Tag Archives: Guinness

5 for Friday: St. Patrick’s Day Edition!


Taking a break from the books this week since it’s St. Paddy’s Day! I’m not Irish, but sometimes I celebrate like I am. ūüôā

Here are 5 of my St. Paddy’s Day Faves:

  1. Food:

    • Creamy Reuben Soup – I made this for the first time on Wednesday. My husband devoured nearly 3 bowls of it! (For the record, I loved it, too.) Okay, so Reubens are not technically Irish, but the corned beef and sauerkraut (cabbage), makes me feel like Reubens kind of are… ¬†Besides, a local bar always makes a version that Rob always dreams of this time of year. I wanted to see if I could do it justice. The verdict? This one might be better. Make it no!¬†Side Note: I never really had a Reuben sandwich until I met Rob. He and his parents always ordered them when we ate out!
    • Corned Beef and Cabbage – Truth be told, this is not a traditional Irish dish either! It’s more Irish-American. This was our go-to recipe every year, a few years back. I don’t think I’ll be making it again, though. The Soup has won out for eternity.
    • Irish Bread – I think Irish Soda Bread might be Irish-American, too. I don’t remember ever having that when I was in Ireland.I do miss their brown bread, though! Maybe I’ll have to try whip up a batch of that next year. Anyone have a fave recipe?
  2. Drinks:

    • Guinness – People think that Guinness is such a heavy beer because it is dark and maybe also because of the foamy head.¬†While it may be heavier than the lager you are drinking, Guinness really isn’t as think or full-bodied as you¬†may¬†think it is. There are several stouts that have much more flavor and richness than Guinness. So give it a try! Sometimes, I’ll drink a Guinness when I want something lighter – it has so¬†fewer¬†calories than many other beers! Plus, there are so many concoctions you can make, including the Black Velvet in this post.
    • Whiskey – I’m not much of a whiskey drinker, but my husband and friend Jen tend to like Johnny Jump Ups (a shot of whiskey in cider). But we did do a tasting while in Ireland. So much fun!
    • Irish Sangria – Want something a little nontraditional and fit for the beautiful weather we are supposed to have this weekend? Try the Irish Sangria in my Sangria post!
  3. Entertainment:

    • Irish Music – You can’t easily¬†find trad¬†in the U.S. but when you do, especially on this special day, it’s wonderful. We love the music at St. Paul’s FREE Irish Fair every August. And we go to see¬†the¬†non-traditional, but always fun Gaelic Storm whenever they are in town!
  4. Memories:

    • My friend Jen and I started a tradition when we backpacked Europe after college to find an Irish Pub in every country. My husband and I carry on this tradition to this day whenever we travel like we did here, here, here,¬†here, here and here.
    • Almost two¬†of those 10 weeks¬†backpacking in¬†Europe backpacking were spent in Ireland. I was most at peace in Dingle. I still remember that day and the calm I felt on the boat while in search of a the view of Fungie¬†the dolphin. Although, hanging with my friend Colm in¬†Dublin and Dundalk¬†was wicked fun!
    • Then we took a family trip to Ireland with Rob’s parents in 2012. Here’s a link to my last post¬†about that wonderful¬†trip. If you scroll down to the bottom of that post, you’ve got a link to all of my posts about that trip on the bottom. We were chauffeured around The Isle by Ray with Walk with Me¬†and made some friends with locals in Dublin. {Hi Ross!} We do need to plan a trip back. {Sigh.}| I haven’t seen the south yet!
  5. Lastly:

    • Our very own Shamrock:


Happy St. Paddy’s Day!

What is your favorite thing about this holiday?


Sparkling Wine Cocktails for New Year’s Eve


Ahhh… The Bubbly. It makes every occasion more special. This Wine Wednesday,¬†I’m offering up a few sparkling wine cocktails for the New Year! This will liven up your usual bubbly toast and offer some alternatives to those who don’t normally enjoy a dry bubbly.


Remember, all Champagne must come from the Champagne¬†region of France to be called such. However, it can be expensive. In all of the cocktail recipes below, feel free to substitute any sparkling white wine, as long as it is dry. {We’ll have a more in-depth lesson Champagne vs. Sparkling Wine at a later date.}



  • 1 part cr√®me de cassis
  • 5 parts Champagne

Pour crème de cassis in a glass, gently pour Champagne on top.

