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20th August 2018

The History of French Wine

The History of French Wine

There are many countries around the world that are known for their fine wine. However, the nation of France stands out from the rest. When most people think of France, they think of Paris. With its beautiful boulevards, bustling cafes and restaurants, Eiffel Towel and Louvre Museum, there is plenty to marvel in the City of Lights. But for wine enthusiasts, the real magic is in the southern region of France where some of the most amazing wineries in the world are situated.

How it all began

It is very likely that the Romans brought the practice of viticulture to what is today known as France. Like many countries which were under Roman rule, by the time the Roman Empire fell, wine was firmly established as a trading commodity and part of everyday life.

Along with all of northern Europe, much of France’s wine industry was nearly destroyed in the nineteenth century due to the vine louse, phylloxera. When it was discovered that American root stock was immune to this terrible bug, vineyards all across France began to recover.

In 1855, emperor Napoleon III requested a classification system be introduced to identify Bordeaux’s best wines, a system that is still in place today. This led to the introduction of first through fifth “growths’. These are better known as crus today.

Wine Production in France

France is currently the world’s top producer of fine wine in terms of volume. Almost every type of wine is produced, using various methods ranging from new to modern techniques. The top regions in France are:


Mainly produces white wine made from Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris & Riesling.


Mainly produces red wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc.


Mainly produces red wines made from Pinot Noir and white wine made from Chardonnay.


Mainly produces sparkling wines made from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.


Mainly produces white wines made from Chenin Blanc or Sauvignon Blanc.

Rhone Valley

Mainly produces red wines made from Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre and others.

Today, French wines are some of the most expensive wines in the world. However, the competition levels in the world of wine have drastically increased over the years and they are no longer at the same level of power as they once were. Regardless, no matter where you go in France, there is an amazing wine and an equally amazing meal waiting to be enjoyed.

We have an amazing collection of fine wines from France both in store and online. Interesed? Have a look here.

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20th August 2018

Five Things You Need To Know About Sauvignon Blanc

Five Things You Need To Know About Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc is a gorgeous variety of grape which boasts a green skin and is originally from the Bordeaux region of France. Depending on the climate, the flavour can range from aggressively grassy to sweetly tropical. Of course, these may be things that you already know about the world famous Sauvignon Blanc but we have some other facts that you may not know. Let’s dive into the Five Things You Need to Know about Sauvignon Blanc.


Sauvignon Blanc has an alias – Fumé Blanc. Coined in California in the 1960s, Fumé Blanc is aged in oak, giving it smoky notes (fume means smoke), but it is not required to be aged in oak.


Even though it originates in France, some experts say that the finest Sauvignon Blanc is from New Zealand, specifically Marlborough.


Sauvignon Blanc is great with seafood. However, be careful not to overwhelm the gentle flavours of a fish dish with a big, fruity wine.


Sauvignon Blanc has a number of different styles ranging from fresh, dry and steely to highly aromatic and juicy. Sometimes Sauvignon Blanc is made in oak barrels which give it a richness and complexity to the wine.


And finally, we leave the best for last. Did you know that Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc are the parents of Cabernet Sauvignon? That’s right! Years ago in a vineyard in France the two separate vines cross and, well, the rest is history.

We have an amazing selection of Sauvignon Blanc both in store and online. You can see our full range here.

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2nd August 2018

Four Ways to Drink Your Whiskey

Four Ways to Drink Your Whiskey

First of all, if you are new to drinking whiskey, you need to know that ‘Whiskey’ is the general term given to the distilled spirit. There are many different types of whiskeys such as Blended, Pot Still, Single Cask, Single Grain and Single Malt. Some whiskeys can be differentiated by their location. For example, Scotch whiskey is made in Scotland and Bourbon is made in the United States of America. Even though there are many different types of whiskey, there are also different ways you can drink them so let’s dive in..


Neat is the term used to order a drink that is served with no ice or mixer. This is a straight pour of liquor into your glass that is served at room temperature. Whiskey is quite often ordered neat as many people prefer it at room temperature and want to experience as much flavour as they can.

With Water

Some people feel like the alcohol burns their tongue when drinking whiskey neat. To help dilute the whiskey slightly so that they can enjoy the flavours, a small measure of water is added. This can be distilled water or sparkling water; it is your own preference. If the flavour is still too strong, simply add some more water.

