There is no escaping the fact that Guinness is Ireland’s national drink, but if a pint of the black stuff isn’t your preferred tipple, or if you just want to investigate some of the incredible range of Irish gins that are pouring out of stills all over the Emerald Isle, here are a few to whet your appetite for St Patrick’s Day – and beyond!
1. Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin
A firm favourite here at The Gin Kin, Drumshanbo Distillery’s Gunpowder Gin is the brainchild of PJ Rigney who has come up with a punchy gin, a quirky brand and a beautiful blue bottle.
Gunpowder Gin is produced in medieval copper pot stills, then bottled and labelled by hand at The Shed Distillery in the depths of Co. Leitrim. PJ experimented with the fusion of oriental botanicals including Chinese Gunpowder tea with local Irish flavours.
It was a marriage made in heaven and Gunpowder Irish Gin was born. Serve it with a wedge of grapefruit and classic tonic or ramp up the spice with a chilli garnish.
Drumshanbo Gunpowder Gin, £27.45, Master of Malt
2. Dingle Original
One of the first distilleries to produce an Irish gin, Dingle Distillery’s gin is categorised as a London dry gin with a unique Celtic character.
The Dingle Peninsula is home to some of the most spectacular scenery in Ireland and also to one of the first of the country’s new wave of artisan distilleries. Dingle Distillery also produces whiskey and vodka.
Dingle Original Gin features a clutch of local botanicals, including rowan berry from mountain ash trees, fuchsia and bog myrtle with the focus on a sense of taste and place.
Serve this classic gin on the rocks with a twist of orange peel and a sprinkling of juniper berries.
Dingle Original Gin, Amazon, £36.95
3. Boyle’s Gin
An Irish gin available in Aldi, this is an easy add to your gin collection. Made by Blackwater Distillery in Waterford, it is another award-winning gin. Boyle’s Gin is named after Robert Boyle, an alchemist and founding father of modern chemistry.
He is famed for coming from West Waterford oh, and for Boyle’s Law which Blackwater have helpfully printed on each bottle of the gin. This is a gin that echoes the flavours of Ireland’s southernmost counties – blackcurrants from Waterford, apples from Cork and elderflowers from Waterford.
Blackwater produces four other gins, including Barry’s Tea Gin perfect for anyone homesick for a good old cup of Irish tea!
Drink Boyle’s Gin with classic tonic and some grapefruit.
Boyle’s Gin, £19.99, Aldi
4. Jawbox Belfast Cut Classic Dry Gin
Another small batch Norn Irish Gin, Jawbox is also distilled in the London dry style and is named after that kitchen classic, the Belfast Sink – nicknamed the jawbox as the best conversations and craic revolved around the kitchen.
The clear glass bottle and bold black, white and gold label hark back to those days gone by and the gin itself is a classic drink that starts with citrus and juniper before developing on the palate with pepper and a subtle rootiness coming through.
Botanicals in Jawbox include Belfast Black Mountain heather, Orris root and Grains of Paradise. Look out too for Jawbox gin liqueurs.
For the signature Belfast serve pour Jawbox over ice, top up with ginger ale, (apparently this was invented in Belfast too!) and squeeze and drop in a wedge of lime. Slainté!
Jawbox Classic Dry Gin, The Whisky Exchange, £28.95
5. Shortcross Gin
This classic style gin is hand crafted at Rademon Estate Distillery in beautiful Co. Down.
Northern Ireland’s first award winning craft distillery has produced a gin using locally available ingredients such as green apples and wild clovers alongside the more traditional juniper, cassia, coriander and orange peel.
The result is a gin reminiscent of a floral meadow, with notes of wild berries and grasses. Serve it with elderflower tonic, orange peel and a sprig of mint.
Unfortunately their limited edition St Patrick’s Day run (with green wax seal) will only be available for lucky gin-drinkers in Norn Iron.
— Shortcross Gin (@ShortcrossGin) March 4, 2019
Shortcross Gin, Master of Malt, £39.95