Showing posts with label Black's Brewery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Black's Brewery. Show all posts

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Holy Smoke On The ‘Dyke. Check Relihan's Blow Out.

Holy Smoke On The ‘Dyke
Check Relihan's Blow Out.
Blow Out; included are Smoked Cob Wheels and Naked Slaw

All you hunter-gatherers can now converge on Holy Smoke in the Mardyke Complex, the new ground of John Relihan, an experienced master of the ancient art of cooking with fire and smoke (he was head chef at Jamie Oliver's Barbecoa BBQ restaurant in London). You want meat, head for the ‘Dyke.

Have any of you seen Cooked, a mini-series by Michael Pollan now on Netflix? He says that the BBQ is the "last idea of the ritual cooking of meat"; that the long and slow technique may well have come to America on the slave ships, was very much tied to the tobacco harvest in the south and that the term “pit boy” came from there. That series is worth a look. He calls commodity pig farming “a vision of hell”. On  a lighter note, you’ll see veteran songsmith James Taylor sing about his pig called Mona!

No vision of hell at the Mardyke though; just lots of exposed brick vaulted ceilings and bare lights hanging down. We got a chance to take a look, and a taste, earlier week, and must say I enjoyed every little morsel.


Low and Slow is the motto here and you'll see it in red letters around the room, a room by the way which is full "night after night". You’ll notice the buzz the minute you enter. Great place to go with a bunch of friends. Grab a beer as you check the menu.

It is meat all the way; well, there are a couple of options for the non-meat eater. The wood too is key. Back to Pollan again who explains that it is the burning wood gasses rather than the wood itself that give off the smoke that marries with the meat. You’ll notice different woods on the menu and that's because each wood has different flavour compounds. Split a length of cherry wood and you’ll smell cherry, according to Cooked.

You may have lots of individual plates here, of Pork, Beef, and Chicken. And Burgers too. Perhaps the best way to test is to order the large BBQ Blow Out (24.50). You’ll get Brisket Burnt Ends, Dry Rubbed Baby Back Ribs, Pit Smoked BBQ Chicken, and Pulled Pork. That’s what we did.
Head Chef John Relihan

Two sides are included, one from the Humble list, one from the Divine. We picked their Skin on Skinny Fries and the Divine Pit Smoked Burnt End Beans. With all the focus on the meat, I have to highlight those unexpectedly delicious beans. The full description is: Sweet smoky beans mixed with Brisket Burnt Ends cooked low and slow. Indeed, it looks as if those sides, both humble and divine, may be worth a closer inspection.

Now, with meat and beer (Howling Gale and Rebel Red from the taps) delivered, it was time to get the tools from the box on the table. Yes, all your cutlery needs are already there, along with a big roll of kitchen paper to tidy up the finger licking mess. And the Holy Water, of course.

It takes a while, even for two, to work through all that meat but well worth it. The pork was probably the highlight, the ribs a close second. Then again, that chicken half, chopped into four, was good too, particular the tasty thigh! Big cubes of smoky brisket were also much appreciated. Not to mention those beans! Would have been barbecue heaven had we been able to roll open that ceiling and let the sun shine in. But it was very enjoyable as it was. Hard to beat a packed restaurant with all that chat.

No shortage of beer!
 Prices are reasonable here. You can have a bowl of pulled pork for a tenner: pork shoulder cooked slow and low for 14 hours over oak, mixed with Holy Smoke BBQ sauce and served with naked slaw and cornbread. Spend two or three euro more and your choices multiply. Service is very friendly and very efficient too. Well worth a visit!

  • Chef Relihan has serious form when it comes to cooking with fire. He was head chef at Jamie Oliver's Barbecoa BBQ restaurant in London and trained with world renowned Pitmaster Adam Perry Lang. Read more about John and the people behind Holy Smoke here
  • Check the menu here
    On the door of the gents, a tame enough fellow,
    despite the ring on his nose.

