Tasting Notes

Tasting Notes are Bullshit. Your palate knows you better than anyone could. This is a pretty sensationalist title but what difference between that and companies shouting at you that their whiskey is the smoothest, their gin that can inspire moments of tropical havens or their vodka tasting like an iceberg. What good are these errant thoughts of marketing companies designed to play on wishful thinking or ideal living when you are stuck with the palate that you are born with and have trained to like certain things through simple repetition and experience.

The truth is that tasting notes are a necessary evil to give people an idea of what they are getting themselves into but the heavy skew towards disruptive flavour notes and memory based recollection has led ultimately to the alienation of many people who would otherwise investigate the burgeoning category of ‘craft’ spirits or drinks, in general. All of us can recall a time at a bar overhearing some person attempt to melt either a first date or a bartender’s ear about their vast ability to detect minute impressions and notes held so secretly by their New Zealand Savvy B, hated that person and looked down on your flavourless beer and breathed a deep sigh of relief.

Friends, it doesn’t have to be this way. I promise. Let’s look a little closer at how your body generally perceives flavours and then tie that back to why tasting notes exist in the first place as a means to guide rather than overcomplicate the whole process of having a drink with friends. Let’s discuss taste first. 

TASTE

What is generally categorized as “taste” is basically a bundle of different sensations: it is not only the qualities of taste perceived by the tongue, but also the smell, texture and temperature of a meal/drink that are important. The “colouring” of a taste happens through the nose. Only after taste is combined with smell is a food’s flavour produced. If the sense of smell is impaired, by a stuffy nose for instance, perception of taste is usually dulled as well. Try eating or drinking something you are extremely familiar with whilst holding your nose and a lot of the enjoyment is going to be diminished.

Like taste, our sense of smell is also closely linked to our emotions. This is because both senses are connected to the involuntary nervous system. That is why a bad taste or odour can bring about vomiting or nausea. And flavours that are appetizing increase the production of saliva and gastric juices, making them truly mouth watering. Mouth watering maybe but not sexy definitely. People who have an aversion to the smell of Parmesan Cheese often can’t explain it but it’s potentially because it shares many of the same properties as vomit/baby sick and the recollection of such traumatic events veers your brain away from wanting more of it. I mean, I get it.

Now that we are on board with the idea of emotion, experience and flavours you have come into contact with in the past adjusting how you perceive liquid in a glass or food on a plate; we can at least understand why brands often lead with these grandiose experiences of sipping cocktails on beaches in the sun or guffawing your way through pints of the black stuff in quiet pubs with your nearest and dearest. It’s a not so subtle attempt to arouse desire in your proverbial loins. Ooooh.

At a base level what is it we taste then:

Based on the information that is transported from the tongue to the brain, there are thought to be at least five basic qualities of taste. The basic tastes are:

Sweet

What we perceive as sweetness is usually caused by sugar and its derivatives such as fructose or lactose. But other types of substances can also activate the sensory cells that respond to sweetness. These include, for example, some protein building blocks like amino acids, and also alcohols in fruit juices or alcoholic drinks. Caraway is an interesting botanical that is found in Stillgarden Social Gin. Once distilled it imparts an inherent sweetness into spirit even though sugar does not make it through the distillation process.

Sour

It is mostly acidic solutions like lemon juice or organic acids that taste sour. This sensation is caused by hydrogen ions split off by an acid dissolved in a watery solution. Fermentation can also often have a souring effect, think Sauerkraut or yogurt (Lactic Acid). As you can see the world of alcohol creation is pretty romantic in its terminology.

Salty

Food containing table salt is mainly what we taste or recognise as salty. The chemical basis of this taste is salt crystal, which consists of sodium and chloride. Mineral salts like the salts of potassium or magnesium can also cause a sensation of saltiness.

Bitter

Bitter taste is brought about by many fundamentally different substances. In total there are about 35 different proteins in the sensory cells that respond to bitter substances. From an evolutionary standpoint, this can be explained by the many different bitter species of plants, some of which were poisonous. Recognizing which ones were indeed poisonous was a matter of survival. The evolution of the food and drink world has taken an odd turn in that people now hunt out this feeling at often obscene levels massively Hoppy IPAs or Insane Hot Sauces with Scoville’s in the millions are prime examples. 

