There was a time when the front door was left unlocked. When the kitchen was the scullery. And in the tiny scullery stood this big sink. Clothes and dishes and weans got washed there. A lot of craic was heard around a jawbox. It still is.
From the moment I first heard about this gin I wanted to own a bottle and have kept an eye out for it ever since. An Irish gin, made just outside Belfast, it was a perfect present for my BFF Mrs Cooke ( a teacher, she has always been and always will be known as Mrs Cooke) to receive from a family member, as they both have roots in Ireland.
I had never heard the expression “jawbox” but as Mrs Cooke showed me her bottle and explained the name it made me smile. And that a gin had been named after it made me smile even more. For two reasons.
Drinking, as I have mentioned before, is a social occasion for me. Not something to be done alone, but to be done with family or friends. Chatting. Laughing, enjoying the moment. We have been lucky in the past to have been able to drink some stunning bottles of wine, worth a considerable amount of money and they have always tasted incredible because they are part of a shared experience. There is no point drinking them alone.
The same is true for me of a good gin.
The second reason is that the best place to be at a party in our house is in the kitchen. Standing around the table piled high with food, seeing people come in the front door and gravitate towards the booze on the work top. And once you know where the booze is why would you really move away from there and go anywhere else?! Not me. I will always be in the kitchen, often leaning against the sink, at one of our parties as it means I get to see people and catch up with them. So the image of women standing around the sink going about their daily tasks resonates with me.
So this is a gin with history, with a story behind it. And I love that before I have even tried it. The gin itself has a hint of pine about it, along with that distinctive juniper hit. It also has black mountain heather, not something I have come across in a gin before. The citrus notes mean it is perfect with ginger ale. Maybe even warmed slightly. Poured into a Thermos and enjoyed at the end of a long wintery walk with a piece of flapjack or a slab of gingerbread.
The water and the grain all come from the 300 acre estate where the gin is distilled in a copper pot, so it can call itself Ireland’s first single estate gin. There can’t be many of those in the world!
You can buy it in Tesco (though I have never managed to find it) and M&S for around £30 a bottle.
The first of a monthly post featuring my favourite gin that month