The Feast of Saint Patrick

A public holiday in Ireland, Northern Ireland, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Montserrat.  Or, more commonly and affectionately known as St Patrick’s or St Paddy’s Day.  It’s one day a year where everyone becomes unofficially Irish and green beer occupies space in many a glass.  However, there is another beverage that Ireland is famous for that is another option to raise a glass to the patron saint of Ireland – whisky.  Sorry, make that whiskey.

Like a lot of whisk(e)y history, some of it can be a little fuzzy; however, it’s true that whiskey originated in Ireland according to the Irish Whiskey Museum.  (Undoubtedly, this debate isn’t going away anytime soon. )  But in the spirit of good health and good times, we invite you to celebrate St Patrick’s day with a wee dram of liquid sunshine.  And to make it extra tasty, add a splash or two of Irish whiskey facts.  Sláinte.

Here, drink this:

By the 12th century, aqua vitae, was regularly given to soldiers to gird their loins before battle.  It was often referred to as “liquid courage”.

Party Responsibly:

The oldest recorded mention of “whiskey” can be found in the Annals of Clonmacnoise penned in 1405.  While perusing it, you’ll come across the part that talks about where a chieftain died from a surfeit of aqua vitae.

By The Light Of The Moon:

White Lightning.  Mountain Dew.  Hooch.  Moonshine has its share of colourful names.  Irish Whiskey’s version of Moonshine is called Poitin meaning Little Pot.

Tax This:

Way back ago, a tax was imposed on the distilleries for all the malted barley they used in their whiskies.  “Nuts to that!” being the response, the Irish whiskey distilleries started adding un-malted barley in with the malted barley to reduce their tax bill.  And thus, the Single Pot Still style of whisky, unique to Irish whiskey, was born.

Third Time’s A Charm:

While many revere the “smoothness” of triple distilled Irish Whiskies

Great Scot:

John Jameson, the founder of the eponymously named Irish whiskey distillery, hails from the Lowlands in Scotland.

Not That Kind Of Whiskey Burn

June 18, 1875, Malone’s Malt House, that was storing 5000 barrels of whiskey, caught fire.  All break loose rather fast with a “river” of whiskey flowing through the streets like lava.  Thirteen people died from that event but not from smoke inhalation or burns: rather from taking sips from the contaminated torrent of whiskey.

Can I Have Your Number:

During the 18th century, 2000 distilleries called Ireland home.  By the 1960’s, only four were in operation.  According to Drinks Ireland, that number is now up to 32 with more to come online.  Cheers to that

I Can E You Better Now:

Irish Whiskey used to be spelled Irish Whisky.  To differentiate it from “less palatable scotch”, some distillers added the “e”; however, there is no legislation that states the “e” must be included in Irish whiskey’s spelling.

True or blarney’d up just a tad, enjoy these stories with friends and a glass of whiskey from the country that started it all.  Disclaimer:  ensuing debate is meant for entertainment purposes only.