What’s for Breakfast? The Best Irish Whiskey of 2020.

Kilbeggan is your 9 a.m. special. Plus, the best world whiskies of the year.

December 28, 2020 6:23 am
best irish whiskeys 2020
Kaikyo Distillery/M&H/Cotswolds/Abasolo/Getty Images

A little bit of oats makes all the difference.

We weren’t drinking during the early mornings of 2020 — except for one mistake — though it would have been understandable. But pre-pandemic, we tried Kilbeggan Single Pot Still and suddenly had the urge to enhance our breakfast with a little Irish flavor.

The Single Pot Still designation means this a single pot still Irish whiskey produced only in Ireland at a single distillery. The liquid here is double distilled in copper pot stills from a mix of malted and unmalted barley as well as up to 5% of other grains … and the other grains blend in the mash includes 2.5% oats (inspired by a late 19th-century recipe), which ends up making a huge difference in the taste of the final product.

Beam Suntory

It pairs well with oatmeal. Which, technically, you could eat at night if you’re feeling guilty.

Other whisky/whiskey highlights from around the globe in 2020 …


Mexican Whisky Is a Thing, and It’s Unique

Abasolo is a just-launched whisky distilled entirely from non-GMO Cacahuazintle corn that undergoes a roughly 4,000-year-old process called nixtamalization. It’s a bright flavor with hints of vanilla and rounded out by a creamy mouthfeel.

Kaikyo Distillery
Kaikyo Distillery

This Japanese Whisky Makes for an Ideal Highball

Hatozaki Small Batch is a vatting of 100% malt whiskies aged — for an indeterminate amount of time — in imported bourbon and sherry casks along with Japan’s native Mizunara oak barrels. Fruit and smoke are present, along with a smokiness that adds a little meaty heft to what’s usually a smooth-sipping mixed drink.


England Might Become Known for Its Whisky

New World Whisky is considered “whisky makers from outside of the traditional whisky-producing countries,” which pretty much means brown spirits produced anywhere but Scotland, Ireland, Canada, the USA or Japan. We like several of them, particularly Cotswolds from England. Honey, fruit and butterscotch dominate this wonderful and deceptively youthful sipper.


Israel Produced an Excellent Single Malt

Israel’s first whisky distillery M&H (which stands for Milk & Honey) is a kosher release. Before launch, the distillery received some guidance from the late Dr. Jim Swan. The country’s hot climate has helped the liquid mature rapidly; aged in ex-bourbon and special red-wine STR cask, the result is a wonderfully bright single malt.


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