There’s something about the combination of whiskey and music that makes sense to me. They’re two great things that pair really, really well together. While the focus of this site is most definitely music, it would feel a little weird not to mention whiskey, considering the name and all.
Let’s talk about the kind of whiskeys for a second.
Irish Whiskey— yes
Okay, on to the kinds of Irish Whiskeys
Pure Pot Still — the use of malted and unmalted barley, mixed and mashed in a single pot still.
Single Malt— the use of only one grain, barley, produced at a single distillery
Blended— a blend of two or more whiskeys
Grain— whiskey made from a grain other than, or in addition to, barley, e.g., rye, corn, wheat, etc.
Flavored— whiskeys with added flavors, like apple, maple, cinnamon, sarsaparilla, etc. I usually steer clear of these.
Here are my favorites. I include links straight to the makers, because I feel kind of weird describing whiskey flavors, when honestly I can’t always find the right descriptors without sounding like I’m making the shit up.
That’s pretty much it. I’ve had and enjoyed plenty of other whiskeys (even the aforementioned bourbons, scotches and ryes), and I’m certainly up for trying out more, but those are my go-tos. I still have a lot to learn about whiskey, and I haven’t ventured into the really expensive stuff yet. Hey distilleries: want to sponsor WhiskeyandMusic.com? I’ll tell the world how great your whiskey is. By the world I mean my friends and maybe a stranger or two.
Whiskey drink recipes
I started off drinking whiskey by stealing it, which was bad, and mixing it with a lot of soda, which was really bad. I feel like my dad would be more willing to forgive the former than the latter. I was trying to mask the taste, because I was young, and so were my tastebuds, and I still drank shit like Slurpees and Mountain Dew. When I made a whiskey and coke, I didn’t realize I was drowning the good stuff with sugar water. When I became old enough to order whiskey at the bar, I learned that bartenders don’t make their whiskey and cokes anywhere near as strong as I did, and I actually missed the taste of strong whiskey in my drink. Pretty soon I was ordering whiskey with a splash of coke or ginger ale, then I grew up and started ordering whiskey neat. Not long after, I learned a little bit of water or a small amount of ice brings out the flavors. Too much water or ice waters it down (science) but just the right amount makes the diversity of whiskeys more pronounced. So, for me, great whiskey is best neat, with a small amount of water or ice. But there are plenty of enjoyable drinks to make with the not-top-shelf stuff.
2-3 oz whiskey. Done.
Whiskey (w/ water or ice)
2-3 oz whiskey with a couple drops of water or a single, small ice cube
The small amount of water and ice will change the flavor of whiskey, kind of like how different headphones will change how a song sounds. It’s also how cask-strength whiskeys are supposed to be served, since the alcohol levels tend to overpower everything else. The goal isn’t to dilute it, but to bring out different flavors on the nose and the overall taste. That being said, ice does suppress the taste more. Use sparingly.
Nothing beats a great Irish Coffee.
2 oz whiskey
1 teaspoon sugar. Some people swear by brown sugar in Irish Coffee. Sometimes I use brown sugar, sometimes I don’t. Not a big deal either way.
hot brewed coffee
heavy cream or whipping cream
First step to a solid Irish Coffee is good coffee. Brew some of that. While that’s going on, lightly whip the cream in a bowl (sometimes referred to as “half whipped), using a spoon or a handheld mixer. Don’t use whipped cream in a can, come on now. Then pour the whiskey into an Irish Coffee glass, add some sugar and stir it up. Pour the coffee and leave one or two inches at the top. Put a spoon over the top of the glass and pour the cream over the spoon so it sits on top of the whiskey. Drink the coffee through the cream.
The classic, classy whiskey drink. Don’t let the martini glass and maraschino cherry fool you– this is a strong cocktail that’s mostly whiskey.
2 oz whiskey
1/2 oz vermouth
Chill briefly in a mixing glass with ice, pour and garnish with a cherry or small lemon peel
Another traditional and reliable whiskey drink.
2 oz whiskey
dash of water
1 cherry or small lemon peel
Put the sugar cube in a class and add the water. Let it dissolve a bit, then add ice and bitters. Stir it up, pour the whiskey and garnish with the cherry or lemon.
Hot Toddy aka Hot Whiskey
Is there a medicine on the market that’s better than a hot whiskey when you’re sick in the winter? Nope.
2 oz whiskey
Hot water (like, steaming hot. Hot enough to brew tea or coffee with.)
Pour the whiskey into a glass, add the hot water, then the honey. Then squeeze the lemon juice in there, mix it up, and drop the lemon wedge in. I know some people add a tea bag or a cinnamon stick, but I prefer the basic recipe.
I know I just talked about not mixing whiskey with soda, but here’s an exception. Big Gingers are the reason why I will flip flop on that and not think twice. They’re too good on a hot summer day to argue with. Whiskey and ginger ale is no revelation, but adding fresh citrus makes all the difference.
2 oz whiskey
1 cup ginger ale
1 lemon wedge
1 lime wedge
Pour the whiskey and ginger ale over ice, squeeze in the lemon and lime juice, then add the wedges to the drink. Stir. Whiskey and ginger is a pretty routine and boring drink; the citrus makes all the difference here.
Whiskey Apple Soda
Here’s the other whiskey/soda combination I dig. Just like I prefer Big Gingers in the summer, Whiskey Apple Soda is a solid autumn drink.
3 oz whiskey
1/2 oz apple juice (Martinelli’s, son)
1 oz ginger beer
1 oz soda water
Mix the whiskey, ginger beer and soda water in a cocktail mixer with ice. Pour into a glass with a few ice cubes or crushed ice, and add the apple juice at the top.
Like a Moscow Mule without the vodka.
2 oz whiskey
1 quarter lime wedge
Pour the whiskey over rocks, add the juice of the lime wedge, top it off with ginger beer, toss the lime in and stir.
Irish Egg Nog
Okay, even though this is a drink with whiskey, you can’t really call it a whiskey drink. This is a dessert drink to have around the holidays. But it’s tasty, and it does technically have whiskey in it, so I’m including it here.
2 oz of whiskey
1 oz of Kahlua
1 oz of Bailey’s Irish Cream
2 oz of Hood Light Egg Nog
Whipped cream is optional
Frozen coffee ice cubes. Seriously.
First off, brew some coffee and put it in an ice tray. Freeze it. Mix the whiskey, Kahlua, Baileys and egg nog in a mixer with ice. Put the coffee ice cubes in a glass and pour everything on top of them. Add whipped cream if you want some whipped cream.