Showing posts with label gin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gin. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

NEW. Graham Norton West Cork Marmalade Gin lands just in time for Christmas

press release

NEW Graham Norton West Cork Marmalade Gin lands just in time for Christmas

With his Own Irish and Own Pink GiN stacking up awards and accolades, Graham Norton has turned his attention to a taste of nostalgia to launch a brand-new variant, Graham Norton’s Own West Cork Marmalade GiN.


Available in store in SuperValu(RRP €39), the West Cork Marmalade GiN is carefully crafted in West Cork with Irish grains, locally sourced botanicals, and Spanish oranges. The perfect balance of premium Seville oranges and classic aromas of botanicals and is a refreshing surprise for all gin lovers. Dry in style, with a citrus twist of marmalade creates a refreshing drink that lingers on after the last drop.


On his newest addition, Graham says: “You’ve tried it on toast, now enjoy it as a toast! Spain’s famous Seville oranges give the best marmalade its unique citrus tang; now those same oranges take centre stage in my latest Irish GiN. Starting with Irish grains and locally foraged botanicals, this new variety is infused with marmalade made from premium Seville oranges and made in Ireland.”


SERVING SUGGESTION: Pour over ice with a premium tonic, with a twist of orange and a garnish of orange zest.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Taste of the Week. Rebel City “Maharani” Irish Gin

Taste of the Week

Rebel City “Maharani” Irish Gin 

The local Maharani Gin is on my short list of favourites and is the current Taste of the Week. 

The juniper may be a little less forward than normal yet this gin is not at all short of character. On the contrary, it stands out in the crowd with its creamy mouthfeel and engaging harmony of the various botanicals. The nose, with the moderate citrus contribution of the pomelo leading, promises much and much is delivered, right through to a lengthy finish and its small hit of nutmeg mace spice. Quite a journey from first sip to last, quite a way from Kerala to Cork.

Kerala? You may well ask. Well some of the botanicals come all the way from Kerala in the south of India.

Distillery co-founders Robert Barrett and his wife Bhagya have brought it all together in a rather historic site in Cork. In a tiny gleaming distillery, Robert combines the botanicals and the spirit into a superb drink. He adds three botanicals from Kerala: they are Pomelo Fruit, officially Citrus Grandis;  Cassia (Cinnamomum Cassia) and also Nutmeg Mace (Myristica Fragrans). All three are sourced from the women’s farming cooperative in Kerala, Bhagya’s home state.

Their Rebel City Distillery is situated in part of the famous factory that thrived as it manufactured cars for Henry Ford (1917-1984). 

Rebel City Distillery 

Unit P6

Marina Commercial Park


  • +353 21 496 6300

Saturday, March 13, 2021


press release 


-Blacks Brewery & Distillery Release Limited Edition Shamrock Gin-



Forget gold, this St. Patrick’s Day there is Blacks at the end of the rainbow! As we once again face a St. Patrick’s Day in lockdown, Blacks, Ireland's first co-located brewery & distillery, are not letting this dampen their spirits.


With a reputation for pushing the boundaries of flavour when crafting their range of award-winning spirits, and escaping the mundane of the mass market by producing craft beers with passion, personality and lots of hops, Blacks launch a limited-edition Shamrock Gin.


This Blacks Shamrock Gin is a small batch distillery exclusive as part of their Blacks Experimental Series, which also includes a Peach Moonshine. This Paddy’s Day must-have is infused with Shamrock & Mint to give this gin a mouth-watering Irish twist.


