The sun is shining.. that must mean cider!


It is amazing! As soon as the sun come out in Ireland (and to be honest that doesn’t happen too often) we have a pavlovian response to crave cider. I think we can thank a very well marketed commercial cider brand for that. The excellent thing about that cider is that it whetted our palates for lots of lovely artisan ciders. These crafted ciders; full to the brim with apple-y yum-ness, are incredibly delicious, work well with food and really are the closest thing we have to Irish wine.

Like wine, cider is a fermented rather than a brewed beverage. There are many cider makers selecting apple varieties and blending juices with the same care an attention to detail that wine makers approach making wine, some even produce vintage cider celebrating the uniqueness of each year’s harvest. The Orpens Cider guys have a background and history in wine and there is even a wine maker making cider in Ireland. Simon Tyrrell makes very fine wine in the Rhône Valley and with Angus Craigie produces Cragies Irish Cider.

Cragies produce 2 ciders in very contrasting styles, Ballyhook flyer and Dalliance.

Ballyhook flyer takes its name form the original Ballyhook flyer, If the legend is to be believed the finest machine to have ever entered the Grangecon Soapbox Derby, below is a photos of it hanging in the Big Shed at the Ballymaloe literary festival of food and wine.


Can you tell from the photo that it’s suspended from the ceiling?

Ballyhook flyer (500ml RRP  €4.50-€5 ABV5.8% ) 2012 is a made from a mixture of Dabinett, Katy, and Bramley apples, sourced from dedicated apple growers in Co.Waterford, Co.Tipperary and Co. Kilkenny. It is a crisp, fruity off dry cider with a lovely savoury note which makes it a great match for cheeses, pork and chicken dishes.

Dalliance ( 375ml €4.49- €5 ABV 5.8%) is a totally different style, I like to drink it as you would a sparkling wine or prosecco, dry, fresh, crisp  green apples flavours  with a lovely perfumed apple blossom on toast nose.I sounds a bit of an odd description but nose it and see!) It’s gorgeous and would be a super and unique wedding welcome reception drink. It’s made exclusivly from desert apples and is left to rest on its fermentation lees for 18months before bottling, apparently it’s all set to age for up to 24 months in bottle.

Orpens Cider (375ml  €2.69 ABV 5.3) 

Orpens fruit is carefully selected from quality orchards that produce a balanced range of apple varieties. The apples are fermented to cider as single batches and blended together to create a signature style. The result is a complex, layered cider with an extra clean, crisp apple character and a fresh citrus-y finish.

This attention to datail makes it a perfect food cider. Orpens also works super well in  punch or as an alternative to sparking wine in a kir, just add a drop of black currant liqueur or even some elderflower St. Germain would be just gorgeous!

Orpens Punch!
Orpens punch: rum, rhubarb and orpens cider!
Perfect at a barbeque!
Perfect at a barbeque!
Orpens with fish and chips.. yum!
Orpens Cider with fish and chips, the fish batter was made with Orpens..making it super light, crispy & yum!

Tempted? Cider: Summer sweet (500ml RRP €4.20- €4:50 ABV 5%)

From the moment I first tasted this cider at the Craft Beer and Cider festival in the RDS a few years ago I loved it.
It is the perfect summer’s day cider. Crisp and sweet at the same time, Summer Sweet Cider introduces a significant proportion of Tipperary bittersweet cider apples to Tempted medium sweet cider made from Armagh’s apple crop. A generous measure of pure pressed apple juice is added to make a light, refreshing Irish cider. Winner of the Gold award 2013 National Irish Food Awards (Blas na hEireann). A family business to its core (had to use that apple pun!) cidermaker Davy’s daugther divised the snazzy branding and the packaging! Oh and if you picking up a bottle of Summer Sweet seek out a bottle of the strawberry too; it’s a taste sensation!
Tempted cider range
Lots of independant off-licences including Celtic whiskey shop, Bradleys in Cork and Jus de Vine ,Portmarnock
Craigies Dalliance CiderBaggot Street Wines
Blackrock Cellar
Bradley’s Off-Licence
Callans Off Licence
Celtic Whiskey Shop Ltd.
Deveneys – Dundrum
Dicey Reilly’s Bar and Off-Licence
Donnybrook Fair Ltd.
Drink Store
Jus De Vine
Kelly’s Wine Vault
Martins Off Licence
McHughs Kilbarrack Road
Next Door @ Byrnes Kilcoole
O’Callaghans OL (Deveneys) (Rathmines)
O’Neills Off Licence
Redmonds Off-Licence
Revolution Gastro Bar Ltd
Salt House
Temple Bar Pub
The Sky on the Ground
No 21 Midelton
The Winding Stair
Matsons Wine Store Grange
Matsons Wine Store Bandon
Bello Bar
a wide range of independant off-licences Lovely restauants and bars and supermarkets check out their handy interactive map here
Nextdoor Kildare Town
Galvins Wines and Spirits

