Most previous studies on the relationship between alcohol consumption and mortality from ischemic heart disease (IHD) have been conducted in countries with an alcohol consumption pattern different from that in Sweden (and other countries in the "Vodka Belt"), where irregular binge drinking of distilled spirits is common. Therefore, we carried out an ecological study in Sweden where cross-sectional, longitudinal, and time series analyses (1973-1986) were performed on consumption of spirits, wine and beer in relation to age-standardized mortality in IHD for males and females. There was a negative correlation in both cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses between wine consumption and mortality from IHD, especially strong for women, but no consistent relationship between the consumption of total ethanol, spirits and beer versus the mortality from IHD. In the time series analysis, only wine was negatively correlated with IHD mortality for women. We conclude that, on a population level, consumption of spirits and beer in a Swedish drinking pattern does not imply any protection against death from IHD. On the other hand, wine consumption in Sweden could be associated with a reduced risk of IHD death among women.