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Exploring Irish Whiskey: History Plus 8 Recipes for Dinner or Dessert

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Linda explores food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes, one ingredient at a time.

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Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.

— Mark Twain

The Story of Irish Whiskey

Long before the written word, our fables and folklore, our life stories, our histories were shared and passed from generation to generation by storytellers. This is true of all peoples and is certainly true among the Gaelic-speaking Irish. How appropriate then to tell the story of uisce beatha (Gaelic = water of life), Irish whiskey.

You might be wondering what happened in the 1980s to reinvigorate the Irish whiskey market? In the two prior decades, distillers in Ireland had begun to band together. Jameson, Cork, and John Powers merged to form the umbrella Irish Distillers Group. They might have lived happily ever after, but Grand Metropolitan, Allied-Lyons and Guinness threatened a hostile takeover.

Enter Pernod Ricard from stage left. In June 1988 they swept in as white knights and bought the Irish Distillers Group. Irish whiskey distillation was able to remain in Erin plus they gained access to an unprecedented level of investment and an extensive global distribution network. How much of a difference did this make?

In 2015 Irish Distillers sold more than 7 million cases of whiskey, and market forecasts predict that number will grow to more than 10 million cases a year by 2020.

8 Sweet and Savory Recipes

Bacon Colcannon with Irish Whiskey Steak

Irish Apple Cake

Irish Whiskey Cake

Irish Whiskey Cheddar Fondue

One-Pot Irish Whiskey Glazed Salmon

Pork Chops in Creamy Irish Whiskey Sauce

Ultimate Irish Whiskey Brownies

Whiskey-Glazed Blue Cheese Burgers

Bacon colcannon with Irish whiskey steak

Bacon colcannon with Irish whiskey steak

Bacon Colcannon With Irish Whiskey Steak

Everything about this dish is so seductive. Ribeye steaks are marinated in a rich brown sugar/soy/Irish whiskey sauce and grilled to perfection. And what better side to have with that steak than a creamy, luxurious mash of potatoes? The only problem with Barbara's bacon colcannon with Irish whiskey steak is that it is a meal that never would appear on the table to a true Irishman, at least not 100 years ago. That much meat on a plate could only mean that the person feasting had died and gone to Heaven!

Irish apple cake with Irish whiskey caramel sauce

Irish apple cake with Irish whiskey caramel sauce

Irish Apple Cake

This warm and spicy apple cake is perfect for St. Patrick's Day (or a random Tuesday) with the addition of Irish Whiskey in the cake and the caramel sauce. If you like baked apples, you will like this dessert. Don't like nuts? You can omit them. And, you can even delete the whiskey if you wish and replace it with orange juice (but why would you?) The alcohol bakes off, leaving behind just its rich caramel flavor.

Irish whiskey cake

Irish whiskey cake

Read More From Delishably

Irish Whiskey Cake

Unlike the apple cake above, this Irish whiskey cake is very boozy. It's not for the kids, and not for those who abstain from alcohol. But it is rich and decadent, moist and flavorful, and makes 16-20 servings, so it would be perfect for a party.

Irish whiskey cheddar fondue

Irish whiskey cheddar fondue

Irish Whiskey Cheddar Fondue

If you love cheese, Irish cheddar is perhaps at the top of your list of favorites. Can you make it better? Yes, of course, you can! Turn it into an Irish whiskey fondue with a bit of white wine and a splash of Irish whiskey. You can put this luxurious pot of melty yumminess together in just 10 minutes.

One-pot Irish whiskey glazed salmon

One-pot Irish whiskey glazed salmon

One-Pot Irish Whiskey Glazed Salmon

This whiskey-glazed salmon is a real show-stopper. You can dazzle your guests if you carefully follow Courtney's instructions; she flambés the whiskey to take out some of the heat from the sauce, leaving behind just the sweet, caramel flavor that pairs perfectly with thick cream and delicately flavored salmon. (I will be honest with you; I've not attempted this. I don't flambé because I'm only 5 feet tall and I adore my eyebrows).

Boneless pork chops in creamy Irish whiskey sauce

Boneless pork chops in creamy Irish whiskey sauce

Pork Chops in Creamy Irish Whiskey Sauce

Irish whiskey, beef broth, and heavy cream create a luxurious sauce for boneless pork chops. The first time I made the recipe exactly as written; the second time I omitted the Italian seasoning and used some Dijon mustard and dried tarragon. This dish takes only 30 minutes to is perfect for a weeknight dinner.

Ultimate Irish whiskey brownies

Ultimate Irish whiskey brownies

Ultimate Irish Whiskey Brownies

Pastry chef Jillian Bartolome developed this recipe for dark, dense, decadent, over-the-top, fudgy Irish whiskey brownies infused with a full five ounces of our featured ingredient.

Irish whiskey glazed blue cheese burgers

Irish whiskey glazed blue cheese burgers

Whiskey-Glazed Blue Cheese Burgers

Amanda describes her whiskey-glazed blue-cheese burgers in this way:

"Not your average burger!! Angus beef patties are stuffed with crumbled blue cheese, then basted with a lip-smacking whiskey glaze. Topped off with a melted slice of a classic Irish cheese, a bit more of the glaze, and a generous helping of Guinness caramelized onions . . . these blue-cheese burgers will knock your socks off!"

I couldn't say it better myself.

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