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Food and Drink

Summer coming to an end can be a troubling time for all of us. Why should we have to cope with Ireland's gloomy, cold seasons once more? It doesn't seem fair.

What can be the best stress reliever during difficult and chaotic moments in our lives? Food, obviously.

Deliveroo has revealed how the return to school and end of August can affect our food preferences, and we're not one bit shocked at the rise in alcohol orders during September.

september 21 GIF

Summer 2019 is leaving us behind *pause for sobbing* and it's time to ditch the bikinis for uniforms and work clothes. According to Deliveroo, healthy orders significantly increase in September…what?

The alcohol orders rise by 14 percent as we realise that exams and essay deadlines are back in our lives once more.

The end of summer has broken our hearts, but at least we got to enjoy Love Island and let our pasty skin tones get a tad bit more…red? There were glimmers of sunshine and plenty of rain showers, but it was a good time all the same.

As the nights become shorter, we're less likely to stay out dining late or visiting Dublin's best beer gardens, but Irish adults still need some vino to take the edge of the darker September evenings.

Back-to-school season means that rather than venturing out in dark, dreary weather, it's much easier to order a Prosecco Fiabesco from DRINK! or a Coors Light from Herlihy’s instead on Deliveroo. 

With the end of summer comes the end of the 'beach bod' goals. The month is associated with changes and positive progress, with healthy food orders rising by 22 percent last August.

From salads and falafels and miso salmon to super-sub sandwiches, Sprout and Co and SuperSubs see a rise in Deliveroo orders during the month of September. Look at you go, gals. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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September is also seen as a 'new beginning' time of the year, but we all dread the darker nights accelerating from here until December. It's depressing as f*ck.

The darkness weirdly makes us feel more tired at an earlier time, which means that Deliveroo orders start coming in earlier in the evenings too. 

Last year, the average order time in June was 8:01pm, whereas by the time September rolled around, the average order time was at 7:34pm. Mad what the sky can do to us, isn't it?

So we’re making some new changes with the addition of salads and other healthy orders, but then we need a drink as a result. It's safe to say that September has us in a state of total flux.

angry zac efron GIF

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Being financially independent is hard enough as it is, without the possibility of living in New York. Forget the student lifestyle of drinking all night and having a lie-in until midday. It takes hard work and financial discipline to survive the NYC life.

We all dream of it; the bottomless brunches near Central Park, shopping debt-free on 5th Avenue, living in an apartment that’s LITERALLY the exact same as Monica’s from Friends.

New York is heavily idealised as one of the greatest cities in the world, but it’s hard to deny how magical it can be. Ice-skating at Rockefeller centre at Christmas, essentially recreating Home Alone 2, hitting the iconic bars and gliding past skyscrapers and Broadway.

It permanently feels like you’re on a movie set, the city that never sleeps embodies movement and energetic culture. It’s impossible not to love it, but is it possible to afford it?

Insider recently rated New York eight on the list of the world’s most expensive cities to live in. It was the only American city to make the top ten, and once you break down the costs such as travel, food and rent, it’s not hard to see why it made the list.

We spoke to one of our New Yorker contacts who spent one year living the New York lifestyle to get the 411. You wanna see the receipts?

Rent

Rents have increased at double the rate of incomes in the last seven years alone, according to StreetEasy, which means that you need to make six figures to live in many of the city's most elite neighbourhoods. Yikes.

An average Irish student living in NYC could be paying amounts which range between $700 and $1500 a month on rent, as well as utilities. This would of course depend on location, size, how many housemates you share with and facilities like Wi-Fi and laundry.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Our lucky wanderlust gal spent $900 on rent per month, a good deal seeing as it included utilities and the internet, as well as a washer and a dryer inside.

“I shared with three others, and only had one bathroom, and it was in a pretty dilapidated building in Bushwick with a not so helpful landlord.”

Secret deals in NYC in terms of rent are essentially non-existent. Most people agree that seeing a unicorn is probably more statistically likely. Or a Friends reunion.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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One major extra cost comes in terms of furnishing an empty space, as most apartments in the city will come unfurnished.

Buying second-hand items can be a huge help, and finding things on the street, but both of these options of course have their limitations.

For example, I got my mattress in Berkeley from the street outside our fraternity house, which most people did, and got a very rude awakening when our entire room was visited by bed bugs.

If you think California rent is better than New York, you’ve got another thing coming.

