The Irish whiskey industry is truly kicking its legs. All Irish bars have at least 3 Irish whiskey drinks on offer and then there are some bars that have hundreds of Irish whiskey bottles. Some are tucked away behind the bar but more often they are displayed in the most proud manner possible.
The Irish Whiskey Museum would like to introduce the Irish pubs and bars that truly carry the Irish whiskey industries flag. So we are going to bring you a bar of the month, every month. This month, in the height of summer, KOH cocktail bar was on our list. Tucked away in the Italian Quarter on the Northside, Dublin 1. We met with KOH lead barman Josko Babic and his colleague Lucas to discuss what makes the special Irish cocktail.
When we ask what whiskeys are in fashion at the moment we are told that, in KOH, you are not going to see any Mojitos and Cosmopolitans, unless specially requested. Then we were presented with impressive list of curious Irish whiskey cocktails.
Whiskey Cocktail Samples
- Old Fashioned No.2: which is made with Kilbeggan that has been infused with orange peels
- Tipperary No.1: which is made with Irishman Single Malt
- Bog Warrior: which is made with Connemara whiskey
The list is long and we are told that the new menu will have even more Irish whiskey drinks. Another thing we don't fail to notice is that the whiskies chosen for the cocktail making are quite unusual. Josco explains that the bar ethos is geared towards helping smaller businesses and lesser known whiskey brands. The Irish Whiskey Museum gives the thumbs up to that! Lucas offers the following advice:
Some whiskey drinking advice
- Rule No.1: If you go to a bar and you see that a barman is not shaking the cocktail shaker hard enough, order beer
- Rule No. 2: If you stay for the second drink, then you just have to order the 3rd one
We followed the advice and ordered our 3rd cocktail, I chose the Dubliner, a cocktail that was invented in 1999 by Gary Regal, an American whiskey historian that invented the cocktail because he wanted to have similar drink to Manhattan on his visits to Dublin!
After 3 hours of chat, whiskey drinking advice, cocktail making show, exceptional whiskey cocktail sampling and some delicious Thai food we are ready to head home with assurance that these guys know what they are doing and they do things exceptionally well for very reasonable prices.
This weekend instead of going to your usual pub or bar try KOH bar and let us know what you think
For the delight of ladies, and I am sure equal amount of gents, we at Irish Whiskey Museum have been doing a research on the best Irish whiskey cocktails available in pubs and bars of Dublin.
I can only imagine, men are rolling their eyes right now, but let's face it, even though most gents would never admit mixing 'Irish liquid gold' with anything else then a drop of water, or an ice cube, I am convinced that while nobody is watching, they too, have been 'experimenting' with their taste buds and subsequently found that on a hot Dublin day nothing can be better than a refreshing tall glass of a Manhattan.
If I still haven't convinced you, this is what Callan Price from 37 Dawson Street has to say:
'As a professional cocktail bartender, I find Irish whiskey extremely versatile when creating cocktails! For example, you can base a drink on a clean triple distilled whiskey and add another dimension be simply adding a touch of a more complex peaty pot still.'
And if you really haven't tasted an Irish whiskey cocktail, the list bellow will open your eyes to the variety available. I warn you, don't be surprised to find yourself looking forward to your Saturday night in the likes of the Vintage Cocktail Club.
37 Dawson Street
Their favourite: SMOKY OLD FASHIONED
Irish Whiskey Cocktails we do:
- ARTHURS IRISH MANHATTAN: Jameson Black Barrel, sweet vermouth, Guinness and vanilla syrup.
- SMOKEY OLD FASHIONED: made on Connemara Cask Strength.
- SPRING PUNCH: lemon infused Jameson Black Barrel, elderflower liqueur, lemon juice, apple juice.
Vintage Cocktail Club
Gar Lambe, GM of Vintage Cocktail Club says, 'My own favourite would just be a Red breast 12yr old, straight up or in a Manhattan, equal parts whiskey to Carpano Antica formula.'
Irish Whiskey Cocktails exclusively made in VCC:
- JAMESONS GATE: Jameson 12yr, Frangelico, Ruby port, house made Guinness porter, fresh orange juice, Jerry Thomas aromatic bitters, shaken hard, rocks glass, rock ice, garnished with nutmeg and mint.
