Worthwhile Weekends in Dublin - Jen's Hen

Another weekend.  Saturday night, you’re getting set for another night on the town. Couple weeks back we went out for my friend’s bachelorette, or as they call it here in Ireland (and this side of the pond, in general) - a Hen party.

**Tickets GIVEAWAY! ** - scroll to the end for deets on the LIQUOR ROOMS Sunday night bash!

Planning a hen? 5 Tips to having a great one. no male strippers & no dangerous living, unless you count dancing dangerously awesome ;)

IMG_0631 Tip 1:  Start drinking, start early.   We started at VCC, one of our favourite places for a classic cocktail, tasty treats, and punch bowls.



Tip 2: 

Involve the groom  As you do, always have a quiz or game ready to see if the couple really are a match made in heaven. Make sure to have prizes! Pictured here, an extinguisher full of 'screwdriver'



Tip 3:  Have fantastic food - and/or fantastic slop that takes the cake On this occasion we suggest the tastiest of burgers at *Rick's burgers* after a little drinks top-up at Exchequer.

















Tip 4:  Class it up with some burlesque  No silly, I don’t mean to partake, I meant show up and get hot and bothered watching them talented ladies.  We were at the Button Factory for a special occasion burlesque show, lucky us! hear that feline roar.



Tip 5:  Dance like there’s no tomorrow,  because there’s nothing like a little limbo to loosen you up We danced the night away with some nice shots & cozy dance floor at Ukiyo Bar; a sushi joint turned bar at night time.

That pretty much concludes our adventures in Dublin. We called it a night after all the early fun.

GIVEAWAY TIME: a nice friend at the Liquor Rooms has given me a few tickets to their Rock Your Northern Soul tomorrow night - free 'Twisted Wheel' Cocktail comment below or tweet me if you're interested!


Upstairs KK Cocktails meets Slow Food Dublin


[SHORT, Quick Lovin' ]

Service: fun, personal, not fussy 

Likelihood to return: 5/5 already been back since

Food/Coffee: no idea, didn't eat, but it's Pakistani food delish!

Chillness: 4.5 chill chairs! laid back, intimate, secret

Highlights: Personalised drinks - to your taste; mine: strong not sweet.

As I look back at this post I wrote after a night of cocktails, I see that writing while tired and slightly woozy means rambling and excessive repetition.  For example, (just for impact, of course) I like wrote that I loved drinking on a Monday about three times.[REPETITION NOTE]   and so, as if there were anything better to do on a Monday ….I met up with the slow food Dublin crew for some cocktail drinking and making.  I recently joined Slow Food Dublin as a young member (anyone under 35); it provides a community that encourages the enjoyment and appreciation shorter food supply chains, and highlights the authenticity of real food. There isn't much to be said except that I met fantastic people, all either working in food or food enthusiasts.  See in the photos, Marta from Cook it Love it Eat it and Caryna from Caryna's Cakes, the slow food group, that is  Sharon and Bill, and  Allan, the bar man that just joined the KK team.  I will, maybe, forgive you Allan for the 'kind' words from tonight ;)- calling me a lightweight! UpKK1

Paul's Blind Pig cocktail class is quite the way to build a group.  We started a shy group of people that didn't know each other, and after the first round of Tom Collins warmed up to joke about 'spanking' our cocktail glasses.  We had a casual monday night of drinking and I loved it. i won't lie, I loved it. [RE: REPETITION NOTE]

Reasons why I enjoyed the Slow food event: 1- met great people 2- they were interested in food 3- i love cocktails

UpKK2 I could talk about food and drink for hours, so obviously it would make good sense to go to this cocktail with Slow Food Dublin.  I have recently taken an interest in small community of local food, but even further than food; sustinability, community, and authenticity of food. Give me a chance to mix a cocktail and have some gainful experience at making it and I will take it on.  Paul was knowledgable and full of experience.  Aside from drawing from the cocktail history vault, we were able to get some hands on experience making three drinks, the ? with a ratio of 2/1/1, the corn and oil and finally the Old Fashioned with Paul's own house-made maraschino cherries.  I am now a lover of the Corn & Oil, just saying, I'm really glad there's yet another place to find classic cocktails with a personal experience and serious bartenders taking it to the next level.

