Showing posts with label St Patrick's Distillery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label St Patrick's Distillery. Show all posts

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

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Taste of the Week. Martin’s Whiskey Marmalade

Taste of the Week
Martin’s Whiskey Marmalade


How about whiskey in a jar? Whiskey for breakfast? An early morning Hair of the Dog maybe?


Martin’s Homemade Jams and Marmalades, from Mallow, have started making a whiskey marmalade with the whiskey coming from St Patrick’s Distillery of Douglas. It is quite different to other versions, with a lovely aroma and surprisingly delicious flavour and is our Taste of the Week. Indeed, one non-marmalade eater here has been converted.


The marmalade is available at the Friday Market in Mallow, at Danno’s SuperValu and Lucey’s Butchers (both in Mallow), at Bradley’s of North Main Street (Cork) and at Roughty Fruit (English Market).

See more about St Patrick’s Distillery here.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

You Can't Hurry Sloe Gin. St Patrick’s Distillery

You Can't Hurry Sloe Gin
St Patrick’s Distillery
You can’t hurry Sloe Gin. That’s what Cyril Walsh and Barry Fitzgerald of Cork's St Patrick’s Distillery told me last week.  The sloes and the gin do their thing together for about three months. No sugar is added. They like to retain the natural tartness of the sloes, though they temper it with “just a drop of honey”.

Another infusion is their Elderflower Gin, the process here taking about a month. Both infusions are post distillation and are done with the gin at 96.4% to make “the extraction more complete” and it is “cut” after that.

The Sloe and Honey is Cyril’s favourite and he loves it with ginger ale. Barry goes for the Classic and takes it as a G & T. The other gin - they make four - is the Extra Dry. All, by the way, are the full 40% abv.

And when Barry, or his colleagues, makes that G & T, the tonic will be the German made 28 Drinks. It is a low sugar mixer, comes in a can and comes highly recommended by the Douglas Distillery team.
Cyril (left) and Barry
The gins and their St Patrick's Vodka are made with potato alcohol, are charcoal filtered and hand bottled. The alcohol is “a full strength spirit, straight and crystal clear, with an aroma and taste profile that is unique”. By the way, each bottle of vodka takes about 250 potatoes!

The whiskey is bought in at present but that will change over the next few years. The bought in whiskey, already quite a good product having been matured for more than three years in first fill bourbon barrels, is blended with a 21 year old malt whiskey. Cyril says the blend of the young and the very old (very expensive too!), plus the fact that it has been raised in US oak, produces the perfect balance, and make it extra special.

Indeed, the whiskey has been the stand-out success so far. “We are up against the big boys, up against Jameson, so we can’t go to the market with the same type of whiskey. We can't be the same and we don't want to be the same. People have been very willing to try the whiskey and are impressed by its smoothness and that longer finish”. Barry has been impressed with the way the Sloe and Honey Gin has been received, "Maybe because of the long tradition in Ireland of making Sloe gin at home”.

St Patrick's may be new but not all their kit is!
This old Vitamin Stamper, from the 1950s, was
 spotted in the UK and adapted by Cyril to
cork their bottles of spirits.
The team travels to exhibitions all over the country. Check out their products and be sure to sample their cocktails. Indeed, you’ll find some cocktail recipes, including the Crafty Cobbler, on their site here.

If you can't hurry Sloe Gin, you can't hurry a distillery either. Tom Keightley (Managing Director) and Cyril (General Manager) are the pioneers of St Patrick’s and Barry has joined them as Brand Manager. They are just about six months in operation. The Potato alcohol is being bought in at present but they have their own stills now and expect them to be operational in the near future.

They do their own bottling here in Douglas, by hand. Soon, they be contracting out that part of the operation, mainly because of increasing volumes of sales. Aside from the general market, the products are selling well in Dublin and Cork Airports.

St Patrick’s won't be stopping at the airports. They have confirmed their first export order and that goes off to Germany next October and, as a follow-up, the team will attend the ProWein, the International Trade Fair for Wine and Spirits next March. Could well be a Happy St Patrick’s Day for the Cork company.

St Patrick’s Distillery
Unit 105
St Patrick’s Woolen Mills,
Couglas
Cork.
Tel: 021 4918791
Facebook: St Patrick’s Distillery https://www.facebook.com/stpatricksdistillery.ie?fref=ts
Twitter: @StDistillery

You might have spotted this at St Patrick's tastings, the
most recent at the weekend in the RDS. A piece of a
whiskey barrel is heated, the glass is filled with smoke,
and you add in your whiskey for a drink with a difference!

Friday, July 17, 2015

St Patrick's Distillery Launch

St Patrick's Distillery Launch
At Coughlan's (l to r): Andrew Desmond (Whazon), Cyril Walsh and
Barry Fitzgerald (both St Patrick's)
The team at St Patrick's Distillery in Douglas could hardly have picked a better venue for their recent launch than Coughlan's Bar in Douglas Street and will be hoping that some of the pub's longevity will rub off on their new venture. Coughlan's is close to 200 years old, a very lively 200 years as it is a recent winner of the IMRO Music Venue of the Year Award. Check it out here.

