Ruin Your Resolutions — Our guide to a Dry (or not so Dry) January
With one of the most collectively stressful years firmly behind us, there is much to look forward to in the coming months. Although government guidelines have been hitherto about as clear as a pint of Guinness, with recent developments and successes with vaccination trials, it does appear that 2021 will bring about a return to something resembling normality.
But until then, until we can revisit our much loved and dearly missed local, we are here to help offer the best alternative, whatever your drink of choice may be. Dry January is a a challenge which, during normal times, is undertaken after a glorious month of gluttonous indulgence. However, given the year that's in it, this might not necessarily be the case. So whether you are striving for sobriety during the first month of 2021 or happy to have us ruin your resolutions, we are here to ensure there is something below for everyone.
Ruin Your Resolutions in Style
For those of you who have resigned to the fact that abstinence can wait a little longer, here are our recommendations for enjoying the beginnings of 2021.
Every bit as decadent as it sounds, Dooley's White Chocolate Cream Liqueur is a unique blend of the finest Dutch cream, white chocolate and wild berries. The perfect treat for in front of the fire during the Winter months, particularly for those with a sweet tooth.
In terms of whiskey, there are few better places to start than here at home. The highly anticipated fourth release of the Brabazon series is a fantastic celebration of old and new from Dublin based Teeling Distillery. This is a 13 Year Old single malt, produced with Carcevelos (White Port) barrels from Portugal, a style of fortified wine dating back to the 18th century. Initially aged in port casks followed by a finishing period of over two years in Carcevelos White Port barrels and limited to just 10,000 bottles.
White the quantity of Irish gins produced in recent years has increased drastically, the quality of the produce has followed suit. Although the selection is vast, 3 Sq. Miles Irish Coastal Gin is one of our top tier gins at a very affordable price. From the Cape Clear Island Distillery in West Cork, it is Ireland's only island distillery and uses local hand-harvested botanicals, from both land and seashore with water from its own well. Taking over 6 months to develop, it replicates much of the authentic and fresh sensations native to the island to complement but not overpower the traditional juniper base.
An exceptional single cask release from Guyana, Heytesbury Demerara Rum has been specially hand-selected and sourced from only the finest Rum plantations. Ideal for any rum afficionado who can appreciate the finer details.
The name Quinta do Noval is synonymous with the world of fine port. Dating back to the early 18th century, the winery, situated in the heart of the Douro Valley, has produced some of the worlds most sought after ports. This Fine Ruby is an elegant, easy drinking port at a great price, made for enjoying in good company.
While it is difficult to find a subpar bottling from Equipo Navazos, in terms of sherry this is a personal favourite. Made in February-March 2019 it has been drawn from the same casks which have given us the much loved first eight editions of La Bota de Fino. With an estimated average age of 10 years, this shows a complexity which we have come to expect from the La Bota de Fino range. It can be enjoyed immediately (and has been), but it is recommended leaving this sit for a number of years before opening as it has huge potential to evolve.
As diverse, varied and complex as the world of wine is, it is near impossible to find fault with the 2010 Vina Ardanza. An exceptional Tempranillo blend that is ready to drink now but will also evolve over the next ten years or so. Extremely well-rounded notes of coconut, hazelnut and dark chocolate. Another favourite of ours.
This was a very exciting collaboration between our booze brothers at Craft Beers Delivered and DOT Brew. One of the very few silver linings of 2020, this superb Imperial Stout of which 80% has been aged in an ex-15 Year Old Single Malt PX Sherry cask for 10 months and then the other 20% has been aged in an Irish blended whiskey ex-dark rum cask for 6 months. Surprisingly easy to drink at 9.7%, this barrel aged stout is bursting with big flavours, notable of dried fruits, caramel, roasted nuts and dark chocolate.
Low and No Alcohol Options (We Salute You!)
For those of you blessed with will power and an ounce of self-control, there are, of course more options available now than ever before. What we have below are some of what we consider to be the best options which don't sacrifice any of the flavour despite the low or no levels of ABV. And if what you are looking for isn't here, or your curiosity has gotten the better of you, our full range of low and no alcoholic drink can be found here.
The seltzer has grown massively in popularity over the last 18 months, and for good reason. They are light, refreshing, low in calorie count but big in flavour. This very fine spritz of Dark Rum, lime and sparkling water is 100% vegan and just 70 calories per can! A crisp, tropical seltzer from Ireland, produced at the Killowen Distillery, Co.Down.
A delicious low ABV beer at 2.5% ABV which is packed full of hoppy goodness, great bitterness and hints of citrus. One of our go-tos when it comes to easy-drinking, sessionable IPAs.
At only 0.3% ABV, this American style wheat ale has heaps of hoppy flavours! Incredibly light and refreshing on the finish. Disregard the fact that an Irish summer lasts a week and enjoy this any time of the year.
For those looking to lose the booze entirely, there are a number of ways to abstain from alcohol without sacrificing massively on flavour. Listed below are a couple of our favourites that might help dry January seem a little more achievable.
An alcohol-free gin which has been distilled with Ceylon cinnamon, coriander seeds, orange peel, juniper berries and lemon verbena. Try with tonic and ice, a great alternative to your standard G&T!
Anyone familiar with Danish brewers To Ol will be well aware that they do not put their labels to anything unless it is of the highest quality, and this release certainly passes the test. Say yes to a beer that is packed with flavour and no hangover. Just think peach and stone fruit flavours, quite sweet on the palate but still light and easy drinking!
One final choice is another guilt free-option. Created using natural botanicals including juniper, rose and hibiscus, this alcohol-free gin from Cedar is vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free and contains just 2Kcal per 50ml serve. A crisp, refreshing gin with juniper at the forefront complemented by floral notes of rose and sweet hibiscus.