Great Irish Drinks

In part two of his festive cocktails special, Oisin Davis looks at hot mixed drinks to warm the cockles. 

These colder months of the year allow boozehounds such as myself the perfect excuse to delve into spicier and indeed, warmer mixed drinks. Got a touch of the dreaded man-flu? Best to reach for a hot toddy so. Don't judge me, it's medicinal! 

Need something to pair with all those Christmas snacks and meals? Pass me the Irish whiskey, please...
The best bars will recognise that the changing of the seasons doesn't just mean dusting off the Santa hats and mistletoe. Chimneys should be swept and heating dials readjusted. Staff meetings regarding how to diplomatically deal with rambunctious office parties need to happen. And menus need to be updated to roll out the much-needed winter warmers and the kinds of drinks that give you a great, big liquid hug. Sure how else could one possibly survive the silly season?
Should any of you be anywhere near the Islington area of London or Galway city, then I would strongly urge you to check out the two bars I'm featuring in this piece. Both are led by strong, dedicated teams that are putting Irish products, culture and welcomes at the forefront of their businesses and both bars are dab hands at winter cocktails. 

HOMEBOY BAR, LONDON, N1 8LX 

This brand spanking new watering hole has one heckuva motto, "Modern Irish Hospitality." It's a celebration of both the modern love of mixing cocktails, paired with the traditional atmosphere of an Irish pub. Co-owner and fellow proud Dub, Aaron Wall has shared a cocktail that not only seems to embody that philosophy perfectly but is also a gorgeous reflection of Christmas flavours in a glass. It all starts with Redbreast 12-year-old Irish whiskey, which as Aaron describes, "has a hint of spice to it and a touch of raisins from the time spent in Sherry casks."
He then mixes other delights with it to create a twist on a rum drink called an El Presidente that he calls "The Taoiseach." The thinking here was that he didn’t reckon the English would get their tongues around the Irish for president so he opted to use the Irish for prime minister instead. A wise choice.
Meanwhile, his Irish customers can have all the craic as they make jokes about actually drinking the Taoiseach. 

Cocktail: "The Taoiseach"
Created by: Aaron Wall, co-owner
INGREDIENTS
40ml Redbreast 12 year old 
20ml Martini Rosso 
10ml Cointreau 
10ml pomegranate syrup 
3 dashes of Orange bitters 
METHOD
Chill a martini or coupe glass with some ice. Pour all ingredients into a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir for 20 seconds. Remove ice from the glass and strain the cocktail. 

THE SKEFF, BAR & KITCHEN, EYRE SQUARE, GALWAY 

Gin & Tonics may well have become the national tipple, but for me, 2018 for me will be the year of the hot gin. As I made my spirited travels through distant counties and foreign lands, I noticed more and more bars upping their hot beverage game and gin appeared the most. Seeing as nearly all gins feature spices, it makes perfect culinary sense that they would taste so well when hit with some with heat.
The good folk over in The Skeff, a Galway city institution since 1852,  are all over that with their Hot Míl Bramble. This twist on a classic has become a big seller for them, as their group marketing director David Hayes says, "As a gin, it's got a warmth that works really well at this time of the year when days are short and the sun is in hiding."
Shopping locally is also a big part of The Skeff's identity. "Provenance, uniqueness and creativity is everything to both ourselves and our customers these days. So we love to support Irish brands as much as we can." I'll drink to that.

Cocktail: "Hot Míl Bramble"
Created by: Conor Ryan of Míl Irish Gin 
INGREDIENTS 
25ml Mil Irish Gin
15 ml Creme Du Mure
15 ml Lemon Juice 
15 ml Sugar Syrup (1:1 ratio)
125ml boiling water 
METHOD
  • Put all ingredients into a preheated glass.
  • Top up the glass with boiling water. Garnish with clove studded lemon or orange and a cinnamon stick. 

Author: Oisin Davis

Oisin Davis works on a global level as an Irish drinks evangelist and producer. He is the founder of nationwide drinks festivals that celebrate Irish spirits in the best bars and restaurant in the 32 counties and to top it off he is co-owner of Poacher's Premium Beverages, Ireland's only all-natural mixer company. F&W is delighted that Oisin has joined our contributing team with his column "Great Irish Drinks." 

Read more from Oisin Stellar Seasonal Cocktails 

If you have any questions for Oisin, or suggestions, just leave a comment below.