LivingTravel10 of our favorite Irish drinks

10 of our favorite Irish drinks

Going to the Emerald Isle and walking into an Irish pub just to order a Bud Light doesn’t seem worth it. Pub culture is a big part of life in Ireland, and yes, there are plenty of Irish drinks consumed between live music and funny banter. We recommend the following ten drinks the next time you are in Ireland, or even at your favorite Irish pub in your neighborhood, or while planning your next St. Patrick’s Day party. From venerable Guinness to craft beer and delicious cider, the choice of the best Irish drinks is yours.

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Whiskey – The Water of Life

Derived from the Irish uisce beatha (meaning “water of life”) and usually spelled with an “e,” Irish whiskey was first distilled by monks about a thousand years ago. It was originally only used for medicinal reasons because it was thought to restore health. Today, Irish whiskey is popular in both clean (unblended) drinks and Irish mixed drinks, although purists will insist on a drop of water, if at all. Several well-known brands of Irish whiskey are available, the most popular being County Antrim’s Old Bushmills, Tullamore Dew, Power’s, Paddy’s and Dublin’s favorite Jameson’s. malt, the latter is usually considerably more expensive. Tourists should note that high taxes make Irish whiskey actually more expensive in Ireland than in many other countries, so buying a whiskey that is readily available outside of Ireland might not be worth it.

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Guinness – A pint of plain

In 1759, Arthur Guinness leased the St. James Gate Brewery in Dublin and soon after began brewing the popular London ‘porter’. He and his family have never looked back and the porter or “robust” is now synonymous with the last name. The beloved Irish drink is available on tap pretty much everywhere and even used to be given to new mothers in Dublin hospitals. It is no longer considered a health supplement, but Guinness is still the quintessential Irish beer. Some consider it an acquired taste, but Irish citizens will tell you that beer is an entirely different drink outside of the Emerald Isle because it “doesn’t travel well.” That said, the Guinness store is Dublin ‘(a pint is included in your entrance fee).

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Other beers: a wider variety

The Irish love their beers. Each pub will serve a wide variety on tap or in bottles. Popular Irish beers are Murphy’s Stout, Kilkenny, and Smithwick’s. English and Scottish “beers” are preferred by the less demanding drinker in a hurry. Popular brands abroad include Australian Foster’s, the ubiquitous Bud Light, Mexican Sol, and a variety of Dutch and German beers. And any off-license (liquor store) will provide brands from Eastern Europe, India, China and Japan. Additionally, craft beers are making a big impact in Ireland, with new breweries popping up everywhere. Especially recommended are Boyne Brewhouse and Jack Cody’s products.

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Cider – A cold drink in summer, a hot drink in winter

Made from apples (and the orchards of Armagh are famous for their tasty produce), this alcoholic drink has become a very popular Irish drink in recent years that is consumed in beer such as ales. It often has a higher alcohol content which makes it more “effective” than most beers, while ice cream is served as a refreshing drink. The most popular Irish cider is Bulmer’s, called (for trademark reasons) Magner’s in Northern Ireland. In winter, a hot, spicy cider is also a popular choice after suffering from the cold.

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Cream liqueur: not just a “feminine drink”

In addition to the well-known Bailey’s Irish Cream, there are several similar liqueurs available and popular drinks in Ireland. While the ingredients are basically the same, their proportions vary and so does the taste of these liqueurs. Usually drunk moderately cold, they are also available on ice or as a shot in black coffee. It is also an ingredient in the “Irish Car Bomb”, a drink that only clueless boys order in an Irish pub.

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Mead – traditional, but rare

Mead has been a traditional Irish drink since the Viking raids and has made a comeback in recent years as an alternative drink somewhere between beers and spirits. Combining the sweetness of honey with the bite of alcohol, meads are popular after-dinner drinks. The variety can be bewildering; some mead is similar to wine or beer, while others are medium strength liqueurs.

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Poitin – Now also available in «Legal»

This very Irish drink is essentially moonshine and can be described as pure spirit distilled from whatever is on hand. More specifically, the word refers to a strong spirit (on par with German schnapps ) made from potatoes. It has been produced for centuries in moonshine stills across the country by homebrewers in hopes of avoiding Ireland’s high alcohol tax. Today, poitín (or poteen ) can be purchased legally and with fewer associated health risks in most licenses.

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Irish coffee – that will warm you up

Popular history says that this Irish mixed drink was invented shortly after WWII by an enterprising Irish bartender as a means of reviving the spirits of transatlantic air passengers. Combine a good shot of Irish whiskey, steaming and strong black coffee, topped with a thick double cream poured over the back of a spoon. An Irish coffee is a great restorer after a few miles of brisk walking on a windswept beach.

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Wine – Import Rule (Reasonably)

Even though Ireland only has a few vineyards (it just doesn’t have the right climate for grapes), wine has become a popular drink, especially with meals or on social occasions. It is also quite expensive, as the most affordable wines are almost constantly on the lower end of the spectrum when it comes to quality and taste. There are not many exceptional wine experiences available in Ireland, although perhaps the quality of the wine lists will improve as the public learns more about the drink.

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Alcopops – The Teen’s Choice

Alcopops are the nightmare of Irish society and are immensely popular with young people. Basically a mixture of water, sugar, food coloring, juice, and strong alcohol. They are available in many colors and guarantee to speed up intoxication by masking the fairly high alcohol content. They often guarantee a headache the next morning. Best avoided unless you want a really ‘hip’ Irish drinking spot.

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