    Holy Smoke
    Little Hanover Street, Cork
    Phone: (021) 427 3000
    email : holysmokecork@gmail.com 
  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HolySmokeCork/ 
  • Twitter @holysmokecork



Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Coqbull Buzz. Dishes, and staff, that make you smile

The Coqbull Buzz
Dishes, and staff, that make you smile
Supreme

There are five students sitting at the restaurant table, chatting. Then their burgers arrive; the server says something and there is an explosion of laughter and that continues for minutes after the server has gone. Welcome to the Coqbull Limerick. Service here is efficient and friendly and sometimes there is time for a joke and a laugh.


We had the very same server a little later and we too were left laughing and smiling at the exchange, smiling also perhaps because we were contemplating the massive dishes now in front of us. The Bull (there are large cartoons of him on the walls) and the chicken dominate the huge menu here and we had some of each.



Chicken

My choice was the Supreme Bull (14.50), served with Cashel Blue cheese and bone marrow with crisp onion. And fries, of course. Delicious stuff, tender and tasty and washed down with a bottle of Trouble Brewing’s Dark Arts Porter (6.80). Magic match. All burgers, by the way, are dressed with tomato, onion, lettuce and are served with fries.


CL was sipping from her Black’s Session (6.80) as she tucked into her Roast Chicken, half a bird served with those fries (14.00), her little dish of gravy an extra 1.50. She enjoyed that, right to the very last bite. This is rotisserie chicken from the spit, “marinated before roasting in our secret liquor”.



Pork ribs - small portion!
Black magic

Lots of wings on the starter list but we went for the Fighting Coq Pork Ribs and sauce. Even though we went for the smaller portion (9.00), we didn't end up fighting over these sticky pieces of melting meat. The full portion could easily serve as a main course and a very good one at that.


And we had another laugh before we left. The toilets are not marked Ladies and Gents but Sit and Stand. I'm sure you'll find the right one!

By the way, if you don't want all that meat, they have quite a selection of salads: goats cheese, Caesar, Super and so on. And you may add chicken, bull or sautéed prawns to any salad. There are one or two fish and vegetarian dishes available also. From the bar, you can have cocktails (and mocktails) galore, beers and wine.




49/50 Thomas Street, Limerick
061 311011
limerick@coqbull.com
@Coqbull_Limk

facebook/Coqbull

Thursday, April 7, 2016

O'Briens 40 years in Bunnyconnellan. Good View. Good Food. Mornings To Inspire.

O'Briens 40 years in Bunnyconnellan.
Good View. Good Food. Mornings To Inspire.
The view, to the left.
When Paul O’Brien opens up Bunnyconnellan, early every morning, he looks out over the ocean and counts his blessings. That view on a sunny morning inspires positivity and it’s not too shabby on a poor day either.


The O’Brien family are celebrating forty years at the iconic Cork venue. In 1976, Paul’s parents, Paddy (who passed in 2010) and Sheila, took over the premises from Neill (known to all as Jock) and Mary Porteous, the only other family to have run Bunnys as a bar and restaurant.  

“Amazing people come in here and recount their childhood memories, “ said Paul. The Crosshaven area in general was, in the 50s and 60s, a summer resort area for many city people. A few years back, I attended a 60th party there for a man long resident in the USA but he had such happy memories of Myrtleville that he insisted on marking his big birthday with a party in Bunnys.

Paul told me that this photo was taken outside Bunnys in 1996. 
"From left to right, my Dad, Paddy O'Brien (who passed in 2010),
 my Mum Sheila, my brother Eamonn who runs the very successful
  'Paddy's Bar' in Hamburg Germany, myself & last but not least my wife Julie."
“Some great characters have been in and out of here. And they keep coming, men like Donie Bermingham from Carrigaline; he claims to be our longest-serving customer!”