Lovely, lively old pub in Douglas Street

The St Patrick's Range.
It includes four gins including an Elderflower and also a Sloe and Honey. Indeed that Sloe and Honey featured in the most popular cocktail of the evening, the Sloe Heaven!


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Re-GIN-eration. Renaissance of the Garden Spirit

Re-GIN-eration
Renaissance of the Garden Spirit
Gin’s popularity is on the increase. And, from being the drink for parents and grandparents, it has found a younger audience.

What are the reasons for the increase in popularity? I asked Michael Creedon of Bradley’s in North Main Street (who have 35 gins in stock and are still expanding the range). His list:

  1. Somewhat like the craft beer explosion, when people spend their hard earned money now, they like to get a return in quality, flavour and taste experience – bang for your buck if you will, with quality taking precedence over price/quantity.
  2. The emergence of smaller, craft Irish distilleries has increased the overall interest in gin.
  3. The great diversity in flavour between gins. If you taste 20 different gins, you will quite literally experience 20 different taste sensations.

It is, of course, a very versatile drink available in a variety of interesting flavours and a
bartender can do a million things with it. Cocktails by the score for example.

Gin is also a spirit that lets small-scale distillers get creative.They have the ability to use different botanicals. All this leads to much greater variation than you'd get with vodka.
No shortage of creativity among the new Irish distillers. Most people will know about the botanicals that go into gin, including the essential juniper. The Saint Patrick’s gin is based on alcohol derived from potatoes while Highbank’s comes from the apples in their organic orchards and they use botanicals from their farm. Blackwater have matured gin in Juniper casks.

There is a massive amount of potential and some really interesting products are now on the market as the rise in the number of new producers in the UK is being replicated here. And not just here and in the UK; Germany, USA and Australia have also reported a big rise over the past two or three years.

Good to see the new Irish producers involved. Michael argues that the new producers “need to stand out from the crowd with smart packaging and innovative use of various botanicals and flavours. For example, St. Patrick's Distillery have an Elderflower Gin in their range.”
What are the Irish gins? Michael: “Apart from CDC from Irish Distillers, the new wave of small, Irish craft gin producers are led by Dingle Distillery, Blackwater Distillery, Highbank Orchard, Shortcross Distillery and Cork's own St. Patrick's Distillery based in Douglas. Bradley's also carry gins from England, Scotland, Spain, Germany and Norway.” Two Trees, from the West Cork Distillery in Skibbereen, is not in Bradley's. Not yet!

But is all the new gin up to standard? Sometimes, in a new distillery there is more interest in the whiskey. But while waiting the required three years and a day for the whiskey to mature, they use gin as a revenue earner. Do you they rush it out or do they give the gin enough attention so that it can be a long term proposition for them?

Michael Creedon thinks the producers take their gin seriously: “While some gin producers also have the ultimate goal of producing whiskey, this does not have an adverse effect on the quality of the gin. On the contrary, to ensure they maintain a good reputation they put everything into the quality of their gin."
Desmond Payne, the Master Gin Distiller at Beefeaters, says gin and tonic is a marriage that works but there are many more ways to mix. “At present, there is a revival in cocktails, some fantastic ones nowadays. Gin is right back in fashion. Some gin bars in Spain have up to 300 brands (and 50 tonics) on offer and new distilleries are popping up everywhere. There are new gins coming out sometimes that try too hard. You can't change everything at once!”

There is a huge variation in the price per bottle. Does that always reflect quality? Michael: “Higher price does not always mean a better gin as limited supply and difficulty of sourcing will also affect price, however every gin will have its own flavour profile, so it's definitely worth experimenting!”

What are the more popular gins in Bradley’s?
Irish - Dingle, Blackwater and St. Patricks.
International Gins under €40 - Plymouth, Beefeater 24, Bombay Sapphire.
International Gins over €40 – Hendricks, The Botanist, Bathtub Gin.

With all the new and old gins on the market, packaging is more important than ever?
Michael: “Gin, in general as a category, comes in particularly smart packaging and this is something very important for new producers to keep in mind. Consumers buy with their eyes firstly but come back for the quality and taste of course!”

As Desmond Payne said at Ballymaloe LitFest, gin and tonic is a marriage made in heaven. But which tonic goes with which gin? What are the most popular tonics sold in Bradley’s?

Michael: “The quality of the tonic you use, it being the most popular mixer for gin, has become very important to consumers. Schweppes is still the traditional tonic used in Ireland but we have an ever increasing demand for tonics such as Fever Tree, 1724 and our most popular variety, Fentiman's.
Fentiman's is most popular, we believe, because it offers 3 varieties in the range – standard, light or herbal tonic water. Experimentation is all part of the fun to see which one you like yourself.

We have also recently added a tonic syrup to our range. The usual mix is one part syrup, 2 parts gin and 3 parts soda/sparkling water. However, these quantities can be played with to get the perfect mix for you! We currently carry Bradley's Tonic Syrup from American but have just recently discovered a tonic syrup produced here in Galway. We are very excited about this and will be adding it to our range very shortly!”
See also

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