Savoury

The “umami” taste, which is somewhat similar to the taste of a meat broth, is usually caused by glutamic acid or aspartic acid. These two amino acids are part of many different proteins found in food, and also in some plants. Ripe tomatoes, meat and cheese all contain a lot of glutamic acid. Asparagus, for example, contains aspartic acid. Chinese cuisine uses glutamate, the glutamic acid salt, as flavour enhancers. This is done to make the savoury taste of foods more intense. This is basically the reason that once you pop you can’t stop with Pringles: MSG. If you like truffle cheese chips try throwing some MSG on top of them and prepare yourself for an uninterrupted trip to flavour town.

 

Tasting Notes

 

God love you if you have read this far and I suppose you’re going to want a summation of what it all means to you. The premise of all of this is that the weight people put in tasting notes being what they SHOULD find is a beyond broken ideal, sure you might find orange peel or juniper in that gin but the first rains of spring are going to be really hard to decipher if you’ve grown up in Dubai. In essence, it’s fine to explore food/drinks and not be in line with the perception of so called experts’ tasting notes as long as the product resonates with you. Knowing a little more about how all these factors influence your ability to dissect flavour might help you have a little more faith in yourself when you like a Gin for reasons your friends can’t understand — it’s because none of us experience life the same way.

 

All the best,

 

Al

 

Interesting stuff:

Taste benefited early humans by indicating which foods were safe for consumption. Sweetness signalled foods with calories for energy, while sourness could indicate the presence of vitamin C; bitter foods were potentially poisonous, whereas salty foods contain important minerals and other nutrients.

Stillgarden Social Botanists

We can thank Demeter, the goddess of fruitfulness and fertility, for this time of year. Spring, a time where green shoots pop up from the ground and lambs gamble through lush glades. I do not condone gambling, even when its amongst the bovine community; but regardless, it can perhaps be seen as a time to be reborn. An opportunity to raise our heads t’ward the sun and bask in its warm glow.

I have been shifting topsoil up in Stillgarden’s Community Garden like it’s going out of fashion. Kindly sourced by Pat, the soil now covers the slope that leads to the lazy Camac river at the foot of the garden, an area longing to be cleaned up and brought into use. Members of my family helped prepare wild seed bombs with air dry clay, and they have been liberally spread along the area to aid the bees that will soon be busy again as they buzz back and forth to our hives.

Social Botanist Project

Our Social Botanist Project is in full swing, and the first of the hydroponic kits have arrived and been planted. Soon the area will be awash with colour and all the plants will ready to be harvested and find their way into our wonderful beverages. This will coincide with a socially distanced tipple at Stillgarden Distillery for all those plucky planters that have helped in the process. I cannot wait!

 

The wonderful folk up at the BERA Hall donated 10 bags of mulch toward the garden last week, and we made it a family day out! The family that spreads mulch together stays together, I really do spoil them in fairness! I came across some dead tree branches and painted them with white paint in an attempt to be a bit arty. I like them, and a fantastic member of the community has decorated them with Easter eggs, a lovely gesture indeed!

 

 

Anyway, as the great Black Sabbath song goes..

“My life was empty, forever on a down
Until you took me, showed me around
My life is free now, my life is clear
I love you sweet leaf, though you can’t hear
Oh, yeah baby!”

Until next time….keep rockin

Neal

Boss Lady

Happy International Women’s Day to all of the women warriors out there! Whether it be a friend, a sister, a mother, a colleague or a mentor, show them how much you value their support and admire their hustle. Today, we’re highlighting five strong and talented Boss Ladies who inspire us. Get to know the lovely ladies we work with daily.

Federica Meli – Bucket of Cheese

Boss LadiesBucket of Cheese was founded by Federica Meli in 2020. A wonderful product of lockdown that we are so lucky to have in our Dublin 8 neighbourhood. Originally from Italy, Federica has been living in Ireland for the past 20 years. She describes food like a religion and in Federica’s eyes food is love and it brings people together. We can agree that there’s nothing better than a table full of food surrounded with family and friends! After working in hospitality for 20 years, with lots of grit and passion, she decided to start her own business and Bucket of Cheese was born. 

