What Was Poitin Whiskey?

The Poor man's Whiskey?
Poitín as it was known in gaelic or in english  Poteen or Potcheen. This a traditional Irish distilled, highly alcoholic beverage (60%-95% ABV). Poitín was traditionally distilled in a small pot still and the term is a diminutive of the Irish word pota, meaning "pot". Traditionally distilled from potatoes, it is one of the strongest alcoholic beverages in the world, and for centuries was illegal in Ireland.


(water a key ingredient in poitin)

Legal status
Irish moonshine, along with all other private distillation not specifically licensed by the state, was outlawed in 1661. Back in 1997, the Irish Revenue Commissioners withdrew their opposition to poitín being sold under license in Republic of Ireland. Production for export has been allowed since 1989. Poitín remains illegal in Northern Ireland however. In 2008, Irish Poitín was accorded (GI) Geographical Indicative Status by the EU Council and Parliament.

Today, two distilleries in the Republic of Ireland are officially licensed to produce poitín: Bunratty Mead and Liqueuer and Knockeen Hills Poteen. Their products are, however, far removed from the coarse illegal poitin produced in the past. Indeed Bunratty is single distilled and only 40% or 45% ABV, far weaker than illegally distilled poitín, and comparable to vodka. Knockeen Hills however, comes in at various strengths from 60% to 90% ABV, varying from triple-distilled to quadruple-distilled.

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