By SAM BUTLER
Award-winning Boatyard Distillery has launched a unique sloe gin, the region’s first.
Sloe Boat Gin, according to Boatyard founder and Managing Director Joe McGirr, is made with the distillery’s acclaimed Double Gin, which has been “macerating for more than six months in the best quality sloe berries” at its distillery near Enniskillen in County Fermanagh.
“We use half a kilo of sloes in every bottle for an intense flavour. Sloe gin, by its definition, has to have sugar added to it.
“We have added just the minimum to sweeten the spirit but not to override the delicious taste of the sloes.
“We’ve also foraged some local honeysuckle to add a complex sweetness,” Mr McGirr continues.
This balance of flavour, he adds, “brings harmony to the spirit – intense plum, almond and berry fruitiness from the sloes and soft sweetness from the honeysuckle, paired with our juniper-forward Double Gin.
“Our sloe gin has been created entirely from blind taste and nosing and we are absolutely delighted with the final result,” he adds.
The distillery, located in a converted boathouse overlooking picturesque Lough Erne in the Lakelands, has an impressive track record in developing spirits from sustainable ingredients, including local botanicals such as sweet gale harvested from Mr McGirr’s family farm.
Boatyard is Ireland’s only producer of farm-to-bottle organic gins. Its flagship Double Gin is distilled from organic spirit macerated for 18 hours with eight different botanicals.
The new sloe gin is being produced as a first batch limited edition of just 1,800 bottles.
“We recommended sipping it neat or with lemon tonic,” says Mr McGirr. “It also makes some great cocktails, including a Charlie Chaplin.”
The distillery, which also produces an award-winning Boatyard vodka, is developing a malt whiskey, has won business in the UK and Ireland for its gins and is now exporting to North America.