The Journey of Stillgarden’s Social Media Intern

Hi everyone, 

If you’ve ever seen someone outside Stillgarden running around like a weird person trying to capture an “aesthetic” image of a Stillgarden spirit for social media, you’ve probably just spotted me or our brand manager, Aideen. My name is Sandhya Ganesan and I am the person behind Stillgarden’s social media along with the help of Aideen Hannigan. 

sandhya social media intern

A year ago, I moved to Ireland to pursue my Masters from a city in the south of India called Chennai. I know people always have different questions about India as it is very culturally diverse. It is very heartwarming to see Irish people being interested in my culture. India has 28 states and 22 official languages. I come from a state called Tamil Nadu where we speak a language called Tamil. It is said to be the oldest language in the world and is widely spoken in countries like Srilanka, Malaysia and India. And as you must have heard, we really value our spices. I came to Ireland with more spices than clothes!

Idli and Dosa     

My hometown Chennai is known for its tropical weather and its rich fusion of culture. The people in Chennai are simple, traditional but are very warm and welcoming. The city has around 7 beaches and is known for its temples. The most prominent one is the Kapaleeshwar temple which was built over 300 years ago. Chennai is also buzzing with varieties of south indian street food like idli (rice cake) and dosa (a crispy, savoury version of a crepe). If you’re ever in Chennai, your trip is incomplete without trying these 2 delicacies.

When I moved to Dublin, I was a continent away from my home country and I did not know a single person in the city. However, not once did I feel completely alone as the people are always friendly and full of life. Coming from a city that only has 3 seasons; hot, hotter and hottest, Dublin was a complete 180 for me. I’m the person who wears a jacket even when the temperature hits 22 degrees. But this city always finds a way to enjoy every moment despite the weather. 

My time in Stillgarden has been so rewarding. I learnt so much about spirits, botanicals and the process behind growing a distillery. Big shoutout to the team and especially Viki and Aideen for making me feel so welcome. While it saddens me to leave the team, I truly believe Stillgarden will change the world of spirits for the better. I wish them much success and I will be back to try their Academy Sessions soon 😉

Will Lynch Stillgarden Distillery

You celebrate the highs together and are there for support during the tough times. Always with the eyes on the prize.

Hi I’m Will, the Sales Manager at Stillgarden Distillery.

Will Lynch Stillgarden Distillery

I’ve worked in the drinks industry for over 17 years and have been lucky enough to have worked in some amazing teams, with Stillgarden being one of the best. From pubs to clubs, music arenas and festivals to cosy cocktail bars, one of the most important things for me has been the people I’ve worked alongside – learning from them and passing on my own experience and knowledge.

I like to think of working in a team kind of like being on a football pitch, another thing I’m super passionate about. You’ve got your manager that’s overseeing the work being done and giving you instructions to help you win; your coaches helping you learn, develop and improve; the captain on the pitch that you can always lean on when things aren’t going to plan and leads the team by example. Everyone in your team working hard to try and keep the ball going forward and trying to hit those goals.

You celebrate the highs together and are there for support during the tough times. Always with the eyes on the prize.

I’ve taken this mindset back into my passion, football. Within the drinks industry I’ve been hard at work setting up an actual team of my own: Bartenders FC. Over the past 2 years with the amazing help of the passionate people around me, we now have clubs in Dublin, London, Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow. The collective goal being to promote positive physical and mental health for people who work in the drinks industry through football. Supporting each other on and off the pitch.

Bartenders FC Team photo

The bar industry is in itself a very close community and is definitely in a league of its own. At Stillgarden we are another team in this ever-expanding championship, but with the support of our community, we can go on to achieve some great things and maybe take home a medal or two along the way. Always working hard as a team to bring you new and exciting spirits. We’ll be kicking-off soon with Social Gin, but make sure watch this space as we’ve some serious spirit talent coming through the ranks, ready to shine on a global stage.

Neal in community garden
LATEST UPDATES FROM THE STILLGARDEN COMMUNITY GARDEN

Neal in community garden

Summer is almost over and we’re prepping the community garden in Inchicore for the autumn!  All of the crew at Stillgarden have been keeping themselves busy with our all new, all singing and dancing drinks. The botanicals in the garden provided us with the much needed inspiration for our new spirits. The EIGHT:01 mint cocktail and Early Harvest Vodka with rhubarb. They are available from our online shop or to buy in person from our Distillery here in Inchicore.

Early Harvest Rhubarb from GardenCocktails From the garden

We have welcomed two new staff to the team over the past month, Luke and Dave, both of whom have vast experience in the drinks industry and are thoroughly decent spuds indeed, it’s great to have them on board.