- WEE DRAM: Bushmills 10yr old, Poire Williams, apple liqueur, ruby port, stirred over ice, double strained / coupe glass, pimento mist, orange zest.
Bison Bar & BBQ
Karl Kavanagh, Bar Manager, Bison Bar & BBQ says 'By far the Bison Berry Punch is my favourite, really easy to drink and great at night just to sip on'
- APRICOT SOUR: Jameson, apricot brandy, apricot jam, lemon juice, apple juice
- BISON BERRY PUNCH: hot Powers, blackcurrant jam, honey, cinnamon, fresh orange, hot water
- BISON APPLE PIE: hot Powers, apple sauce, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla extract, hot water (pic of Mr Pepper)
Peruke & Periwig
Robert Caldwell, GM of Peruke & Periwig says, 'Peruke & Periwig do a range of Irish whiskey old fashions, whiskey sours and manhattans with most of their top shelf Irish whiskeys.'
- THE SMOKING GUN: Rocks, Jameson Irish Whiskey, Tobacco Liqueur, Dom Benedictine, Bitters
- EAST MEETS WEST: Martini, Oolong infused Jameson, Antica Formula, Noilly Prat, Bitters
- KISMET: Martini (Espresso Martini), Jameson 12yr, Kahlua, Coffee, Salted Caramel, Bitters
- VITO CORELONE: rocks, Redbreast 12yr, Amaretto, Flamed Cherry Brandy
- JUST FOR KICKS: rocks, Jameson Whiskey, Crème de Mure, Maraschino, chilli, mint, strawberries, red wine vinegar, ginger ale
Laura, The Church marketing manager says, 'our favourite would have to be the old fashioned :) it's a classic.'
- OLD FASHIONED: Jameson Irish Whiskey stirred with Sugar Syrup and Angostura Bitters.
- EMERALD: Jameson Irish Whiskey, Sweet Vermouth and Orange Bitters shaken and strained into a chilled Martini Glass.
- COLLIN'S: Jameson Irish Whiskey built with Lemon Juice and Sugar Syrup then topped with Soda Water.
- MINT JULEP: Jameson Irish Whiskey stirred and mixed with Fresh Mint Leaves and Sugar Syrup
- SOUR'S: Jameson Irish Whiskey shaken with Sour Mix, Pasteurised Egg White, Angostura Bitters and Sugar Syrup
Which is my favourite? I will have to try them all and get back to you! Meanwhile let me know which is your favourite!
Cheers and enjoy!
- 6g Gelatine leaves (2-3 leaves)
- 400ml Double cream
- 100ml Milk
- 2tbsp Heather honey
- 2tbsp Malt whiskey
- 100g Raspberries
- 30-40g Caster Sugar
- 100g Caster Sugar
- 100ml Water
- 250g Raspberries
- 2tsp Lemon juice
Method – Panna Cotta
- Bring the cream and milk to the boil in a saucepan. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Soak the gelatine in cold water for 5 minutes until it becomes soft.
- Squeeze any excess water out of the gelatine and stir in the milk, cream, honey and whiskey.
- Stir until the gelatine has dissolved. Bring to a simmer and strain into a jug.
- Fill 6 moulds or ramekins. Allow to cool at room temperature. Once cool cover them and leave to chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
Method – Raspberry Coulis
- Bring the sugar and water to the boil in a small pan. Simmer until it becomes syrupy in texture.
- Add the raspberries and lemon juice and bring it back to the boil. Then simmer until the raspberries have broken down and the coulis thickens.
- Pass through a fine sieve and refrigerate.
Method – Raspberry Glaze
- Pulp the raspberries by pressing them through a sieve.
- Bring the raspberry pulp and sugar to the boil in a saucepan quickly for only a few minutes.
- Remove any scum off the surface. Allow to cool in a bowl.
- Toss the remaining raspberries in the glaze.
Place the panna cotta upside down on a plate and dress with raspberry coulis and thin shortbread biscuits. If the panna cotta does not come loose from the mould place it briefly into some hot water ensuring that no water leaks into the panna cotta.
There has long been dispute about where whiskey originated. It is widely accepted that it was from Celtic origin but was it the Scots or the Irish?
