When it comes to celebrating St. Patrick's day, there are a lot of options: Guinness and green beer, shamrock shakes and emerald cupcakes, perhaps even a heaping plate of corned beef and cabbage. But of all the traditions, one of the oldest -- and one of the most enjoyable -- is a nip of classic Irish whiskey. The Emerald Isle, after all, is home to one of the world's oldest distilleries and some of its finest liquors. And, while there isn't any evidence to suggest that the Emerald Isle's most famous saint ever tipped a glass, no celebration of Gaelic heritage is complete without at least a nod to Ireland's rich distilling history.
Unlike bourbon or Scotch, both of which offer dozens of choices for the adventurous consumer, Irish whiskey production is controlled by a small handful of distilleries. On the down side, this limited selection translates into a relatively high price, which can make choosing a bargain tipple a little difficult. Happily, however, most Irish whiskeys have a lower-priced, entry-level offering that shouldn't cost more than $20 to $30. And, given the relatively level playing field, even the cheapest brands tend to be mellow and enjoyable. Put another way, there isn't a truly bad brew in the bunch!
And so, without further ado, here's our brief guide to the flavor and lore of Ireland's best cheap whiskeys.
Bruce Watson is a senior features writer for DailyFinance. You can reach him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter at @bruce1971
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