The Spirit of Summer – Irish Produced Drinks to Savour This Season
Despite any niggling anxiety we might be having as to whether or not we’ve seen the last of the summer sun for 2018, we will, as we always have done, find ways to squeeze a BBQ or two in in the coming weeks. Thankfully there are plenty of tasty and tempting drinks to accompany our summer shenanigans.
The Irish craft drink scene has swept across the country and has been growing at a tremendous rate in the last few years. From Irish Wine in Co. Wicklow to Single Malt Ornabrak Gin in Co. Cork, producers are shouting about their local produce and customers are buying Irish.
Below, you’ll find four ways to help you survive an unconventional Irish Summer!
A true vision of summer is sitting in the garden, or out on the street with a glass of wine in one hand, and fork in the other. However, a key struggle before you get to that stage is selecting the plonk.
With so many different grape varieties from enticing foreign climates, it can be difficult to know where to start; so why not try an Irish Wine?
Yes, you read that last paragraph correctly; Irish wine. It might seem strange to purchase wine from this damp, mild isle; but there are a growing number of Irish vintners making delicious wines. The first that comes to mind, are the Móinéir fruit wines from Wicklow Way Wines.
Crafted from 100% Irish berries, Wicklow Way Wines is Ireland’s first fruit vineyard. The Móinéir range — meaning ‘meadows’ as gaeilge — consists of three different fruit wines, including; strawberry, blackberry and raspberry. We strongly recommend trying the latter; the newly released raspberry edition that pairs exceptionally well with a range of food both savoury and sweet.
Or if you prefer something slightly heavier to match up to a charred steak on the barbeque, Dublin-based grower, and winemaker, David Llewellyn is well known for his high quality red wines. Since 2002, Llewellyn has used a mix of hardy, early-ripening grape varieties as well as innovative techniques to create exquisite wines under the brand ‘Lusca’ that are limited to approximately 500 bottles per vintage.
Having been overshadowed by its spirit sister gin in the last year, vodka; like all things 90s, is slowly making a come back. Vodka production is thriving; coming from the wave of newly built Irish distilleries, while they wait for the whiskey to mature.
What’s more than that is vodka is an extremely versatile drink, whether served neat, in long drinks or in a cocktail. Relive those Sex In The City days with a Cosmo or why not try it in a glass with some elderflower and lemonade.
One that has caught our eye is the newly released ‘Sausage Tree Pure Irish Vodka’ by the Shed Distillery in Leitrim. Created by “the curious mind” of PJ Rigney — producer of the legendary Gunpowder and Von Haller’s Gin — Sausage Tree is made from the fruits of the Kigelia Tree and wild Irish nettle.
Slow-distilled by hand with Irish grains; Rigney strives to create Nature’s purest tasting vodka and if that doesn’t appeal the sexy bottle makes a lovely ornament!
Just when you thought you couldn’t get anymore Ginspiration — gin in cocktails, gin ice-cream, gin chocolate and of course the classic G&T — last month saw the arrival of at least two new brands Chinnery and Ornabrak Single Malt Gin.
Named after a portrait artist, Chinnery Gin has been inspired by George Chinnery’s journey from Georgian Dublin to the trading port Canton in Imperial China, capturing the flavours of Chinese tea and spices along the way. Unusual botanicals like Osmanthus flower and Oolong tea give the gin a sweet fragrance, notes of summer fruits and hints of spice.
From the producer who brought us the award-winning Kalak Vodka, Patrick Shelley has now ventured into making gin. And not just any gin, a Single Malt gin named Ornabrak. Deriving its title ‘Eorna Braiche’, the Gaelic for malted barley, Ornabrak is the first Irish gin to be made from 100% malted barley and has been distilled with five botanicals — juniper, Douglas Fir needles, Garden Angelica Root, Lemon Verbena and lemon peel —resulting in a complex, rich, creamy gin.
It’s fair to say that for a small country, Ireland has a lot to offer when it comes to alcoholic beverages, so make sure to shop Irish this Summer. Here are our three top picks to get you into the spirit of Summer:
Móinéir Raspberry Wine €24.99
The third release from Wicklow Way Wines is their delicious Raspberry Wine. Locally grown raspberries have been hand-picked to create a light-bodied, fine, off-dry style of wine. A true taste of Summer, this wine pairs very well with a wide range of foods but also makes the perfect aperitif. A limited edition that will not last long!
Chinnery Gin €54.95
From Georgian Dublin to the great trading port of Canton, in Imperial China, the sweet fragrance of osmathus hangs in the air while tall ships are loaded with teas, spices, porcelain and silk for the long voyage back to Europe. Chinnery Gin captures the flavours of the Old China Trade, distilling the most delicate of the botanicals individually under vacuum at low temperature to extract the best possible flavour.
Sausage Tree Vodka €48.95
The latest release from the Shed Distillery and another inspired creation for the wonderful mind of PJ Rigney. By marrying Irish Grain and the Kigelia Africana, also known as the ‘Sausage Tree’, Rigney has sought to create ‘nature’s purest tasting vodka’.
Celtic Whiskey Shop & Wines on the Green on Dublin’ Dawson Street is a multi award winning retailer and a mecca for any whiskey, wine or spirits lover. The store stocks a superb variety of Irish whiskey including many rare and exclusive bottlings. Expert staff serve up free whiskey tastings all day every day, and are on hand to offer any assistance you may need to purchase your favourite tipple. The store hosts a variety of exciting whiskey tastings each month.
Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder Killarney is home to one of Ireland’s most expansive whiskey ranges, stocking an enormous selection of Irish and international whiskey, creative cocktails, Irish craft beers & spirits. Irish Whiskey Experience hosts a range whiskey masterclasses in Killarney and Dublin.