4 South Great George's Street
+353 1 672 4645
January's Gin of the Month, Glendalough Distillery's Wild Botanical Gin, is a fiercely Irish gin. In honour of its home, our Gin Joint of the Month is a favourite spot of Glendalough's distillers, right in the heart of the capital...
In the heart of Dublin’s creative quarter is a cocktail bar with a difference.
Named after one of the Fair City’s most notorious residents, J.T. Pim’s is a favourite of haunt of Glendalough’s founding friends, and a cornerstone of the Irish capital’s cocktail scene. But who’s the man who gave this gin palace its name?
“Joseph Todhunter Pim —J.T. Pim – is certainly one of Dublin’s more colourful characters,” laughs bar manager Chris Simon. “An extensive traveller, a regular at the Hellfire Club and chairman of the markets, he was instrumental in the rebuilding of the George’s Street Arcade following the great fire in 1892.”
J.T.’s family owned the Pim’s Department Store, which between 1858 and 1970 operated out of the beautiful building opposite the bar. So when J.T. Pim’s’ owners moved onto the premises, they knew exactly which famous local firebrand’s name would go up above the door.
Links to the past assured, it was down to the J.T. Pim’s team to turn their eyes firmly to the future. And, luckily for the gin lovers of Dublin, our favourite tipple is the order of the day on the Irish cocktail scene.
As Chris explains: “When I first moved to Dublin in 2010 you’d be lucky to find more than two different gins in about 75% of bars. If you did, they would invariably be at the back of a dark, dusty shelf. Now customers are aware of what gin they’re ordering, and there are constantly new and exciting Irish gins – led by the amazing guys at Glendalough – emerging onto the market.”
After opening with relatively few gins, the J.T. Pim’s list is now 50 strong.
“The list has been growing sporadically since we opened,” Chris says. “We started quite small, but the gin market in Ireland right now is so exciting, and I’m quite a gin lover myself – I haven’t been able to stop myself from adding to the shelves!”
Unique Irish gins like Glendalough’s seasonal gins are big draws, Chris says, so he always makes sure to have a few in stock. As for the rest of his gin list? The ethos is simple enough: “I’ve tried to make sure that there’s a wide range of flavours, covering all styles, with an emphasis on Irish gin. But honestly, it just comes down to what I like!”
While J.T. Pim’s has plenty of craft beers and premium wines by the glass and the bottle available, cocktails are the true stars of the show. Customer service and quality are the two driving forces behind this gin joint’s success; everything from the bottles on the shelves to the juice and fruit behind the bar are held to Chris’s exacting standards.
“Only using the freshest juices and fruit makes an incredible difference,” he says, “and the same can be said of only using premium spirits and liqueurs.”
The J.T. Pim’s cocktail list is stocked with stone cold classics, the best of the best from two centuries of cocktail making. But there’s no snobbery at J.T. Pim’s. Want a lime twist in your gin Martini? It may not be strictly correct, but all you need to do is ask.
“When it comes to the way we mix drinks,” Chris says, “as bartenders we’re the experts but the customer is the most important. There may be a ‘perfect’ way to make every cocktail, but if any of our patrons want a change, we’ll make it!”
While the bar itself is a total blast, don’t overlook this spot’s most fascinating feature: a warm extension called Gin Rummy. Less raucous than the bar, it’s a cosy and intimate place to really savour your expertly mixed gin cocktail. And with a new menu for the winter fresh off the press, these are certainly tipples to take your time with.
“Talking to our customers is a big source of ideas,” Chris says of the bar’s new cocktail menu. “But my main inspiration for most cocktails comes from the classics. They’ve stood the test of time, so they require very little changing!”
And, with amazing distilleries like Glendalough springing up all over Ireland, it’s not a bad time to go on a cocktail tour of the emerald isles.
“The Irish cocktail scene keeps going from strength to strength,” Chris says, “with Irish bartenders repeatedly doing well at global cocktail competitions, and the Irish Cocktail Awards were a huge success – as well as an epic night out! It really couldn’t be a more exciting time to be involved the Irish drinks industry.”
For a taste of the Irish cocktail boom, whip up a Glendalough Old Fashioned from the J.T. Pim’s team!
Glendalough Old Fashioned
60ml Glendalough Gin (J.T. Pim’s uses Autumn, but Wild Botanical will work just fine)
10ml Lazzaroni Cherry Syrup
3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
Fill an Old Fashioned glass with ice and combine the cherry syrup, gin and three dashes of bitters. Stir until chilled and garnish with lemon zest and three cocktail cherries.