Matthew Kelly / Supercall

Entertaining
The 8 Best Irish Whiskey Cocktails

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Let the peat enthusiasts have their fiery scotch, and let the bourbon nerds geek out over the amount of corn in their mashbills, true whiskey lovers know the value of a good Irish whiskey. While whiskey from the Emerald Isle is known for being light and honeyed, modern bottlings offer a variety of flavors, from dried spices, to mouth-coating dried fruits. This range (and Irish whiskey’s growing availability and popularity) make it a killer cocktail ingredient. Here, the best Irish whiskey cocktails to mix with this underappreciated whiskey category. Sláinte!

If you know one cocktail traditionally made with Irish whiskey, it’s the Irish Coffee. While you can spike coffee with any whiskey (or pretty much any spirit, for that matter), a true Irish Coffee is made with its namesake spirit. First created by an Irish bartender at a harborside bar in the ‘30s to invigorate weary nighttime passengers, the mixture is equally effective today, both as a pick-me-up and an ambassador for Irish whiskey.

The Essentials

Irish Whiskey
Coffee
Whipped Cream
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The beauty of an Old Fashioned is that it works with nearly any spirit, with the sugar and bitters wakening and brightening the inherent flavors of the base. But if you’ve got a spirit you really love (like we love Irish whiskey) there’s no need to limit yourself to simple syrup. Warming honey syrup, herbal green Chartreuse and Dolin Genepy des Alpes, and the subtle touch of a mint garnish all bring out the best in pot still Irish whiskey.

The Essentials

Irish whiskey
Honey Syrup
Green Chartreuse
Matthew Kelly / Supercall
Craft bartenders just coming to respect Irish whiskey as a serious cocktail ingredient are discovering all sorts of undiscovered flavor combinations. For instance, combining equal parts Jameson and the sweet hazelnut liqueur Frangelico creates a warm butterscotch flavor, the perfect little taste of boozy dessert delivered in a shot.

The Essentials

Jameson Irish Whiskey
Frangelico
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The Irish Car Bomb is not a respectable drink—the drop shot is named for a dark period of conflict between Ireland and Northern Ireland—but if you can forgive its offensive moniker, the drink’s flavor is perfectly likeable. Somehow Jameson, Baileys and Guinness, once the only three Irish ingredients guaranteed to be behind the bar in a dive, somehow combine into a tall foamy glass that tastes just like chocolate milk. It’s a feat of bartending alchemy.

The Essentials

Irish Whiskey
Irish Cream
Guinness
Matthew Kelly / Supercall

A Martini with whiskey is a challenging venture, and not every brown spirit would play well with dry vermouth. Powers John’s Lane Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey is the perfect bottle for the job, bringing loads of vanilla, baking spices and light honey to the classic clear sipper. Savory-spiced aquavit, herbal yellow Chartreuse and vegetal celery bitters tip the flavor scales toward dry and savory, and keeping the caramel notes of the whiskey from taking over. This isn’t just another Martini; it’s a revelation.

The Essentials

Irish Whiskey
Aquavit
1 dash celery bitters
Patrick Spears / Supercall

While the Irish and Scots still can’t agree on who invented whiskey originally, the two camps can share this classic from Harry MacElhorn’s Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails, which uses a split base of both whiskeys. If you think that concept sounds weird, wait until you hear what else is in the cocktail: lemon juice and orgeat. The nut syrup adds a bit of sweetness, but the overall flavor of the drink is dry and tart, with a bright, sandy flavor building on the honeyed sweetness of blended scotch and Irish whiskey.

The Essentials

Blended Scotch
Irish Whiskey
Orgeat
Matthew Kelly / Supercall
The honey notes of Irish whiskey play especially well with the floral and grassy textures of this cocktail. Honey-sage syrup adds an earthy tinge, while St-Germain (as referenced in the playful name) brings the heavenly flavor of elderflowers. Lemon juice adds some extra pep to the delicate flavors, making the drink like a vibrant spring day in a glass.

The Essentials

Irish Whiskey
Honey-Sage Syrup
St-Germain
Matthew Kelly / Supercall
Irish whiskey’s weight and flavor help bridge the gap between serious brunch cocktails and light dinner drinks. Maple syrup, orange marmalade and egg white make the Whiskey Sour riff appropriate for pre-noon imbibing, while cardamom bitters give the stirred drink a bit of energy in the early evening. You can start with one of these early and keep the good times rolling through the night.

The Essentials

Irish Whiskey
Maple syrup
Orange Marmalade

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