St. Patrick’s Day, America’s Cultural Influence, and our
Top Irish Whiskey Picks to Celebrate
Celebrated annually on March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day has been observed in Ireland since the 10th Century to commemorate its patron Saint and national apostle, who died on this day in the fifth Century. This Catholic feast, which is celebrated on March 17th each year, falls in the middle of Lent and would traditionally be celebrated by Irish families by attending church in the morning, followed by a celebration. Lent would typically prohibit the consumption of meat and alcohol to those who practice. Still, St. Patrick’s Day became an exception to the stringent Lent rules, and a traditional feast of Irish bacon and cabbage was served.
When Irish immigrants migrated to the U.S., they brought this tradition and holiday with them, and it has been celebrated since the 18th Century in East Coast cities, like Boston and New York. But in the United States at that time, pork was prohibitively expensive for most newly arrived, Irish immigrant families. In true American fashion, the traditional dish was substituted for corned beef instead of bacon when the Irish would live alongside Jewish immigrants in large cities like New York. The Jewish Delis and lunch carts offered this cured and less expensive option as a substitute for the Irish family’s celebration. After taking off within the Irish-American New York community, the traditional dish’s modifications became popularized across the U.S. and was even served at President Lincoln’s inauguration dinner in 1862!
We feel like it’s important to share a little history of this holiday since Irish immigrants were an integral part of the building of the Transcontinental Railroad, one of our primary historical influences that inspired our concepts at Century Grand.
If you’re enjoying this over 1,000 year-old tradition at home this year, make sure to pair it with a pint and the perfect bottle of Irish Whiskey. We’ve got a fantastic selection of Irish Whiskey retail bottles to choose from in our online shop and available in single-ounce, and two-ounce pours inside Grey Hen Rx.
Without further ado, here are our top picks, which range from price, flavor, and production method.
Redbreast 27-Year-Old (Splurge) – $448
Multi-award winning, Redbreast is the largest-selling single pot still Irish Whiskey. Redbreast was originally produced by Gilbey’s, a Dublin spirits merchant, which began in London in 1857. By 1903, a whiskey known as John Jameson & Sons Castle “JJ Liqueur” Whiskey 12 Year Old was marketed in a bottle of similar shape and markings to those used for subsequent bottlings of Redbreast. It’s one of a handful of single pot still Irish Whiskeys still made today and one of only two produced almost continuously since the 1900s. Redbreast Whiskey uses both malted and unmalted barley in its mash and is triple distilled in an onion-shaped copper pot still. Its flavor is unmatched with “Christmas”-like flavors, peppery spiciness, and a creamy mouthfeel. The Redbreast 27-Year-Old is released annually in very small batches and is one of the harder-to-find whiskeys on the market. Redbreast 27-Year-Old is then matured in the finest bourbon, sherry, and ruby port casks for no less than 27 years, and left untouched. It’s one of our personal favorite whiskeys we’ve ever tried, and we thought it would be the perfect whiskey to celebrate with, whether you’re enjoying it on St. Patrick’s Day with us inside the Grey Hen Rx (Break-even bottle ounce cost at $13.79, limited to one per person, March 17th only) or enjoying savory sips at home. Buy your bottle of this collector today, OR make a reservation for Grey Hen Rx to enjoy a single pour.
Jameson – $37 (liter)
Jameson is the top-selling Irish whiskey in the world and has been sold internationally since the early 19th Century. It’s one of the original six Dublic whiskeys produced at the New Midleton Distillery in County Cork. Made with blended grain and pot still whiskey using both malted and unmalted barley, then triple distilled, it’s aged for a minimum of 4 years. They tout that their water comes from the Dungourney River, which flows right through the distillery. Buy your bottle at Grey Hen Rx.
Spot Whiskeys – $45 – $122
Since the 1800s, Mitchell & Sons, a seventh-generation family, has been producing and maturing their whiskey in underground cellars under the streets of Dublin. Using both malted and unmalted barley, this Single Pot Still Whiskey, is triple distilled. Each of their expressions is aged in a variety of previously used barrels, including ex-Bourbon casks, ex-Sherry butts, Malaga casks, ex-Oloroso Sherry, and ex-Bourdeaux wine casks. These whiskeys have a distinctive flavor of robust spices paired with a silky mouthfeel. Buy a bottle of Green Spot or Yellow Spot.
Tullamore DEW – $30 – $44
Established in 1829, this whiskey was originally produced in Tullamore, County Offaly, Ireland, at the old Tullamore Distillery. In 1954, the original distillery closed down. With stocks of whiskey running low, the brand was sold to John Powers & Son, another Irish distiller in the 1960s, with production transferred to the Midleton Distillery, County Cork. Promoted as the first-ever triple blend Irish Whiskey, Tullamore DEW blends grain, malt, and pot still whiskey to balance their flavors. They also triple distill and triple cask-mature in ex-Bourbon and ex-Sherry butt casks. We have quite the selection of Tullamore DEW available at Grey Hen Rx, including their Original, 12-Year, XO Rum Cask-finished, and the Cider Cask-finish.
Teeling Small Batch – $38
A tale as old as time, this generational family-produced whiskey dates back as far as 1782 when Walter Teeling set up a small craft distillery on Marrowbone Lane in the industrial heart of Dublin City. A bit more unconventional (so they say), Teeling uses a blend of grain and malt whiskey that is fully aged in ex-Bourbon casks, then finished in Central American Rum casks for up to 12 months for a unique, dried fruit finish. The Teeling Whiskey Distillery today is the first new distillery in Dublin for over 125 years and is still run by the Teeling family. Buy a bottle of Teeling here.
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