June 24 – Cold Lips

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

We continue our vacation exploits with stops in Estonia, Russia, Finland, and Sweden, along with more hijinks aboard the Emerald Princess!

Drinking on the Ship

One of my favoruite parts of a cruise vacation is, of course, the drinking. There are a number of bars around the ship and it’s fun to hit each one for at least one bevvy. Highlights of this voyage included cheaper cocktails in the Skywalker Lounge (with it’s beautiful views out the back of the ship), thanks to our new platinum status as cruise members and a visit to Vines Wine Bar, where tapas and sashimi sushi accompanied glasses of rose and pinot grigio wines.

cruise ship

I was drinking, but I wasn’t driving… I swear!

Liquor Finds & Dannebrog Café

Tallinn, Estonia was an amazing little stop that I hadn’t anticipated enjoying so much. And it came with a number of liquor moments. After touring the old, historic city, we popped into a souvenir store and found the aforementioned Cloudberry Liqueur. Imagine my surprise and excitement when Mrs. Sip pointed it out behind one of the cashiers. We also discovered the town’s most popular spirit Vana Tallinn and later found bottles of liqueur that included sugar crystals at the bottom to keep the libations sweet and delicious. Mrs. Sip selected a peach variety of this technique to bring home.

Our last stop of the port visit was to a little bar situated into the old town wall of the medieval city, called Dannebrog Café. You have to climb up narrow and steep stone stairs to enjoy your food and drink high up on a little wooden platform built from the wall (I think Mrs. Sip needed a drink or two just to get the courage to make the climb back down!). From our high perch, we were offered and amazing view of the city, while enjoying some local beers and wines, before making our way back to the ship and onward.

Vodka Tasting

On our honeymoon cruise, Mrs. Sip and I took part in a rum tasting aboard our ship, as we went through the Panama Canal route. This time, traversing through Northern Europe’s Vodka Belt, we of course had to sample some of the spirit and we were happily provided with a sampling of vodkas. We tried Russian Standard, Absolut and Matrioshka Lux, as we geared up for our two days in Russia. In Russia, we were advised by our guide to pick up a bottle of Beluga Vodka, said to be one of the finest sold in the country. That is precisely what we did and hopefully the old adage is true: Russians really know their vodka!

russian vodka

Beers in Finland

With only a short time in Finland, we had to rush around to get our sightseeing done, including taking a boat out to the famous world heritage site, the Suomenlinna sea fortress. When that was complete, it was time for a little rest and relaxation in a Helsinki pub, trying a couple local beers. Before we returned to the ship, we hit a convenience store and bought seven tall boys, each a different brand, to later have our own beer tasting to experience a greater selection of what the country had to offer on the brew front. My personal favourite was the Karhu selections.

Captain’s Circle

A highlight of our last two extended cruises has been invites to the Captain’s Circle celebration (for returning cruisers only). These are mini drinkfests, where servers bring you one cocktail after another for about half an hour, even if you’re already working on three drinks at once at your table. On our Panama honeymoon cruise, it’s where I discovered an appreciation for Cosmos and this time, I was able to enjoy a couple Gimlets, among other treats.

Finishing Cruise Alcohol

At the end of every cruise comes a brief moment of panic when you realize that you still have a fair bit of alcohol left to consume and so few hours to accomplish the feat. Never fear, however, as our troupe went through a quarter bottle of vodka, a dozen beers, some champagne and even hit a couple of the bars around the ship for afternoon cocktails! Damn, I love days at sea!!!

Drink #175: Cold Lips

Cold Lips Cocktail

  • Rim glass with Powder Candy
  • 1 oz Vana Tallinn
  • 1 oz White Rum
  • Top with Cranberry Juice
  • Garnish with Strawberry

So, as you can see, our little vacation was anything but, what with all the port stops and other activities. Still, any time away from work is good time!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
Like yesterday’s inaugural experiment with Crowberry Frost Liqueur, today’s drink provided us with our first opportunity to make a cocktail with Vana Tallinn, which tastes very nice in this mix. I used a Powder Candy Rim to visually show the ‘cold lips’ effect. The Cranberry Juice actually works well with the liquors and all ingredients come together nicely.

