We recently hosted an Irish Whiskey tasting for our small booze group. And we paired the whiskey with Irish cheeses, shamrock-bacon salad, Irish stew and Irish cream Nanaimo bars, among other goodies. The four whiskeys: Jameson Triple-Distilled, Redbreast 12, Writers’ Tears and Knappogue Castle 12. Read on for more details. You’ll also find recipes for three delicious cocktails.
In 2020, we started to enjoy more cocktails in addition to wine. Subsequently, we formed a small “booze group” with our six-person COVID pod for new tasting experiences. This month, it was our turn to host. So we held an Irish Whiskey tasting of Jameson Triple-Distilled, Redbreast 12, Writers’ Tears and Knappogue Castle 12.
First, everyone agreed that smooth Jameson is best for cocktails. As well, the majority also voted that Redbreast 12 and Writers’ Tears shone. We all also really liked Knappogue, but the other two had a very slight edge. Consequently, I suspect we would buy all of them again!
Jameson Triple Distilled
Above all, Jameson Triple Distilled is the top-selling Irish Whiskey brand and an icon. Moreover, Drizly considers Jameson to be “perhaps the most notable whiskey on earth” and “a crisp, sippable drink that has stood the test of time.” Jameson ages this whiskey for a minimum of four years, resulting in the quintessential triple-distilled liquid that is both smooth and versatile.
This signature bottling from Redbreast features the complexity and distinctive qualities of Pot Still whiskey. First, Redbreast makes a mash of malted and unmalted barley. Next, they triple-distill it in copper pot stills. Finally, it matures in bourbon-seasoned American oak barrels and Olorosa sherry-seasoned Spanish oak. Subsequently, the whiskey ages 12 years.
Writers’ Tears uniquely vats Aged Single Pot Still and Single Malt whiskeys. Most importantly, the International Spirits Challenge in London gave it a gold medal. In addition, the “Whiskey Bible” gives Writers’ Tears one of the highest-ratings.
“Altogether a very unusual Irish Whiskey, a throwback to the last century where spiced Pure Pot Still whiskey was married with Floral Single Malt” – Jim Murray.
Knappogue Castle 12-year Single Malt
Knappogue Castle 12-year Single Malt is the company’s signature expression of Irish whiskey. Some reviewers say they found expressions of youthful scotch. Distilled in copper pot stills, Knappogue uses only malted barley. It’s triple-distilled one batch at a time in traditional, onion-shaped copper pot stills. The whiskey is then aged in bourbon oak casks for 12 years, as the name suggests.
First course: Irish cheese plate: Dubliner Irish, Irish Whisky Cheddar, Dubliner with Irish Stout and Cashel Irish Blue
Second course: Irish Salad: Green leaf lettuce, streaky bacon, peas and ‘shamrocks’ with an English mustard vinaigrette
Third course: Irish Stew with Irish crumpets
Fourth course (Dessert): Irish cream Nanaimo bars
Further, we enjoyed three delicious cocktails with dinner: Irish Whiskey Sour (with maple syrup), Irish Old Fashioned and Jameson Sidecar.
Jameson Irish Whiskey Sour Cocktail Recipe
Jameson Irish whiskey gives a smooth flavor to this cocktail, without the spicy finish of traditional bourbon or rye whiskey. The whiskey sour is an iconic, classic cocktail that is on the list of International Bartender Association’s IBA official cocktails.
For more information and the recipe, check out “A Couple Cooks.”
Irish Whiskey Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipe
This drink dates back to the early 1800’s, before the words classic and cocktail were even an item. Use Irish whiskey instead of bourbon or rye whiskey, and it’s a brand new drink. Jameson explains how to make a classic Irish Old Fashioned cocktail. ‘Don’t be fooled by the name, this fantastic whiskey cocktail is still young at heart.”
Jameson Sidecar Cocktail Recipe
This simple cocktail uses triple-distilled Jameson instead of cognac. The drink showcases the perfect balance of spicy, nutty and vanilla notes found in Jameson.
Here is Jameson’s recipe.
In conclusion, we really enjoyed this Irish Whiskey tasting, particularly with the food pairings. For more information on the new “Spirits” section of Write for Wine, please check this article. And don’t miss our article, Favorite Spirits of 2021.
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Margot and Dave