It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

 The most wonderful time of the year is here again, the time when people make a special effort to go out to socialise and meet friends that they might not have met since last Christmas. Drinks Industry Ireland looks at some of the brands that are primed and ready for the holiday season

Every sector feels the uplift at Christmas but none so much as the on trade and the off trade and it’s definitely a case of make hay while the sun shines. Enticing customers in with seasonal cocktails and mocktails and having areas for groups to meet definitely helps entice people in the door.

According to Bank of Ireland social spending during December last year increased by 10% month-on-month, with retail spend also spiking by 10% in the same period. It was a positive month across business sectors, with a yearly jump of 18% in spending compared to December 2021.

Pub spending rose significantly by 28%, due in part to World Cup matches but more so to do with Christmas parties providing people with even more incentive to meet friends and colleagues. Monthly restaurant spending went up by 9% in December (+41% versus December 2021), while outlay on fast food rose by 3%.

With Covid restrictions a painful memory, the cost of energy coming down and a give-away budget behind us, it would be surprising if this December did not outdo the last with the appetite for celebrating strong.

All the way from Carlow

The Small Batch Single Pot Still has already won gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2023

The Small Batch Single Pot Still has already won Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2023

Discover The Busker Small Batch Double Aged Collection. The Small Batch Whiskeys are double matured by using a limited number of casks accurately selected by the team from its warehouse in Royal Oak Distillery, Co. Carlow. The Small Batch Collection has been personally selected by their master blender Caroline Martin. These exclusive releases are the best expression of what the Royal Oak Distillery has to offer within the premium category.

The first in this collection to be released in late 2023, is the Single Pot Still Small Batch. Double aged in bourbon and oloroso sherry casks, and non-chill filtered to preserve the taste and aromas. Tasting notes include fruit notes, raisins, sultanas, prunes and figs, warming spice ginger and cinnamon. Long, smooth and mellow finish. On the nose, the Single Pot Still gives leathery, profoundly rich, complex, robust, fresh pipe tobacco, aromatic, rounded and perfectly balanced aromas. Best enjoyed neat, or on the rocks.

The Small Batch Single Pot Still has already won gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2023 and 93 points in the Ultimate Spirits Challenge 2023 before it had been released.

With a new take on the packaging side, the Small Batch Single Pot Still is corked, and has the Royal Oak Distillery embedded into the glass, this new look will be what we see for the Busker single range coming into 2024. Busker is distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam.

The world’s favourite Italian liqueur

Disaronno Amaretto with its amber colour and rich aroma stands as the world’s favourite Italian liqueur

Disaronno enjoys cult status as an Italian style icon: smooth taste, unmistakable aroma, unique and distinctive design of the bottle, original square cap and the golden label that adds a sense of contemporary elegance and style.

Disaronno is the proud ambassador of the endless Dolce Vita, telling a story through the iconic postcards of the Italian beauty, thanks to a new world of reference.

La Dolce Vita, the endless pursuit of pleasure, is an attitude, a lifestyle ascribed to the Italians. The “contemporary dolce vita” lifestyle is full of worldly immersive pleasures. Nowadays it is suspended between the new and the ancient, tradition and contemporary.

Disaronno Amaretto captures the senses with its amber colour, rich aroma and incomparable taste which has made it the world’s favourite Italian liqueur.

Enjoy Disaronno your way, in a cocktail or even with cola and a slice of lemon, this festive season.

How to make a Disaronno Sour:

With over 100 perfect mixes, the brand and fan base continues to grow. Disaronno Sour is a unique and refreshing drink in which the distinctive notes of Disaronno blend with the scent of freshly-squeezed lemons. It’s easy to make too. All that’s required is 50ml Disaronno, 25ml fresh lemon juice, 5ml of sugar syrup and egg-white.

You shake all the ingredients with ice and serve with a garnish of lemon for a beautiful cocktail.

