Ireland’s Unique Elixer!
|Padraic O’Griallais having a ‘taste’ of Poitin. Padraic is a
6th generation distiller. The Distillery is named
after his great, great, great grandfather, who started
distilling in Ireland’s west–Connemara–in 1848.
POITIN is a clear, white spirit, distilled from malted grain and other local ingredients. It is truly Ireland’s drink, and has now received Geographical Indicative Protection, meaning Poitin can only be produced on the island of Ireland, if it’s to be called Poitin. The word Poitin comes from the Irish word ‘pot’ or ‘pota’, which refers to the small pot-still generally used by Poitin distillers. For many years it was illegal to make Poitin, although it was commonly made throughout the country in remote, rural back fields and bogs. In 1997 it became legal to produce, but with lots of red tape and licensing requirements. The Micil Distillery is the first distillery to open in Galway in over 100 years.
|The old family still.|
The recipe is the original from the family and all ingredients are local, including ‘bogbean’, which adds a certain something. This Poitin is smooth with deep rich flavors, similar to Italian Grappa; almost smoky, it lingers beautifully on your palate. I love it and this is the best Poitin I have tasted. Although, the others I have tasted have been produced in those back fields so may not have the distinction of Micil. Not to insinuate that local family distillers of Poitin for home consumption would make any lesser of a product, as I’m sure they have also been distilling for generations. Micil also makes a very fine, award-winning gin, also their own recipe, with complex flavors of hand-picked Connemara botanicals including heather, bog myrtle and bogbean.
|And here is the still used today.|
|I got this dried blood online.|
|I got the fresh blood from a local butcher (not in Spiddal),
but have been sworn to secrecy as it is illegal to sell blood
in Ireland. The butcher did not charge me, so
I don’t believe we broke any laws, but my lips are sealed!
I prefer using the fresh blood, rather than the dried. Both the flavor and texture were better, but the dried blood made a fairly good pudding. This little canape would also be just fine made with blood pudding from the store. The combination of flavors and textures worked and the blue cheese held up nicely to the Poitin.
I’ve had fun trying to come up with the perfect name for this canape. Which is better…”Blood and Blue” or “Blue Blood”; probably neither!
Toast rounds of bread. Crisp the blood pudding in a heavy bottomed skillet with a little oil over medium high heat until outer crust is very crisp. One of the things I like about blood pudding is that very crunchy exterior, which contrasts nicely with the creamy interior. Put a piece of blood pudding on each toast round, top with Cashel blue cheese and 1/2 walnut. Put under broiler on low heat until the cheese melts.
I also made an hors d’oeuvres using semi-sun dried tomatoes soaked in herbs and olive oil. Simply throw a few into a food processor with some of the oil and process until blended, but not completely smooth. Top with some fresh basil. These strong flavors also worked very well with the Poitin.
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