Two hundred years ago, savvy tipplers drank Irish whiskey. These days not so much. With all the top-drawer Scotch, bourbon, and rye sloshing around, it may be hard to justify another happy-hour contestantbut you should try. The rich liquor is too approachable to ignore, displaying a natural (but not cloying) sweetness and lacking the pungent smokiness of Scotch. The plan for discovering one of the most underappreciated spirits out there is quite simple: Buy a choice bottle, pour, and start drinking. See how easy that is? Rob Willey
1. Redbreast ($45)|
This 12-year-old potion packs a punch. It's full-bodied and fiery, with the dense sweetness of roasted fruit and a slow-burning finish.
2. Knappogue Castle 1995 ($50)
3. Connemara Peated Single Malt ($45)
4. Bushmills 16 Year Old ($68)
6. Midleton Very Rare ($130)
THE RECIPE: IRISH COFFEE
Irish coffee evokes an era when dinner parties wrapped up with cordial carts and soufflés. Revive the nightcap using good but not extravagant whiskeylike Bushmills or Jamesonand make it for a crowd.
1 cup Irish whiskey
4-8 tsp light brown sugar
3 cups strong, hot coffee
¿ cup chilled heavy cream, whipped
In a small saucepan, warm the whiskey over low heat, then divide among four mugs. Add a teaspoon or two of sugar to each and stir until dissolved. Fill each mug with coffee and top with whipped cream.