Food and Drink

First thing’s first, you HAVE to limit eating out and going for expensive drinks in glamorous bars. Many New Yorkers are blasé about dropping $10 on coffee and a mediocre muffin.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Joana  (@eatwiththeye) on

We’d all love that lifestyle, but you have to prioritise. Pre-packed lunches is the way to go, and cooking at home.

“A cocktail in a bar would set you back about $14, and in a trendy rooftop bar you could easily spend $20 on a drink. Eating in a restaurant could set you back about $35 for a meal if you included a drink, sales tax and tip."

"This is the worst thing about price of food and drinks in NYC! You think the price will be less, but a 20% service charge adds on a hefty chunk to your bill.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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NYC also has a city tax, so your paycheck won’t have much spending power. Supermarket food in New York is also highly expensive, so even if you want to cook from home, finding lower-cost ingredients can be tricky at best.

My J1 was essentially a three month binge on fries, $4 pizza slices and the occasional scrambled egg on toast if I could afford it. Eating healthily is even harder, considering fast food and ramen are the only semi-affordable meals.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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“Places like Trader Joe's were good for lower cost own-brand items and for whole food/grain type things, but fruit and vegetables generally were always expensive. Meat and fish were also very pricey, there was definitely a good incentive to turn vegetarian.”

I’m personally astounded that I escaped contracting scurvy on my J1 to San Francisco, I barely saw fruit or vegetables the entire time. Spending under $10 on one meal became a challenge that was seen as the Mount Everest of nutritional budgeting.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Try starting an Excel spreadsheet for all of your expenses, so you can budget in advance. Prepare as many meals as you can to prevent buying expensive snacks in stores, and avoid buying too many perishable food items that you would throw away if it went uneaten.

Wasting perfectly good food will become a mortal sin to you after a few weeks of living the NYC life, trust us.

Nights Out

“If you pre-drink in advance, then you don't have to spend too much on a night-out. Liquor in shops is actually quite cheap. The subway runs all night so you can get around cheaply, and otherwise a shared Uber wouldn't be too expensive."

"Some clubs charge entry and then have expensive drinks. I don't smoke but cigarettes were also a massive cost.”

Keep the receipts from any bar you go to, and it will be come alarmingly obvious that purchasing drinks the entire night most definitely adds up.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The Irish have perfected pre-drinking culture, so don’t let yourself slip too much on your night out by buying $16 cocktails every ten minutes, or you’ll be in for a rude awakening when you check your bank balance.

For a couple of free beers, one of Brooklyn’s best craft distilleries (New York Distilling Co.) opens its doors to the public for free tours and tastings on weekends from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m, don’t miss your chance.

Travel

“This was one of the most expensive aspects of living in New York. Flights in and out of the city were always pricey. There is no Ryanair equivalent of budget flights unfortunately."

The Amtrak train service is notoriously expensive. Without advance booking (and even then), it can be $100 for a measly two hour journey… good God.

Buses are the cheapest option for the city, but the reliability and quality leave a lot to be desired, as you might imagine. The buses are often incredibly late, over-booked or cancelled.

The public transport system (MTA) costs you $121 per month for unlimited use, which isn’t bad compared to Dublin, and can be used on buses and subways. However, any of the longer commuter trains are much more expensive

If you’re thinking of parking in the city, be warned that the cost of this is extortionate, as are the prices for renting a car in NYC.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Neil Churcher (@neildchurcher) on

People would often go to neighbouring states of New Jersey or Connecticut to get cars, rather than face the pain of using their hard-earned cash on New York prices.

Activities

Hidden costs and fees are what make so much of New York that bit more expensive than Europe and other places.

Laundromats charge extremely high prices purely because many apartments in the city don’t have laundry facilities, so they take full advantage of this. Hand-washing some of your clothes can aid this process.

When it comes to activities, there are ways of finding cheaper alternatives. The amazing city has a vast array of things to do; the buzz and excitement of the place is captivating.

The tourism industry in NYC is always booming, so charging huge fees for activities such as the Empire State Building, Rockefeller entre, boat rides in Central Park and more can be expensive beyond belief.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by New York Pass (@newyorkpass) on

The Staten Island Ferry is free though, so take advantage of that.

Are you desperate to see the Picassos in the Museum of Modern Art, but don’t want to hand over the $25 admission fee?

The museum offers free admission every Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 pm, and you can also visit the sculpture garden for free every morning from 9:30 to 10 am.

