- Lifestyle & Sports
- 31 May 21
We’ve had a word with the weather gods and given all we’ve been through of late, they’ve promised us nonstop sunshine all the way through to October. Honest! As the mercury heats up, here are some summer drinks to help you maintain your cool.
It won’t be until we’re sat on a high-stool clinking glasses – and looking forward to going to a gig and clubbing afterwards – that we’ll have our old lives back, but as the vaccination programme ramps up there’s genuine hope that over the next few months we’ll be reunited with our favourite drinking emporium.
Until that glorious day, our brewers, distillers and other purveyors of fine beverages are making sure that no Irish thirst goes unquenched this summer.
While this year’s Indie Beer Week is happening virtually online, the brews will be real if you order one of the accompanying taster packs available from indiebeerweek.ie.
These range from €35/€55 One-Day boxes to the €125 Extravaganza ones, which cover the full beery spectrum from stouts, sours and lagers to blondes, IPAs and darks.
Running from May 17-23 with the guided online tasting sessions on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday, participating breweries include 12 Acres, Ballykilcavan, Black Donkey, Blacks, Bru, Canvas, Cotton Ball, Dead Centre, Dungarvan, Hope, Kinnegar, Lineman, Lough Gill, Metalman, Porterhouse, Reel Deel, St, Mel’s, Trouble, West Kerry and Wicklow.
Talking of Dead Centre, the Westmeath brewery is looking forward to the reopening of its cozy taproom, which also serves up some damn fine pizza.
Available right now is their 5% Seeking Sunshine Pale Ale, which boasts zesty notes of tangerine, grapefruit and pithy citrus peel.
They’ve also set up beercloud.ie, which is not only taking care of those Indie Beer Week packs but also offers next day delivery on a huge variety of class Irish brews including old pals of ours like 12 Acres, Kinnegar, Trouble, Western Herd, Brehon, Wicklow Wolf, Porterhouse, Lough Gill and, well, pretty much everybody!
Another of those Indie Beer Week participants, St. Mel’s, have teamed up with Green Saffron’s Arun Kapil to create a limited-edition 750ml 7% ABV Spice Bag Saison, which can either be purchased separately or as part of the Seventh Birthday Box of beer from stmelsbrewing.com/shop. It certainly perked up our first BBQ of the summer.
As did the Banana Old Fashioned – rum, banana liqueur, rye whiskey and chocolate bitters – which is the latest addition to our near neighbours Bar 1661’s range of premixed “made by bartenders not pretenders” cocktails.
Available in 200ml (serves 2) and 700ml bottles (still serves 2, we ain’t sharing any more than that), it joins such classics as Strawberry Daiquiri, Raspberry Negroni and Whiskey Sour and a novel zero alcohol Not A Negroni in the craftcocktails.ie shop.
Tell ‘em we sent you and Bar 1661 might force a few of them on us the next time we’re strolling by their Little Britain Street, D1 HQ, which is just an olive’s throw from HP Towers.
While we’re year-round fans, it has to be said that cider is made for those days when the sun is splitting the rocks and, with the judicious adding of ice, seems to last forever!
As well as producing excellent beer, Carlow Brewing are also master cider-makers and with summer in mind bring us the medium sweet Falling Apple Crush and Falling Apple Blushing Berry, which includes raspberry and elderflower for added lipsmacking-ness!
Available in stylish cans and blended with 100% apples, they join the original bottled Falling Apple medium gravity Irish cider, which holds a fine balance of sweet, dry and bitter flavours.
One of the summer’s most exciting launches is that of Connacht Distillery’s Single Malt, the first whiskey from Mayo in over 150 years.
Worth every hour of the wait, it’s great with a premium mixer, as the star ingredient in your favourite cocktail or just sipped with ice or a little, which really opens up the flavours. See connachtwhiskey.com/shop for details of how you can pre-order a limited-edition Collector’s Edition bottle.
Their Conncullin Irish Gin and Straw Boys Irish Vodka and Poitín also comprehensively hit the spot, and look great too in their distinctive bottles.
Not that we ever need an excuse, but the 105th anniversary last month of the Irish Proclamation had us reaching for the Proclamation Blended Irish Whiskey that Grace O’Malley has lovingly produced in honour of its brave printers William O’Brien, Michael Molloy and Christopher Joseph Brady.
Matured in bourbon casks and aged in new American oak, it’s a singularly smooth whiskey of complex character with a refined, clean taste and – again – is a wow in cocktails.
Talking of which, hit graceomalleywhiskey.com/#bar up for such mixed, muddled, shaken and stirred delights as their famous Westport Rose, which does the Irish pirate queen proud!
Whether it’s hot or cold, sweet or spicy, classic or current, you’ll find loads more fabulous cocktail ideas at slaneirishwhiskey.com/cocktails.
Originally concocted with Paddy’s Day in mind, Thumper and Damien Dempsey’s electricfying visit to Slane Irish Whiskey can still be caught on the Hot Press YouTube channel.
So, lots of ideas to make this a sunkissed Irish summer to remember. Slainté!
The Grace Martini
• 6 cl Grace O’Malley Heather Infused Irish Gin
• 2 cl sweet white Vermouth (for example Lillet Blanc)
• Optional: 4 dashes of Olive Bitters
• 1 tsp olive brine from the olive jar
• Fill a mixing glass with ice cubes and add the ingredients.
• Stir on ice, then strain into a coupe or martini glass.
The Jack Apple Fizz
• 35.5ml Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Apple
• Fill glass with Ice
• Add 10ml Fresh Lemon Juice
• Top with Soda Water
• Garnish with Slice of Lemon
The Connacht G&T
• 35ml Conncullin Irish Gin
• 100ml premium tonic
• Pink grapefruit slices
• Pomegranate seeds
• Plenty of ice