Ukraine – Fireball Martini

Brotherly Brawlers

It’s not often that a country can lay claim to one heavyweight title fighter, but a pair of brothers that are equally adept in the ring is a truly rare feat. Ukraine’s Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko are both champions and give the Ukraine an image to be feared. Let’s take a look at the brothers and their rise to international stardom:

Vitali (born July 19, 1971) is nearly five years older than his brother Wladimir (born March 25, 1976). Both men made their debut on the same night (November, 6, 1996) in Hamburg, Germany. Not surprisingly, each brother was victorious, with Vitali KO’ing Tony Bradham at 1:14 of the second round. He was bested by Wladimir, who beat Fabian Meza by knockout at 1:35 of the first round.

Klitschko Jab

Prior to entering the professional ranks, Wladimir competed at the 1996 Olympics, winning gold in the Super Heavyweight division. Vitali was a member of the same team, but was booted off for testing positive for a banned substance. This opened the door for Wladimir, who was intended to compete in the Heavyweight Division and was struggling to make the weight limit, thus bumping up to Super Heavyweight, taking Vitali’s spot.

Vitali was also quite successful before his pro boxing career began, but in the discipline of kickboxing, where he was a six-time World Champion (twice as an amateur and four times professionally) with a record of 34-1, including 22 knockouts.

Vitali took four years off from the sport from 2004 to 2008. When he returned, he defeated Samuel Peter to win back the WBC World Heavyweight Championship. At the same time, Wladimir was in possession of the WBO, IBF, and IBO heavyweight titles (the longest reigning champion for each of those belts), marking the first time two brothers held world championships at the same time.

Klitschko Belts

When Wladimir added the WBA World Heavyweight Championship to his collection in 2011, the broskis held every world title (and continued to do so for the next 2 years, 5 months, and 13 days). Vitali forfeited his title in 2013, in order to enter the political realm in the Ukraine.

Vitali is extremely well-educated, having earned a master’s degree in social development and a doctorate in sport science, which netted him the nickname Dr. Ironfist. He was chosen as the leader of the Ukrainian Democratic Allice for Reform Party and has twice sought to be elected as the mayor of Kiev. Vitali has been awarded Germany’s highest civilian honour, the Federal Cross of Merit for his achievements. Not to be unmatched, Wladimir also garnered a doctorate in sport science, changing his nickname from The Steel Hammer to Dr. Steel Hammer.

Outside of the ring, the Klitschko’s operate K2 Promotions and K2 East Promotions. They are also active in the philanthropy world with their Klitschko Brothers Fund, which works to help children around the world. The brothers have agreed to work with UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), as of 2002.

Klitschko Fight Mode

Wladimir auctioned off his 1996 gold medal at an event in 2012, hoping to raise money to help Ukrainian children. The winning bid came in at $1 million, with the buyer immediately returning the medal to the boxer, not out of fear, but because he believed the treasure should remain with Wladimir and his family. Really gives you the warm fuzzies!

Wladimir appeared in the movie Ocean’s 11, fighting Lennox Lewis during the great heist and starred in the music video for ‘Part of Me,’ by Chris Cornell of Soundgarden and Audioslave fame. Regardless of all the bragging rights that come with being a boxing champion, Wladimir can also claim to be engaged to actress Hayden Penettiere from the TV shows Heroes and Nashville. The couple announced in 2014 that they are expecting their first child.

Combined, the sibling’s all-time record is 107 wins and 5 losses, with 93 knockouts. Vitali is 45-2-0 with 41 KOs, while Wladimir is 62-3-0 with 52 KOs. Vitali may not have as many knockouts as his little brother, but his KO percentage of 87% is the highest ever in the history of heavyweight champions. Despite his two losses, Vitali rarely lost a round and was never knocked down or out in competition. When he hasn’t come out as the winner, it’s because injuries suffered during a bout have caused him to concede defeat.

