13 August 2020
By Tom Collins
Blacks, Ireland’s first co-located Brewery & Distillery based in Kinsale, Co. Cork, have once again made the winners list with their boutique spirits. Founded by husband and wife duo, Sam & Maudeline Black, this unstoppable pair proudly accepted Silver Medals for both their Blacks Irish Gin and Black Ops Irish Whiskey at the 2020 London Spirits Competition.
A London Spirits Competition medal is the ultimate seal of approval in the global spirits industry. Unlike other competitions, where distilling ability and technical expertise are often the primary consideration at the expense of drinkability, the goal of the London Spirits Competition is to award and celebrate spirits that consumers actually want to buy and drink.
The London Spirits judging panel, comprised of mixologists, bar managers, and spirit buyers, were looking for brands that ticked all the boxes – the full package. Spirits were judged in three categories; Quality, Value and Packaging. Only those spirits who scored consistently high across each of the three criteria were awarded medals.
Now in its third year, 2020 saw stiffer competition than ever before. There were entries from 69 countries across the globe, with 424 entries into the gin category and 122 whiskey brands fighting for recognition. Blacks were one of only three Irish distilleries to win silver for their gin, Blacks Irish Gin, inspired by the Wild Atlantic Way. In the whiskey category they were one of four Irish distilleries to proudly accept this silver accolade.
In March it was their rum that was receiving all the attention, winning Gold at the World Rum Awards for their Blacks Golden Rum. Not afraid of trying something new, this innovative distillery produces Ireland’s first-ever and only rum, made entirely from start to finish on the island of Ireland.
Speaking with pride in relation to their award wins Blacks Brewery & Distillery Co-Founder, Maudeline Black commented “This has been an amazing year for us so far at our Brewery & Distillery in Kinsale. While the recent global Covid19 pandemic threw a lot of challenges our way, the entire team rose to the test and we continued to produce exciting craft beers and spirits. To receive silver medals for both our Blacks Irish Gin and Black Ops Whiskey is recognition for the passion we have for our craft. It is a testament to the time and talent invested by all of our team in Kinsale, and to receive this recognition on a global scale, especially when up against such long standing and established brands it was just phenomenal.’
Want to sample these award-winning spirits for yourself? Both are delicious served neat over ice, or as a tall drink with a premium mixer, but if you like your spirits shaken not stirred why not try one of Blacks’ signature cocktails:
Blacks Dark Side of The World
- 40ml Black Ops Irish Whiskey
- 30ml Blacks Brewery Worlds End Imperial Stout
- 20ml Strong Coffee (Chilled )
- 10 ml Simple Syrup (1:1 ratio Brown Sugar : Water)
- Coffee Beans
- Dark Chocolate Shavings
- Place all of your ingredients into a cocktail shaker or large jar with a lid
- Dry shake for 10 to 15 seconds
- Add ice & shake vigorously for a further 10 to 15 seconds
- Fine strain your mixture into a chilled martini glass
- To serve, garnish with two coffee beans & dark chocolate shavings
- Sip & enjoy your journey to the Dark Side of the World!
Blacks Sour Sailor
60ml Blacks Irish Gin
- 30 ml Fresh Grapefruit Juice
- 15ml Fresh Lemon Juice
- 10ml Simple Sugar Syrup (This can be easily made a t home by mixing sugar with water – 1:1 ratio Sugar : Water)
- 1/2 Egg White
- Dash of Angostura Bitters
- Add all your ingredients, except the bitters, into a cocktail shaker
- Dry shake all ingredients for 10 seconds
- Add ice and shake again for a further 10 seconds
- Fine strain into a chilled martini glass
- Add a dash of Angostura Bitters
- Sip & enjoy
Awards are not the only exciting development Blacks have to shout about at present. They are a creative Brewery & Distillery, always looking for a unique approach, be that in the form of seasonal craft beer recipes, production methods or eye-catching packaging. Using their distilling skills and creative talents, they have teamed up with Ballymaloe House to create a bespoke gin, Ballymaloe Garden Gin, which is available exclusively at Ballymaloe House.
Recipe development began for this new Cork gin in Autumn 2019 and is the brainchild of Darren Murphy from Blacks Brewery & Distillery and Ballymaloe House’s award-winning bar Manager Traford Murphy. Hand-picked Lemon Verbena, Myrtle Berries (for flavour, but also in loving memory of Myrtle Allen), Mimosa, Coriander and Fennel, all grown in the Ballymaloe walled garden are expertly blended and infused at Blacks Brewery & Distillery to create this truly unique spirit.
To find out more about Blacks award-winning Blacks Irish Gin, Black Ops Irish Whiskey, or their full range of craft beers and boutique spirits visit www.blacksbrewery.com, or stay connected online at Instagram/blacksbrewery, Twitter @BlacksBrewery or Facebook/BlacksOfKinsale