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 Ireland

 

Drinks

The drinks industry is extremely important in Ireland as it is very much part of the everyday culture. Also the Irish are very proud of anything that is genuinely Irish. The best known drinks of Irish origin is Irish Whiskey. The story says that Whiskey was invented by Irish monks who spread it around to  other parts of the world such as Scotland. The Scots would not agree with my previous sentence as it has been debated since the Dark ages who actually invented whiskey making.

Whiskey is made of barley and water. A simplified way of the whole process is as follows:

1. buy excellent quality barley
2. malt a part of the barley then dry it (in Scotland the barley is smoked to give it a smokey taste)
3. grind some malted and unmalted barley into flour to produce gist
4. mash the gist with water  in order to have fermentable sugars called 'wort' (process also called brewing)
5. add yeast to wort in the 'washback' (a huge container) to begin fermentation and to produce a 'wash' (a kind of beer of 8% alcohol)
6. start distillation (separate alcohol from water) by heating the wash, the first distillation produces a spirit of about 21% alcohol,  then the spirit is distilled the second time to produce a spirit of 60-72% alcohol, in Ireland the spirit is distilled a third time to purify it as much as possible bringing the alcohol content to about 80%
7. the spirit is then is matured in oak casks, most of the time the casks used are second hand ones that had been used to mature bourbon, port or sherry beforehand, this gives a characteristic distinctive taste to the whiskey
8. after at least 3 years in the cask the whiskey is mixed with water to reduce the alcohol quantity and then it is bottled

 

Most famous Irish whiskeys are Jameson, Bushmills, Paddy's and Powers.

Jameson Whiskey Bushmills Whiskey

 Another favourite drink of Irish origin in Ireland is Guinness a kind of dark creamy stout. The barley is roasted and  hops (a natural preservative) is added to create  distinctive taste. The detailed  recipe in  is still a secret. Of course generally up to point 5 above whiskey, beer and stout making process is very similar. Once yeast is added to the wort the product is close to beer. It is then pumped to another tank for aging (about 10 days). Lastly it is filtered and nitrogen added and caged.

There are some other kinds of beer beloved by Irish such as Murphy's, Beamish, Killian's (red ale), Smithwick's (red ale).

Bulmers

 Another kind of popular drink is cider. The best known is Bulmer's original Cider.

Baileys

Furthermore Cream Liquor is very popular as well. Sold all around the world is Bailey's.

Poitin

A traditional kind of drink is Poitin and it was made originally from potatoes or malted barley. It had extremely high alcohol content 65-95% and it was illegal in Ireland for hundreds of years. Today there are a few brands that you can buy but the alcohol content is only about 40%.

Lastly there are quite a few drinks mixes that are famous in Ireland. For instance Irish Coffee which mixes Irish whiskey, coffee, brown sugar and fresh cream.

Naturally the best place to enjoy any of the drinks is an Irish Pub preferably in Ireland.

 In general the Irish Pub is more than simply a place that serves alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. For lack of a better word and to convey the feeling it is more like a social institution. It is a place to meet your family and friends. This is why most of them have a cosy warm feeling about them where you always feel welcome.

I think the easiest way to find out what are the most popular drinks is to walk into a bar in Ireland and check out the offer. The beer on the tap is the one that probably sells best. And the bottles that are most visible and the easiest reach for the barman are the ones that the customers require the most.

  Bunker Bar Choice of drinks

Beers on the tap. Irish premium whiskeys

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jameson Whiskey

You may notice that some of the whiskeys such as Jameson specify how old the whiskey is. Once it is taken out of the cask it no longer matures. So a 12 years old whiskey  stays 12 years old forever.

Rebreast Whiskey

Redbreast whiskey is a local favourite as it is of excellent quality.

 Midleton Whiskey

Another real gem is Midleton. Produced in Co, Cork it is of the highest quality.

Irish Mist 

Irish mist is a ladies favourite liquor. So if you like sweat drinks this is definitely for you.