To ensure the perfect serve, this limited-edition St. Patrick’s Day spirit comes with the essentials to make a Blacks Shamrock Shake - Blacks Shamrock Gin (70cl) and a bottle of Monin Frosted Mint Syrup (70cl). All you have to do is add ice, fresh lemon and Sláinte! (see below for full recipe)


This special offer is available exclusively through the Blacks online store and retails at €47. Order yours today at stay up to date on new exclusives and offers follow Blacks on Facebook\BlacksBrewery&Distillery, Instagram\blacksbrewery and Twitter @BlacksBrewery


Blacks Shamrock Shake



60 ml Blacks Shamrock Gin

3 Wedges of Lemon

10ml Frosted Mint Syrup

10 ml Sugar Syrup ( 1:1 ratio of water: sugar)


Fresh Shamrock


1.    Muddle lemon wedges, mint syrup and sugar syrup in a long glass

2.    Add Blacks Shamrock Gin and top up with ice

3.    Stir the contents of the glass until chilled and diluted

4.    Top up with more ice and garnish with a lemon wedge and fresh shamrock

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Blackwater's Tasters Club Keeps On Giving

Blackwater's Tasters Club Keeps On Giving.

The Christmas Box from the Blackwater Distillery’s Tasters Club was launched, with not a little fanfare, at the Ballyduff distillery last Wednesday evening. Seasonal gins and unique spirits crafted exclusively for the members are delivered on  bimonthly basis and the latest offering consisted of a Christmas Pudding Gin and a Cranberry Vodka Liqueur. By the way, there a few boxes still available but you need to move quickly as the cut off for the Republic of Ireland is midnight on Sunday next the 29th! Details here

Following the musical intro by the resident distillery band, Peter Mulryan introduced the two new products. “That Christmas pudding gin, I’ve wanted to make that happen for a long time. I also enjoyed bringing the Cranberry Vodka to fruition. Now I enjoy it straight from the freezer which brings out the sour taste of the cranberry. We stop-sweetened it, not too sweet, still a slightly bitter bite. We made it from frozen berries macerated in vodka. It is not fully filtered so you see a little haze, all normal. And it is fab in cocktail.”

Cocktail ace John Coleman was again on hand to take us through his creation, the Festive Fizz (left). And he came up with a very impressive finish indeed. Prosecco or elderflower tonic or soda water are recommended as top-ups but John's favourite is Cava and then he demoed how to make an ice nest that sits on top, very cool.

Blackwater’s Caroline Senior then introduced is to local artist Valerie Lee who made the gift labels the came with the current box. Based in Lismore, she makes all kinds of cards, earrings, even figures out of clothes pegs. Find her on Insta at GalleryValerieLismore.

Now it was time for the pudding gin and a chat with its creator Kieran Curtin. That particular journey had its origins when Kieran steeped some damsons in poitin. It was “interesting, a snapps like spirit.” And he began thinking of a Christmas pudding gin. Quite a few more experiments advanced the project until they had it more or less where they wanted it. Still lacking something though, until he took up a suggestion to finish it in Cognac and Port casks. That did the trick. “I love it,’ said Kieran who sometimes enhances it with a little drop of brandy and he did mean little!

Now it was time for John Coleman to introduce the cocktail (above right) for this unusual gin, called Blas na Nollag. It took quite a bit of thought, he admitted. “I played around with a lot of ideas and settled on making a hot one. No shaker required here.” But you will need to add coffee to the mix and then finish it off with a layer of lightly whipped cream which John did to perfection! See John in action and much more from the December unveiling here.

So well done again to the Blackwater team and I’m looking forward to seeing what they’ll come up with for the Valentine’s Day box. In the meantime, if you want one of those few remaining Christmas boxes, remember the cut off point is midnight on Sunday.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Apple and Blackcurrant in Blackwater’s Taster Club October Box.

 Apple and Blackcurrant in Blackwater’s October Box. Gin and Cassis.

The Blackwater Tasters Club Box for October 2020 contained the two drinks, as usual, plus a few other pertinent bits and pieces. The two new, exclusive to the club, drinks were a Blackwater Windfall Spiced Gin 40% and a Blackwater Waterford Cassis 25%.

