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.
If you’ve ever escaped for a weekend to an old country manor house, then you’ve enjoyed the pleasant landscapes, classically-styled comfort and refined food and drink that today’s proprietors shower on their relaxed guests. But have you ever felt a bit of tension in your relaxation, that if you looked a bit below the surface you’d discover that the calm is not all that it seems, that there may be a hint of some evil lurking in historical walls?
Ballyvolane House in the Blackwater River Valley - which contributed the Rhubarb Martini for Blackwater Distillery - is one of those country houses: a peaceful weekend getaway with a villainous tale of a murderous witch.
The witch in question was actually a maid at Ballyvolane, Joan Condon, and the murder one of an older couple temporarily occupying the house in 1730. Condon and her accomplice, a butler at the house, were sentenced to death for the murders with some accounts claiming that Condon was considered a witch and burned at the stake.
The facts of the case appear to have mixed with folklore: there is concrete evidence that the butler was tried and convicted but no evidence to show that Condon suffered a fiery death or for that matter, was summoning Satan. But the story does demonstrate how pervasive the general fear of witches was hundreds of years ago.
From the end of the Middle Ages through the first half of the 1700s, it is estimated that some 40,000 people in Europe and in the American colonies were executed for practicing witchcraft. It wasn’t until the Enlightenment began in the mid-1600s that people began to question the apparent lack of human reason behind the hunts and began pressing for reform, culminating with the Witchcraft Act of 1735 that passed through Westminster making it illegal to accuse an other of practicing the sins of a sorceress.
Today, some cultures have yet to discover the same enlightenment. Witch hunts and executions continue in the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, India, Papua New Guinea and Saudi Arabia, where witchcraft remains a capital offence by law and where witches were legally sent to their death as recently as 2012.
BLACKWATER Nº 5'S RHUBARB MARTINI
- 3 shots Blackwater No. 5 Gin
- 2 shots Rhubarb syrup
- 1/2 shot fresh lime juice
Method: Mix all ingredients in cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously for thirty seconds. Strain into chilled martini glasses. Serves 2.