Whiskey: Ireland’s ‘water of life’

Jameson Heritage Centre, Cork, Ireland

Jameson Heritage Centre, Cork, Ireland

It is the nectar that lubricates the tongues of poets, the pens of playwrights, the voices of singers and the fingers of musicians in every pub in Ireland.

Known in Irish as Uisce Beatha, pronounced “ish’ke-ba’ha,” meaning “the water of life,” the words have been anglicised into the word “whiskey.” Irish whiskey is always spelt with a “e.”

The recipe for distillation was originally brought to Ireland, probably from the Middle East, by missionary monks, about the sixth century AD. They had discovered the alembic —or pot still — being used for the distillation of perfume.

The greater popularity of Scotch whisky — no “e” — is attributable to a series of incidents embroidered into Ireland’s unhappy history.

Read more: Irish_Whiskey

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