How a few moments on June 18th, 1875 changed Dublin’s Liberties
In 1875, Dublin’s Liberties was the epicenter of Ireland’s whiskey distilling in the 19th century. The big whiskey distilleries from that time were all based there: Powers, Jameson, and Georg Roe, amongst others. They also all had warehouses located there which stored the golden liquid. Powers stored their whiskey in an underground cellar. Malone’s malt house and bonded storehouse on Chamber Street alone had about 5,000 barrels of whiskey and other spirits stored there with a value of over six million Euro in today’s money.
At 8 pm on June 18th, the alarm was quickly raised when flames were spotted, according to a report in The Irish Times. The fire spread quickly. As the flames reached the wooden casks holding the liquor, they burst open, sending a burning river of whiskey flowing through the streets. The flow measured 2ft wide, 6 inches deep and stretched more than 400m down one side of Mill Street. Livestock was common in the city at the time and the squeals of fleeing pigs added to the chaos as the tenements rapidly emptied of residents. Amid the frightened crowds, however, others gathered along the stream of alcohol- for many, the inferno presented a chance too good to miss:
“It is stated that caps, porringers, and other vessels were in great requisition to scoop up the liquor as it flowed from the burning premises, and disgusting as it may seem, some fellows were observed to take off their boots and use them as drinking cups,” reported The Irish Times on June 21st.
As the city burned, crowds gathered around the edges of the flaming alcohol river and attempted to grab as much of the whiskey as they could, using pots, pans, hats, and boots. In all, 13 people were reported to have died as a result of the fire. None of the deceased perished in the actual flames, nor did they die of smoke inhalation, instead, they died of alcohol poisoning from drinking “freely of the derelict whiskey”.
The Dublin Fire Brigade arrived, under the leadership of Captain James Robert Ingram, who had been a fire officer in the New York Fire Department and was renowned for his “unconventional” strategies to control fires. He sent for soldiers and ordered them to pull up paving stones and pour a mixture of sand and gravel on the whiskey, but he quickly realized that this wouldn’t be enough as the whiskey started to seep through the sand. Instead, he used horse manure! As the burning whiskey met the damp manure it was soaked up and the fire slowly began to subside.
Saint Nicholas Day
Saint Nicholas Day, or the Feast of Saint Nicholas, children wait for St. Nicholas to come and put a boot called Nikolaus-Stiefel (Nikolaus boot) outside the front door on the night of 5 December. St. Nicholas fills the boot with gifts and sweets overnight, and at the same time checks up on the children to see if they were good, polite and helpful the last year. What did you find in your boot?
Straight from Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larderdie’s shelf- Bushmills Artist Reserve 15 years
The Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larderdie in Killarney, Co. Kerry is not one of those typical old Irish pubs, but if you are a whiskey lover, you’ll have found heaven! Especially if you want to try something different that is not sold in most pubs. Many are 20 or more years old and if you like what you sample, you can even buy a bottle then and there.
My Pick of the Day is Bushmills Artist Reserve 15 years.
A special edition Bushmills that was released at around the turn of the millennium for the German market. This was aged in a single sherry cask which yielded just 350 bottles.
Tasting Note by The Chaps at Master of Malt
Nose: Almonds, cinnamon buns, sandalwood and caramel.
Palate: Milk chocolate, old furniture, pineapple and yet more sweet, nutty notes.
Finish: Final drying notes of dark chocolate and oak spice.
Cocktails recipes - Fair City Lemonade
Today Cocktails recipes recommendation comes from Dublin Liberties Distillery for Fair City Lemonade.
Dubliner Whiskey 50ml
Angostura bitters 2 dash
Fresh Lime juice 10ml
Topped with Fever-Tree Sicilian Lemonade
Method: built; add whiskey, lime, and bitters, top with Lemonade
Glassware: Tall glass
Garnish: Lime wedge
Whiskey Live Dublin - Michells Spot's Masterclass
Whiskey Live is a great event to get an overview of what’s happening in the world of Irish Whiskey and as a bonus, you can sample many whiskeys to find your favorite one. For those who decide to attend the event, I also recommend attending the masterclasses. There you can try special vintages and unusual varieties of whiskeys as well as meet the actual distillers, whether large or small, new or established.
The Mitchell family expanded their business in 1887 and started trading in wine and spirits. Like many others, they bought the whiskey from Jameson and matured it in port or sherry barrels. Mitchell & Son's Whiskey started with "Pat Whisky". From 1933, it was called "John Jameson & Son 10 Year Old Green Seal" and later simply became known as "Green Spot". Today, the Mitchell family is still in the wine and spirits business, but Irish Distillers legally own the name Green Spot. 7th generation Mitchell family members Robert Mitchell and Dave McCabe, Assistant Blender at the Midleton Distillery, will together reveal the secrets of the "Spots" in their much-anticipated Masterclass which will take place on Saturday, 23rd November at 2:45.
Please note that you need to buy a ticket to the main Whiskey Live event in order to participate in the Masterclasses.