Saturday 20 April 2019

The drink of the summer: The craft Irish pink gins that taste of strawberries

Pink gin, the drink of the summer. Stock photo
Pink gin, the drink of the summer. Stock photo
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

Gin's popularity is full steam ahead in Ireland, and flavoured gins are being touted as the drink of the summer.

Strawberry scents are in the air, and food and drink festivals and pubs are eateries are awash with pink gin from everyone from Beefeater to Drumshambo to Gordon’s.

Joanne Moore is one of the first female gin master distillers in the world, and she has created an Irish craft pink gin called Bloom Strawberry Cup.

“I wanted to showcase to people that gin has a lot of flavours, so I wanted to create a lighter, floral profile.”

Bloom and Eglington pink gins.
Bloom and Eglington pink gins.

Joanne, who has a degree in biochemistry, and became the seventh master distiller at G&J which makes Dubliner Irish whiskey, says she got her inspiration for the gin from her garden.

“I’ve got seven botanicals in this one, and the two key florals are chamomile flowers and honeysuckle as well.”

Pink gins have sparked a curiosity among gin lovers, particularly in our social media society, Joanne says.

“There is an explosion of gin. There are 200 distillers just in the UK now. Do I think it’s reached saturation point? Potentially yes, but there is room for other gins out there. You will get to the point where the strong brands with a real story will stand the test of time.”

“Having pink gins as popular, we live in quite a visual world where everyone wants to put what they’re eating and drinking on Instagram.”

Meanwhile, Liz Field from West Cork Distiller who’ve made Eglinton Pink Gin, as well as their Glengarriff Wild Irish Gin, says gin lovers are curious enough to detect local fragrances coming through in the drinks.

West Cork Distillers began when three lifelong friends, two fishermen struggling in an ailing fishing industry and a research scientist, decided to bring out their own whiskey, gin, and vodka.

“The gin market is a busy market but it’s also a very exciting market. I don’t think it’s reached saturation point yet. When you’re releasing a new gin, there is still a market for it, but you do need to separate it from everyone else.”

“Customers are looking for local products, authenticity, and flavours.”

“There’s been a recent surge in popularity in pink gin, and it’s been driven by the female market but it’s not specifically for women. We wanted to bring something to the market that was a classic gin, but we’ve infused the gin with cranberries, and given it a fresh fruity nose and there’s a bright zesty energy to it too.”

“The fact that it’s produced locally in West Cork is important,” Liz added.

West Cork Distiller now exports to 60 countries. Interestingly it’s popularity is big in Japan.

“The export market is very important for us. There’s a real appetite for premium products and the Irish product. Growing the domestic market is very important to us as well.”

Supervalu is currently running a gin sale on local Irish craft gins like Eglinton, Glendalough and Dingle, and international brands like Hendricks, Plymouth and Sipsmith. Eglinton and the Bloom Strawberry Cup gins are available exclusively to SuperValu.

Meanwhile, Co. Down-based Copeland Gin is flavoured with fruits and herbs from nearby Finlay's farm, and is currently on sale in Aldi.

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