The most popular Disaronno cocktails include the Disaronno Sour, the Irish Godfather and the Disaronno Fizz. For more cocktail ideas from Disaronno, check out  Disaronno is distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam.

It’s Espresso Martini time!

The Tia Espresso Martini has been the classic evening pick-me-up since its creation in the 1980s

Tia Maria has been designed for the Espresso Martini. It is the must-have ingredient for this classic cocktail. The Espresso Martini is the 7th most popular cocktail sold in the world. The Tia Espresso Martini has been the classic evening pick-me-up since its creation in the 1980s. It’s as delicious today as it’s always been.

The combination of cold brew coffee and hot espresso coffee enhance the true coffee taste in your espresso martini.

Made with Madagascar vanilla, Jamaican rum, and 100% arabica coffee, Tia Maria has a classic roasted, full-bodied, and rich taste. An exclusive cold brew extraction process gives it its distinctive intense coffee aroma, which is followed by notes of chocolate and pipe tobacco, caramelised cane sugar and vanilla.

Learn how to make The Perfect Espresso Martini with Tia Maria. All you need is: 25ML Tia Maria, 25ml vodka, single or double shot of espresso and coffee beans to garnish. Fill a martini glass with ice and set aside to chill. Pour Tia Maria, vodka and espresso into a cocktail shaker. Fill the rest of the shaker with ice. Shake the ingredients together. Empty the martini glass of ice. Pour in the contents of the shaker using a strainer and sieve into the glass. Finish with three coffee beans. Check out for more cocktail inspiration. Distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam.

Brand refresh for Cointreau

Cointreau is the cornerstone of more than 350 internationally renowned cocktails such as the Margarita, Sidecar and Cosmopolitan

Cointreau is the cornerstone of more than 350 internationally renowned cocktails such as the Margarita, Sidecar and Cosmopolitan

Fercullen has launched a redesigned version of its liqueur bottles, which are now made from “two-thirds recycled glass”.

Describing the brand refresh as the “most momentous of its kind in 140 years”, both the bottle and the label have been altered.

As well as looking to boost its sustainability credentials by using recycled glass, convenience and practicality was also a consideration when redesigning the bottle. The bottle has been made “four millimetres taller to facilitate its grip” and make it “easier to hold”. Similarly, the newly textured cap “provides better grip for an easier twist-off” while simulating the skin of an orange.

However, the bottle still displays traditional design features such as the Cointreau medallion.

Spirit lovers, both past and present, recognise Cointreau as a core building block in premium cocktails creation. Cointreau is the cornerstone of more than 350 internationally renowned cocktails such as the Margarita, Sidecar and Cosmopolitan. It enhances your cocktails with its perfect balance. Check out for some cocktail ideas.

“A masterpiece crafted through the unique distillation of all-natural sweet and bitter orange peels, resulting in a crystal clear liqueur that strikes the perfect balance between sweetness and freshness”. For more than 30 years, the finest orange peels are carefully selected by Master Distiller, Carole Quinton, to create the definitive orange liqueur.

Proudly distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam.

Celebrate the festive season with Powerscourt Distillery’s Wicklow Hampers

All hamper orders include a complimentary Whiskey Tour and Tasting Experience for two

All hamper orders include a complimentary Whiskey Tour and Tasting Experience for two

The Powerscourt Distillery is delighted to announce the return of the acclaimed Fercullen Irish Whiskey & Food Pairing Hampers, available for delivery nationwide, bringing the authentic Wicklow experience right to your doorstep.

Back by popular demand, following the sell-out success of previous years, the 2023 Fercullen Whiskey Hampers are brimming with premium Irish produce, promising to elevate festive celebrations with a taste of the Garden of Ireland.

All orders include a complimentary Whiskey Tour and Tasting Experience for two, valued at €50. The last order date for pre-Christmas delivery is 15 December, while a click-and-collect option from the Distillery will be available until 21 December . Shipping is free on all hamper orders!

