From Lola to Méabh
Perhaps a better heading for this one would be from Lola to Méabh – a most frustrating journey.
The recipe process has been one of constant trial and experimentation. We have been fortunate to have had support early on from Peter Mulryan at Blackwater. A self confessed angry man but in reality a patient and generous mentor when needed. His advice to distil each botanical on its own first has given us a much stronger understanding of the way the various botanicals behave and taste once distilled.
Alongside Peter we have been very lucky to have the help of Rosaria Piseri of Algaran. She has been a revelation and her knowledge of shoreline botanicals just amazing. With Rosaria’s help we have eaten and distilled all manner of seaweeds, fresh, frozen, and dried; bleached and not; you cannot begin to imagine the trials and tribulations along the way.
The real winner has been Aldi and Lidl though – I am sure they think I have a serious drink problem such is the quantity of vodka we have bought in order to do the trials (you can’t put a case in a brown paper bag so they leave it in the case and twist the till screen to show you the cost as they don’t want to make it obvious you have just spent €250 ON ALCOHOL)
Lola our mini still has worked plenty of overtime, but cracking the recipe on Lola was one thing but we are 10 days from Taste of Donegal and we just cant get it to scale up….arrrrgggghhhhh.
We have been really clear on what we needed the Gin to be but have really struggled to get the liquid to stack up in reality with the flavour we achieved in little Lola.
Méabh had so far proved to be a quirky little madam and we are running out of time. In an effort to produce a carrageen essence that might prove a key part of the flavour all we succeeded in doing was creating 170 litres of undrinkable gloop, blowing carrageen foam out every still orifice and creating a horrible sticky mess that we spent hours cleaning up – and then to add insult we have to explain that to The Revenue – no we didn’t have time to take pictures!
After that the Citrus-Cinnamon Gin, fantastic if it were Christmas but not An Dúlamán. With 48 hours to Taste of Donegal, a pause…back to first principles, Moira and I redrawing the recipe on intuition from the individual ingredients …. parking efficiency at the door, lower the abv…
Switch her on!