Chelsea’s unreal free art galleries are mostly located between W. 14th Street and W. 29th Street around 10th and 11th Avenues.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Csilla Orban (@csillaorbanart_) on

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s fee is waived on Tuesdays, which means you have the ideal escape for the hustle and bustle of Manhattan life.

Finding activities for free is hugely common in parks, try bringing a picnic to Central Park, embarking on a free yoga session in Bryant Park or grabbing street food (the hot dogs are mouth-watering) and chilling on the lush grass.

Central Park Conservatory offers free tours as well.

The Federal Bank of New York’s Gold Vault has free tours every afternoon. Built in the 1920s and containing over 6,500 tonnes of gold, this little-known treasure can teach you some fascinating financial secrets of the city.

Try stargazing on the High Line, a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side.

Neighbourhood residents saved the location from demolition, and the High Line opened in 2009 as a hybrid space where visitors can experience nature, art, and design for free.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Sam Nicole (@samnicole.co) on

Watch outdoor movies at HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival and Syfy Movies with a View at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Grab a seat and bring some snacks, it’s one of the best free activities New York has to offer. Soak up the skyline, it’s one of a kind.

Grand Central Terminal is also a tourist favourite, the 102-year-old train station is still in massive use but it embodies NYC grandeur. The outdoor part of the 9/11 memorial is also free to visit.

So there you have it, if you budget like your life depends on it, you can survive the financial battle of New York City.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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It may not be exactly like Sex and the City, but who would ever believe that Carrie could afford a huge Manhattan apartment BY HERSELF on a columnist’s salary? It’s ridiculousness. We still want her life though.

Susan Ertz summed it up pretty well when she wrote that New York was "never built for the comfort and happiness of its citizens, but to astonish the world." Well, it succeeded.

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Do you brace yourself every time you use your card in Dublin? Do you mumble excuses at the cashier when it’s declined?

I’ve taken to pre-emptively warning the staff at Zara that my card may not work. Dublin is one of the world's most expensive cities to live in, and we’re feeling it this summer.

With this in mind, we’ve come up with a few tips on how to make the most of your Irish summer on a tight  budget.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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1. Get familiar with the best-for-your-euro food options around the city centre

Looking for a burger? WOW Burger does a mini burger for €4.95 that ain’t so mini. Carluccio’s on Dawson Street does a half box of delicious pasta at lunchtime for less than 4 quid.

Mongolian BBQ in Temple Bar does an enormous Lunch Bowl for €7.90 that will do as your main meal for the day.

If you need to eat out, look around and see where a fiver lunch or a tenner dinner is available- be strict with yourself.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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2. Choose culture for dates

The National Museums of Ireland are all free to visit and are simply gorgeous. The Archaeology Museum is on Kildare Street and the Museum of Decorative Arts and History is just beside the Museum stop on the red Luas line.

The Natural History Museum (think weirdly interesting stuffed animals) is on Merrion Street and is a fab place for a date or a stroll at lunch. Spend your free afternoons this summer, learning about Dublin for free.  

The National Gallery of Ireland also has breathtaking art with collections from icons like Caravaggio, Jack B Yeats, Mantegna,Titian, Monet and Picasso.

Paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, photography, archival and bibliographical material all feature, as well as furniture. The inside of the building itself is worth a look for the beautiful design.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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3. Buy a good raincoat NOW

It may sound expensive, but if you make an initial investment, it will stand to you. Dublin is WET during the summer.

If you don’t have a waterproof jacket that a) has a hood and b) fits into your bag, you WILL accumulate several sh*t umbrellas over the coming months.

Not only is this a financial drain but its also the most unsustainable way to keep yourself dry this summer. Buy yourself a raincoat that will last and both your pocket AND the environment will thank you come September.

4. Drink off-peak

We don’t mean drink on your lunch break or have a liquid breakfast. We mean slightly earlier in the day or midweek.

Many places around town will have a two-for-one deal on cocktails (Fade Street Social, Pygmalion, Capitol Bar, Xico) or cheap pints (Dicey’s Garden) during the week or early in the day.

Have a scout and plan your drinks based on the deals- it will be worth the extra bit of research when you have more cash leftover at the end of the week.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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5.  Avoid the following high street stores like the plague:

  • Zara
  • Penney’s
  • H&M
  • Pull and Bear
  • River Island

Don’t lie to yourself. Don’t window shop or go in for a ‘quick look’. You WILL end up spending money. As usual, you will come across the most gorgeous clothes when you have the lowest funds available.

