The fall chill is in the air, and when it comes to cocktails, I start craving rich and heart warming flavors. Iced tea and lemonade are replaced by mulled cider and spices. Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and caramel are the scents and flavors of fall. But let’s be honest here: nothing warms you up on a chilly night faster than whiskey. To tell you the truth, I know very little about whiskey. I love bourbon, I have recently discovered some scotch that I enjoy. But I have never really dabbled in Irish whiskey and without any good reason. This fall, I decided it was time to explore. Glasses up!
Enter Tullamore Dew. It was as good a starting point as any since I knew next to nothing. I recently attended a Tullamore Dew tasting with the US Brand Ambassador Tim Herlihy, charming young man with a strong Irish accent and a vast knowledge of Irish whiskey. Not a lot of folks go to a whiskey tasting to learn but I did. And between the jokes and robust Irish toasts, Tim managed to impart some of his knowledge.
Tullamore Dew is surprisingly smooth and nuanced. I learned that it can be aged in bourbon, sherry, port or madeira barrels, and then blended. I learned that the age on the bottle lists the youngest batch of whiskey in the mix, no matter how little of it is actually in the bottle. That means that chances are good that what you are really drinking is older. I learned that Irish whiskey can vastly differ from bottle to bottle and that during barrel aging, Tullamore Dew can lose around 2,000 bottles worth of whiskey a day to evaporation. I told you I paid attention!
But what really struck me about Irish whiskey is how easily it inspires community, laughter and camaraderie. All around me glasses were being raised by perfect strangers in perfect unison. Stories were shared, business cards exchanged and plans made. If that is the result of drinking good Irish whiskey, sign me up! So, I will toast to all of you with my glass of Tullamore Dew 12-year Special Reserve, my favorite in the tasting: There are good ships, and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea. But the best ships, are friendships, and may they always be.
Want to party like the Irish? Grab some Tullamore Dew (locally from our friends at Binny’s), serve it mixed with ginger ale or on the rocks, look up some Irish toasts and see where the night takes you! Sláinte!