I've always enjoyed the occasional glass of whiskey without ever fully appreciating its nuances and craft. Recently thanks to my learned friends in the Pucan Bar in Galway I decided to do something about that. As the great Japanese author Haruki Murakami said, “Whiskey, like a beautiful woman, demands appreciation. You gaze first, then its time to drink” The history of Irish history is quiet brilliant, for a start the word whiskey comes from “uisce beatha” meaning the “water of life” if that’s not a good enough reason to drink it then what is. The story of how it was created is even better, apparently Irish monks were taught how to distil perfumes on their travels through the Mediterranean around 1000AD. Being true Irish men as soon as the lads got home they figured out a way to use this process to create a drinkable alcohol.
As part of the Galway Food Festival in conjunction with Teeling Whiskey the Pucan hosted a Food Pairing Evening. As a rule the only pairing I’m generally interested in is on Tinder or in a nightclub but after a brief chat with Head Chef Tom Joyce (@tomjoycechef) I was assured this was a night not to be missed. How right he was, the food was as always fantastic and the whiskey tremendous.
I’m not going to pretend for one second that after one evening I’m an expert but I did learn a great deal. Ireland used to a world leader in the Whiskey field but sadly the industry crumbled through the years. The new Teeling Whiskey Distillery is the first new distillery to open in Dublin in over 125 years and is already producing a range of top class award winning whiskeys.
Upon arrival we were treated to Teelings flagship blended whiskey the Small Batch.
Subsequently each course was paired with a complimentary whiskey;
Organic Irish Salmon was served with The Holy Grain- Teeling Single Grain, sugar bitters and Connemara rinse.
The main course was some treat and very fitting given that Easter was coming to an end the Easter Bunny was given a fitting send off, when he was served to us wrapped around Loughnanes Black Pudding, served with caramelised baby pear, wilted greens, cauliflower beignet and sweet meat jus. Not bad for pub grub eh? This was paired with a creation called The Easter Rising – Teeling Poitin, apple & rhubarb juice and fennel syrup
Desert was Spiced Carrot Chocolate and Goji Berry Cake with pistachio ice cream. Whiskey truffle lolly pop and raspberry sauce. This was paired with Teeling Whiskey Single Grain recently awarded Worlds Best Grain at the World Whiskey Awards. The Single Grain is spicy with fruity notes intermingling with underlining sweetness, just like the three lovely ladies at my table Sinead of Yummy Mummy fame, the always intriguing Ruth from the Beauty Kemple blog and the very gifted Saibh Eagan the amazing photographer.
After desert each table was served the famous An Pucan cheeseboard which I can’t get enough of. As a massive fan of cheese (seriously you should see the messages I send women) I was in heaven, sipping the Teeling Single Malt with cheeses’ like Cashel Blue, Durrus, Smoked Gubeen, Tipperary Brie with Ballymaloe Relish.
Above is a Whiskey Float....yes Ice Cream in Whiskey, whoever put that on the menu is my kind of man
Between each course we were given an informative and passionate talk about each whiskey and the reasoning behind the pairing for the guys from Teeling. I was never the best student back in the day but if all classes were as interesting as this (and came with free samples) I’d have been an A student
The event was genuinely one of the most interesting and enjoyable out events that I’ve attended recently. Massive thanks to Chef Tom, Eoin and the rest of the Pucan staff for looking after us so well. It was a wonderful insight into the world of Teeling and indeed Irish Whiskey.
Check out www.teelingwhiskey.com for more info
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