Celebrate St. Patty's Day with Restless Spirits Distilling Co.'s GullyTown Single Malt Whiskey

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with locally produced Irish-American whiskey.


You might as well admit it: There’s no escaping St. Patrick’s Day. Maybe there’s even a part of you that enjoys this international celebration of Irish pride, which nowadays is less about recognizing the Catholic priest it’s named for and more about wearing as much green as possible and getting tipsy on Guinness.

   Now, Guinness is a very fine beverage, suitable for many more days of the year than just March 17. But for anyone looking to pay homage to the Emerald Isle in style, there’s a new whiskey in town that will do quite nicely: GullyTown Single Malt Whiskey, locally made in North Kansas City by Restless Spirits Distilling Co.

   The “single malt” designation means that the whiskey was distilled in a single distillery. GullyTown is the first single malt whiskey that Restless Spirits has produced — the rest of their line is exclusive imports from Ireland or blends.

   “I’ve distilled it on a pot still, which is the Irish style,” says Benay Shannon, Restless Spirits’ distiller. “It’s double barrel-aged — the first barreling was in new charred oak for at least six months, and then I transferred it to used bourbon casks for another 12 months.”

   Benay and her husband and business partner, Mike Shannon, opened Restless Spirits just two years ago. A single malt whiskey was always planned as part of their portfolio. It was also important to the distillery’s story, Mike says.


Restless Spirits Kansas City Brewery


   “We’re making Irish-American whiskey,” he explains. “There’s such a rich Irish history here in Kansas City. Today, several generations have passed since we came over during the Great Famine in the 1800s. We’re not Irish Irish anymore  – we’re Irish-Americans. So we want to honor our heritage and celebrate the American experience.”

   Where Kansas City sits now, Mike says, there was only a rocky limestone bluff. Gully Town was the original nickname for the city when it was founded in 1853: People built homes in these gullies, until about three decades later, when development brought Irish stone masons over from the East Coast. They helped level the bluffs and gave Kansas City much of the layout that it has today.

   Fitting with its noble namesake, GullyTown is a sophisticated sipping whiskey. If you’re looking for a little more, ah, oomph in your St. Paddy’s Day, Restless Spirits has another product — Padraig’s Rebellion Poitin (say pot-cheen), a seasonal moonshine liquor that belongs in your finest shot glass. It’ll take just one sip of this little beauty before you’re joyously mispronouncing sláinte!


poitin (left) and GullyTown (Right)

   On the nose: 

   GullyTown: Honey, dark  cherry

   Poitin: Dried fruit, cereal, oatmeal

   On the palate: 

   Gully Town: Caramel, butterscotch, burnt sugar, spice. "In the realm of whiskeys, this is sweeter whiskey," Benay says.

   Poitin: Malt, sweet grain, hint of smoke. "It's a little hot, but not as hot as you'd expect for 115-proof," says Benay with a grin. "It almost finishes like a high-end tequila."