When in Rome…

A long weekend away to Dublin saw me break with tradition, exchanging wine for two somewhat different and polarising drinks; Guinness and Jameson whiskey* (not together of course!)

Guinness
I can imagine many of you visibly wincing, but don’t be put off by the idea of Guinness – rich and creamy in texture with a nutty flavour, the first taste is delicious! That is followed by a distinctive bitter, and slightly metallic (but not unpleasant) aftertaste.

With that in mind, a trip to Dublin can’t pass without a stop off at the Guinness storehouse. It’s here that you can learn all about the rich history of the humble porter, from the coopers responsible back in the day for making and mending the barrels, to the ingredients and processes that go into the production of the drink. You’ll even learn why you must wait so long for the barman to pour your pint of Guinness once you have ordered it. Here, the ‘master brewer’ explains how to pour the perfect pint.

The gravity bar at the top of the Guinness storehouse, with stunning views over the city, is the perfect place to enjoy a pint of the black stuff.

Jameson Irish whiskey
Given that we walked the length and breadth of Dublin in the five days we were there (take sturdy shoes if you plan on visiting), it was inevitable that we would stumble upon the Old Jameson distillery. No longer a functioning distillery, it now serves as a museum where you can sign up to guided tours taking you through all the processes of whiskey production. You can also enjoy a drink at the bar at the end of it – who knew Jameson and ginger ale tasted so good?

Eight of us even got an exclusive tasting at the end of the tour, comparing a Scotch whisky, an American whiskey and Jameson Irish whiskey (brief tasting notes below).


(I’m now a qualified whiskey taster, don’t you know)

12 year old Johnnie Walker Scotch whisky
Earthy with a taste like burning cigarettes, I did not enjoy this one.

Jack Daniels Tennessee
Harsher and sweeter on the palate, this just reminds me of my younger years when JD and coke was all the rage. Needless to say, I’m not a fan!

5 year old Jameson Irish whiskey
Much smoother with some vanilla undertones, this whiskey is incredibly versatile – great with a variety of mixers to make an alternative cocktail.

Fear not, I haven’t turned into a whiskey drinker. While wine still wins hands down for me, these two drinks, known for dividing opinion, are definitely worth a try (especially in their homeland!)

*For the Scots and British, ‘whisky’ is spelt without the ‘e’, whereas the Irish (and Americans) adopt the ‘whiskey’ spelling. For consistency reasons (and because this post centres around Dublin tipples), I’ve stuck with the Irish spelling, except where reference to ‘Scotch whisky’ is made.

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