THE BEST Irish cocktail of 2018 has been crowned following a month-long search featuring alcoholic creations from across all 32 counties.
Last October marked the inaugural Irish Cocktail Month, with venues across the country invited to take part in a celebration of cocktails made using Irish spirits.
Dozens of venues from the four provinces got involved in the competition, run by Great Irish Beverages, with all of them showcasing cocktails made with Irish whiskeys, gins, vodkas, and poitíns.
Once they were registered and the festival started on October 1st, the public could vote for which venue had the #BestIrishCocktail by using the hashtag on Twitter and Instagram and tagging the venue or by simply posting on our Facebook page and telling us there.
Their winning spirited creation is called, "Bee Right With You" and it's an incredible celebration of all things local.
To begin with, seeing as they're located right by the Blackwater River, it would have been rude not to work with the lovely gin from Blackwater Distillery!
This is then mixed with house-made honey bitters made from the hives of S Bees in Fermoy, (bitters is a special liquid that bartenders use to season cocktails) and crystallised calendula flower petals from Botanica & Co Fermoy before being set alight.
It is then mixed with more of the Fermoy honey, lime juice, lemon juice, a pinch of cinnamon, a splash of premium tonic water and egg white.
After being shaken vigorously with ice, it's then strained into an ice cold martini glass and garnished with a honey tuile and some more calendula petals.
The man responsible for this delicious delight is The Grand Hotel's leading cocktail whizkid, John Coleman.
He has been there for 8 years and his inspiration for the cocktail was a direct result of attending the summer festival, Taste of Fermoy.
It was here that he met the good folk from S Bees and Botanica Fermoy who would supply him with the key ingredients from the area for his drink.
"I see cocktail creations not just bringing together ingredients, but businesses as well, both big and small," Coleman said.
"My ethos is to always use Irish spirits and mixers as your base, and look to your locality for other ingredients, be it the farmer's market, orchard or fruit farm, beekeeper, herbalist or any other businesses."
This is exactly what our festivals are all about, celebrating Irish spirits and Irish produce.
Should you be anywhere near Fermoy in the coming days, weeks or months please pay them a visit and ask for a "Bee Right With You" at the bar, the #BestIrishCocktail of 2018. Sláinte!