Ukraine: Fireball Martini

Fireball Martini

Although an encounter between the two siblings would be highly marketable, Vitali and Wladimir have both insisted that they would never fight each other. The Sip Advisor and his broski didn’t follow this mantra and faced off on pay-per-view in what has been viewed as the least watched sporting exhibition in history!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
When I first heard of this Vodka, I knew it would be a perfect addition to the Sip Advisor collection. I’m a fan of drinks that offer a little burn and this was no different. I could have used a little more heat, but that’s just me. I dared Mrs. Sip to take a bite of the Hot Pepper garnish and when she turned it back on me, I was game… I took my bite and let the flames fly for the next few minutes!

October 22 – Angry Dan

Festival Phooey

My little sippers, my thesis is simple: the price of some liquor events is insane!

Case in point, Mrs. Sip and I were looking forward to attending our first Vancouver Hopscotch event this November, even making peace with the $50 (plus tax and service charge) cost that came along with the whiskey and scotch lover’s dream experience. That is, until we began looking into just what exactly our near $60 entrance fee entailed.

All you get for your little nest egg of an investment is a souvenir glass and five drink tokens. FIVE tokens! That works out to more than $10 a pop for a little tiny sample. Sure, they bring in stuff from around the world (around 300 products), including some libations you may never have the chance to taste otherwise, but that’s ridiculous value for your hard-earned cash. It also sounded like some booths could charge you more than one token per sample. That could translate to paying $20 or more for a little sip of liquor that you might not even enjoy.

Similarly, I turned down invites this summer to go to the Vancouver Craft Beer Week Beer Festival, not because I had other plans, but because I didn’t agree with the perks of the event. For $35 (plus taxes and fees, of course), attendees received a miniscule three tokens and the typical commemorative taster glass. Why in the world would I pay $10-plus per beer sample, when I could go to many local bars and get the same brews in pint-size servings for the same price? Hell, why wouldn’t I invest that $10 towards an entire pack or case of beers, at any nearby liquor store?

expensive-taste-low-budget

Sure, it only cost $1.10 (they couldn’t just round it off at a buck!?) at Hopscotch and $1.25 at the VCBW Beer Festival, for additional tokens, but that’s just added charges on top of your already high dowry. And guess what, if you happen to get a little hungry, you still have to pay extra for any food that may or may not be available.

For events like these, I’d rather they nix the bands or other entertainment and souvenir glass (how many of these do I really need cluttering up my cupboards?) and give everyone 10 tokens… even then, you’re not getting good bang for your buck. I know many vendors don’t even ask for your ticket or token, but some people (ie. your faithful Sip Advisor) usually gives it up willingly, in order to avoid that awkward moment between server and drinker.

Liquor events aren’t all bad, though. Mrs. Sip and I, along with Ma and Pa Sip, attended the Portland Beer and Wine festival last Easter and what an amazing event that was. For only $20, we received a souvenir glass and a whopping 10 tokens that could be spent on beer, wine, spirits, food items, a used vehicle (okay, not that one), etc. And additional tokens were only $1! Not to mention the live entertainment and info sessions that were all part of the spectacle. We will be back, as info for the 2015 event is already online with deals such as $22 for entry, a glass (wine or beer), and 10 tokens. That’s on top of free entry to the first 500 visitors on the Friday.

bender beer festival

Even in Canada, you can come across great events. In August, to celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary, Mrs. Sip and I attended the Made with Love cocktail competition. We paid only $55 (the early bird price, but even full fare was only $65) and were treated to unlimited cocktail samples from 13 of the city’s top bartenders. On top of that, food was included and damnit, it was good. It still has me craving fried plantains!

Earlier the same summer, the Sip Alliance went to the annual Tip N’ Taste event in Langley, B.C. We had been a couple times many years before, but had lost interest when event organizers lost their way and dramatically raised prices to the event. This year, the price was back down to what it should be, $25. With that, attendees received five drink tokens and five food tokens with a great variety of vendors on both sides of the equation.

Well, now that I’ve cleared my conscious and had my little rant, let’s have a little drink together!

