All of my knowledge of whiskey comes from the years I spent tending bar while in journalism school. My first St. Patty’s day at the pub was a dark affair. We only had Jameson’s, and we seriously offended a bunch of beer-drunk Irish Protestants. That was the first and last time I was pulled over the bar and deposited on my rear.
The second year we only had Black Bush and seriously offended the majority of our Catholic Irish brothers who obscenely opened their own smuggled-in bottles of Jameson’s and refused to share unless other patrons could prove their Irish ancestry. I’ll let you decide how the proof was preferred.
And so my education into the nuances of Irish whiskey went. From year to year I learned more about the preferences of the different religious groups in Ireland and abroad as well as the subtle differences in styles. And, I learned to carry both Bushmill’s and Jameson’s and to feature them prominently and equally on St. Patty’s Day.
So, while it is safer to stick to beer on St. Patrick’s Day, if you should choose whiskey, know who you are about to drink with, and if you can’t discern their religious preferences by appearance, and there is no reason you should, be sensitive enough to ask before you buy them a shot of Irish whiskey, then you’ll know their religious preference as well, and you can steer clear of those risky topics.
Or just drink Scotch.