Story behind the song

The story behind The Whiskey War

Have a good laugh about this funny pub song that keeps the toes tapping and the whiskey flowing.

We came across the hilarious tale of Hans Island three years ago. You just couldn’t make this up: two countries fighting over a rock with bottles of whiskey! But it is a very true story. And that makes it even more fun to write a song about it. And singing it, with the very serious announcement that Canada and Denmark are at war.

Hans Island

Hans Island is located in the middle of the Nares Strait, the water which separates Greenland, an autonomous territory of Denmark, from Canada. When drawing border lines Hans was sort of left out, for the island is technically located in both Danish and Canadian waters. Now Hans is a rock. There is nothing there. So, there is nothing to fight for.

Danish or Canadian?

In 1984 the Denmark’s minister of Greenland affairs visited the island and planted a Danish flag. At the base of the flag, he left a note saying ‘Welcome to the Danish island’ along with a bottle of brandy. When the Canadian forces came over to Hans three years later, they finished the schnapps, swapped the flags and left a bottle of club, a Canadian whiskey.

Pub song

And so, as the whiskey war goes on, the drinking goes on and on. The idea of a whiskey on the rocks turned into this pub song. We sang it for the first time during the White Horse Sessions in Kenny’s Bar Lahinch, co. Clare Ireland. And it is a crowd pleaser ever since, especially when there are Danish or Canadian people in the crowd. Sláinte!

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