March tends to be one of the wettest months of the year around here, and it’s not all in the form of precipitation. Inside, it’s the Guinness and other popular hops-and-barley combos flowing freely from local taps. There’s also whiskey—of the Irish variety—mellowed with a few ice cubes, diluted with boiling water and served hot, or stirred into a mug of piping-hot coffee.
“Whiskey” translates to “water of life,” and the “e” is used to distinguish spirits distilled in Ireland and the U.S. from those made in Scotland and other countries. Locally, most people are familiar with the basics: Jameson, Bushmills and Tullamore Dew. Across the Atlantic, Cooley Distillery’s Connemara Peated Irish Malt is as smoky, peaty and earthy as scotch. But a lot of Irish whiskey fans prefer the smoother flavor of the triple-distilled, non-peaty varieties.
Unless you hit up a bona-fide whiskey bar, you may not find a wide selection of bottles to sample. Many lesser-known single malts or grains, “pure pot still” and blends—nearly 55 of them—can be special ordered at your local wine and spirits shop. Take it from someone who recently visited Dublin: The Connemara is the bomb.