Monday, 6 March 2017

Spirit of Sharing

Irish style

With St Patrick's Day just around the corner, it is time to take a look at all the wonderful Irish beverages. The Irish food board, Bord Bia hosted a special evening at the Irish Embassy in London called the "Spirit of Sharing", putting together some very special Irish products that were beautifully crafted and exceptional in taste. Irish beverages is much more than just Guinness and Magners, and here are some of the stand-out products you should definitely try!

Stonewell Cider

Stonewell Irish Cider

Suprisnly, Stonewell Cider was the only cider brand at the show, but it was the most exciting discovery for me on the night. Stonewell is a small batch craft cider brand, using 100% fresh apple and apple juice that is sourced from Irish farmers. It would be a lot easier to buy apple flavoured syrup or apple concentrate to reduce the production cost (which most cider makers are currently doing) but Stonewell is all about creating natural cider, making it the traditional way with no short cut. The end result is truly special. The best product from Stonewell was the Twany cider, it has a refreshing and clean apple taste on the palate, not sickeningly sweet with a hint of pleasant sour and floral tone. I would happily order this over a glass of champagne or prosecco on a hot summer day.  

Stock list: Amazon

Mor Irish Gin

Mor Irish Gin

Mor caught my attention due to its statement of: "Tailoring it's production depending on season", basically meaning the taste might not be the same, depending on the batches. Is it a cost engineering reason for the future to avoid any potential increase cost of certain raw ingredients or a brilliantly concept to give the producer the flexibility to only use the best in season ingredients? Just like how some high level chefs would only use prime, in-season ingredients? Put that aside, I am a big fan of Mor due to its harmony taste of sweet berries flavours while maintained a lovely sharp juniper aroma on the nose. To sum it up, a well crafted gin with a real character in an elegant, well designed bottle. 

Stock list: Master of Malt

Writers Tears Irish Whiskey

Writers Tears

Writers Tears was one of a kind whiskey, it was an Irish whiskey that contained both single malt and single pot still whiskey. The single malt elements gaves it a spicy tone while the pot still offered a settled sweet taste which resulted in a well balanced whiskey that is ideal for any occasion. It was without a doubt an instant upgrade of your everyday Irish Whiskey such as Bushmills and Jameson. It worked perfectly in a short cocktail or as a fine sipper. If you are a fan of Manhattan, try it with Writers Tears instead of an American Rye Whiskey for a more mild and smoother taste.

Stock list: Master of Malt

St Patrick's Irish Potato vodka

St Patrick's Irish vodka

While the packaging might not be the most eye catching, St Patrick's Irish vodka was the real deal. Instead of using the usual grain crops for distillation, St Patrick's used 100% potato to deliver a beautifully smooth and gentle vodka. I could see this product become a hit with the bartenders due to its unique production method. It had a lovely sweet aroma with a silky smooth and buttery tone on the palate. This was a vodka that was good enough to sip neat on its own or it would also work well with classic vodka cocktails such as the Black Russian (2 parts coffee liqueur and 5 parts vodka over ice). 

Stock list: Celtic Whiskey Shop

Coole Swan

Coole Swan Irish cream liqueur

Coole Swan was one of those products that you did't really need any explanation, just took a sip and you would instantly fall in love with it. It was an Irish creamy liqueur that contained Irish single malt whiskey (Bushmills is my primary suspect), white Belgian chocolate and fresh dairy cream. It had a delightful aroma of milk and a nutty undertone. But it was the taste that made Coole Swan a spectacular liqueur, pleasantly sweet and surprisingly fresh with a hint of spices, all wrapped up in a creamy texture. Smooth, easy going, and light on the finish, you simply couldn't go wrong with it. Baileys might be the no1 best selling Irish cream liqueur, but Coole Swan is undoubtedly the no1 in taste.

Stock list: Whisky Exchange

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