This Irish whiskey made with the collaboration of bartenders is the latest expression of the Emerald Isle’s whiskey resurgence.
With two main whiskey events fast approaching, March promises to be the perfect month to get into the taste of Irish whiskey.
After a long hiatus, Irish whiskey is back in favour and today is one of the fastest growing spirits in the world, thanks to a new bunch of innovative small distillers dedicated to make outstanding whiskey. Indeed, while only four whiskey distilleries remained on the Emerald Isle some 10 years ago, there are more than 30 these days.
Whether you are rising a glass on March 3rd to celebrate Irish Whiskey Day or you are celebrating St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th, it’s time to polish off you whisk(e)y glasses and pour yourself a dram.
Background: Roe & Co Distillery
That said, behind-the-scenes work on this exquisite Irish whiskey by master blender Caroline Martin and her team, including several renowned Irish bartenders already started in 2014. The first Roe & Co blend already hit the shelves in 2017 well before the distillery was built.
Fun fact: Both Caroline Martin and master distiller Lora Hemy originally worked in perfume production before getting into whiskey. Which makes a lot of sense if you consider the thought origins of whiskey making. It’s believed that Irish Monks in the 11th century brought the technique of distilling perfumes from southern Europe to Ireland, where they refined the method to produce a drinkable spirit.
The name Roe & Co plays homage to legendary whiskey maker George Roe, one of the leading figures during the heights of Irish Whiskey in the 19th century. Unfortunately, the original George Roe & Co Distillery (once Ireland’s largest) was forced to close its doors at the beginning of the 20th century because of the cheaper competition from Scotland along with prohibition in America.
Meanwhile, the new Roe & Co Distillery has found its home in Dublin’s Liberties district, on the grounds of the National College of Art and Design in the former Guinness Power House.
A choice with purpose. The Liberties district itself is undergoing huge change from a formerly poor neighbourhood with high crime rates to a newly attractive and flourishing neighbourhood. Indeed, once Dublin’s historic brewery and distillery quarter, with lots of local pubs and restaurants, Liberties is again home to a rising number of boutique breweries and distilleries, offering excellent visitor experiences and many other attractions.
Tasting Notes: Roe & Co Irish Whiskey
The unique bottle of Roe & Co was inspired by St. Patricks Tower, which belonged to the original Guinness Brewery located next to the historic George Roe & Co Distillery. The tower is also featured on the label (albeit somewhat hidden).
Roe & Co is non-chilled filtered and bottled at 45% ABV and is a proficient blend of rich hand-selected Irish malt whiskeys and smooth grain whiskey. It is aged in bourbon casks, which delivers to the depth of flavour.
On the nose, perfect harmony between intense fruit flavours of the malt with notes of soft spice, cotton candy and woody vanilla.
On the palate, a persistent, gentle, and perfectly balanced whiskey that finishes with light cream note and flavours of spicy pears and vanilla.
Finish: Lingering, with a slight creaminess.
Roe & Co can be enjoyed either pure, on ice or mixed.
It also works well with the classic food pairings, such as smoked salmon, filet, lamb with mint jelly, pizza, blue cheese, and dark chocolate.
Inspired by a growing flood of banana bread idees popping up in social media feeds ahead of National Banana Bread Day on February 23rd – even including a Banana Bread cocktail asking for a rye whiskey, I’ve paired the with a I’ve made this delicious Banana Bread flavoured with coconut and some whiskey (instead of rum) that I’ve enjoyed with a glass of the Roe & Co.
Recipe: Banana Bread With Coconut and Whiskey
For a pan of 22×12 cm
3 medium bananas, mashed
150 g butter, melted and browned and slightly reduced
250 g all-purpose flour
175 g brown sugar
1.5 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons whiskey, plus more for topping
50 ml buttermilk
75 g toasted coconut plus a handful of untoasted coconut for topping
Preheat oven to 175°C.
In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat until browned. Let cook for a couple of minutes until the butter gets browned and starts to smell slightly nutty.
Set aside and let cool.
In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, vanilla extract, whiskey, and buttermilk. Stir in the mashed bananas, then stir in the cooled butter.
Add the egg-banana mix to the flour mix. Stir to fully combine. Add the toasted coconut and lightly combine.
Grease and flour the pan. Pour in the batter then top with coconut.
Bake for 60 minutes. A skewer inserted to the centre should come out clean.
Remove from oven and let cool slightly, then invert onto a wire rack and let cool completely.
Drizzle with some more whiskey while still warm.