Friday, November 24, 2017
Travel

Whiskey wasn't my thing, but then I visited the Teeling Distillery in Ireland

RECOMMENDED READING


DUBLIN

If you drink your way through a four-day trip to Ireland, can you make an honest recommendation on anything?

And if on that trip you taste your first whiskey, is it cool to brazenly recommend a distillery visit?

Here I go: Teeling Whiskey Distillery should be high on your list if you're visiting Dublin.

Sure you'll be tempted to go to the Guinness Storehouse and the Jameson Distillery, but follow the brick road to Teeling for a less commercialized experience. The people and the whiskey will charm you.

Whiskey has never appealed to me. The smell is harsh and has made me turn away in horror. But I love trying new things, and the theme of this trip was drinking, so I took this tour with aplomb.

We know the Irish are serious about their booze, but whiskey is a big deal. Goes back centuries and is a point of rivalry between Ireland and the more-revered spirit producer, Scotland.

Among the many distilleries in Ireland, Teeling feels more like a startup, even though the family has been making whiskey since 1782. Their distillery on Newmarket opened in 2015 and they say it's the first new one in Dublin in more than 125 years.

The focal point of the distillery process is three gleaming copper pots, each with different properties that affect taste. On a tour, we learn about the process from grain to bottle, Teeling's focus on small-batch production and how everything is hand-crafted. It's not an overwhelming operation, and you get the idea it's a close-knit group of employees. Our tour guide, Chris, indulges our questions and takes our photos.

In another room, we walk by each of their whiskeys, small batch, single grain, single malt and so on. It's overwhelming for a nonwhiskey drinker.

Next, the tasting. Chris leads the tour group to a bar where two glasses are in front of each spot. One glass has the Teeling Small Batch Whiskey, neat; the other a yellow cocktail with a slice of lemon. Chris explains how we should breathe in the whiskey before tasting, and strongly warns us not to down it like a shot. He says we can take the cocktail at our own pace.

I go straight for the cocktail and it goes down smooth, fruity and refreshing. I barely stop to realize there's whiskey in there. It's not too strong, not too sweet. Pretty delightful afternoon drink.

The whiskey, I'm wary of. I take a whiff and the harsh smell grabs me. But what are we here for, anyway? I sip. I try the breathing techniques Chris suggests to slow the burn on my throat. Surprisingly satisfying.

The tour ends, but I'm hooked. So are my friends.

There's a distillery bar where we can get another drink, try other Teeling whiskeys or the Teeling Irish Coffee. I order the cocktail. It was that good. Possibly the most perfect cocktail I've ever had.

They call it "Winter Spice Tea" and apparently I'm not the only one enamored by it. The recipe is posted at the bar: 40 ml Teeling Small Batch, 10 ml vanilla liqueur, 20 ml apple-cinnamon syrup, 30 ml Put out the Cat tea and 20 ml lemon juice. (10 milliliters is .34 ounces.)

Soon enough, I'm buying a Teeling Whiskey T-shirt and considering whether a Teeling glass will survive the trip home. I go for a magnet instead.

A few weeks later, there's a party and my friend Laura says she'll make the cocktail.

I'm converted. Pour me a whiskey.

Contact Amy Hollyfield at ahollyfield@tampabay.com. Follow @amy_hollyfield.

 
Comments
Story of Louis Vuitton: As travel changed, so did luggage

Story of Louis Vuitton: As travel changed, so did luggage

NEW YORKAs travel changed, so did luggage. That’s the story told by an elaborate exhibition about Louis Vuitton, the luxury luggage and fashion brand. The exhibition, free to visit and on display in Lower Manhattan through Jan. 7, is called "Volez, V...
Published: 11/24/17
Black Friday deals at Legoland, SeaWorld, Disney and more

Black Friday deals at Legoland, SeaWorld, Disney and more

Black Friday isn’t just for stores. Many theme parks and attractions in Florida are also offering up deals that could make a nice gift or family splurge. The smaller the park, the bigger the deal, so Legoland, Gatorland and SeaWorld are toutin...
Published: 11/21/17
Updated: 11/23/17
Most air travelers say taking off your shoes is okay. An etiquette expert disagrees

Most air travelers say taking off your shoes is okay. An etiquette expert disagrees

Unless you are ensconced in first class, sleeping on a plane is as intimate as dozing off in a waiting room on jury duty — everyone on the aircraft knows the decibel level of your snoring and the sad state of your socks.To gauge how passengers percei...
Published: 11/20/17
With Harry Potter’s Christmas, Universal Orlando proves holidays are big business

With Harry Potter’s Christmas, Universal Orlando proves holidays are big business

ORLANDO — Christmas has finally come to Hogwarts at Universal Orlando in a new holiday attraction opening Saturday. In addition, Universal Studios has completely upsized its holiday parade with more Macy’s balloons, stunning floats and snowy effects ...
Published: 11/17/17
First look: Harry Potter’s Christmas finally arrives at Universal Orlando

First look: Harry Potter’s Christmas finally arrives at Universal Orlando

Christmas has finally come to Hogwarts at Universal Orlando, with the promise of warm butterbeer, a Frog Choir singing carols and a magical light show projected onto Hogwarts Castle nightly followed by fireworks. It opens to the public on Saturday. C...
Published: 11/17/17
Flights of fancy vacation photography, courtesy of drones

Flights of fancy vacation photography, courtesy of drones

Rachel RaczkaImagine your favorite vacation photo: that perfect sunset shot with waves gently crashing and an amber crescent reflecting off the ocean’s glassy surface.Now imagine it from above.Drone sales in the United States doubled in the year that...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Explore underwater treasures at Sombrero Reef off Marathon in the Florida Keys

Explore underwater treasures at Sombrero Reef off Marathon in the Florida Keys

The Florida Keys seem like a world away, but they’re not too far away when you’re already in Miami.After departing from a cruise, my daughters and I wanted to keep the vacation going just a little bit longer. We headed south on U.S. 1, bound for Mara...
Published: 11/09/17
Updated: 11/16/17
Universal snaps up more land for potential theme park expansion

Universal snaps up more land for potential theme park expansion

Universal Orlando has purchased another big chunk of land in Orlando, giving the theme park company more than 570 acres to work with for expansions, possibly including a new theme park.The land is adjacent to the $130 million purchase Universal made ...
Updated one month ago
Busch Gardens offers 2018 Fun Card early, with a free Adventure Island pass

Busch Gardens offers 2018 Fun Card early, with a free Adventure Island pass

Busch Gardens has put its 2018 Fun Card on sale early, meaning you can get two free months to visit the Tampa theme park for the rest of this year and a free Adventure Islands water park pass in 2018. This is the fifth year that Busch Gardens has of...
Updated one month ago
17 days, 9 countries: One man’s jaunt through Eastern Europe

17 days, 9 countries: One man’s jaunt through Eastern Europe

USTI NAD LABEM, Czech Republice_SDLqYou know where I got to go when I was a kid?" I asked my daughter as we climbed the steps to a 14th century castle overlooking the River Elbe and this worn, industrial city."Where?""Texas," I said.It’s hard to reme...
Updated one month ago