What is your favorite cocktail? I usually stick to wine or beer, but every now and then I do enjoy a cocktail, and I definitely like to mix it up. Right now, my cocktail of choice is Bushmills and ginger ale, simple but zesty and flavorful. On our recent visit to Northern Ireland, the Bushmills Distillery was a must-stop. After a long, breathtaking coastal drive, we found ourselves at the centuries-old, still working distillery, ready to tour and taste.
Beyond the parking lot, a complex of old stone buildings sit in front of the River Bush.
Arrows pointed us to the visitor center where we purchased our tickets and did some browsing before the tour.
Whiskey barrels and an old still make up some of the décor in the center, which also houses a café and tasting bar.
Once inside, we also saw a gift shop, complete with walls of whiskey, whiskey candies like caramel and fudge, glasses, and Bushmills apparel.
When our designated tour time came, we met our small group and our guide, Peter Wilson, who ended up being completely fantastic. Unfortunately, due to the alcohol vapors in the air, all electronics had to be turned off, lest a spark cause the entire place to explode. Safety first, but that meant no photos of the actual tour. I decided not to risk it for the sake of the blog
As we walked through the distillery, we learned that all Bushmills, no matter where you drink it, comes from this little factory in the North of Ireland which gets its source of water from the River Bush. They actually built the distillery over the river, so as we walked through we were walking over the river; we just couldn’t see it! We got to see (and smell!) the process of making whiskey, which you can read about in their illustrated, step-by-step explanation on the Bushmills website. From the mash to the bottle room, we got to see the birth of new whiskey. The tour ends back at the tasting bar, where participants can choose from several types of whiskey for a taste.
I opted for the Bushmills 12 year single malt whiskey. Only available at the distillery, Bushmills says the following about this whiskey:
The Bushmills Malt ‘Distillery Reserve’ 12 Year Old, is matured mainly in former Spanish Oloroso Sherry casks which lend a deep amber colour and wonderful dried fruit aromas to this whiskey. Like all Bushmills whiskeys, it is gentle and approachable, with added weight.
Before we left, we purchased a bottle of Bushmills Black Bush whiskey for Eric’s parents. It was later turned into late-night hot whiskeys, sipped while watching The Quiet Man, listening to the hubby play the piano, and thawing out in front of a fire before bed.
Now, tell me, what is your favorite cocktail?