Blackwater’s Peter Mulryan hosted a Facebook chat about the box last week and declared the Windfall Gin “a banger”, saying it was created by their gin expert Kieran Curtin who joined the talk from a deserted Maureen’s Bar in Cork.

Kieran admitted to being very happy with it. “It was an idea I had a long time back but I could never get the apples to come across. Then the idea came again for this box and, after a lot of experimenting, we had a breakthrough. Before we used to cut the 70/80% still spirit with water but now we decided to cut it with apple juice and we were on our way. Then, we added apple brandy from a cask in the distillery and that tied it all together!”

Kieran Curtin

Peter said it’s excellent, “great balance, well done Kieran”. Kieran confirmed they went for the usual apples spices, “clove, cinnamon, all spice” and both agreed this was not one to be scaled up. It is not filtered, just settled naturally. “If you see some haze, it's completely natural.” Blackwater’s mixologist John Coleman conjured up a Spiced Collins as the cocktail for this one: “Very easy, great before a meal”.

Next up was Des Jeffares as it is his Wexford blackcurrants that are used in the Waterford Cassis, “..very good blackcurrants” according to Peter. “How long have you been growing them?” he asked. Des explained that the business had been started by an uncle of his father. His father carried it on as did Des who, 6 or 7 years ago, decided to stop being just a supplier and go into juice side of it for himself.

John Wilcox

John Wilcox is the Head Distiller at Blackwater and he developed the new cassis. He rose to the challenge despite not knowing much at all about the fruit. “But I did have friend in Italy who had introduced me to currants via a book that he wrote. You could say this is an Italian, Irish, French hybrid!"

Des’s knowhow was crucial too. “You need to wait for fresh berries. When they are good and ripe, you get a more powerful colour and good sugar, as good as possible for you guys.”

Wilcox: “It is important to stay true to the fruit, I didn't realise currants could be so tart. I wanted to present a true cassis and in a style that people would be comfortable with. A lot of balancing went on but I think we did hit the perfect spot.”

John Coleman
And he may have had, judging by the reaction. Peter: “This is a limited edition for the club. But the way things are going, we might expand it. By the way, this is nice in a shot-glass straight from the freezer.” John Coleman’s cocktail here, Velvet Rain, looks very well indeed, very tempting and again “great after a meal”.

Thinking of going for the December box? You'll need to move quickly - details here

Home Testing

Blackwater Windfall Spiced Gin 40%

Tried this with Elderflower Tonic (Fever-tree) as indicated. Thought, with first sip, that there may just be too much of the orchard here but soon began to appreciate the balance that Kieran and company had worked hard to achieve. Worth persevering with, though you may never get this exact same blend again. Pretty experimental, pretty much a one-off, pretty damn good.

Blackwater Waterford Cassis 25%.

Took Peter’s tip here. Poured a shot straight from the freezer over ice. It is certainly flavoursome and refreshing and you get a sense of how it would be perfect in either a simple Kir or a Kir Royale.

Blackwater Jaffa Cake Gin 42%

This was one of the two in the August box but it’s only now that I had a chance to sample it.  Used a plain Schweppes tonic. No doubt there's a touch of the Jaffa cake here, in both aroma and flavour. Just not sure there’s enough distinctiveness to carry it beyond this first edition though.

Blackwater Boyle’s Gin 40%, Aldi exclusive

Small Batch Irish Botanical Gin. London Dry Gin style. Distilled and bottled by Blackwater, using local blackcurrants, elderflowers and apples. They combine these botanicals (and more besides) in pure Irish spirit, “then distil everything in our traditional copper pot still”. Having noted those “local” botanicals, I made a little “cocktail” here:

Boyle’s 50ml;

Waterford Cassis 10ml;

Elderflower tonic 150ml approx.

Very happy with the result - not too sure it deserves the cocktail title though. But the wee amount of cassis worked a treat, a terrific little sipper, a happy harmony reigned. 

