Champagne and Strawberries: If you toast the New Year with a cocktail, it’s likely to be that old standard. We decided to capture the taste of 2014 with a very Dublin City twist, inviting the award-winning, national champion of cocktails, Darren Geraghty, to invent a cocktail especially for the occasion – and thanks to a very useful illustration, you can try it out for yourself first.
We visited Darren in his cocktails den, Indie Dhaba restaurant on South Anne Street, off Grafton Street in the city centre, with a difficult proposition: to design, on the spot, the first thing you should taste in 2014. Luckily, the mixologist is used to invention. Having built a menu of drinks that complements, and is inspired by, the spicy palate of India, he’s twisted some of the most enduring cocktails to his own exotic style, as well as offering improvisations to create entirely new concoctions.
2013 was the year the once-bootleg spirit poitín made a comeback, appearing in Dublin’s city's more specialist bars and revitalising cocktails with a lug of Irish tradition. Darren paid honour to the resurgent drink; included in his recipe here, saying “I believe that consumers’ eyes have been opened to the world of possibilities of new flavours. Poitín always was that truly Irish product, the granddaddy to Irish whiskey as we know it, but it wasn't produced for the mainstream. 2013 saw it being hand crafted as a cool, uniquely Irish product that offered consumers new tastes from old sources.”
Indie Dhaba’s success has been part of a wider move towards slow eating and clever drink combinations as a growing connoisseurship in the city reaches critical mass. Darren says that the popularisation of different spirits, craft beers, craft cocktails and tastes “can be put down to international travel – our prodigal sons and daughters returning to our shores bring with them acquired tastes they obtained from visiting a plethora of different countries. And with this, a fire has been lit under bars and restaurants and supermarkets to expand their offerings to meet these new taste requirements. And the recession has helped. I believe people are more guided with their spends, going to enjoy good drinks and beers with specific destinations in mind that serve the cocktail they like or that craft beer they don’t mind paying the premium for.”
On where to find those discerning drinkers and ‘in’ places to hang out, Darren shares that “the locals are spending more time around Georges Street, South William Street and Dawson Street, kind of the golden triangle of Dublin - currently where they feel at home.”
If you’re thinking about hitting the cocktail trail when visiting Dublin this New Year’s, why not check out some of the Dublin’s other cocktail specialists or visit Darren in Indie Dhaba,
Check out further details on Dublin’s New Year’s Eve Festival 2013