Great Irish Beverages, the only company in Ireland dedicated to promoting Irish drinks, held its first Irish Cocktail Month this October. Aiming to highlight the best cocktails around the country that utilise Irish spirits, the campaign was a great success, with bars from all four provinces entering the competition.
Venues were invited to register with Great Irish Beverages before promoting their cocktail. The public was then able to vote for their favourite drink by tagging the venue with the hashtag #BestIrishCocktail on either Twitter or Facebook.
Last year's winning cocktail was Wilde's Atlantic Way by The Lodge at Ashford Castle, which was made with Connemara Peated Irish Whiskey.
This year's worthy winner was 'Bee Right With You' from The Grand Hotel in Fermoy. Celebrating all things local, this delicious cocktail utilised Blackwater gin from the nearby Blackwater Distillery, as well as house-made bitters made from Fermoy honey. The shaken cocktail was served in an ice-cold martini glass and garnished with a honey tuile.
The creator of this fabulous cocktail is The Grand Hotel's head mixologist John Coleman, who was inspired by the local producers he encountered at this year's Taste of Fermoy festival.
Speaking about his winning cocktail, John commented:
"I see cocktail creations not just bringing together ingredients, but businesses as well, both big and small. My ethos is to always use Irish spirits and mixers as your base, and look to your locality for other ingredients, be it the farmer's market, orchard or fruit farm, beekeeper, herbalist or any other businesses."
The organiser of Irish Cocktail Month and the Best Irish Cocktail competition, Oisin Davis, told us that he was extremely proud of the new festival:
"For the last two years, we ran Irish Cocktail week across the 32 counties and it did very well. But we decided to stretch it out for 2018 and evolve it into Irish Cocktail Month! This gave us an additional three weeks to promote the amazing Irish spirits we're working with and indeed the amazing bars that are celebrating them.
We are all about trying to get Irish bars and their patrons to experiment more with locally produced spirits. I can't wait to roll out the next edition of Irish Cocktail Month in 2019.
For the first week or so, it was quite a tight race between the Grand Hotel in Fermoy and the 1520 Bar in Galway, who made a gorgeous cocktail with wild blackberries and Tullamore Dew. But then the People's Republic took it up a notch and votes started coming in thick and fast for the crew from Fermoy."
You can try the Bee Right With You cocktail at The Grand Hotel in Fermoy.
Did you try any of the #BestIrishCocktail entries? Let us know what they were like in the comments below.