The Tasting Panel magazine

March 2015

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Page 98 of 116

98  /  the tasting panel  /  march 2015 LIQUID TRENDS "W hen most people think about Irish whiskey, they think of Jameson," says Jack McGarry of New York's The Dead Rabbit. That was certainly true for me, too. When I came up through the bartending ranks, Jameson was about the extent of our meager options. There might have been a random bottle of Bushmills or Tullamore D.E.W. lying around somewhere gather- ing dust. Either way, no one knew the difference, and no one ever ordered them. I knew little about the category, and I'd certainly never used them as a muse for my cocktails. Fast-forward 15 years, and the Irish whiskey category is America's fastest- growing. According to the Distilled Spirits Council (DISCUS), figures show that in 2013, over 2.5 million cases of Irish whiskey were sold in the United States, an overall increase of almost 500% in just over a decade. So what happened? Why the sudden turn around? DISCUS puts it down to a drinker's desire to "trade up'" to super-premium products, whatever that means. I think it has more to do with its widespread use in cocktails, coupled with the fact that Irish whiskies have become a favored shot nationwide. And we certainly can't ignore the fact that Jameson & Ginger is one of the country's most commonly called mixed drinks in a wide variety of bars. Whatever your theory, the category is only going to continue its growth, especially with a constant influx of new brands and new expressions flooding the market. In the Era of Era of Eire by Naren Young / photos by Tim Murray Naren Young (left), cocktail expert and the author of this story, joins Jack McGarry at The Dead Rabbit in NYC to dis- cuss the state of Irish whiskey. EXPLORING THE IRISH WHISKEY BOON

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