Some of you might be gearing up for the craziness of this year’s St. Paddy’s Day (cough Sun Tavern), but whether or not you’re still wearing (feeling) green (or still pretending to be Irish), this year’s explosion of Irish whiskeys and poitins onto the London cocktail scene is making some of the Scots lowkey panic.
As for the English whisky distilleries..Well. Um.
We now enter the ballroom of the Irish Embassy, South Ken, where the Bord Bia Irish food board and brought in some of the biggest, and growing, names in Irish spirits to taste, in the company of fab bartenders from around London!
Let’s have a stroll and look at some of the outstanding spirits we have on show today!
Of course Teeling is here!
We know the Single Malt: Light, peppery, cinnamon – peppered with floral notes. The Single Grain is more adventurous: Be ready for cereal flavours with spice and treacle, custard plays around here too. A spry spirit, that. Finally, the gorgeous Small Batch: rich with floral notes, spiced with cinnamon and other herbs, a creamy creme brulee at the end. Wonderful and flamboyant.
On whiskeys, got to give a second to Hyde’s 1922 Rum Finish Single Malt – the rum cask gives this whiskey a twist with tropical fruit, and stronger vanilla notes.
They say an oak-carved devil stood over the gates of a place nicknamed Hell in the Liberties of Dublin. They also say that oak was soon used for whiskey barrels – explaining the name of The Dublin Liberties‘s whiskey: Oak Devil. Expect a lot of caramel, spice and pepper, followed by warm winter notes of Christmas. Love this little tipple.
Most noted of the Tipperary expressions is the Watershed: Bright and sweet on the nose with vanilla, the pallet has sparks of black pepper, vanilla fudge, and a long honeyed finish. A less chocolatey version of the Tipperary Rising.
How about something a little different? This year’s gin room, curated by Gin Monkey Emma Stokes, exhibited some spectacular Irish gins.
We’re seeing a lot of gin from Ireland, and one of the more intriguing ones is Drumshanbo Gunpowder Gin: A bright citrus of lime and lemon before giving way to deeper spices and the characteristic gunpowder tea. Great if you like your gins spicy without getting too Opihr-esque.
Dingle comes in with a wealth of spirits: the Dingle’s Original Gin is a classic London dry, with its flavours enhanced by a slice of orange in the glass. Powerful notes of classic juniper, summer berries, and notably floral with a clean finish. On the other hand, Dingle Vodka is rich with vanilla and white pepper, with hints of aniseed.
The Bord Bia’s Spirit of Sharing continues to be a success, with more excellent products and expressions coming out of Ireland each year. We’ve been sleeping on Ireland’s gin industry, and I can’t wait to see what more the island has to unveil.