Optional: Add a twist of lemon zest for garnish.

Variation: Substitute raspberry Chambord for the cassis.



  • 1 part Guinness (or other stout), slightly chilled
  • 1 part Champagne

Pour the Stout into a half-pint glass or flute. Carefully add the Champagne on top. When you sip, the heavier stout will slip under the wine, so you’ll enjoy a taste of both!



Variation 1:

  • 1 oz Triple Sec
  • 4 oz Champagne
  • Splash of cranberry juice

Variation 2:

  • 1 oz cranberry juice (choose a brand with no sugar added)
  • 1 tbsp Grand Marnier
  • 4 oz Champagne

Add the cranberry juice and Triple Sec or Grand Marnier to a flute and top with Champagne.

Optional: Garnish with an orange slice or drop in a few frozen cranberries for fun.



  • Splash of peach juice or peaches in simple syrup
  • 4 oz Champagne

Add the peach juice or peaches in simple syrup to the flute. Top with Champagne.

Optional: Garnish with a fresh peach slice.



  • Frozen strawberries or raspberries
  • 4 oz Champagne

Fill the bottom of the flute with frozen strawberries or raspberries. Top with Champagne.

Optional: Coat the frozen strawberries with sugar first and let sit for a while. Garnish with a ripe, fresh strawberry.



  • 1 oz Ruby Red Port
  • 4 oz Champagne

Pour the port into a flute, then add the Champagne.



  • ¬Ĺ oz gin
  • ¬ľ oz lemon juice
  • 4 oz Champagne

Shake the gin and lemon juice with cracked ice; strain into a flute and top with Champagne.

Optional Variations: Add an orange slice for garnish, vary the amounts of the ingredients, add a bit or powdered sugar or a splash of Cointreau.



  • 2 oz orange juice
  • Splash cr√®me de cassis (sunshine) or 1 oz grenadine (sunset)
  • 2 oz Champagne

Add the orange juice and cassis or grenadine to a flute. Top with Champagne.

Optional: Plop in a Maraschino Cherry.


The two that I have not yet had are the Black Velvet and the Nelson’s Blood. I’m looking forward to trying them this New Year’s Eve!¬† Please give one or more of these a shot and come back to let me know your favorites.

What are your plans for New Year’s Eve?

Do you celebrate with any traditions?


Wine in Wine Countries, Guinness in Guinness Country


I know it’s Halloween, but it’s about time I recap our trip to Ireland. I mean, we did return three weeks ago! And while I’ve confessed that I am not a fan of Halloween, the Jack O’ Lantern does date back to Celtic traditions in Ireland. In fact, we did see a carved turnip at one of the Folk Museums we visited on our trip:

Celtic Jack O’Lanterncarved from a turnip

But this post isn’t about the history of the Jack O’Lantern {often spelled jack-o-lantern}, nor is it about Halloween. It’s the beginning of a series of posts about our trip to Ireland.


There is so much to record about our trip. So instead of a play-by-play, chronological description of what we did while we were there, I’m going to offer up our impressions on certain aspects of Ireland. I’d love to talk about the people, the sports, the food, the countryside and travel in general. Maybe you’ll be inspired to visit one day. If not, at least you’ll do some armchair {or desk chair} traveling along with me.

And because it’s Wine Wednesday, let’s start off with the beverage that flows like wine in Ireland:



Do you remember when I told you about Rick Steves’ philosophy about drinking wine in wine countries? It’s one I like to follow. And well, Ireland is, of course, Guinness country. So it’s compulsory to have a Guinness while there, right?


Truthfully, I don’t tend to drink Guinness back at home. And while many people think that Guinness is such a strong, dark beer; it’s really not. True stouts were once just stronger, darker porters – clocking in at 7 – 8% alcohol. A typical pint of Guinness is only about 4 – 4.5%. In addition, it’s much lighter in flavor than many of the stouts I love at home. If I’m going to drink a stout {often for dessert!}, I’d rather have one of the following full-flavored types:

  • Founders Breakfast Stout
  • Summit Oatmeal Stout
  • Young’s Double Chocolate Stout

These stouts tend to have espresso and dark chocolate notes to them. That’s why I love them!

