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SLAINTE TO THE IRISH; news liquid.

A PUBLIC holiday in Ireland that's celebrated the world over (more than 80 million worldwide claim Irish descent), St Patrick's day on March 17 is a marvellous excuse to dabble in some Gaelic fun and give the green light to some delicious wines and whiskeys to go with the music, dancing and feasting.

One of the many lucky charms of the Emerald Isle is its triple-distilled whiskey which can be light, approachable and grassy in blends such as Tullamore DEW Original (PS20, 70cl, Tesco). It can be swapped for American whiskey or bourbon to create a classic Manhattan cocktail to t the theme. Versatile with apple, vanilla and honey tones, the light spicy notes also suit more ery long drinks mixed with ginger. Here's the recipe to try at home...

Exploring the fruitier, more delicate style of this triple-distilled spirit (most Scottish whisky is double-distilled), Bushmills Original Irish Whiskey (PS19.45, 70cl, is fragrant, fresh and oral with vanilla and honey notes and the ideal match for simple Irish grub such as whiskey-glazed corned beef and creamy colcannon (mash potatoes and cabbage).

Meanwhile, Jameson is an Irish institution that can be found in as many bars around the world that will be raising a glass to the land of the sham rock. Triple-distilled and pot stilled - a blend of malted and unmalted barley - and a heavier style, try Jameson Irish Whiskey (PS19.95, 70cl, over ice with a splash of water to open up the malty nose and fruity sweetness with apple and spice avours that also work really well with ginger ale and a wedge of lime.

'Wild Geese' takes its name from the Irish residents who've own the nest since the late 1600s and made a new life for themselves around the world. But you don't need to be of Irish descent to appreciate the malty sweetness of Wild Geese Single Malt Whiskey (PS53.33, 70cl, With vanilla notes, malty, mixed spice and a light oakiness on the warm nish, it's delicious with soda bread and a cheese plate.

A legacy to Ireland and families who settled Down Under and went on to work in the vineyards to supplement their income, four generations of McGuigan winemakers have made it one of the industry's giants and third generation Neil McGuigan has been named International Winemaker of the Year three times by the IWSC (International Wine & Spirit Competition).

Inexpensive and rather good if you're after a red with Irish roots, try McGuigan Classic Shiraz, South Eastern Australia (PS5.99, Tesco) for a really good match with Irish stew. Mildly spicy with lots of New World fruitiness, the soft plum and raspberry avours are framed by sweet berries with ne tannins on the smooth nish.

Meanwhile, if you're planning to serve a beef and Guinness stew with champ potato and want an easy drinking red with plenty of ripe black fruits to integrate with the beef, vegetables and stout, try Gourmandises Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 IGP Pays d'Oc, France (PS8.99, Waitrose).

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Mar 13, 2015
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