Poitin still has something of a mythical status in Ireland, with plenty of rural people able to point to their own source of the stuff, probably outside of any kind of official production. There are numerous stories doing the rounds about poitin making people blind, or exploding barns as a result of a failed distillation process.

The legal version is not widely consumed in pubs, though it’s not unheard of. It can be seen as a kind of hardened, ‘big night’ drink, or as something to be savoured in the way you might enjoy a whiskey (though we’re not sure the flavour palette contains quite the same sophistication). Some bars have started doing cocktails with the stuff, too.

That said, you can now bring poitin home (well, at least the legal version). At anywhere between 40% and a borderline ridiculous 90% alcohol, there are numerous legalised stills, and poitin has risen to an EU-recognised Geographical Indicative status, meaning it can only be produced and sold under the name when made in Ireland. It’s regional enough that you’re fairly unlikely to stumble across poitin outside of Ireland, which makes it a great gift.

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