By the way, Robert Boyle was an alchemist and one of the fathers of modern chemistry and lived in West Waterford.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Introducing Maharani, the High Queen of Gin from the Rebel City!

 Introducing Maharani, the High Queen from the Rebel City!

Rebel City “Maharani” Irish Gin 41% abv.

In my hand, I’ve got the whole world. 

Claiming a bit much there, both for my hand and the glass of gin it is holding. Yet, this 40 ml of gin (there is also tonic and ice) represents hands across the continents. A liberation of spirit and spice, its makers claim. The spirit is Irish made in the southern city of Cork while the lead botanicals come all the way from Kerala in the south of India.

Distillery co-founders Robert Barrett and his wife Bhagya have brought it all together in a rather historic site in Cork. Their Rebel City Distillery is situated in part of the factory that thrived as it manufactured cars for Henry Ford (1917-1984). Enter through one of three original doors and under the high ceiling a tiny gleaming distillery combines the botanicals and the spirit into a superb drink.

Faraway flavours (l to r): Nutmeg Mace, Cassia, Pomelo

The Maharani is copper pot distilled and, along with the usual suspects, including the essential juniper, distiller Robert has added three botanicals from Kerala. One is Pomelo Fruit, officially Citrus Grandis. Then you have Cassia (Cinnamomum Cassia) and also Nutmeg Mace (Myristica Fragrans). All three are sourced from the women’s farming cooperative in Kerala, Bhagya’s home state. Robert is very happy with the Maharina (means high queen): “a fusion of two creative cultures, a gin of truly transcendent taste”.

I’m very happy with it too, after a few considered sips. The juniper may be a little more less forward than normal yet this gin is not at all short of character. On the contrary, it stands out in the crowd with its creamy mouthfeel and engaging harmony of the various botanicals. The nose, with the moderate citrus contribution of the pomelo leading, promises much and much is delivered, right through to a lengthy finish and its small hit of nutmeg mace spice. Quite a journey from first sip to last, quite a way from Kerala to Cork.

It wouldn’t be a queen gin without a Signature serve:


— Signature Gin Serve


  • - 40ml Maharani Gin
  • - Chilled premium tonic water
  • - A wedge of grapefruit
  • - Mint leaves
  • - Cubed ice


Pour the gin and tonic water over ice and mix thoroughly. Add the grapefruit and mint garnish, sit back, sip and enjoy.

More serves here.

Earlier this year, Robert drew on his wealth of industry experience (he has worked for leading whiskey companies both here, with Cooley, and abroad, including Vancouver) to set up his own boutique distillery alongside his wife, Bhaghya and father, Brendan.  Since then they’ve been joined by Gemma who looks after marketing for Rebel City.

Robert’s wife Bhagya is a software engineer by trade. Her expansive career has seen her work in the large cities of Chennai and Madrid before her move west to Ireland. This diverse experience of cultures has provided Bhagya with a worldly, eclectic perspective, her own cultural identity inspiring the unique faraway flavours and personality of Maharani Gin. 

Robert’s father Brendan, with an extensive career in engineering and construction, mentored Robert in the development of the business and in the refurbishment and redevelopment of the distillery building. And between them they retained much of the original walls and doors and indeed brought in some very interesting artefacts that you will see on the tours (which will run as soon as it’s safe to do so).

The still itself is eye-catching with its beautiful copper gleaming in the soft autumnal light. Again Robert’s experience in the industry came in handy here and he had no hesitation in ordering from the Germany company Muller as he well knew of their high standards, both in manufacture and in ongoing support.

And, looking to the near future, Robert told me that he’ll be expanding the Rebel City range. Indeed, I left with a little taster of his Absinthe - now apparently I must get a sugar lump to best appreciate this 53% sample! And he also has plans for rum, both white and dark, which will have its own brand name. Already, the gin of the Rebel City Distillery has captured attention outside of Ireland and soon they’ll be exporting to Singapore.

