Do you want to know what beverages you must have while visiting Ireland? Or maybe you’re just interested in sampling some of Ireland’s most famous drinks. You’ve found the ideal location regardless of your situation. This article will show you some of the best drinks in Ireland that will leave your taste buds wanting more.
Having traveled to Ireland many times, I can attest that drinking is integral to the Irish experience. Guinness has become one of my favorite beverages during my travels through Ireland, and its smooth texture and full flavor have made it a standard in Irish pubs around the world. I even order it in the States if it’s on draft (although it’s true what they say – Guinness does not travel well, so don’t let a pint of one in America deter you from trying the real stuff in Ireland!).
I’m lucky enough to have several friends who live in Ireland, and they’ve also introduced me to other beverages, such as the crisp cider Magners and the tangy orange soft drink Club Orange. Each time I visit, I aim to try a different local drink.
In this article, we’ll guide you to the best alcoholic beverages in all of Ireland. We’ll talk about the drinks that everyone should try at least once, from the ubiquitous Guinness to the soothing Irish Coffee. Relax with a beverage of your choice (ideally one from Ireland), and read on to discover some of the island’s finest libations.
Guinness is at the top of the list of best drinks in Ireland because it has been brewed in Dublin, St. James Gate, since 1759. The company was previously referred to as a stout but now appears as a beer on the Guinness website. It is known for its picturesque appearance with a creamy top layer and hints of coffee.
Guinness is distinctively black with a velvety finish. This iconic beer is defined by harmony as sweet encounters bitter after every sip. It contains more fiber, ferulic acid, and folate than any beer, which is essential for DNA production.
I’ll be honest – I didn’t like Guinness the first time I tried it, but after going out with my local friends in Dublin, I got into it and now love it. You’ll never have a better pint than a Guinness on draft in Ireland.
Tip: Enjoy a decadent, local pint of Guinness at a bed and breakfast in Dublin, Ireland.
History of Guinness in Ireland
Arthur Guinness started brewing in the 1750s when he signed a 9,000-year-old lease at £45 per annum for the unused brewery. Guinness exported their first ale ten years later to London, England. When visiting the original storehouse, Arthur’s signature and the lease can be admired.
What Pairs Best With Guinness
Guinness pairs best with rich, hearty meals. A beef stew consisting of succulent beef chunks, rich beefy broth, and tender vegetables goes well with this bitter brew. Baked salmon, a fish abundant in Ireland, is also complemented by this creamy beverage. Nothing tastes better after a long day of going on a road trip around Ireland than a Guinness and a hearty meal.
Other meals to enjoy with Guinness include fish and chips, oysters, and kidney pies. Oddly enough, Guinness combined with ice cream makes for a delicious float from the mixture of sweet vanilla with rich stout.
Want to learn even more about the history of Guinness? Join the Guinness Storehouse tour for a fun afternoon of education and, of course, drinking.
Magners is a perfect cider for those with a sweet tooth. It has a semi-tart taste with a slight note of bitters. The beverage is medium-bodied and creates an airy feel in the mouth through carbonation.
Magners cider is perfect for a hot summer’s day and is best enjoyed over generous amounts of ice. This beverage is otherwise known as the Original Irish Cider, which tastes like apples served over ice. It is crafted with seventeen different apple variants, pressed and left for a couple of years to achieve its extra tasty, crisp, and refreshing liquid.
Magners is best enjoyed at any celebration either in a bottle or served as a draught.
History of Magners in Ireland
Magners was founded in 1935 and is considered Ireland’s oldest and most well-known cider brand. It is still crafted from apples in Clonmel, County Tipperary, from 150 acres of orchards. Magners prides itself on its commitment to history by using the original recipe created by William Magner in the 1930s.
What Pairs Best With Magners
Magners cider is best had with decadent shortbread cookies. The buttery, flaky cookies and crisp apple drink make for an iconic pairing. Salads, cold meats, and roasts that incorporate apples are great meals to enjoy whilst indulging in a Magners cider.
3. Irish Coffee
Irish coffee was crafted for those cold winter evenings after walking out in the rain in the countryside. It consists of aromatic coffee mixed with a tot of whiskey. This warm drink in Ireland is best served with a dollop of fresh cream on the top to make it more comforting (ideal for a winter day in Dublin).
I have this all the time back at home on the cold, dreary days my state often gets, as it’s the perfect way to start a rainy weekend morning.
History of Irish Coffee in Ireland
Irish Coffee was first created in 1943 by a chef, Joe Sheridan, at Foynes Airport. He created the drink one rainy winter’s night for passengers whose plane got turned around due to a storm. Joe wanted to create a drink that warmed up his guests and calmed their nerves.
