John Wilson’s guide to Irish drinks for your Christmas table

This holiday season, try serving cider, beer, and fruit wines with your celebratory meals

Four Irish gin distilleries have come together to offer Coast Road, a Wild Atlantic Way gift pack of miniatures

Four Irish gin distilleries have come together to offer Coast Road, a Wild Atlantic Way gift pack of miniatures

 

Looking for something different to drink with your Christmas dinner? Here are some Irish-made suggestions.

You could go for one of the Irish fruit wines from Wicklow Way Wines. I have enjoyed their fruit-filled Móinéir Blackberry wine with venison, but I imagine it would also go very nicely with goose or turkey.

With cheese, or for an after-dinner treat, the Highbank Orchards Organic Apple Wine (€47 direct from Highbank) is a delicious, complex fortified wine. Cider has an affinity with pork, so possibly try a large bottle of Cockagee Irish cider with baked ham, but it also goes very well with turkey, as do most ciders. 

The other alternative Christmas dinner drink is beer. With your starters a lighter Irish pale ale, pilsner or lager will do nicely, but I would go for something more substantial with the main course. A good full-flavoured Irish red ale has the body and richness to stand up to all that turkey, ham, stuffing and cranberry sauce, while still retaining enough acidity to keep it fresh.

However, many craft beers fans will head for something a little stronger; a stout, a saison or a Belgian Dubbel or Triple. I would quite fancy a bottle of Mescan Tripel, although I have a bottle of their Westport Extra that I suspect won’t see the other end of Christmas.

I think it essential to have a decent stock of bottles or cans of craft beer to enjoy with turkey and stuffing or ham sandwiches in the days following Christmas. Look out for seasonal beers from your favourite craft brewer.

I am looking forward to trying the Dash Away Cherry Chocolate Stout from Trouble Brewing, or possibly the Wicklow Wolf Mexican Chocolate Cake Imperial Stout.

If you are still searching for last-minute gifts then four Irish gin distilleries have come together to offer Coast Road, a Wild Atlantic Way gift pack (€50, celticwhiskeyshop.com, irishmalts.com), containing a miniature each of Inis Cléire 3 Sq. Miles Gin, An Dúlamán Irish Maritime Gin from Donegal, Micil Irish gin from Galway, and Skellig Six18 from Cahersiveen, Co Kerry.

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