On The Rocks

‘On The Rocks’ is the term used to drink your whiskey with ice cubes. If you choose this option, ensure that you use one cube to start as when it melts it will dilute your whiskey. Keep a small spoon nearby so when your whiskey is cooled to the temperature that you like, you can remove the ice cube to prevent the whiskey being diluted any further.

In A Cocktail

This is where you can be creative. Adding whiskey to a cocktail allows you to really enjoy the low to mid range selection of whiskeys that perhaps you would not enjoy as much on their own. Some of the classic cocktails that contain whiskey include a John Collins, Whiskey Sour, Manhattan and Rob Roy.


We have some of the best selection of Whiskeys around, check out some of our selection here.


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22nd February 2018

Our Gin-makers - The Shed Distillery

Our Gin-makers - The Shed Distillery

In deepest rural Ireland, on the edgeof a lake in Drumshanbo, Co. Leitrim, is the home of The Shed Distillery of PJ Rigney.. Full of his experiments for herbaceous gins, the purest potato vodka, the tastiest liqueurs and the mellowest hand made Irish Whiskeys.

‘The Shed’ marks a return to traditional distillation using medieval copper stills and is the first multi-purpose distillery of its kind in Ireland.

The brainchild of Patrick J Rigney, the man behind the tremendous Boru vodka and Sheridans liqueur success stories, ‘The Shed’ distillery is full of his experiments and recipes for Herbaceous Gins, Potato Vodkas and new liqueurs, including a distinctive Blackforest Gateau liqueur called “My Three Graces”, which will be launched early next year.


Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin

Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin is a hand-crafted gin made in the Shed Distillery, Drumshanbo, Co Leitrim. Oriental Botanicals (berries and roots) and locally foraged Meadowsweet are added to a traditional medieval style still and only allowed to soak for 30 minutes max while the vapour infusion is being prepared.

Various oriental fresh citrus and leaves (gunpowder tea) are added into the 3 layer infusion basket, which lies in the vapour pathway between the still and the condenser. Steam is gently applied. The vapour rises through the unique shape of the medieval head, which allows maximum copper contact, which cleans and purifies the spirit. The vapour exits the still and passes into the infusion basket, where it gently extracts the oils and aromas from the citrus and tea. Boiling in the still would extract bitter compounds from these ingredients, whereas vapour infusion only extracts the aromatic oils. The vapour passes into the condenser and is condensed down into our gin at @ 75%. We take an early cut so as to avoid any harshness that tends to come off further into the distillation. The gin is allowed to rest for a week, which allows the oils and alcohol to infuse and for flavour to develop. It is then diluted to 43% with filtered water and gently filtered for clarity.

Why not try it for yourself and see what you think. Shop Now >>

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22nd February 2018

Our Gin-makers - Glendalough Distillery

Our Gin-makers - Glendalough Distillery

The Glendalough Distillery was set up by five friends from Wicklow and Dublin with a deep passion for reviving the heritage of craft distilling in Ireland. In the 18th & 19th centuries there were over 200 licensed distilleries in Ireland and along with countless unlicensed ones produced diverse styles of poitín, whiskey, gin and even absinthe. Until recently that dropped to a small handful. Glendalough Distillery is now part of a revival of this heritage. The idea behind Glendalough Distillery is to make innovative spirits while staying true to the tradition and heritage of our ancestors.  Initially we started with the first ever spirit, poitín and since then have moved to whiskey and most recently the release of our seasonal, wild botanical gins.


The aim of Glendalough Distillery is to recapture Ireland’s lost heritage of great spirit production and create new, exciting and contemporary brands.

Glendalough Seasonal Gin


At Glendalough Distillery they are always trying to push the envelope. Always trying to surprise and innovate. With their Seasonal Gin they have done that yet again.

Every season working with local forager Geraldine Kavanagh ( they spend a week in the wilds of the Wicklow country side foraging for the freshest and most interesting local botanicals, berries and fruit.


They then distill small batches of their award winning seasonal Gin in their Holstein copper still.

They never produce more than 3,000 bottles each season so if you have a bottle of Glendalough Seasonal Gin in your hand right now, you are holding something special.

TASTING NOTES: Each season is different, the unpredictable Irish weather resulting in an ever changing array of botanicals, berries and fruit. Each season will bring a different gin with varying taste and style.

Shop now >>


21st February 2018

Our Gin-makers - Ballykeefe Distillery

Our Gin-makers - Ballykeefe Distillery

Ballykeefe is situated in the heartland of Ireland, adjacent to its medieval capital, Kilkenny city. It is steeped in a historic heritage and tradition, holding the unique distinction of being the birthplace of Irish Whiskey.

