Forget Guinness! Here's Why You Should Drink Gin This St Patrick's Day
Sure, the Irish are probably best known for Guinness, but what about their Spirits offering? And no, we’re not talking about Whiskey, either. Irish Gin is having a bit of a moment, with a number of new distilleries popping up in the Emerald Isle over the past decade.
Many of these distilleries set out with a plan to produce a number of different Spirits. The Irish may be famed for their Whiskey but it takes years to produce, so many distillers make Gin (we've talked about our favourite Irish Gins before) and Vodka while their Whiskey matures.
Ireland is a beautiful country, the land is rich with crops, plants and botanicals, perfect for distilling great Spirits. A number of Irish Gin producers use locally foraged botanicals in their recipes, giving the Gins a unique flavour. We’re here to celebrate all of those flavours this St Patrick’s Day, with some of the best G-inspired recipes, activities and drinks.
If you’re lucky enough to be spending Paddy’s Day in Ireland, then what better way to celebrate than by visiting a distillery to see where and how the Gin is made? The Boatyard Distillery, based in Enniskillen in Northern Ireland, offers a select number of distillery tours each month.
The exclusive tour and tasting features a guided talk through some prohibition style cocktails, and the ticket price includes a bottle of Boatyard Double Gin to take home.
The Dingle Distillery Tour in County Kerry gives visitors an insight into a working distillery, showing how the products are made and includes samples of Gin and Vodka.
For the more discerning drinker, try a little visit to the Listoke Gin School, where visitors will tour the distillery, try different Gin styles and learn about various botanicals before designing and distilling their own Gin to take home.
Gin & Food pairings
It’s easy to get carried away with the booze, especially on St Patrick’s Day, so it’s important to line your stomach. Luckily for you, we’ve rounded up the best food pairings to enjoy with your G&T, as well as what to cook if you’re staying in.
Strong flavours can provide a great juxtaposition to a juniper-heavy Gin such as Boatyard Double Gin. Try an extra mature cheddar, or a creamy blue; the salt in them will open up your tastebuds and the flavours in your G&T.
Think chorizo, salami and cured ham. Salty or spicy cured meats just work. Trust us, your mouth will thank you for it.
Try blueberries, blackberries and strawberries. Bring out the fruity flavours in your Gin by snacking on fresh berries. They’re light enough not to overwhelm your palate, plus, they work as a garnish in your drink, too. Try a floral or light Gin such as Shortcross Gin with halved strawberries and cracked black pepper as a garnish.
But for a truly authentic St Patrick’s Day dinner, try cooking your own venison or beef stew made with Sloe Gin and juniper berries. The sweetness and piney flavour works particularly well with rich meat and game. This recipe is a personal favourite. Serve with potatoes and traditional Irish soda bread to mop up the sauce.
Because no celebration is complete without cocktails, right? Of course, you can use an Irish Gin in your favourite Gin cocktail, but if you need some G-inspiration, here are a few new recipes to try.
The Devil’s Hoof cocktail
This cocktail is available at Balfe’s Bar in Dublin. If you can’t make it there in person, here’s how to make it at home.
In a shaker, add 50ml of your favourite Irish Gin (we like Bertha’s Revenge), five basil leaves and muddle together.
Add 30ml of Limoncello, a dash of lemon bitters, cubed ice and shake. Strain and pour into a glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a slice of lemon and a fresh basil leaf.