In fact, when I’m in an Irish pub {anywhere in the world}, I tend to drink cider instead. It’s not that I don’t like Guinness. It’s just that it lacks flavor for me. In addition, it’s just so filling. When I drink stouts, I don’t tend to drink more than one.

However, we’ve been told that Guinness does taste a bit different in different places in the world. Rumor has it that there are even a few different recipes, too. In fact, Rob has had Guinness in both Paris and Italy and has been quite pleased with the product in Europe over the flavor in the U.S. Is it in his head? Maybe. But who cares if he knows he can enjoy it abroad?

But truth be told, in Ireland, the stuff is just better.

It’s fresher. It’s smoother. And they know how to pull a proper pint. Be patient for your Guinness. When ordered, you might feel like you aren’t getting the best of service. But your Guinness needs to be poured partway. Then it is set aside to settle a bit before getting topped off.

A properly poured pint of Guinness resting after the first pull.

The stages of poured pints…

After I got sick of drinking cider a few days in a row in Ireland, I shifted to Guinness. And if I was worried that I’d get too full or that it’d be too much for me midday, I quickly learned that instead of ordering a pint, I could just order a¬†glass {a half-pint}.

In most pubs in Ireland you’ll find what I call the “Usual Suspects” on tap draft. These are ones you can expect pretty much anywhere:

  • Guinness
  • Carlsberg
  • Smithwicks
  • Heineken
  • Bulmers Cider
  • Budweiser
  • Coors Light

Yes, I said Coors Light. And I would say that the top two beers I saw being served at the pubs while I was in Ireland were Guinness and Coors Light. I’d like to hang my head in shame that Coors Light has grown so popular. When I was last in Ireland in 2000, the only American beer you’d see was Budweiser. Now Coors Light? What is the world coming to? And you won’t see any English beers on tap at all. At least I didn’t.

No matter which beer you choose, almost every one is served in its properly labeled glass. Notice those Guinness glasses above? Well, you’ll find Coors Light served in Coors Light pint glasses. Bulmers Cider is served in – you guessed it – Bulmers glasses. This makes it really simple to buy a round for your friends! It’s easy to tell what everyone is drinking, without having to ask.

And I’d like to debunk the myth about Guinness being served warm in Ireland. It’s not. But it’s not served ice cold either. Nor should a stout be served ice cold. I’m often frustrated with bars and restaurants at home when they give me a frosty mug for an IPA or a stout. If you chill your beer too much, you mask all the flavors.

Stout is kind of like red wine. It’s not served warm or room temperature, but more like “cellar” temperature. And for stout, maybe even a little cooler than that. This is the proper temperature. And there is a reason for it. Don’t ask for a frosty mug. You want to taste your beer, don’t you?

Our driver, Ray, told us that he preferred Murphy’s Irish Stout to Guinness. He said that because it isn’t as mass-produced as Guinness, it isn’t as processed. Well, you can’t find Murhpy’s on tap everywhere in Ireland like you can Guinness; but when we found a pub with both Murphy’s and Guinness on tap, we decided to do a taste test!

Which Irish Stout is better?

There wasn’t an agreement at the table on which beer won. But which was the winner for me?


I thought it had more coffee notes and overall more flavor. Rob disagreed. We rarely disagree on beers. Still, I’d drink either Guinness or Murhpy’s on draft anytime in Ireland!

We did make a trek to Mulligan’s where we are told that you can get the best pint of Guinness in Dublin. And truthfully, it was excellent. Again, I’m not sure if it was all in our heads, but we thought we could tell a difference. When we asked a local what made the Guinness different here versus other pubs, he said:

“The taste!”

Hahaha. Of course, I meant why he thought it tasted different. His only explanation is that it’s been running through the lines for so many years and so often…

In any case, I had my fair share of pints of Guinness in Ireland. But there’s nothing wrong with that because:

Well, everything in moderation right?

All I know is that in Ireland, I have no problem finishing a pint.

Do you drink Guinness?

Do you like stouts?

If so, what are your favorites?

If not, what are your favorite kinds of beer?