Customers can choose from a range of hampers, each offering a curated selection of Fercullen Whiskeys and selected with gourmet pairings. Notable hampers for 2023 include:

Estate Series Hamper– €165

Limited Edition Estate Series 3, award-winning Wicklow Way Wines, and a selection of premium local produce, including Coolattin Mature Cheddar and Powerscourt Honey, exclusive items like Glencairn tasting glasses and a complimentary Whiskey Tour and Tasting Experience for Two.

Single Malt Hamper – €120

Fercullen Single Malt, assorted gourmet chocolates and cheeses, 2 Glencairn Glasses, and a complimentary Whiskey Tour and Tasting Experience for Two.

Fercullen Whiskey Start Pack Hamper – €66

Trilogy Pack of Irish Whiskey, Metal Hip Flask, Glencairn Glass, and a complimentary Whiskey Tour and Tasting Experience for Two.

Promoting the spirit of shop local, The Powerscourt Distillery emphasises its commitment to utilising high-quality, local produce, allowing each hamper to represent the exquisite flavours of Wicklow and support many local businesses and artisans.

Christmas is a time to relax, indulge, and savour. Fercullen Whiskey Hampers represent not just the supreme pairing of quality Irish whiskey and gourmet food but also the spirit and richness of local produce from the Garden of Ireland.

Whether gifting a loved one, a colleague, or treating yourself, these hampers deliver an immersive Irish experience straight to your doorstep.  The Powerscourt Distillery extend warm festive wishes to all its customers and look forward to welcoming them to its Whiskey Lounge at the Distillery Visitors Centre this Festive season”.

Hampers can be ordered online for nationwide delivery or click and collect directly from The Powerscourt Distillery;

Put a little Hendrick’s in your holidays

The long-awaited festive season is here! To celebrate the season, Put A Little Hendrick’s in Your Holidays to revel in all the festivities! The perfect gift for a loved one, the hostess with the mostess, the cocktail connoisseur, the master chef or the dancing queen at the office party. From an extravagant feast to an intimate soirée, Hendrick’s gin is a super premium gin, made with a number of unusual twists.

To deliver a most curious and delightfully unique flavour, Hendrick’s combines a distinct blend of eleven botanicals, as well as the signature infusions of cucumber and rose petals, producing a wonderfully refreshing gin with a delightfully unique aroma. Hand crafted in Scotland in miniscule batches by William Grant & Sons, Hendrick’s is the only gin that uses a marriage of spirits from both Carterhead and Bennett Copper Pot Still, a combination that
produces a divinely smooth gin that has both the required character and balance of subtle flavours.

Put A Little Hendrick’s in Your Holidays with their ‘maestro of the gin and tonic’ Christmas gift box, now available in leading retailers nationwide. RRP €38.

Cocktails with a punch

Irish brand Little & Green have been awarded two gold medals for their ready to drink canned cocktail flavours, at the Spirits Business Global Masters Series in London.

Launched in summer 2022, Little & Green is proudly the first range of canned cocktails to be made with poitín, the original spirit of Ireland. Offering two uniquely Irish flavours, Sneaky Orchard is a refreshing harvest festival of ripe pear, crisp apple, and elderflower, and Shady Bramble bursts with flavours of wild juicy blackberry, raspberry, and violet. Little & Green is crafted with all natural flavours, contains no artificial sweeteners, and is both vegan and gluten free with an ABV of 5%.

The Spirits Business Global Masters Series is the world’s most highly regarded series of blind-tasting competitions, unique in its exclusive use of completely independent expert judges to find and recognise excellence in spirits and mixers on the world stage. The gold medals were awarded in the pre-mixed and ready to drink (RTD) category for each of Little & Green’s two flavours.

