Drinking in the a country’s culture one sip, swizzle and swirl at a time.
Written and Photographed by Karen Loftus
On a recent trip to Wales I was put to test on a daily basis, mountain biking, sea kayaking rock-hopping, river rafting and coasteering into the Irish Sea. We found the best way to calm the nerves or celebrate the day’s success was with one of the country’s many spirits, another one of the countless gems that we discovered along our Welsh way. So, if you are looking to drink in the spirit of Wales this holiday season, you may want to consider stocking up on a few these Welsh beauties to place behind your globally savvy, holiday bar.
Whiskey Time – Penderyn Scotland packs a punch on the whisky front, not to mention their neighboring Irish imbibers. So, it should come as no surprise that the Welsh too have a beautiful brand of whisky meant to be given as a gift (hello holiday bottle) or shared on a special occasion. Penderyn Distillery set in the foothills of Brecon Beacon has four single malt whiskies; The Madeira Single Malt matured in bourbon barrels and dry Oloroso sherry casks, The Penderyn Sherrywood Single Malt Whiskey with rich tones of dry sherry, hazelnuts and a caramel finish, The Penderyn Peated, handcrafted to perfection with a subtle complexity of vanilla, citrus and smoky notes and finally their Single Cask, limited edition of 216 bottles hand signed by the Master Distiller Dr. Jim Swann himself. Anyone would drink to that.
Gin–If their fellow Brits can bang out a beautiful gin, one might suspect that they too could try their hand. And that’s exactly what they did. It was clear from the first sip that they’ve succeeded with aplomb. Same Penderyn distillery, yet quite a different approach with botanicals from every corner of the globe infused in to their gin. Juniper berries form Macedonia, orange and lemon peel from Spain, cassia bark from China, licorice root from Sri Lanka, angelica root from France, nutmeg from India, coriander from Russia and orris root from Italy, made with water pulled from below the distillery through a 340 million year old rock formation makes for a silky smooth herbaceous gin best left alone for quite some time. Try it for yourself and you’ll see why I love it as much as I do!
Vodka –If you are looking for a candy cocktail this holiday season, Toffoc is your sweet spot. This toffee flavored vodka is not too syrupy or sweet as it is made with the finest UK grains, triple distilled and infused delicately with toffee flavors. This elegant candy concoction is made by two Welsh guys, Dewi and Padrig, who used to drink a similar spirit on the Alpine ski slopes. Unable to find at home, they decided to make their own. It’s a perfect holiday spirit for after dinner or to put in your pocket for ski season. Cheers!