Finland – Arctic Circle

Full of Hot Air

Hanging out at Ma and Pa Sip’s place can often feel like an all-inclusive resort vacation. Good food, great drinks, and there’s even a pool and sauna. I hesitantly include that last item, as it may cause a wave of Finnish backpackers to show up at Ma and Pa Sip’s front door. Apparently, Finnish people are big into saunas and there’s even a culture around the hot houses that is unique to the country. Let’s learn a little more about that… NOW!:

With a population of only five million people, it’s staggering to learn that there are more than two million saunas in Finland. That’s an average of one per household. Many Finnish websites state that the sauna can only be truly enjoyed in Finland, its birthplace. In fact, “sauna” is a Finnish word and one of the few that has spread into other languages.

Finnish Saunas

Speaking of birthplaces, long ago, most Finnish mothers gave birth to their babies in saunas. Can you imagine taking a girl back to your sauna for the first time and being able to say: “And that’s where I was born…” Talk about a mood killer! The sauna’s versatility has largely led to its popularity. A sauna can provide everything from a roof over your head, to a stove to cook food on, to a place to keep warm during the long winter months.

Saturday is the traditional sauna day and most Finnish citizens try to get in a steam at least once each week. Saunas can be found outdoors along the country’s shoreline, in apartments, at corporate offices, and even in their Parliament and 1,400 meters deep at the Pyhäsalmi Mine.

While in the sauna, some users may beat themselves with a leafy branch of a birch tree, which is said to relax the muscles. When the temperature gets too uncomfortable, these crazy Finns will jump in a pool or other body of water to cool down. Even wilder, in the winter, they will roll around in the snow or cut a hole in the ice and jump into the frigid water below. Here’s where I’m down with these nutty folk, though, as following their steam, it is customary to enjoy some sausage with beer to finish the experience. Then you can lather, rinse and repeat as many times as you want!

Sauna Reality

The sauna is a sacred place to many Finns and so it is a huge party foul to swear while inside. Controversial topics are also avoided as arguments in the sauna are frowned upon and conversation is generally of the relaxed variety. It should be noted that in Finnish folklore, a sauna elf lives in the structure and is its spirit.

Men and women often sauna separately, although younger generations are more open to group sauna time (remember, everyone is supposed to be totally naked). Families use the sauna together, as well, but at a certain age, teenagers split from their parents. For Finnish business people, a sauna invitation is in the same vein as going to lunch or drinks. If a foreigner refuses an invite, this may be looked down on by the host. If staying with a Finn, the sauna might be warmed up in your honour, making it that much more difficult to pass up.

Sauna Funny

The World Sauna Championships were held from 1999-2010 in Heinola, Finland, despite the Finnish Sauna Society (yes, this organization actually exists) strongly opposing the event, due to the health risk of being enclosed amongst hot temperatures for long periods of time. The competitors basically tried to sit in the sauna the longest and be the last to leave the structure without assistance. Finnish athletes (no, that can’t be the right word for this) dominated the event, which ceased operations after the 2010 championship, due to a Russian competitor dying from third-degree burns and a former five-time Finnish champion needing to be rushed to the hospital where he was put into a medically-induced coma for six weeks.

There are different types of saunas commonly used throughout Finland, which differ depending on how it’s heated or the building it’s housed in. The heating options include: a smoke sauna, a wood stove sauna, and an electric stove sauna. Housing differences comprise everything from portable tents to saunas built into cars, buses, trailers, and even bicycles. There are companies that rent mobile saunas and there’s even an annual event for the phenomenon in Teuva, Finland. This must turn into the largest gathering of sweaty, naked people on earth, which has me thinking that it’s time for a refreshing drink.

Finland: Arctic Circle

July 21

  • 1 oz Finlandia Vodka
  • Top with Ginger Ale
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with Mint Leaves

I don’t use Ma and Pa Sip’s sauna as often as I should. It helped in getting Mrs. Sip into the pool on cooler days, with the promise that she could retreat to the sauna when she got too cold. Manipulative, yes… but you would do it too if you ever saw Mrs. Sip in a bikini!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This was a very nice drink that is as easy on the eyes as it is on the palate. Ginger Ale has got to be one of the best mixers out there and it always works nicely with Lime Juice. I don’t think I’ve ever had it before with Vodka, usually putting it together with Rum or Whiskey. It works here just as well as with the other spirits!

