Back in ye olden days of 2010 I was travelling in Spain, as I do, and everyone was drinking gin and tonics , there were gin bars and all manner of fancy gin accoutrements. I know from our lofty position of 2018 we laugh at my naiveté, “of course, gin is a tress cool drink, the epitome of hip and gin bars are A THING”. This however was not the case back then, a bit strange to call 2010 back then especially when I still think 2001 was last year but anyway. When I went back home I was the only one, generally, on nights out who would order a gin and tonic and when I started dating my husband he made some comment about it being an old man’s drink. Little did we know! Gin was the next big thing and it’s so big that it’s almost not a thing anymore. How passé!
In any case, these drinks that only a few years ago were dated and stodgy are having something of a revival. Sometimes I find that, or perhaps it is one of those things where you think you perceive something because you’re an outsider, Ireland still has more entrenched gender roles than perhaps other European countries or even Canada. Of course, I’m not sure who-drinks-what-kind-of-drink sexism is our most pressing issue of the day but here we are. When I first started drinking I often drank rye (Canadian whiskey) and I wasn’t the lone woman drinking it either, women I know drink and are knowledgeable about beer, stout and other traditional “manly drinks”. Of course I am not saying that Canada is a paragon of equality and virtue, we have those kind of sexist and frankly confusing standards of drinks too. One time a man in the restaurant I worked at wanted me to send a “girly drink” to another man in an opposing sports team’s jersey (it was a Smirnoff Ice which I don’t think is so much a girly drink as a “I’m 18 and haven’t suffered enough of adult life to make hard liquor taste good” drink). Sadly as a person relying on tips I could not say what I wanted to which was “what is your life like that this is so funny to you that you asked me to do it twice and ALSO THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH BEING GIRLY” Anyway, I have digressed quite a bit here. Our guide told us that because she was a woman people sometimes assumed she didn’t know anything about whiskey but that things we rapidly changing and, beyond these drinks making a comeback, people were more willing to branch out into the unknown territory of ordering drinks not traditionally associated with their gender!
Joking aside, the Whiskey tour was a very enjoyable and informative evening. You know the feeling when you come out of an art gallery, museum, the ballet or something like that? You feel that you’ve learned something and are better for it? That’s how we felt leaving the whiskey tour, and also frankly a little bit buzzed because the shots weren’t that small. Our guide was lovely and we learned a lot about the history of whiskey, the production of whiskey, many other things about whiskey. That’s all I’m saying because I think everyone should do the tour! And of course there was the tasting. The basic tour consists of five different kinds of whiskey in three different bars and there are other options that including food pairings. Honestly I think we will be doing the food pairings one in the near future. There’s cheese. I mean. I imagine there’s cheese. It wasn’t like being on an airplane, they didn’t make us walk by the people on the higher end tours sampling their cheese with dignity while we made our way to the peasant section where some underpaid flight attendant hopes that you don’t wake up so they don’t have to offer you a drink.
Dublin is a touristy city and that’s okay! Temple Bar is a lovely area, for example even if famous for the hourly increase in the price of drink. The Guinness storehouse is interesting and the view from the top is stunning. The point is that Dublin is a great city to be a tourist in. The Dublin Whiskey tour does go into Temple Bar but it also takes you to quieter, local pubs and so strikes that balance of touristy, but not-too-too-touristy. Doing a tour of any kind, even an increasingly trendy food or drink tour (or as I like to think of them, grown up pub crawls) can feel… well cheesy. Every tourist or expat dreams of blending in and looking stylish while doing it. Of gracefully giving the correct number and order of air kisses (to be clear that number in Ireland is “0”) and saying “oh I know a place just around the corner here”. But tours are great! They’re interesting, they’re fun and the hosts are, understandably passionate about their topic, whatever it may be. We had a really lovely time on this particular tour and can imagine us going back sometime soon for the fancier tour! If you’re looking for something to do in Dublin that’s a little bit different and very fun, I definitely recommend Dublin Whiskey Tours. Bottoms up!