Sip Trips #78: Whiskey in the Jar (Part 2)

Yesterday, we took a look at the first half of the Sip Syndicate’s visit to Ireland. Today, we get to the main event, as our ensemble returns to Dublin for the remainder of our voyage. Get ready for more wining, dining and even a little sightseeing, just for the heck of it.

As far as the Emerald Isle goes, there may not be a more quintessential attraction than the Guinness Storehouse. While the site is quite the facility and I was happy to finally cross it off my bucket list after missing out in 2007, I thought the experience wasn’t on par with brewery tours, such as Carlsberg or Heineken. The tour did include a pint of the infamous stout at the end, which we enjoyed in their Gravity Bar, overlooking the entire city below. The Storehouse gift shop is also quite impressive, with tons of souvenirs to be had and an expansive collection of Christmas trinkets.


Following the Guinness tour, we went for dinner at The Church, a bar and restaurant created from the converted St. Mary’s Church of Ireland. Over a number of bottles of wine, most of the Sip Syndicate went with set menu meals, while the Sip Advisor ordered a steak and Guinness pie. While the crew enjoyed their desserts, Mrs. Sip told me to treat myself to the Church Chocolate Orange Cocktail (Dubliner Liqueur, brown cacao, orange juice, egg whites, chocolate bitters). Although not what I had envisioned, it was a tasty indulgence to soothe my sweet tooth.

The next day, we had an all-day tour to Northern Ireland booked. We were all blown away by the area’s history and scenery, but still managed to fit a couple drinks into the itinerary. While at the Giant’s Causeway, we ventured into The Nook, which is a tiny little pub outside the attraction. There, I tried pints of the Macardle’s Traditional Ale and Hop House 13 Lager (brewed by Guinness).

When we arrived back in Dublin, we wandered into the Temple Bar district, in search of dinner and drinks. As was approached The Old Storehouse, I realized I had been there before, on my 2007 St. Patrick’s Day trip. Over a couple pints, Mrs. Sip and I greatly enjoyed the two meals we were sharing: Irish Cottage Pie and Seafood Chowder. As we ate, a duo of guitarists serenaded us with a mix of cover songs and trad music. We then joined the party upstairs, where a trio of musicians (including a flutist) rocked the place, as I downed glasses of the Five Lamps Lager and Guinness Stout, of course. While some of our group called it a night, a few of us tried to get into the actual Temple Bar Pub, but the place was packed and getting a drink would have been difficult, so we aborted that mission.


We picked an interesting weekend to be in Dublin as the Irish Football Finals were taking place. Deciding we wanted to witness this cultural sporting event for ourselves, we arrived at O’Neill’s Bar for the match between Dublin and Mayo. We had to arrive early to get any seating, so over the next few hours I drank servings of the Guinness Wheat Ale, BrewDog Punk IPA, and Barrelhead Indie Amber. Home side Dublin took the title in the end, after a very close, physical and entertaining affair.

Our last meal together took place at The Porterhouse Brewing Co., where our troop was very lucky to get a table amongst all the chaos. Here, I had a pint of the An Brain Blasta and also sampled their Oyster Stout. I have to also mention that over our weekend in Dublin, I relaxed each night with a bottle or two of Journeyman Brewing products. This included their IPA, Session IPA, and IPL, which were each quite tasty.

To sum up our travels, I found Ireland to be a beautiful place, with friendly people who had no problem dropping an F-bomb or two! Traversing the country’s roads were challenging, but worth it for the sights, sounds and experiences.

Norway – Kitten Cuddler

Raid and Pillage

The Vikings have a badass reputation and frankly, it’s well deserved. Many of these figures, hailing from Scandinavia and particularly Norway, have rap sheets that would make a writer for Game of Thrones light up, as it opens new doors to wrath and associated violence. Let’s take a look at the exploits of some of the greatest Vikings:

Erik the Red

Erik the Red’s early life was built around repeatedly being exiled after committing murder. Therefore, he created his own Viking colony on what is now Greenland, which he also discovered. There, Erik the Red was free to do whatever he wanted. Although bloodshed is largely associated with Erik, his nickname ‘The Red’ more likely referred to his hair and beard. He was father to other Viking notables, explorer Leif Eriksson and warrior princess (not Xena) Freydis Eriksdottir.