July 19 – Floater

All the Balls

After last week’s look at the best sports movies geared towards a family audience, it’s time to turn up the vulgarity and venture into the world of adult-oriented films… well, not those types of films, but the sports type for teens and adults. Here are the Top 5 grown up sports movies:

#5: Baseketball

From the creators of South Park (Trey Parker and Matt Stone), comes this farce about a world where sports superstars have become so overpaid and corporations dictate athletic competition. A universe where sportsmanship no longer exists and money is the root of all evil. Enter Cooper and Remer, who create a baseball-basketball-beer pong hybrid that eventually grows to become the next great sports phenomenon. Some of the team names from the movie are particularly clever, including the Dallas Felons, Miami Dealers, New Jersey Informants, and San Francisco Ferries (think about that one for a moment!).

baseketball

#4: DodgeBall

The underdog story of a ragtag group trying to save their gym (Average Joe’s), as they dodge, dip, dive, duck, and yes, dodge again versus the super-charged squad of Globo-Gym, which is looking to buy out the smaller competition. The entire cast is hilarious in this movie (particularly, my boy Stephen Root) and the surprise cameos from some judges of the competitions are great as well. A sequel to the movie is in the works and both Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller are expected to reprise their roles. Hopefully they remember that if you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball!

#3: Happy Gilmore

Adam Sandler kept his string of 90’s hit movies going with this entry. The film sees aspiring hockey star – despite his awful skillset – jump into the world of professional golf, when he’s discovered by a one-handed golf course pro. Things become more serious for Gilmore when his grandma’s house is to be taken away and the only way to get it back is Gilmore’s success on the PGA Tour. In my opinion, along with the success of Tiger Woods, the popularity of this film launched a whole new generation of golf players and fans. Gilmore’s brawl with The Price is Right host, Bob Barker, is one of the best cameo scenes in movie history.

Happy Gilmore

#2: Caddyshack

Times are changing at the Bushwood Country Club, as a new wave of members enter the fray, disrupting the once peaceful and pristine society. Bill Murray steals the show as groundskeeper Carl Spackler, particularly his improvised scene describing the Cinderella story of a hard luck golfer at Augusta, while teeing off on some of the club’s flowers. Others, such as Rodney Dangerfield and Ted Knight are perfect in their roles as combative members. It’s too bad that the sequel couldn’t live up to the original, but it’s still an okay romp. I especially enjoy it when the course is given miniature golf elements.

#1: Slap Shot

There are so many quotable lines in this classic. Paul Newman is awesome as the Charlestown Chief’s player-coach, Reggie Dunlop, and with other oddballs like the ultraviolent Hanson Brothers joining the squad, there’s plenty of characters to appreciate and enjoy. Many of the roles were based on real-life players. As a young kid growing up in hockey-mad Canada, this film was like a rite of passage, especially given its adult elements. I can’t say much for the two sequels that have come out in more recent years, but everyone out there, hockey fan or not, should give the original a viewing.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Floater

July 19

  • 1 oz Vodka
  • Scoop of Peanut Butter
  • Dash of Chocolate Syrup

Who would have thought that two golf-themed films would crack this list? Even more surprising, not a single Will Ferrell sports movie made the Top 5… and I’m a huge Will Ferrell fan. Lastly, while they are made-for-TV documentaries, the Sip Advisor encourages everyone out there to check out ESPN’s 30-for-30 series and get your learn on!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.5 Sips out of 5):
All I have to say about this shot is, think about the pool scene in Caddyshack… disgusting, indeed! You’re also supposed to garnish with shot with Corn, but I just couldn’t make that graphic leap. Given the shooter is straight vodka, it’s strong, but the Peanut Butter and Chocolate Sauce tame it a little… just not enough.

