Discover the World of Irish Gin
Renowned for its unique blend of locally sourced botanicals, Irish gin has earned its place as one of the most popular elixirs in the global consumer market.
In fact, it’s so popular that in 2022, Irish gin exports surged by an impressive 28%, solidifying its position as the fastest-growing spirit on the Emerald Isle.
One of the key factors that sets Irish gin apart is its distinct taste of the juniper berry, along with a carefully selected fusion of herbs, flowers, fruits, and spices.
In this latest Irish Drink Shop blog, you will learn about the rich, captivating history of Irish gin which dates back to the 1500s. We will also delve into the different types of gin cocktails, our top recommended Irish gins to try, and the various ways of ingesting the delicious tipple.
Explore the Rich History of Irish Gin
From its historical roots dating back to the 1500s, when the Dutch introduced the spirit as "genever," to its modern-day revival with artisan distilleries, Irish gin has a rich and captivating history.
Throughout the early centuries, gin became so popular among soldiers who drank it before going into battle, which led to gin earning the nickname "Dutch Courage".
Other nicknames gin has picked up along the way include “ladies delight”, “knock me down” and “mother's ruin”.
With an abundance of grain resources in the 18th century, Ireland's distillation industry experienced a boom, and gin became a favoured drink for its affordability and delicious taste.
By the 19th century, Ireland boasted over 200 licensed distilleries, producing a diverse range of gins and other spirits, including the notorious poitin and even absinthe.
Throughout the 20th century, Irish gin's reputation continued to grow, particularly for its craft distilleries that embraced native botanicals from the local countryside, further adding to its unique distinctiveness.
Famous Irish Gin Distilleries
There are approximately 37 gin distilleries currently operating in Ireland, each with its own story and production process – some of which have been operating for over a century.
For example, distilleries such as the Dingle Distillery, Echlinville Distillery, Glendalough Distillery, Lough Ree Distillery, and Rademon Estate Distillery continue to create exceptional Irish gins that are enjoyed by both Irish people and abroad.
In recent years, some of these distilleries have even put Ireland on the map and gained award-winning recognition for producing some of the world’s most-loved gins.
The Top Irish Gins to Try
The multi award-winning Dingle Gin, captivates its drinkers with a selection of local botanicals, including Rowan Berry, Fuscia, Bog Myrtle, Heather, Chervil, and Hawthorn. Made in the likeness of the classic London Dry Gin, this takes a unique spin on it by distilling in pot stills.
Bertha's Revenge is a "Milk Gin" crafted using whey instead of grain and distilled in small batches at Ballyvolane House in Co. Cork. Not only is this gin extremely tasty, but it also has a great story. It was named after a famous Irish cow, Bertha who lived to the aged of 48 and had 39 calves!
Glendalough Wild Botanical Gin, a gold medal winner at the Gin Masters 2022, captures the essence of the wild Irish countryside and utilises fresh plants which are sustainably sourced from the surrounding mountains by a full-time forager. These botanicals are then distilled slowly to release the mixture of intricate flavours in small batches of less than 250 litres.
Another favourite of ours comes all the way from Cape Clear Island Distillery in West Cork – the 3 SQ Miles gin. This premium tipple won a silver medal at the prestigious 2020 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, a gold at the Bartender Spirits Awards 2020, and a silver at the London Spirits Competition – so it’s definitely worth a try!
Last but not least, we highly recommend Drumshanbo Gunpowder produced by the Shed Distillery in Co Leitrim. This gin offers an exciting combination of oriental fresh citrus and leaves (gunpowder tea), citrus, juniper, and spicy notes. Absolutely delicious!
How to Drink Irish Gin
Irish gin offers a diverse range of drinking experiences that cater to every palate so here are a few different ways to try it.
Sipping it neat or over ice allows enthusiasts to appreciate the intricate flavours and aromas of the local botanicals. Whereas mixing it with tonic water or other mixers creates a refreshing drink which is perfect for those warm summer days (not that we’re getting much of those this year!).
Irish gin is also the secret ingredient in classic cocktails such as the Negroni, which strikes a perfect balance of Irish gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth. Other timeless gin cocktails, including the Gin Martini, Aviation, Gimlet, and Tom Collins, are equally beloved by gin enthusiasts worldwide and especially in Ireland.
Irish gin stands proudly as a testament to the Irish spirit of innovation and tradition, weaving together history, locally-sourced botanicals, and the creativity of artisan distillers.
Now, let’s raise our glasses to the allure of Irish gin and enjoy our nation’s most delectable flavours.