Ireland is famous for its whiskey, but did you know that it also produces outstanding artisan Irish gin?
Gin, that most colonial, most British of spirits, is now being made in Ireland (formerly ruled by Britain) at two distilleries: The Dingle Distillery in Kerry and the Blackwater Distillery in Waterford. Although gin is usually referred to as London dry gin, this drink of the Empire in fact owes its existence to an Irishman, Aeneas Coffey. Coffey, born in 1780, redesigned the column still to allow a more efficient–and purer–distillation of spirits, giving birth to the classic dry gin. Now the story of gin has come full circle back to Ireland.
The Dingle Distillery in County Kerry prides itself on its use of Irish botanicals in creating their artisan Irish gin:
We are not prepared to reveal our recipe but are happy to give some idea of what is involved in creating the unique flavour profile of Dingle Original Gin.. We use, amongst other botanicals, rowan berry from the mountain ash trees, fuchsia, bog myrtle, hawthorn and heather for a taste of the Kerry landscape. It’s a formula unknown elsewhere and is calculated, amongst other things, to create some sense of place and provenance, what winemakers might call the gout de terroir.. The spirit is collected at 70% abv and then cut to 40% abv using the purest of water which we draw from our own well, 240 feet below the distillery.
The art of the cocktail has enjoyed a rebirth in the US, and gin is one of the most popular ingredients in both new and traditional recipes. Dingle gin is distributed in the U.S. by A. Hardy USA. You can follow their production of artisan Irish gin on Twitter and on Facebook.
Named for the nearby Blackwater River in Cappoquin, the distillery is proud of its bespoke gin:
Our first label – Blackwater No. 5 – is a classic London Dry Gin, distilled from the purest spirit, the finest botanicals and soft local water. Crisp and elegant, it’s great as a G&T, excellent in a cocktail.
Blackwater is the first micro-distillery to open in Waterford in 174 years, and has plans to produce whiskey as well as artisan Irish gin. You can follow their gin production on Facebook and Twitter.
As we head towards warmer weather, it’s a good time to taste test these fabulous artisan Irish gins. I will always love whiskey best–sorry, gin. As a resident of a former British colony, however, I’m proud to make my future gin and tonics with Irish gin.read more