It’s so nearly Christmas! Have you bought all your presents? Ordered a turkey? Thought up a list of safe topics for the dinner table? No? Nor have we! It’s going to be chaos this weekend. But before we panic, it’s time for the final Nightcap of 2018. Where did the year go?!
This week, the wise Annie Hayes said ‘forget the eggnog, there’s a new wave of Christmas cocktails to try’; we had news of Glenturret’s new owner, a Swiss gentleman who also owns crystal house Lalique; we took an Ardbeg masterclass with Brendan McCarron; and our very own features editor, Henry Jeffreys, talked about his new book, The Home Bar.
But that’s not all! We also counted down the days with a Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendar which has yielded some mighty whiskies: Glenfarclas 105, Peat’s Beast, Jim Beam Rye, Aberfeldy 12 Year Old, an an Irish single malt from That Boutique-y Whisky Company, Rock Oyster and GlenDronach 12 Year Old. And there’s still three more doors to open before the big day. We’ve also had an amazing ##WhiskySanta Super Wish, a Glenfarclas 1956, and the return of Master of Malt Auctions! Phew.
Right, let’s hear the final booze-filled news of 2018. Who can even imagine what 2019 will bring?
As Irish whisky and Jameson in particular continues to boom globally, Irish Distillers will be spending €150 million to increase production, warehousing and bottling capacity in Cork and Dublin.
Irish Distillers, the company behind such legendary whiskeys as Jameson, Powers and Redbreast, has announced massive investment in sites in Cork and Dublin.
€130 million of the money will be spent in Cork on expanding and upgrading the already massive New Midleton Distillery to increase capacity. Exciting new equipment will include a mechanical vapour recompression evaporator, a third mash filter, and new fermenters. And that’s not all; they’re getting a new office building too.
It was 11am in Gatwick airport on Saturday 14th March. The plane taking a small drinks press contingent over to Ireland for Jameson’s extended #HelloDublin St. Patrick’s Day celebrations was due to leave in just over an hour from Heathrow. Had I made a terrible mistake?
In fact, I’d just arrived back from a holiday and had always known I couldn’t make that flight, just as I knew all I’d be seeing on my return to blighty was Gatwick airport itself. My flight to Cork was later, and until then I’d simply be pretending I was Tom Hanks in The Terminal. (Although there were no Catherine Zeta-Jones love interest developments to speak of.)
Last week Teeling Whiskey Company (who have the tagline ‘The Spirit of Dublin’) officially announced that they’re set to bring whiskey distillation back to Dublin, something that’s been in the pipeline for some time now. Jameson, meanwhile, are already looking ahead to St. Patrick’s Day with a new limited edition packaging design (with the tagline ‘The Spirit of Dublin’ – well, they couldn’t let those pesky newcomers cause anybody to forget Jameson’s own Dublin roots, could they?!). These are interesting times over on the Emerald Isle, and it seems like an ideal moment to shine a massive ol’ spotlight on Irish Whiskey, something I’ve been wanting to do for a while now.
So, what’s it all about? What else is new? Herein lies all you need to know about the fastest growing spirits category in the world; from the history, to the styles of whiskey available, through to more recent developments and news. This is the tale of the rise and struggle and rise and rise and monumental collapse and hanging on in there and rise of delicious Irish whiskey!