Below is an excerpt from GINNED! Magazine about Blackwater Distillery's Nº 5 London Dry Gin. Every month, Craft Gin Club members receive a bottle of amazing small-batch gins accompanied by GINNED! Magazine which is full of features about the gin, the distillery and loads of fascinating features.

The elderflower cordial you use to make Blackwater’s Elderflower Gin will cut any bite you may feel from the straight gin. The sugar in the liqueur combined with the lemon make for a sweet and sour refreshment that will cool you down on a hot summer day. Traditional Irish spirt will do just the opposite. 

The spirit in question is Poitín and at up to 95% ABV, it’s neither sweet, sour, nor refreshing. But we’ll be damned if it doesn’t knock your green socks off!

Poitín takes its name from the pot stills used to make the alcohol from a variety of plants including sugar beetroot, malted barley, and of course, potatoes. 

Decades before Westminster got around to curbing the Gin Craze sweeping London, the government left in Ireland after the force of Oliver Cromwell crushed all rebellion passed an act in 1661 that taxed all Irishmen making spirits for personal consumption. Just as the original Gin Acts did not have the intended effect, neither did the new duty on Poitín. Clandestine distilling continued for 99 years before the drink was banned outright by a 1760 decree, a decree which lasted until 1997 when the Irish government lifted the ban. Today, Poitín is gaining popularity as a base for cocktails and no longer causes blindness as did some batches in the checkered quality of its past.

Throughout its illicit history, Poitín sparked inspiration in Irish art and culture with many celebrating the spirit’s Irish origins and using its outlawed nature as a rallying cry and social commentary. It was also used for television dramas. 

Christening Colin

Christening Colin

In a fifth-season episode of the popular BBC program Ballykissangel, one character gets sentenced to community service for serving Poitín. The show, which ran from 1996 to 2001 to generally positive reviews, didn’t lead to much for the most part of the cast. But it did act as a springboard for one actor known to have the fire of Irish spirit in his belly, Colin Farrell. Known for his raucous manner and champion drinking bouts, it makes you wonder if Farrell doesn’t keep a still in his Hollywood Hills home.


  • 50ml Blackwater Nº 5 London Dry Gin
  • 50ml Elderflower Cordial
  • 150ml bitter lemon
  • strips of lemon zest
  • handful of crushed ice

Method: Mix the elderflower cordial and gin together in a small glass. Pour over crushed ice in a Martini glass. Top up with the bitter lemon and garnish with strips of lemon zest.

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