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*NO SPOILERS* Don't worry lads.

After last night's Battle of Winterfell, most of us need a good, strong drink. Luckily, some of our favourite alcohol companies have released limited edition Game of Thrones spirits to celebrate the final season.

Did someone say 'cocktails'? We did. Big bag of cans with the White Walkers sounds good to us.

confused jon snow GIF by Game of Thrones

1. White Walker Whiskey by Johnnie Walker Scotch.

Johnny Walker is our new bestie. The veteran scotch brand and mixologist master Gabe Orta has created six special serves alongside the White Walker Whiskey.

This is exactly what we need to numb our emotional trauma of character deaths. Each of the half-a-dozen drinks is inspired by the iconic HBO series, and are easy to make at home. 

'Rooting for the Night King' is an ice-cold mix of whiskey, but add coconut soda to create the 'Army of the Dead''. Targaryen fans can make a fiery blend of burne rosemary, whiskey and cinnamon syrup in the 'Dragonglass Old Fashioned.'

Image credit: extravaganzi.com
Price: €38 (£33)

The GOT-'Old Fashioned' features Zacapa Rum, Dram palo santo bitters, Angostura, rosemary stalk and smoked cinnamon syrup. Yum.

Make the 'Hold the Door' (SOB) with whiskey, berry soda and blackberries and raspberries as a garnish. 'Sword in the Darkness' is made with vermouth, bitter liqueur, Angostura, Pimento bitter, brandy cherries and whiskey.

Your head will be spinning in no time, get ready to forget the pain of watching this brilliant show.

GIF by Game of Thrones

2. Ommegang's 'Game of Thrones' Beer

'For the Throne', 'Winter is Here', 'Valar Dohaeris', Bend the Knee', 'Fire and Blood', 'Queen of the Seven Kingdoms', 'Mother of Dragons', King in the North' and 'Hand of the Queen' are all new flavours brought our by Ommegang to commemorate GOT.

Brewery Ommegang are a craft outpost in NYC, and first teamed up with HBO back in 2013. It has since created, brewed and released over 10 special beers to pay homage to the show and it's characters.

The collection also features imperial stour, red kriek ale, golden ale and smoked porter, and can be bought on drizly.com's website.

Image credit: parched.asia
Price: €8

3. Game of Thrones Chardonnay wine

Remember all of the episodes in which Cersei Lannister drinsk deviously out of a goblet of never-ending wine?

Well, now that can be you. Picture yourself as Tyrion, always sipping his storage of vino and plotting ways to defeat evil.

8wines have released a Game of Thrones 2016 Chardonnay with bursts with tropical fruit like guava, mango and honeydew melon along with zesty lime, peach and white blossom aromas for feverish fans.

Image: 8wines
Price: €36.15

4. Cardhu Game of Thrones 'House Targaryen' gold reserve single malt scotch whiskey

Eight Scottish distilleries have collaborated with Westeros' ruling families based on their independent traits: Lagavulin paired with House Lannister and Cardhu aimed at House Targaryen.

The Night's Watch got theirs from Oban Bey Reserve, in a gorgeous blac bottle, but we love Cardhu's House Targaryen's gold reserve single malt scotch whiskey.

The fiery spirit of the fierce female leadership of Daenerys Targaryen has fuelled this whiskey on behlaf of legendary women and their unwavering perseverance. The drink involves notes of baked apple with spices, cloves, nuttiness and caramel character.

Image: CraftShack
Prices: €35.80 upwards

Interestingly, the Cardhu Distillery was created by Helen Cumming and her daughter-in-law Elizabeth during the 1800s, a period when the whisky industry was basically entirely male-dominated.

We love a fierce female. You can snag the whole collection here.

One last thing; You need a KILLER glass to drink away your GOT-related sorrows in. We've found the perfect goblet to tackle that freezing cold winter.

Introducing…

5. The Weirwood Tree Goblet by EMP.

Image; www.emp.ie
Price; €39.99

We couldn't let you drink such outstanding alcohol in a regular glass, now could we? A true fan appreciates the metal, stainless steel version of the mysterious tree.

