Founded in 2015 by The Sun Tavern in Bethnal Green in London, International Poitín Day this coming Saturday 18th November, celebrates the original Irish moonshine and the precursor to modern-day whiskey, along with the people who kept it going while it was still illegal. Eight years later, its reach spans the Irish Sea to drinking holes in Belfast, Dublin, Cork and Galway.
Before cask aging takes place, poitín and whiskey were essentially the same spirit, the only difference being the buying of a license. The word poitín means ‘small pot’ in Irish, referring to the small pot-still that was commonly used by illicit distillers. Banned for over 200 years by a foreign parliament, poitín was traditionally distilled from malted grains such as barley, oats, wheat and rye, or using whatever was available locally or what happened to be in season at the time.
Micil Distillery very much believe in family and the community as well as a passion for crafting extraordinary Irish spirits.
The distillery, which is pronounced Mik-il, was founded in honour of Micil Mac Chearra, who began distilling poitín back in 1848 on a Connemara hillside. For over 170 years the family have preserved these traditions, skills and recipes, passing them down from generation to generation, crafting exceptional Irish spirits on the shores of Galway Bay.
Today the distillery produces a range of multi-award-winning Irish spirits, and in January 2021, they produced Galway’s first whiskey in over 100 years.
Micil Irish Poitín is a spicy, full-flavoured poitín made to an original family recipe. Distilled in a hybrid copper pot still, it uses 100% Irish malted barley and a local Connemara botanical known as bogbean. The spirit cuts are made through sensory analysis alone which gives an incredibly refined spirit with warm honey spice and vibrant fruits, as well as a distinct malt character whilst balancing floral notes and an elegant velvety texture.
Micil Irish Poitín RRP: £28.95 for 50cl. ABV 44% and is available from The Whisky Exchange.
There is a long tradition in Ireland’s Connemara of drinks made with cream, honey and a drop of poitín that use all of the best that the land has to offer. And so Micil Irish Cream Liqueur is a West of Ireland take on an Irish classic, made using the finest Connemara Poitín and the highest quality ingredients sourced as close to home as possible, and of course produced to the original family recipe, giving a luxurious blend of sweet Irish whiskey, rich Irish cream and smooth Connemara poitín.
Micil Connemara Irish Cream is made using Micil Irish Poitín, distilled with 100% malted Irish barley and spicy Connemara bogbean, and was awarded ‘Best Irish Cream’ at the 2022 World Liqueur Awards.
Simon Burrell is Editor of OMOTG Travel & Lifestyle Magazine, a former member of The British Guild of Travel Writers and professional photographer.
Photographs courtesy of Micil Distillery