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It’s likely that Guinness beer immediately springs to mind when thinking of the quintessential Irish beverage. Unsurprisingly, whisk(e)y is another top contender, with centuries of spirits lore surrounding it. But I’m here to tell you that after a lovely ten day tour of the Emerald Isle, the most impressive sip I enjoyed was at County Kerry’s own Dingle Distillery.
Irish gins have been making international waves for a few years now, for their use of elegant and creative botanicals. But I’d argue that Dingle Gin, with its bouquet of ingredients from County Kerry that evokes a strong sense of place, is one of the finest.
Located in the charming seaside town of the same name, the Dingle Distillery was founded in 2012 by veteran craft beverage proprietors. They embraced both the classic method of English gin and the innovation of cool flavors to make a delicious end product. The industry agrees as well, because at the World Gin Awards in 2019, Dingle Original Gin cleaned up with the top prize in both the World’s Best Dry Gin Category and the Overall World’s Best Gin Category. Some of the local botanicals used in this gin are rowan berries, fuchsia, bog myrtle, hawthorne (from the fairy trees), and heather. The distillery also sources pure Irish water from its own well deep below the earth’s surface.
I’ve long heard that Ireland is magic, and I strongly agree; somehow, this product bottles up a little bit of that enchantment. Even sitting in my kitchen in the vast prairies of the Midwest, a sip of gin was enough to transport me back to the scenic Dingle peninsula, to a bustling pub with loud trad music permeating the place, new friends all around, and the scent of the sea in the air.
But don’t just trust me, try some for yourself. According to the makers, “Dingle Original Gin is best served with large cubes of ice, a wedge of fresh orange, and a sprinkling of juniper berries”.
For a more in-depth look at the Dingle Distillery operations, consider a tour of the facility on your next European adventure. For 15 euro (roughly $17 USD), travelers can enjoy an hour long interactive history lesson about Irish spirits, a tasting of their product line, and a walk around the active distillery. Keep in mind that besides their award-winning Original Gin, the Dingle Distillery also produces an excellent portfolio of other offerings. These include a number of whiskeys as well as an artisan vodka.
And luckily for us all, Dingle is conveniently located along Ireland’s scenic Wild Atlantic Way, which I was thrilled to explore last year with Traverse Journeys. This means there’s no excuse for you not to sample this creative, smooth gin both in your home bar and at the distillery itself. Add it to your travel bucket list And your grocery list. Sláinte!