November 4, 2016 by hotminnie
The rise, fall and rise again of our native spirit is well documented but Irish whiskey is now well and truly back in the spotlight.
Consumers today are more discerning and demanding than ever. They want brands that have a story to tell, that are crafted and nurtured, but that are also innovative and creative. Irish whiskey has stepped up to the challenge and this once traditional spirit has been reborn. Driven by Jameson – the world’s number one Irish whiskey – the category is undergoing a revival and is growing globally, bringing a whole new legion of fans along with it.
Every whiskey style has a distinct taste, which is driven not only by its ingredients but also the maturation process. Each barrel has its own unique colour and character, which imparts a distinct flavour to the whiskey aged within it. The quality of the casks is crucial – they’re painstakingly selected for their aroma to ensure consistency and superior taste of the final product.
Single Pot Still
Unique to Ireland, this style is made from a mash including both malted and unmalted barley, which is triple-distilled in traditional copper pot stills. Unmalted barley is not used in the production of any other style of whiskey anywhere else in the world. It’s the unmalted barley that gives single pot still Irish whiskey its wonderful creamy mouth feel and full, complex flavours.
The term ‘single’ comes from the fact that production takes place in one distillery. Once the highest selling whiskey in the world, the single pot still style is undergoing a huge comeback and is considered to be the quintessential Irish whiskey. Midleton Distillery in Cork is unique as the location where the craft of traditional Irish ‘single pot still’ whiskey has been protected, nurtured and perfected for almost 200 years.
Malt whiskey is made exclusively from malted barley and is distilled using a copper pot still. Although malt whiskey is made in Ireland, this style is generally associated with Scotland. Single malt whiskey is the product of an individual distillery.
Grain whiskey is typically produced from a mash of malted barley and any other cereal grain, distilled in a continuous distillation apparatus known as a column still.
Blends, Marriages and Staying Single
A blended whiskey is one that contains two or more types of whiskey. Jameson is a blend of single pot still and grain whiskey. In the case of a whiskey like Redbreast, single pot still whiskeys – some aged in ex-bourbon barrels and some in ex-sherry casks – are married together to create this distinctive, rich brand.
The term ‘married’ rather than ‘blended’ isn’t just poetry – all of the whiskey used to make Redbreast is single pot still, rather than a blend of two different styles.
The term ‘single cask’ refers simply a whiskey bottled from single barrel. It’s usually numbered and labelled with the cask it came from. These whiskeys are considered more exclusive and are available in limited quantities.
Try it yourself: Irish Old Fashioned
Inside the Irish Whiskey Magazine in Friday’s Belfast Telegraph, Michael Patterson, bar manager at Belfast’s new Bullitt hotel has created a series of whiskey cocktails. Here’s one for you to try at home…
A classic cocktail from the days of yore, this cocktail works on the simple mixture of booze, bitters and dilution. A simple but beautiful stirred drink, this is the old fashioned (but still great) way of making cocktails. Dating back to the 1880s, it’s a potent concoction of spirits and bitters with a touch of sugar and is the antithesis of sweet, fruity cocktails that were beginning to explode at the time.
60ml Powers Gold Label
5ml sugar syrup
2 dashes orange bitters
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Garnish: orange twist and cherry
Add all ingredients into glass and stir. Pour into a whiskey tumbler. Stir again in the glass and serve. Garnish with and orange twist and cherry.