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

Updated on March 10, 2020
Carb Diva profile image

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 | Source

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 | Source

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 | Source

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 | Source

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 | Source

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 | Source

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 | Source

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 | Source

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.

Questions & Answers

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      • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Lum 

        4 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

        Flourish, do let me know if you happen to use one of these; I'd love some feedback.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image

        FlourishAnyway 

        4 weeks ago from USA

        My God these look good. I may choose one for my Irish family and see what they say! Should be very popular for St. Patrick’s Day!

      • MizBejabbers profile image

        Doris James MizBejabbers 

        4 weeks ago from Beautiful South

        Well, Linda, it's kind of difficult to get really fresh salmon in Arkansas, so I usually buy frozen. LOL However I had some grilled salmon on a visit to Seattle, and I wasn't fond of it either. Salmon has a much stronger flavor than catfish. I guess one could use the recipe on catfish, but it is a softer fish than salmon, so I'm not sure. I'll have to try it and see, but it may fall apart.

      • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Lum 

        4 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

        Shauna, it's only 10 am, and I want one of each right now.

      • bravewarrior profile image

        Shauna L Bowling 

        4 weeks ago from Central Florida

        Interesting history, Linda. Now I know the difference between whiskey and scotch. I always thought they were pretty much the same thing.

        If I were to try any of these recipes, it would be the pork chops and the burger.

      • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Lum 

        4 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

        MizB if the salmon you've had was "fishy" that just means that you didn't have a good piece of truly fresh salmon. Do you think you could use the same technique on catfish? It doesn't have to be deep fried (although I know that's traditional).

      • MizBejabbers profile image

        Doris James MizBejabbers 

        4 weeks ago from Beautiful South

        Wonderful article, Linda. I want to try that salmon recipe. I'll try anything to take that yucky fishy taste away. I'm more of a catfish person meself. I think people don't realize that the alcohol cooks out in most foods (except some sauces) leaving behind a wonderful taste.

      • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Lum 

        4 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

        Donna, it's so sweet of you to take the time to leave a comment (even if you won't be using the recipes). Stop by tomorrow for #127 in the Q&A series.

      • Donna-Rayne profile image

        Donna Rayne 

        4 weeks ago from Sutter Creek

        Linda, a very good article with lots of yummy recipes. I would omit the alcohol because I'm not a drinker but the entire article was lovely! I enjoyed it thoroughly!

        Have a wonderful day,

        Donna Rayne

      • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Lum 

        4 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

        Bill, I know this one's not for you. Forgive me for that. The next one will be a sandwich (I think), perhaps more to your liking.

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 

        4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

        I think I've done more than enough exploring, thank you very much. :)

      • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Lum 

        4 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

        Manatita, oh my the allure of the devil's brew. Yes, everything in moderation (even too much water can be lethal). I appreciate your question and will have an answer for you one week from this coming Monday (so #128 in the series).

        And, I have no idea if Eric is fact or fiction, but I love him nonetheless. What a gem!

      • manatita44 profile image

        manatita44 

        4 weeks ago from london

        Did Eric make that up? It's a 'darn' good story!

      • manatita44 profile image

        manatita44 

        4 weeks ago from london

        Very imaginative this Hub. The Irish Whisky cake looks like a lemon and … something slice that I have from Costa Coffee. It is very nice as all bad stuff are. Let me re-phrase that. It's finger-licking; tongue-licking good … a temptatation which is bad for my health. He he.

        I use to have Irish Porchine in the seventies in Ireland. Lethal stuff! We have or used to have a local thing called 'mountain dew' in Grenada. I think these things get their names to evade the police.

        Here's a question. Was the cheeseburger started in America?

      • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Lum 

        4 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

        Eric, I'm speechless (and my family will tell you that's hard to do). I love your tale. Fact or fiction doesn't matter. You, my dear friend, have contributed so much more to this humble post than I could have ever imagined.

      • Ericdierker profile image

        Eric Dierker 

        4 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

        Well the brothers sat there ready to divide the mother's estate rest her soul. The children were asleep and the women gathered a full two homes away.

        Nasty business with families and fortunes at stake. One drank from the protestant and the other from the Catholic. Neither one gave a real dang about such matters, it was just the preference of Jamesons over Old Bushmills whiskey from the Isles.

        This given here and that given there and after each decision a shot of that brown elixer others call whiskey.

        Past midnight and the brothers had only the most cantankerous of property yet to distribute. Old women or grandchildren was the dividing line. Of course he with the Catholic mix wanted old women, he with the protestant mix wanted grandchildren.

        It became a shouting match and near fisticuffs.

        The two wives entered the back kitchen door to find the men at the kitchen table embroiled in a fight to death arm wrestling contest.

        The fine ladies had brought a stew to coax the men into sobering up and sharing a meal. Well the match was interrupted but both kept pressing until both bottles of whiskey were knocked into the stew to everyone's chagrin.

        The answer was had. The brothers quickly gobbled up the stew with the two different whiskeys mixed. The brothers would add some of their own holding to the inheritance and make peace.

        The stew was made wonderful with the melding of the two whiskeys.

        And that is the true story of the peace in Ireland.

      • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Lum 

        4 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

        Hi Angel. Happy to see you here again. Yes, I cautioned that the 2nd cake is a bit boozy. Try the pork chops my dear; you'll love them!

      • Angel Guzman profile image

        Angel Guzman 

        4 weeks ago from Joliet, Illinois

        All that food looks so delicious! I've had rum cake before. It got me slightly tipsy :)

      • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Lum 

        4 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

        Pamela, I don't drink hard liquor, but I wrote this article thinking it might get a little traffic on/near St. Patrick's Day. I haven't tried the salmon or either cake, but the pork chops are divine. Oh, and those brownies!! Thanks so much for stopping by.

      • Pamela99 profile image

        Pamela Oglesby 

        4 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

        Every dish in this article looks delicious, all the meats and the decadent brownies make your mouth water. I never heard of Irish Apple Cake before but I'll bet it is good.

        I really know nothing about Irish whiskey but the dishes you can make sure make me want to pay attention to your excellent information, Linda.

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