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15 Best Irish Drinks: A Dubliners Guide to Irish Alcohol

15 Best Irish Drinks: A Dubliners Guide to Irish Alcohol

The best Irish drinks are, in my opinion, Redbreast 12 and Guinness. However, there are many Irish alcoholic drinks worth considering.

I’ve spent all of my adult life in Ireland, with most weekend nights spend sipping Irish drinks in pubs and at home.

This guide contains a mix of Irish liquor and Irish beers that I am arguably too fond of and that I hope you’ll enjoy. Cheers!

Some quick need-to-knows about Irish drinks

irish liquor drinks

Before we dive into our favourite Irish beverages, it’s worth taking 10 seconds to read these need-to-knows, first:

1. Irish alcohol falls into several categories

Irish drinks can be broken up into a number of different categories including the Irish whiskey brands, Irish beers, Irish gins, Irish stout, Irish cider, Irish wine and Poitín (Irish moonshine).

2. Famous Irish drinks

Guinness, Jameson and Baileys are arguably three of the most popular Irish drinks. However, there are many other famous Irish alcohol brands, like Murphy’s, Drumshambo, Dingle, Powers and many more that are well-known in Ireland and abroad.

3. Popular drinks in Ireland

We get asked ‘What do Irish people drink?’ quite a bit, and it’s a hard question to answer. Guinness is always a popular one, but there’s plenty of other Irish bar drinks, like Smithwicks and Killbegan that people drink here.

The best Irish alcoholic drinks

best Irish alcoholic drinks

The first section of our guide looks at what I think are the best Irish drinks, and I’ve sampled enough of them over the years…

Below, you’ll find everything from Murphy’s and Baileys to some often overlooked famous Irish drinks.

1. Guinness


Guinness arguably tops the list of the most famous Irish drinks on the market today. It has been brewed at St. James’s Gate in Dublin since 1759.

For as far back as I can remember, Guinness has always been referred to as a stout, however, if you visit the Guinness website they now call it a beer…

Guinness is one of those Irish drinks, a little bit like an Irish coffee, that you eat with your eyes, first.

If you visit a pub that serves a decent pint, you’ll get a nice creamy head, no bitterness, and nice hints of coffee (see our guide to the best Guinness in Dublin if you’re visiting the capital).

2. Irish coffee

Irish Coffee cocktail

You can’t bate an Irish coffee on a cold winters evening, after a day of being lashed on by the rain while out walking in the countryside!

Now, if you’re wondering what an Irish coffee actually is, it’s coffee… with whiskey and it was invented in 1943 in County Limerick at the Foynes Airbase.

You also add a thick dollop of whipped cream on top along with some sugar. This is one of the more traditional Irish drinks and, if you follow this recipe, it’s very handy to make.

3. Baileys Irish Cream

Baileys traditional irish alcohol

Bailey’s will always remind me of Christmas. If you’re not familiar with it, Baileys Irish Cream is an Irish cream liqueur that launched in 1974 (it was the first Irish Cream to hit the market).

Although it looks a bit like chocolate milk, it is, in fact, an alcoholic drink that’s flavoured with cream, some cocoa, and, of course, a dash of Irish whiskey.

If you’re looking for popular Irish drinks that aren’t overly strong taste-wise and that can be nursed slowly, try Baileys. It’s sweet, indulgent, and perfect for after dinner.

4. Redbreast 12

Redbreast 12

Redbreast 12 is my favourite of the many Irish whiskey brands and it is the world’s most popular Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey.

One of the reasons that I’d list this amongst the best Irish drinks is how accessible the flavour profile is – even for people that aren’t too fond of whiskey, this is enjoyable.

Interestingly, it is one of only two single pot whiskeys that has been produced continuously since the early 1900s!

Redbreast is smooth, sweet and one of easier Irish whiskeys to drink straight.

5. Murphy’s Stout

Murphy's Stout

Murphy’s Irish stout is one of several beers like Guinness that doesn’t get half the credit that it deserves.

It originated in Cork and dates back to 1856. Although it’s proving harder to find this on tap these days, it’s worth seeking out.

