Howaya! In this guide, we’ll be showing you a shed-load of Irish drinks that are worth sampling when you visit Ireland.
Now, hold on there a second – a little disclaimer, if I may – I’m not saying you should knock back every one of the drinks below on a night out.
So, drink responsibly and all that craic!
I’ve broken this guide up into a few different sections:
- The most popular Irish drinks (think Guinness, Jameson, etc)
- My favourite lesser-known Irish drinks (some solid options here)
- Non-gimmicky St. Patrick’s Day drinks
The best Irish drinks: a rant first
If you Google ‘Best Irish drinks’ or anything along those lines, you’ll be shown a tonne of different blogs and websites, many of which are owned or written by American writers.
If you look through many of these lists, you’ll find some of the greatest load of shite you’ll ever come across. Honestly. The vast majority of these sites list ‘Irish drinks’ that are no more Irish.
Drinks like alcopops and manky shots that have a bit of green dye squirted in them… anyway, rant over!
In the guide below, you’ll find actual Irish drinks as opposed to gimmicky shite or random concoctions dreamt up in frat dorms…
The most popular Irish drinks
In this first section, I’ve whacked in some of the most popular Irish drinks on the market today. You’ll find everything from stout and coffee to whiskey and more.
If you’re visiting Ireland or if you’re just looking to pick up a reliable Irish drink, the below should give you a good idea of which to go for.
In the second section (scroll down), you’ll find a load of lesser known Irish drinks that I’m fond of and that I’d happily recommend.
Redbreast 12 is a mighty whiskey. Especially for drinkers like myself who find many whiskeys a bit too, eh, burney… is that even a word?!
I realise that’ll make me sound like a tool, but bear with me. If you’ve ever tasted a whiskey before and found the taste too sharp or intense, you’re not alone.
Many whiskeys could easily double up as toilet cleaner they’re that high in alchol. I had completely written off whiskey until I tried Redbreast in my late twenties.
I’ve been drinking it ever since. If you’re looking for an Irish whiskey that has a nice smoothness to it along with a gentle sweetness, try Redbrest 12.
2. Irish Coffee
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! You also add a thick dollop of whipped cream on top along with some sugar.
I’ve had a lot of Irish coffees over the years and, to be honest (and blunt), the majority have been shite! It can be hard in some places to find one that’s just right.
This is one of the more traditional Irish drinks in this guide. if you want to find out how to make it, read Tourism Ireland’s official guide.
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 call it a beer, which puzzles me!
Guinness is one of those 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.
If you’re planning on sampling Guinness for the first time soon, read our guide to spotting a bad pint of Guinness.
4. Tullamore DEW
Tullamore DEW is another whiskey that I tend to drink quite a bit. If I fancy one of these, I tend to pair it with a pint of Guinness.
I like to take a sip of the Tullamore DEW and then follow it up with a mouthful of Guinness. Now, I know literally nothing about flavour notes and all of that craic, but I can tell you a sip of this Irish drink followed by a swing of Guinness tastes mighty.
Tullamore DEW was 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. Its name comes from the initials of Daniel E. Williams. Williams was a general manager and then owner of the original distillery.
Murphy’s Irish stout is completely overshadowed by Guinness, which results in many people never sampling its velvety drop.
I knocked back my first Murphy’s in December of 2019. It was served up to me with a head so plump and creamy that I could have rested a Euro coin on top of it…
OK, that’s a massive exaggeration, but you get the picture. It was class. Murphy’s originated in Cork and dates back to 1856.
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 doesn’t give you a hangover, but I’ll have to report back on that!
6. Jameson Whiskey
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. However, Jameson is no longer distilled in the capital. Production of the whiskey moved to the new Midelton Distillery in Cork.
There’s a heap of different types of Jameson out there and there are even more ways of drinking it if you prefer to avoid drinking it straight.
If you’re looking for a slightly diluted version that’s tasty, add some ginger beer to a healthy measure of whiskey along with a handful of ice.
7. Bailey’s Irish Cream
Bailey’s will always remind me of Christmas. Actually, Christmas and Sunday evenings during winter, as my mam used to sip away on a glass of it while we watched a movie.
If you’re not familiar with it, Baileys Irish Cream is an Irish cream liqueur. 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 an Irish drink that isn’t overly strong taste-wise and that can be nursed slowly, try Baileys. It’s sweet, indulgent, and perfect for after dinner or as a fireside tipple.
8. Bulmers/Magner’s Irish Cider
Our only cider on the list is Bulmer’s – a drink that perfect for those of you with a sweet tooth. During my early drinking days, I only ever drank Bulmers.
Which is why that, for the past 12 years, every time I smell the stuff now my stomach churns a little.
We’d stash cans of Bulmers in fields during the day and return later in the evening to drink them… while they were warm…
Anyway! Bulmers (in Ireland) or Magners (outside of Ireland) is an Irish cider brand that’s produced in Tipperary from 17 varieties of apples (and loads of other stuff, obviously).
My favourite lesser-known Irish drinks
Right – on to the next one. In this section, I’m going to jot down some of my favourite Irish drinks that are nowhere near as well known as the ones above.
You’ll find everything from Poitín and gin to craft beers and more in the section below. If you have any drinks in mind that you think should be added here, pop a comment into the comment section.
