If you’re a whiskey fan, you will no doubt have come across Poitín. This is a clear spirit that is often produced by Irish whiskey distilleries, but it’s by no means the most popular drink at the bar. Grab a Glencairn glass of your favorite whiskey, and strap yourself in for the story of one of the strongest spirits on earth.
So What is Poitín, Anyway?
Poitín originates in Ireland, and you’ll usually only find it produced in Irish whiskey distilleries. It is a traditional drink that is typically anything between 40–90% ABV – so it’s not a drink for the lighthearted! It was traditionally distilled using a small pot still, and the word itself comes from the Irish word for “pot.”
The beverage is made using grain, whey, cereals, sugar beet, potatoes, and molasses, and it was traditionally made in rural regions. It started with a wash, which was made and fermented before the distillation process started.
Before bottled gas was invented, turf was used to create the heat for the wash. Otherwise known as peat, turf is a substance from the ground that is made of decayed organic matter. The substance is formed over thousands of years, but when it’s dug up, it’s a perfect fuel for creating high-temperature fires.
Poitín was, at first, made using malted barley. This formed the basis of the mash, and it was the same kind of mash used for single malt whiskey. In recent years, however, many distilleries have turned to less costly ingredients to create it, including potatoes, corn, and molasses. Some distilleries that still sell good quantities of poitín will use the traditional barley mash, in order to produce a higher quality product.
What’s the Best Poitín Available Today?
So poitín might not be the most popular beverage on earth, but if you’re a whiskey lover, it’s certainly worth a try! Let’s take a quick look at some of the most famous poitíns you can pick up today.
1. Bán Poitín
At 48% alcohol, Bán Poitín is not for the faint hearted. The brand was founded in 2012, and it is produced at the Northern Ireland Echlinville distillery. It uses malted barley, as well as potatoes and sugar beet.
2. Glendalough Mountain Strength Poitín
When the name reads “Mountain Strength”, you know it’s serious. This poitín from the Glendalough distillery is 60%, and it’s made using sugar beet and barley, and left to mature in a virgin Irish oak cask before it goes to bottling.
3. John O’Connells Small Batch Poitín
John O’Connells beats the first two, at a massive 72% alcohol. This is produced by West Cork Distillers, and the bottle comes in its very own hessian sack!
A Perfect Gift?
If you’re looking for the perfect boyfriend birthday gift, or just a present for any other whiskey lover in your life, why not try finding a good quality poitín? You can make it even more special by coupling it with some of SipDark’s famous soapstone whiskey stones, cigar rest, or any number of quality accessories available on our store!