Superquinn Ltd

Ard Bia at Nimmos

Celtic Whiskey Shop Ltd

Molly Darcy’s Trad Irish Pub

Hotel Doolin

Locke Bar

Left Bank Bistro,

An Port Mor

Armada Hotel

Nancy’s Bar

Kelly’s Wine Vault

Kate Brownes Bar

Pavilion Bar and Nightclub

Sage Restaurant

Cafe Arnou

Casey’s of Baltimore

An Canteen

Jackson’s Hotel and Conference

Logues Bar

Yew Tree Restaurant

Hassetts Restaurant

Doolin Cafe

Bodega Waterford

Annies Bar & Restaurant

White House Bar

Worldwide Wines

Aubergine Gallary Cafe

Molloys Liquor Stores

Delphi Mountain Resort

Parnell Street Off Licence

The Purple Onion

La Boheme Restaurant
Bobby Byrnes Bar
Reginalds Tower Bar&Restaurant
CraneLane Theatre
Wholesome Fayre
Joyces SupermarketKnocknacarra
Castle Off Licence
Dicey Reillys Bar&Off Licence
The Counter
Mickey Finn’s
Bantry Bay Hotel
Blue Haven Hotel
Abbot Ale House
Charcoal Grill
Bella Vista Bar & Bistro
Cliff House Hotel
Egans Off Licence, portlaoise
Carry Out Glanmire
Paul Geaney’s Bar
Sol Bistro William Street
Next Door Desmonds Dublin
Green 19
Wallis’s Bar
Marina Inn
Mutton Lane Inn,
Eurospar Kilmainham
Wild Honey Inn
5th on Teeling
The Swagman Bar
Next Door Desmonds Limerick
Matson’s Wine Store
McGoverns Off Licence
Ballymascanlon House Hotel
fern hill golf club
The Malthouse
O’Flynn Gourmet Sausages
Lough Rynn Castle Ltd
Brewery Corner
Number 21 Off Licence Middleto
Next Door Youghal
Hegarty’s Supermarket,
LV Bar / Windsor Inn
Next Door James Street
Byrnes Restaurant and Accomoda
Queens Hotel Ltd
Hub Bar
Quayside Bar
Town & Country Club
Pifko Bar and Grill
Blarney Woolen Mills
Dela Restaurant
Nextdoor Shandon St
Mount Oval Bar
Sheen Falls Lodge
Crackpots, Kinsale
Super Valu Hurley’s
The Lord Mayors Off Licence
The Outpost Bar
Vasco Dine
gulpd cafe
Galvins Off Licence
Carry Out Off Licences






If I was getting married I’ d go Elderflower foraging!



Have I told you I love free things? I especially love free things that taste really expensive and fresh and delicious and grow right outside my window. Elder is one of those things Elder is so very versatile, both the flowers and the berries are incredible useful and readily available. Big flowery perfumed elderflower is right in season. Pick it as early as you can and ideally on a dry day. So its time to grab a scissors and a basket and get foraging. Brides to be, collect elderflower! Elderflower cordial is a magic ingredient and a splash of it in any sparkling wine turns a welcome drink into a really special cocktail. Its also a cinch to make, I’ve used this recipe here year after year. I will add that if you are foraging its important not to be too gready, we have other things to eat but birds will miss out on elderberries later in the season if the elderflowers are stripped. Rule of thumb is forage up to a third of what you find and leave the rest.

Now, ff you don’t fancy making your own, Check out gorgeous Richmount Cordials.

This week on my Late Lunch Live Drinks I will be featuring Elderflower drinks.

Lots of producers have cottoned on to wonderful Elderflower. Fevertree have a super hand-picked elderflower tonic water that makes even a humble G&T extrodinary.


Kopparberg has a new lime and elderflower cider.


I will be showcasing a homemade elderflower fizz. I used Darina Allen’s recipe from her Forgotten Skills of Cooking book.  Darina published the recipe on her blog here. I was just down in Ballymaloe for the literary festival of food and wine in was so inspired that it made sense to feature elderflower this week.

We’re also tasting 2 delicious St. Germaine cocktails. St. Germain is french elderflower liqueur that is truly yum! I’m making a Parisian Daiquiri and The Royale!


Parisian Daiquiri

40ml Bacardi Superior rum

20ml St Germain liqueur

20ml fresh lime juice

1 spoon of castor sugar or simple syrup

Add all ingredients into a shaker with cubed ice, shake well and strain into a chilled martini or coupé glass.

Garnish with a wedge of fresh lime and a small bunch of elderflower.


The Royale

25ml St Germain

25ml Martini Bianco

20ml fresh lime juice

Top with chilled Soda water


Take a large wine glass and add all ingredients except soda water. Add cubed ice and stir well. Fill glass with ice and top with chilled soda water.

Garnish with a lime wheel and a bunch of fresh mint or a rose petal!