UpKK-3[key ingredient to Corn n' Oil]

UpKK-5[ended with Sazerac]




Mint Bar at the Westin Dublin

Big chain hotels have a general reputation for quality, consistency, and high price points.  Having been spoiled with my mom's great employer benefits, I have become accustomed to all those previously mentioned - minus the priceyness.  So when one of my friends mentioned the prospect of joining him in reviewing the local cocktail lounge at the Westin in Dublin, I jumped at the chance! - Thanks Yann:) be sure to check out #totallydublin in print to dabble in more wit & drink.  

To begin, the hotel is located on one of the busiest central streets of Dublin (Westmoreland Street).  The lounge was tucked away, past the concierge and downstairs.  So it seems to cater to the guests of the hotel, as it is very out of sight.  The Mint Bar is one of two in the hotel, it is a dimmly lit, classically furnished bar with arch vaulted ceilings separating the space with large stone pillars.

westin 1

After combing the menus, we decided to start with more traditional drinks.  The Aviation & Sacerac.

The aviation (Plymouth Gin, Violet Piquet, Marachino Piquet, Fresh lemon juice) was new to me, and was a refreshing but strong start to the evening.  We found it slightly underwhelming as the violet liquor did not come out as clean and floral as some.  Sazerac (Sazerac 5 year old rye whiskey, simple syrup, Peychaud bitters and an absinthe rinse), I enjoyed this drink for my first go.  Flavours were slightly muddled, but still a refreshing whiskey cocktail.


Love-Hate Menu (Available until March 30 ONLY!)

After some discussion with the bartender, we learned that the menu was derived from the staff discussions surrounding the Irish TV series 'Love-Hate' and the idea was that the drinks would all be something that customers would either Love or Hate.  Not much choice for spectrum here, just extremes please.  Love-Hate highlighted the bar's progressive flare, introducing flavours or ingredients that would be unexpected to the traditional cocktail.


All cocktails on the limited-time menu were priced forgivingly, so as to encourage a more friendly and inviting atmosphere for risk-takers.


We were ready to delve into the dirty business of risk-taking!

Smokin' Marzipan Martini (Glenmorangie 10 year old Scotch whisky infused with Cohiba No 2 cigars, Disaronno Amaretto, Martini Rosso, Angostura aromatic bitters and an orange zest.)

Tasting: smoky on the nose, cinnamon and almond from the amaretto.  This drink was very sweet and candy-like true to the name of marzipan.


Octopus' Garden (Bombay Sapphire gin, Martini extra dry vermouth, served with a smoked baby octopus.)

Tasting: Bombay Sapphire was fresh and herbaceous, what we have come to expect.

We dissected the drink in discussion; the first half of the drink was gin martini as per usual, except that the baby octopus was staring us square in the face; the second half was interesting, as the octopus slowly infused some notes of sea and salt into the drink; final third, we waited too long!  The drink had warmed and in my words, there were pronounced sea-like bits in the end.  Of course, against my mother's recommendation, she warns of this every time! I can hear her saying "Vania, stop talking or your drink will get warm"

Westin 2

Aged Manhattan (Crown Royal rye whisky, sweet vermouth, Angostura bitters)

Tasting: these barrel aged cocktails were left for at least 6 weeks to age in new white oak, imparting a dry smoky flavour to the manhattan; otherwise, a usually clean but strong and quite sweet


Hemingway Sour (Woodford Reserve bourbon, Drambuie, pasteurized egg white, fresh lemon juice and simple syrup)

Tasting: This was the fave of the evening, perfect citric pucker balanced with roundness of drambuie and bourbon.


Corpse Reviver #2 (Martin Miller’s gin, Cointreau, Lillet blanc, fresh lemon juice and an Absinte rinse)

Tasting: Super fresh and acidic - lots of lemon

After getting unexpectedly sloshed on a caffeinated stomach, I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed the cocktails and new experiences in Dublin.  The service was professional and warm, and the cocktails were true to tradition and aesthetically pleasing.   Love-hate menu is just one of many featured specials at the Mint, with some other more popular menus like the skinny cocktails menu, the bar wanted to push a more risqué face.


Service: Professional and warm, decent knowledge of cocktails and liquors.  

Likelihood to return: 3.5/5

Food/Coffee: Drinks 4/5, no food or coffee

Chillness: 4 chill chairs

Highlights: Hemingway Sour, but hey! We had a smoked octopus staring us in the face.