Stockists include Bradley’s of Cork and Irish Malts online and you may sample the gin at leading bars such as Cask.  Click here for a full list.

Rebel City Distillery 

Unit P6

Marina Commercial Park


  • +353 21 496 6300

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Taste of the Week. Silver Spear Gin

Taste of the Week
Silver Spear Gin

So many gins on the market nowadays. Some are very good. But others have little to distinguish themselves from the crowd. Not so with Silver Spear from Ballydarton House in Carlow. Came across this at a recent function, enjoyed the fragrant aromas and the classic characteristics in the glass and thought to myself that I had a Taste of the Week in my hands. 

So I did some further research, that is to say, I had another glass of their perfect serve.
The ingredients are: 
Silver Spear Gin 35ml
Premium tonic 150ml.
Stir and serve on ice, garnished with strawberry (sliced and slight muddled) and one wedge of lime (with a slight squeeze.

That research worked out quite well and the Silver Spear is our current Taste of the Week. Lots of other ways of serving it also. Check out a list of cocktails here

Silver Spear gin is an award winning contemporary Irish Gin produced in small batches by Smyth & O’Reilly. Taking over 14 months to develop and produced with absolute consistency, it’s is a marriage of 13 different ingredients, including fresh juniper berries, spices, herbs and citrus.

The name was inspired by an iconic piece of Irish and British military history. The ‘Silver Spear’ was awarded to John Henry Watson of Ballydarton House in 1876 for his ‘skill and horsemanship’ whilst he was in service in Colonial India, the home of Gin and Tonic.

The company is owned and managed by husband and wife team, Dawn and Charles Smyth. Dawn, well experienced in the food and drink business, is the only person who knows the secret recipe and blends. They were  awarded “Best Irish Contemporary Gin” in Ireland during blind taste tests at the World Gin Awards 2018. More info here

Monday, January 21, 2019

Pearse Lyons Whiskey Lifts Liberties. More than a distillery

Pearse Lyons Whiskey Lifts Liberties
More than a distillery

We begin our tour in the graveyard of the former church of St. James, now home to the Pearse Lyons Distillery. Here in the Golden Triangle in the heart of The Liberties we end with a sip of the golden Pearse Five-Year-Old Single Malt, the design and packaging inspired by the former church, now restored and with a unique blue glass spire. In addition, there is also a genuine old pub, McCann’s, on site and some of the tours end there for a drink. 

The late Pearse Lyons on video frame
When you have finished the tour, having heard how Deirdre and Pearse Lyons took over the rump of the old church and the overgrown graveyard (where up to 100,000 had been buried over the centuries) and transformed it, you realise that this is much more than just a business venture, more than a distillery.

We are here for the whiskey of course and our tour allows us quite a tasting, beginning with The Original. This has been raised in US barrels (from the Lyons Town Branch distillery in Lexington) and the vanilla shows. It is a lovely whiskey, citrus and smoke on the nose, sweet, light and a little smoky as you sip.

Our patient guide at this stage is James and he has all the answers telling us that our next whiskey, the Distiller’s Choice is a 3 to 9 year old blend of no less than seven Irish whiskies, 6 sourced by Mr Lyons plus their own malt whiskey (ex ale barrel, Lyons also have a brewery Alltech). 

The Lyons distillery is quite new (though they had set up their equipment in Carlow for a few years before opening here in St Jame’s), hence the sourcing. The blend is perfect, again a touch of fruit (including citrus) on the nose, smooth and sweet and very satisfying indeed.

James was quite enthusiastic about the third whiskey, the Founder’s Choice, a 12 year old single malt. Again fruity on the nose with herbal notes too, sweet, oaky, herbal and spicy on the silky palate and finish. No wonder it is James’s favourite!

