A selection of Ballykeefe\'s spirits

A selection of Ballykeefe's spiritsBallykeefe Distillery

Morgan Ging, owner of Ballykeefe Distillery, is bringing good quality spirits to people all over Ireland. 

Ballykeefe Distillery is located in Kilkenny, which is rumoured to be the first place in Ireland that whiskey or 'uisce beatha' was distilled. The distillery, which is located on the Ging family farm, produces fantastic varieties of gin and poitín, with their first whiskey almost ready for sale.

Morgan, a farmer from Kilkenny, always dreamed of reviving the lost tradition of having a distillery on the family farm. With Ballykeefe Distillery now open his dream is a reality that everyone can enjoy. The farm and distillery have a symbiotic relationship, ensuring total sustainability and creating delicious spirits for everyone to enjoy without any guilt.

Morgan Ging, owner of Ballykeefe Distillery

Morgan Ging, owner of Ballykeefe Distillery

Even though we here at F&W love a good gin and tonic, we were surprised to hear some of Morgan's gin facts – who knew that the people in the Philipines are the world's biggest gin drinkers?

Keep reading below to find out Morgan's ten most interesting facts about gin..

- Most juniper used in gin is picked wild. Almost none is cultivated. The juniper most commonly used in is common juniper, Juniperus communis. It occurs naturally in Asia, Europe and North America.

– Gin is technically flavoured vodka, as it is a neutral based spirit that has been flavoured with botanicals, of which juniper berries is the dominant flavour. Similarly, vodka is a clear and odourless spirit, otherwise known as a neutral spirit. Therefore, vodka and gin start out the same but end up with different flavours. The more you know!

– Gin originated in the Netherlands, where it was known as both Genever and Dutch Courage. Genever was prescribed by Dutch pharmacists in the 16th century for its alleged medicinal properties. In the 1600s, English soldiers discovered genever and brought it home to England, where it grew in popularity.

– Gin and tonic became a popular means of taking quinine, which was known for its anti-malarial properties. As early as the 1600s, quinine, which is found in the bark of the cinchona tree, was shown to protect against malaria and stave off fevers. In order to ingest the quinine, the bark was soaked in gin or brandy to make it palatable, which would have provided 1-2g quinine if drank daily. Unfortunately, modern tonic only contains around 15mg quinine per litre, so it doesn't do quite the same job.

– London Dry Gin does not have to be made in London but is instead defined by the method in which it's distilled and the juniper flavour that is distilled into it.

– A whopping 60 million cases of gin are sold every year, half of which is consumed in the Philippines alone! The popularity of gin in the Philippines is mostly attributed to the effective marketing of the country's largest brand, Ginebra San Miguel. The brand has been available in the Philippines since the 1830s and last year alone sold over 24 million cases worldwide.

Read more: F&W's Top Three Tasty Gin Cocktails

– The ‘bathtub gin’ that was made in the United States during Prohibition had dangerous and even lethal natural effects due to the fact that it sometimes contained methanol. Sufferers were blinded or even poisoned! 'Bathtub gin' was created by mixing cheap grain alcohol with water and flavorings, such as juniper berry juice and glycerin. The typical gin bottle was too tall to be topped off with water from a sink, so supposedly they were filled from a bathtub tap, hence the name.

– Many gin fans will already know the spirit is fairly low on calories, clocking in at around 97 per shot, making it the perfect spirit for those watching their calorie intake.

– As the botanicals in gin are full of health stimulating properties, such as antioxidants and vitamins, you really could call gin healthy! The botanicals can supposedly also help you to live longer by aiding blood circulation, getting rid of toxins and producing more enzymes to aid digestion. 

– A good quality gin should be able to be drunk neat, filling the palate with warmth. Poorer quality gins cause a harsh burning sensation when ingested straight.

You can read more about Ballykeefe here.