The Summer of the Rose G&T

As World Gin Day approaches on June 12, many of us are starting to think about classic, refreshing summer cocktails like the Gin and Tonic. The simple highball is truly defined by the spirit you choose to make it with, and you’d be surprised what a difference the right gin can make.

From London Dry to New Western, each will bring something slightly (or extremely) different to the character. Glendalough Rose Gin is the perfect spirit to elevate this cocktail staple. With a base of wild mountain and forest botanicals, it’s floral, herbaceous, and citrusy in all the right measures. It is this level of complexity that makes for a wildly different and much elevated G&T.

Irish gin is fast becoming the new Irish whiskey. Craft distillers on the Emerald Isle are going to great lengths to capture the terroir of their unique island.

Glendalough, a Craft Distillery

One distillery that’s going above (literally) and beyond is Glendalough, a craft distillery nestled deep in the Wicklow mountains, an area renowned for its natural beauty and known as “The Garden of Ireland.” Using what grows wild around the distillery, they endeavor to make spirits with a sense of place, with a depth of wild unexpected flavors.

What’s unique to Glendalough is that every single day, hand-foraged wild mountain botanicals are gathered by their full-time forager to make their gin, arriving fresh to the distillery within hours. It’s these fresh botanicals (the vast majority of gin is made with dried ingredients) that give their gin the incredible depth of flavors. They are quick to point to their sustainable efforts to protect the limited resources of their mountain home, re-wilding the area and planting forests. These efforts led to the honor of being named Ireland’s first “Gin Distillery of the Year” at the New York International Spirits Competition.

Glendalough Rose Gin – Made with Depth and Meaning

The newest addition to Glendalough's craft spirits lineup is the light, bright Rose Gin.
The newest addition to Glendalough’s craft spirits lineup is the light, bright Rose Gin.

The newest addition to their craft spirits lineup is the Rose Gin, created to honor head distiller Rowdy Rooney’s mother, using roses from her garden (whose name was also Rose!). “This is labor-intensive, it starts with making sure the garden can supply enough fresh petals for every batch, then supplementing it with wild mountain roses. The trickiest part is slowly and gently vapor-distilling the petals — they’re delicate ingredients” says Rooney.

Three types of roses are harvested to make this award-winning gin (which recently won Gold at New York International Spirits Competition), both from the countryside and Glendalough’s own rose garden. The list includes wild roses from the Wicklow Mountains, large heritage roses, and the Damask rose, the oldest variety in the world. “We know what parts of the mountains support wild roses, but there is a tiny, fleeting window of opportunity when the flowers are open and conditions are right to capture their flavors,” Rooney says. “There’s nothing easy about making this gin, but tasting it is the ultimate in job satisfaction”

This graphic shows how to make the perfect Rose Gin and Tonic.
How to make the perfect Rose Gin and Tonic.

Rooney uses dual production techniques to make the gin, first vapor-infusing different types of roses and botanicals, then adding them directly to the still to deepen the flavors and create a balance of floral and spice notes.

The complex gin remains soft and drinkable, with a range of flavors that develop from nose to finish. “On the nose, the Glendalough Rose Gin is very aromatic with bright lemon, blood orange, and soft juniper notes with fresh rose,” says Rooney. “The taste is gentle with distinct rose petals, bright berries, and citrus, with a nectar sweetness. The finish is long and floral with rose petals lingering, pink peppercorn, and a touch of earthy spices.”

Summertime drinks should match your mood, with a focus on buoyant and refreshing flavors to slowly sip while you beat the heat. Glendalough Rose Gin is the perfect spirit for the warm weather months, particularly in a Gin and Tonic. So, whether you find yourself poolside, on the beach, or at a backyard barbecue with friends and family, you know what to reach for.

Create your own Glendalough Rose G&T. Check out the video below!

This article is sponsored by Glendalough Rose Gin.