 

Federica supplies cheese, cured meats, tiramisu and all the goodness that goes with it for any occasion. She makes fresh hummus and chutney using the delicious ingredients growing in her garden while also supporting local farmers and businesses. She’s even mastered a tiramisu, Stillgarden style with the help of our Spent-spresso Martini! The charcuterie board boxes are a real crowd pleaser at our Distilling Academy Sessions and are now available online for a lovely at home treat. ​We are always in awe of Federica’s spirit of adventure when it comes to her food and her commitment to sustainable practices and our community is inspiring. Bucket of Cheese will bring a little taste of Italy straight to your door. Try all of Federica’s locally sourced, artisan products, and homemade recipes here. There’s something for everyone!

Helena Vukovic – The Flourless Baker 

Flourless BakerHailing from the beautiful country of Croatia, Helena first moved to Ireland 5 years ago. Helena was never a big baker but being Coeliac, she always found it challenging to find nice treats that she could have. Now, she brings tasty and flavoursome gluten free desserts to Dublin and beyond!  

During lockdown Helena took it upon herself to start experimenting with some Gluten Free dessert recipes so she could finally indulge her sweet tooth “almost” guilt free. This sparked an inner natural talent and from there Helena continued baking and developing recipes so she could share.  From this The Flourless Baker was born. Helena continues to amaze us with her creativity and drive. All of her Gluten Free goodies are handmade in D8 and we just can’t get enough, especially of the Stillgarden O’MARO Fudge

Helena now has a permanent stall in the Herbert Park Market every Sunday from 11am to 4pm where you can also get your hands on all of her delicious flourless treats when it reopens. We are also selling a 4 pack of sweet treats from the Flourless Baker to add onto our gift boxes options this March. If you are looking for a variety of Gluten Free treats that are also Vegan friendly, we can assure you The Flourless Baker will not disappoint. You can find delicious recipes here. 

Claire Buckley – Buck & Hound

Buck & Hound

Claire Buckley is the Boss Lady behind The Creative and Earnest Agency, Buck & Hound. Buck & Hound is a creative and hard-working PR, social, design and events consultancy based in Dublin. Claire is dedicated and enthusiastic in all she does and believes without passion, nothing truly ground-breaking can be accomplished.

“Being a woman in charge or ‘Boss Lady’, whatever your industry, comes with a certain level of responsibility. You have the unique privilege of defining a working culture by leading from within and by example. I have always been a firm advocate of the Kindness Economy,” says Claire. 

So how did Claire get here? After freelancing part time and working from her home office, her client base quickly grew. Claire expanded her team, from what had started out as just herself and her trusty pooch, Stella by her side. Buck & Hound was born in 2016 as a result, with one goal in mind: To create a nurturing and exciting environment that produces work for incredible clients that share her values. Claire and her dynamic team are such a joy to work with. Their commitment and expertise is unrivalled which makes for the perfect partnership. 

Emma Devlin – Rascals Brewing

Rascals BreweryRascals Brewing Company was founded in 2014 by Boss Lady Emma Devlin and her husband Cathal O’Donoghue. They were living and working in New Zealand when they developed a passion for the booming Kiwi craft beer industry. Their entrepreneurial spirit led them back to Dublin where they decided to open a craft brewery of their own. Emma worked in environmental science before she made the move to join Cathal in running the Rascals Brewing Company and we’re sure glad she did! 

They have since opened their headquarters in Inchicore, now our next-door neighbours and home to their pizza restaurant, on site off licence, taproom and brewery. If you’re looking to broaden your tastes, we recommend you try Rascals’ twist on traditional beer styles. You’ll be surprised what amazing options you’ll find in their off licence from Chardonnay Saisons to Milkshake Stouts. Next time you’re visiting be sure to check out our neighbours and enjoy Rascals pizza and beer you won’t find anywhere else but Inchicore. View their full range here.

Viki Baird – Stillgarden Distillery  

Stillgarden Boss LadiesViki Baird is Stillgarden’s one and only Boss Lady, known for her hustle, vitality and dynamic character. We even named a gin in her honour! Boss Lady gin is just as spirited and peachy as she is, created to celebrate all of the strong, victorious women out there like her. Viki motivates her team daily and without her courage and bravery she would not be where she is today. 