Sip Commentary #1: Angry Dan

Angry Dan Cocktail

  • 2 oz Southern Comfort
  • 2 oz Fireball Whiskey
  • Top with Cola
  • Garnish with a Lime Wheel

Want to get your own displeasure with liquor event pricing off your chest? Feel free to vent with a profanity-laced comment below!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
For this inaugural commentary (aka rant) post – more to come in the future – I wanted a drink that had the word “Angry” in it and coincidentally, this cocktail actually includes the Sip Advisor’s first name! The drink was quite nice with a soft burn at the end of each sip. The only downside is that it’s a typical liquor and mixer cocktail, lacking any real complexity.

Ukraine – Black Sea Blackout

Hearty Homage

While I’m not of Ukrainian descent in any way, Ma Sip always made a point of celebrating Ukrainian Christmas in late January. With that, came a healthy dose of perogies and cabbage rolls. Borsht is also an originally Ukrainian dish, which has been adapted around the world. You might not want to read this article on an empty stomach, because we’re delving into the best of Ukrainian cuisine!

Borscht

This soup, made from beets, cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, onions, and spices is a Ukraine original. There is said to be about 30 different varieties of borscht, depending on ingredients used. Borscht can be served either hot or cold, just like pizza, although I don’t think the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will be going out of their way for soup. The country is also known for a number of other brothy offerings, none of which seem overly appetizing, in the Sip Advisor’s opinion.

Borscht Dog

Similar to the fabled Bible Belt in the United States, there is a Borscht Belt, referring to parts of Upstate New York, where many Jewish immigrants vacationed between the 1920s and 1970s, bringing the Ukrainian dish with them over to America. Also dubbed the Jewish Alps, the area consists of many out of business summer resorts, although many stars got their start performing there, including comedians, singers, dancers, musicians, and variety acts. The area even inspired Fozzie Bear!

Pierogies

Although the pierogy was invented in Poland, it is a staple of Ukrainian meals. The people of Ukraine call these dumplings varenyky and they can be found stuffed with potato and cheese, meat, cabbage, mushrooms, or anything else that meets your fancy. Pierogies can be either savory or sweet and while some choose to boil their dumplings, the Sip Advisor is an advocate for the fried variety, especially if topped with crisp bacon, sautéed onions, and drizzled with ketchup and ranch dressing (freaky deaky!).

Pierogi Eater

The dessert pierogy options are typically stuffed with various berries or even cheese. They are topped with anything from butter to jam to honey. There is even a type of pierogy called Lazy Varenyky and we all know how fond of laziness the Sip Advisor can be. Varenyky monuments can be found in a couple Ukrainian towns and have even popped in in Glendon, Alberta, Canada, and Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States.

Cabbage Rolls

While never likely to make the Sip Advisor’s list of favourite foods, cabbage rolls have a devoted following around the world. In the Ukraine, cabbage leaves are either pickled or parboiled and then usually stuffed with only rice. This was because cabbage rolls were a meal of the peasants and meat was too expensive. Of course, the recipe has evolved in recent times to include meats, vegetables, and even tofu.

Cabbage Rolls Food

Cabbage rolls are typically cooked in or topped with sauces such as tomato juice, beef or vegetable stock, or different soup broths. Variations of this Eastern European classic have travelled the globe, to places including China (bai cai juan); Japan (rōru kyabetsu); Brazil (charuto de repolho); Iran (dolmeye kalam); Quebec, Canada (cigares au chou); and numerous other locales.

Babka

Famously known for its inclusion in an episode of Seinfeld, where Jerry and the gang are picking up a cake for a party they’ve all been invited to and in typical fashion, things go quite differently than intended. The Babka is a sweet bread, often baked with raisins and other dried fruit. It is mostly only produced at Easter to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ – as the dough rises, so shall the lord… or something to that effect!

