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    Experience St. Patrick’s Day with a Major Contributor to the Soaring Popularity of Irish Whiskey

    Image Source: Goncharov_Artem / Shutterstock

    McConnell’s, a renowned name in Irish whisky making with a history dating back to 1776, made a remarkable comeback in 2020 with the help of Conecuh Brands after being absent from the market for close to 90 years. The re-introduction of McConnell’s was warmly received by consumers, leading to significant growth in Irish whiskey sales according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS). The latest report shows a remarkable 16.3% increase in domestic sales, amounting to $1.3 billion, positioning Irish whiskey as the third-fastest-growing spirits category in the U.S. Surpassing Scotch in popularity, Irish whiskey is gaining traction among connoisseurs who appreciate its intricate flavors and distinct character. As the Irish Whiskey Festival returns to New York, more enthusiasts are being introduced to this iconic spirit, carefully crafted by the prominent NYC Irish cocktail haven, The Dead Rabbit.

    According to William Lavelle, director of the Irish Whiskey Association, the establishment of a second Irish whiskey festival in New York signifies the unstoppable ascent of Irish whiskey in the United States. One brand that stands out is McConnell’s, known for its heritage and distinction in producing the oldest whiskey in Ireland. Featured in The Dead Rabbit’s newly published book entitled Paddy Drinks: The World of Modern Irish Whiskey Cocktails, McConnell’s offers a blend of Irish malt and grain whiskey aged in bourbon casks for five years, presenting a unique blend of vanilla sweetness and traditional Irish whiskey essence.

    The book, Paddy Drinks, serves as an educational tool, providing insights into whiskey production processes, different types of whiskey, flavor profiles, and tasting notes, along with a collection of 90 innovative cocktail recipes showcased at The Dead Rabbit throughout the years. The signature cocktail called the Beauty Spot features McConnell’s whiskey blended with absinthe, matcha–Coco López mix, pineapple juice, pistachio orgeat, crème de cacao, apricot eau-de-vie, and half-and-half, offering a tropical, creamy, and indulgent experience that redefines the classic concept of Irish whiskey cocktails.

    Reflecting the brand’s innovative approach, McConnell’s is preparing to inaugurate a new distillery in Belfast that combines traditional methods with cutting-edge technology within a historic setting near its original location. Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, author and mixologist Natalie Migliarini from Beautiful Booze (@beautifulbooze) has crafted two enticing cocktails that highlight McConnell’s whiskey’s versatility and character. The McConnell’s Smoked Honey Old-Fashioned and McConnell’s Irish Buck cocktails bring out the essence of the spirit in a beautifully designed bottle adorned with a cork stopper and a distinctive dark-green label.

    In Migliarini’s rendition of the McConnell’s Smoked Honey Old-Fashioned, she accentuates the whiskey’s elegance, honey undertones, and spicy finish by smoking the glass with rosemary, infusing a herbaceous element that enhances the overall experience. For the McConnell’s Irish Buck, Migliarini draws inspiration from the fresh and tangy flavors of cloudy apple juice found in Ireland, which complements the whiskey’s profile perfectly. Her creative twist using apple juice as the primary modifier results in a unique and flavorful cocktail that pairs exquisitely with spicy ginger beer, delivering a refreshing taste sensation.

    Image Source: Goncharov_Artem / Shutterstock

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