This stout is only 4% proof, so it’s pleasant to drink and leaves very little after taste.

I’ve also been told that it’s one of the few traditional Irish drinks that doesn’t give you a hangover, but I’ll have to report back on that!

More popular traditional Irish drinks

irish liquor drinks

The second section of our guide looks at some of the more famous Irish alcohol brands, many of which are some of the most popular drinks in Ireland.

Below, you’ll find everything from Jameson and Drumshambo to some other tasty Irish bar drinks.

1. Bulmers/Magners Irish Cider

Our only cider on the list is Bulmers (in Ireland) or Magners (outside of Ireland). This is an Irish cider brand that’s produced in Tipperary from 17 varieties of apples.

It comes in cans, on draft and in ‘long-neck’ and pint bottles, it’s top is wrapped in a golden foil and it’s generally served over ice.

This is a one of several popular Irish drinks that tends to be fairly seasonal.

While the likes of Baileys is popular during the colder months, Bulmers popularity surges during summer.

2. Kilkenny

Kilkenny Irish Ale

Kilkenny Irish cream ale began its life in the St. Francis Abbey Brewery in Kilkenny but it’s now brewed next to the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin.

As is the case with Guinness, Kilkenny is nitrogenated, so when it’s poured you get a nice thick head (best sampled in draught form).

It’s very rare that you’ll see this for sale in pubs, even in Ireland. The only pub I’ve seen it served in in Dublin is the Palace in Temple Bar.

However, if you can get your hands on it, expect a very smooth sip that’s surprisingly light and refreshing.

3. Jameson

Jameson traditional Irish drinks

Next up is Jameson – one of the most well known Irish alcoholic drinks in the world. It’s available in over 130 countries and it’s been sold internationally since the early 19th century.

This is a blended Irish whiskey that was one of the six main Dublin Whiskeys back in the day. However, Jameson is no longer distilled in the capital.

While production of the whiskey moved to the new Midleton Distillery in Cork, you can still take a tour of the old distillery on Bow St. in Dublin.

Drank neat or via one of many Jameson cocktails, this is one of the easier-to-sip Irish whiskeys.

4. Drumshanbo Irish Gin

Drumshanbo Irish Gin

Drumshanbo is the crown in the Irish gin category and it’s the perfect base for many St Patrick’s Day cocktails (it comes in a gorgeous bottle, too, which makes it a great gift).

It’s created in the Shed Distillery in the little village of Drumshanbo in County Leitrim and it has a lovely strong flavour profile that’s goes beautifully in a G&T.

Now widely available across 30 international markets, Drumshanbo is the type of drink to have tucked away in your press for when you need a potent tipple.

This is one of the more overlooked Irish liquor drinks and it’s a fine addition to any drinks collection.

5. Tullamore DEW

Tullamore DEW

Tullamore DEW is hands-down one of the best cheap Irish whiskies. It was also the second-largest selling Irish whiskey brand globally in 2015, with sales of 950,000+ cases sold.

This whiskey was originally produced in Tullamore in Offaly, in an old distillery that was established in 1829.

You can get a 70cl bottle from around €24.95/$23.17 and you’ll get great bang for your buck.

This is a smooth and sweet Irish liquor that’s easy to sip and that acts as a great side-kick to a pint of Guinness.

Tasty Irish cocktails that pack a punch

famous irish drinks

The final section of our guide is all about cocktails and, luckily enough, Irish alcohol tends to lend itself well to a mixer and a bit of ice.

Below, you’ll find some very tasty Irish alcoholic drinks, like the Irish Maid and more.

1. Irish Maid

The Irish Maid

The Irish Maid is a very easy cocktail to knock up and it packs a punch flavour wise. You’ll need a good whiskey, some elderflower liqueur, lemon juice, simple syrup and slices of cucumber.

You need to muddle two slices of cucumber in a shaker, first, and then add the rest of your ingredients, along with a handful of ice.

Shake hard and strain into a glass with ice. In my opinion, there are few Irish alcoholic drinks that are as easy and as tasty as the Irish Maid.