After years of experience in different industries in multiple roles, Viki knew she was ready to do something completely unique. With her new found adventurous spirit, thanks to her husband Pat, and strong determination the duo started the Stillgarden project in August of 2019 and haven’t looked back since. Viki feels fortunate to have built a great team to bring the project to fruition and looks forward to building on their success in the bright future ahead. Try our socially sourced spirits made by and for curious individuals at Dublin’s Independent Experimental Distillery we know and love as Stillgarden Distillery.

Join us in celebrating women everywhere today, and every day this International Women’s Day. To help support women everywhere even further, €2 from every Boss Lady bottle and €3 from every Boss Lady Gift Box sold will be donated to Women’s Aid. Shop Boss Lady gin here.

Stillgarden Social Botanists

Life is hard (and meaningless), but gardening doesn’t have to be. Anyone can be a Social Botanist and here at Stillgarden Distillery our gardening extraordinaires and community of harvesters and foragers will help you bring life into the world! Join Alan on a nihilistic guide to creating beautiful things easily.

STEP 1

Tilling is boring, bad and pointless. There are billions of microbes in the underground soil that support the life above and send necessary minerals to your plants. While tilling the soil might initially bring a surge of oxygen to your garden, when done every year, tilling kills off essential fungal networks and beneficial life forms that help create a fertile environment for your plants. Think of the soil like you would your gut. You need all that grim sounding bacteria to exist within in you for numerous reasons. It goes without saying you would not expose your gut to the elements extend the same courtesy to your soil.

Yeah, but what about weeds Alan, what do we do then!?

STEP 2

Preparation in advance will see that no weeds form within your soon-to-burgeoning garden. While initially that sounds like lots of effort it makes for much less work in the long run. Thoughtful and active avoidance of future effort is the key here. It’s affectionately called the Lasagna System. It is not delicious as the TV dinner staple, but it is indeed clever.

This method of gardening consists of layering different types of organic material to mimic the different horizons of the soil.

Base layer – The first thing you always put on top of the existing soil is a weed barrier (use one of the million Amazon boxes still lying around the house since Christmas). Just lay cardboard, or multiple layers of newspaper, on top of the grass or wherever it is you will soon be calling your “garden bed.”

 

Stillgarden GardeningSecond layer – Here is where you’ll place a layer of sand or rock debris. Gravel from your neighbour’s driveway works too for a fun and free way to spite them for having too many visitors during a pandemic.

Middle layer – This layer always contains some form of compost like manure (NOT from your dog or cat, but properly aged manure) or composted kitchen scraps.

Fourth layer – Cover the manure or compost layer with grass clippings, leaves, kitchen scraps, and coffee   grounds (coffee shops will literally be delighted to give you their spent coffee grounds if you ask nicely).

Top layer – Time to cover the compost so that the flies don’t get to it! Use straw mulch or natural wood chips.

Once all of the layers of your Lasagna garden are in place, weeding is almost non-existent and your plants will be well fertilized without any more effort! Sound like fun? Come grow with us as we kick off this year’s Social Botanist Project.

 

Okay, that’s enough work for now. Go grab a G&T!

Fractals are never-ending, infinitely complex patterns, driven by repetition. They can be thought of as nature’s design principles, laid bare in the spirals of a seashell or the veins of a leaf. Biologists, psychologists, physicists and mathematicians have all used them to unlock the mysteries of our world. As an intersection of nature and scientific discovery, fractals are the perfect representation of Stillgarden Distillery.

FRACTALS & STILLGARDEN

Stillgarden Social Gin FractalEvery Stillgarden fractal is generated from the key ingredients and distillery apparatus used to create each one-of-a-kind liquid, strategically highlighting its fresh flavours and local botanicals.

Take our pioneering Social Gin, for example. Perfected at our independent experimental distillery with the help of our Social Botanists, the Social Gin fractal captures the essence of the local botanicals. If you look closely, you can pick out the Mint, Lavender, Rosehips and Rowan berries sourced from our community garden.

Stillgarden Under Pressure VodkaNow take a look at our Under Pressure Fractal, where maize, malted barley, water and grains come together as one. It symbolises the science of vacuum distillation used to isolate particular ingredient components. Extreme pressure forces the purest, lightest elements from the grain based spirit to create a Vodka that is distinctly ours.

