Whiskey was introduced to Ireland by the monks over a millennium ago, and today the drink still holds a special place in the heart of the country and its capital.
During your time in Ireland, be sure to make plans to visit these whiskey tasting destinations in Dublin for a sampling of the city's offerings.
Whiskey tasting at Brooks Hotel's Jasmine Bar, one of the great whiskey bars of the world — Photo courtesy of Lisa Ellen Niver
A Little about Irish Whiskey
Most Irish whiskey is triple-distilled from a mixture of malted and un-malted barley, leading to pure pot still whiskey. To be labeled "Irish whiskey," it needs to be aged in wooden casks for at least three years and a day.
Many of the flavors come from the barley, whether it's dried, green (unmalted), malted or peated. Green Spot whiskey, even when aged, will still taste young and fresh. It's made entirely from seven- and eight-year-old Midleton pure pot still, and 25% of the spirit will be matured in sherry casks. Only 500 cases are made a year.
140 at Jasmine Bar
Whiskey is a combination of barley and other cereals, water, yeast, sugar and human passion. You can learn more at Jasmine Bar at the Brooks Hotel, which is one of the “great whiskey bars of the world.” Jacek Rogowski a member of the Irish Whiskey Society who happens to work there, can teach you all about whiskey.
Available there are over 140 whiskeys from nine countries, and 40 or more are from Ireland itself.
The chic and comfortable Brooks Hotel in Dublin — Photo courtesy of Lisa Ellen Niver
Old Bushmills, Licensed to Distill
While monks introduced whiskey to the country of Ireland a very long time ago, it was in 1608 that Old Bushmills Distillery, located on the Antrim Coast of Ireland, became the first village to receive a license to distill.
Bushmills' 16-year-old “Three Wood” single malt whiskey is aged for 15 years in 50% bourbon and 50% sherry casks. Middleton very rare Irish whiskey is aged from 12 to 27 years and only in ex-Bourbon casks.
Although Connemara peated single malt Irish whiskey is a true local favorite, the smoky finish may come as a surprise to Americans.
Drinks with a View at Guinness Storehouse
Practice to pour the perfect pint at the Guinness Storehouse Academy, and leave with a certificate. Take a tour with Domhnall Marnell to learn about the steps required to turn barley, hops, yeast and water into many varieties of Guinness. Did you know it takes 10.5 days to go from raw ingredients to keg?
The factory roasts up to 15,000 tons of barley a day (It looks like coffee roasting.) and uses 10% of the roasted barley in the recipe, which adds its ruby red color to the mix.
At Guinness, they'll teach you to pull the perfect pint — Photo courtesy of Lisa Ellen Niver
The 9,000-year lease on the first four acres of this property included water rights from Wicklow, and water's one of the many essential ingredients for making the best beer. Hops has to be imported from the United States, New Zealand, Germany and Czechoslovakia, because it does not grow in Irish weather. The yeast used at Guinness dates back to the beginning of the recipe, and it's kept in a safe in the director's office!
After learning about how Guinness is made, enjoy drinking it in Gravity Lounge; high above the rooftops, you can see an uninterrupted 360-degree view across the city and as far as the Dublin Mountains.
The newly returned limited edition Brewer’s Project recipe from 1790 of Dublin Porter is only available in the UK and Ireland, but you can taste it at the Guinness Storehouse and especially during the Connoisseur Experience in the well-appointed private lounge.
Learn to appreciate the temperature, color, smell and look of three types of Guinness, including the Dublin Porter, a draft and FES (Foreign Extra Stout), which is nearly double the strength. It does its final fermenting in the bottle, as it was designed for export to the colonies!