Poitín is gaining real momentum as consumers and bartenders across Ireland, and increasingly around the world are discovering the quality, flavours and versatility of the world’s oldest spirit category. The growing popularity has been spurred on by the success of Bar 1661, the multi-award winning cocktail bar that showcases the spirit across its cocktail menu and as its core mission. Crafted around trailblazing poitín brands: Mad March Hare; and Bán, Little & Green was created by the team at Bar 1661 in partnership with Intrepid Spirits, as a way to bring poitín to a new generation, in a fun, convenient format that delivers on flavour. The name Little & Green references the corner where Bar 1661 is located, at the intersection of Little Britain Street and Green Street in Dublin 7.

Dave Mulligan, owner of Bar 1661 said: “I’m delighted to see poitín picking up awards internationally. Little & Green was developed by the Bar 1661 team just like our in-house cocktails, and we love that people like what we do. Named for our corner of the city, we believe Little & Green has the potential to be a global brand that can ultimately change the people’s perception of Irish Poitín.”

Distributed by Intrepid Spirits, Little & Green are available from


Whiskey of the sea

O’Driscolls the only Irish owned Irish Whiskey in the standard blend category

O’Driscolls the only Irish owned Irish Whiskey in the standard blend category

O’Driscolls the only Irish owned Irish Whiskey in the standard blend category

O’Driscolls Irish Whiskey is a pitch perfect Irish whiskey, ideal to gift this Christmas to a loved one who always seeks the best.

O’Driscolls is a beautifully blended Irish Whiskey and is currently the only Irish owned Irish Whiskey in the standard blend category. Inspired by Michael Stafford’s grandfather Diarmuid O’Driscoll the O’Driscoll’s were a famous pirate clan from Baltimore, West Cork.

The O’Driscolls were men of the sea. They were pirates and smugglers who built castles and harbours and by the fifteenth century were one of the strongest clans in Ireland. It was the wild Atlantic Ocean that was their real domain. O’Driscolls Irish Whiskey is a tribute to those famous men of the sea and encapsulates that wild Atlantic spirit of adventure, bravery, and survival.

An exceptional blend of golden grain and malted barley, triple distilled and aged in bourbon casks for a minimum of 3 years, giving the signature smoothness of Irish whiskey.

Maturation of whiskey is an art form. The influence of 100% bourbon cask maturation beautifully enhances the sweet vanilla profile of the whiskey.

Put this on your Christmas list

Original 7 Beverage Co, an award-winning microbrewery based in Cork City, is excited to launch its limited-edition Extra Stout aged in Jameson casks.

Extra Stout is the first in Original 7’s ‘barrel aged series’ and is sure to be on the Christmas list of all discerning craft beer and whiskey connoisseurs this year. This premium Irish stout will be available in limited quantities – only 1,000 bottles will be available to purchase – ensuring that each bottle and pour is a treasured experience for those lucky enough to enjoy it.

Brewed by head brewer, Páidí Scully, using Irish ale malt, flaked oats, malted wheat, roast barley, and dark crystal malts; Original 7’s Extra Stout packs a punch. Expect a full-bodied stout (close to 8% ABV) with notes of strong coffee and winter berry coupled with dark chocolate and coffee bean aromas. And thanks to their friends in Jameson Distillery Cork, this barrel-aged stout was matured for six months in six ex-bourbon Jameson whiskey casks, adding subtle undertones of caramel, vanilla, nuttiness and a little spice.

Shane Long, founding director, Original 7 explains why its  Extra Stout is a cut above the rest; “After 25 years in the brewery and pub trade and as the first beer partner to Jameson 11 years ago, it is a full circle moment to be back using Jameson casks to produce Original 7 Extra Stout. The combination of our brewing process and the flavours that Jameson brings to this brew make it truly special. It is, without doubt, the best extra stout I have ever tasted. I would like to thank Jameson for their support and Taste4Success Skillnet for their help and support in funding the experts to help us develop and promote our Original 7 brand”.

