Have a Hooley with Irish Gin (Yes, Gin)

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Hooley gin

It's Labor Day Weekend, which means it's time for Raglan Road's annual Great Irish Hooley, Friday through Monday, Sept. 4.

A hooley is a "wild and noisy party," which could describe the scene at Raglan Road just about any night. But it gets wilder and noisier during the Great Irish Hooley weekend.

That's thanks in part to the extra entertainment that RagRo brings in for the occasion. This year, the Lisa Canny Band has traveled from County Mayo and will play at the hooley nightly. They play a more modern style of Irish music, fusing hip-hop and R&B. But there's also plenty of traditional music and you'll certainly find an opportunity to sing and clap along to "No, Nay, Never," if you must.

The Lisa Canny Band played for a media preview I attended this week. While they rocked out, we sampled some of the menu items that will be available for the weekend.

Hooley boar

The Wild Boar Burger, with port and pear chutney and Cashel blue cheese on a potato bun, was a favorite.

Hooley gnocchi

I also liked the Gnocchi Sea Gnocchi Do, which had the potato dumplings paired with sea scallops and a bit of pork belly.

We also sampled the cocktail known as PJ's Poison, pictured at top, made with Gunpowder Irish Gin. That's right, Irish gin. According to Raglan Road co-owner Paul Nolan, Ireland is experiencing a shortage of Irish whiskey. We're not talking about something as serious as the Great Potato Famine, but still.

To make a PJ's Poison, you start with the gin, muddle some oranges, add a dash of rhubarb bitters and lemon juice, some orange whiskey marmalade (no shortage of that, apparently), and some Fever Tree Tonic. Despite the oranginess, it has a greenish-yellow glow, and it's pretty tasty, I must say.

Try one at the Great Irish Hooley, starting Friday at 4 p.m. and running until late Monday night. (Tuesday morning, if you really want to be technical about it.) Raglan Road is at Disney Springs.