When you talk to the Irish they will tell long stories of Irish Christian monks who travelled far and wide picking up the trade of distillation from Arabia around 500-600AD. They mastered the art of distilling grain and water on their return to Ireland. Sure, didn't the Irish need a hard liqueur to protect them from the harsh raw Atlantic gales!
Ah, but when you talk to the Scots, well, they tell you of the hard written evidence that proves whiskey was in distillation in 1494. There is a record on the Exchequer Rolls of 'eight bolls of malt to Friar John Cor wherewith to make aqua vitae'. Well you just can't dispute that fact.
Alas, to Scottish dismay there is new evidence to suggest that indeed the Irish were distilling Irish whiskey before Friar John. According to Barry Walsh, an author writing for the Whiskey Magazine, tanned reindeer skin with carved writing dating back to pre-Christian times has been discovered along the River Liffey during some excavation works.
When 'translated' it states that a man called Pah-Dee "Resumed heating the murky bubbly mixture of grain and water, and collected a fiery liquid through worm and reed pipe. Tastes bad. Made me dizzy and sick and I had to lie down" and continues to refer to it as the "fire water".
However the article does not refer to the year the reindeer skin dates back to. If it truly exists, where is it hiding now and why is no one talking about it? The Irish Whiskey Museum has set a new mission to get to the bottom of this. Watch this space.
Disclaimer: These facts might not help you to drink your tipple but they will certainly add a bit of 'banter' to the usual weather and political discussions. :)1. Early forms of Irish whiskey started in Ireland back in the 6th century when Christian monks brought distillation technique over from Middle-East.
2. Irish whiskey is traditionally known to be distilled three times. Today, even thought that is the case for most of Irish whiskey brands, some Irish whiskeys are only distilled twice.
3. To be true Irish whiskey, the Irish 'liquid gold' must be matured for at least 3 years in the island of Ireland.
4. To be called Irish, whiskey must be bottled in island of Ireland.
5. There was a time there were over 2000 small and big distilleries in Ireland, today there are 19 distilleries in the island of Ireland. It is remarkable achievement as only 2 years ago there were only 3 operational distilleries.
6. Dublin used to be the hub of Irish whiskey distilling. The city was the home of the biggest distillery in the world, George Row Distillery.
Old St. Patricks Windmill operated by George Row Distillery in 19th Century, Dublin.
If you feel there is something else beginner Irish whiskey drinkers should know please let us know and we might add it to the list.
On this sunny spring day with summer just around the corner it is the perfect time to start trying some original Irish whiskey cocktails.
- 1 (1.5 fluid ounce) jigger Irish cream liqueur
- 1 (1.5 fluid ounce) jigger Irish whiskey
- Fill a short glass with ice and pour in the Irish cream liqueur and Irish whiskey. Stir and serve. So easy it has to be tried!
Original Irish Cream
- 1 cup of heavy cream
- 1 (14 ounce) can of sweetened condensed milk
- 1 2/3 cups of Irish whiskey
- 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
- 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- Blend all of the ingredients together and serve chilled. Easy!
- 2 Cups of hot, strong coffee
- 2 Fluid ounces of Irish cream liqueur (divided)
- 2 Fluid ounces of hazelnut liqueur such as Frangelico (divided)
- 2 Fluid ounces Irish whiskey (divided)
- ¼ Cup of whipped cream
- 2 Pinches of ground nutmeg
- Pour the hot, strong coffee into two mugs
- Stir 1 ounce Irish cream liqueur, 1 ounce of hazelnut liqueur and 1 ounce Irish whiskey into each mug
- Place a dollop of whipped cream in each mug
- Sprinkle whipped cream with nutmeg
We all love a good whiskey but what is it that makes a whiskey drink really good? Here are the top 5 tips to help you savour that moment.
#1: Good Whiskey
Do we even need to say this! Yes, it goes without saying you have to start with a good whiskey. For me a scotch just won't cut it. Call me a whiskey racist but Irish whiskey is the best. I am not a fan of the smoked flavour of scotch. And while we're being fussy, the older the better. I usually start with an 8 year old and work upwards.
