Faith and begorrah! Bushmills Irish Whiskey, one of only three major distilleries of the uisce beatha (“water of life” in Gaelic) recently released Bushmills Irish Honey exclusively in the United States. One can only wonder why. Although Irish Whiskey sales surpass single malt Scotch by volume according to DISCUS, the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S., there’s a vast untapped demographic: women.
Fred Minnick of The Tasting Panel magazine recently quoted Yvonne Briese, Vice President of Brand Marketing for Whisk(e)y at Bushmills Owner, Diageo North America saying: “This [growth] trend is really around male-bonding occasions. So where previously guys would have gone out for a few beers, they’re now going out and having a few beers and also choosing Irish whiskey.” Bushmills U.S. marketing likely wants to create women-bonding occasions around Irish Honey. Thus, Master Distiller Colum Egan added a touch of Irish honey and other natural flavors (?!) to Bushmills Original, bottled at Ireland’s oldest working distillery in Bushmills Village, Co. Antrim, where King James I granted Sir Thomas Phillips the first official distillation license in 1608. Everything is produced under Bushmills roof, the malting (barley), distilling, maturing, blending and bottling.
Irish Honey joins a fine portfolio which includes Original, Black Bush, and the single malts of ages 10, 16, and 21 years.
Thing is, Bushmills Original is already exceptionally smooth, with notes of vanilla, almond, and fruit inside. Irish Honey is still tasty and smooth, but a wee bit tacky to the throat. The Irish thus follow American whiskey producers Jack Daniels and Wild Turkey in releasing honeyed expressions. Are they gilding the lily, honeying the sugar? Perhaps. But if a spoonful of honey helps the whiskey medicine go down, it’s worth it. Ladies, feel free to start with Irish honey, but please try a Bushmills Original after that. Comment below on which you prefer.
And what would March 17 be without the classic Irish Coffee recipe? Coming from Dublin's Shannon Airport to the Buena Vista Cafe in San Francisco, this should keep everyone warm and lucky on this wet St. Patrick's Day in California.
- 1.5 oz. Irish Whiskey (try it with Bushmills Irish Honey)
- 1 oz simple or brown sugar syrup* or two sugar cubes (I’d reduce this by half if using Irish Honey)
- 4 oz. coffee
- Lightly whippsed unsweetened cream
Combine whiskey, coffee, and syrup in an Irish Coffee glass. Ladle a layer of cream 25mm thick on top.
* Simple or brown sugar syrup: boil equal parts sugar and water until dissolved, cool and store up to a month in the fridge
Drink responsibly. It’s bad enough here when the roads are soaked, we don’t need to add a bunch of drunks to the mess. Sláinte!
Disclosure: Bushmills sent me a 750ml bottle of of Bushmills Irish Honey for review.