The original Irish Coffee recipe uses cream that has not been whipped. An interesting fact is that the drink is so loved that it has its own National Irish Coffee Day on January 25th.
What Pairs Best With Irish Coffee
Chocolate desserts go particularly well with warm Irish Coffee. Decadent chocolate or peanut butter cakes make for a great pairing with bitter coffee. Rich, creamy fudge or a festive pumpkin or apple pie are other fresh alternatives to pair with the intensity of Irish Coffee.
Tip: Start your morning with a warm cup of Irish Coffee at your Galway bed and breakfast.
4. Baileys Irish Cream
Baileys Irish Cream is an Irish cream liqueur often enjoyed during Christmas (which perfectly accompanies all the things to do in Dublin during Christmas) and when visiting Ireland in the winter. It looks slightly like chocolate milk and is flavored with cream, cocoa, and a dash of Irish whiskey. It is sweet, indulgent, and perfect for after a meal, with a subtle strength and taste.
History of Baileys in Ireland
Baileys was invented in 1973 by a team of professionals, including Tom Jago of Gilbeys of Ireland, a division of International Distillers and Vintners. It was introduced in 1974 as the first Irish Cream on the market at a restaurant owned by John Chesterman.
What Pairs Best With Baileys Irish Cream
Baileys Irish Cream can be mixed with coffee and cold brews to give it an extra flavor kick. It also pairs well with hot chocolate or on top of your favorite ice cream. Making a milkshake using Baileys is a delicious option for a hot summer’s day.
Other suggestions include a more salty nut option or tart cherries. This compliments Baileys sweet, creamy taste. You’ll love this traditional Irish drink when staying at a country house hotel in Ireland.
5. Redbreast 12
Redbreast 12 is a famous Irish whiskey brand that is smooth, sweet, and one of the easier whiskeys to drink. It has a more subtle taste to it, infused with notes of dried peels, ginger, melon, and linseed. It has a spicy aroma and is full-bodied, highlighting nuts and citrus.
Redbreast is distilled at the Midleton site from malt and unmalted barley. It is then matured in a combination of American oak barrels and Spanish oak Oloroso sherry barrels. It is a smooth whiskey enjoyed by seasoned whiskey lovers.
History of Redbreast 12 in Ireland
Redbreast was introduced in 1903. It is a brand of single-pot still Irish whiskey and is produced by Irish Distillers. The drink was originally bottled by Gilbey’s using distillate from Jameson’s Bow Street Distillery. The name Redbreast comes from the bird Robin redbreast, attributed to the chairman of Gilbey’s.
What Pairs Best With Redbreast 12
Cheese and charcuterie elevate the flavor of Redbreast 12. The Parma ham and olives have a nutty taste bringing out the sherry notes in Redbreast 12. Pork is a classic meat that compliments Irish whiskey, whether it’s ribs, pulled pork, or cold meats.
Redbreast 12 can also be used as a marinade or sauce for other meat dishes due to its rich, sweet flavors, making it one of the more common drinks in Ireland.
Jameson is one of the most famous whiskeys in the world and has been sold in over 130 countries since the 19th century. It is a blended whiskey with floral, herbal hops, and grapefruit citrus notes on the nose, a very popular drink in Ireland.
There are twenty-one varieties of Jameson whiskey stored in Irish Pale-Ale seasoned barrels. Jameson Irish whiskey has a distinct flavor profile, generally described as light, fruity, and including grains of cereal. The aging process highlights the whiskey’s signature oakiness and caramel notes.
History of Jameson in Ireland
The distillery was opened in 1780 and was originally called The Stein’s Family Bow Street Distillery. A Scotsman, John Jameson became a general manager in 1786 and took ownership by 1805 to expand. Jameson grew to be the biggest distiller of whiskey worldwide in the 19th century and is the best-selling Irish whiskey today.
What Pairs Best With Jameson
Jameson pairs well with lamb and mint jelly and other unique dishes like pizza, blue cheese, and fillet steak. Single malt has tropical notes and a full body highlighting the flavors in rich, creamy cheeses. A sweeter option is to pair one of the most traditional drinks in Ireland with a dark chocolate fondue.
7. Cronins Cider
Cronins is a non-alcoholic cider with a deliciously crisp taste crafted from all-natural ingredients, and one of the best Irish drinks if you’re hungover. It is gluten-free and vegan-friendly, with no artificial colorants or flavorings. It is a blend of bittersweet dessert apple juice giving it a refreshing taste best enjoyed on a summer’s day.