Having returned from a holiday break, its back to the gardening gloves and pruning shears for me. Weeds are a relentless foe and the battle is real. I’ve been attacking an invasive chancer called ‘Lambsquarters’ that has been trying to take over the garden, but was no match for the first Cromags album in my earbuds, and the cavalier wielding of my trowel of destruction.

weeds in the garden

Last week, Luke accompanied a hardy bunch of our social Botanists on a foraging hunt around Blackhorse Park to seek out fruits and plants to be used in the distilling process. The driving rain didn’t discourage, and they returned after a few hours with bags full of wonderful ingredients and a few nettle stings. We will be continuing these trips over the next months and hope to see some more of you there.

In the next few weeks we will be preparing for the autumn and charting out the garden for next year. Autumn is the time to root, temperatures cool and top growth slows, ideal conditions for fruit trees and roses. I will keep an area specifically with our social botanists in mind.  I’ll fill the bare
areas with a perennial that will provide colour and coverage to these spots.

In music related news, the TV show ‘Mythbusters’ recently carried out a test on plants to see how they reacted to sound and if different genres had an effect. Sadly metal and punk don’t seem to increase germination or seeding more than pop music or jazz. It turns out that flowers are not music
snobs like myself, and respond to all sounds equally.

Anyway, as always, stay well, stay safe and most importantly keep rockin’.

Neal

Viki Being a Bosslady

Hi I’m Viki Baird and I am the Bosslady of Stillgarden Distillery. Let me tell you how I got here!

Viki Being a Bosslady

My career has certainly been varied to say the least. Being a Bosslady is not easy. After college I went straight into retail management, this taught me how to motivate the people and to encourage them to their strengths.

After spending eight wonderful years in retail I decided a change was needed. I wanted an adventure so I packed my bags, crossed the pond and landed in Dublin. Why Dublin? Well I had always spent a good bit of time travelling back and forth visiting friends and there was always that charm that drew me in. It always felt like home. 

When I look back I can certainly see I kept my options open  I knew management was for me but I was interested in lots of avenues. I started off in a historical research company, then worked on the newsdesk of The Irish Times, after that I took on the role as General Manager of an energy company. This role certainly lent itself to my more adventurous side as it required lots of international travel, which maybe in hindsight gave me courage to take on more thrilling challenges later on in my life (and maybe a little bit of encouragement from my now husband Pat).  

Soon thereafter I started running a clinic with a large team. Together with my experience in different industries donning multiple roles I knew I was ready. Just as you think you know where your life is going, there is always something around the corner that can just change it, for me that was Pat.

In 2011, I met Pat O’Brien (who is co-founder of Stillgarden Distillery). He was a keen outdoor adventurer. At first, I was completely flabbergasted by larger than life appetite for adventure. Soon I went from high heels to high hills, he pushed me to face my fears. He even managed to get me rock climbing.

For many years we had discussed the idea of doing something completely unique to a distillery space. So after our honeymoon in 2019 we knew that was the right time to take the leap.

With my new found adventurous spirit and Pats determination we started the Stillgarden project in August of last year. However throughout the year we weren’t short of obstacles, even having to learn to adapt through a pandemic. We still managed to launch our first product, the Distillers Edition Gin in April. Then finally opened the doors with much delight in July.

We’re both amazed by what we have achieved to date. We’ve been very fortunate to have built a great team to bring the project to fruition. The future looks bright and we are really looking forward to it. It will be hard work, we know that but we feel we have really created something fun and special linking Science, Community and Nature.

Viki Baird x

Pat in the Garden

We absolutely love to recycle, up-cycle and repurpose here at Stillgarden Distillery.

Pat in the Garden

Whiskey barrels have been repurposed to planters, old building doors into desks that we use, and yes the planter you see sitting in front of our distillery was created from leftover scrap wood. The passionate creator behind these projects is none other that one of our founders Pat O’Brien. Pat had tried using it as a mobile land kayak, we felt it was suited better to as a home to some lively greenery.

Pat loves to recycle  Pat Recycle wood Recycling

Today Pat has kindly shared his tips and tricks on how to build your very own front garden planter otherwise known as as land kayak. There is even a video to go with it! But before you can go ahead with creating this wonderful front garden showstopper, there are some bits you will need to get organised.

What you will need:

8 lengths 4×2 treated @ 16 foot.
2 lengths 6×2 treated @ 16 foot.
2 lengths 4×1 treated @ 16 foot.
1 sheet marine ply 12mm.
4 heavy duty castors.

Next:

Cut 6×2 to any length that takes your fancy.
Cut the 4×2 into shorter bits.
Cut sheet of ply into a corresponding width.

After:

Label your longer planks of wood A and C and your shorter pieces B and D.
Screw part A to shorter part B using the screws provided
Repeat for part C and D
Now screw AB to CD

Well Done, You now have the structural frame.

