Irish whiskey is the fastest-growing category of spirits in America, according to the Distilled Spirits Council. Most of that is blended whiskey but there are an increasing number of pot still whiskies on the market.
Pot still whiskey is distilled in traditional copper pot stills as it has been done for centuries. Whiskey is distilled from grain, and in pot still Irish whiskey that grain is barley. Barley is fermented into a beer, then distilled. In Ireland it is common (but not required) to distill whiskey three times, whereas in scotch, tequila, and other pot-stilled spirits twice is the norm.
Blended whiskey is a mixture of this robustly flavored pot still whiskey with a lighter column-distilled spirit. Column stills (also called continuous stills, as they can run 24/7 unlike pot stills that must be emptied out after every run of distillation) produce most of the spirits consumed in the world, including vodka, rum, and bourbon.
All Irish whiskeys are aged for a minimum of three years, mostly in ex-bourbon barrels, but many brands also blend in some Irish whiskey aged in ex-sherry, port, and Madeira casks.
Blended whiskeys are nice and light and a good starting point for new whiskey drinkers. Irish whiskey in particular is often mixed with ginger ale.
The recipe below was inspired by a drink called the Mil Maolaigh by Forrest Cokely. We simply take a base of blended Irish whiskey, add an Irish honey liqueur and a berry liqueur, and fill it with soda water.
By Camper English
2 fl. oz. Blended Irish Whiskey, Such As Jameson
.5 fl. oz. Irish Honey Liqueur, Such As Irish Mist
.5 fl. oz. Raspberry or other Berry Liqueur
4 fl. oz. Soda Water
Add all ingredients to an ice filled rocks glass and stir.