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Whiskey distilling is returning to Dublin. One of the new distilleries in the city is the Roe and Co Distillery, which is affiliated with Diageo, the parent company of Guinness. While there are several Dublin distillery tours that you can take, the Roe and Co Distillery tour is different, as it takes place in the form of a cocktail workshop experience rather than a traditional tasting.
Roe and Co Distillery Tour in Dublin
Like other distilleries, Roe and Co Distillery has tours, but their tour of the distilling area is only a small part of the experience. Instead, visitors can choose one of two Roe and Co cocktail workshop experiences. One of the cocktail workshops focuses on whiskey blending, while the other focuses on cocktail flavors. You can pre-book Roe and Co Distillery tour tickets online. There are also combination tickets available with the Guinness Storehouse.
The Roe and Co Distillery is located in what was originally the 1950s Guinness Power Station. It opened in 2019. The distillery is named after George Roe, a prominent Dublin distiller whose company once produced 2 million gallons of whiskey per year at its peak before closing in the 1920s. While Roe and Co is not affiliated with George Roe at all, the name honors his importance in Dublin. Outside, there is a seasonal cocktail garden & street art.
Just past the entrance of Roe and Co Distillery, there is a large gift shop selling a variety of branded products as well as whiskey. You can fill your own personalized bottle from a cask & also build your own cocktail boxes. The tours depart from the gift shop. Check in first when you arrive so they know you are there.
The Roe and Co whiskey tour begins with telling the history of Dublin distilling as well as the history of Roe and Co and the building. Outside, you can see a nearby tower called St. Patricks. This windmill was part of the original distillery. The shape and colors of Roe and Co whiskey bottles are inspired by the tower.
We then headed into the distilling room, a massive space that was once a large section of the power plant. The distillery was doing its annual January maintenance, so scaffolding was in place & no whiskey was being produced.
Roe and Co whiskeys are triple distilled. The shape of the still contributes to the flavour. Our tour guide estimated that about 20%-30% of the flavour comes from the initial distillation.
Next, the spirit is put into wooden barrels for a minimum of 3 years. Irish whiskies can use any wood, whereas Scottish whisky has to be oak – but oak is still used the most in Ireland.
The Roe and Co barrel house is actually located 2 hours north of Dublin in Louth. This is done for safety due to the tragic history of fires in storage areas in the past.
Roe and Co Distillery Cocktail Workshop Experience
As I mentioned previously, there are two different options for the Roe and Co Distillery Cocktail Workshop Experience. One of the tours highlights the process behind whiskey blending. The second is called the Flavours Experience and is designed for cocktail enthusiasts.
I opted for the cocktail-making workshop, as I had been going to so many Dublin cocktail bars.
We started off with the elements of Roe and Co whiskey. Single malt, single-grain whiskies are blended post-maturation. We were given a variety of samples of the elements that make up the scent of their whiskey, including dehydrated apples, toffee, and cloves.
Next was a tasting of the whiskey, which also smelled of caramel, honey, vanilla, and citrus. The 90-proof whiskey had a little bit of a bite but was still smooth.
Along with the whiskey and the aroma sampler, we also had dropper bottles of 5 different flavours. This allowed us to select what type of cocktail we wanted to make. The droppers had basic flavours, then our actual selections had more complex ingredients.
I decided to be adventurous and went for the umami cocktail, which contained coconut and truffle.
Then it was time to make our cocktails. I learned tips on how to fill & shake the cocktail shaker, as well as something I had not considered before, which is to always start with the cheapest ingredient. That way if you make a mistake, you won’t waste something expensive.
My umami cocktail was quite enjoyable, plus I had the pride of having made it myself. After I was done, it was time to head to the final part of the Roe & Co Distillery Tour.
Following the cocktail workshop, the tour heads to The Power House Bar, a cocktail bar located in another section of the former power station. The Power House Bar is a nice place to end a tour as it’s one of the most interesting cocktail bars in Dublin. One window has views into the Roe and Co Distillery, while the other window has views of the unrefurbished power station.
One cocktail from their collaborative cocktail list is included as part of the Roe and Co Distillery Cocktail Workshop Experience, but you are welcome to stay for as long as you want and buy other drinks. You can also visit The Power House Bar without doing the full Roe and Co tour. They also offer cocktail flights and pairings.
The Roe and Co Distillery Cocktail Workshop Experience is great if you’re looking for a Dublin whiskey experience that’s a bit different than a typical tour. Buy your tickets here!
If you’re looking for a place to crash after drinking whiskey in Dublin, check out these Dublin hotels.