Aside from the smashing views - you can see the mouth of Cork Harbour as well, see the big cruise liners and the large Brittany Ferries Pont Aven come and go, see Roche’s Point across the way - Bunny’s has always been known for its good food. And that strand of the story continues too. “There is a great little team here,” enthuses Paul. “It is headed up by Head Chef Chris O’Sullivan and Pastry Chef Bobbie O’Donovan, but they are all great.”

I put it to Paul that because they are on the coast that Fish ‘n Chips is always on the menu. It is. But they did take it off once and put it on the specials. There were “ructions” and it was quickly restored to its rightful permanent spot! “We can’t please everyone but we do listen to the bad things as well as the good!”  
The starters
“Fish is plentiful and varied here. Only last week, we had specials of black sole and brill for example. Could be something different next week. Another big seller for us is roast duck, supplied by Silver Hill.”

Specials are an “essential” part of the menus here, though for events like Sunday lunch, you'll find more traditional dishes as part of the offering. There is also a Kids Menu, with half portions of the adult menu available.

Did you have a good Easter? I asked. “We had a fantastic Easter, the whole period back to St Patrick’s Day, all good despite the iffy weather. Indeed, last winter was the wettest and windiest in years, yet we had a very good winter in the restaurant.”
The Cod
 So 2016 is shaping up well. And, believe it or not, the barbecues have started here already, kicking off on the first weekend of April. There are lots of industries in the general area and they tend to use the facility.


And, with a full bar, there is no shortage of beers to go with the meals, indoors or out. Craft beers are already featured, plus the local Stonewell cider. More craft beers are soon to appear and there are local spirits too - I spotted the Dingle gin. And if you fancy a cocktail? Well, they have a list for you. They tend to be more popular at or approaching the weekend.

Dinner service brings a hard night’s work to a close but Paul is back early in the morning, checking out that fantastic view. And, down on the beach, he spots a group of people that he admires: the Myrtleville swimmers. “Rain, hail or snow, there are about twenty out there every morning, some with wet-suits, some without”. People make the world go round just as the O'Brien's make Bunny’s an enjoyable place to come to, every day of the week. Every week of the year. For forty years!


Ham Hock
We enjoyed that view (though not the early morning one!) when we called for lunch. That Specials Board came in for scrutiny and our two mains came from that source. The starters are on the regular menu and I must say my Poached Pear and Blue Cheese Tart topped with walnuts was a delicious opener. And there were compliments too from CL as she tucked into her Goats Cheese, pineapple and walnut salad.


Our mains, served with a side of well cooked vegetables, were really special. Baked fillet of Cod with a pesto crumb and a saffron and chardonnay sauce was CL’s choice and I didn't hear a word from her until it was finished. My Oven-baked Ham Hock, with a creamy parsley sauce, was full of great flavour and outstanding overall, and kept me quiet! No room for dessert after the two courses! Sorry Bobbie - next time!
Local drinks: Black's Kinsale ale & Stonewell cider. Cheers!
BUNNYCONNELLAN BAR & RESTAURANT,
Myrtleville, Co. Cork.
Tel: +353 (0)21 483 1213
E: info@bunnyconnellan.ie
Twitter: @Bunnyconnellan 


Sunday, November 29, 2015

SuperValu Glanmire Christmas Fair. Such an enjoyable evening!

SuperValu Glanmire Christmas Fair

Such an enjoyable evening!
Clotilde
Congratulations to Liam Ryan’s SuperValu Glanmire who put on a tremendous Christmas Fair last Thursday night. Lots to eat and drink, Chef Kevin Dundon demoing too, and a terrific friendly atmosphere and a good cause (three local charities supported). The family has three SuperValu stores in the Cork area; Grange support Douglas Lions Club, Glanmire aid St Vincent de Paul while Togher is backing Cork Simon Community.

