Derived from the Irish word uisce (meaning “water” and pronounced ‘ish-ka’) and normally written with an “e”, as distinct from it’s Scottish counterpart which is spelled Whisky, Irish Whiskey is made from cereals grown in Ireland, mostly barley, either malted or unmalted and are available in blended form or as single grain and single malt pure produce.
Irish Whiskey is triple distilled, a technique apparently copied from the Arabic methods used to produce perfumes, and matured for seven years or more in timber casks.
Whiskey as a name is derived from the Latin aqua vitae, the “water of life”. which, translated into Irish became uisce beatha. This in turn was shortened and Anglicized into “whiskey”. Which literally would mean “water”.
There are basically three varieties of whiskey today – the straight, single malt, the blended variety and the aged versions. The discussion whether single malts or blended whiskeys are better is down to taste. The question of aging has a more direct impact on the consistency of the whiskey. As it is allowed to mature in casks that were first used for sherry, a longer time in the cask will influence the taste. Please note that whiskey cannot “age” once bottled.
Whiskey is typically enjoyed neat, with ice or red lemonade. A medicinal version is Hot Whiskey.
There are over 150 brands of Irish Whiskey currently available today, the most popular being Bushmills, Power’s, Paddy’s and Jameson’s.