In Ireland, a burgeoning population of gin distillers has evolved to answer the growing demand for gin. Where once could be found but one or two brands, now 30 Irish-produced gins can offer the gin drinker a huge variety of gin choice. Many of these also export, with last year’s gin export figure trebling – and then some.
While gin has enjoyed a boom in sales in both the on- and off-trades, growing its share of the spirits market over the last two years, it’s clear that there’s more than G&T going on here. The future of gin will be most vividly seen in premium brands believe the pundits.
‘Super Premium’ gins have shown year-on-year growth of 26% between 2015 and 2016 and a Category Annual Growth Rate of 29% from 2013 to 2016 according to IWSR data.
Gin’s 2011-2016 five-year CAGR stands at just under 30%.
Even ‘Premium’ gin can boast a 14% year-on-year growth rate to 2016, a three-year CAGR of 10% to 2016 and a five-year CAGR of 9.3%, far superior to ‘Standard’ growth rates.
According to the IWSR, “The perception that a clear spirit infused with botanicals is healthier than other alcoholic products” together with the growing affinity to “craft” product is also helping grow sales of gin.
There’s a consumer willingness to sample different gins too and move from brand to brand in so doing.
Indeed its very versatility has encouraged gin’s use in a variety of cocktails. Even the humble Gin & Tonic has put on a colourful new coat in that the serve has moved away from the Slim Jim glass and towards a bigger rounder presentation via the balloon glass, and not shy about wearing a colourful garnish to top it off either.
According to the IWSR and others (such as the directors of Pernod Ricard UK) the spirits category is being driven by cocktails and with the trend toward purchasing gin still on the rise, the sub-category deserves a close look at its contribution to today’s cocktail.
Consumers are not drinking as much alcohol these days so that when they do order a drink, they seek out a premium cocktail experience – and there’s no shortage of premium gin brands to choose from.
Tanqueray named #1 Bartenders’ Choice
Ranked the best-selling gin in the world, the No 1 choice for bartenders and the No 2 top-trending gin by the Drinks International’s Brands Report 2018, Tanqueray remains a dominant force in the gin market. Crafted in small batches with select botanicals that give bursts of citrus fruit to every sip, this refreshing-tasting gin has an incredibly smooth finish, perfect for both simple and complex cocktails.
According to the results of the 2018 report, “Diageo’s Reserve Brands portfolio, the best collection of spirits in the report, continues to dominate many of the key spirit categories in the best bars around the world,” according to Hamish Smith, Deputy Editor of Drinks International, “Ketel One has been named the best-selling vodka in our poll of elite bars six years straight, a feat Tanqueray has now managed in the gin category for a fifth time. This year is another impressive performance that underlines Diageo’s aptitude for building bar brands.”
Crowned as the experts’ favourite for the second consecutive year, Tanqueray was first established as the answer for a luxurious tipple and quickly rose to fame for its depth of flavour and versatility.
Signature Tanqueray & Tonic
Serve up a signature Tanqueray and tonic with lime
or explore and create your own flavour combinations
to make it your way with Tanqueray.
200ml premium tonic water
Alcohol content: 13.2g per serve
Fill a copa glass with ice and pour in 35.5ml Tanqueray.
Add 200ml of premium tonic water,
garnish with a lime wedge and stir.
The Muff Liquor Company
The Muff Liquor Company was established in 2017 by Donegal native Laura Bonner and her business partner Tom Russell. They produce quality hand-crafted distilled premium spirits and launched their flagship product Irish Potato Craft Gin this February. It’s infused with nine different botanicals including Mandarin, Lemon, Rosemary and Elderflower.
In the early part of the 20th Century, Laura’s grandfather Philip McClenaghan farmed the fields around Greencastle, Inishowen and grew one of the finest examples of the potato. One of his favourite pastimes was to use the potatoes to create his own unique style of poitín. It’s this fabled liquor which serves as the inspiration for the potato-based spirits produced by The Muff Liquor Company today.
The Muff Liquor Company continues his legacy of making a product born of the land and crafted by hand. It’s ambition is to make sure the company is a testament to the hard-working values of Philip McClenaghan. As a tribute to this an illustration of him now adorns the label on the back of the bottle.
Cocktail 1 (Breakfast martini variation)
Cocktail 2 (Gimlet varaitation)
Cocktail 3 (Pegu club variation)
Cointreau orange liqueur
Orange & Rosemary tonic
Listoke 1777 gin has enjoyed meteoric success since its launch just a year ago. Voted one of the best six gins in the world by the International Spirit Business in 2017, it has become a staple in Irish bars and restaurants and is considered one of the most formidable gins on the Irish market.
The ladies behind Listoke 1777 saw a growth in the demand for premium gin. Unimpressed with the many ‘gimmicks’ that had come to surround gin, they decided it was time to bring gin production back to basics. Listoke is a London dry-style gin; nine carefully-selected botanicals are what give this Listoke liquid it’s exquisite taste. Completely naturally flavoured with botanicals such as cassia, jasmine and rowan berries, Listoke 1777 is distilled in small batches in Listoke distillery in County Louth.
Designed as a sipping gin, Listoke is smooth & flavoursome enough to be enjoyed neat or with just an ice cube. Delicious over ice, a peel of orange and a premium tonic, Listoke makes for an unforgettable G&T. Listoke is robust enough to stand its ground in any cocktail, the flavour of the liquid never fading. The spirit of Listoke 1777 gin, really does the talking.