Italy – Sunday Confession

Goodfellas

The term “mafia” comes from Sicily, Italy, and let’s be honest, the most famous of mobsters all hail from the Italian line of organized crime, also known as Cosa Nostra, which translated means “Our Thing.” And, it certainly is THEIR thing. While the term ‘Omertà’ governs the mafia with a code of silence, the Sip Advisor is breaking all the rules with our own ‘Most Wanted’ list of infamous Italian gangsters:

Vito Cascioferro

Thought of as the ‘Boss of Bosses’ during his reign at the top, Cascioferro was arrested approximately 69 times during his career, but always acquitted. His luck ran out in June 1930, when Cascioferro was tried for numerous offences, including murder, attempted murder, robbery, extortion, and other offences. He was convicted and given a life sentence. He died in prison somewhere between 1943-45, with many inmates considering it an honour to now fill the same jail cell.

Mafia Cats

Calogero Vizzini

Dubbed the ‘King of the Black Market,’ Vizzini was even made mayor of Villalba, Italy (where his crime family was based), following World War II. Vizzini’s death was big news, even reported by the New York Times. Thousands turned out for the leader’s funeral, including other bosses, politicians, and priests. Vizzini predicted that the mafia would die with him and the old-school version did slowly dissolve, but was replaced by a more modern mob that we recognize today.

Michele Navarra

The boss of the famed Corleone family (also used for the Godfather movies) from 1944-58, Navarra was also a trained physician and perhaps this is why he was more likely to delegate murders than commit them himself. Navarra was killed on August 2, 1958 after feuding with former associate Luciano Leggio, whom Navarra tried to have ambushed by 15 gunmen, yet somehow Leggio survived with only minor injuries. I’d question his leadership, too!

Luciano Leggio

Speaking of Leggio, he became the Corleone boss following Navarra’s death and is credited with starting the Second Mafia War. After a string of acquittals on various charges, Leggio finally found himself sentenced to life imprisonment for Navarra’s slaying, but disappeared, running a successful kidnapping ring while on the run. He was finally caught in 1974, but continued to have influence over the syndicate from behind bars. He died in prison, of a heart attack in 1993.

Mafia Comic

Salvatore Riina

After Leggio was arrested in the 1970’s, Riina eventually took over control of the Corleone family, which was ironic because he was one of the suspects in the assassination of Navarra. Riina was considered the ‘Boss of Bosses’ following the Second Mafia War. Nicknamed ‘The Beast,’ by fellow mobsters, this 5’2” leader used a campaign of violence to achieve power, killing rivals, as well as prosecutors and other government officials. Riina was arrested in 1993, after 23 years as a fugitive.

Bernardo Provenzano

One of the most powerful Sicilian bosses of all-time, Provenzano followed Riina as leader of the Corleone family. Once at the helm, Provenzano worked to change the perception of the mafia to being less violent, more diplomatic and willing to work with established institutions. Under the new guidelines, violence was only to be used if absolutely necessary. Despite all that, Provenzano spent more than 40 years evading police capture, before authorities finally arrested him in April 2006.

Italy: Sunday Confession

July 17

  • 1 oz Limoncello
  • 1 oz Tequila
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Top with Ginger Ale
  • Garnish with a Cherry

This all has me wanting to go back and watch some of the best mafia media. Take your pick, but my favourites include The Godfather franchise, Goodfellas, The Sopranos, and Donnie Brasco. Perhaps I’ll have to do a future article on fictional mobsters… so long as they make me an offer I can’t refuse!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This cocktail has a perfect name for a mafia-related article, although confession would certainly go against the Omertà code of silence. I used Cranberry Ginger Ale instead of the recommended Ginger Beer because it seemed like a good idea and it worked out really well. Limoncello and Tequila was a decent mix, too.

Italy – The Winkle

Sicilian Slice

The modern pizza was invented in Naples, Italy and god bless them for doing so. Throughout the Sip Advisor’s life, pizza has always remained at or near the top of my favourite foods list. I don’t care that it’s not exactly a healthy choice and often falls under the junk food category… it’s god damn delicious!

