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Tullamore D.E.W. Talks St. Patrick’s Day And Irish Coffee

As St. Patrick’s Day is approaching, the makers of Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey are out to educate and encourage folks to partake of the bar staple Irish Coffee.

For a bit of history, it was back in 1952 when the Irish Coffee cocktail could only be enjoyed in one place: the Shannon Airport in Ireland.

And as Americans wanted to bring the cocktail stateside, the then-owner of San Francisco’s The Buena Vista challenged international travel writer Stanton Delaplane to recreate the Shannon Airport’s famous Irish Coffee.

After many failed attempts, the story goes, the pair took their dilemma to San Francisco’s mayor, a dairy owner, for help. They figured out that the secret to a perfect float was cream that has been aged for 48 hours and frothed to a precise consistency.

That’s when the Buena Vista Irish Coffee, the first of its kind in the United States, was made with Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey.

And many millions of cocktails later, Tullamore’s Global Ambassador and Ireland native Kevin Pigott recently visited with The Whiskey Wash about all things St. Patrick’s Day, from how to celebrate like the Irish to how to craft simple at-home cocktails like the Irish Coffee for the holiday.

Tullamore D.E.W.
Tullamore’s Global Ambassador and Ireland native Kevin Pigott chats with us about all things St. Patrick’s Day, from how to celebrate like the Irish to how to craft simple at-home cocktails like the Irish Coffee for the holiday. (image via Tullamore D.E.W.)

The Whiskey Wash: What has been your path through the whiskey industry and how did you come to Tullamore?

Kevin Pigott: “I grew up in a small town next to Tullamore called Athlone, home to Sean’s bar, the oldest bar in Europe! I’ve been in the whiskey business for just about 11 years now, working in the Irish, UK and US markets over the last 10 years. I actually worked in Philly and NYC in 2013 and 2014 for the brand, so it’s great to be back in the states traveling again this St. Patrick’s Day season. I had a love of pub culture and the craft of whiskey making, so the whiskey business was the only place for me.

TWW: What drives the connection between the people of Ireland and the spirits that surround St. Patrick’s Day?

KP: “Conviviality. Human peoples are social creatures and the Irish are pretty far along the spectrum on the social side, where we love to sing, dance, chat and sip, all in unison. The Irish love to find moments of celebration and pride and I think this day is always a special day for a small island on the edge of Europe. The fact that hundreds of national monuments around the world turn green to celebrate our homeland and culture is a moment of intense national pride. The mythology of the day itself underpins so much of Ireland’s rich folklore and storytelling culture which manifests today in poets, comedies, musicians and actors of all kinds.”

TWW: How important is Irish Coffee in the drinking culture of Ireland and is this a cocktail that’s served year round?

KP: “It definitely feels more seasonal. A few years back it was far more tourist-led in its consumption, but now top cocktail bars and home cocktail making have led people back to the drink to show off their barista and cocktail skills with friends or as they explore more complex versions in top bars.”

TWW: While other coffee drinks, such as the espresso martini, are having a moment, what makes the traditional Irish Coffee the king of the St. Patrick’s cocktails?

KP: “The Irish Coffee is a testament to the long-standing connection between the U.S. and Ireland. Originally, the cocktail could only be enjoyed in Ireland at the Shannon Airport, but in 1952, the owner of San Francisco’s The Buena Vista worked alongside an international travel writer and San Francisco’s mayor (a dairy owner), to recreate the recipe for those in the U.S.

Today, an Irish Coffee is actually one of the top 20 globally sought-after cocktails of 2023 and the cocktail’s ties to Ireland continue to make it a delicious beverage to enjoy on the holiday. While espresso martinis might be trendy, if you make a coffee cocktail using a spirit that’s as fast growing as Irish whiskey, you’ll be making a true classic that stands the test of time!”

TWW: What sets Tullamore D.E.W. apart from other Irish whiskey?

