Bartenders Tell Us The Best Irish Whiskeys Not Named Jameson

Homer Simpson said it best when he uttered the iconic phrase, “Lousy Smarch Weather.” Couple the rainy month with coronavirus panic, and you have a whole lot of grumpy folks. Especially once all the spring break trips start getting canceled.

The one bright spot is that March 17th is St. Patrick’s Day — the boozy, green beer-filled, whiskey-soaked holiday when everyone is Irish. Juyoung Kang, lead bartender at The Dorsey in Las Vegas looks forward to the holiday like the rest of us, but she doesn’t wait until mid-March to sip on Irish whiskey.

“I’m a fan of Irish Whiskey,” she says. “So why would I ever limit myself to just St. Patrick’s Day?”

We couldn’t agree more. We’d also advise against limiting yourself to the well known brands (we’re looking at you Jameson). Instead, try something a little out of your comfort zone this year. To help, we asked some of our favorite bartenders to tell us their go-to lesser-known Irish whiskeys to drink this month.


Billy Cox, bar chef at Ocean Prime in Boston

Give Paddy’s a shot. When I first started bartending it was only available in certain Irish pubs in the US where the owner had a connection to import it. Otherwise, you’d only hear about it from someone who just visited the old sod. It’s now more widely available — offering the simple, clean, and soft taste of traditional Irish whiskey.


Kayla Grogan, mixologist at Monarch in New York City

Redbreast 12. It’s got a nice flavor to it, perfect for sipping on. It starts out sweet but has a nice smoky finish. It’s more complex and a step up from Jameson, which is what most people stick to on St. Paddy’s Day. It’s also great after a big meal, so it’s the perfect pairing for those people who plan to enjoy the traditional meal of corned beef and cabbage.

Writers’ Tears

Alfred Stovall, beverage director at O-Ku Sushi in Washington, DC

Writers’ Tears. I enjoy it because it’s sweet, mellow, and warm but often gets passed over for bigger name whiskeys at its price point

Knappogue Castle

Thomas Nesselhauf, manager of Datz Restaurant Group in Tampa, Florida

Knappogue Castle 12-Year-Old Very Special Reserve. It is a triple copper pot distilled, single malt whiskey, aged 12 years in bourbon barrels. It’s a no grain whiskey blend and has no caramel color added. It’s in the same price range as Jameson, but an infinitely better product


Colin Stevens, bartender at Thyme Bar in New York City

I’ll be drinking Teeling this St. Patrick’s Day. They are one of the leaders in the new wave of Irish Whiskey and have a big focus on sustainability, plus the small batch is absolutely delicious.

Tullamore D.E.W.

Marina Barona, director of restaurants at The Vinoy Renaissance in St. Petersburg, Florida

Tullamore D.E.W. Tullamore Dew is considerably softer and sweeter than the better-known Jameson and is better to drink straight.

Green Spot

Larry Day, beverage manager at Marriott Harbor Beach Resort and Spa in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Green Spot. A little on the sweeter side with hints of vanilla and caramel, very fruit-forward taste. Far and away a step up from traditional whiskeys.


Will Moriarity, beverage director at BLT Steak in Washington D.C.

Tyrconnell has been surprising me lately with its style and bolder finish. The 16-year single malt aged in Oloroso Sherry Casks is one of my absolute favorite premium whiskeys. We carry it here at BLT Steak in D.C. and it has great value.


Leah Stumbo, bartender at Bar Moxy in Nashville

Slane Irish Whiskey, it is a triple cask whiskey — giving it a spicy, sweet, rich flavor. It is the perfect whiskey to add to your Irish coffee to kick off your St. Patrick’s day celebrations.

The Sexton

Vince Diorides, lead Bartender at Jack Dusty in Sarasota, Florida

The Sexton. I choose this Irish whiskey because it’s triple distilled providing a smoothness unlike any other and if you haven’t had it, and from the sight of the bottle alone, it’s enticing and captures the eye.

The Whistler

Juyoung Kang, lead bartender at The Dorsey in Las Vegas

Recently I tried The Whistler, Single Blue Note. It is delicious and just simply a great whiskey. If you’re going to try a new Irish Whiskey besides Jameson on St. Patrick’s Day, this is one I would spend my money on. Just make sure it’s your first whiskey of the day, not the last. It deserves your undivided taste bud attention.

The Dead Rabbit

Rus Yessenov, director of mixology at Fairmont Royal York in Toronto

The Dead Rabbit Irish Whiskey. It’s approachable and affordable and created by the team behind one of the world’s best bars (The Dead Rabbit in NYC).


Zach Stout, beverage manager at Clark & Bourbon in St. Louis

Kinahans Irish 10 Year Single Malt. This 10-year-old Irish single malt goes all the way back to 1779. This will be a rare one to get a taste of. Make sure to stop by our whiskey room to taste one soon! Citrus on the nose, a spicy profile and a long warm dessert-style finish with notes of fresh-baked bread.