The tree is featured in the godswood of Winterfell, and has carved faces in it's bark. It's rumoured to be key in the final series, mainly because of Bran Stark.

Drink responsibly, lads, but enjoy these gorgeous Game of Thrones collaborations this season.

Feature image: Golf Digest/HBO

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Wine lovers, listen up!

Whether you're a red or white kind of gal, wine is usually best served alongside some delicious nibbles and in the company of good friends.

A long stem glass in one hand, a delicately assembled cheese/cracker combo in the other – but with two full hands how are you supposed to hold your phone, take a selfie or pour another glass?

Well, this hands-free wine glass holder is here to save the day.

The Neoprene Stemstrap Wine Glass Holder might just be our favourite invention of recent times, and although it may not be the most stylish accessory we've ever seen, we're willing to look past that.

Originally created by WineYoke, this practical product is now available in pink alongside the standard black model.

There are also a number variations available to buy on Amazon, so g'wan, treat yo' self and your friends to this wonderful contraption – and who knows, you might even start a trend down the local.

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If you haven’t heard of Dylan hotel, you are sorely missing out. The Irish-owned five-star boutique hotel is renowned already for it’s red brick Victorian building, lavish decor and high-quality food, as well as it’s amazing proximity to the Irish city centre.

Tucked into a side avenue near Baggot Street, this gem is still relatively private despite it’s location, as if the building itself is housing a treat only a special few experience.

Dylan Bar has everything going for it, but we decided it was high time for us to try out their brand new Christmas afternoon tea menu: Spice and All Things Nice. We felt we deserved some five-star treatment, especially since the cost is only €45 for great service and even better food.

The design of the hotel is immediately striking; while it may be aesthetic Victorian brick on the outside, within the building is modern, contemporary design. We were seated by the fireplace by incredibly attentive staff, and after perusing their extensive afternoon tea menu, our eyes were swiftly on the prize: Christmas cocktails.

Their limited edition cocktail menu is inspired by the magical spices of the festive season; ginger, nutmeg, clove, star anise and cinnamon. It’s pretty mouth-watering stuff, if we do say so ourselves. Seeing as we value journalistic integrity, we had to taste as many as possible. *winks*

We definitely weren’t disappointed; their Winter Wine Warmer is an extravagant version of mulled wine, except far, far classier. Made with a mix of homemade citrus, star anise and clove syrup added to classic Merlot, the twist on the aromatic Christmas drink of the gods goes down a treat.

The Festive Pudding cocktail is a reimagined version of the classic winter dessert, made with allspice Guinness syrup, fresh orange and lime juice, old fashioned bitters, eggs whites and of course, Irish whiskey. Any connoisseurs of whiskey will adore this drink, trust us, it has a kick.

Next up on our list was the Apple & Cinnamon Crumble, made with Zubrowska vodka, goldschlanger, apple and lime juice, vanilla infused honey and topped off with a cookie crumble rim. Talk about being in heaven, the Dylan mixologists were infusing the atmosphere with subtle yet heartwarming Christmas vibes.

For those with a sweet tooth, chocolate appreciators can enjoy the Polar Express either hot or cold. Created with Hennessey V.S., Bailey’s Frangelico, and chocolate and vanilla cream, you’ll be rolled out of the place after one (or five…) of these.

Other divine drinks on offer include the Zenzero Negroni, which has the highest alcohol content so brace yourselves, and Before Santa’s Here for another whiskey.

Last but by no means least, their Summer in December is a rum and gingerbread syrup blend for a summer mood with a winter cheer, and they also include their version of an Irish coffee; the Dylan Christmas Coffee mixed with their secret spice syrup.

The designated drivers can also try a range of mocktails which are as good as the real thing. Dylan Bar also has refreshing bubbly, for any Prosecco queens out there, and a variety of tea and coffees. Heaven is a place on earth, and it’s located at Eastmoreland Place.

With all of these gorgeous drinks, we had almost forgotten about all the luscious cakes and sweet and savoury treats coming our way. Almost. They served us the carefully crafted food on a three-tiered plate, and we had a try of their spiced scotch egg, turkey and sage pie with cranberry chutney and pulled ham on granary bread and brie and cinnamon spice apple. 

