When the winter nights come rolling in, there is comfort in spending time with friends and loved ones over the finest festive food, being lavishly liquored up and plump with pleasure. There is always the guilty New Year regime of, salad smoothies, the latest reality tv stars workout DVD and cutting back on the alcohol. So in preparation for this inevitable cycle we look to advise you on the very best of Irish Spirit!
Kalak – Vodka
Named after the Celtic Queen of Winter, Cailleach, this is a wild weather Vodka refined with the purest in Atlantic rain water. There is something special about harnessing the power of nature, and that is exactly what Kalak have done. Offering a real taste of Ireland there is nothing added to Kalak besides 100% malted barley and pure mountain water. Making for an extra special gift for Irish Vodka drinkers, and a mean addition to a Moscow Mule!
Kalak is retailing at around €40
Glendalough Winter – Gin
Glendalough can claim to be one of the Distillers at the forefront of the Irish Craft Spirit movement. There may be a few questions over the exclusion of Dingle Gin but there is a reason Glendalough has forced its way into this category. They have pushed the boundaries of knowledge and practise in Irish Distilling to create some of the boldest spirits produced today. With each Season Glendalough has created a unique blend of fruit, berries and botanicals to capture the essence of Spring, Summer and Winter. Each yields only 3,000 bottles so a gift of Winter Gin is a personal gift from the Irish wilderness.
Glendalough Winter Gin is retailing at around €47
TWC Original Spirit of Ireland – Poitín
While Glendalough deserves an honourable mention as Poitín trailblazers, it is their fellow contemporaries at the Teeling Whiskey Company who have produced a sublime call back to Ireland’s oldest Spirit. Back to back winner of Irish Poitín of the Year, Teeling has created an unaged spirit that can truly be appreciated, even at 61.5%.
TWC Poitín is retailing at around €33
The most sought after spirit in all the land, if not the rest of the World right now! There is something of a contentious issue choosing just one Whiskey out of a magnificent array of hundreds! It must be worth noting that if there is someone you have in mind, they may very well have a preference all of their own. Otherwise here are the inseparable top three to warm hearts this Christmas:
Let’s start with a National Treasure, this Whiskey is reputed to have influence the rebirth of Irish Pot Still Whiskey. It is one of the only remaining Whiskey Bonder brands and has endured the test of time, becoming a heralded, sought after icon of Irish Whiskey. The Whiskey itself offers an aromatic spice with subtle green apple and a lasting toasted barley.
Green Spot is retailing at around €60
Powers, John’s Lane Release
Probably the least commonplace of our frontrunners, Powers John’s Lane Release, is a celebration of one of Ireland’s oldest Distillers. In a style typical of the old Powers bottlings, John’s Lane has introduced a new generation to the true roots of brand. The Whiskey itself has a deep rich dark chocolate aroma that melts into vanilla and dried apricot, finishing with a light honey.
Powers, John’s Lane is retailing at around €64
Redbreast 12 Year Old
There would be no Pot Still Whiskey on any shelf if it wasn’t for the exploits of Redbreast. Changing hands from Gilbeys to Irish Distillers, the rebirth in 1991 was something of a ground zero for Irish Whiskey’s expansion. Now producing award winning whiskeys of the highest order, Redbreast is synonymous with Pot Still Irish Whiskey and would make for a fine gift at Christmas. The famous fruit and spice scent that harbours wholesome Christmas cake, dripping with rich dried berry and toasted wood, Merry Christmas!
Redbreast 12 YO is retailing at around €60