We each got an impressive Christmas Recipe booklet on the way in and that was just the start of it. As we did a circle of the bright and well laid out store, we were able to sample their own in-house goodies and there was also an array of Food Academy start-up food producers sampling their local produce.
Didn't stop at all the tasting spots - no point in being greedy. But great to meet up again with Des Jeffares from County Wexford, better known as Mr Jeffares Blackcurrants . He produces a refreshing cordial and last night he was offering a lovely warming mulled version. Loughbeg Farm  with their now famous Oat Loaf and Tea Brack had come all the way from West Cork.

Also from west along came the three sisters of the Natural Larder Company (Macroom). They produce a range of seasoned breadcrumb mixes, and also a Cheeky Chilli sauce, Rollicking Red Onion pickle and Bodacious Baba Ganoush sauce. Interested? Check them out here.

Michael Corbett, a Tipperary farmer, was proudly displaying his Emerald Oils cold pressed rapeseed oil. Every single stage in creating this oil is completed directly on the family farm. As you know it can be used for stir-frying, roasting baking, salad dressing and marinating. He had some examples of the baking so we dipped a piece into the oil. Gorgeous!
Mulled cider, courtesy of Longueville
And then we were treated to Clotilde’s Fruit Compote, all the way from France, via Glanworth. These are really tasty sugar free compotes that can be used as a daily snack or with natural yogurts porridge, cereals, desserts and more. Clotilde is French and these pots are just like her mother used to make in France. They are absolutely divine. And so versatile.

Time now for a drink or two! Rupert from Longueville House was on hand with their gorgeous mulled cider. Then Barry from St Patrick's Distillery treated us to a drop of his Sloe Gin and Honey. No shortage of craft beer either with both Cotton Ball Brewing and Black’s of Kinsale in attendance.

The circle was now completed and we entered the area where the main event was being held. Before we knew it, we had a glass of wine in hand and were queueing for some delicious store food. Tender flavoursome beef (and other meats too) and all the trimmings, even desserts! Amazing array of food and soon our plates were full. And all this even before Kevin Dundon’s entertaining demo started!

The food was brilliant and so too were the staff - a whole battalion of them - all keen to serve and to tell us exactly what we getting. You often hear about the soulless supermarket. Well this sure isn't one of them. Everyone we met last evening as we did our rounds was helpful courteous and busy!
Des Jeffares
So good quality all the way with the food and the same with the wine tasting, conducted by Supervalu wine-buyer Kevin O’Callaghan. He had an amazing selection in front of him, including an excellent wine from Margaux - not bad for a Thursday night!

By the way, if you want to check out SuperValu wines and other drinks, be sure and pick up your copy of the in-house magazine Uncorked (Winter 2015). Lots of info here and articles by Leslie Williams, editor Ross Golden-Bannon, Tomas Clancy, and Raymond Blake. And it’s free.

It was a big night for Liam Ryan and his team and they certainly played a winner. Well done to SuperValu Glanmire.

Some of the wines for tasting

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Seafood Cafe at Blue Haven

Seafood Cafe at Blue Haven


It was seafood all the way at the new Seafood Cafe in the Blue Haven last week. And why not? After all we were on the Wild Atlantic Way. Not that there much wild about it on one of the best days of the summer. Naturally enough, by the time we arrived after a noon cruise around the harbour, the sunny outside seats were taken and we were accommodated inside. No hardship there.


Both the starters came from nearby Oysterhaven. Jamie’s Oysterhaven Mussels, a big pot of them for €9.95, were served with a garlic, white wine, parsley and cream (lots of it) sauce and garlic crostini. Very tasty.


For €6.95, I got the oddly titled Quarter Dozen Oysterhaven Oysters, served on crushed ice, with a Guinness shot, lemon, and seaweed soda bread. The Oysters, all three of them,  were top notch, a taste of the Atlantic for sure.


By the way, my server suggested Carlsberg and Heineken when I asked for craft beer but a few friendly words later and I was sipping a delicious local pale ale from Black’s Brewery. Indeed, they have a bunch of craft beers here and also that gorgeous local cider by Stonewell.