Babka Barker

Unlike most cakes, which are long/round, the Babka is tall and cylindrical. The Babka dates back thousands of years, with evidence that ancient Greeks and Romans dined of the delicacy. Some versions of the dessert, typically from Sardinia, Italy, are decorated intricately with flowers and become more of an art form than a holiday food item. You’d feel horrible scarfing down something that looked so festive. Now that we have an appetizer, main, side, and dessert, I think it’s time for a drink!

Ukraine: Black Sea Blackout

Black Sea Blackout Cocktail

As I mentioned in one of my 25 Days of Christmas articles, Ukrainians (as well as other Eastern Europeans) also have a 12-course Christmas Eve feast, consisting of 12 meatless dishes, meant to symbolize the 12 Apostles. This year, I will do my own 12-course meal consisting of 12 different flavours of potato chips!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This cocktail is supposed to use the regular Khortytsa Vodka and more Blue Curacao than I was willing to let into a drink, so I adapted the recipe a smidge. The results were quite nice, especially when paired with my Cran-Lemonade mixer, which is a wonderful addition to any bar. The Honey Hot Pepper Vodka also lends a nice little burn at the end of each sip.

October 18 – Ghostbuster

Specter Spooks

With the haunting season just getting underway (although Halloween candy was already on sale during the summer), the Sip Advisor figured it was as good a time as any to delve into the paranormal world. There are so many great ghosts out there that I decided to split the list between animated and humanoid (aka live action) ghouls. This week, we go cartoon ghost hunting. I hope you join me because I’m already a little scared!

#5: The Boo Brothers – Scooby Doo Meets the Boo Brothers

I love these three broskis, who are like the departed spirits of the Three Stooges. Instead of Larry, Curly, and Moe, you have Meako, Shreako, and Freako, a trio of ghost hunters, who just happen to be spirits themselves. The only thing bringing their rank down a little is the fact they only appear in one Scooby Doo movie, but it is my favourite of all Scooby adventures. This tale sees Shaggy, Scooby, and Scrappy Doo travel to the estate of Colonel Beauregard, Shaggy’s deceased uncle, who has left everything to his nephew. While there, the gang has to search for the family jewels while solving the mystery of who is haunting the home.

The Boo Brothers

#4: Boo – Super Mario Bros.

I always liked the creativity that went into the Super Mario Bros. ghost house levels. Avoiding the creepy little apparitions that only follow you when your back is turned added a whole new element of gameplay. There is also the massive King Boo, leader of all Boos, who you have to contend with from time to time. Boo became such a popular character that he joined the gang for their go-karting and board game adventures. His laugh when selected or after doing something naughty to another player is one of the best elements to choosing the spirited one.

#3: Slimer – Ghostbusters

This gelatinous blob is pretty disgusting when he makes his very first appearance in the halls of the Sedgewick Hotel, devouring a guest’s leftover room service, before sliming Ray Stantz and covering him with green goop (otherwise known as ectoplasm). Slimer really came into his own during the Ghostbusters cartoon, assisting the team in their escapades. Some quick trivia: Slimer was actually voiced by Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman in the movies, and Dan Aykroyd referred to Slimer as the ghost of his good friend John Belushi, who was slated to star in the film before his death. Slimer was so popular, he even had his own toothpaste product released.

Slimer

#2: Grimm Grinning Ghosts – Haunted Mansion

Delighting and spooking guests since 1969, the Grimm Grinning Ghosts of the Disney theme parks Haunted Mansion attractions are among numerous characters featured on the revolutionary ride. There is rumoured to be 999 happy haunts in each Haunted Mansion and they’re always looking for one more soul to join their party. Sometimes, a hitchhiking ghost may even hop into your doom buggy right before exiting the ride, so beware! Each park’s Haunted Mansion is themed differently and has its own unique storyline, with most characters seeming to have their own backstory. Guests are known to each have their own favourite.