If your route home passes by these shops, choose another. An extra five minutes walk may save you money in the long-term. It's also beneficial for the environment to avoid these stores full stop…

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by (@bestirelandpics) on

6. Look for half-price stickers

Once you get into the ‘reduced’ or ‘half price’ mindset, you'll be flying it. Food shops such as Marks & Spencer and Avoca have a system where they cut the price of many of their products (such as ready-made meals) at the end of the week.

Keep your eyes peeled for such stickers so you can eat well on a budget.

7. Shop Charity

If you take a turn up George’s Street, you will be met by an abundance of charity shop options.

St Vincent’s, Enable Ireland and Oxfam are all a stone’s throw from each other, so you are bound to find something.

The same can be said for the Aungier Street/ Camden Street area which is home to shops like Age Action, Gorta and the Dublin Simon Community Shop.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Charity shopping is a great way to save money, not to mention a greener way to shop for clothes and shoes.

Keep an eye out for the vintage racks in these shops where you might find some real treasures.

An unforgettable Dublin summer isn't impossible to reach for. If you carry out the right research and plan your budget, you can make the most out of this fun city without going into massive debt.

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If you're currently twiddling your thumbs, desperately trying to decide what presents to get your relatives or friends (or yourself…), we've found the shop for you.

It's got all the answers to your alcohol questions, and even does FREE ENGRAVING…yes, you read that right. Frengraving.

The Jameson Black Barrel shop has opened just in time for Christmas, and is ready for your last minute personalised gifting requests. 

Ireland's leading whiskey is our new Christmas BFF; their newest pop-up is located on South William Street in Dublin until December 24.

The Jameson Black Barrel shop has free engraving on all bought bottles from the pop-up for a personalised touch at the price of €48, so it won't break the bank.

It doesn't even end there, for whiskey lovers galore they've also got hip flask gift sets with a whiskey glass and small bottle of Jameson Black Barrel for 25 quid, we are GAGGIN' for one of those.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Jameson Whiskey Ireland (@jameson_ireland) on

The store opens from Monday to Saturday from 11am until 9pm, and Sunday from 12:30pm until 6pm.

Get yourselves over there and beat the queues, we've already abandoned the office to head down…we won't tell if you won't?

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Millennials don't exactly get an easy time; most people hate us or just dismiss us as snowflakes who only have knowledge about wi-fi and avocado toast.

While we generally have more of a penchant for the internet seeing as we GREW UP WITH IT… this doesn't mean we're as lazy and vain as everyone says we are.

For example, we only have three selfie sticks and check our reflections between the hours of 9am and 11pm everyday, so what's the big deal about?

which is worse the daily show GIF by The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

We've all heard the lectures from our elderly relatives about how we drain the economy and refuse to get jobs, but people love to focus on the negatives rather than the positives.

Getting a millennial a Christmas gift can be a challenge, seeing as the chances of them being vegan, supporting paraben-free and cruelty-free produce and generally hipster and full of notions are sky high.

They'll also most likely blog the entire gift opening session, and post every aspect of it to social media, so it's gotta be impressive.

We've made a gift guide especially to help you out this festive season, y'all are welcome.

bbc three millennials GIF by BBC

1. Do What You Love neon sign

Buy: Urban Outfitters
Price: €59

2. Loqi reusable bags

Buy: Designist
Price: €12

3. Scratch map

Buy: Easons
Price: €19.99

4. The Gospel According to Blindboy

Buy: Designist
Price: €13

5. Showerless shaving gel

Buy: Amazon
Price: €8.85, excl. shipping

6. Photo journal

Buy: Photobox
Price: €14.95 (40 pages)

7. Gratitude journal by Karen McDermott

This gorgeous journal has 52 empowering quotes; one for each week of the year. Positive vibez all round, gals.