On then to the main courses. I thoroughly enjoyed my Char Grilled Swordfish Nicoise Style with Green beans, fondant potatoes, mixed olives, soft boiled egg, sun blushed tomatoes, pea shoots. The fish was perfectly cooked and the rest of the dish added more texture and flavours. (Cost €21.95).


CL was happy too with her Jamie's Claypot King Prawns and Gubbeen Chorizo, with chilli and garlic butter, shallots, parsley and served with garlic crostini. Another good flavoursome mix here for €12.95.


Two Affogatos later and we were back out in the sunshine.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Cork Summer Show No 209! Numbers Rise Again, Up To 60,000!

Cork Summer Show No 209!

Numbers Rise Again, up to 60,000!
If you’re going to bring tens of thousands of visitors to your show in the fields, then you'd better arrange food for them. The 209th annual Cork Summer Show certainly attracted the visitors in large numbers and, yes indeed, there was no shortage of food, ready to eat on the spot. Lots of tables and benches as well.

All kinds of food were being served up, anything from Asian to Italian to good old Irish and, in between I spotted an Argentinian grill! When I began to get a little hungry I was quite close to O’Crualaoi’s and they had quite a choice and, as is the case in their cafes, the items were well priced. We got two burgers (one steak, one chicken, and a drink) for a tenner all in. Quite a substantial lunch.

Cathal at De Roiste

While there were many selling food to eat, I was disappointed that there were so few producers at the show. I was really expecting to see more. Wasn't expecting though to see Mag Kirwan from Kilkenny but it was a pleasure to again meet the woman (there is also a man!) behind the innovative Goatsbridge Trout Farm. By the way, you can get her gorgeous fresh trout at the fish counter in Dunne’s Stores. Just look out for the Irish farmed trout sign as it is not packaged!

I had been in early enough and that allowed me the chance to have a chat with some of the stallholders before things got hectic. Cathal was fine-tuning the De Roiste displays and had all their black and white puddings and sausages lined up. Excellent products and you could hear the pride sizzling as he spoke. He also introduced me to their Breakfast Time pack, which includes rashers, sausage meat, black and white pudding, egg and mushroom. Easy for the lazy!


Mobile banking!

Also spent a bit of time in the Craft Drinks Tent, especially with Barry Fitzgerald, Brand Manager of the new St Patrick’s Distillery who are based in the old mills at Douglas. They are different to other distillers in that their spirits are potato based. There are easier ways of producing alcohol but the Douglas team believe that it is well worthwhile as their spirits are naturally smooth with the added bonus of a grain free process given a naturally gluten free result.

Certainly that smoothness, some little sweetness too, is evident in their Potato Gin, a classic juniper gin. They won't divulge the full details but most of the regular botanicals are in use here and the potato makes it that bit different from all the others! Worth a try. Widely available around Cork, not so widely (yet) in other counties. See the stockists here.


The drinks tent was fairly well populated with producers. There was beer from the Cotton Ball, Franciscan Well and Blacks of Kinsale, cider by Stonewell and Hyde’s whiskey (which I have yet to try!). But generally, there was a lack of producers overall and I’d personally like to see many more of them for the 210th anniversary next year. Don't know exactly what the problem is. But hard to ignore sixty thousand punters in over the two days.

I hadn't been to the Summer show for a few years and I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Great space there for the stands and the parking and everything seemed to be very well run indeed.
Walk this way

It is a terrific place to bring the kids. They had their own “zone”, which includes a small animal pet farm, Bouncy castles and a fairground with some super high flying machines. For something more gentle, there was the option of taking a trip around the Show on board the magical mystery train (Noddy Train).


