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Irish Breakfast Drink: The Irish Breakfast Tea and More Irish Drinks

irish breakfast tea, irish breakfast drink

Looking to experience Irish Breakfast drink and discover the Irish Breakfast tea, and more of their drink culture? This post is for you.

Irish drinks are a vital part of the nation’s cultural heritage, with Ireland being home to some of the world’s most beloved beverages.

From the hearty brews of Irish tea that start the day to the warming comfort of an Irish whiskey enjoyed in the evening, there’s a drink for every occasion. Ireland’s drink culture is as rich and diverse as its people and its landscape.

At breakfast time, it’s common to see a pot of strong tea at the table, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for variety.

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The Irish Breakfast Tea: Irish Breakfast Drink

irish breakfast tea, irish breakfast drink

Irish Breakfast Tea: A Warm Embrace of Ireland in a Cup

It wouldn’t be a comprehensive guide on popular drinks without mentioning Ireland’s iconic breakfast tea. Irish Breakfast Tea, often consumed during breakfast and throughout the day, holds a special place in the Irish culture and lifestyle. Whether it’s to kick start the day or to wind down in the evening, a cup of Irish Breakfast Tea is a cherished ritual for many Irish people.

Irish Breakfast Tea is a robust blend of several black teas, most often a mix of Assam teas (from India) and Ceylon teas (from Sri Lanka). The blend results in a strong, rich, and malty flavor with a reddish-brown color when brewed. It is known for its hearty flavor profile which is stronger and more robust compared to other breakfast teas, such as the English or Scottish Breakfast Tea. This characteristic strength and full-bodied nature of Irish Breakfast Tea make it a perfect companion to the hearty Irish breakfast.

What sets Irish Breakfast Tea apart from English Breakfast Tea is its strength. English Breakfast Tea is often a more balanced blend, resulting in a medium-bodied flavor that’s less intense than its Irish counterpart. On the other hand, Irish Breakfast Tea is defined by its robustness, often being described as “brisk” or “punchy.” This strength comes from the high proportion of Assam tea, which is known for its strong, malty flavor and dark color.

Irish Breakfast Tea is typically served with milk and sometimes with a slice of lemon or sugar. The addition of milk helps to soften the robustness of the tea, providing a creamy finish that complements the malty notes perfectly. This warming, comforting beverage is more than just a tea—it’s a piece of Ireland’s rich culinary tradition and a testament to the country’s long-standing love affair with tea.

It’s worth noting that Ireland has one of the highest per capita tea consumption in the world. The tradition of tea drinking is integral to Irish culture—it’s not just about the taste, but also the sense of comfort, warmth, and community that comes with sharing a pot of tea. So, whether you’re visiting Ireland or simply want to bring a piece of Irish tradition into your home, don’t miss out on the delightful experience of enjoying a piping hot cup of Irish Breakfast Tea.

Why are the Irish known for their drinking?

irish breakfast tea, irish breakfast drink

The stereotype of Irish people being heavy drinkers is indeed often associated with famous Irish alcoholic beverages, such as Guinness beer, Jameson whiskey, and Baileys Irish Cream. However, it’s important to note that this stereotype doesn’t necessarily represent the drinking habits of all Irish people and is somewhat exaggerated.

Here are a few factors that have contributed to this perception:

  1. Historical Factors:

    Ireland has a long history of brewing and distilling. This is primarily because Ireland’s climate is well-suited for producing the primary ingredients used in beer and whiskey. Over centuries, this has contributed to a culture where these beverages became central to socializing and celebrating.
  2. Famous Brands:

    Brands like Guinness and Jameson have become globally recognized symbols of Ireland. They’ve been hugely successful in marketing their products internationally, and their Irish identity is central to their brand image.
  3. Pub Culture:

    Ireland is known for its vibrant pub culture. Pubs in Ireland traditionally acted as social hubs in towns and villages where people would gather not just to drink, but to socialize, play music, and exchange stories.
  4. Representation in Media: Irish characters in movies, TV shows, and literature are often portrayed as heavy drinkers, which has reinforced this stereotype globally.

However, it’s worth noting that alcohol consumption is not unique to Ireland and is common to many cultures worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, alcohol consumption per person in Ireland is actually less than in several other European countries, including France, Germany, and the UK.

Also, contemporary Ireland has seen a shift in drinking habits, with an increasing focus on moderation, craft production, and non-alcoholic options. The traditional pub is no longer just a place for drinking alcohol, but a community center where people of all ages gather for music, food, and camaraderie. So while alcohol (in moderation) is indeed a part of Irish culture, it’s just one small piece of a much larger, more complex cultural tapestry.

Non-Alcoholic: The Irish Breakfast Tea and More Irish Breakfast Drink


Buttermilk in Ireland isn’t just used for baking the famous soda bread. This tangy, slightly sour liquid is a byproduct of making butter and has been consumed in Ireland for centuries. It’s a healthy and refreshing drink, packed with probiotics and often served chilled. Some Irish people enjoy a glass of buttermilk with their breakfast, particularly during the summer months. It’s a wonderfully traditional drink that might be an acquired taste for some but cherished by those who grow up with it.