#2: Good Glass
It depends on what you are doing. If you're tasting whiskey then the tulip shaped glass is the best. It allows you to swirl the whiskey without spillage. The aromas concentrate in the neck of the glass, perfect for nosing. However for an evening drink then the tumbler works best. It allows the whiskey to oxidise. Mixing whiskey with air, at room temperature, will change the taste.
#3: A Little Cube of Ice or Perhaps a Dash of Water
I know many turn their noses at this suggestion but it depends on what you are doing. If you are tasting whiskey, adding 1/5 water stops the whiskey anaesthetising your senses. Personally, I like adding a cube of ice but beware; unfortunately cooling whiskey prevents it from releasing its full flavour.
#4: Good Atmosphere
It's about how comfortable you feel - the chair you're sitting in, the darkened lighting in the room, the isolation from a busy bar and unnecessary noise and the good relationship & easy chat with the bar man.
#5: Good Company
You need to enjoy the moment. It is good to have a heart warming belly laugh every once in a while so why not do it over a whiskey. I recommend close friends and a trip down memory lane.
The definition of Joy is 'a feeling of great happiness'. Hum a little understated perhaps. The day the Irish Whiskey Museum fire cert was granted we were jumping up and down, almost like little school children. Followed, of course, with a little tipple of superb whiskey of the finest caliber.
We finally had a green light to start the renovation works for the Irish Whiskey Museum. We had been waiting for this day to arrive for over a year. The process of getting a fire cert approved for a listed building was a slow, arduous task. Certainly not one for the faint hearted. It began in June 2013 and took a total of 8 months. We had to knock on the doors of the council several times, although we were politely advised not to. We drove people mad. But one has to do what one has to do.
After our first rejection of our fire cert in August we re-applied and were ready to move on site in October 2013 and the only thing holding us back was the approval of the fire cert. We were due to hear from the council in Dec. Unfortunately they asked for a one month extension. In January we were sitting at the edge of our seats and yet again we were asked for another extension. However this time things were different. The Planning Regulations were due to change so it meant we needed to get our fire cert over the line by beginning of February, otherwise we faced big delays, paper work and lots of additional bills when we started the renovations. We had bitten our finger nails down to the bone and put in daily calls to see if there was any update….
AT LAST it was approved. We could sigh in relief and celebrate with joy.
If you are following our blog you will have seen the most expensive Irish whiskey ever to be sold (well almost sold) for £100,000. You will also have seen the most expensive whiskey sold in the UK for £100,000 by invite only, well excuse me! However this price tag is small in comparison to the most expensive whiskey ever sold last week in Hong Kong.
For a mere $628,205 a large crystal decanter carrying the Scotch Macallan whiskey was sold at auction. Apparently it took 17 craftsmen more than 50 hours to produce the perfect 6 litre bottle. They threw away the previous 40 attempts and ended up with a choice of 4 bottles to select from.
It took 2 years to select the whiskey itself. It was a blend from 200,000 sherry casks, ranging in age between 25 – 75 years old. Don't worry Scotland, with all of the new Irish whiskey distilleries due to open it won't be long before Ireland is selling the next most rare and expensive whiskey…or is that just a proud Irish whiskey lover talking?
All in all, this bottle of Macallan is a rare whiskey in a rare bottle that should, most definitely, be savoured.
I'm sure you are all aware of Shakleton and his amazing expedition to the Antarctic in 1907. This inspiring Irish man led a team of 27 scientists to the Antarctic over a 22 month ordeal. They watched their ship 'Endurance' get locked in pack ice, slowly get crushed and sink to the bottom of the ocean. It is a miracle that all 28 men survived. It is even more amazing that 3 crates of whiskey were found over 100 years after the expedition, unbelievably still intact.
In 2007, while they were carrying out conservation works on the Shakleton expedition hut they came across these rare crates of whiskey. They were buried in the ice. One crate was flown to the Canterbury Museum in New Zealand and was carefully thawed. The whiskey bottles were labeled the 'Endurance Expedition'. Remarkably the whiskey had aged perfectly and was described as a 'gift from heaven' by Richard Paterson by the master blender at Whyte and Mackay, where the whiskey originated.
The Whiskey Exchange re-created the original malt whiskey and it is possible to buy them online. If only the Irishman had chosen a good Irish whiskey to bring with him on his expedition.