A family event!
 No shortage of musical entertainment either with a marching band liable to turn up anywhere. The main focus though was the big stage in the Entertainment Zone which saw everything from Crystal Swing to Gospel, Ska to Soul, Funk,Trad (even magic!) and some of the best voices of Ireland. There is also face painters, balloon makers, stilt walkers, and clowns in this area to entertain the kids. And convenient as it is packed with tables and benches and situated right next to the Food Zone.
Too hot for this guy!

In addition there was the equine events, the farrier’s tent, the dog show, trade stands, cows, sheep and poultry and more including a vintage rally zone, farm machinery, and home and garden show.

It is a fantastic day out both for adults and children, for town and country. A record sixty thousand punters is a massive endorsement. Here’s to the 210th edition next year!

He was in the petting enclosure.
I didn't chance it 
Out of the blue


Friday, May 8, 2015

At Home in Gleeson’s Townhouse! Roscommon Lamb Festival.

At Home in Gleeson’s Townhouse!
Roscommon Lamb Festival.
When you stay in Gleeson's Townhouse in the middle of Roscommon, you get to meet the Gleesons. They, Mary and Eamonn, give you a big friendly welcome; you see them at breakfast, you see them in the bar, they'll help you out with news of what’s on and how to get there. And this kind of personal interaction, from their staff as well, was a delightful part of our mini-break in the town.


We had travelled up from Cork via Thurles, Roscrea, Birr and Athlone, a three hour trip if you don't make stops. But, of course, we did. First one was in Roscrea for lunch. In the Cosy Kitchen, at the back of SuperValu in the town, we had a smashing curry, very well presented and with a very friendly service. We paid fifty cent for an hour’s parking on the street but there is a large car park behind the supermarket.
The Join Our Boys Parade
On then towards Birr where we headed off the main road and over to Clonmacnoise. Had been meaning to visit here for  a long time and the account is here. Cut up then to Athlone and it was well into the afternoon by the time we reached Gleeson’s. Time enough though for a walkabout, that included a visit to the ruined Castle in the park. This is a big one and must have been very impressive in its heyday.

Preparations were going on in the park for the Lamb Festival. And much of Friday was dedicated to Join Our Boys, a locally founded charity to help families afflicted by Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Indeed, the Maltese Supper that we so enjoyed that evening in Gleeson’s was a major fundraiser for the boys and it was great to be there. We were slightly out of place though as most of the locals were wearing orange as a sign of support!
Super curry in Roscrea's Cozy Kitchen
One of the encouraging signs on the trip was the availability of Irish Craft Beer and Gleeson’s, who also run a food and wine shop next door, had a good selection in bottle and at least one of the bars in the town has quite a few on draught. We enjoyed a few from Roscommon's Black Donkey, a Poacher’s Pale Ale from Carrig Brewing (in nearby Drumshanbo, brewed where they once made Bo Peep jam, itself recently revived!) and of course we couldn't resist the familiar Kinsale Pale Ale.

Saturday was a bad day so we headed underground, and very much enjoyed our tour of the Arigna Mining Experience. Read all about it here. In the afternoon, we renewed acquaintance with Kevin Finnerty, the man behind the Percy French Festival in July and who has spent the last 19 years or so restoring Castlecoote House where we enjoyed a guided tour LINK
Lamb shanks, Maltese style
The rain did not relent as the night arrived and we had to get a taxi to the Brazilian Barbeque held in a large marquee in the grounds of Hannon’s Hotel. We arrived just as the first of the food was being served up from the grills (chefs undercover!) and it was a tasty plate of local lamb with salads and breads and more besides. The rain continued but the punters kept coming and the band played on.


More lamb related festivities, including sheepdog trials, on Sunday, mainly in the park but we were on our way home by then. Before we left though we had a great chat with Mary. We'll have to go back for another one and this time we'll just have to taste her famous Irish Lamb Stew.

See also: The Arigna Mining Experience
Castlecoote House
Clonmacnoise
The Maltese Supper.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Superb Gin From Blackwater Distillery. Watch Out For The Cappoquin Heron

Superb Gin From Blackwater Distillery.
Watch Out For The Cappoquin Heron!

