20 best Irish whiskey cocktails

Words by Simon Difford

Irish whiskey tends not to be peated so usually lacks the subtle smoky notes associated with Scotch whisky, so making its presence somewhat subtler in cocktails.

To quote David Embury from his seminal 1948 The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks, "Now, if you really like the peat-smoke taste of Scotch, you may prefer it to Irish, just as you may prefer smoked ham to fresh ham. From every other point of view, however, I believe that Irish is infinitely superior to Scotch."

Irish whiskey mixes brilliantly with a wide array of ingredients and to prove this we present our 20 favourite Irish whiskey-based cocktails.

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Artist's Special
With: Irish whiskey, oloroso sherry, lemon juice and red currant (groseille) syrup.
We say: Irish whiskey is often matured in oloroso sherry seasoned casks so it's no surprise that whiskey and sherry blend harmoniously in this cocktail, with lemon tartness balanced by rich red currant syrup.

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Brainstorm
With: Irish whiskey, Bénédictine and dry vermouth.
We say: Dry vermouth balances the sweet notes of Bénédictine over a spirituous Irish whiskey base.

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Detroit Athletic Club
With: Irish whiskey, Green Chartreuse, sweet vermouth and falernum.
We say: Irish whiskey with a splash of sweet vermouth, clove rich falernum and the all-important monastic liqueur.

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Dubliner Cocktail
With: Irish whiskey, cognac orange liqueur, sweet vermouth and orange bitters.
We say: A Manhattan variation calling for Irish whiskey instead of bourbon or rye.

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Dublin Minstrel
With: Irish whiskey, Chartreuse Green, maraschino liqueur and lime juice.
We say: A riff on the classic Last Word cocktail substituting Irish whiskey for gin.

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Dublin Spider Highball
With: Irish whiskey, Angostura Aromatic Bitters and ginger ale.
We say: Ginger ale and aromatic bitters lengthen and colour Dublin's finest – blended whiskey.

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Frisky Whiskey Highball
With: Irish whiskey, honey liqueur, orange juice, sugar syrup, Angostura Aromatic Bitters and blood orange soda.
We say: Rich honeyed Irish whiskey freshened by orange.

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Hearn Cocktail
With: Irish whiskey, sweet vermouth, Green Chartreuse, Orinoco bitters, absinthe and orange bitters.
We say: Stirred and boozy with Green Chartreuse and bitters adding herbal spice to Irish whiskey.

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High King
With: Raspberries, Irish whiskey, red aperitivo liqueur, lemon juice, pink grapefruit juice, sugar syrup, Creole-style bitters and soda water.
We say: Berry fruit and citrus gently caressed by mellow Irish whiskey with a splash of enlivening soda.

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Holy Joe Cocktail
With: Irish whiskey, sweet vermouth, apricot brandy liqueur and artichoke amaro.
We say: An Irish whiskey-based, bittersweet aperitif cocktail that works equally well as a nightcap.

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Irish Boulevardier
With: Campari, Irish whiskey and sweet vermouth.
We say: Blended Irish whiskey replaces richer bourbon in this mellow yet dry riff on the classic Boulevardier.

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Irish Buck
With: Irish whiskey, lime juice and ginger ale.
We say: Simple but surprisingly delicious and very refreshing thanks to cleansing lime sourness.

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Irish Cocktail
With: Irish whiskey, orange curaçao liqueur, maraschino liqueur, absinthe and Boker's bitters.
We say: Stir well and strain into an icy cold glass and this subtly flavoured whiskey cocktail is a delicious way to chase a good evening.

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Irish Coffee
With: Irish whiskey, Demerara sugar syrup, hot filter coffee and whipped cream.
We say: Like most great ideas, this one is very simple. Coffee with a whiskey kick.

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Irish Maid
With: Irish whiskey, cucumber, elderflower liqueur, lemon juice and sugar syrup.
We say: Fresh, juicy cucumber and elderflower with Irish whiskey and zesty lemon.

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Lone Oak
With: Irish whiskey, Green Chartreuse, lemon juice, pistachio sugar syrup, orinoco bitters and curry leaf.
We say: Herbal Chartreuse, Irish whiskey with zesty lemon and creamy nutty pistachio.

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Old Gran's Punch
With: Irish whiskey, Manzanilla sherry, apple syrup and kombucha.
We say: Irish whiskey shines in this brilliantly balanced easy-drinking cocktail that will appeal to a wide range of palates.

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Psycho Killer Cocktail
With: Irish whiskey, cocoa nib-infused Campari, crème de banana, crème de cacao and absinthe.
We say: This short bittersweet spirituous cocktail makes for a very tasty aperitif.

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Super Seedy
With: Irish whiskey, raspberry syrup and gentian liqueur.
We say: Raspberry fruit richness is balanced by bitter botanical complexity in this Irish whiskey-based alternative to an Old-Fashioned.

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Tipperary Cocktail No.1
With: Irish whiskey, Green Chartreuse and sweet vermouth.
We say: Chartreuse fans will love this Irish whiskey-forward nightcap.

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