Each summer, my parents and grandparents would grow lots of produce on our dacha - Russian summer cottage. As kids, we were expected to help with each and every job, from weeding to watering, and eventually picking fruits and vegetables. Of course, we never could resist eating a few juicy gooseberries and strawberries straight from the bush.
I watched and helped my mum and dad make apple pies for dessert, strawberry jam and pickles to be enjoyed all winter, as well as homemade liqueurs and syrups that would add a little magic to our gatherings throughout the year. At the time, I didn’t properly appreciate growing up with a garden at my fingertips, spending summers with dirt under my nails and gathering around delicious meals created from our own hard work. But now I treasure that upbringing and the wisdom my parents shared — wisdom of plants, the connection to the land, and where food comes from. And I treasure the joyful memories of gatherings at our dacha to celebrate the simple, but oh so important, things in life.
Decades later I now call Co.Cavan home. During the spring of 2020, when everyone around the country was spending more time close to home, I spent my time in our garden. I cared for our herbs, vegetables and fruit, just as I’d been taught as a child. And Dacha Drinks really all started with a patch of rhubarb bursting out in our kitchen garden.
Missing Ireland’s vibrant bars and restaurants, I experimented with drinks in our kitchen, using the fresh flavours of our garden to elevate the cocktails we were making in lockdown. I realised that other people would also enjoy the natural, handmade syrups, and the opportunity to enjoy a new cocktail making experience at home.
I tested recipes throughout the summer, creating three delicious syrups that can be added to any cocktail to elevate an everyday moment into a special one, helping to bring the spirit, flavour, and warmth of my family’s dacha to homes around Ireland. Made in small batches, we offer three mixers that can be added to any drink or cocktail: orange & basil, raspberry & thyme, and the perfect nostalgic rhubarb.
Whether you’re tired of your standard gin and tonic, or want a special flavour
that’ll remind you of your favourite bar, Dacha Drinks will help you mix custom cocktails quickly and easily.
For us, it always comes back to people, and how important the time with our loved ones is. And that’s where Dacha Drinks comes in: we make the everyday an occasion to savour.