History of Cronins Cider in Ireland
Cronins cider launched in 2015 and started when John Cronin, a young man working in his family pub, decided to create a cider that is easy to drink. He sources ingredients from the United Kingdom but produces and bottles his cider in Ireland.
What Pairs Best With Cronin’s Cider
Ciders are notorious for pairing well with fresh vegetables and fruit but go particularly well with autumn roasted vegetables like onion or fennel. Cronins cider also pairs well with cheese, especially cheddar or creamy camembert. For something sweeter, a caramel or toffee dessert pairs beautifully with the warmness of the apple cider.
8. Murphy’s Irish Stout
Murphy’s is a globally recognized Irish stout, dark in color and medium-bodied. It has a silky smooth texture with toffee and coffee undertones, nearly no bitterness, and an indescribable creaminess. Murphy’s is a dry stout with dark grains, a smokey barely, and a chocolate finish, and one of the more traditional Irish drinks you’ll find.
History of Murphy’s Stout in Ireland
Murphy’s was first brewed in 1856 in the well-known Lady’s Well Brewery in Cork, Ireland. It was purchased by Heineken in 1983, and the name of the distillery was changed to Heineken Brewery Ireland Ltd.
What Pairs Best With Murphy’s Stout
The best pairings for stout include oysters or seafood chowder (one of the best foods in Ireland to try). A dark, beefy, or venison stew is another great option to bring out the flavors in stout. Steak pies and BBQ ribs are other popular dishes that go well with Murphy’s stout.
For dessert, try a dark chocolate cake or pudding topped with vanilla ice cream. A vanilla float is a popular way to incorporate stout into dessert.
9. Tanora and Club Orange
Tanora is a non-alcoholic, tangerine-flavored carbonated drink in Ireland. It is a uniquely Irish soft drink with a rooted heritage in Cork (all the more reason to visit and book a hotel in Cork!). Tanora is a much-loved, orange soft drink in Ireland, especially in Munster. It is increasingly popular among young children at birthday parties, although I personally always buy them at rest stops during scenic drives around Ireland.
History of Tanora in Ireland
Tanora was introduced by John Daly & Co, a mineral water company in Cork, in the 1930s. The brand is now owned by Coca-Cola Bottlers Ireland. Tanora used to only sell orange flavored drinks until expanding to blackcurrant and carrot in 2011.
What Pairs Best With Tanora
Although Tanora is a soft drink, it is best paired with salty snacks like pretzels and popcorn to break the sweetness ever so slightly.
Cidona is an Irish non-alcoholic, apple-based soft drink made by Britvic. It is a delicious, refreshing sparkling apple juice and an Irish classic. It makes for a great alternative to ciders for those who prefer a non-alcoholic option, and a nice alternative on your 7 day Ireland trip.
History of Cidona in Ireland
Cidona was originally produced by Bulmers Ltd. in 1955. This drink is the top-selling apple soda in Ireland. In 2007, the brand was sold to Britvic, making it a drink that is difficult to find. Cidona is referred to as the taste of childhood according to many Irish locals and is best enjoyed by young people.
What Pairs Best With Cidona
Cidona pairs well with apple pie, cinnamon sugar donuts, and pancakes. For a more savory option, consider pairing this popular drink in Ireland with squash soup, a turkey roast dinner, or gingerbread. The apple-flavored drink also pairs well with autumn roast vegetables and fresh fruit.
Mead is a honey-water mixed drink, one of the earliest of all time, enjoyed by priests and kings. It is one of the richest wines because it is made by fermenting honey. There are several versions of Mead, all using different ingredients such as raisins, spices, and fruits.
The sweetness of Mead can be changed by altering the amount of honey added. Mead is a celebratory drink that now forms part of weddings and the famous St. Patrick’s Day.
History of Mead in Ireland
Mead is the world’s oldest alcoholic drink, otherwise known as the nectar of the gods, ambrosia, honey wine, or honeymoon wine. The earliest drink found with fermented honey dates back to 6500 BC, making mead older than the wheel.
What Pairs Best With Mead
Red meat and heavy, hearty meals go well with Mead. The general rule of thumb with pairing food and drinks is that dark goes well with dark. A darker, fruity Mead is suited for heavy meals.
For lighter meals like roast chicken or fish, a dry, lighter Mead is suitable. Pork and in-between dark and light foods need a medium-colored, fruity Mead to match the flavor profile.
If you’re looking for the best drinks in Ireland, you won’t be disappointed. From the creamy Guinness to the crisp Magners cider and the unique Poitín, there’s something for everyone to enjoy and savor in the Emerald Isle.