This Monday, International Poitín Day will put the spotlight on Ireland’s original native spirit through a couple of events taking place in London and Dublin.
Dating back to the 6th century, poitín was banned in 1661 and remained in the shadows of Irish culture for over 300 years. Legalised in 1997 and granted Geographical Indicative Status by the EU in 2008, it has since seen a true resurgence and grown in popularity as an ideal spirit for cocktails, both in Ireland and internationally.
Now in its fifth year, International Poitín Day will take place on Monday, November 18th, giving us an occasion to celebrate the renaissance of this Irish spirit. Earlier this year, the opening in Dublin 7 of Bar 1661 offered poitín a global flagship through its menu focusing on native Irish spirits.
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International Poitín Day originally started as a collaboration between The Sun Tavern in London, home of the UK’s largest legal collection of poitín, and Bán Poitín, the brand behind Bar 1661, with the ambition to dedicate a day to the original Irish moonshine and the rebellious souls who kept it alive during its days of illegality.
"Since then, it has gone from strength to strength with multiple bars in multiple cities taking part, reflecting growing international awareness for Ireland’s native white spirit and its popularity as a modern ingredient in cocktails", explained to us Dave Mulligan, Poitín maker and founder of Bar 1661. "This year has even seen Japan jump on board with a Poitín focused event happening in Tokyo!"
Bar Swap And Special Cocktail Menu
The event will be marked with a simultaneous bar swap between The Sun Tavern and Bar 1661. From 5pm on Monday, bartenders Ross Painter and Jamie Jones from The Sun Tavern will be taking over Bar 1661, while Gillian Boyle and Luke O’Meara from Bar 1661 will be stepping behind the bar at the East London institution.
Dispelling myths that it’s just bread, banana and barley, poitín expert Tommy Cummins will lead a tasting at The Sun Tavern at 7pm, while Dave Mulligan will be sharing his knowledge at Bar 1661. "Our hope is to get people curious about this spirit that is embedded in Irish culture", Dave said.
The two bars have also collaborated to create a menu of six Poitín cocktails, including Bar 1661’s Belfast Coffee (made of Bán Poitín, cold brew coffee, demerara, cream and nutmeg), the Mad March Mule (a mix of Mad March Hare Poitín, lime and Umbrella Brewing Ginger Beer), or The Sun Tavern’s John Doe (made of Bán Poitín, Irish whiskey, Madeira and chestnut liqueur). On the night, customers will be able to taste these creations for €16.61 for two cocktails.