…which as it turns out, is actually pronounced ‘pah-cheen’.
Maybe I’d just been away from London for so long and missed it but it definitely seemed like the Irish (or at least Dubliners) take Christmas a lot more serious than back in London. Everything everywhere was done up to the nines – and I mean everywhere.
With a foiled attempt at napping (thanks to this post), we put our glad-rags on and got ourselves ready for what was promising to be a rather exciting party! First stop though – a trip to the Teeling Whiskey distillery. Our friend Niamh had been invited over and we just decided to tag along – after all, a trip to Ireland is incomplete without a little sampling of whiskey (right?).
We weaved our way through tempting cake shops and signs that seemed to call our names (case in point below) as we headed in search of whiskey… and with any luck – some mince pies.
The fact that I thought about mince pies on the walk over somehow meant that by the time I arrived, all I could think about was mince pies! Thankfully, there were loads on hand and literally all my manners flew out of the window as I proceeded to scoff my way through the lot. I even got some extra for Lloyd who’d just popped to the loo but they were just sooooooo heavy I had to eat them. Okay, fine they weren’t heavy at all but it’s not my fault for prioritising eating pies over popping to the loo – we all needed the loo, some of us just stuck it out till we had our pies.
And with that, I now realise that I’ve been talking about mince pies for far too long so awkwardly and swiftly moving on…
…we made our way through the distillery…
…where a trio of carollers serenaded us as we checked out the distillery.
I’d no idea tours of the distillery were even going on at this point, I was a slave to the hunger in my tummy so with that beast slightly sated, I paid a bit more attention and realised we could go on a guided tour.
I don’t even know where I got that candy cane from. All I know is that I found 3 more in my pockets the next day.
The tour was fascinating but in truth, I don’t think I’m any wiser about how to make whiskey. I think I was just so enthralled by the machinery and work that goes into what a lot of us no doubt would refer to as a ‘fun night in a bottle’. 🙂
The one thing that did stick in my memory was this bottle below. See, it a bottle of Poitin which is an alchol made of potatoes. I say alcohol rather than specify what sort of alcohol it is as I think it’s its very own drink. Even wikipedia refers to it as a an Irish distilled beverage.
Now what’s interesting about Poitin? Well back in the day, Poitin was made so strongly, that it was almost pure alcohol! We’re talking 90% ABV here – it was one of the strongest in the world. So strong that the government banned it. This ban has only been recently lifted, as long as (if I remember correctly), it not allowed to go above 80% ABV. The version below is 61.5% ABV which is tame by Poitin standards but pretty strong by today’s standards!
I knew I had to sample a little bit to see what it tasted like.
We made our way to our own booth, where the whiskey tasting and education started.
Part way through though, I couldn’t resist it anymore and had to ask to taste Poitin. Oh boy, does it pack some punch! I had the tiniest sip to start and could still feel it long afterwards.
Eventually, we had to say our goodbyes and head off to our party to celebrate the 15th birthday of the Guinness Storehouse…
… but more on that very soon!