#1: Casper – Casper the Friendly Ghost

He may be the ‘Friendly Ghost,’ but methinks there’s a dark side to the little guy. No one is “that” friendly without wanting something in return… just ask Mrs. Sip about my behaviour. Anyhoo, I love the parallel The Simpsons made comparing Casper to Richie Rich and wondering if the two were the same. That’s the kind of stuff that blows your mind and keeps you awake at night. Casper is sometimes tormented by his three uncles, the Ghostly Trio of Stretch, Stinky, and Fatso (although their names have varied over time), but Casper seems to have a good handle on things… until his much-rumoured inner darkness in unleashed!

Super Saturday Shot Day: Ghostbuster

Ghostbuster Shot

  • 0.5 oz Amarula Cream
  • 0.5 oz Kahlua
  • Dropped into glass of:
  • 1 oz Crown Royal Whiskey
  • Top with Cola

I have to say that I also love the use of ghosts in South Park, including Eric Cartman (thinking he had died from eating KFC and was stuck in limbo), Biggie Smalls, Edgar Allan Poe, and the host of recently deceased (at the time) personalities to appear in the episode Dead Celebrities. South Park… making death fun!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
It’s been a while since I did a drop shot drink and this one sounded pretty interesting. I envisioned an almost root beer float type effect occurring as everything mixed together, but that didn’t necessarily happen. The taste was decent, though and it looked cool watching everything meld.

Germany – Widow Maker

Just Too Sweet

In one episode of The Simpsons, Homer learns that Germany is the ‘Land of Chocolate’ and that is entirely true. In fact, Germany is home to a number of wonderful treats, even venturing beyond the world of rich, creamy goodness. Here are some of the notable items Germany is able to bring to the international potluck!

Ritter Sport

Who couldn’t fall in love with these little chocolate bars, which are divided into 16 bite-size pieces, making it easy to eat as little or as much as you desire. Although the company was founded in 1912, the famous chocolate bars for which the brand is most associated didn’t debut until 1932. The Sip Advisor’s favourite Ritter Sport choices, include Knusperkeks (milk chocolate with biscuit) and Knusperflakes (milk chocolate with cornflakes), clearly showing that mixing chocolate with a crunch is a preference. The company even has a museum dedicated to squares and everything they entail.

Ritter-Sport Truck

Haribo

Based out of Bonn, Germany, Haribo is not only a great gummy candy company, but they are the originators of the concept, creating the world’s first gummy bear in 1922. They have since dramatically expanded their lineup to include cola bottles, jelly beans, wine gums, sour cherries, and so much more, including numerous products you just can’t find outside of Europe. While I’m not the biggest fan of gummy candies, I do enjoy them from time to time and in small doses. Their slogan rings true: “Haribo makes children happy – and adults as well!”

Kinder

Although Kinder products originated with Italian company Ferrero, the brand name is German (meaning children), the chocolate is huge across Germany, and Kinder Schokolade  is kind of its own entity in the country… all that adds up to being good enough for the Sip Advisor. Mrs. Sip and I still pick up Kinder Surprise eggs from time to time, depending on what the toy inside might be. We’ve grabbed eggs that contained Disney characters – I was hoping for a Scrooge McDuck – and other lines, just for the thrill of opening that little plastic egg. The chocolate is alright, too!

Trolli

While Haribo introduced gummy bears to the world, Trolli made their own mark, unleashing gummy worms into the hands of curious children on the 60th anniversary of the gummy bear. Today, the company pushes 150,000 tons of gummies out of their factories around the world, including four in Germany alone. Trolli has been involved in one controversy that I actually find quite funny. In 2004, they released a line of Road Kill gummies, featuring chickens, squirrels, and snakes with tire tracks embedded on them. Animal rights groups squashed the candy, which seems like overkill… get it!?

trolli-weirdly-awesome

Marzipan

While marzipan is enjoyed across the globe, it is in Germany (particularly the city of Lübeck, whose marzipan is geographically protected by the European Union) where you can find entire stores dedicated to the almond meal confection. Ma Sip figures I’m a good German boy because I enjoy marzipan. That said, I did overindulge one Christmas as a teenager and ate an entire bar of marzipan in short order. Now I limit myself to small servings, spread over a few days and really only around the holiday season. When the Sip Advisor was last in Germany, I also made sure to pick up a bottle of marzipan liqueur for future cocktails!