Buy: Book Depository
Price: €9.24

8. Tarot card tapestry

Buy: Urban Outfitters
Price: €39.99

9. Fujifilm polaroid camera

Buy: Urban Outfitters
Price: €159

10. The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 30ml

Buy: Beauty Bay
Price: €6.75

11. Luxury bathtub tray, for all your needs…

Buy: Amazon
Price: 44.23

12. What Do You Meme? party game

Buy: www.BoardGamer.ie
Price: €24.99

13. Umbrella that changes colour when wet 

Buy: Trouva
Price: 28.07

14. Lush 'goddess' bath bomb in purple

Buy: Lush
Price: €6.62

15. Avocado toast Christmas tree decoration

Buy: Urban Outfitters
Price: €10

16. Sivan health yoga mat set for beginners

Buy: Amazon
Price: €33.98

Namaste, ladies.

andre braugher millennials GIF by Brooklyn Nine-Nine

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If you haven’t heard of Dylan hotel, you are sorely missing out. The Irish-owned five-star boutique hotel is renowned already for it’s red brick Victorian building, lavish decor and high-quality food, as well as it’s amazing proximity to the Irish city centre.

Tucked into a side avenue near Baggot Street, this gem is still relatively private despite it’s location, as if the building itself is housing a treat only a special few experience.

Dylan Bar has everything going for it, but we decided it was high time for us to try out their brand new Christmas afternoon tea menu: Spice and All Things Nice. We felt we deserved some five-star treatment, especially since the cost is only €45 for great service and even better food.

The design of the hotel is immediately striking; while it may be aesthetic Victorian brick on the outside, within the building is modern, contemporary design. We were seated by the fireplace by incredibly attentive staff, and after perusing their extensive afternoon tea menu, our eyes were swiftly on the prize: Christmas cocktails.

Their limited edition cocktail menu is inspired by the magical spices of the festive season; ginger, nutmeg, clove, star anise and cinnamon. It’s pretty mouth-watering stuff, if we do say so ourselves. Seeing as we value journalistic integrity, we had to taste as many as possible. *winks*

We definitely weren’t disappointed; their Winter Wine Warmer is an extravagant version of mulled wine, except far, far classier. Made with a mix of homemade citrus, star anise and clove syrup added to classic Merlot, the twist on the aromatic Christmas drink of the gods goes down a treat.

The Festive Pudding cocktail is a reimagined version of the classic winter dessert, made with allspice Guinness syrup, fresh orange and lime juice, old fashioned bitters, eggs whites and of course, Irish whiskey. Any connoisseurs of whiskey will adore this drink, trust us, it has a kick.

Next up on our list was the Apple & Cinnamon Crumble, made with Zubrowska vodka, goldschlanger, apple and lime juice, vanilla infused honey and topped off with a cookie crumble rim. Talk about being in heaven, the Dylan mixologists were infusing the atmosphere with subtle yet heartwarming Christmas vibes.

For those with a sweet tooth, chocolate appreciators can enjoy the Polar Express either hot or cold. Created with Hennessey V.S., Bailey’s Frangelico, and chocolate and vanilla cream, you’ll be rolled out of the place after one (or five…) of these.

Other divine drinks on offer include the Zenzero Negroni, which has the highest alcohol content so brace yourselves, and Before Santa’s Here for another whiskey.

Last but by no means least, their Summer in December is a rum and gingerbread syrup blend for a summer mood with a winter cheer, and they also include their version of an Irish coffee; the Dylan Christmas Coffee mixed with their secret spice syrup.

The designated drivers can also try a range of mocktails which are as good as the real thing. Dylan Bar also has refreshing bubbly, for any Prosecco queens out there, and a variety of tea and coffees. Heaven is a place on earth, and it’s located at Eastmoreland Place.

With all of these gorgeous drinks, we had almost forgotten about all the luscious cakes and sweet and savoury treats coming our way. Almost. They served us the carefully crafted food on a three-tiered plate, and we had a try of their spiced scotch egg, turkey and sage pie with cranberry chutney and pulled ham on granary bread and brie and cinnamon spice apple. 

The savoury selection was delicious, and we couldn’t leave without trying their sweet and subtly spiced buttery homemade scones and indulgent desserts. Pistachio slices, gingerbread cupcakes topped with whiskey icing and a meringue snowman with chocolate and nutmeg mousse were just a taster of what we were offered.

Sitting by the fire, breathing in the mulled wine and eating our weight in macaroons, we realised that we honestly need this lifestyle 24/7. It’s extra, it’s lavish, it’s Christmas magic, and everyone deserves a treat like afternoon tea at Dylan Bar. Don’t miss out, it’s only offered until the New Year so snap up a reservation while you can.

Enjoy the Spice & All Things Nice menu in the Dylan Bar until January 1 2019.

Call 01 660 3000 to make a reservation or email reservations@dylan.ie to have your Christmas injected with the warmth of festive food and drink.

