Showing posts with label Roe & Co. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Roe & Co. Show all posts

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Irish whiskey distilleries reopening with a host of new visitor offerings

Irish whiskey distilleries reopening with a host of new visitor offerings
Taste the difference at Roe & Co

  • IrishWhiskey360° campaign urges domestic tourists to ‘get back into the spirit’ by visiting local distilleries -

Bespoke whiskey and food tastings, intimate cocktail-making classes and collaborations with local restaurants are just some of what’s on offer from Irish whiskey distilleries and visitor centres as they re-open in the wake of Covid-19 restrictions.

Commenting on their reopening, William Lavelle, head of Drinks Ireland|Irish Whiskey said many distilleries and brand homes have introduced new visitor offerings and more intimate tourist experiences in the wake of Covid-19.  Drinks Ireland|Irish Whiskey have today launched their IrishWhiskey360° “Get Back Into The Spirit” campaign to promote Irish whiskey tourism.

“Smaller tour sizes, private tastings, new cocktail and food pairings, and collaborations with local businesses are just some of the ways our members are adapting their offerings as they reopen,” he said. “Safety is obviously a key focus for all our visitor centres – they have reduced their tour sizes and introduced all the necessary requirements to ensure social distancing can be adhered to.

“Irish whiskey visitor centres are not just for whiskey fans – they offer a cultural and historical experience, where visitors can learn about how whiskey is made, the history of the local area, taste  whiskey and sample local cuisine. Whether you’re a couple looking for a fun date experience, or a group of friends looking to catch up after a difficult few months, I would urge people to get back into the spirit of discovery and friendship, and support local brands, by including an Irish whiskey visitor centre in your summer plans.”

Some of the distilleries and visitor centres that are reopening with new offerings include:

  • Clonakilty DistilleryCo. Cork, which is offering smaller, later tours on Friday and Saturday evenings to allow visitors to follow their tour with a meal in neighbouring restaurant, the Whale’s Tail.
  • Kilbeggan Distillery, Co. Westmeath, which is running smaller, more intimate tours, and have developed a new ‘Bottle Your Own’ experience, where visitors can bottle their own 10 year-old single malt cask exclusive to Kilbeggan Distillery.
  • Roe & Co. Distillery in Dublin, where groups of up to six people can experience a cocktail-making workshop, and visitors will have the opportunity to discover the five pillars of flavours in whiskey.
  • Tullamore Dew, Co. Offaly, which will be offering intimate-sized tours, and whiskey and food pairings.
Gin School at Clonakilty Distillery

Other distilleries that opened or due to open shortly include:

  • Teeling Whiskey Distillery, Newmarket, Dublin.
  • Powerscourt Distillery, Co. Wicklow.
  • Jameson Distillery, Bow Street, Dublin.
  • Jameson Distillery, Midleton. Co. Cork.
  • Pearse Lyons Distillery, James’s Street, Dublin.
  • Skellig Six18, Cahersiveen, Co. Kerry.

The Irish whiskey industry had a successful 2019 with 143 million bottles (nearly 12 million cases) of Irish whiskey sold globally, a doubling of sales since 2010, along with a record one million people visiting Irish whiskey distilleries and visitor centres.

Further information on the Irish whiskey distilleries and visitor centres that are now open is available at:

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Thinking of visiting Dublin as it opens up? 36 Hours in the Capital. A Hotel with Pawsonality! On Spuds and Stroganoff. Wine & Whiskey.

Thinking of visiting Dublin as it opens up?
36 Hours in the Capital. A Hotel with Pawsonality!
On Spuds and Stroganoff. Wine & Whiskey.
Oscar Wilde, on his own little mont

It is just after lunchtime when we arrive at Heuston Station on a short visit to Dublin (in March last). First we have to get rid of the suitcase and so we hop on the Luas and then walk over to the Mont Hotel to check in. 

