Samuel Gelston’s is bringing some gilded glamour to the UK this season with a series of exciting collaborations that explore the golden roots of its Irish Whiskey.
Award-winning Belfast-based mixologist Emily Doherty and leading gold prospector Vince Thurkettle will be fronting the new Gelston’s Gold Rush campaign, which will unveil gold inspired cocktail recipes, a gold panning event in the home of the brand and an exploration into Ireland’s prospecting past. Wild gold expert and jewellery maker Mark Bell will also be on hand to add some seasonal sparkle by creating a showstopping gold bottle of Samuel Gelston’s whiskey, which will be revealed in a festive competition this December.
Established in Belfast in the 1830s, Samuel Gelston’s was purchased by daring young Irishman Harry Neill in 1869 who made his fortune in Australia’s spectacular 1851 Gold Rush. Upon returning to Belfast, Harry used his new found wealth to rebuild the Gelston’s business and export his ‘liquid gold’ for the world to enjoy.
Vince explains:“I love all the gold rush stories and have prospected out in Australia in the area where the 1850s gold rush took place, and Harry made his fortune. I have recovered gold and treasure from a tragic shipwreck from that time, the ‘Royal Charter’ which was bringing gold miners and their families home – and carried about 150 million Euros worth of gold. If Harry had been on that ship we wouldn’t now have these fabulous whiskeys.
“Whiskey and gold, two key ingredients to all the great gold rushes – I am so pleased that they are being brought together again, and absolutely delighted to be a part of this Gelston’s adventure.”
Mixologist Emily looked to the past to re-create a classic cocktail for today’s whiskey enthusiasts. She explains:
“My inspiration behind this drink was to take the classic ‘gold rush’ cocktail and put a modern twist on it. Hot honey is something that became very popular this year and there is a good reason, you get the sweetness and floral notes coming from the honey with the light spice and black pepper from the chilli. The other ingredients in this cocktail are the type of ingredients you see in a Margarita but they work incredibly well with whiskey, the orange juice opens up the sweet notes in the spirit and the salt rim balances out the sweetness.”
The Gelston’s Gold Rush
50ml Samuel Gelston’s Blended Irish whiskey
20ml Lime juice
30ml Fresh orange juice
10ml Hot honey *
Shake all ingredients over ice and strain into an iced punch or rocks glass, with a salt rim, and a burnt orange slice as garnish.
*To make the hot honey, pick your favourite honey and add two hot chillies, or add in two teaspoons of dried chilli flakes, leave for two days then strain.
Samuel Gelston’s Spiced Star
Emily’s inspiration behind this drink is the iconic golden star on the Gelston’s bottle. And with the festive season fast approaching, she created this drink to enjoy on a cold winter day.
She explains: “Samuel Gelstons Irish Cream Liqueur is a warm hug in a glass, it’s smooth, creamy and sweet, and perfect with hot coffee and spiced brown sugar syrup.”
50ml Samuel Gelstons Irish Cream Liqueur
10ml Spiced brown sugar syrup *
60ml Americano coffee
Double cream to top
Pour all ingredients into a steamed Irish coffee glass and layer your thick cream on top with a spoon. Garnish with the star anise.
*To make your own spiced syrup mix one cup of brown sugar and one cup of hot water with your favourite spices, Emily’s are cinnamon, cloves and star anise.
Ireland has a glittering history when it comes to gold. Prospector Vince Thurkettle reveals:
- The Irish took part in all of the world’s great gold rushes. Two of the very few Irish adventurers who came home rich, are Gelston’s Harry Neill and Micheal MacGowan – who took eight years to walk to the Yukon gold rush, struck gold, and bought a farm when he returned home.
- Ireland may be called the ‘Emerald Isle’, but it is certainly a ‘Golden Isle’. Natural gold has been found across the whole island, from ancient times right up to the present day.
- More Bronze Age hoards of gold items have been found in Ireland than anywhere else in Europe. A horde of 150 golden objects, weighing over 5 kg, were found in County Clare in 1854. Whilst the golden bog of Cullen was an absolute treasure trove of Bronze Age objects – tragically almost all of which were melted down for bullion.
- The Great Irish Gold Rush started in 1795 near Avoca, in the Wicklow mountains south of Dublin! But it is unlikely that this location was known to the Bronze Age people as over 9,000 ounces of gold was found, including large nuggets, in relatively easily worked ground. One of these huge nuggets has survived as it was made into a snuffbox for King George III.
- Croagh Patrick the holy mountain in County Mayo is known to be riddled with gold veins. Could this be why the mountain became sacred in ancient times? The mountain is much-loved and respected, attempts to mine it in the 1980s were soon stopped by the local people.
- There is currently huge interest in finding and recovering natural Irish gold.
The hobby of recreational gold panning is becoming increasingly popular, and several gold mining companies are working hard to develop commercial mines in Ireland.