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Ten Irish spirits to try for St Patrick’s Day

From poitín to pink gins, Ireland has plenty of spirits to satisfy any drinker. Ahead of St Patrick’s Day tomorrow, we present some of the best bottlings to toast the country’s patron saint.

 Shortcross Distillery's pink gin
Irish distillers have tapped into the trend for pink gin, including Shortcross Distillery

While Irish whiskey and Guinness remain some of the most popular drinks for celebrating St Patrick’s Day (17 March), we thought we would introduce some other top-quality spirits from the country.

One of the country’s most famed spirits is poitín, which alongside Irish whiskey and Irish cream, is protected with geographical indication status in the European Union.

Meanwhile, Ireland has also welcomed an abundance of gins in recent years with distillers ramping up production and releasing experimental and trend-driven products to attract consumers.

Ireland’s rich spirits industry also spans vodka and liqueurs, and even brandy, meaning those who prefer to avoid whiskey can enjoy a drink of something different on St Patrick’s Day.

Click through the following pages to see our pick of the top 10 Irish spirits that aren’t whiskey. 

Boatyard Gin and Vodka

Established in 2016, The Boatyard Distillery is a family-operated spirits producer based in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.

It became the first working distillery in the region for more than 130 years when it launched and is situated in a disused boatyard.

Boatyard Distillery’s portfolio includes three core spirits: Boatyard Double Gin, Boatyard Old Tom Gin and Boatyard Vodka.

Bottled at 41% ABV, Boatyard Vodka is the third product from the distillery, and claims to be the first vodka to be made from organic Irish wheat

Glendalough Rose Gin

Glendalough Distillery in County Wicklow, which claims to be Ireland’s first craft distillery, produces poitín and whiskey in addition to gin.

Fans of pink gin will enjoy the award-winning Glendalough Rose Gin, which is made using fresh ingredients sourced from the mountains that surround the distillery in County Wicklow, Ireland.

The gin’s ingredients include Irish mountain roses and damask roses, said to be the “most aromatic roses that can be found”. The petals are distilled into the spirit and also used to infuse the gin after distillation to create a pink hue.

Five Farms Irish Cream

Described as a premium Irish cream, Five Farms is made using single batches of fresh cream that are combined with Irish whiskey within 48 hours. The liqueur is entirely sourced and produced in County Cork, Ireland.

The brand is named in honour of the five family-owned farms in the region that provide the product’s dairy cream.

The liqueur is made with premium triple-distilled Irish whiskey and claims to contain 10 times more Irish whiskey than most brands in the category, resulting in an “intensity of whiskey flavour that sets it apart”.

Method and Madness Micro Distilled Gin


Irish whiskey maker Irish Distillers unveiled a new gin under its experimental Method and Madness range in 2019.

Method and Madness Irish Micro Distilled Gin was inspired by historic gin recipes dating back to 1798, which have been preserved at the Midleton Distillery.

The gin is a “reimagining” of Irish Distillers’ pot still Cork Crimson Gin in 2005, which was based on recipes, botanicals and methods found in a notebook from the 1790s, written by a rectifier in Cork, called William Coldwell.

The gin is made with a mix of 16 botanicals, with black lemon and Irish gorse flower at the fore. It is said to have notes of citrus and spice, with earthy undertones.

Bán Poítin

One of Ireland’s most well-known spirits is poítin, a clear spirit with an ABV between 40% and 90%. Poitin was illegal in Ireland from 1661 until 1997. Since poitín has been legalised it has been been given geographical indication status by the EU.

Northern Ireland’s Echlinville Distillery produces Bán Poítin (48% ABV), which is made from potatoes, malted barley and sugar beet.

Pronounced ‘bawn potcheen’, the name is derived from ‘bán’ meaning white in Gaelic, and ‘poitín’ from the word pota meaning little pot. Poitin is traditionally distilled in a small pot still.

Sausage Tree Pure Irish Vodka

Ireland’s Shed Distillery of PJ Rigney launched a vodka made from the fruit of the sausage tree in 2018.

It has been inspired by the kigelia tree, which is native to Africa and is more commonly known as the sausage tree.

To make Sausage Tree Pure Irish Vodka, the fruits of the kigelia tree and wild Irish nettle are distilled alongside Irish grains at the distillery in Drumshanbo, County Leitrim.

Founded by Patrick J Rigney in 2014, The Shed Distillery claims to be the first distillery in the Irish region of Connacht for more than 100 years.

Jawbox Gin Liqueurs

For those who prefer something sweeter, Irish brand Jawbox unveiled two gin-based liqueurs in 2018 – Rhubarb and Ginger, and Pineapple and Ginger.

Produced near Belfast, the new liqueurs combine sweet and spicy flavours with the brand’s signature small batch gin. Both expressions are bottled at 20% ABV and recommended served with ginger ale.

The pineapple and ginger offering is described as a first for the industry.

Longueville House Apple Brandy

Said to be Ireland’s first microdistillery (estimated 1985) Longueville House Distillery in County Cork produces apple brandy using its own cider.

Once the cider is fermented, it is poured into pot stills where it is double distilled into an apple brandy. The brandy is stored in French oak barrels, where it is aged for between four and six years to mature.

The resulting brandy is said to be rich with the aroma of apples, and ‘smooth and full bodied’ on the palate.

Bertha’s Revenge

Bertha’s Revenge takes its base spirit from whey and its name from a famed cow called Big Bertha.

Bertha, or ‘Big Bertha’ as she was known, was a legendary Droimeann cow from Sneem in County Kerry. She died at the age of 49 on New Year’s Eve in 1993. Bertha was extraordinarily known for giving birth to 39 calves, earning her an entry in The Guinness Book of Records.

To produce the gin, special yeasts are added to the whey to convert the milk sugars into alcohol. It is also distilled with 18 different botanicals (locally foraged and grown where possible) and pure natural Irish spring water.

Rosie’s Garden Gin

County Down’s Rademon Estate Distillery was opened in 2012 by wife-­and-­husband team Fiona and David Boyd-­Armstrong.

The distiller moved into pin gin in 2019 with Rosie’s Garden Gin, which is described as the “first-of-its-kind” to be distilled in Northern Ireland.

The 42.5% ABV pink expression was inspired by Fiona’s mother, Rosie. The gin is made with strawberries, raspberries, lavender and chamomile, while “remaining juniper-led”.

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