 

FRACTALS & YOUR MIND

The effect of fractals on human psychology has been extensively studied using fMRI imaging and other brain measurements. Research appears to show that we are hardwired to respond to certain forms of fractals in nature, and that simply looking at these fractals can reduce stress levels by up to 60%.

Stillgarden Distillery Fractal

It seems that artwork with these patterns can also produce this effect. Which means that any relaxing sensation you feel after a glass of Stillgarden may be caused by what’s on the outside of the bottle, not what’s inside!

We don’t just respond to fractals we see, but those we hear as well. Scientists have found that people prefer human-made music, with all its imperfections, to flawless computer-generated beats. When analysing this, they noticed an interesting phenomenon; every human performance has tiny errors that follow a pleasing fractal pattern.

NATURE & SCIENCE

The natural world is built on fractals; even certain parts of the human anatomy such as the brain. Fractals are extremely efficient, allowing a plant to maximize its exposure to sunlight and the transport of oxygen to its different parts.

Stillgarden Distillery Fractal

The most familiar is the Fibonacci Spiral. It is logarithmic, with a curve that appears the same at every scale. Known for its beauty and mathematical perfection, it is most easily spotted in the sunflower and the shells of snails.

Once you start looking for fractals, you’ll be amazed by the vast amount of places where they turn up – from clouds, to buildings, to the laboratories and flowerbeds at Stillgarden Distillery.

 

Now that you know more about fractals and where they can be found, keep an eye out and enjoy all the beauty and complexity of nature’s design principles. You never know where you’ll find one next!

 

Stillgarden Social Botanist Project

Foraging Wild Edible GreeneryHi, I’m Connor, one of Stillgarden’s Social Botanists and I am also a keen forager.

I know it may not seem like it when you look outside, but spring really is just around the corner. When I first moved to Inchicore back in summer 2019, I was thrilled to discover the abundance of wild food in the local area. As spring arrives, nature’s larder reopens for business.

I quite often embarrass my friends by garnishing my lunches with the odd bit of edible greenery I find around my campus, Trinity College.  With our latest lockdown and the bleak persistence of Zoom university, I’ve been sticking to the available offerings of the local area. Safe from the judging eyes of my fellow existential Arts students.

Foraging for Garnish?

One of my favourites is wild garlic, and three-cornered garlic is already beginning to pop up and flower. Add to scrambled eggs or salads for a delightfully fragrant bite, or try making your own pesto with it. Whilst the leaves resemble many unpalatable, toxic plants (such as daffodils)! It’s very easy to identify wild garlic because the leaves unmistakably smell like garlic when you break them.

Chickweed and wood sorrel make great seasonal garnishes. I’ve also spotted around Inchicore too! They can add a zesty citrus element to any meal. If you are venturing for something with more of a kick try adding young dandelion leaves to your salad.

Something more familiar from childhood memories would be the stinging nettle. Nettle soup is quite popular in the culinary world, but it has so many more uses. The young leaves have a delicious spinach-like taste when cooked (heat removes the sting—no need to worry about a sore mouth). When foraging, use the younger top leaves before the plant goes to seed otherwise it will have a gritty texture.

Wild Garnishes Edible Greenery

Alexanders, similar taste to celery, and is quite abundant around the Canal, Grattan Crescent and Phoenix Park. There’s actually a mini forest of it in the Phoenix Park, near where the deer like to graze and hide from the gaze of the human visitors. When you find the cat in the shed, you are in the right spot. Spring is the best time to eat Alexanders, before the stalks grow thick and tough.

The end of spring brings elderflower, which can be found near the distillery. This beautiful flower makes a flavoursome cooler for a warm spring day, or a floral herbal tea for those chillier spring days. Try adding some to your Gin and Tonic to add a floral profile. 

Rewilding Project

Very recently, a local rewilding project planted several fruit trees around Inchicore, including by the distillery’s community garden. Hopefully, they’ll soon start to flower along with the established cherry blossoms and will fill our community air with their sweet scent and pretty colours. With all the other treats Neal and the Social Botanists are cultivating at Stillgarden, Inchicore’s native Black Honeybees certainly have a sweet year ahead of them, and hopefully the slightly less fluffy human foragers do too.