The savoury selection was delicious, and we couldn’t leave without trying their sweet and subtly spiced buttery homemade scones and indulgent desserts. Pistachio slices, gingerbread cupcakes topped with whiskey icing and a meringue snowman with chocolate and nutmeg mousse were just a taster of what we were offered.

Sitting by the fire, breathing in the mulled wine and eating our weight in macaroons, we realised that we honestly need this lifestyle 24/7. It’s extra, it’s lavish, it’s Christmas magic, and everyone deserves a treat like afternoon tea at Dylan Bar. Don’t miss out, it’s only offered until the New Year so snap up a reservation while you can.

Enjoy the Spice & All Things Nice menu in the Dylan Bar until January 1 2019.

Call 01 660 3000 to make a reservation or email reservations@dylan.ie to have your Christmas injected with the warmth of festive food and drink.

Feature image: Instagram/@dylandublin

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Wilde restaurant has quickly become our new favourite spot this summer. For the month of June, they've launched a beautifully curated, indulgent rosé menu. It's all about those summer wines and summer vibes.

Their covered gardened terrace is just the place to enjoy a refreshing rosé and elegant wine tasting experience. 

The best part is that you can find your perfect rosé by sampling the delectable ones available in their Flight of Rosé. It's just €15 for three 75ml glasses of these gorgeous wines.

 

A post shared by WILDE (@wildedublin) on

The three unique tasting selections include the celebrity favourite Whispering Angel, a light and fresh rosé with a white peach expression; M de Château Minuty, a citrusy rosé with a rounded feel; and Le Bijou, elegantly balancing aromas of wild strawberries, citrus and flowers.

These three wines all come from France, with a special focus on the home of rosé, Provence.

You'll learn all about these exquisite wines while relaxing on Wilde's sunny, 1930s inspired terrace.

 

A post shared by WILDE (@wildedublin) on

The three delicious rosés are also available as single glasses or chilled bottles.

And for those of you who love your spirits, there are two limited edition artisan cocktails being served up on the terrace, too: the sweet Cherry Blossom G&T and the lavish Rosé Spritz, both perfect for this season.

However, as we all know, any time is rosé time! Wilde is the perfect place to indulge.

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You know that feeling when you get home from work and you are CRAVING a glass of vino? 

Well, then you will also know that hideous feeling when you realise your bottle of white isn't in the fridge – and so it's warm.

Violent stuff.

Anyway, you can try fling it in the freezer, but that will still take time, and who has that these days?

more wine GIF

Well, there is apparently a very handy little trick, that will have you grape juice ice cold in minutes.

Just enough time to pop your PJs on. 

Wine expert Brian McClintic recently spoke to My Domaine about how he gets the ideal wine temperature. 

And just incase you're wondering – that would be 7 to 13 degrees for white and rosé wine, and 13 and 18 degrees Celsius for a glass red.

big bang theory wine GIF

Simply pop your bottle in "an ice water bath with plenty of salt," which "works  like a charm."

"The full bottle should be submerged. It's hard to say how much salt-let's just say a liberal amount. What happens is the bottle is encased in ice and therefore comes down in temperature much more quickly."

How does it work? Well, basically salt reduces the freezing point of water, meaning it cools down quicker without turning into ice.

So pour yourself a glass this evening, you deserve it! 

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So, if you've ever read the pages of a glossy magazine, or drunkenly googled how to improve your technique, you'll know that the so-called 'sex tips' on offer are, for the most part, totally unrealistic, and let's face it, downright cringey. 

Between worrying about where you're putting your hands, to uttering some absolute filth in the heat of the moment, it can all get a little overwhelming at times.

But what if we told you that all you needed to be a superstar in the bedroom was a few glasses of vino? 

According to a study conducted by the University of Florence Italy, women who drink two glasses of wine a day are better in bed and enjoy greater satisfaction than those drink just one glass, or none at all. 

For the study, researchers surveyed 800 women between the ages of 18 and 50, using something known as the Female Sexual Function Index, which is used by doctors to assess women and sexual health. 

Speaking to the Daily Mail, the study's lead author, Dr. Nicola Mondaini said the the relationship between wine and sexuality has been well known since the time of Ancient Greece. 

