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.

November 1 – Day of the Dead Cocktail

Burial Blitz

Halloween may be over, but we still have the Day of the Dead to celebrate. What better way to do so than look at interesting burial rituals from around the world! Here are some of the most bizarre:

Dining In (Papua New Guinea/Brazil)

Practiced by the Melanesians and Wari peoples, the ‘Feast of the Dead’ was used to bolster a lasting relationship between a recently deceased person and their loved ones. With the ingestion of the body, that dead person was also making one last sacrifice for the tribe, helping them get over their grief. Along these lines, the Yanomami will cremate a body first before consuming the ashes with a banana paste. Mmmm, that’s good eating!


Soul Searching (Tibet)

The Buddhist believe that the body is just a capsule for the soul to live. Therefore, when a person dies, the body no longer has any worth and is dismembered and left to be eaten by scavengers. Ground burial isn’t really a possibility in the frigid mountains of the region and so this is apparently the best way to deal with the deceased. Just think of all the condos that could be built if we no longer needed space for cemeteries.

Totem Poled (Pacific Northwest)

The Haida would take the bodies of their most respected citizens and crush it with clubs, making it fit into a box similar in size to a suitcase. It would then be placed upon a totem pole, which was to protect the individual and guide them into afterlife. Apparently this left quite the stench, though, as described by original missionaries to the areas. Bears must have also been a problem, as they searched for that ever-elusive picnic basket!

Hard Knock Life (Northern Europe)

The slave girl of a dead high-ranking Viking would be forced to have sex with every man in the village before being strangled to death and stabbed by a village matriarch. She would then be placed aboard a ship, with her master’s body and the ship would be lit on fire. This was all done to make sure the slave would serve her master in the afterlife and the Viking’s life force would be released through the mass sex (known today as rape).

Vikings Mad

Apparently you all aren’t good with grieving either!

Cliff Dive (China)

The Bo people buried their dead in caskets on platforms that jut out from the side of cliffs in southwest China’s Gongxian County. Why they did this is a mystery, as the civilization was largely wiped out by the Ming Dynasty centuries ago. Today, they are referred to as the “Sons of the Cliff” or “Subjugators of the Sky”. The cliffs also feature murals showing examples of how the Bo lived, similar to the Egyptians hieroglyphics.

Light My Fire (Bali)

This mass burning of bodies is at least followed by a feast of epic proportions, so at least you always have that to look forward to. The Hindu population of the island bury village members as they pass away in a mass grave. When there are enough bodies (I’m not sure of how many constitutes “enough”) the bodies are unearthed and placed on a float, which is showcased around the village (this ain’t no Disney parade), before being lit on fire in the hub of the settlement.

Immolation Sensation (India)

Today, we comfort a widow in the event their partner dies, but back in the day, it was a whole different story, particularly for women. In India, women were subjected to burn themselves to death during the funeral of their husband, in an act known as Sati. Of course, not all participants were willing. Some believe that the Sati was started to make sure wives wouldn’t poison or otherwise dispose of their husband to marry a lover. I hope Mrs. Sip keeps this in mind!

Drink #305: Day of the Dead Cocktail

Day of the Dead Drink Recipe

  • 1.5 oz Tequila (I used 1800 Reposado)
  • 0.75 oz Grand Marnier
  • Splash of Orange Juice
  • Dash of Cinnamon
  • Garnish with Cinnamon-Dusted Orange Slice

Of course, there are many other burial traditions out there, but I found these to be the most interesting. Can you imagine having to take part in any of these? What burial techniques fascinate you? Until next time…

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
This cocktail wasn’t that bad. I like how the Cinnamon dusting kicked in at the end of each sip and added some spice and flavour to the drink. The Grand Marnier was my favourite component of the recipe and I feel the orange-flavoured liqueur works quite well with Tequila.