 

Your friendly neighbourhood forager,

Connor

Neal in community garden

And so, as we gaze into the year 2021, our waistbands stretched to new limits and still wondering what just happened to 2020, I prepare my assault on our community garden.

If you’ve been keeping up to date with our progress you’ll know that we began the garden in March 2020 to provide a beautiful space for the public to enjoy and that can assist in the making of our distillery’s products. None of this would have been possible without the help of local botanists, bartenders, the general public and Dublin City Council. The council have connected to the distillery through our colleague Dave and have very generously supplied us with some gardening tools. 

This year will be even better we hope. No matter what the weather I fully intend to make the space a joy to behold, a little oasis in the middle of Inchicore that will welcome you to the Distillery. 

Way down among Brazilians
Coffee beans grow by the billions
So they’ve got to find those extra cups to fill
They’ve got an awful lot of coffee in Brazil’

So sang the great Frank Sinatra. I LOVE Coffee, and I love’ ol Blue eye’s – it’s what I do. I drink Coffee and listen to crooners. Luckily, our garden also loves coffee, and we have had a plentiful supply since the wonderful Boom Coffee opened its doors nearby. We have had a steady stream of spent coffee grounds at our disposal and we’ve had fun experimenting with it. The output of one of our first experiments is the wonderful Spent-Spresso Martini developed by Luke in the lab. Lab coat Luke, that’s what I call him. He loves it.

The science bit: Coffee In the Garden

Adding coffee grounds while ‘Tilling’ the soil aids a good ‘tilth’. Tilling is the process of turning over the topsoil in order to maintain the right environment in which to grow plants. Coffee grounds make great fertilizer because they contain several key nutrients required for plant growth. They can also help attract worms and decrease the concentrations of heavy metals in the soil (the only heavy metal to be avoided in this garden!). Nutrients combined with a digging fork gently aerates and loosens the top few inches of soil before planting. We are looking for a good ‘Loam’ This is an ideal garden soil. Crumbly, full of organic matter, it can retain moisture yet still drains well. 

Cultiv8

 

Soil in Garden

Also for 2021 Stillgarden are rolling out the Cultiv8 initiative, an exciting new project that will enable anyone within a 5km radius of the distillery to collect bulbs and seeds for their own use. These can be planted at home, in your local area to brighten the place up or we can find a small plot in our communal garden for you to plant them. If you would like to take part in this, check out the Cultiv8 webpage to find out more.

 

In Heavy metal and rock gardening news, it appears that a diet of Black Sabbath is excellent for a healthy garden

, whereas Cliff Richard is akin to bindweed. Garden guru Chris Beardshaw is recommending a new technique for bigger blooms – blast your plants with heavy metal…..

The broadcaster and gardening expert revealed on BBC Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time that a constant diet of Black Sabbath worked wonders on a greenhouse full of plants, but exposure to Sir Cliff Richard killed every plant in a horticultural experiment. Black Sabbath, led by singer Ozzy Osbourne, are seen as pioneers of heavy metal with tracks such as Iron Man and Paranoid. Beardshaw says using rock music as a nutrient appears to create larger flowers and they are more disease resistant. 

So there you go, it’s not just me!

Anyhoo, onwards and indeed upwards.

Keep Rockin

Neal

Stillgarden Cocktails

Will here to give you your Christmas Cocktail – how to without too much fuss.

There’s enough to be worrying about this Christmas! So drinks at home should be the last of them. Beer, wine and bubbly are all wonderful but serving up a well-made cocktail is guaranteed to get you some flattery.

 

Whatever your tipple of choice is, scaling them up can be pretty straight forward. You spend all that time prepping and chopping veg and basting and stuffing the turkey. So putting even a small bit of that energy into your drinks this year can make all the difference.

You also don’t want to be stood in the kitchen all night stirring or shaking until your arms fall off. The solution? Batching cocktails!! This makes serving drinks quick and easy, as well as making sure that each and every one same as the last, delicious. There are plenty of online resources for cocktails, with Difford’s Guide being one of my personal go-tos for classic recipes.