Feature image: Instagram/@dylandublin

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G&T's have become one of the most popular drinks on the market, but how is the spirit evolving? It's sophisticated reputation and delicious flavours create the ideal cocktails, as well as becoming the perfect confidence booster BFF:

"You should go to the dancefloor and show off your hip moves, you're such a great dancer" – as said by Hendricks, overheard in Coppers in October 2018. Hendricks was later proven wrong.

There's no doubt about just how much gin has grown in the world of spirits, with Scottish gin especially undergoing a massive revival.

According to the Irish Times, the on-trade gin market in Ireland is now worth at an all-time high of €50 million. It's image has become transformed from a seemingly 'mother's choice' to a millennial's favourite. 

We've put together a list of gin trends for 2019, so you can prepare your livers for the changes due to come in next year for the gin world. Get yourselves ready for relentless gin puns throughout, you have been warned.

1. GINcredible flavours 

Gin flavours are KILLING the game right now, and they're showing no sign of slowing down.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Cocktail Society  (@aboutdrinksandbars) on

Botanical delights such as berry pink gin, plum and cinnamon, pomegranate and rose, lemon drizzle, rhubarb and ginger to passionfruit gin liqueurs, salted caramel flavour and even a bubblegum taste, the flavours of gin available are GINfinite (sorry not sorry).

Copeland Spirits, based in Co. Down, specialises in 37.8% flavoured gins. Aldi Ireland stock its GINSANELY good Rhuberry flavour, naturally infused with local fruit, as well as its new, limited-edition infusion Spiced Apple and Blackcurrant.

Founder of Copeland Spirits, Gareth Irvine has recently spoken about the journey which gin flavours is currently on, saying that a shift in what's popular is incoming:

“Flavours to date have been quite seasonal or trend-led and associated solely to summer, or unicorns, or crazy colours and not veer too much away from berries. Over the coming months, we’ll see the flavour ideas get more adventurous incorporating spices, herbs, exotic fruits.

“Often-times, trend-led flavoured gins are of poor quality and are full of syrups, additives or sugar, rather than real fruit. In addition, the volume is generally around 20% and so a liqueur as opposed to a gin."

Hmmm, this is heart-breaking news. Some of our fave flavah's are legit just sugar and syrup…but this is changing. Thank GOD. We get enough sugar as it is.

Gareth predicts that consumers will start to focus more on quality, just like we saw with unflavoured gin and this will catapult flavoured gin into a category all of its own. Noted, Gareth.

2. GIN-vironmentally friendly

With the introduction of plastic-free consumer goals, especially in terms of straws in bars and restaurants, it's no surprise that gin companies are noticing this important trend. The 'waste not/want not' ideology is spreading fast, with bartenders becoming more aware of the value of not throwing away unneccesary food and drink waste.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Oakmade (@oakmadeuk) on

“We’re thinking first and drinking second. We’ve noticed cocktail menus are changing slightly as bartenders consciously look for ways to minimise food waste." according to Gareth.

When it comes to garnishes such as lemon wedges, egg yolks and limes, the amount of fruit that is thrown away or used needlessly purely for the same of appearance is pretty shocking.

Rather than sweeping these used garnishes into to the bin, some bars have making what is becoming known as ‘closed-loop’ cocktails, where excess fruit is used to create natural syrup or saved for pitchers.

Bars becoming conscious about their eco-footprint is imperative, especially since spirit companies rely heavily on the land to create their infused gins.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Copeland Gin (@copeland_gin) on

3. GINcrease in gin brands

Wait, you mean… we're going to see even more gin? YAS. 

More brands will be arriving on the scene next year, with supermarket-owned brands such as Aldi helping to increase access to the category.

Gin-lovers in Ireland are a passionate bunch of people, and brands are taking that passion seriously. As more and more brands come on the scene, people will only connect with the ones that have strong values, for example supporting the environment or raising talent through graduate programmes.

Brands will be providing a quality product that is conscious of price and quality. Amen to that.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Gin Lovers (@gin_lovers) on

4. GINnovation

Brands in 2019 hope to focus on some brand new categories, many of our favourite brands which have risen in the last three years didn't exist prior to the gin renaissance. These brands, whose journeys are only really beginning, will be competing to adapt in the long-term industry pool.

Gin and spirit companies will begin experimentation with distilling and flavours which will likely benefit gin, and those who drink it, i.e. us.