Black Forest Cake

What foray into Germany’s famous confectionary treats would be complete without a slice of Black Forest Cake. The Sip Advisor is a huge fan of this dessert… we’re talking cake mush all over my face, grinning ear-to-ear into Black Forest Cake! There’s just something about the mix of chocolate, whipped cream, and cherries that works so well and turns this Cookie Monster into a cake lover for brief periods of time. Enjoying a cut while actually travelling through Bavaria should be on every traveler’s bucket list… get on it, my little sippers!

Germany: Widow Maker

Widow Maker Martini

  • 1 oz Jagermeister
  • 1 oz Vodka
  • 1 oz Kahlua
  • Dash of Grenadine
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

Germany is also home a number of famous car companies, from Porsche to BMW to Volkswagen and everything in between. I could have talked about that, but soothing my sweet tooth is so much more pleasurable!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
I garnished the drink with a Maraschino Cherry as an homage to the Black Forest Cake. I had a hell of a time finding Maraschino Cherries that had stems with them, as they look so much better in cocktails over stemless Maraschino Cherries. The most interesting part of this martini is how the Jagermeister and Kahlua go so well together. A very tasty cocktail that’s not too strong, at all.

Germany – Black Blood

Beer Bash

It is certainly on mine and Mrs. Sip’s boozy bucket list to one day attend the Oktoberfest event in Munich, Germany. After all, Germany is already a place where we absolutely love the beers, food, and snacks, so why not join some fellow revelers. For now, though, let’s take a journey together to Munich and get into the spirit of the festival. Don’t forget your lederhosen!

Although named Oktoberfest, the event begins on the third weekend of September – coincidentally right around the time of the Sip Advisor’s birthday! – and lasts until the first Sunday of October. The event is over 200 years old and was first celebrated in commemoration of the marriage between King Ludwig and Queen Therese in 1810. The grounds which have always housed the festival are called Theresienwiese and are known by locals as the Wiesn.

Oktoberfest

Only breweries operating within Munich are allowed to supply the festival with their suds and each has a tent on the fairgrounds that holds thousands of people. The beers available include: Hofbräuhaus München, Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu, Paulaner Bräu, Löwenbräu, Hacker-Pschorr Bräu, and Augustiner Bräu. There’s a couple in that list I know I’ve enjoyed in the past, so things are looking up for Mr. and Mrs. Sip!

In the beginning, the beer was brewed in March with a higher alcohol percentage, so it could last through the summer. It was then expended in the fall, so as to diminish the stock for the next brewing season… and the circle of life continues endlessly. It should be noted that there is also a wine tent during the modern day Oktoberfests, appeasing all walks of life.

The festivities aren’t allowed to begin until an official 12-gun salute, followed by the mayor announcing “O’ zapft is!,” meaning “It’s tapped!” The first mug of ale is then handed to the Minister-President of the State of Bavaria, and only then can us regular folks start boozing. Oktoberfest has a carnival feel to it, as the event began as a county fair, featuring horseracing, various contests, and freak shows. The activities have changed over time, but the freak show is now just a natural occurrence.

Oktoberfest Punishment

If accompanied by an adult, 14 year olds are allowed to partake in all the joys of Oktoberfest and 16 year olds can join the fun on their own accord. Young children are even allowed to attend the festival (without drinking), although I’m not sure I’d want to leave my kids at any daycare tent there. The child crowd has resulted in numerous cases of missing kids, as many as 100 reports in 2012, thanks to parents imbibing a little too much.

In fact, the Lost and Found department is quite busy during Oktoberfest, having approximately 4,000 misplaced items come to their attention each year. Other lost possessions have included cell phones, wallets, passports, glasses, keys, clothing items, dentures, crutches, wheelchairs, strollers, and even dogs. Perhaps the most bizarre item turned in was a Viking helmet… although, it does kind of fit the whole theme.

