They are scattered to the four corners of the earth, the emigrants who have made the world their home. From London to Edinburgh, Perth to Sydney, New York to San Francisco, Toronto to Alaska – they have carved out new lives for themselves across the globe.
They are the Wild Geese of the 21st Century, and this week many of them will start planning the greatest journey of the year; the journey home to Ireland to share Christmas with the family and the friends they left behind.
It’s a scene that will be repeated thousands of times over in the airports throughout the country as the countdown to Christmas intensifies.
The emotional reunion in the arrivals hall, the catching-up of local gossip, and finally the gathering around the fire to toast the homecoming.
This Christmas, the Sunday World and Ireland’s leading whiskey collection, The Wild Geese, is offering lucky readers the chance to toast their own homecoming.
Every week for the next four weeks, the Sunday World and The Wild Geese will fly a lucky emigrant and his or her partner home for Christmas to toast family and friends with a glass of The Wild Geese. That’s two people every week for the next four weeks. We’ll pay the flights and put up the drinks.
All the lucky winners have to do is show up at the airport.
It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance.
The Avalon Group released three new spirits at the 30th annual Duty Free & Travel Retail Global Summit in Cannes, France. The new spirits represent the first super-premium Irish gin, vodka and honey liqueur, all three of which embody the rich Irish history celebrated by THE WILD GEESE®.
THE EXILES® IRISH GIN is an artisanal product from an eighth generation ginmaker, whose family have been distilling gin for over 300 years. Traditional pot distilling method. Skilfully infused with Shamrock, red clover flowers, honeysuckle flowers, rowan berries and bog myrtle, resulting in a smooth and floral gin infused with the essence of Ireland.
THE WILD GEESE® IRISH HONEY LIQUEUR is the first and only super premium honey liqueur produced in Ireland, offering an alternative for traditional whiskey drinkers, and a mild introduction to the spirit for new consumers.
UNTAMED® IRISH VODKA is the first and only super premium vodka produced in Ireland. Made with Irish apples and premium grain, the unique recipe of which is subject to a patent application.
First up was The Wild Geese , an Irish Whiskey distributed by Marblehead . Dominic Tait was the man in the know and of the three varieties on offer I plumped for the Rare Blend, which I believe is aged in Bourbon casks (I’ve forgotten whether it’s that or Sherry so do get in touch with Dominic for a straight answer!)… anyway, my choice was informed by my love of Bourbon and, as you’d expect, the aging process has worked its magic to create a really pleasant liquid with hints of vanilla and caramel… almost jammy, it was a very good foot to get off on.
The Rise in Popularity of Irish Whiskey
The Irish are well known for their whiskey. The word “whiskey” is actually taken from a phrase in the Irish language that means “water of life”. The year 2014 has seen a rise in the popularity of Irish whiskey. Irish whiskey has become the fastest growing spirit category in the U.S. While we all love the popular brands of Jameson and The Wild Geese, other brands are becoming quite popular. While most people like to drink whiskey neat or on the rocks, it mixes great with other flavors and is becoming popular to use in cocktails. Irish whiskey bars are becoming quite popular as well.
The Wild Geese Irish Whiskey
Maybe it’s subliminal, but in my local off license 90% of the time I’d grab a bottle of scotch without even giving Irish whiskey a thought. In fact, of the other 10%, I’d be looking at some of the fine whiskies coming out of Japan before I’d consider a bottle of Jameson’s or Bushmills. The reason? Irish whiskey just isn’t on trend. The likes of Johnnie Walker and Monkey Shoulder are pushing Scottish whisky to a younger, stylish audience and the Japanese are creating ridiculously good whisky that is making the whole world take note. However, I recently went to a tasting of The Wild Geese Irish whiskey that piqued my interest once more.
The term Wild Geese refers to the story of the courageous Irish soldiers, led by Patrick Sarsfield, who left Ireland in 1691. Patrick and his men adopted the name ‘The Wild Geese’ in the hope and belief that they would one day return home. And this is the philosophy that The Wild Geese whiskey sticks to. The range features three products, the entry level Classic Blend, Rare, and Single Malt.
The tag line of the brand is ‘Untamed’ and that certainly is the first thing that sprung to mind when trying the Classic. The other word that came to mind was “harsh”. It can certainly put hairs on your chest and not one that I’d sip neat too often. However, it did make some handy cocktails (ginger infused Whiskey Mac recipe included below).
Next up we try the Rare which is my favourite of the three, and a stark contrast to the Classic Blend. Plenty of complexity and a deep spiciness that makes it a great sipping whiskey, or in an Old Fashioned.
The Single Malt is more like the whiskey I’m accustomed to drinking; punchy, woody, and one to make you red in the cheeks after a few sips. Yet it remains extremely smooth, perfect with a cigar or in front of an open fire. Mix this at your peril!
Wild Geese Irish Whiskey. More information available from http://thewildgeesecollection.com/whiskey/
Classic Blend Irish Whiskey (RRP £19, 50cl, 40% ABV), Rare Irish Whiskey (RRP £34, 70cl, 43% ABV), and Single Malt Irish Whiskey (RRP £54, 70cl, 43% ABV)
Ingredients: 50ml The Wild Geese Classic Blend Irish Whiskey, 10ml Kings Ginger Liqueur, 10ml homemade ginger syrup, 25ml ginger wine, Slice of fresh ginger.
Method: Mix The Wild Geese Classic Blend Irish Whiskey, Kings Ginger Liqueur, homemade ginger syrup and ginger wine together. Combine in a cocktail shaker and vigorously shake 5-10 times. To serve, pour into a tumbler glass and garnish with a slice of fresh ginger.
To try some of the specialist cocktails, Bitters & Rye bar in Clerkenwell have a specialist Wild Geese menu.
Ah, long, hot, balmy evenings, how I love you.
Seeing as our beautiful British summer is at its peak, I’ve spent the day longing for a refreshing, fruity cocktail with a little something-something (I believe this is pronounce “suh-in suh’in” if you’re cool) to give it an invigorating kick.
When we told you about Wild Geese Irish Whiskey a couple of weeks back, we were seriously impressed by their tasty creations, and they’ve been kind enough to send us another epic cocktail to see you through this glorious summer night.
It’s super easy but big on flavour, and drinking it feels a bit like putting a hazy, satisfyingly chilled out Instagram filter onto your entire life. You can learn how to make it by viewing the video above, or have a read of the recipe below:
The Irish Apple cocktail recipe
1. Mix the Classic Blend whiskey, dry cider and apple & rhubarb juice by ‘rolling’ them in a cocktail shaker.
2. Pour into a highball glass and float a large ice ball on top.
3. Add the Kamms & Sons to create a bittersweet taste and – if you’ve got time – garnish with a crab apple and apple blossom. Drizzle fresh caramel over the garnish for the final touch.
If you haven’t got crab apples to hand, use a slice of fresh apple and drizzle a little caramel sauce on that.
Wild Geese Classic Blend is available from The Whisky Exchange for the web exclusive price of £18.45.