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JJ’s Bar at Jameson Distillery is an actual hidden gem

Words: Shamim de Brún

Ahead of this Christmas, we visited the renowned Jameson Distillery on Bow St. Dublin 7 to learn how to
make our own cocktails, sample some whiskey directly from a barrel, and check out what’s on offer for the
regular Dubliner.

To book your own Jameson experience, follow this link.

JJ’s Bar at Jameson Distillery is nestled in the heart of Smithfield, a stone’s throw from the city centre. If you find yourself in this neck of the woods it’s a pretty slick space to grab a drink. Jameson Distillery Bow St. has been an integral part of Smithfield for years. It’s a changing and evolving space but distillery bars are relatively new to Dublin’s drinks culture. Yeah, the spot has been there since 1780, but a place to go and grab a drink, it certainly was not. For most of its life, Bow St. was a working distillery. Firing potstills but never shaking cocktails. It reopened as a visitor experience in the 90s but the bar itself got a whole new look back in 2017.

When I don’t know where to go for a drink, I always ask a bartender. JJ’s has the bartenders seal of approval. The thing about bartenders is that they are notoriously in the know when it comes to cocktails. They like ‘em made with artisanal sounding bitters or double dry shaken. Stuff that doesn’t really occur to most of us is exactly what they’re machete-ing through the jungle in search of.

It’s a real trick of the trade to hit up distillery bars. Industry heads always do it; mostly because they know the staff are sound and the cocktails are top class. The real clincher though is it’s open on Sunday and Monday, also known as the bartenders’ weekend.

In JJ’s the specifically crafted cocktail menu includes some unusual sounding but phenomenal tasting cocktails. They’re created and hand-crafted by the renowned team of International Bartenders at Jameson in order to showcase whiskey at its most diverse. It’s a fun place to order something beyond your go-to. Even if you’re not into whiskey you’ll be grand. There’s more than one fruity number that tastes like there’s nothing but berries in it.

Being only a toddle away from the Luas stop and around the corner from the Cobblestone makes it a handy spot just off Smithfield Square. Dublin 7 is full of hearty bars and stout pours but JJ’s has the best cocktails hands-down. It’s ideal if you want just one fancy drink before you hit the “definitely going to win an Oscar” movie at the Lighthouse. Or as a spacious meeting spot before you sit down for a decent feed at Wuff or Fish Shop.

There are non-alcoholic cocktails in spades too that earnestly taste as if they were designed to be good drinks and not shoved in as afterthoughts. The drinks are high end but not too expensive. They’re full of handmade syrups you couldn’t be fussed with at home but that make everything taste like you’re swanning around Manhattan. JJ’s Bar is big into seasonality so the cocktails come and go with the weather but right now the go-to cocktails are:

It’s a real trick of the trade to hit up distillery bars. Industry heads always do it; mostly because they know the staff are sound and the cocktails are top class.

The Fruity One

Pear and Blackcurrant Sour

As after-dinner cocktails go, the whiskey sour is one of the most famous. By mixing Jameson Black Barrel,
pear juice, blackcurrant syrup, lemon juice with egg white and berry bitters, you get a delicious classic
cocktail that rings like a bell announcing the new heavyweight champion. Plus, with the Jameson Black
Barrel, you get the added bonus of enhanced spiciness, vanilla sweetness and sherry fruit in what is
already a very tasty cocktail.

The Fresh One

The Apple and Blackberry Mash

This one is as sexy as a sultry secret. So fresh and crisp. It’s like a winter walk along the beach on a sunny
cold day. This is the one to try if you like a mojito but want something more complex. It’s versatile and the
non-alcoholic version is just as scrumptious. With winter lingering cold and dark around us this fresh little
ditty is a real winner

The Classic One

Black Barrel Belle

This one is for the old-fashioned lover. Like the name suggests the Belle is a thing of beauty. Like a next-
gen pour n stir it has the dexterity of a virtuoso that comes from the menage a trois of cherry liqueur,
vermouth, and orange bitters. The Jameson Black Barrel adds a long finish that’s rich and intense, full of
toasted wood and vanilla. This is one for the whiskey drinker.

Book your Jameson experience tickets here. Or take a walk into Bow St. and enjoy JJ’s Bar with no
booking necessary.

CHAR day out at Jameson Distillery Bow St. ⁠

Enjoy Jameson’s responsibly.
Visit www.drinkaware.ie for more information.

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