Whether shared amongst friends, savoured in solitude, or paired with a hearty meal, Original 7’s Extra Stout invites you to experience the fusion of two Irish legacies. It’s not just a beverage; it’s a celebration of heritage and brewing craftsmanship that’s meant to be cherished.

Retailing at €29 a bottle, this is a special gift for someone who really appreciates exceptional craft beer. Extra Stout comes in a traditional dark brown stout bottle with a branded label front and back and a swing stopper cap. The bottle is presented in a premium branded presentation box in dark wine colours with a design that reflects the grains of wood on the casks along with the established Original 7 branding. Original 7’s Extra Stout is available to buy from their website and from limited Cork City premises including the Franciscan Well Brewpub and Bradley’s off licence.

Indulge in the extraordinary – raise your glass and toast to the harmonious marriage of stout and whiskey – made in Cork, obviously!

Award winning wine for a snip!

Feeling the pinch this Christmas, why not try an Irish Wine Show Gold Star award winning wine with a few years of age for an absolute snip. Winner of the Best New World White under €12 Santa Rita Estates Semillon 2017 proved a hit at a recent press tasting with many recommendations. Superb quality and craftsmanship are the hallmarks of Santa Rita, one of Chile’s most admired and innovative wine estates. The dynamic Reserva series has a well-structured, fruity style, perfect for any occasion. This Semillon has an elegant golden colour. Its shows soft aromas of pineapple and melon, nicely complemented with white roses and honey caramel. It is balanced with a smooth mouthfeel, it is also still fresh with a lingering finish.

Irish Wine Show Gold Star Winner of the Best New World Red under €12 was the 2015 Carmen Premier 1850 Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a beautifully mature Cabernet, with leafy aromas, cassis and blackcurrant on the palate and a soft, smooth finish.

For those watching the calories or alcohol units, there’s the 120 Dealcoholised range which includes a zesty Sauvignon Blanc and fruity Cabernet Sauvignon.

For those seeking the pleasure of a warming glass of red, the Doña Paula Estate Malbec from Argentina is a must. This elegant, refined yet very approachable Malbec is made by renowned winemaker and viticulturalist of the year Martin Kaiser using grapes grown at 1,350 meters in the foothills of the Andes. The range also includes Doña Paula Estate Blue Velvet, an alluring blend of Malbec, Pinot Noir and Bonarda and the Estate Black Edition which is a complex and full-bodied blend of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. A single varietal Doña Paula Estate Sauvignon Blanc completes the line-up.

It’s thyme for a vodka

Tito’s Handmade Vodka is America’s original craft vodka and also one of the fastest growing spirits brands in Ireland

Tito’s Handmade Vodka is one of the fastest growing spirits brands in Ireland

This season, stand under the mistletoe and spend some quality thyme with Tito’s Handmade Vodka. Sip on this tart cocktail topped with the aroma of savory thyme, a bit of a sparkle, and a burst of colour. It is called the Tito’s “Holiday Thyme” cocktail. Simply shake 45ml of Tito’s, 45ml of cranberry juice, and 15ml of lime juice with ice, pour into a glass and then top with 90ml of sparkling water and a sprig of thyme for garnish.

Tito’s Handmade Vodka is America’s Original Craft Vodka, and it’s also one of the fastest growing spirits brands in Ireland. In 1995, sixth-generation Texan Bert “Tito” Beveridge obtained the first legal permit to distill in Texas and created Tito’s Handmade Vodka on a plot of land in rural Austin where he built a small shack, rigged a pot still with spare parts and batch distilled his corn-based, naturally gluten-free vodka. Today, Tito’s Handmade Vodka is now available in over 140 markets including the Americas, Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Middle East, and is distilled and bottled in Austin on the very same land where the whole thing started.

Tito’s is also highly committed to community causes, charitable organisations, and disaster relief efforts across the world, through the brand’s “Love, Tito’s” initiatives, including especially pet welfare efforts. In Ireland, Tito’s is proudly represented by Comans Beverages Ltd.





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