Bar Belle: Sipping on an authentic Irish drink

Irish Whiskey Public House

Where: 1207 19th St., NW
Cover: No
Carded: Yes
Happy Hour: Monday through Friday, 3 to 7 p.m., $1 off all bottled beer, drafts, signature whiskey cocktails
Bar Bells:

Our Bar Belle roams around D.C. reviewing bars as she sees fit – if she can see straight after visiting them.

If you’re in the mood for a stiff whiskey drink only a quick jaunt away from campus, Irish Whiskey Public House is a top choice.

I won’t pretend to know what authentic Irish culture looks like, but this place claims to be just that. The three levels have a distinct pub feel – minus the grime – and the menu offers Irish dishes, Irish and non-Irish draft and bottled beers and plenty of its namesake.

In light of my lack of knowledge regarding all things authentically Irish, I should also disclose that I don’t actually like whiskey. At all. This is one of my girly drinking tendencies, and the need to overcome it was part of the reason for my Irish Whiskey mission.

The whiskey list was long, and boasted several varieties and brands like Bushmills, Connemara, Tullamore Dew, Millars, Powers and of course, Jameson. There were also less common names, like Knappogue Castle, that I’m sure have a home in the hearts of whiskey lovers. The prices of Irish whiskey ranged from $6 to $300, with the pricier options including rare Irish whiskey and single malt Scotch whiskey selections.

Not wanting to take my experiment too far, a glass of dry whiskey was out of the question.

Instead I opted for the menu of signature cocktails – all $10. First came the Jameson Julep – with Jameson, fresh mint, simple syrup and club soda. If you want a drink that allows you to taste all the alcohol, this is your winner. The other ingredients did little to hide the whiskey taste, but I drank it nonetheless. I tried another route with the Ginger Flower – Michael Collins whiskey, St. Germaine and ginger ale, which gave me hope that whiskey wasn’t all bad. It proved a great choice for a tasty drink that’s not too sweet.

I took my night of adventure further by ordering the Whirlaway – Jameson, peach, fresh-squeezed orange juice, grenadine and club soda. My love for rum punch made this a perfect match, as it was basically the same concoction with whiskey.

Late on a weeknight, the crowd was mostly middle-aged and tame, although a large group of rowdy 20-somethings did breeze through and cheer on a rugby team on the television while pounding back shots.

While I might not be back for happy hour – $1 off a $10 cocktail isn’t exactly a steal – I certainly will remember Irish Whiskey as a place to cultivate my newfound whiskey acceptance with a side of friendly conversation.

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