Today is our “Irish Whiskey Tasting and Gourmet Dinner” event at the Temperance House in Newtown, PA. The gourmet pairing menu was carefully chosen by the chef and the Dram Devotees of Bucks County to highlight the qualities of each whiskey.
– Connemara Peated Irish Single Malt Whiskey
Sauteed Mussels in olive oil w/ Smoked Andouille Sausage
*Intermezzo (palate cleanser) of Irish Aero Mint Chocolates*
– 2 Gingers Irish Whiskey
Seared Scallops w/ Rutabaga Purree & Lavender Beurre Blanc
– Greenore Single Grain Irish Whiskey
Rack of Lamb Lollipops w/ Apricot Chutney, Fried Goat Cheese and Haricot Vert
– The Tyrconnell Single Malt Irish Whiskey
Venison Loin wrapped in Bacon w/ Whiskey and Wild Mushroom Demi Glace, Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Baby Carrots
– Irish Kiss Cocktail –made with 2 Gingers Irish Whiskey
The menu, as wonderful as it is, is secondary. The tasting is to showcase the whiskeys made at Cooley Distillery in County Louth, Ireland. The Cooley Distillery breaks the mold of what Americans think of as Irish Whiskey. Its founder, John Teeling, wanted to restore the variety and authenticity to Ireland’s whiskeys by bringing back the twice distilled single malt.
When Americans think of Irish whiskey they think triple distilled pot still style whiskeys like those distilled at Midleton Distillery in southern Ireland. About 90% of Irish whiskey sales to the U.S. are Jameson, so that normally would ring true. Jameson Irish Whiskey is a blended whiskey that contains single pot still (an Irish whiskey style that contains both malted and unmalted barley in the mash and is distilled in copper pot stills instead of column stills). The Cooley distillery produces whiskeys that are closer to the Scottish style by only distilling twice and using 100% malted barley. Though the single malt style has become associated with Scotland, Ireland is no stranger to this “heavier” whiskey (Irish whiskey has been described as lighter on the palate because of the triple distillation and creamy texture created by the unmalted barley). In fact, before Ireland lost most of its distilleries in the early 20th century, many of them were producing their own single malt styles. John Teeling aimed to resurrect brands that didn’t survive those tough years in the industry and reconnect Ireland with its proud whiskey heritage.