2. Nutty Irishman

sweet st. patrick's day drinks

The Nutty Irishman is one of the more popular Irish drinks to sip away on after dinner (it’s very indulgent). It’s also easy to dress up with garnish.

Ingredients wise, you’ll need Baileys Irish Cream, Frangelico Hazelnut Liqueur, whipped cream, smashed hazelnuts for garnishing and ice (here are the measurements).

3. Espresso Martini with Baileys

Irish Espresso Martini

Few traditional Irish drinks are as delicious as the Espresso Martini with Baileys. This one, when made correctly, really is a banger!

You’ll need freshly brewed espresso (not instant!), Baileys Irish Cream and vodka to mix this up (get a decent vodka). To make it, add whiskey, vodka and espresso to a shaker 1/2 filled with ice and shake.

Strain into a fresh glass and garnish with a couple of coffee beans. See more drinks like this in our guide to the best Irish whiskey cocktails.

4. Irish Eyes

Irish Eyes

The Irish Eyes is one of several green Irish liquor drinks that tend to be popular around Paddy’s Day.

And the beauty of it is that you can knock it up in a couple of minutes. You’ll need Baileys, whiskey, green Crème de menthe and fresh cream.

You then need to add the ingredients to a shaker 1/2 filled with ice and shake hard. Strain into a glass like the one above to serve.

5. Irish Sour

Irish Whiskey Sour

And last but by no means least in our guide to the best Irish drinks is the Irish Sour.

This is an Irish twist on a classic cocktail and, while it may look tricky to make, it really isn’t.

If you follow this recipe, you’ll need whiskey, egg whites, lemon juice, simple syrup, some Angostura bitters, a shaker and ice.

Taste wise, it’s strong and zesty and it’s a great pre-dinner drink.

What do Irish people drink?

We get emails constantly asking ‘What do they drink in Ireland?’. And we more than often struggle to come up with a reply.

Why? Well, it’s impossible to narrow down what exactly it is that Irish people drink, as taste is completely subjective.

Sure, you could probably dig out a list of the most popular Irish drinks and get an idea from the most units sold, but that’s still a bit of a generalisation.

If you’re reading this and you’re Irish, pop a comment into the comments section below and let us know what your regular drink is.

FAQs about popular Irish drinks

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from What Irish alcoholic drinks are popular in Ireland?’ to ‘Which Traditional Irish drinks are the tastiest?’.

In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.

What are the best Irish drinks for the weekend?

If you’re a beer drinker, Guinness or Scraggy Bay. If you like gin, try Dingle. If you like whiskey, give Redbreast 12 a crack.

I’m wondering what to drink in Ireland on a trip?

If you’re looking to try something different, there are lots of Irish beers on the market (ask in the pub you visit for a recommendation – they’ll be happy to help!).

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Patricia Roche

Thursday 2nd of February 2023

I am Irish. If I am out socializing in a smart location I will drink a Dingle gin and tonic. If I am out with friends and maybe just finished a hike or long walk I will love a glass of Guinness. If I sit down at home by the fire on a winters evening there is nothing nicer than to sip on a Bushmills or Bkack Bush whiskey with a little water


Thursday 17th of February 2022

I could hear the Irish accent!

Kelly O

Saturday 11th of December 2021

I’m surprised that you didn’t mention Smithwicks or Killbegan. I enjoy them both on regular occasions.

Michael Shaw

Friday 12th of November 2021

Great article! I’ll be looking for a Murphy’s Stout next. For recommendations, have you tried Five Farms Irish Cream? Side by side, it blows Bailey’s out of the lead (in my opinion)! I like their clasp-top bottle—can be reused if one so desires.

As for my favorite cocktail…it’s an Irish Threesome—Jimmy, Ginger, and me. LOL!

Slainte! Boots…

Barry Voight

Wednesday 29th of September 2021

Glad you included Dingly and Tullamore Dew. I have been sipping Dew since 1963. Use to buy it in a two tone light green crock. Looking forward to getting back to Ireland nest May 2022. Great article!🇺🇸

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