The making of a London Dry Gin is a process subject to certain regulations as regards to inputs, almost like a wine appellation. This was our introduction to Blackwater No. 5*, the LDC from Cappoquin with the heron in the logo that is already making a name for itself.


Peter Mulryan was our informative guide on a visit to the fledgling Blackwater Distillery. Peter, the distiller and one of four directors, told us about the botanicals, 12 if I remember rightly, used in the process, including Coriander which goes “citrus-y” in the mix. Considering that citrus (dried skins) and bitter orange (also dried skins) are also used you could see why he advised against using a lemon in your gin. Lime would be a better choice.

The orange skins, by the way, come from Spain, the pulp having been extracted to make marmalade. Some spices, including Cinnamon and Cardamom, are also used.

Juniper is perhaps the best known element, having been traditionally used to make gin, and indeed provides the dominant flavour. Got my hands on a juniper berry and when I crushed it between the fingers it began to feel oily. It is this oil that is extracted and used.

In the still.

Three roots help complete the mix, including liquorice and angelica which “tastes kind of gin-ny”.

And if you thought that this was the first time that these exotic botanicals have reached the beautiful banks of the Blackwater, you'd be mistaken. Peter related the remarkable story of the White family from Waterford who, in the 18th and 19th centuries, imported spices, some from faraway places, and distributed them widely, even sending their own boats up the Blackwater with spice consignments for the many big houses on its banks.

The stills are small here, so small they even have names. Distillation though happens quickly and you can make a decent size batch of gin in a day. By the way, there is a reason why most stills are made of copper. Peter: “Copper softens the mouthfeel. The alcohol won’t ‘burn’ you”, he told us. Aside from the stills, they also have a bottling machine on-site.

Already, the new distillery has cooperated with local brewers, including Dungarvan Brewing Company, as it seeks to position itself away from the really big distillers with which it cannot compete on price.
Still and, right, cooling tower.
 And Blackwater can certainly be different as I found out with the next few tastings. First up was the Curious Still vodka distilled from a double IPA by Black’s of Kinsale. “That is taking the bland out of vodka,” said one obviously impressed taster in our small group.


Now we were on to Poteen, called the Spirit of West Waterford, made from local ingredients, and recently subject to government regulations. This was based on a hop-free oatmeal stout, brewed by Dungarvan Brewing Company. It also contains local barley, Flahavan’s oats and "a smidgen of molasses". This “very soft” drink, with an ABV of 43%, was such a hit at the recent West Waterford Festival of Food that the plan is “to move it into commercial production” in the months ahead.

And there is even better news to come. Peter proudly showed us a few small casks made in Finland from juniper wood (the wood itself imported from Serbia). It is hard to get enough of the timber as juniper is a bush, not a tree. An initial batch filled one of the casks and has been a success, “a great gin”, and production of this will also be scaled up. One way of being different.


Small cask, made from juniper.
 And whiskey, Well, no whisky yet. Remember you have to wait three years and one day to have your whiskey approved as Irish Whiskey or as Irish Whisky as Peter would spell it. Plans are well advanced but you won't find their whisky on the shelves anytime soon. At present, you may pre-buy one of a limited number of  50 litre casks.


“We offer people a choice of seven whisky styles in a choice of wood finishes,” says Peter. These won't be any old whiskey. You’ll be offered anything from Single Malt to a peated Pot Still Irish. Check out their website http://blackwaterdistillery.ie for details.

Innovation is the name of the game here. Peter, a native of nearby Conna, learned the trade in Scotland and that knowledge and his enthusiasm are now being let loose on the final big bend of the Blackwater. Watch out for the heron silhouetted on their bottles, coming to a shelf near you.

*  Blackwater No. 5 is distributed by Classic Drinks.


Peter (left) and Yours Truly