We predict that experimentation will lead to some unreal new flavours and tastes, we also volunteer as tribute to test these new tastes. It's a tough job but someone has to do it.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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For the moment anyway, we're heading straight to Aldi Ireland to grab Copeland’s Spiced Apple and Blackcurrant Gin for just €29.99, see you there gals.

With Christmas around the corner, this new flavour is perfect for winter.

Can someone please le Santa know that a gin advent calendar is on our present list? Just in case he doesn't know…

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The term 'clean eating,' is now one that evokes both eye-rolling and a considerable amount of backlash online. Its devotees swear it's the key to a healthier lifestyle while its critics are quick to point out how unsafe it is to swear gospel to terminology that became a phenomenon on the back of many foodie bloggers and Instagram stories.

Blogger and author Ella Woodward, now Mills, AKA Deliciously Ella is one who knows how fast the tables can turn – she is regarded as the one who spearheaded this, despite never once using the term on any cookbook or product.

She has always affirmed that when it comes to eating healthy and eating well, it's about simple dishes that taste great – and more importantly that you enjoy eating. At the launch of her latest range of products – you'll find them stacked with plenty of healthy food options in SuperValu, she spoke to SHEmazing about self-care, her favourite dishes for a woman on-the-go and why doing this one thing is the key to successfully changing your diet.  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Tell us a bit more about your latest range of products?

We’ve just launched our energy balls, oat bars, granola and muesli, which we’re so excited about. They’re all made with a few simple plant-based ingredients with a big focus on flavour. Each one is vegan-friendly and gluten-free. 

So many hear the words Vegan or Gluten Free and think that the food will compromise on taste, what advice do you have for someone wanting to eat healthier but is afraid to take the plunge?

Start experimenting with your cooking, adding lots and lots of herbs and spices to everything you do – that’s the key to veggie cooking. It’s not about stripping things back and taking flavour away but celebrating flavour, texture and deliciousness. Try something like our five bean chilli; the Thai curries or a spread with a black rice, piquillo pepper and pistachio salad, roasted aubergine, tomato and pesto salad and sweet potatoes with spring onions, chilli and tahini.​

Many women on-the-go want to eat better and cut out the gluten or eat more plant-based foods but are fearful these type of meals will just eat into their time. Do you have any particular meals or foods that you like to prepare if you're in a hurry?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Stews, curries and dahls – they take just a few mins of prep time, they’re so hearty and filling and they’re brilliant for batch cooking and freezing. The recipes in the orange chapter of our new book, The Plant-Based Cookbook, are my go-to’s when I’m busy. Each dish is full of warming, toasted spices; hearty veg, potatoes and beans; lots of creamy coconut milk and so much flavour. The Tuscan bean stew, cauliflower lentil dahl with dried apricots and the Thai curries are such winners in our house.

Tell us about your self-care routine – how important do you think it is to have one?

Looking after myself is really important, as we work 14-15 hours a day often seven days a week, so I need all the energy I can get! Yoga is a big part of this, I practice every morning before my day starts and it really helps me create a positive headspace – I absolutely love it, it’s magic for my mental health.
If you're planning to kick-start a new diet change, what are your top tips?   

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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For anything to be sustainable it has to be enjoyable, so find things you love and don’t be too hard on yourself – go slow and steady and think about what you’re adding in not just what you’re taking out.    

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We ALL know that feeling well on a Friday night; feeling so worn out with exhaustion that the mere thought of cooking a meal for yourself makes you want to shed a tear. "I didn't work all week to deal with this," you think, wearingly. That is where the 'backup plan' comes into place. The backup plan being, having something on hand that is restaurant quality delicious, that you can prepare at home, requiring minimal effort from you.

That let's be honest, that 'something' is always pizza – at least when it's this close to the weekend. Unfollow anyone on social who is willing to dispute that – you don't need that kind of negativity in your life, tbh.   

Thankfully, Milanos are here to bring you that Friday feeling with their newest additions to their supermarket (and very budget-friendly) pizza range (why yes, you can buy Milano goodness to cook at home), including an out-of-this-world American pizza (€5.69). It originates from a signature restaurant recipe (so you know it's going to taste GOOD), made with pepperoni, mozzarella and Milano’s famous passata. In one word: heavenly. 