Barry’s Tea

While not as globally known as the Irish Breakfast Tea, Barry’s Tea is another popular choice among the Irish people. A family-owned business based in Cork, Ireland, Barry’s Tea has been crafting delicious blends since 1901. Their ‘Gold Blend,’ in particular, is a favorite for breakfast, boasting a rich, full-bodied flavor that pairs perfectly with a hearty Irish morning meal. Like the Irish Breakfast Tea, it’s often enjoyed with a splash of milk.

Sometimes, the simplest options are the best. The Irish are known for their high-quality dairy products, and a glass of fresh, creamy milk is a common sight on many breakfast tables. It’s wholesome, nutritious, and the perfect accompaniment to a plate of warm scones or a bowl of cereal. Freshly squeezed orange juice or apple juice is also a favorite, offering a sweet, refreshing start to the day.

Fresh Milk and Fruit Juice

These breakfast beverages, each with its unique flavors and cultural significance, contribute to the rich tapestry of Irish food culture. Whether it’s the robust Irish Breakfast Tea, the tangy sip of buttermilk, or the comfort of a perfectly brewed Irish coffee, there’s no shortage of options to start your day the Irish way.

Blackcurrant Cordial

Blackcurrant cordial is a popular non-alcoholic drink in Ireland and often found in many Irish homes. It’s made by boiling blackcurrants with sugar and water, then straining the mixture to leave a sweet, fruity syrup that can be diluted with water. While it can be consumed at any time of the day, some might prefer it as a refreshing morning drink.

Irish Moss Drink

irish breakfast tea, irish breakfast drink
Irish Moss Drink via Wikimedia / Father.Jack from Coventry, UK

A traditional Irish drink, albeit lesser-known, is the Irish Moss Drink. Irish Moss, or Carrageen Moss, is a type of seaweed found on the Atlantic coasts of Ireland. It’s rich in nutrients and often used in desserts or drinks. To prepare the drink, the moss is soaked, boiled with spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, then mixed with milk and sugar. While it may sound unusual, it’s actually quite sweet and creamy, similar to a chai latte.

Club Orange

Club Orange, a popular carbonated drink, was first produced in Dublin during the 1930s. Although it’s enjoyed at all times of the day, some might choose to wake up their senses with its strong, zesty flavor in the morning.

Alcoholic Irish Drinks

Irish Coffee

Irish Coffee isn’t your typical morning beverage, but it’s a favorite nonetheless. This unique blend of hot coffee, Irish whiskey, sugar, and a generous dollop of thick cream, first became popular at Shannon Airport in Ireland and soon caught on globally. While it may not be a daily breakfast drink for many, it’s certainly a comforting treat savored on special occasions or during weekend brunches. The whiskey warms the soul, while the caffeine offers a kick to start the day. The rich cream tops off this delightful drink, providing a sweet contrast to the robust flavors beneath.


irish breakfast tea, irish breakfast drink

Yes, you read that right. Though not typically seen as a breakfast drink and definitely not consumed daily in the morning, it’s not unheard of for Guinness to make an appearance at a weekend brunch or on special occasions such as St. Patrick’s Day. This world-famous stout, characterized by its dark color and creamy head, offers a distinctive malty flavor. It’s a staple in Irish culture, and while it’s definitely not a typical breakfast drink, it’s part of the wide array of beverages enjoyed in Ireland.

Hot Whiskey

Although certainly not a conventional breakfast drink, hot whiskey, also known as a “hot toddy,” is another alcoholic beverage the Irish are fond of. While it’s typically consumed as a nightcap or a remedy for a common cold, some might indulge in it during a relaxed weekend brunch. The drink is a soothing concoction of Irish whiskey, hot water, a slice of lemon studded with cloves, and a spoonful of honey.

Hot Milk Punch

Although it’s not specifically tied to breakfast, hot milk punch is a traditional Irish drink often consumed during the colder months. It’s made with warm milk, a sweetener (like honey or sugar), and a splash of Irish whiskey or brandy. A sprinkle of nutmeg on top gives it an extra warming touch.


Known as Ireland’s “moonshine,” Poitín is a traditional Irish distilled beverage that can range anywhere from 40-90% ABV. While it’s not typically a breakfast drink, it does hold a notorious place in Irish drinking culture. It’s definitely more of an acquired taste and not for the faint-hearted.

Final Thoughts on Irish Breakfast Drink and the Irish Breakfast Tea

In conclusion, the drinks culture in Ireland, especially around breakfast, is steeped in tradition and heritage. From the simple cup of tea to the more elaborate Irish Coffee, these beverages offer a window into the Irish way of life. These drinks not only serve to quench thirst or offer a morning caffeine boost but also provide a sense of comfort, tradition, and national identity. So, next time you sit down to breakfast, consider bringing a touch of Ireland to your table.

Remember that while there are alcoholic drinks mentioned in this guide, their consumption is often reserved for particular occasions, and moderation is always key. Always respect the local laws and customs surrounding alcohol consumption.

Experience Ireland’s vibrant culture and history, one sip at a time. Whether you’re drinking a cup of strong Irish Breakfast Tea or savoring the rich flavor of Irish Coffee, remember that each drink carries a piece of Ireland’s story. Sláinte!

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