Drink These Five Irish Spirits for Saint Patrick's Day

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Saint Patrick's Day is this Monday, March 17 and, since we've got the weekend coming up, celebrations and wearing of the green start this weekend, with a race in downtown Fort Lauderdale, and many bars celebrating St. Practice Day on Sunday.

Around this time of year, most people break out the Guinness and the Jameson (and those are fine, authentic choices). But on a recent trip to the Emerald Isle, we were floored by the vast number of Irish whiskies and other spirits available.

We asked Crown Wine & Spirits' marketing guru Jay Marhefka to recommend some good Irish whiskies for our at-home Saint Patrick's Day toasting. He came up with choices for every taste and price point.

If you're not familiar with Irish whiskey, you should be. It's sweeter than Scotch, more refined than bourbon, and smoother than rye. Irish whiskey is versatile: sip it neat or mix it in a cocktail. It makes an essential addition to your home bar -- Saint Patrick's day and beyond.

Knappogue 12 Yr Irish Whiskey

Knappogue Castle Single Malt is made with pure Irish spring water and malted barley,making for a smooth drinking experience. The Spirit Journal calls this single malt "polished and mature". ($41.99 for a 750 ml bottle).

Jameson 12 Year Special Reserve Irish Whiskey

Matured for a minimum of 12 years in oloroso sherry and bourbon casks. A full-bodied, superbly mellow pot still Irish whiskey. Remarkably smooth with intricate flavors of toasted wood, spice and sherry. ($44.99 for a 750ml bottle).

Connemara 12 Year Old Peated Whiskey

This whiskey has its roots in the wild Atlantic coastline region of Connemara, known for its peat bogs. The peat give this whiskey a a slight smokiness, which combines with heather and vanilla notes. Connemara won the 2010 Malt Advocate distillery of the year award. ($84.99 for a 750ml bottle).

Redbreast 12 Year Pure Pot Still Irish Whiskey

A very special single unblended whiskey. It's the only pure pot-still Irish Whiskey. The whiskey is aged for a minimum of 12 years in a combination of old Spanish Oloroso sherry casks and fresh American bourbon whiskey barrels. The flavors are a complex blending of spicy, perfume, and sherry notes, with a toasted wood finish. ($79.99 for a 750ml bottle)

Boru Irish Vodka

Boru Vodka is made in Ireland, named for the legendary king Brian Boru, who united Ireland in 1014. Pristine waters and five distillations produce a clean vodka of unusual clarity and exceptional smoothness. Its crisp, even taste makes it a fresh alternative to enjoy neat, as a martini or the foundation of a cocktail. ($19.99).

All prices quoted are suggested retail and all spirits are available at Crown Wine & Spirits.

Follow Laine Doss on Twitter @LaineDoss and Facebook.

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