How green is her valley: Glendalough gin forager Geraldine Kavanagh
Gin is enjoying a revival in a range of drinks running the gamut from fresh to fruity to full-bodied and mellow. However, distiller Ciarán ‘Rowdy’ Rooney and forager Geraldine Kavanagh know that what makes a gin drink good relies heavily on what herbs and botanicals are used in the crafting of the spirit.
After leaving the workforce in Ireland to raise her children, Kavanagh decided to explore the world of foraging and forge a business of her own, given her passion for food and drink integrating ingredients into the recipe as nature intended. Her approach caught the attention the Glendalough distillery’s top brass, and she found herself immersed in the process of creating a gin that celebrated Ireland’s rich bounty.
‘The inspiration for the flavour of our gin comes from the scents, sights and tastes of Glendalough and it’s my job to put that essence into the bottle,’ said Kavanagh during a visit to FIA, one of Santa Monica’s top restaurants (providing the perfect setting as it echoes the lush feel of County Wicklow, a.k.a. the Garden of Ireland). She was in her element observing west coast tastemakers try classic and modern cocktails and hear her story. ‘Since we grow the ingredients in the wild, we take a lot of care to ensure that we don’t adversely affect the areas we forage from. To see the story of Glendalough and our process come to life in a new bottle—a reminder of the significance of preserving the beautiful Irish landscape—and bring gin to the world stage is really special.’
Between the appetizer courses and Californian–Italian cuisine, Kavanagh detailed the harvesting process and the necessity to hand it immediately to Rooney, who uses small-batch slow-distillation methods to tease out the delicate flavours. She also explained that Glendalough Wild Rose Gin, not to be mistaken for pink gin, was created by Rowdy to honour his mother, Rose.
Kavanagh’s care for the land is preserved on the new bottle design with an embossed woven pattern sitting at the base, representing the handwoven basket with which she forages daily. The wild botanicals illustrated reflect ingredients (including sorrel, elderflower and fir) sourced from the lush fields of Wicklow. There are also nods to Glendalough’s history, including the Monastery Archway, Seven Churches and Deer Stone.
Glendalough Irish Gins, now offered in gorgeous bottles, are available in the US at selected retailers for US$32·99. Click here for more information on Glendalough Irish Gin. To see Glendalough Distillery’s entire portfolio, visit their website.
Rose & Raspberry Fizz
1½ oz (45 ml) Glendalough Wild Rose Gin
1 oz (30 ml) raspberry syrup or muddled raspberries
1 oz (30 ml) lemon juice
1 oz (30 ml) Aperol
1½ oz (45 ml) soda
Shake all ingredients (except soda) with ice, and strain into a tall glass filled with ice. Add the soda and garnish with fresh raspberries and a slapped sprig of mint.
1½ oz (45 ml) Glendalough Rose Gin
½ oz (15 ml) Dry Vermouth
½ oz (15 ml) Germaine Liqueur
Combine rose gin, vermouth, and liqueur over ice and stir well. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a lemon twist.
2 oz (60 ml) Glendalough Wild Botanical Gin
1 oz (30 ml) lemon juice
1 oz (30 ml) honey syrup
Combine Wild Botanical Gin, lemon juice and honey syrup in a shaker and shake well. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a lemon twist.