Since embarking on this ‘photograph it, eat it, write it’ malarkey, I have been lucky enough to be invited to some rather enviable events. Usually when I tell a certain someone about some cooking class I’m attending or a great dinner invite for a new restaurant, he smiles, nods… feigns some excitement so as to not crush my enthusiastic little foodie heart, tells me he’s sure I’ll have a great time etc etc… All very supportive stuff.
However, there has been one event which commanded his full attention as soon as I mentioned ‘Ireland’ and ‘spirits such as whiskey’. Those who know a certain someone will no doubt remember that he takes great pride in his Irish heritage and his ability to drink whiskey, always a double and neat. So what was this event about? Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board, were throwing a bit of a party at the Irish Embassy to showcase some of Ireland’s finest whiskey, gin, cream liqueurs, poitin and craft beer producers, and I was invited along for a taste.
But enough about my good fortune, all a certain someone wanted to know was whether this was one of those rare plus one events; sadly not. The hopeful glint in his eye quickly became flickers of disappointment and jealousy, but who could blame him? I wouldn’t have the faintest hope in hell of differentiating between a good whiskey and a great one, might even be a bit dubious identifying a bad one… and a certain someone knows it. Which makes things all the more painful; for him.
So to prove that the evening wasn’t completely wasted on a novice such as myself, let me introduce you to some of my favourite drinks from that evening…
The Whiskey – Teeling Whiskey
Established only a handful of years ago, Teeling Whiskey may be considered a fairly new player but the truth is, the Teeling family have been involved in the Irish whiskey industry for centuries. There are five different whiskeys in their range; from their flagship Small Batch with its subtle rum notes, to the sought after 26 Year Old Irish Single Malt with its unique tropical flavours, each is handcrafted and created with great care and skill. I can admit that my palate isn’t really mature enough to truly enjoy more than a sip of whiskey but if yours is, Teeling Whiskey Co. are worth a try!
The Cream Liqueur – Kerrygold
At the moment Kerrygold are probably best, or in my case only known, for their butter, but I have a feeling they might be hoping to change that with the introduction of their own cream liqueur. All the elegant whiskeys might have been wasted on me, but sampling all the cream liqueurs was a task I embraced with open arms. My first sip brought back many fond memories of drinking a small glass or two of another well-known brand with my mother at Christmas time… Kerrygold’s version is just as good – creamy, sweet, and deliciously drinkable!
The Poitin – Glendalough Distillery
I’m so glad a certain someone prepped me on the pronunciation of this one before I showed up at the Irish Embassy and embarrassed myself by asking for a taste of poi-tin. Instead, I confidently asked the gentleman from Glendalough Distillery for a sip of pot-cheen but am certain the face I pulled after that sip gave me away. One of the first spirits to be distilled and often likened to moonshine, this Irish ‘water of life’ once again growing in popularity but was a little too lively for me!
The Craft Beer – Galway Hooker Brewing Company
We know the craft beer market is currently booming here in the UK and across the world; everyone seems to be getting in on the action and turning out some really interesting results. The team at Galway Hooker have been creating exciting and innovative brews since 2006 and have been named Ireland’s Best Beer twice – not a bad endorsement! I really enjoyed a taste of their Irish Stout and am looking forward to drinking more of it when we visit Galway!
The Gin – Bertha’s Revenge Milk Gin
I’m not a seasoned gin drinker but even I know that milk and gin do not often go in the same sentence, let alone on a label together, so I was utterly intrigued when I came across this so-called milk gin. Bertha’s Revenge Milk Gin starts with whey which has special yeast added to it to turn the milk sugars into alcohol, then like any other gin, the botanicals are added to create a fragrant, zesty concoction which is the first of its kind! And who, you are probably wondering, is Bertha? The world’s oldest cow apparently… who died at 48 years of age after giving birth of 39 calves in her lifetime!
What’s your favourite tipple? Have you had a drink of any of these Irish brands?
Thanks to Bord Bia for introducing me to all these fantastic Irish brands and helping me make a certain someone very jealous, but as always, all opinions are mine and mine alone!