Not too long ago, I returned from my honeymoon in Ireland. My wife and I toured castles, kissed the Blarney Stone, walked through St. Patrick’s Cathedral, drank a freshly brewed Guinness from the Dublin brewery and basically had an amazing two weeks on a bus tour of the entire island.
On one of the many stops on our journey, we explored the humorously named town of Dingle, located on the Dingle Peninsula of the southwestern side of County Kerry, Ireland. Among this tiny coastal town, there lies a gem of a distillery, unbeknownst to most of North America. Dingle Distillery is new on the scale of spirit brewing, but its culture is steeped in Irish history. Two hundred years ago, Ireland had over a hundred officially recognized distilleries, but by the turn of the 21st century, there were only two.
Dingle Distillery’s first spirit dripped from their stills in 2012, representing a significant milestone in Irish distilling history, essentially rekindling a tradition of independent distilling. Right now, only two gins are made in Ireland and one of them is the artisan Dingle Original Gin, hand-crafted from a lot of research and experimentation.
It is categorized as a London dry gin but its rich character and flavor makes it entirely an “Irish Gin,” namely from all of the hand-chosen local botanicals they use in their distillation process. When you take even a small swig of this gin, you can taste the Irish landscape. Rowan berries from the mountain ash trees, fuchsia, bog myrtle, hawthorn, heather, juniper, chervil, angelica, and coriander all rush in, flooding your senses in Celtic flavor. It almost seems like a sin to mix this gin with a tonic.
Dingle Distillery also makes vodka and is currently aging their first batch of whiskey. Their spirits are making their way across the pond and can be found in select American markets, but for now they are still widely unknown here. I guess I’ll just have to make my bottle last until that time comes.