hallmarks of Tullamore D.E.W.,” says Brand Ambassador Tim Herlihy.
He’s referring to the brand’s “power of three,” referencing triple distillation, as well as the utilization of three varieties of Irish whiskey in its blends: column distilled grain, pot still and malt. But in the case of Trilogy, there’s an added wrinkle.
“We mature it in three different types of casks,” says Herlihy. “Bourbon, sherry and then we’ll also do a three-month rum finish as well.” That rum-cask finishing provides entirely distinctive notes to the whiskey.
Insider Recipe: Trilogy is best enjoyed neat, but Herlihy suggests using another Tullamore release, Phoenix, for cocktails.“That’s a 55 percent ABV, 110-proof Irish whiskey,” he says. “It works great because of the high proof, and you can give an Irish flair to any high-proof bourbon drink.” Try it in an Old Fashioned or Manhattan riff.
West Cork Irish Whiskey is a newer brand to the U.S., with two different whiskeys including their original classic blend that incorporates both grain and malt whiskey, and their 10-year single malt, aged entirely in first-fill, re-charred bourbon barrels.
“They are a true artisanal producer, using only spring water sourced from the Ilan River,” says Gary Shaw, whose company, M.S. Walker, imports the brand. “And they are the only Irish distillery to exclusively malt all of their own Irish barley.”
Insider Recipe: A small artisanal approach is refreshing for Irish whiskey, typically known for its big brands. Try a brand-recommended W.C. & G. cocktail, with a pour of West Cork Original topped off with ginger ale and served over ice.
Get your Irish On at these DC Bars
The Dubliner’s massive Irish whiskey collection includes all varieties, as well as a lineup of vintage and very rare releases.
THE DUBLINER: 4 F St. NW, DC; 202-737-3773; www.dublinerdc.com
Irish Whiskey DC
The bar is named for the stuff, so you bet it’s a good choice. While the selection isn’t strictly limited to Irish whiskey, the vast majority of the bar’s expansive list is dedicated to it.
IRISH WHISKEY DC: 1207 19th St. NW, DC; 202-463-3010; www.irishwhiskeydc.com
With 2,400+ whiskeys, there are certainly some great Irish selections. According to Tullamore’s Herlihy, there’s a potential plan in place for Jack Rose to become the only bar in the U.S. carrying its Global Travel Retail release, Cider Cask.
JACK ROSE: 2007 18th St. NW, DC; 202-588-7388; www.jackrosediningsaloon.com