The first person, well not a person, we see is Monty the resident dog, a very calm and sociable French Bulldog. This is a dog friendly hotel and four of the 96 rooms are set up for you and your four-legged friend. The bad news is that they don’t allow big dogs!
The Mont Hotel

The 2019 hotel, part of the O’Callaghan group (they two other hotels in close proximity, the Davenport and the Alex), is quite central: Merrion Square Park (2 minutes), The National Gallery of Ireland (5); Grafton Street (10). Our room wasn’t the biggest but was well equipped and very comfortable. 

The bar has quite a bit of craft beer in bottle, a corner for dining, and three big screens if you want to catch the football. They also have an Italian themed menu in the restaurant (where you also have your breakfast - no Full Irish though as the buffet doesn’t have any pudding, black or white).
Braised Lamb Boxty Dumplings

After sampling some of the wines at the Liberty Portfolio tasting,  later that afternoon, we headed out to Temple Bar for dinner. Our choice was the Boxty House. Just as well we had a reservation as it was very busy on a Monday night. 

It is all about the humble spud here and only here will you find the original and authentic Boxty wrap.They serve the 3 types of Boxty found in the border counties of Leitrim, Cavan and Fermanagh.

My main course, a very flavoursome one indeed, was the Braised Lamb Boxty Dumplings. Delicious tender spiced lamb, marinated with chilli, soy sauce, oyster sauce, garlic and ginger, sautéed with Boxty Dumplings and served with cooling Tzatziki Sauce.

Portions are large enough here as we found out with our other mains: the Corned Beef Boxty (tender slow-cooked Corned Beef with Sautéed Cabbage and Kale in a parsley sauce in a Boxty Pancake). Terrific flavour on the plate as well.

Lunch at the Kemp Sisters IMMA
Believe it or not, they also do Boxty Crisps and you can taste those with the Mushroom and Chickpea Pate served with a sweet onion chutney and those crisps. 

The Boxty Crostini Trio starter gives you a great idea of what you are in for. Here, they serve three pieces of Toasted Boxty Loaf with different toppings: Irish Brie and Red Onion, Smoked Salmon and Chive Sour Cream and St Tola Goats Cheese with Tomato Sauce. I enjoyed that very much indeed.

And don’t miss out on their own Jack Smyth beers, brewed locally. You can try all four on a tasting tray for a tenner. I choose a pint of the IPA, all the beers are on draught, and enjoyed it very much with the dinner. Excellent friendly service here.

James McKenna's 'Ferdia at the Ford'
Following a visit to Kilmainham Gaol  on the following morning, we headed back to the Kemp Sisters café in the Irish Museum of Modern Art. The sisters are well-known for their colourful flavoursome dishes and we enjoyed a couple here in the large basement restaurant. 

My pick was a pepper, onion and brie Quiche with two salads, one apple and beetroot, the other couscous based and that boosted the energy levels for the short walk to the nearby Roe Distillery. And a shot or two of whiskey powered the longer walk back to College Green and then on to The Mont and Monty.

Something different that night with a visit to Olesya’s Wine Bar and Bistro in Exchequer Street. Some 400 wines on the list here so quite a bit of reading. Many are available by the glass with a  choice of sizes, the smaller at 100ml, the large 190ml. So we tried and enjoyed a few.

The wines come from all over the world and, with Olesya originally from Russia, there are a few Russian dishes on the menu. Naturally enough, I picked a couple! A couple of excellent ones, I might add.
Solyanka Soup

One was the delicious Solyanka Soup. This rich soup came in a large bowl with a variety of very finely shredded smoked meats, ham, and sausages, also olives, a slice of lemon and a dollop of creme fraiche. And a generous amount of delicious bread, nicely heated. Great stuff on a cold and windy night on the streets of Dublin. Eating and drinking in it!

I must admit I didn’t realise that Stroganoff is a dish of Russian origin but here they insist it is. In any event, their Classic Beef Stroganoff version is superb. Back to the Sin Bin, the bar at The Mont, for a bottle of Porterhouse Pale Ale.

The following day, we strolled up to the adjacent park to see Oscar Wilde, before heading off to Heuston to catch the mid-morning train to Cork.