Finally:

Screw the cut sheet of ply to ABCD
Line three sides of your structure with the 4 x 2 pieces
Turnover and fix castors to underside

Jump in and paddle off.

To learn more about our community projects drop up a line at info@stillgardendistillery.com

Distillers edition dry gin
The Distillers Edition is the very first release from Stillgarden Distillery, and I am quite proud of that. This delightfully dry gin is distinct and unique, full of juniper yet progressive from the traditional.

Distillers edition dry gin

The gin has been in development in some way or another since late 2019. I have made somewhere between 35 and 40 iterations of it, and only a couple of iterations can be done in a day as your taste buds will get stunned fairly quickly from the high ABV. The general direction was to incorporate things we can grow or forage, but I also wanted a big whack of Juniper off it as well. I have rarely been accused of subtlety in my concoctions and this one is no different.

This gin is at 46% ABV, and it needs to be at that to keep the various oils dissolved and the gin clear. The oiliest components of a gin are the Juniper and the citrus, you’ve probably seen a bartender ‘flame’ an orange peel once or twice, which is (mostly) Limonene oil bursting into flames. In this case the essential oil budget is taken up in almost its entirety with Juniper, Lemon and Lime.Rowan Berries

Next up are the berries, in this case the Rosehips and Rowan, which are coincidentally both mildly dangerous to humans in their natural state. Rosehips, to me, taste like a mix between Rose petals and Rhubarb. You can make a jam from them but people rarely do as the seeds have tiny sharp hairs which will irritate the crap out of your throat or any other part of your body. Good thing we’re distilling them and leaving the seeds behind!

Rowan berries’ issue is that they have a very unpleasant acidity to them, but also a fantastic berry aroma. Luckily the undesirable Sorbic Acid in the berries boils at 228 °C, so the distilling process again saves the day!

The heat components of the gin are from Black Pepper and Cubeb peppercorns. The Black Pepper (the Phu Quoc variety), is hot and woody. It is quite similar to what you might have at home but far, far more aromatic. The aroma makes supermarket Black pepper seem like cardboard in comparison. The Cubebs, also a member of the Pepper family, don’t have anywhere near the same level of heat, instead they bring notes of Allspice and a little smokiness to the gin.

Eanna Burke

Ambassador in garden

My name is Jordan Duncan and I am the Brand Ambassador for Stillgarden Distillery

Ambassador in garden

I’ve always had a keen interest in the world of science and beyond. I even aspired to study  ‘fundamentals of plasma and vacuum studies’ , a mouthful I know, however I just didn’t make the cut. Instead I studied local Irish history and folklore, although I found this fascination and thought provoking. It didn’t curb that itch I had for everything science related, I knew that I needed to make a change. 

During this transitional stage I tried my hand at a few odd jobs. All missed the mark of where I wanted to be! A little cash strapped, I took up a job working in the hospitality trade. This was not a foreign environment for me, my dad had worked as a bartender from a young age. I had always admired the hard graft.

Starting in the hospitality trade was a little daunting and nerve wrecking. Fortunately a friend Eric had also just started in the trade. This triggered a friendly rivalry between us. We always pushed each other to be better than we were the day before. This development period really allowed me to build skills that I never deemed successfully important before. I had a new perspective, and I focused on creating bonds with people that was more than just a working relationship, but that could last lifetime.

Before long I was introduced to a book called The Drunken Botanist, written by Amy Stewart. Everything changed, I began to understand the chemistry behind the ingredients I was using. Behind the fast paced cocktail culture there was a whole world of science and nature, it was thrilling.

 

 

 

Distillery Garden

A social project creating a vibrant community botanical garden on the footsteps of Stillgarden Distillery, Dublin 8.

Distillery Garden

Hi all Gin lovers and Botanical Enthusiasts alike! This week has seen a real change in the weather, and for some this may prove to be a real drag. For the Stillgarden team it means the watering cans can be left in the store cupboard and we can begin to look forward to our first visitors to the distillery.

I have been in the garden a fair bit recently, it is such a buzz to see the plants, planted by our Social Botanists, starting to take hold and flourish. The rocket has well rocketed, the rhubarb has recovered, the mighty mint dominates.

Rocket plant in stillgarden distillery

Yes, that’s right we will finally be opening our doors and we can’t wait to host you lovely folk. The Distilling Academy will introduce you to the world of Science meets Nature, where you will be able to create your very own unique spirit. To book your experience check out the Distilling Academy page or for group bookings email bookings@stillgardendistillery.com

The social distancing rules that we are abiding by have made it necessary for the team, led by Pat and Viki, to tweak the experience slightly. Customer safety is so important and we have a few guidelines in place that we are confident will not diminish that experience.

