Bertha Lives On at Ballyvolane Distillery
Bertha was a very beautiful Droimeann cow from Sneem in Co. Kerry. She died in 1993 aged 48, the mother of 39 calves in those years. The spirit of Bertha now lives on at Ballyvolane House, in the form of Bertha’s Revenge Small Batch Irish Milk Gin.
Justin Green of Ballyvolane House in Fermoy, Co. Cork, worked with old school friend Antony Jackson to perfect the recipe for Bertha’s Revenge for several months, before its launch in December 2015. This special gin is made from whey, a by product of cheesemaking. Specially developed yeasts and sugar are added to the whey to convert the milk sugars to alcohol.
This produces a high quality pure whey spirit, which is then distilled with no less than 18 locally grown and foraged botanicals to infuse flavour, making this gin a truly local speciality from one of Ireland’s finest country houses. Ballyvolane is the first distillery in Ireland to produce small batch Irish milk gin from whey alcohol. Which is very fitting, since the word Ballyvolane translates as ‘place of the springing heifers’!
The beautiful label depicting Bertha the cow, which adorns every bottle of gin, was designed by Rod Springett. Ballyvolane House has always had a field to fork philosophy for its dining offering, now joined by the house’s ‘grass to glass’ ethos reflected in this fantastic gin.
How to Drink Bertha's Revenge
As Justin and Antony say, they created Bertha’s Revenge in order to immortalise the memory of Bertha the cow and bring her back to life in spirit – literally! Needless to say, the boys have tried and tested several methods of drinking their gin (well someone had to!) and they’ve got some great ideas for how to enjoy it.
1. Bertha’s Revenge is perfect for a classic G&T with topped up with good tonic water, served over ice with lime or lemon zest garnish.
2. Dry Martini Cocktail has to be one of the all time greats. Mix 2 parts Bertha’s Revenge with 1 part dry Vermouth over ice then strain into a Martini glass and garnish with a green olive on a cocktail stick.
3. Ballyvolane House is famed for its Rhubarb Martinis, made with rhubarb from the house’s walled garden. Check out their special recipe for this beautiful pink drink on our recipe link, substituting the vodka for Bertha’s Revenge.
4. Justin recommends trying Bertha’s Revenge as it comes, with just a splash of natural spring water to ‘open up the flavours’. Drinking it this way allows you to identify some of the 18 botanicals that go into creating the complex flavours of this gin, plus two very special ingredients from the boys. Childish Enthusiasm and Laughter are the secret additions in every bottle of Bertha’s Revenge. And when you have had a glass (or two) of this unique handcrafted artisan gin, it will be very easy to spot them at work!