For the latest on the Mont Hotel's reopening, please click here .

Also on this trip:
Hands On Fun during Roe and Co Whiskey Tour

Some Previous Dublin visits

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Hands On Fun during Roe and Co Whiskey Tour in Dublin’s Liberties.

Hands On Fun during Roe and Co
 Whiskey Tour in Dublin’s Liberties.

We are sitting in a rather plush room. The lights are dim.There is a covered box on the table in front each of us. Eventually we are invited to flip the lid. In the box are three closed containers, a tube of liquid, a glass of whiskey, and two sections, one with malted barley, the other with corn (maize).

On the word, I squeeze a few drops of whiskey from the tube on to a palm and then rub my hand together, and smell the result. Now we open the three containers and use the old nostrils again. No 1 is sweet; “from the fermentation” says our guide. No 2 looks and smells like caramel and coffee; “from the distillation”. No 3 looks and smells like a piece of clove rock; “spice, from the maturation”. The barley and corn (maize) are there because this whiskey is a blend of malted and grain (aged in Bourbon casks).

We finish by tasting from the glass in the box. All the elements have now come together in harmony and we enjoy. What is a bit unusual about the new Roe and Co whiskey is that its ABV is 45 degrees, up on the usual forty.

The Roe master blender, Caroline Martin (a Scot), whose original brief was “to create a modern Irish whiskey”, went through over a multiple prototypes before eventually settling on this one. Then, she consulted widely again with the country’s bar staff. And the message that came back was that this higher alcohol mix was just the job for cocktails! So there you are.
Douglas Fir, Caroline insisting this was “essential” to the success of her process and project, was used here instead of the usual stainless steel.

You get a fair bit of fun in this new Dublin and, soon afterwards, in a different and well equipped room we each are assembling our own cocktail under the guidance of Shane. Again we did a bit of tasting, this time getting to know, by tasting of course, the five tastes: sour, sweet, bitter, umami and salt. We had all the essentials in front us including the all important jigger (20ml and 40ml) and whiskey of course. Not over impressed with my effort at first. It did seem to improve after a few minutes but by then we were heading downstairs to the bar for another drink, either a whiskey or a another professional made cocktail!
Wall of whiskey

No sails now on this old windmill tower
So who is this Roe? George Roe & Co helped build the golden era of Irish whiskey - this area of the Liberties was known as the Golden Triangle -  in the 19th century. Their distillery at Thomas Street in Dublin extended over 17 acres and they were Ireland's largest exporter of whiskey. As neighbours for hundreds of years George Roe & Co and Guinness were the two biggest names at the heart of Dublin’s historic brewing and distilling quarter. 

And now it is Guinness (through Diageo) that have opened this Roe distillery on the site of an old powerhouse. Our tour was called the Power House Tour. The original Roe distillery closed in 1926 and now all that remains is the distillery windmill tower (known as St Patrick’s and visible from the tour) and a pear tree that flowers to this day. Indeed, Shane told us the old tree is still fruiting and it and the tower are used as a marketing motif. In addition, a part of the old power house has been retained and you’ll see it on the tour.

For our twenty two euro each, we were promised a personalised experience. There were just five guests - a maximum of 16 is permitted - so we did enjoy the stories plus the sensorial tasting and cocktail workshop exploring the flavour and taste profile and that signature serve in the Power House Bar. Only over 18s are allowed.
Cocktail time

You also get to see the distillery itself, mostly from an overhead walkway. It opened last year so the whiskey used in the current offering has been distilled elsewhere on the island. The three stills are named Vision, Virtue and Valour. The middle one, Virtue, has a slightly different configuration to the others and is a gift from sister company Gordon’s Gin. All very impressive and Caroline and her crew here are all looking forward to their first whiskey which should see the light of day in 2022.

If you want to find out more about the various tours, read here

By the way, the Power House Bar is open to the public on Friday nights when they’ll be dishing out signature Roe & Co cocktails, great tunes and good vibes. 

Also on this trip: 
Kilmainham Gaol