WHAT YOU”LL NEED TO USE

You’ll need to clear some room in the fridge, maybe give a few of those empty wine bottles you’ve been hoarding a rinse and dry. A measuring jug should do just fine for building your batch and you can’t go wrong with a mesh strainer for catching any unwanted bits of extra pulp. Batching is pretty simple, just figure out how many drinks you want to make and multiply it out, just make sure you’ve enough bottles to put it into when it’s done.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

The alcohol content plays a big part here in preserving your cocktail. If you go with a booze-led Old Fashioned for example, that bad boy may even outlive you, but there’s a good chance it won’t make it past St. Stephen’s Day. A fresher fruit forward cocktail like a Pornstar Martini should keep for a couple of days at best. When making sours or anything that involves lime/lemon/orange juice a good tip is to balance out the citrus with honey rather than sugar. Honey is a preservative in itself and can elevate drinks by bringing in a longer lasting, heavier taste on your palate. Another little note is to be careful with bitters, sometimes scaling up can really affect the flavour so good practice is to add in the bitters afterwards as you’re serving.

For your batch, I’d suggest starting simple or taking a classic cocktail such as a Negroni and putting your own festive spin on it. An easy way to bring in different flavours is by infusing your base spirit with fruit or spices. So, take a bottle of your chosen spirit and leave some cranberries and cinnamon in for a day and then strain out, boom you’ve got a Christmas spirit to play with. If that sounds like too much effort, there are plenty of delicious syrups, liqueurs and spirits out there that can make your life easier or you can find our pre-batched cocktails on our website. We have 3 to choose from: Cosmo, Spent-Spresso Martini and a Raspberry Soiree (Collins). Here are 2 drinks I’ll be serving up at mine this year:

Christmas (Xmas) Negroni

1 part Stillgarden Xmas Cake Gin
1 part Stillgarden O’MARO Irish Amaro
1 part Campari

Batched and chilled in the fridge. Served over ice with an orange peel.

Tipperary

1 1/2 part Irish Whiskey
1/2 part Green Chartreuse
1 part Stillgarden O’MARO Irish Amaro
1/3 part water

Batched and chilled in the fridge. Served straight up with a cocktail cherry.

 

Thanks for reading.

Will

The Green Bartender

 

Distillery Garden Goldenbridge

Distillery Garden Goldenbridge

Tucked quietly away from Tyrconnell road, you will find a bustling little hub called Goldenbridge Estate. Where you not only will you find Stillgarden Distillery but other artisan vendors, artists and arguably the best pizza and craft beer in Dublin. What makes this estate so much more impressive is that all of these businesses either opened or expanded during a global pandemic!!!

Rascals Brewing

Rascals Brewing was founded in 2014 by Emma Devlin and Cathal O’Donoghue. The pair were living and working in New Zealand and developed a taste and passion for the booming Kiwi craft beer industry. Since launching in 2014 Rascals brewing company have gone from strength to strength. Opening their taproom and pizza restaurant in Inchicore, and this year have expanded their offering by opening an off licence on site. View their full range here.

BapCafe Inchicore

Opening their hatch on November 11th 2020 Bap Cafe Inchicore is already a firm lunch time favourite amongst us at Stillgarden. Full breakfast baps to gourmet lamb burgers; these convenient takeaway meals are outstanding. Trust us and don’t forget to add sweet potato fries!! They are open 10:00am to 7:00pm Wednesday to Saturday. What makes these fast meals even more convenient you can call & collect 01 524 0783. Check out their Facebook page to see their full menu.

Ed’s Bread

Self proclaimed guerilla bakery Ed’s bread is another example of a superb community collaboration amongst our neighbours. Using the residual heat from Rascals pizza ovens overnight Ed bakes his signature “star of Inchicore” sourdough bread which is absolutely glorious. It will take all your willpower not to eat the whole loaf in one sitting!! Opening his hatch from Rascals takeaway window: Tues – Sat: 9:00am to 12:30pm. You can pre order and collect here.

 

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Skinvibes Tattoo Ireland

Skinvibes Tattoo have just opened their brand new private studio in Goldenbridge Estate and specialise in black and grey, colour infused black and grey custom tattoos – find out more via their social media channels Facebook and Instagram . 

