Aren’t we a little past green beer? Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with an Irish whiskey tasting, and here are some great places to do it.
In Brighton, Devlin's fine selection includes many craft Irish whiskies, such as Telling, which is brewed in small batches and aged in rum casks for a deep, fruity richness. However, despite whiskey cognoscenti naysayers, best known distilleries, Bushmills and Jameson, are a fine introduction to easy-sipping Irish options. Go the extra flavor mile with Jameson Special Reserve, Jameson 12 and 18-year-olds, and Jameson Caskmates Stout Edition, a whiskey aged in stout-seasoned oak barrels. Among Bushmills selection is a 16-year-old single malt and the charmingly named Irish Honey, a tipple made with Irish honey (literally): it’s almost a liqueur. For a pick-me-up, Devlin’s makes a superb Irish coffee with Tullamore D.E.W. and whipped cream. (www.edevlins.com)
At Grafton Street Pub and Grill in Harvard Square, you’ll find around 30 whiskey varieties in-house, among them, 12 Irish natives. There’s light, bright, golden 2 Gingers, a newcomer to the market, comparatively speaking, and triple distilled, triple blend Tullamore D.E.W. (Ireland’s first blended whiskey), which is named after craft distilling advocate Daniel E. Williams, who created this easygoing whiskey. There’s also Redbreast and Green Spot, both of which are from Cork, and are among the more rare single pot still whiskeys. Like single malts, single pot still whiskeys are not a blended drink, but unlike other brews, these incorporate green, unmalted barley into the malted barley mash, and are often distilled three times. (www.graftonstreetcambridge.com)
Rowes Wharf Bar by the harbor has a reputation for its extensive fine whiskey offerings: it has around 60, including several from Ireland. There’s Connemara 12-year-old single malt from the Cooley distillery, made from peated malt, which gives a subtle smoky flavor; smooth and malty Kilbeggan, which honors St. Becan, one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland; and Tyrconnell Port 10-year-old, which is aged in American oak before being finished in port barrels, giving a jammy wine-y flavor. And let’s not forget the local brew: It might not be made in Ireland, but try arguing that South Boston’s GrandTen Distilling whiskey, a richly fruity drink with spicy notes, isn’t Irish. (www.bhh.com)
Wink & Nod, located in the South End, is now pouring newcomer Glendalough Irish Whiskey, which is made at a distillery based in Glendalough, County Wicklow. The label made its foray into the whiskey world making traditional Irish firewater, poitin. Glendalough Double Barrel, which launched just last year, is gaining note in whiskey journals and spirits shows for its rich flavor profile resulting from a malted barley and corn mash that’s aged for three years and six months in virgin American oak bourbon barrels, and then six months in Spanish oloroso sherry casks, bringing spice and fruit notes to the whiskey. Wink’s Glendalough tasting flight includes Double Barrel, and Glendalough’s 7-year-old and 13-year-old single malts. Or go for Donal’s Revenge, which pairs a shot of Double Barrel with a glass of Guinness for the perfect St. Pat’s salute. (www.winkandnod.com)