Distilling Academy

Back to the garden!!! Lavender now greets you as you walk through the garden, with that wonderful smell that we are all so familiar with. I have planted Tuscan, English and French varieties to entice our bees to their vivid flowers. Anxiety, insomnia and depression can all be aided through the use of this wonderful plant, and it also makes a wonderful soap (which weirdly the singer from my band produces). Gardening really is the new Rock and roll!

Let’s hope the unsettled conditions don’t last too long in this typical Irish summer.

On a final note we have had several local residents donating plants help us fill up the generous space that we have. I will be inviting anyone who would like to spend a few hours planting and weeding over the next week (weather permitting!). If you would like to volunteer to give up some of your time to this wonderful space, please do not hesitate to contact the gang here by emailing us at info@stillgardendistillery.com

Once again, stay well, stay positive and most importantly…

Keep rockin!

Neal

Eanna and Distillation

Eanna our head distiller is a gin-ious, one of the youngest and most Innovative in all the land. Fervently dedicated to the science of distillation.

Eanna and Distillation
I’m very often asked why I started distilling, and how I learned to do it. This morning, while gin trickles gently behind me, seems a good time to put it in writing.

There isn’t a particularly storied family history in the food and drink world, aside from my mother and grandmother being great cooks and my grandmother often having a batch of blackcurrant wine on the go, though I was too young to try it at the time.

There isn’t a story of how I labored under a tyrannical Master Distiller until an ironic injury left me in charge and gave me a chance to shine.

Not even a story of how I found a beat-up antique still in a barn and spent a year fixing it up to race in the Indy 500 (metaphors getting a bit laboured now).

Dear reader, the story is more of a non-story. I like food and drink of all types and forms (except bananas, f**k those things). I like building things, especially if those things can then make food or drink. As I was finishing up an Engineering degree, food, drink and building things started taking up more and more of my time.

Eanna Foraging

This was the era when the internet became more established as a way of learning in a collaborative way. Forums can tell you how to do anything now. Want to change a timing belt on your obscure 90’s Japanese estate? There’s a person with a soothing voice to talk you through it. Similarly, if you want to learn about distilling, there’s an army of people sharing recipes, tips, and designs, all trying to move the field of small-scale distilling forward. This is how I learned the theory.

I’ll end this post with a word of warning. You can make a simple still with items 95% of people have in their kitchen and frankly, you may already have accidentally made a still based on how you stack things in your cupboard. This is illegal, so I recommend you search how to make a Stock Pot Still, so you don’t inadvertently break the law.

It’s what any responsible citizen should do.

Eanna Burke

Gardening

A social project creating a vibrant community botanical garden right in Dublin city.

Hi all of you lovely people, gardeners and gin lovers alike. Neal here with your bi-weekly update of the community garden. I trust you are all doing well and enjoying this spell of (mostly) dry weather- it’s as if the sun doesn’t know what time of the year it is.

 

Neal in community garden

Mint, chili and spinach has been planted in the garden this week. Spinach won’t be used in the gin making process but to give us all a bit more muscle for the gardening work.

Tuesday saw us hosting a small gathering (under the recommended government guidelines),at our lovely new shiny Distillery. Our social botanists met at staggered times to plant up the fruits of their labours and enjoy a chilled Gin and tonic from our very first batch. The weather was beautiful, a perfect day to christen the garden and chat face to face.

The day was even more special for me as included on the guest list were the amazingly talented Marion and Róisín from Greenedge Dublin. Their knowledge and passion is infectious, and I learned more in our few hours together than you could possibly imagine. You can check out all of their greening projects around Dublin on Instagram @greenedgedublin)

The beds have been plumped up with compost, and the smell of herbs and the sway of the apple trees helped to ensure the backdrop to our meeting was perfect.

Plans are in motion for some new features to the all new super-duper botanical garden, think Mr. Miyagi’s garden in the Karate kid, but with lavender growing instead of bamboo. I fully intend to attempt a crane kick on said bridge, but certainly not after a few gin fizzes.

Speaking of gin, I was lucky enough to get my hands on a bottle of the Distillers Edition Gin. The first release that has been produced by Master  Distillers, Eanna Burke. A lovely gesture and it will be enjoyed this weekend, under hopefully glorious skies. Even more great news is that the Distillers Edition Gin is also available for collection or delivery!!!

Distillers edition gin

 

In rock based gardening news, my old mate Brian May of Queen had a horrendous accident when he tore his glutes while tending to his herbaceous borders. This is worthy of Spinal tap, but is in fact true, so please do be aware of ‘over-enthusiastic’ gardening. I have spoken to Brian in the past as he shares my love of foxes. He’s a lovely man indeed, and I wish him a speedy recovery.

Until next time,

Stay safe and keep rockin.

Neal