The term ‘pizza’ can be traced all the way back to the year 997 AD in the city of Gaeta, Italy. Before that, flat breads called foccasia were garnished with a variety of toppings, but were usually sweet dishes, rather than savoury. In the 18th century, the people of Naples began adding tomatoes to the mix and thus the modern pizza was born, before spreading around the world thanks to Italian immigrants.

Pizza Gross

The thing I love about pizza is its versatility. It’s great upon first serving and a rare food item that can be better reheated later or even scarfed down cold, straight out of the fridge. It’s the perfect breakfast – especially after a night of hard drinking – as it doesn’t take much effort to prepare while you’re still a little fuzzy. Apparently, I’m not alone, as 36% of Americans think it makes the perfect morning meal.

As of 2012, there were 11,139 Pizza Hut outlets across 94 countries. Pizza Hut’s largest competitor, Domino’s Pizza, has more than 10,000 stores and is the world leader in delivery services. Along with these two giants are so many other companies hawking bread, cheese, sauce, and toppings, totaling more than five billion pizzas sold every year, with more than half of those sales occurring in the United States.

The largest pizza ever made weighed 12.9 tons and was created at the Norwood Pick ‘n Pay in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1990. The pie had a diameter of 37.4 meters (122 feet, 8 inches) and used 500kg of flour, 800kg of cheese, and 900kg of tomato sauce.

Pizza Win

The most expensive pizza ever made included ingredients such as sunblush-tomato sauce, Scottish smoked salmon, venison medallions, lobster marinated in gognac, champagne-soaked caviar, and even edible gold. Made by restaurant owner Domenico Crolla, the pizza was auctioned for charity and raised 2,150 pounds. The most expensive regularly sold pizza can be found at Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant Maze, in London. Each serving will set you back 100 pounds, not to mention the weight that will be added to your waistline.

If you’re having a massive party, you could consider hitting up Big Mama’s and Papa’s Pizzeria in California, where you can purchase a pizza that measures 4’6” x 4’6” and serves anywhere from 50-100 people. Just make sure that competitive food eater Joey Chestnut isn’t on the guest list, as the dude set the world record for most pizza slices eaten in 10 minutes when he polished off 40 ½ slices.

Brooklyn, New York’s Scott Wiener (heh, wiener!) owns the world’s largest pizza box collection. As of late 2013, he has amassed 595 pizza boxes from 45 different countries. He only began collecting in 2008 after grabbing some ‘za in Israel and admiring the box there. Wiener’s favourite piece in his collection is a box from the Netherlands which features characters similar to Homer and Bart Simpson. Not content to just receive a certificate from the Guinness Records folks, Wiener has even released a book, Viva La Pizza, chronicling some of the world’s most artistic pizza boxes.

Pizza Simpsons

Pepperoni is the most popular topping worldwide, but so many specialty pizzas have popped up over the years thanks to this wonderful gastronomic invention. Let’s take a look at some of these “gourmet” options from around the globe:

Africa: The Africana pizza includes meat (ham/beef/chicken), peanuts, banana, pineapple, onion, and curry powder. I can’t say I’ve ever had a pizza with peanuts or banana, but it has me thinking about some of the combos the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles came up with back in the day.

Australia: Known as The Aussie, Australian, or Australiana, this pizza takes your traditional base of marinara sauce and cheese, but then puts bacon and eggs on top. That sounds like a hell of a way to get your breakfast in at all times of the day!

Canada: The Canadian pizza isn’t very elaborate, combining bacon, pepperoni, and mushrooms. I think if our country had a do-over, we’d come up with something involving poutine, maple syrup, and hockey tape to hold it all together!

Pizza Turtles

Caribbean: I’m not sure which exact country you can attach this recipe to, but mixing barbeque sauce, chicken, pineapple, onion, and green peppers sounds like something I’d want to lay claim to if I belonged to any of these island nations.

France: The French pizza has seemingly normal toppings (chicken, mushrooms, peppers, olives) until you get to its sauce: Dijon mustard. While this would be something I’d try, Mrs. Sip would not be happy to find the yellow stuff on her meal.