You can also get their Pollo Ad astra (€5.69), a classic pizza base topped with chicken, Peppadew™ peppers, Cajun spice and mozzarella. Did you know that this one is already a staple on the Milano restaurant menu? This recipe has been perfectly crafted so you can love and enjoy it when you're just too tired to leave the house. 

Their supermarket range now also has more products should you want a little something on the side (so to speak), including three new salad dressings, House, House Light and Caesar, all at €3 each. This will be additions to the fan-favourites in the range, from the scrumptious dough balls which we always need more of (€2.99) and Milano classic pizzas, Margherita and Sloppy Giuseppe. 

Milano’s new (and very tasty) retail product range is now available selected Tesco stores nationwide.

Why not treat yo-self? You deserve it.   

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Is it us, or does food taste better when it looks like a rainbow? For this grilled cheese sandwich, we are convinced it is true.

Fair enough, it does take a bit more time than a normal (understand plain, boring) grilled cheese, but it is 100% worth it!

Rainbow grilled cheese

For 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 thick slices bread or brioche
  • 250g mozzarella
  • 5 food colouring (purple, blue, green, yellow, red)

Method

Divide the cheese into 5 bowls. Add food colouring to each bowl and mix. 

Generously butter 2 pieces of bread. Place one, buttered side down, on a pan over medium heat. Place about a tablespoon of each cheese lengthwise on the bread, in this order: purple, blue, green, yellow, red. Place the other slice on top, buttered side up. 

You can also make the sandwich on a plate or a board and then transfer it onto a hot pan.

When the cheese starts to melt, turn the sandwich in the pan to toast the top side of the bread. Keep in the pan until the cheese in fully melted. 

Place on a plate, cut horizontally and enjoy!

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Look, we're going to be honest here and admit that when it comes to vino we're far from aficionados.

Oh, we can make our way through bottles of the stuff no bother, but when it comes to differentiating between Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc, we're a little stumped.

So, when it comes to choosing a bottle at dinner, we tend to sidestep the menu for fear of looking utterly ignorant and instead simply request the house wine.

Not only does this approach prevent any potentially awkward exchanges, we generally assume that the house option is easier on the wallet.

But Lord, have we been wrong.

According to Ashley Ragovin, founder of Pour This, there is no hard and fast rule that says the house option will be the least expensive on the menu.

"There is no exacting way to classify house wine; it depends on whose house you’re in!" she explains in conversation with Bon Appetit.

By highlighting the varying approaches adopted by restaurants, Ashley explains that assuming you're saving a few by opting for the 'house' without looking at the menu is a fool's game.

"Some restaurants are excited to feature a rare find to expose their guests to something delicious. Some are just trying to purge the Sauvignon Blanc the wine buyer over-ordered to make room in the cellar." she says.

So, even if you dread that 'wine conversation' with your server, it's probably best (for your wallet) if you actually open that menu.

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Remember when gin was nothing more than something your grandmother boasted more than a passing fondness for?

Fastforward a couple of decades, and it’s all any of us can think about, frankly.

Thankfully, the catering industry cottoned onto this fairly sharpish, and have done their utmost to accommodate our every need when it comes to that sweet, sweet tipple.

The latest hotel to remind us they have our back when it comes to our obsession with the clear stuff is the InterContinental Dublin who have launched a ‘gintastic’ summer package.

Ideal for a ladies’ escape, you and a friend will be welcomed on arrival with a bottle of Prosecco and a complimentary upgrade to a luxurious Executive Twin Room with a delicious full Irish breakfast the next morning.

And now comes the oh-so-important gin part.

The five-star hotel will then encourage you to indulge in G&Tea – a unique gin-inspired take on the classic afternoon tea with refreshing hot and cold gin cocktails served in glass teapots.

In the stylish surroundings of the Reading Room, enjoy gin-infused treats including a foie gras lollipop dipped in white chocolate, slow-cooked pork belly finger sandwiches with fig marmalade and the crunchy Caesar's taco, followed by a sweet selection of Tanqueray gin panna cotta with tonic foam and cucumber caviar, gin macerated Irish strawberries with light éclair and vanilla Chantilly, and mouth-watering salted caramel macarons.

Oh, and it doesn’t stop there.

As part of the ‘gintastic’ package, you and your gal can enjoy an express spa treatment each, and can also luxuriate in the Spa and Health Club with full access to all facilities including the 14m heated indoor pool and Thermal Suite.

This package, from €173 per person based on two people sharing, is available from June until August, so it’s time to get your skates on.

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