KP: “Tullamore D.E.W. is the first brand to pioneer a blend of all three styles of Irish whiskey: grain whiskey, malt whiskey and pot still whiskey. It offers drinkers an intriguing smooth, yet complex character. Tullamore D.E.W. was born in 1829 and is the second largest Irish whiskey, and in a category that’s growing as fast as it is, it’s clear that people love it. In fact, it’s estimated that 10 shots of Tullamore D.E.W. are served every second around the globe. The spirit’s unique flavor profile and the brand’s authentic connections to the city of Tullamore itself makes the spirit one that drinkers yearn for.”

TWW: What are a couple of St Patrick’s traditions that the Irish do and the rest of the world just doesn’t know about?

KP: “St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland was initially a holy day, filled with food, drinks and dancing … that is until American interpretations of the day caught on. Today in Ireland and Northern Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day still is tied to religion and is even a nationally celebrated bank holiday. Up until 1970, alcohol consumption was not encouraged on the holiday. Many non-Irish people are likely not aware of some of the rural Irish celebrations such as singing traditional St. Patrick’s Day songs and doing traditional dances, or even some friendly post-dinner horse racing.

“People celebrate in a myriad of ways … festivals, concerts, comedy shows and parties at friends houses. Growing up, one of the biggest events is the Superbowl equivalent in Ireland where we have our National Gaelic football club finals where hometown clubs really get their moment in the spotlight. This is one of my bigger childhood memories despite the sporting calendar changing in recent years.”

TWW: Can you share a treasured cocktail recipe or two that are an absolute staple this time of year?

KP: “While an Irish Coffee will always be a tradition for St. Patrick’s Day, an ‘Apple D.E.W.’ is the current go-to whiskey drink in Tullamore. Made with fresh pressed apple cider, a squeeze of lime juice and Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey, the cocktail will be a fan favorite at any festive gathering this year. It is sure to surprise those who have never known apple and whiskey work wonders together.”

Pigott offered a toast to accompany his following drink recipes …

“May you be rich in blessing, poor in misfortune, slow to make enemies, and quick to make friends. — Slainte!”

TULLAMORE D.E.W. IRISH COFFEE 

Created by Kevin Pigott, Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey Global Brand Ambassador

Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Coffee
Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Coffee (image via Tullamore D.E.W.)
INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 ½ parts Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey
  • 3 parts strongly brewed coffee (Recommended: any premium dark roast)
  • ½ part sugar (Recommended: Demerara Sugar)
  • Lightly whipped heavy cream
  • Cinnamon or nutmeg
METHOD:
  • Preheat a clear-stemmed glass with very hot water. Add the sugar and brewed coffee and stir well. This is so important and one of the top simple tips.
  • Once sugar has melted, pour in a measure of the Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey.
  • Gently whip the heavy cream by shaking it in a protein shaker with a blender ball – you want a still somewhat loose, not stiff consistency.
  • Pour the cream over the back of a hot teaspoon to top the drink (and prevent cream from penetrating the top of the drink).
  • Finally, garnish with grated nutmeg or cinnamon for a spicy finish.

APPLE D.E.W.

Created by Kevin Pigott, Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey Global Brand Ambassador

Apple D.E.W.
Apple D.E.W. (image via Tullamore D.E.W.)
INGREDIENTS:
  • 1.5 parts Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey
  • 4 parts fresh pressed apple cider
  • Squeeze of lime on top.
METHOD:
  • Build in a tumbler or highball glass over ice.

5 Sherried Whisky Alternatives

Here are my recommendations for those of you who want something sweet and luscious, but a little different in your glass this year. 

Gary Carter

Gary Carter has been at the helm of metro newspapers, magazines, and television news programs as well as a radio host and marketing manager. He is a writer/editor/photographer/designer by trade, with more than 30 years experience in the publishing and marketing field. Gary enjoys working to build something great, whether that be a novel project, a start-up, an organization, a fresh-face to the journalistic world, or even something as simple as a short story. A native Texan and a Pacific Northwest convert, he is a whiskey enthusiast who cut his teeth on it ... literally!

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