ocated at the edge of the world, the Dingle Peninsula is undoubtedly the most beautiful place I have ever laid eyes on. In the heart of all this beauty there is a town called Dingle, and in the heart of this town — The Dingle Distillery. My first experience with their spirits was in Spillane’s Bar in Maharees on the north side of the peninsula. While I was already planning on visiting the distillery later in my trip, getting a taste of their gin and cask strength single malt only made the anticipation grow. Because of their gin, Fevertree elderflower tonic, and the bartender at Spillane’s, my whole perspective on gin and tonics was changed for the better (but more on that later). The distillery was founded by Irish craft brewing pioneers — Oliver Hughes, Liam LaHart, and Peter Mosley — and is credited as being Ireland’s first craft distillery. Hughes passed away in July of 2016, but his legacy of ingenuity and quality over quantity proudly lives on in the distillery’s single malt whiskey, gin, and vodka.
THE FOUNDING FATHERS Like any business, it takes a lot of capital to get the ball rolling. The boys at Dingle had a brilliant plan to secure some funds early on. They called it the Founding Fathers program. Under this program, people were able to pre-purchase barrels of whiskey before they were laid down to age. The benefit to this for the participants is that when their barrel came to maturity they had one of two options; have the barrel bottled especially for them, or sell the barrel back to the distillery at a fair market price. For those that opted to sell back the barrel, it was an appreciating investment, and the distillers had more whiskey to work into their batches- a true win-win. There were a total of 500 members in this program, and to honor them, each batch of Dingle whiskey has 500 bottles released at cask strength.
WAITING ON WHISKEY IS RISKY, THANKFULLY GIN IS IN Like most craft whiskey distilleries, Dingle also produces clear spirits. They produce a vodka and a gin using a small swan neck pot still equipped with a gin basket. The vodka is crisp, clean, and pure. The gin is lively, balanced, and refreshing, using botanicals like rowan berry, juniper, bog myrtle, heather, chervil, angelica, and coriander. Now, back to that life-changing gin and tonic I mentioned earlier. Picture how a gin and tonic is generally served in North America. The bartender counts off the pour of gin into a rocks glass with ice, hits it with tonic, drops in lemon or lime, and gives it a quick
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