It is from this area that the first written account of distilling in Ireland comes in 1324. It was written in the Red Book of Ossory. The word “whiskey” is an Anglicisation of the Gaelic phrase, uisce beatha, meaning “water of life”.

At Ballykeefe they are now bringing a truly special “water of life” from centuries past to a new generation for their pleasure and good health.

100% Sustainable

Morgan & Anne Ging wanted to revive a lost tradition of family farm distilling and in so doing hand on to their children a more diverse, ecological and sustainable family operation.

The opening of the first whiskey distillery in over 200 years in the medevial capital of Ireland, also restores a historical Irish custom of family farm distilleries from centuries past, growing their own barley to produce their own whiskey and feeding the byproducts of distillation to the cattle on the farm. This unique  operation from “Our Field to Your Glass” operation has no off-farm by-products contaminating the environment.

Building Eco-Friendly Partnerships

Everyone benefits from a greener world and we are delighted that our tourists are playing their part in increasingly looking for sustainable experiences on their holiday. We must all protect the natural environment for future generations to enjoy. Ballykeefe Distillery is excited to team up with An Board Bia “Origin Green” and a number of Ireland’s distinguished academic institutions as strategic partners to advance the protection of our beautiful environment.

Ballykeefe Extra Dry Irish Gin

12 carefully selected botanicals are gently vapour infused through our copper pot still and then hand blended with the exceptionally pure Ballykeefe spring water, by Ballykeefe's Award Winning Master Distiller, to create a gin of true provenance and distinctive pedigree.

Why not try it for yourself now >>

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8th January 2018

Dry January Cocktail Recipes - Delicious Dry Martini

Dry January Cocktail Recipes - Delicious Dry Martini

Who needs Dry January when you can have a Dry Martini..!! We love this cocktails - it is an absolute classic and so simple to make! Tempt your fellow dry January-ers with this delicious cocktail! 


2 1/2oz Beefeater gin

1/2oz Dry vermouth

1 dash Orange bitters


Add all the ingredients to a mixing glass and fill with ice.

Stir until very cold and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Garnish with a lemon twist.

8th January 2018

Dry January Cocktail Recipes - Delicious Dry Manhattan

Dry January Cocktail Recipes - Delicious Dry Manhattan

Spice up your January and make it anything but dry with this delicious Dry Manhattan recipe. 


2 Parts Rye Whiskey

1 Part Dry Vermouth

2 Dashes Bitters

1 Twist Lemon


Fill a mixing glass with ice cubes.

Add all ingredients.

Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Garnish with lemon.

15th November 2017

Irresistible Christmas Cocktails - Blood Orange Mimosa

Irresistible Christmas Cocktails - Blood Orange Mimosa

There's nothing like sitting around by a roaring fire, enjoying an irresistible boozy Christmas cocktail. We've put together some of our favourite Christmas cocktails for you to enjoy this holiday season. We promise you won't be disappointed. 

Blood Orange Mimosa

We absolutely love this one - It's the perfect Christmas morning cocktail to enjoy while opening your gifts!


2 cl. fresh blood orange juice
1 bottle dry Prosecco or other dry sparkling wine
Fresh blood orange slices for garnish


1. Fill a champagne flute 1/4 of the way up with blood orange juice
2. Top off with Prosecco
3. Garnish with a slice of blood orange
4. Fingers crossed you've gotten all you wanted from Santa!!

14th November 2017

Irresistible Christmas Cocktails - Candy Cane Vodka

Irresistible Christmas Cocktails - Candy Cane Vodka

There's nothing like sitting around by a roaring fire, enjoying an irresistible boozy Christmas cocktail. We've put together some of our favourite Christmas cocktails for you to enjoy this holiday season. We promise you won't be disappointed. 

Candy Cane Vodka

This cocktail is sure to impress your guests this holiday season! It couldn't be easier to make and tastes amazing! 


5 candy canes, broken into small pieces
2 cl. plain vodka
Crushed candy canes, for serving (optional)
Hot chocolate, for serving (optional)
Whipped cream, for serving (optional)


1. Combine candy canes and vodka in a shaker and shake!
2. Chill in the refrigerator until the vodka is bright red and the candy canes have dissolved, about 4-5 hours.
3.. Serve cold, as a shot, or stirred into hot chocolate. If the latter, garnish with whipped cream and crushed candy canes.
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