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Irish Whiskey

--By Mike Armstrong Translated by Vivian Morgan

Who invented whiskey? Depending on who you talk to, it was the Scotch or the Irish. It is claimed that Irish monks brought distilling to France, which would certainly date Irish whiskey back to antiquity. For centuries, Irish whiskey enjoyed an excellent reputation in the world as a better-tasting spirit than Scotch. However, in the mid-19th century when the Scots started blending their whiskeys, the end result was smoother and more refined, and Irish whisky dropped off in popularity. Today, Irish whiskey is still in the process of making a comeback. This could be because its flavor is lighter than Scotch, it's triple-distilled, and distillers don't use peat for fire, which gives Scotch its smoky flavor. The multiple distilling processes give whiskey its soft finish, although it still has a complex whiskey taste. By law, whiskey must be cask-aged for a minimum of three years. Most are aged much longer.

Almost all of the Irish whiskey distilleries are centered in Cork or Dublin. The major exception is Bushmills, which is located in Northern Ireland's Antrim County. Other notable brands include John Power, Murphy's, Paddy, Dunphy's, Tullamore Dew, and the most global brand, Jamesons.

Irish Coffee, everyone's favorite winter warm-up, is coffee with a shot of Irish whiskey, topped with whipped cream. Another winter drink is Eggnog. Called "Coquito" in Puerto Rico and "biblia con pisco" in Peru, this traditional beverage is served almost exclusively during the Christmas holidays in North America, but still tastes great the rest of the year.
Eggnog can be made with other spirits, but Irish Eggnog is the recipe used by most bartenders. To make a 6 to 8 ounce serving:
1) Break four eggs into a bowl and whisk until frothy.
2) Add 8 oz. of Irish whiskey, a teaspoon of vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of ground allspice and whisk. Whisking is key to this whiskey drink.
3) Slowly add about 32 oz. (1 quart) of mild whiskey the entire time. Pour it into glasses and sprinkle nutmeg on top. There's no better way to drink raw egg and whiskey. Be adventurous and find out why this drink has stayed as popular as it has for centuries.
Check this site out for further ideas:

Mike Armstrong is a veteran Taiwan-based bartender and owner of Taichung's fM bar and restaurant.

Alcoholic drinks are strictly prohibited for those under 18.


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