Irish whiskey has been having a renaissance over the last few years, springing back from the dark days of retrenchment and consolidation that, by the 1970s, saw the entire industry working out of just two sites, both of which were owned by the same company. Things are rather healthier nowadays, but given the high costs and long lead times involved in setting up a distillery and being able to sell something that’s aged enough to qualify as a whiskey, a lot of the new operations are still using spirit sourced from the New Middleton or Old Bushmills distilleries whilst they get their feet under the table, so to speak.
It is in this environment that the recent Dingles’ announcement of a permanent core line made entirely from spirit distilled and aged themselves is so interesting – other distilleries have been doing great things with the spirit they’ve sourced, but this release means that Dingle are joining the still relatively small club of Irish whiskey makers whose bottles are filled with a spirit that’s really their’s.
As the end, or the beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning (depending on your outlook and/or weakness for overused Churchillianisms) of covid distancing measures hoves into view, I had the pleasure of being invited to attend a Zoom tasting of some of Portobello Road’s range of gins and pre-mixes.
After the pity party in Interregnum, here’s a bit of actual recipe doings. Cocktails were the part I’d had a particular eye on for the other Saturday’s entertainment. I’d been reading about tiki cocktails and saw this as an excuse to try a few, as well as to make up a batch of Falernum, a spiced syrup/liqueur integral to quite a few classics. What I created was based on perusing a whole bunch of online info (I’ve not shelled out for the rather fine-looking Beachbum Berry Remixed yet, but hope to soon). While there was a wealth of good stuff to be found, I narrowed it down to variations on Paul Clarke’s Cocktail Chronicles version, courtesy of Post-Prohibition, Chowhound and Punch.
As per the last post, I was intrigued by the Neroli Gin neat, but not won over by its perfumed whack when tried neat. In a G&T there was more room to breathe, but I still wasn’t sure that was the best use for it, so I thought I’d give it another shot – this time in a Negroni. My justification being that Campari and red vermouth would have enough oomph to stand alongside this gin’s perfumed smack in the face.