Listoke Spring Awakening
70ml Listoke 1777
5 dash White Thyme tincture
4 dash Aromatic Bitter
Garnish: White Thyme Sprig.
Method: Rinse glass with Aromatic bitters.
Stir Listoke 1777 and thyme tincture over ice,
strain into glass.
Express lemon zest and discard.
Dingle Original Gin hails from the Dingle Whiskey Distillery proudly located along the Wild Atlantic Way. Although its gin is characterised as a London dry gin it has a unique character and flavour profile thanks to the specific choice of botanicals. A combination of flavour elements are macerated in spirit for 24 hours. Then, when the spirit is distilled, it passes through a flavour basket in the neck of the still. This process underlines the attention to detail that’s an essential part of Dingle’s whole approach to the art of distillation. Amongst other botanicals, it uses rowan berry from the mountain ash trees, fuchsia, bog myrtle, hawthorn and heather for a taste of the Kerry landscape. It’s a formula unknown elsewhere and calculated, amongst other things, to create a sense of place and provenance. The spirit is collected at 70% ABV then cut to 42.5% ABV using the purest of water drawn from its own well, 240 feet below the distillery. The blend of botanicals delivers a fabulously fresh, floral character that perfectly balances the traditional juniper. Dingle Original Gin won the award for Best Irish Gin at the Irish Whiskey Awards 2017.
The Dingle Mo-gin-to
Dingle Original Gin replaces rum in this twist on a Summer classic
and with crushed ice to keep it cool all the way down,
is the perfect sunset companion.
50ml Dingle Original Gin
5-6 fresh mint leaves
20-50ml pressed apple juice
20ml lemon juice
20ml Elderflower Cordial
10ml gomme/simple syrup
Muddle cucumber and syrup into a pulp in the base of a glass.
Smack the mint and add to the mix.
Add the crushed ice to the top of the glass.
Pour in the lemon juice, elderflower cordial and gin.
Churn the contents of the glass, distributing the mint and cucumber evenly.
Add more crushed ice and top with apple juice. Serve immediately.
An Dúlamán Irish Maritime Gin
The Wild Atlantic coastline of west Donegal is the inspiration behind the newest addition to Sliabh Liag Distillery’s portfolio. An Dúlamán Irish Maritime Gin is a superb blend of botanicals capturing “Draíocht na Farraige” (the magic of the sea) with hints of fresh juniper, an umami richness and the dry tang of sea breeze.
The inspiration came about while James and Moira Doherty, now directors of The Sliabh Liag Distillery, were foraging seaweed. The Irish Maritime gin is made using only the finest Donegal Sweet Kombu (Sugar Kelp), Dillisk (Dulse), Pepper Dulse, Carrageen Moss and Channel Wrack. Pepper Dulse, sometimes known as the “truffle of the sea”, is the shyest of these coastal treasures and can only be harvested on a full moon.
Since its launch late last year An Dúlamán has received a tremendous response and plans are now in place to grow the brand internationally. The signature softness of An Dúlamán makes it extraordinarily versatile and classic gin cocktails stand apart when made with An Dúlamán – in particular the Negroni, where the soft earthy tones of An Dúlamán stand up to the bitterness of Campari. An Dúlamán makes a mighty martini and the unmistakable flavour profile is not masked under a good splash of vermouth. For those rare balmy Summer evenings, James recommends mixing An Dúlamán with lemon tonic or bitter lemon in a large glass with plenty of ice.
Bottled at 43.2$ ABV, An Dúlamán is presented in a dark bottle reminiscent of those found on the Armada wrecks along the coast of Donegal. The bottle’s labelling is drawn by a local artist and inspired by the Book of Kells. Each bottle is wax-sealed and the batch number is linked to the lunar phases.
An Dúlamán Negroni
20ml An Dúlamán
20ml Sweet Vermouth
Stir gently over ice to dilute,
strain into glass with one or two ice cubes.
Garnish with a small orange twist.
Founded in 2012 by husband and wife team David and Fiona Boyd-Armstrong, County Down’s Rademon Estate Distillery is home of the internationally-acclaimed Shortcross Gin.
Producing innovative, premium spirits for the discerning consumer Shortcross aspires to create something unique & reminiscent of the surrounding forests and gardens.
In 2017 Shortcross Gin was awarded the Gold Medal in the San Francisco World Spirits Awards and in November 2017, Rademon opened its doors to the public with a new state-of-the-art Visitors Centre, boasting a Shortcross Gin bar, a Distillery shop and a fully-licensed outdoor terrace, where guests can embark on a botanical journey with a full multi-sensory tasting of Shortcross Gin and a G&T masterclass, all in the stunning surroundings of the 500-acre Estate.
At the heart of the distillery stands the magnificent 450-litre copper pot still, furnished with two enrichment columns – the only one of its kind in the world.
Shortcross Gin Old Fashioned
60ml Shortcross Gin
15ml sugar syrup
2 dashes orange bitters
Add ice, Shortcross, sugar and bitters to a mixing glass
and gently stir until mixing glass frosts.
Strain into a chilled rocks glass filled with ice.
Garnish with fresh orange peel and serve.