So, in short, of you're looking to add a bit of spice to your sex life, indulge yourself in a few after-dinner tipple – it's win-win really. 

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If you're anything like us, having a glass of wine with a meal means picking the cheapest bottle on the list and hoping for the best – after all, our 'teat yo'self' budgets can only stretch so far.

For others, however, the process of choosing a suitable wine is much more time-consuming altogether.

Whatever your wine drinking habits, researchers at Michigan State University have concluded that most people fit into one of four wine-drinking preference categories – or vinotypes, if you will.

For the study, a group of adults were asked about their food and beverage preferences, and their consumption patterns.

Researchers then held a reception where participants were asked to rate various snacks and wines individually, then together.

According to The Independent, after observing the participants, researchers were able to predict wine preferences based on the data gathered about their eating, drinking and other personal habits – leading to the creation of the four vinotypes. 

1. Sweet – Very picky. Looking for something sweet, light and no too strong. Typically love soda and foods with excess salt.

2. Hypersensitive – Slightly more open-mined. Will try a new wine as long as its simple and clean. These types of drinkers are most likely to complain about TV volume and thermostat temperature.

3. Sensitive – Flexible and adventurous. Free-spirited and less rigid in their every day lives.

4. Tolerant – Lovers of big, bold and intense flavours. Decisive and linear thinkers. Typically enjoy strong coffee and cheese.

So, which one are you?

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So, we love good news, but every so often, it's important that we also share the bad news – we're sorry.

On this rainy hump day, we have learned that the grape harvest has not been remotely prosperous – resulting in a wine shortage. 

According to The Guardian, wine production last year slumped to its lowest level in over 50 years.

The production issues happened because vines in the world's top three wine-producing regions being badly affected by 'freakishly hot and cold weather'.

amy schumer drinking GIF

The areas hit most include those producing Rioja and Prosecco – SAY IT AIN'T SO! 

You know what happens if wine supplies drop? Prices go up.

"Prices for things like pinot grigio or generic Spanish reds will rise by between 10% and 30% and it's a question of how much of that retailers will pass on," claimed Dan Jago, chief executive of high end wine merchant Berry Bros & Rudd.

"Prosecco was very hard hit by frost, so there will be less of it and the price will go up."

I'm nervous. 

julia louis dreyfus wine GIF

The Bordeaux region was also hit with adverse weather conditions:

"In Bordeaux the top 150 chateaux have not really been affected but the grand surface – the total acreage of Bordeaux – has been ravaged. The Bordeaux harvest, like the overall harvest across Italy and Spain, has been decimated but it tends to be the more flat lying, higher volume production land that has been hit."

Basically the world is facing its worst harvest since 1961, with production dropping 8 percent – to 247m hectolitres in 2017.

The Guardian says that a hectolitre is the equivalent of 133 standard wine bottles, so if you do the maths (which we didn't FYI), that means a grand total of 2.9 billion fewer bottles.

Holy HECK. 

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A new study published in the journal Scientific Reports found that a couple glasses of wine a day actually cleans your brain.

Consuming alcohol in low doses can help the brain rid itself of toxins, including those associated with Alzheimer's disease. Low levels of alcohol consumption also help to tamp down on brain inflammation.

The researchers noted that consuming large amounts of alcohol is still detrimental to one's health, with lead author Maiken Nedergaard, M.D., D.M.Sc. saying: 'Prolonged intake of excessive amounts of ethanol is known to have adverse effects on the central nervous system.'

'However, in this study, we have shown for the first time that low doses of alcohol are potentially beneficial to brain health, namely it improves the brain's ability to remove waste.'

These findings join previous research that has shed light on the advantages of consuming low amounts of alcohol, including reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Maiken, who is the co-director of the Center for Translational Neuromedicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC), examined the effects of alcohol upon the workings of the glymphatic system in the brain.

The glymphatic system is the brain's unique cleaning process. It uses cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) to clear away waste, including the proteins beta amyloid and tau, which are linked to dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

The study, conducted using mice, examined the differences between mice that were exposed to high levels of alcohol for long periods of time and those that received low doses for long stretches of time.

