Upon arrival at the Irish farm in Kilgarvan, a bottle of homemade bog myrtle beer was waiting in the kitchen, as a welcoming gift.
Apparently, bog myrtle leaves were used to flavor beer before hops became popular in Britain, and they are still used as a flavoring agent in Swedish spirits. (Bog myrtle leaves pictured above, courtesy of tigerlillith.)
For those with access to bog myrtle leaves, the recipe:
- a big handful of bog myrtle leaves
- 1 gallon of boiling water
- 1 lb sugar
- 1 lemon sliced
- 1 oz yeast or 1 tablespoon dried yeast
Put leaves, sugar, and lemon in bowl. Pour on boiling water. Allow to cool. When tepid, float a piece of toast on the surface and sprinkle yeast on the toast. Leave for 24 hours. Remove the toast and strain liquid into bottles. You can keep the beer for a while or drink at once. Watch out for popping corks if you bottle immediately.
Alternatively strain into a fermentation jar and fit fermentation lock. Leave for about a month or until fermentation ceases.
If you prefer a sweeter drink, make a syrup with equal volumes of water and sugar. Heat until sugar dissolves then cool before adding to beer. If you like a spicy beer, add a teaspoonful of ground ginger to the syrup while heating.
You can also make a double quantity of the beer in a plastic bucket. Double the sugar and water in this case, but no the lemon, nor yeast.
Also, I got my hands on the real-deal recipe for Irish coffee, as follows:
- 1 very generous measure of Irish Whisky
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- 1 heaped dessert spoon of whipped cream
- hot, strong coffee
Pre-warm a stemmed glass. Add the whisky. Add the sugar and stir in the coffee. Float the whipped cream on top. Allow the cream to sit, do not stir!