 

So next time you find yourself in Inchicore take a wander into Goldenbridge Estate. 

 

Hey folks, my name is Alan, and I am a new distiller here at Stillgarden Distillery. BTW I f$*king love Juniper!!!

Alan in Still at Distillery

I’ve also been tasked with writing something of interest every-so-often for the blog. I’ve decided to go down the route of in depth analysis of the different botanicals that make up the backbone of Gin Distillation initially so that when you hear people throwing out all these different terms at dinner parties you can nod your head with actual acknowledgement and maybe even respond with something worldly sounding. 

What is Juniper?

There is no better way to begin than with Juniper. The heart and soul of the Gin Production since its inception and still widely misunderstood or unknown. Take a second now to try and picture what Juniper shrub/tree/plant looks like. A lot of us would struggle to envision one.  For all its use on this planet of ours its existence, beyond providing berries for distillation, is relatively uncelebrated.

The plant itself is interesting for several reasons, firstly it is dioecious i.e. individual plants are either male or female, unlike a lot of tree species where both male and female flowers occur on the same tree. The Male flowers appear as wee yellow blossoms at the tip of the twigs releasing pollen in Springtime which is spread by the wind. The Female flowers form in small clusters of scales and after pollination grow to become berry-like cones. These berries start green but after 18 or so months take on the dark, blue-purple colour that signifies its readiness for use in gin, amongst other things.

Juniper is a low maintenance plant to grow and whilst they generally prefer a high acidity soil it is a tough ol’ bastard and will grow in most soil types, if at a slower rate. They are drought tolerant (not a problem in this country generally) and can provide help against soil erosion and weeds amongst rock gardens (that’s a hot tip right there, please grow Juniper and then give it to me). Juniper doesn’t require much pruning if at all, it is just awesome like that also. It will probably come as no surprise to you that there is a huge array of different varieties (50-67) of Juniper and most countries within the Northern hemisphere possess some of those at this point. 

Juniper Heart

Why Juniper for Gin?

Juniper is an incredibly important component of Gin distillation in so far as it needs to be the predominant flavour in anything wishing to attain the title of Gin by law. It’s a good thing it tastes so God damn delicious. In its infancy possessing a rich, woody piney character which is somewhat conveniently called Pinene (an organic compound of the terpene class, one of two isomers of pinene. It is an alkene, and it contains a reactive four-membered ring. It is found in the oils of many species of many coniferous trees, notably the pine.) and as they mature a distinct fresh citric character will form. A bit like those smelly things that hang in cabs/taxis that are shaped like coniferous trees, I guess.

The most famous gins in the world you can care to think of all use Juniper as their backbone and often most of their botanical recipe. The name Gin itself is derived from Juniper either through the French ‘Genievre’ or the Dutch ‘Jenever’ both meaning, you guessed it, Juniper.

I mean if you’re not onboard by now I don’t know what else to say.

Distillers Edition Gin

Except: Here at Stillgarden we use Juniper Communis from Macedonia which is extremely rich in the oils. These oils contain the Alpha-Pinene character that helps us create a formidable backbone for all of our Gins. If reading this has left you salivating for Juniper-heavy Gin our Distillers Edition is packed full of this glorious berry. 

As a side note due to the addition Liquorice for its inherent sweetness in our Distillers Edition it can sometimes louche when tonic or a mixer is added (a slight hazing or cloudiness) this is caused by Anethole (an organic compound often found in essential oils) falling out of solution upon dilution and is nothing to be feared, in fact it should be revered for it is living proof that our product is bursting at the seams with as much rich flavour as we can muster.

Alright, that’s probably enough of me for now. I’ll leave you with this excerpt from the Gin Foundry:

If aroma can form such a large impact on our perception of taste, and that a trace within an individual botanical can vary and alter our impressions of the overall composition – just imagine the endless possibilities when you start interchanging the strain of botanicals or where they came from.”

With that in mind I’d like to point to the future! and the ways in which we are looking at formulating new recipes. We are reinventing the way ingredients thought common can be repurposed.  Through exploring different terroirs and strains of plant life or through different methods of distillation. To instill a new era of flavour extraction that we can all explore together.

 

All the best,

 

Al x