By Ben Bowers
on 1.27.12
Photo by 1661 Poitín

Poitín is essentially the traditional Irish equivalent to moonshine and holds a reputation for being one of the strongest spirits in the world, thanks to its 60%-95% ABV. Its Gaelic name references the small copper pots used in its distillation and the booze is commonly found throughout homes on the Emerald Isle. Poitín is in many ways a symbol of Irish independence too, since it was banned for over 300 years by the English Crown in 1661.

While two companies have been officially licensed to distill the spirit since 1989, it’s still incredibly difficult to find in the states, so Ashlee Casserly has started a Kickstarter project to bring the treasured drink to American shores. Her plan involves working with a small batch Irish distillery that uses only Irish ingredients to create a truly authentic version of the spirit, unlike the international varieties that usually just add a “poitín flavor” to neutral grain spirits such as Vodka. Given the early nature of the project, none of the basic donation levels will immediately land you a bottle of the spirit for your own bar. Contributors who pledge $500, however, will have 100 bottles named after them, complete with their signature printed on the label. Also worth noting is that high rollers donating $2,000+ will receive a Poitín tour in Ireland, tracing the spirit’s roots and production. Sounds like an incredibly cool vacation to us.

Editor’s Note: We’ve elected to donate $500 to this project — so rest assured you’ll see a Tasting Notes post on 1661 Poitín should Ashlee reach her funding goal.

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