Quietly distilled in West Cork, Mad March Hare Irish Poitín is part of a national revival of Poitín as an emerging, modern, innovative and vibrant category, led by independent Irish producers. Poitín is of the oldest spirits in the world, dating from the 6th century, and was traditionally the spirit of choice for the average Irish man or woman. In contrast, Irish Whiskey was the beverage of choice for the elite, with the majority exported overseas and was known as ‘Parliament Whiskey’ because of the taxes levied on it and its popularity in Great Britain.
Well known for its chequered history, Poitín was illegal from 1661 to 1997 after the British Crown tried unsuccessfully to tax it to extinction. Despite the best efforts of the law, Ireland’s love affair with Poitín never died and it was secretly distilled for over 300 years, remaining an integral part of everyday Irish life. Elusive distillers shifted production to the remotest parts of Ireland, to avoid the prying eyes of the law and most town-lands had their own beloved producers and smugglers whose escapades were the subject of fireside tales.
Mad March Hare Irish Poitín was inspired by a legendary bootlegger and Poitín maker called Mooney. On the face of it, Mooney — said locally to be ‘Mad as a March Hare’, was a fruit and veg market trader, but this was really a front for his far more lucrative Poitín business. Such was the demand for Mooney’s famous Poitín, he braved the wildest Irish weather and the long arm of the law to serve his loyal customers. Mad March Hare is distilled in the spirit of Mooney’s famous recipe, ‘Recipe No. 27’.
Mad March Hare is a craft spirit, triple distilled in copper pots using locally grown barley. Commonly used to distill whiskey and brandy, copper pot stills were first used in the production of Irish Poitín — Poitín or ‘Potcheen’ means ‘small pot’ in Irish. That long and rich tradition is retained at Mad March Hare, as copper has catalytic properties that more modern ‘column stills’ cannot match. Poitín, which can be brewed, fermented and distilled from cereals, grain, whey, sugar beet molasses and/or potatoes is a clear, non-aged spirit. Mad March Hare uses only the best, locally sourced, malted barley from farmers within a couple of miles of the stills. The mash bill is 95% malted barley, 5% whey and the spirit is triple distilled, filtered and bottled at 40% for a smooth finish.
Poitín is an extremely versatile spirit, and has grown to become an essential component of the modern cocktail scene, as an ideal alternative white spirit. It works well in a simple mule, such as the ‘Mad March Mule’ cocktail made with 2oz Mad March Hare, 1oz Ginger Beer, Fresh Lime and Bitters, a house drink at Bar 1661, the world’s first Poitín focused cocktail bar. An excellent base in a craft cocktail, Poitín is also a great alternative to whiskey in an Irish coffee, or for the purists, it can be enjoyed sipped along with a pint of plain.
Since being legalised in 1997 Irish Poitín has grown as a category with 13 distilleries now operating on the island of Ireland, with different regional styles and mash bills. In 2008 Irish Poitín gained the protection of Geographical Indicator (GI) status under EU rules(similar to Champagne in France), and Bord Bia has gone on to facilitate the establishment of the Irish Poitín Collective, made up of Poitín producers from all over the island. Since its release in 2014 Mad March Hare Irish Poitín has been a key player in the emerging Poitín category and has picked up a number of awards. The 700ml bottle has a RRP of €40.00 (40% ABV) and is distributed throughout Europe and the USA through independent Irish company Intrepid Spirits, who are committed to bringing innovative and resurgent brands to the marketplace. Mad March Hare is proud to be served at Bar 1661, the flagship cocktail bar for Irish Poitín, alongside the very best Irish Poitíns being produced on this island.
“As a nation with a long history, and a longer memory, Poitín was traditionally drank at home and amongst friends in shared in a gesture of trust that bound many friendships and partnerships together. The ‘Mad March Hare’ Mooney wouldn’t have gotten very far if his customers told the taxman about him! Poitín has evolved into a unique spirit of craftsmanship, high quality, and versatility to be celebrated as part of our modern Irish culture. At Mad March Hare, we are proud to be playing our part in the revival of Ireland’s most original spirit and see Poitín taking its rightful place as an icon of world spirits.” – John Ralph, founder and CEO of Intrepid Spirits.
NATIONAL PLOUGHING CHAMPIONSHIPS 2019
Get into the rebel spirit at the Ploughing!
Mad March Hare Irish Poitín will be at the National Ploughing Championships in Co. Carlow, 17th-19th September.
Try complimentary samples of Mad March Mule cocktails at the Mad March Hare cart at Stand 645 in the Dome