Denmark – Viking Blood

Something Rotten

Despite William Shakespeare being English, his tragic character Prince Hamlet (or Hammy, as I like to call him) is from Denmark, the setting for what is perhaps Shakespeare’s greatest work. Let’s take an in-depth look at the masterpiece, before poisoning ourselves with booze!:

Hamlet-shirt

The full title of the play is The Tragedy of Hamlet… they sure didn’t leave things to surprise the audience back then. It would be like me calling this site: The Tragedy of the Sip Advisor… I mean, Reading Useless Information and Getting Drunk.

Hamlet is Shakespeare’s longest play, consisting of 4,042 lines, 1,530 of them belonging to Hammy. Uncut, the play takes between four and five hours to perform and it’s estimated that at every moment of every day, Hamlet is being performed somewhere around the world.

The Disney animated film The Lion King is based off of the plot of Hamlet, complete with Scar (Claudius) causing the death of his brother Mufasa (King Hamlet) and stealing rule of the Pride Lands (Denmark) from its natural leader Simba (Prince Hamlet). The differences being that Simba’s lady friend Nala (Ophelia) doesn’t go crazy and off herself; Timon and Pumbaa (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern) don’t betray Simba and go off into the sunset singing Hakuna Matata instead of being killed; and Simba lives through the whole ordeal to claim his birthright.

Hamlet-Lion King

Similarly, the movie Strange Brew, borrows elements from Hamlet, particularly subbing the battle for the Danish throne with the Elsinore Brewery. There are also a number of similarities between Hamlet and Batman, particularly in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. As for TV, the biker gang drama Sons of Anarchy features many plot and character points found in Hamlet.

The Simpsons parodied Hamlet in their short story episode Tales from the Public Domain, with Bart playing Prince Hamlet. The segment features what has to be the first death by high-five, as everyone perishes. Homer then states that the Hamlet story was adapted to become the Ghostbusters script and the family dances to the greatest theme song in movie history!

Speaking of Ghostbusters, speculation exists that Shakespeare himself played the role of The Ghost, when Hamlet was being performed at The Globe in London. It’s too bad Slimer never got the chance to take on the character.

Hamlet Everyone Dies

When the Royal Shakespeare Company performed Hamlet in 2009, actor David Tennant used the very real skull of composer André Tchaikowsky during the infamous gravedigger scene. Don’t worry folks, this wasn’t the result of murder most foul. Tchaikowsky donated his skull to the theatre upon his death in 1982, for theatrical use. Almost 30 years later, Tennant was the first actor to make use of Tchaikowsky’s cranium.

Prince Hamlet has been portrayed by everyone from Laurence Olivier to Mel Gibson (does he hate Claudius as much as Jews!?). Other actors to tackle to starring role include: Kenneth Branagh, Richard Burton, Christopher Walken (did cowbells exist during Hamlet’s time!?), Jude Law, and Kevin Kline.

Hamlet Skulls

Prince Hamlet’s “To be, or not to be” soliloquy is one of the most famous passages in all of the performing arts. It has been interpreted many different ways, with scholars debating its meaning to no end. Sounds like a riveting profession, said no one ever.

Tying everything back to Denmark, the castle that plays the setting of Hamlet actually exists. It is Kronborg Castle in the Danish port of Helsingør. Built in the 1420’s by Eric of Pomerania (the Danish King), this World Heritage Site actually houses the occasional performance of Hamlet, usually in the courtyard. Also, a statue of ol’ Hammy was erected in Elsinore to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the play being published. Hopefully the Sip Advisor doesn’t have to wait three centuries to get his due!

Denmark: Viking Blood

Viking Blood Drink Recipe

  • Rim glass with Strawberry Syrup
  • 1 oz Akvavit
  • 1 oz Kahlua
  • Top with Lemon-Lime Soda
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

I was once given the nickname Billy Shakes (a reference to one William Shakespeare), but I have to say that my writing is better… I don’t use silly words like hath and doth!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
So, this is what Viking Blood tastes like… and apparently it’s black. Well, the cocktail itself was decent. I was curious about mixing Kahlua with Lemon-Lime Soda and it worked. I tried to theme the drink with the Strawberry Syrup rim acting as blood and garnishing the cocktail with a Maraschino Cherry to act as a heart. I think it looked alright. Not great, but who said I was ever performing to epic heights!

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October 4 – Campfire Martini

It Ain’t So Bad

Now that we’ve nestled into the cooler months of the year, it’s nice to bring out a drink like this and reminisce about the summer gone by. Fall and winter aren’t all that bad, though. You just have to find ways to deal with the change. Here are my favourite ways to spend the “indoor” months!:

Get Caught Up on TV

Gone are the days of playing outdoors, but that’s not necessarily a horrible thing. Now we get to snuggle up under warm blankies and watch all the TV we neglected over the summer. Mrs. Sip and I have so many shows, past and present, to get up to speed on. Among them: Sons of Anarchy and Venture Bros. Plus, there’s also all the returning shows that we watch regularly: Walking Dead, Community, Big Bang Theory, Parks and Rec, etc.

Homer Watching TV

Movie Marathon

In a similar vein to our TV habits, movie marathons are much easier to do without the sun enticing you to come outside and play. There were some pretty good flicks that came out over the summer that should be released to homes soon and there’s a lot of stuff to get caught up on from the past that you hear about over time. At least in my own theatre, I can eat all the potato chips I want and can suppress the enjoyment of popcorn.

Vacation to Tropical Locales

I don’t fully understand the need to go on vacation during your own summer. Why would you leave your home when it finally gets to the point where it’s worth living in? I like to save my vacation time for when the weather is garbage (raining buckets or freezing you to the core) and getting the eff out of dodge. Nothing can fend off those winter blues better than leaving winter far behind, in favour of sunny beaches, warm breezes, and poolside bars, if you can throw that in, too!

Tropical Vacation Photos

Winter Sports

From a simple ice skating session to more extraneous activities like skiing, snowboarding, and hockey, there’s much to do in the darker half of the year. I find the winter is a perfect time to mold your body back into shape as the desire to be anywhere other than the gym is lessened. If you’re a weightlifter, as I often purport to be, you’re also not sweating buckets in a stuffy gym, thanks to the cooler temperatures.

Picnic by the Fire

A favourite pastime for Mrs. Sip and I is to grab enough food for a King’s feast, turn up the fireplace, and spend an evening sans electronic distractions and clothing (if I can convince the missus!). Regardless of wardrobe choices, it can provide the perfect romantic setting for catching up with your best friend, sharing a few dozen laughs (I’m a pretty funny guy, after all), and forgetting all about the bitter cold that’s brewing outside!

Drink #277: Campfire Martini

Campfire Martini Drink Recipe

  • Rim glass with Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • 1.5 oz Smores Vodka (I used Three Olives)
  • Top with Milk
  • Splash of Chocolate Syrup
  • Garnish with a Toasted Marshmallow

What’s your best strategy for fighting off old man winter? I’m always looking to learn new techniques to enhance my all-round godness!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
This drink was delicious. A wonderful dessert martini that Mrs. Sip and myself couldn’t get enough of. The Graham Cracker Crumb rim works out better than most other rims. Creating the Toasted Marshmallow without the availability of a campfire was interesting… I had to use a small candle and hope for the best!