13 Irish Whiskeys to Drink This St. Patrick’s Day and All Year Long

If you’ve noticed a lot more Irish whiskey on liquor store shelves or as a key ingredient in cocktails at your favorite bar recently, there’s a reason for that—the category has exploded in popularity over the past few years. According to William Lavelle, director of the Irish Whiskey Association, the numbers tell the tale: Global sales tripled from about 60 million bottles in 2010 to 180 million last year, with millennials and Gen Z leading the charge. That’s a whole lot of Irish whiskey, a category that has found its pace again after years playing second fiddle to

scotch and bourbon.

The most popular (and affordable) style of Irish whiskey is blended, usually a combination of pot still or malt whiskey and grain whiskey. There is also Irish single malt whiskey, which has similar rules to its Scottish counterpart—made from a mashbill of 100 percent malted barley at one distillery and aged for a minimum of three years. Single grain whiskey is made at one distillery from a mashbill that is often mostly corn but can include other grains as well. And single pot still whiskey is Ireland’s own unique style, made from a mashbill of malted and unmalted barley in pot stills. “Ireland produces double and triple distilled malts, peated and non-peated malts, and can use a greater variety of wood and barrel types for finishing,” said Lavelle. “As a result, Irish single malts have become a really exciting niche. And the good news is that we are seeing much more age-statement expressions of Irish single malt beginning to hit the shelves in the U.S.”

While there are still nowhere near as many distilleries in Ireland as there are in the U.S., the number has increased from just four in 2010 to now more than 40. But according to Lavelle, it’s about more than the distilleries. “We have a legacy of great Irish whiskeys which were curated by blenders and bonders from distillates sourced from third party distilleries,” he said. “With the recent growth in distilleries, I’m looking forward to seeing a rise in new blends crafted from distillates from multiple distilleries. The opportunities are endless, and the future is bright for Irish whiskey.”

In that spirit, here’s a list of 13 of the best Irish whiskey brands you can try now. There are many others to choose from, of course, but this should get you started on your journey into the expansive and extremely varied world of Irish whiskey. Slainte!

Source : Esquire