Mice in the acute alcohol exposure group experienced cognitive impairment and their motor skills deteriorated. The team also found that these mice exhibited high levels of a molecular marker for inflammation.

In the meantime, the mice in the lower-dose group showed less brain inflammation. These mice were consuming the equivalent of about two and a half glasses of wine daily, and their glymphatic systems showed marked improvement in efficiency.

'The data on the effects of alcohol on the glymphatic system seemingly matches the J-shaped model relating to the dose effects of alcohol on general health and mortality, whereby low doses of alcohol are beneficial, while excessive consumption is detrimental to overall health,' Maiken observed.

'Studies have shown that low-to-moderate alcohol intake is associated with a lesser risk of dementia, while heavy drinking for many years confers an increased risk of cognitive decline.'

'This study may help explain why this occurs. Specifically, low doses of alcohol appear to improve overall brain health.'

Cheers to that.

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Dancing on night out can be tricky business.

Some people take to the dance floor like a duck takes to water, while others wouldn't dream of strutting their stuff without a generous helping of liquid courage.

Well it turns out the later of the two might actually have the best moves, because science has found that on average, our dancing skills peak after consuming one bottle of wine – no more, no less.

According to Metro, researchers at The Times have been investigating how alcohol effects our ability to bust a move, and one bottle of wine seems to be the magic number.

Any more than this and “things deteriorate catastrophically.”

For the study, researchers asked 55 people to play a dancing game on the Xbox.

Each participant then asked to track their alcohol consumption throughout the evening – and the result were interesting to say the least.

The average score of the sober players? – 4,400 points. The average score of players six drinks deep? – 6,200.

That's a 50 per cent improvement overall.

However, once players drank over this amount, scores began to fall to a measly 4,000.

David Nutt, professor of neuropsychopharmacoloy at Imperial College London reckons the results are due to alcohol's ability to squash inhibitions.

So, there you have – there's a secret dancing queen inside all of us, she just needs a bottle of wine to come alive!

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Wine lovers are usually the best people to get gifts for: a nice bottle of wine and Bob's your uncle!

But because we want to show this special person that we actually care about them and put a bit of an effort into their present, here are some ideas that will make the wine lover in your life incredibly happy.

1. Some tasty candies

HOLLYS LOLLIES, Mulled Wine Humbugs, €8.00, brownthomas.com

2. A cool wine cooler 

EDDINGTON, Epicurean Straight Sided Wine Cooler, €44.95, arnotts.ie

3. A mug to remember that wine time is coming

'Because It's Too Early For Wine' Hand Lettered Mug by HOPE AND HALCYON, €14, notonthehighstreet.com

4. A pretty candle

Recycled Wine Bottle Candle, €27.69, uncommongoods.com

5. A wine course

Wine course at the Dublin Wine School, from €120, dublinwineschool.ie

6. A sommelier set

J by Jasper Conran, Silver sommelier gift set, €42.00, debenhams.ie

7. A monthly supply of wine

Donnybrook Fair Wine Subscription, €39.99, donnybrookfair.ie
8. A sleek wine pump

LE CREUSET Wine Pump & 3 stoppers, €26.00, arnotts.ie

9. Elegant wine glass charms

JOANNA BUCHANAN, Set of 6 Jewelled Wine Charms, €55.00, brownthomas.com

 

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December is officially upon us, and on these cold, dark evenings all we want to do is lounge around in our onesies clutching a glass of vino.

Now there's a seriously festive way to enjoy that evening tipple that doesn't involve a reindeer jumper.

The Santa's Flask stocking is the perfect combination of a Christmas decoration and a reminder of your penchant for pinot. 

 

A photo posted by SantasFlask (@santasflask) on

Like a typical stocking, Santa’s Flask can be hung from the mantle piece for easy access from the couch to your favourite alcoholic beverage. 

It's also portable, so it's perfect for all those upcoming Christmas parties.  

While drinking out of a sock-shaped plastic bag may not be the classiest of methods, it's definitely festive. 

The flask can hold up to three bottles of wine so getting jolly on Christmas eve will be no problem.

Just make sure you leave a glass out for Santa.  

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