Vikings-Give Up

Ragnar Lodbrok

In order to prove he was a badass to a princess, Lodbrok demolished a horde of invading poisonous snakes. Karma caught up to him eventually, though, as he was executed by being thrown into a pit of serpents. Although Lodbrok’s actual existence has been questioned, he was said to be father to other legendary Vikings, including Björn Ironside, Halfdan Ragnarsson, Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye, and Ivar Ragnarsson.

Ivar Ragnarsson

Speaking of the devil, Ivar was a ruthless warrior who used captured kings as playthings, expending them for target practice and other horrific executions. Ivar’s nickname, ‘The Boneless,’ was thought to refer to anything from an ailment causing his bones to break easily, to being impotent, to being incredibly flexible. Regardless, Ivar ruled parts of what is now Denmark and Sweden, as well as Dublin.

Leif Eriksson

Eriksson is most notable for discovering North America (500 years before Christopher Columbus), although the finding was likely accidental. He had meant to return to Norway, but his ship was blown off course towards modern day Canada. Eriksson was more of an explorer and not a Viking in the classic raid and pillage sense. He was said to be quite intelligent, while also possessing the strong frame of a typical Viking. The U.S. even celebrates Leif Eriksson Day every October 9th!

Vikings Pillaged

Eric Haraldsson

Eric had a thirst for blood and power, even killing his own brothers to become King of Norway. This earned him the moniker, Eric Bloodaxe. His reign over the Norwegian kingdom was short-lived, however, as one remaining broski returned and overthrew Eric, who had angered many of the nobility with his ruling tactics. Eric turned his attention to Northumbria and became king there, before dying in battle.

Sweyn Forkbeard

Forkbeard first came to prominence by going to war with his own father and emerging as the King of Denmark, upon being victorious. Following that, it seemed he held a major grudge against England, attacking them repeatedly over the rest of his life and even ruling the realm for a time. His anger towards England was thought to be based on his sister dying during the kingdom’s massacre of Danish citizens. Forkbeard also invaded Norway and divided up the country with his allies.

Vikings Fight

Harald Hardrada

While exiled from Norway, Hardrada became leader of the Byzantine emperor’s Varangian Guard. When he returned to Norway, he fought to become king. Hardrada means “Hard Ruler,” a name he received for his constant wars and harsh reign. Hardrada believed he had a claim to the throne of England, upon the death of that king, and died in battle, after being shot in the throat with an arrow, trying to make good on his perceived right.

Egil Skallagrimsson

Skallagrimsson was both a warrior and a poet, covering every aspect that makes a lady swoon (not to mention the namesake of an Icelandic brewery!). He is said to have written his first works at the young age of three, but also killed for the first time at seven years old. When the Norwegian king grew tired of Skallagrimsson’s exploits, he was exiled and began his years of terror, amassing a fortune and high kill count. He even murdered the slave who helped him bury his treasure.

Norway: Kitten Cuddler

Kitten Cuddler Cocktail

  • 1 oz Vodka
  • 1 oz Crème de Bananes
  • 0.5 oz Cloudberry Liqueur
  • Top with Lemon-Lime Soda
  • Splash of Apple Juice
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Grenadine
  • Garnish with a Lemon Wedge

I wonder what my Viking nickname would have been. I’m thinking Word Whisperer sounds alright, but I’d hope my contemporaries would incorporate my legendary boozing into the moniker and call me something like Liquor Leviathan!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (5 Sips out of 5):
Cloudberry Liqueur is made from berries found in Norway. This is quite the complex recipe, but it is totally worth the intricate construction. I think the cocktail name is quite funny in contrast to the article it’s combined with… kitten cuddlers and raiding and pillaging Vikings don’t really go hand-in-hand. I topped this cocktail with my Bols Banana Liqueur foam and it was a perfect touch to the drink.