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No trip to Dublin is complete without a stop at the Guinness plant. I was ashamed to admit that I had never had a Guinness as I was more inclined to sip or swirl a cocktail or wine rather than pony up to a pint. What better place than the (250 year old) historical plant itself to be baptized by Guinness, as many find it to be a religious experience. It’s a quick trip over on the hop on hop off bus. As I sipped my ice cold frothy one, overlooking the emerald city, with the plant’s top floor 360-degree view, I couldn’t help but wonder, what took me so long? It was pure perfection.

The craic (fun) continued; as did my liquid tour with a walk through Merrion Square and Stephen’s Green Park and a final swing back in to The Shelbourne’s super sexy No. 27 Bar and Lounge. It’s a regal room with an elaborate bar that serves over 600 Mojitos on any given Friday. With the Celtic Tiger (Ireland’s economy) in top form, the sharp dressed queue on weekend’s wraps around the block. I was hard pressed to get a wee seat late on a leisurely, uncommonly warm and sunny Sunday.

The bar under the careful direction of the bar manager Matthew Sheath, offers a mix of past and present with a definitive nod to the classics as well as a modern twist, in which guests are invited to make their own signature cocktails on site. Each evening a winning cocktail is picked and featured for all to sip. With a wide variety of spirits and ingredients, there are 7,776 possibilities.

I continued to honor the God, of Guinness as I capped off the evening and the liquid trip with one of The Shelburne’s own Guinness Mojitos. Bliss!

If only my grandparents could see me now. They’d be so proud. Cheers!

For more info on the Causeway Coast, Belfast & Dublin: www.causewaycoastandglens.com, www.belfastvisitor.com, www.visitdublin.com

Recipes courtesy of Hayden Lambert & The Bar at The Merchant Hotel

The "Mai Tai"
20mls Appleton Extra-, which is an eight to ten year Jamaican rum
20mls Myers Dark rum
10mls Orange Curcao
25mls Fresh lime juice
10mls Orgeat- French Almond syrup
5mls Bon Bon syrup
and a little water otherwise it becomes a little to syrupy
Shake with ice and strain into a ice filled rocks glass.
Garnish with a lime wedge and a mint tip.

To make the worlds most expensive cocktail use 40mls Wray & Nephew 17yr Jamaican rum @75%abv which is cask strength, instead of the combination of two rums.

The Jack Rose
35mls Applejack bonded proof. Has a high abv.
25mls fresh lime juice
15mls Homemade grenadine
5mls sugar syrup
Shake and strain into a 3oz coupette glass, or just a small cocktail glass.
Garnish with an apple slice.
Smile as it is one of the greatest drinks created.
If Applejack isn't on hand use calvados.