Although swigging from glass beer steins is a highlight of the party, they weren’t used until 1892. Before that, stone and metal steins were filled with wonderful German brews. The current glass is called a Maß (good luck with the pronunciation!), which holds 1 litre of beer and will cost around €12 each pour. These steins are great souvenirs, but rather than purchase one, many tourists will try to steal it (Mrs. Sip, I’m looking at you!). This can result in a charge of theft if caught by security guards.

Oktoberfest Lost Child

If you can’t handle the stronger beer mixed with hot temperatures, you may be labeled with the term Bierleichen, which translated means Beer Corpse. Water and pop are also available for purchase to quench your thirst, but cost nearly as much as the booze, so you might as well keep drinking beer. Food options include roasted chickens, sausages, giant pretzels, and other traditional German fare.

Some downsides: While tourists may have visions of oom-pah bands playing the day away, while getting their drink on, music above 85 decibels isn’t allowed to be played until after 6:00pm. Also, to use a toilet, you will likely be charged, but that’s no different to other parts of the country and continent. This concept has provided some funny stories for the Sip Advisor over the years and travels.

To get a spot in one of the packed tents, visitors may have to purchase food and drink vouchers beforehand, sort of a reservation, exhibiting that you will make full use of the tent and drop some good money inside. Similarly, hotels book up very quickly during this time and making arrangements one year in advance is common. The price for accommodation will also be at a premium, so beware!

Oktoberfest Sleep

In 2004, a counterfeit ticket ring was busted after waiters inside a couple of the tents contacted police when they were handed suspicious vouchers. Had the scheme worked, the beer companies would have lost about $500,000 thanks to the nearly 30,000 forgeries. Sticking with crime, stein fights are known to occur and serious injuries have happened. Prosecution can lead to sentences of between six months and life in prison, depending on severity of the injuries.

Sadly, Oktoberfest has been forced into cancellation 24 times, mostly as a result of war and cholera epidemics. There were also issues during the 1920’s depression, which caused the event to be missed. On the bright side, Paris Hilton was banned from future Oktoberfests after attending the festival in 2006 as a spokesperson for a local canned wine product. She was said to have cheapened the event… a serious no-no in Munich circles.

Amid all the celebrating, a terrorist attack occurred at the 1980 Oktoberfest, where a pipe bomb was detonated, killing 13 people and injuring more than 200. Officials concluded that it was the work of right-wing extremist Gundolf Köhler, who died while placing the explosive. There is some dispute over whether Köhler acted alone or was part of a larger conspiracy.

Oktoberfest 2013 - Opening Day

The festival has jumped into the digital age with a few apps that enhance the whole experience. The event’s official app lets users input their height, weight, and how much beer they’ve consumed to learn their blood-alcohol level and how long it will take to sober up. There’s also the ‘Wiesn Flirt and Find’ app, which allows visitors to meet on the grounds for romance, a quick hook-up, or whatever else they may fancy.

If you can’t get to Germany, Oktoberfest events around the world include: Cincinnati, Ohio (largest in the United States); Denver, Colorado; Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario (largest in Canada); Blumenau, Brazil; Lima, Peru; Hong Kong, China; Bangalore, India; Hoh-Chi-Minh City, Vietnam; and Taybeh, Palestinian, of all places. Taybeh is home to the only brewery in all of the West Bank region.

Germany: Black Blood

Black Blood Cocktail

  • 1 oz Jagermeister
  • 1 oz Blue Curacao
  • Top with Squirt
  • Garnish with a Lemon Wedge

If anyone out there wants to sponsor the Sip Advisor’s trip to Oktoberfest, that would be awesome. In exchange, I’ll try to steal a stein for you, risking freedom and well-being for my generous benefactor. I think it would totally be worth it!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
As per usual, I went with Grapefruit Soda over Grapefruit Juice because I’ve learned over time that I just don’t like heavy juices (orange, pineapple, etc.) in my cocktails. These colours came together really interestingly, with the yellow Squirt turning some of the Blue Curacao and Jagermeister green. It certainly isn’t black, like the drink’s name would have you thinking.