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June 23 – Pink Mishe

And Away We Go…

Today we begin a two-day recap of my and Mrs. Sip’s recent vacation to Europe, highlighted by a Baltic Sea cruise. Join us for adventures on the high seas and the pillaging of ports. What, you didn’t even realize I was gone? Yeah, that’s how awesome I am, as I kept this site afloat from the other side of the world! Without further ado, here were a few of the places we hit to get our drink on:

Whiskyfest Tasting at Duty Free

The start of our holiday got off to a curious start, as we explored the duty free store in Vancouver International, we stumbled upon a whiskey tasting booth as part of the store’s Whiskyfest celebration. At the booth, I tried a number of scotch products, and decided I liked the Dalmore brand the most. Unfortunately, I had to suffer through my samples with a fellow traveler and scotch know-it-all, who kept telling me to how “peaty” the various libations would taste.

Be At One

Our first stop took us to London, England and between visiting with friends and attending a number of West End shows, we managed to hit this bar three times in just four days for its wonderful happy hour. They way these chaps do things, is drinks are two-for-one, but you have to buy two of the same, so it’s great in groups of even numbers. We must have tried at least a dozen different cocktails over our visits and I even pilfered one of the menus to bring home for my own use.

Be At One

Wetherspoons

This is a chain of bars in London that offer reasonable prices on food and drink, particularly the food. Mrs. Sip and I enjoyed a couple of pints and pub food while resting between attraction stops. They also have pitchers of cocktail creations available, such as Sex on the Beach, Cosmopolitan and Mojito, among others. Some, like the one right across from the Tower of London, also have rather amazing views!

Carlsberg Brewery

From London, we were off to Copenhagen, Denmark in the wee hours of the morning. After checking into our cruise, we visited the Carlsberg Brewery, home to, as the brewery puts it, “Probably the best beer in the world!”. I enjoyed this tour of the brewery, highlighted by our end-of-tour samples and an interesting collection of beer bottles from around the world that fills the entire top floor of one of the landmark’s buildings. This is also the first breweries I’ve visited that house horses!

Ice Bar & Liquor Store Shopping

Our day in Oslo, Norway started with sightseeing and finished with drinks and liquor shopping, as any good travel day should. When we discovered that both art museums housing the famous ‘Scream’ painting were closed, we decided to hit the Ice Bar and enjoy some very expensive (and not very deserving of their price) cocktails in freezing cold temperatures. While the bar made of ice was unique, paying $14.50 per small cocktail of cranberry juice and vodka was maybe not the highlight of the day. Oh well, you have to do it once in your life!

The_Scream

This was our reaction when we found out both the Munch Museum and National Gallery were closed on our one day in Oslo, Norway!

The day took a swing back upwards when we were given directions to a nearby liquor store, where I hoped to find Cloudberry Liqueur, a supposedly rare and expensive spirit known to be found in Norway. While I didn’t find the hidden treasure, I was able to pick up some Crowberry Frost Liqueur (sounds close enough, right?), which I had never heard of before and a small bottle of Hot & Sweet, which I can only describe as a salty Black Sambuca that should be used as a punishment shot in drinking games.

Trotzenburg Brewery

In Germany, the land of beer and chocolate, we managed to enjoy both on this wet, miserable day. The first restaurant we hit to escape the inclement weather, featured a delicious wheat beer (my favourite type of brew, in case anyone was wondering), which I combined with a hot chocolate to help warm me up. Mrs. Sip followed suit, displaying all the qualities that made me fall in love with her!

Once the rain let up a little we made our way to the Trotzenburg Brewery in Rostock, Germany, where our group (we had been joined by some extended Sip family members from Berlin/Hamburg) shared a yard of beer, made up of 13 mugs of various brews. This was the perfect complement to our schnitzel and currywurst orders!

Drink #174: Pink Mishe

Pink Mishe Cocktail

Join us tomorrow for even more escapades as we conquer seven countries in two weeks and most of the time while blitzed out of our minds!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2 Sips out of 5):
This was my first cocktail using the Crowberry Frost Liqueur Mrs. Sip and I found in Denmark. I have to say the lemon measurement was too strong in this cocktail, overwhelming the Crowberry Liqueur and Citron Vodka. I wish I had used Sweet & Sour Mix over Lemon Juice. To sum up, I look forward to trying Crowberry Liqueur again, sans Lemon Juice.