A guide to Irish drinks

photo by somerandomnerd on Flickr

It’s a widespread stereotype that the Irish love their drinks, and there is a grain of truth in that. When you have countless great pubs where the craic never stops, of course you will be tempted to taste some of the alcoholic beverages on the menu. And of course, Irish drinks are famous worldwide for being really good, and this goes for both alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages. So if you find yourself in a cozy Irish pub, what should you order? If you want to experience the Irish way of life, you should definitely try Irish drinks. So if you are wondering where to start, here’s a guide to Irish drinks.


Guinness is the quintessential Irish beer, and if you haven’t tried it before, a pub is the perfect place for your first Guinness. Some people find the taste of this dry stout a bit strange at first, but the strong taste of Guinness grows on most people after a couple of pints. Guinness dates back to the 18th century, and it was invented by Arthur Guinness (who is often credited with the invention of stout itself). The ‘black stuff’ or the ‘pint of plain’ has become the best selling alcoholic drink in Ireland, and it is popular all over the world.

Irish coffee

Irish coffee, photo by Dmitri Chekhter

The French and the Italian are not the only ones with a taste for fine coffee, and the Irish have their own take on the cup of java. This cocktail for rainy afternoons is made with hot coffee, Irish whiskey and sugar and topped with heavy cream (not whipped, according to the original recipe). Irish coffee is drunk through the cream, so expect to get a cream mustache!

Irish Whiskey

It’s said that whiskey in Ireland was first distilled by monks, a long time ago in the dark ages. Today, there are several types of Irish whiskey available: Single Malt, Single Grain, and Blended Irish Whiskey, and most of them are distilled three times, as opposed to Scotch which is distilled only twice. Irish whiskey also has a smoother taste than Scotch, due to the malting process. Try one of the famous brands of Irish whiskey: Old Bushmills, Tullamore Dew, Power’s, Paddy’s and Jameson’s.


photo by Paulo Ordoveza on Flickr

Cider is not quite as popular as beer, but it comes pretty close. Cider is distilled from apples, and it is drunk in pint glasses like beer. Sometimes cider has a higher alcohol content than beer, so be careful with your dosage! If you don’t like the bitter taste of beer, you might enjoy cider, which has a very pleasant, sweet, apple taste.


If you want something strong a truly Irish, you can try poitin, a drink that was traditionally distilled in small pot stills from potatoes or barley. For centuries, poitin was made at home by those who wanted to save a penny (and cheat the law), but today you can find it in off-license shops.

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