AS I SAT down to type out this month’s column, there was a palpable sense of excitement, because I knew that by the time it is published, the pubs will be open again—maybe only outdoors but, it’s a start.
I have always tried to showcase cocktails that you can easily make at home and this month is no different. This month’s cocktail is one we make in the pub and, as someone who is passionate about this industry, please visit your local pub if you can because they need your support now more than ever. I would love to see you all in Malones, but overall, I just want to see our industry rise again and I’m delighted to see any pub busy right now. The staff, the chefs, the musicians, the fruit guy, the butcher, the window cleaner and everyone else have had a very dark year and are desperately need some light. The bar down the road needs your money more than the multinationals, so please think local, but to be fair, people also rely on the jobs provided by the big chains, so don’t write them off completely either.
Another restriction that has been lifted is our ability to travel. As thousands take to the hills and lochs, it reminds me of my childhood. On a Sunday and we would be piled into the Peugeot 405—not a seatbelt between us—and head for Donegal. At the time, the conflict was still a horrible reality, and this was viewed as a safer option to take kids for a day out. If we were really lucky, we got to go to Redcastle. We thought it was Alton Towers but in reality, looking back was hardly a step up from Funland on Craggy Island. I believe it’s been modernised since and still going strong. For thousands of kids, it was paradise. We thought was amazing. It was the early 1990s and it was an escape. If you were lucky enough to have a few punts left you stopped in for some Tayto and Football Special on the way home in the town with the funny name that made every schoolboy giggle.
It can’t have been easy growing up in Muff with an army check point on your doorstep and people laughing at you when they hear where you’re from, but I bet they, like every Irish person, wear it as a badge of pride. It’s their place, their home and they wouldn’t have it any other way.
One lady in Muff decided to put it on the map for all the right reasons, In 2017, Laura Bonner—along with her business partner Tom Russell—set up the Muff Liquor Company and launched a craft gin followed by a vodka and then in the last year, Muff Whiskey hit the shelves. There is nothing comical about this brand. Muff has been scooping up award after award and landing on back bars, not just in Ireland, but around the world with many celebrity fans like Brian Dowling and YouTube star Joe Wicks. And it’s the Muff Gin I’m using for our cocktail today.
—50ml Muff Gin
—Half a squeezed grapefruit
—50ml cranberry juice
—Half a squeezed lime
—A teaspoon of strawberry jam
—In a shaker add the gin, lime, grapefruit, cranberry and jam
—Shake with ice until the jam breaks down
—Run a lime over the rim of the glass and dip into the sugar, alternatively you can dip you glass in liquid sugar before dipping into sugar
—Strain the mix into the glass and enjoy
Mickey Mullan is a proud Derryman, an award-winning spirit enthusiast and the Manager of Malones Bar in Glasgow