Number four is the Cooper’s Select, 42% like all the previous drinks. This a blend of 80% Single Malt and 20% Grain and has spent four years in Sherry cask. Dried fruit and coffee on the nose and that rich combination continues on the palate. This is an after-dinner drink and a very nice one too! But if you fancy it, you’d better act quickly as they won’t be producing this exact drink again.  James: “When it’s gone, it’s gone”.

Yeast at work
The future is represented in more ways than one in our final Pearse tasting, the Single Malt. Its bottle shape is different to the previous four and will be standard for Pearse whiskey in the future. The standard within is exceptional. This by the way is all their own malt, raised in first and second fill Bourbon casks. 

“It is the first five-year age statement Irish whiskey to appear from a new distillery in the whole of Ireland in more than 25 years. Presented in 4,000 individually numbered bottles, this limited release 5-Year-Old Single Malt was produced on two small-batch copper pot stills, and aged in bourbon casks.”

It is sweet, oaky, peppery. Still  young, yet full of promise, all very encouraging indeed. And it was also a bottle that I bought before I left!
James, with the Single Malt

Had an enjoyable taste of their Ha’penny Dublin Dry Gin, a small-batch, pot distilled gin featuring 13 expertly selected botanicals including Geranium, Dandelion, Lavender and Blackberry – all of which would have been growing in the nearby Phoenix Park in Victorian times when the bridge was built. The Ha’penny series also features a whiskey.

The counter where we tasted is set up in the church under a stained glass representation of a cooper at work. The stained glass windows are amazing; one commemorates the area’s connection with the Camino to Santiago di Compostela, another depicts how Irish Whiskey is made; the fourth shows the natural ingredients grown for “uisce beatha”. Amazing how the warm amber light from the windows fills up the distillery interior, reflecting on the copper stills and the Caen stone pillars. 

Outside though, the work is continuing and will continue for a long while to come, as our excellent tour guide Bernard told us. Many a story has emerged from the graveyard and no doubt more to come, all exciting much interest locally and further afield.

The headstones shed light on the trades that The Liberties welcomed in the past. Tradesmen and women who worked as coopers, distillers, linen merchants, shoemakers, bakers, bishops and soldiers have all found a resting place here at St. James’ Church alongside many members of the Lyons family. 

The graveyard is next door to Guinness property and one of the more prominent graves, right up by the wall of the church, belongs to Sir Haldane Porter, an assistant managing director of Guinness at his death in 1944.

The oldest person buried here is Florence Walltropp, 105 years old at her death. They also found five leaded coffins, always a sign of a contagious disease; these five are of one family believed to have decimated by the 1832 cholera outbreak in Dublin.

And the Golden Triangle? At one time, close to 40 distilleries were in operation in Dublin, nestled in a one mile radius around here, better known as the “Golden Triangle.”
Cooper at work
The four big distillery players at the time were George Roe and Company, John Power and Son, William Jameson and Company and John Jameson and Son. Today, the Pearse Lyons Distillery is playing a leading role as the Golden Triangle in the heart of The Liberties makes a remarkable revival.

A visit here is Very Highly Recommended. For the whiskey yes but it is, after all, much more than a distillery. Read more here

* Pearse Lyons greets all visitors during an introductory video to the tour but sadly the great man died last year. He will be missed for a long time and will be remembered whenever a person from the Liberties, or indeed a visitor on his or her way to the distillery, spots the distinctive blue spire.
also on this Dublin trip:
The Little Museum of Dublin
Café en Seine

Sunday, January 13, 2019

É a ioc, é a ól, é a iompar. Spirits from the Bog by Micil Distillery.

É a ioc, é a ól, é a iompar. 
Spirits from the Bog by Galway’s Micil Distillery. 

You can take Poitín out of the bog but you can’t take the bog out of Poitín. During Tuesday’s very interesting tour of the Micil Distillery, upstairs at the Oslo Bar in Galway’s Salthill, Pádraic Ó Griallais told us that Bogbean has long been associated with Poitín and they use it as a botanical in their smooth and delicious Micil. Their gin is worth checking out too! 

