Irish Whiskey Day was created by international whiskey writer Stuart McNamara. Although Stuart writes about whiskey (sometimes spelled “whisky”) from all over the world, his Irish upbringing means that he has a special love and respect for Irish Whiskey in particular. This led to him becoming the editor of IrishWhiskey.Com, the Irish Whiskey Trail and the Dublin Whiskey Trail.
Stuart became concerned at the way that Irish Whiskey was being marketed outside Ireland by irresponsible marketers as a shots type drink. It bothered him that people partook of the precious drink without any recognition of the amazing degree of science, art, history, heritage, nature and culture which is the backbone of every single glass of Irish Whiskey or Uisce Beatha in Irish Gaelic.
Of particular worry to Stuart was the lack of respect for Irish Whiskey outside of Ireland on that most Irish of days that occurs each year – St Patrick’s Day, which is celebrated on the 17th of March.
So, Stuart created the special day and the very first International Irish Whiskey Day was celebrated more than ten years ago. And the date chosen was particularly significant in relation to many factors.
History of International Irish Whiskey Day
The numeral 3 has always been of special importance in Ireland, for a variety of reasons. The symbol of Ireland (the Shamrock) has three leaves. The Irish flag contains three colours (green, white and orange). And there are three types of Irish Whiskey – Single Malt, Single Grain and the uniquely Irish Single Pot Still.
In keeping with the lucky number 3, Irish Whiskey is also unique in that by tradition, it is triple distilled. Plus, this spirit must be matured for 3 years in order to be considered “whiskey”, adding to the fortuitous nature of the number three.
And so, the 3rd of March or 3/3 became the obvious choice of date for our annual Irish Whiskey Day. It also is exactly two weeks to the day before St Patrick’s Day which is always on 17 March, making it a perfect time to raise awareness.
How to Celebrate International Irish Whiskey Day
Sure, this day is a great time to raise a dram, but there’s much more to it than just drinking! More options for celebrating this momentous day include:
Join an Online or Live Event
Today, Irish Pubs and Whiskey Clubs located all over the world host global online and in-person Irish Whiskey tastings, lectures, talks, visits and other fun and educational Irish Whiskey activities each year on March 3rd.
The idea of these events is to educate and inform their patrons and members from all over the world on the wonder and joy of Irish Whiskey, just in time to share their newfound Irish Whiskey knowledge and appreciation with their own friends two weeks later on 17 March St. Patrick’s Day.
In fact, any Pub, Restaurant or Irish Whiskey friendly venue can create a free event and map listing for their March 3rd Irish Whiskey Day Event, no matter where in the world they are located.
Irish Whiskey Tasting Party
Grab a few friends with discerning tastes (five to seven is perfect) and invite them to an Irish Whiskey tasting.
Provide 4-5 varieties of Irish whiskey. Choose from:
- Tullamore D.E.W. Original
- Jameson Irish Whiskey
- Bushmills Original
- Redbreast 15 year
- Teeling Single Grain Irish Whiskey
- Knappogue Castle Single Malt 16 Year
It will be necessary to have enough tulip-shaped tasting glasses for each guest to try each type of whiskey. Have a friend bring some along or borrow from a neighbor if there might not be enough on hand.
Make sure there’s enough room temperature bottled water on hand to dilute the drinks as well as for people to drink between tastings. Also provide a few snacks as a palate cleanser, such as oatcakes or crackers.
Make sure each guest has a notepad so they can keep track of their findings when tasting. Aficionados will know to use the terms Nose, Taste and Finish. People who are newer to whiskey tasting can simply write down what they think.
Irish Whiskey in Entertainment
While Scotch whiskey shows up in many films, Irish Whiskey may be just a bit more discerning. Still, for the person who is paying attention, Irish spirits can often be found making Cameo appearances in various films and shows, which are perfect for watching when celebrating International Irish Whiskey Day, such as:
- Mad Men, American drama series (2007-2015). Jameson Irish Whiskey makes an appearance with Don Draper (played by John Hamm), set in the 1960s.
- Kill the Irishman, a 2011 biographical crime film. Bushmills Irish Whiskey is shown passing through the lips of the main character, Danny Greene (played by Ray Stevenson), a few times throughout the film.
- Out of Africa, an epic romantic film (1985). Jameson Irish Whiskey makes a cameo appearance in this film depicting the 1937 autobiographical novel of the same name, by Isak Dinesen.
- Blown Away, a 1994 action thriller where Jeff Bridges and Tommy Lee Jones are shown tipping back a few drams of Bushmills Irish Whiskey.
With a growing online audience each year, International Irish Whiskey Day is playing it’s own small part in building a sustainable lifelong tribe of new Irish Whiskey drinkers and aficionados. Join in the celebration!