October 11 – Gummy Bear

Bear Naked

The majestic bear is one of Pa Sip’s favourite animals and I can’t really say I blame him. Bears are pretty damn cool and despite their mostly cute and cuddly depiction in media, you wouldn’t want to mess with one of these beasts. Here are the Top 5 bears:

#5: Yogi Bear

The picnic (or “pic-a-nic,” as the always hungry bear calls it) basket-obsessed Yogi has made a living out of terrorizing Jellystone Park and in particular, Ranger Smith. Along with his little buddy Boo Boo, visitors of the site can expect to have their meals interrupted and more headaches for the disgruntled ranger. Yogi was actually the first star character of Hanna-Barbera and without him, we might not have later enjoyed The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Wacky Racers, and numerous other memorable animated legends. Yogi Bear’s First Christmas is a favourite of Mrs. Sip and myself during the holidays.

Yogi Bear Professional Thief

#4: Baloo – The Jungle Book/TaleSpin

While Baloo was first introduced in The Jungle Book, he is even more fondly remembered for his turn in TaleSpin, as a transport pilot always on the search for adventure. Many moons before ‘Hakuna Matata,’ Baloo taught us that all we need to be happy is the ‘Bare Necessities.’ I’ll also give a tip of the hat to Baloo’s little sidekick, Kit Cloudkicker, a young cub who has basically been adopted by Baloo. Despite his aloof behaviour and disheveled appearance, Baloo is actually a member of the aristocracy (if bear’s have that) and his full name is Baloo von Bruinwald XIII.

#3: Ted

The stuffed bear come to life, Ted and his best buddy John Bennett and practically inseparable. Trouble comes in the form of a woman (it always does!) who wants John to grow up and for Ted to finally go out on his own. As a “grown up,” Ted is a foul-mouthed, hard drinking, womanizer… all the personality traits the Sip Advisor likes to employ. Created by Seth MacFarlane of Family Guy fame, Ted was originally intended to be an animated TV show rather than a live action film. A sequel to the movie will be out in summer 2015 and I simply can’t wait to get some more naughty stuffed animal action.

Ted-hangover

#2: Winnie the Pooh

This honey-loving, sometimes forgetful, but always generous and loving bear (and his friends Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, etc.) were originally based on the stuffed animals of writer A.A. Milne’s son, Christopher Robin. Simply, Pooh, as he’s affectionately known by the other residents of the 100 Acre Forest, the bear’s roots come from Canada, where Harry Colebourn, a Canadian Lieutenant, bought a real-life bear for $20 and named it Winnie after the city of Winnipeg. Winnie ended up at the London Zoo, where a young Christopher Robin spotted it and took the name for his toy.

#1: Fozzie Bear – The Muppets

The perpetual jokester, Fozzie is always looking to up his act and shine as one of the brightest stars among the Muppets roster. Kermit the Frog is a huge supporter of the bear, despite his corny routine of practical joke gags and word play. It’s a misconception that Fozzie got his name when his performer, Frank Oz’s names were combined. He’s actually named after Faz Fazakas, who designed the equipment that allowed Fozzie to wiggle his ears. The original Fozzie puppet resides in the Teddy Bear Museum in the United Kingdom.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Gummy Bear

Gummy Bear Shot

  • 0.5 oz Vodka (I used Grey Goose)
  • 0.5 oz Raspberry Liqueur
  • 0.5 oz Cranberry Juice
  • Garnish with Gummy Bears

A special shout out to the Berenstain Bears, who established a moral code in the Sip Advisor that exists to this day. Without them, I would probably be a drug-addled thug instead of an underachieving liquor jockey. Sliding doors, my little sippers!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
They didn’t make the list, but gummy bears are a pretty big deal, too… famous around the world, even! This shot tasted exactly like the candy and had a nice tang to it, thanks to the use of my Cranberry-Lemonade mix, a recently released product from Ocean Spray.