In the third and final section (scroll down) you’ll find a few of St. Patrick’s Day drinks to try if you’re looking for something to mark the occasion.
1. Dingle Gin
I was pretty late catching on to the whole gin craze. It wasn’t until my birthday a couple of years back when someone bought me a bottle of Dingle Gin that I got a taste for the stuff.
Dingle Gin is produced in the Dingle Distillery – an Irish whiskey distillery located in Milltown on the outskirts of Dingle Town that was established in 2012.
If you’re looking for a nice refreshing Irish drink, pop a shot of this into a glass with some tonic water and lash in a fat slice of grapefruit.
I’d heard a lot of chatter about Kilkenny Irish cream ale from a lad I went to college with, whose parents lived in Thomastown in Kilkenny.
It wasn’t until several years after I finished college, in a bar in Kinsale, randomly enough, that I finally got to try it… and it was looooovely (although I wouldn’t be able to stomach more than 2 of them… OK, maybe 4!)
Kilkenny is an Irish cream ale that’s now produced by the makers of Guinness. It began its life in the St. Francis Abbey Brewery in Kilkenny but it’s now brewed at St. James’s Gate in Dublin.
Kilkenny has a nitrogenated cream head, similar to that on a pint of Guinness, which makes it fine to look at and even finer to sip.
3. Micil Poitín
If you’re not familiar with poitín, it was a drink that was illegally produced for over 200 years and was commonly made in a small pot-still.
Poitín was traditionally distilled from malted grains, like barley, oats and wheat. In later years, people used potatoes, whey, beets or sugar.
Now, when I was growing up we were always told to avoid poitín if it was offered to us. It was generally offered to us by a lad whose grandad lived in the west of Ireland.
It was said that he made it in his bath. It was also notoriously strong. Micil Poitín is a fine spirit from a family with a long history in creating poitín. Perfect for a cocktail!
4. The Wicklow Brewery Stout
I tried the Wicklow Brewery’s stout while doing one of their brewery tours a couple of years back, and it was delicious.
The only problem? I haven’t been able to find one other pub that serves it on draft since, which is a shame.
Those that nurse one of these lads can expect a nice thick white head with flavours of coffee, chocolate and a bit of nuttiness.
This is a fairly big statement from someone that drinks Guinness as much as I do, but if this stout was sold in more pubs, I’d happily convert.
5. Scraggy Bay
Ah, Scraggy Bay. A drink that gave birth to many of the hangovers that I experienced during a two-and-a-half-year-stint of working in Dublin City.
Scraggy Bay (the yellow bottle above) is produced by Kinnegar Brewing, a brewery in Donegal. This is a strong, refreshing Irish beer that packs a punch with 5.3% volume.
If you’re sick of your usual beer or if you’re just looking to sample something a little bit different, give this a lash – you won’t be disappointed.
St. Patrick’s Day drinks
So, come March every year without fail, we’ll receive around 30 to 40 emails from people asking for advice on ‘st patricks day drinks’ to make for a party they’re organising.
I’ll level with you here – I don’t have it in me to recommend you some absolute garbage drink that’s swimming in green dye and packed with 40 spoonfuls of sugar.
However, if you are looking for something out of the ordinary to sip away on come March 17th, here’s a couple of suggestions for you.
St. Patrick’s Day cocktails… that aren’t gimmicky p*ss
OK, here are a handful of simple Irish cocktails with a twist that you can easily knock up on St. Patrick’s Day.
There’s nothing overly complicated here, you’ll just need some pretty standard ingredients and a little bit of time to prepare them.
1. A Dingle Donkey
A Dingle Donkey is a Moscow Mule with an Irish twist. Here’s how to make it and what you’ll need to pull it off:
- Ingredients: Dingle Vodka, a lime, ginger beer and ice.
- Step 1: Chop your lime into 2. Squeeze one half into a tall glass and cut two slices off of the other for garnish.
- Step 2: Pop 3 or 4 ice cubes into the glass and follow them with a slug of your Dingle Vodka.
- Step 3: Top the whole thing off with a generous amount of ginger beer.
- Step 4: Stire and sip.
2. A Bailey’s Coffee
If you’re not heading on a pub buzz and you fancy a tasty after-dinner drink that’s sweet but that still packs a punch, a Bailey’s coffee is a solid option. Here’s how to make one:
- Ingredients: Baileys, freshly brewed filter coffee and whipped cream.
- Step 1: Warm up your cup with hot water.
- Step 2: Brew up some coffee.
- Step 3: Add 2 tablespoons of Bailey’s and stir well.
- Step 4: Top with whipped cream and sprinkles of grated chocolate.
What do Irish people drink?
We often get emails from people asking questions like this. And I 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. For me, it’s Guinness. However, if I have a bottle on hand and I don’t fancy a hangover, I’ll have a few glasses of Redbreast topped up with ice.
Let us know you favourite Irish alcoholic drinks!
If you have a drink that you’ve sampled in the past that you’ve tasted and loved, let us know below.
Although I’ve tried to give a fairly rounded overview of the best Irish drinks above, taste is completely subjective.
So, I’d love to hear what you think. Whether you want to recommend some St. Patrick’s Day cocktails or a beer you tasted during your time in Ireland, let me know in the comments section below.