The distillery and its products - there will be a whiskey in the future - are named after Pádraic’s grandfather Micil, a legend of the bog and its Poitín. Micil is ninety one now and still enjoys a bottle of the spirit every week, shared of course!

Later, Pádraic told us a yarns about Micil. We’ll call this Tús a Phota, the first of the pot. Tradition deigned that the first drop from the pot (still) would be set aside for the “others”. These others were vaguely defined, might be the little folk, maybe dead relatives. 

So normally, while operating in the middle of the bog, that first sup was left in a little container at the edge of the operation (illicit) and, normally, was never touched. But then, one night, the first offering was taken, behind Micil’s back. And so was the second. The third though was still intact as dawn broke. In the near distance, Micil saw a human form lying on the turf. Turned out to be a neighbour who had emptied the two jugs but couldn’t take the high alcohol and fell asleep before he could make good his escape.

Micil had over time "distilled" the three prerequisites of drinking: é a ioc, é a ól, é a iompar. That the drinker should be able to pay for it, able to drink it and able to hold it. The native language here at its most precise.

The Mac Chearra family trace their association with distilling back to 1848, to another Micil, Pádraic's great-great-great grandfather. Pádraic is the sixth generation and has many tales to tell, including escapades involving the Royal Irish Constabulary and the Garda Síochána. Poitín has been legal since the late 20th century and, in 2008, Irish Poitín was accorded (GI) Geographical Indicative Status by the EU.

One generation after another of Padraic’s ancestors made Poitín, illicitly! He himself doesn’t admit to anything illegal of course but does say he picked up a lot from his grandfather. By the way, Micil is the first distillery in Galway since Percy’s, whiskey producers, who last operated in 1911. Pádraic dispelled the theory that Poitín is made from the potato. Theirs, like most, is made from grain and comes in a dark bottle (like much alcohol in the good old days, it was for “medicinal purposes”!).
Pádraic and some of the old gear, plus a few sods of turf and a sack of grain

We’d been talking but also tasting, neat first, and then with ginger beer (Fever-tree) in Micil’s take on the Moscow Mule. It is amazingly smooth, much more of a body than you’d get with vodka. By the way, I’d prefer to sip the Micil on its own rather than with the ginger beer. The again, if I had all day, I might have found a happy medium!

Then Pádraic produced another Poitín, their Heritage Edition, the only one hundred per cent Irish peated spirit, 80% barley and 20% oats. It is quite viscous, he pointed out, the legs slow to clear, the only spirit using peated oats in the country.

The nose is earthy, spicy, lightly smoky. Much the same on the palate, the peatiness there too but not at all dominant. “Very akin to a single malt,” he said, “Very approachable.” We agreed. Do look out for this exceptional drink.

And now we were on to their Micil Gin, a complex gin. It does have the essential juniper but this is “very West of Ireland” and contains local botanicals such as heather flowers, bogbean, hawthorn berry and bog myrtle (used in previous times instead of hops). Juniper, of course, is used and other more traditional botanicals include Coriander (for its citrus), Orris Root Power and Angelica Root Powder (both for their fixative properties), orange peel, lemon peel, caraway seed, cardamon, elderflower and elderberry. The final result means that Micil is somewhat sweeter than London Dry Gin.

It is an excellent gin. You don’t need too much else in the glass with this one. “Micil does the talking itself,” says a rightly proud Pádraic. The distillery is a relatively new adventure. Indeed, up to recently, its space was the place where all the fabulous Galway Bay beers were being produced. Now Galway Bay Brewery have moved to another location in the city and Poitín and gin have moved in and, as he wrapped up the weekly bottle for Micil himself, Pádraic said whiskey will soon make it a trio of divine, if not holy, spirits. Let us pray we are all able to pay for it, are able to drink it and also able to hold it.

Read more about the Micil Distillery here.