In an era of super slick branding, it’s not always the case that a bottle of spirit carries both a great provenance story and a quality product – but it does with Glendalough Rose Gin. This is a type of pink gin, although its distiller, Rowdy Rooney, refers to it as “a pink gin”.
Ink Gin has become a true phenomenon in recent years. Classic Pink Gin is a decidedly dry sipper of a cocktail of crisp gin with a few dashes of aromatic bitters, stirred over ice, strained and served with a squeeze of lemon. The modern pink gin, on the other hand, was flavored by its manufacturer with raspberries, strawberries and currants, cherry blossoms, hibiscus and rose. Results can be intensely fruity or floral, often at the expense of juniper core character. “I absolutely didn’t want a heavily made pink gin,” says Rowdy. “We avoided that by using only natural botanicals. Gin drinkers want to be able to taste the gin.”
Rowdy’s lovingly curated recipe began as a wedding present for his younger brother and as a tribute to their late mother, Rose, so that she could be present at the wedding “in spirit, so to speak”. Key botanicals include whitewater mint and cleaver, which Glendalough Distillery resident collector Geraldine Kavanagh loves for their cucumber notes, and various rose varieties. First up is a particularly aromatic rosebush from Rowdy’s mother’s garden, where it still blooms with “big, beautiful yellow flowers.” Today, his sister Wonny takes care of it with impressive devotion: “She broke her heart and crushes aphids with her fingers so we don’t have to spray them”.
The aromatic compounds in rose petals are too delicate to simply add directly to the still like more robust botanicals. Instead, Rowdy produces a first rose distillate with the steam basket of the still. He then macerates more petals in this base spirit to create a tincture, and again in the final gin to build more layers of nuance. He himself likes to drink it with “a wedge of lime, a sprig of mint onto which to release the oils and fragrance, and a spritz of a fairly plain, unflavored tonic like Schweppes or even a sparkling water.”
I’ve also added a spiced gin liqueur that’s delicious in a warm apple punch; the crunchy Maharani for mixing your own pink gin cocktail (try it with Beara Bitters, based on organic Irish apple brandy); and two Prosecco alternatives to top up a Gin Fizz or Bellini. Visit rebelcitydistillery.com/news for a creative challenge for a Maharani’s Rebel Distillery cocktail competition open to all with a chance to win a €500 one-for-all voucher.
drinks of the week
Glendalough Rose Gin, Wicklow, 37.5 bottles, €36.99
A small-batch gin crafted from wild mountain flora and steam-distilled rose petals makes a charming addition to Glendalough’s excellent range of wild botanical gins. With invigorating aromas of wild rose, heather, hibiscus and juniper, subtle notes of spice and Turkish Delight on the palate and crisp citrus on the finish, this is a pink gin with a light touch, crafted from all-natural ingredients for a clean and refreshing gin Effect. A nice choice for spring drinks.
SuperValu, O’Briens, Carryout, Molloys, Celtic Whiskey Shop, glendaloughdistillery.com
Maharani Gin, Rebel City Distillery, cork, 41 pieces, €45-50
Cork distilled by Robert and Bhagya Barrett, this crisp gin is infused with nutmeg and cassia, sourced from a women’s organic farming cooperative in Bhagya’s home state of Kerala, India (‘maharani’ means queen). This crisp gin is a treat with a slice of grapefruit and tonic. Ardkeen, SuperValu (selected) and mchughs.ie
Bertha’s Revenge Crab Apple Gin Liqueur, cork, 31pcs, 35€ (50cl)
Sweetened with jaggery, honey and cloves and delicious over ice or in a warm spiced gin and apple punch: Mix one part gin with three parts apple juice that’s been warmed with spices (a clove, a stick of cinnamon, or a sprinkling of nutmeg) and sweeten with Demerara sugar and spice with fresh lemon to taste. Celtic Whiskey Shop, Bradleys, shop.ballyvolanespirits.ie
Tesco Finest Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut, Italy, 11.5 pieces, €17.99
Beautifully complex with ripe orchard fruit and crisp citrus and delicate stone fruit, gaining a salty, zesty note on the finish; a classic match for nibbles like crab, apple and endive or smoked fish pie – and a clean choice for adding bubbles to gin cocktails. tesco
Conte Priuli Oro Rosa Prosecco Spumante Rosé Extra Dry, 11 pieces, 15 €
“Extra Dry” in Prosecco terms means slightly more sweetness (12-17 g residual sugar per liter) than “Brut” (under 12 g); Here it’s balanced by fresh acidity, with ripe berry notes making it a fun pairing for everything from Eggs Royale (with smoked salmon and hollandaise) or pil pil with prawns to cakes with berry dressing. Marks & Spencer
https://www.independent.ie/life/food-drink/wine/mix-it-up-this-mothers-day-with-gin-and-company-41479645.html Mix it up with gin and company this Mother’s Day