Greece: The Greek pizza usually features olives, feta cheese, green peppers, and tomatoes… all the ingredients that make up a Greek salad. In the best scenarios chicken souvlaki is also thrown into the mix and if the Sip Advisor was running the show, he’d drizzle some tzatziki sauce all over that bad boy!

Indonesia: The Balinese pizza comes with shredded pork, roasted red peppers, and garlic. At least they’re not using the monkeys found all over the island for toppings… those little buggers may have attacked Mrs. Sip and I, but I still love them.

Pizza Dogs

Jamaican: Jerk Chicken is at the heart of this pizza, which frankly is Jamaican me hungry!

Mexico: The Mexican or Mexicana pizza usually involves ingredients one would find on tacos and other Americanized fare from the country. This includes ground beef, jalapenos, onions, tomatoes, chili, avocado, peppers, etc. The cheese on the Mexican pizza is sometimes modified to be of the pepper jack variety to help add another dash of spice to the recipe.

Portugal: Portuguese pizzas include Portuguese sausage, onions, and bell peppers. This pie may not be for the weak of heart.

Pizza Cat

Thailand: Thai pizzas are highlighted by Thai chicken and also include peanut sauce, bean sprouts, and shaved carrots. Pizzas may not be the healthiest of food, but that mix doesn’t sound as artery clogging as others.

United States: The Hawaiian is probably the U.S.’s most recognized pizza, combining ham and pineapple, but there are other options, including Santa Fe, with spiced chicken and the Californian, featuring club sandwich ingredients, such as avocado and bacon. The U.S. is also famous for all the different style of pizza, such as Chicago deep dish, Detroit twice-baked, New York thin crust, St. Louis rectangle slices, and New Haven no cheese.

Italy: The Winkle

The Winkle Martini

  • Muddle Raspberries and Sage
  • 1.5 oz Gin
  • 1 oz Limoncello
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Garnish with a Sage Sprig

Pizza should be celebrated, so why not observe National Pizza Month, which occurs every October in the U.S. You could also attend the annual International Pizza Expo, which takes place in Las Vegas every March. Either way, make sure to enjoy as much pizza pie goodness as you can and thank those crazy Italians for coming up with this culinary gem!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
I absolutely loved this martini, although everyone I told to try a sip wasn’t in agreement with ol’ Mr. Sip. The Sage was a unique ingredient that I’ve never used before this. The Gin and Limoncello worked together in perfect harmony… kind of like cheese, bread, and tomato sauce!

July 12 – Three Strikes

Anything Can Happen

Oddly enough, summer is the time when I like to get into sports movies. Perhaps that makes sense, given it’s the off-season for most of the leagues out there. There were so many films I wanted to include on this list, that I’ve decided to split them over two articles, with one being family-friendly movies and the other to do with adult-themed releases. This week, we’ll check out the family options, while next week we’ll get a little raunchier and surpass the PG rating:

#5: Cool Runnings

How could you not get behind this ragtag group of Jamaicans as they try to compete in a sport they really have no business participating in and go on to earn the respect and admiration of their fellow athletes. While the film depicts the team being scoffed at in the beginning, in actuality, they were welcomed by their adversaries and were even lent a sled that helped them qualify. Creative liberties are okay, though. The casting of Doug E. Doug was a particularly brilliant choice, as the comedian-actor was popular at the time and broke up all the sports seriousness. Anything with John Candy is also worth a view.

Watched Cool Runnings

#4: Bad News Bears

This was your prototypical group of misfits coming together in the name of sports premise, before the genre ever existed. Some of the kids that make up the Bad News Bears are reason enough to never have children and the film should be used as a planned parenting advert. Walter Matthau as Morris Buttermaker was a great casting choice. He’s perfect for roles as a grouchy slob, who would rather drink a beer and catch a nap in a comfy recliner than do anything else in the world. That’s probably why he’s one of my favourite actors of all-time! Surprisingly, I’ve never seen either of the sequels to this classic and not the remake either.

#3: A League of Their Own

The story of women’s baseball and how it helped fill the sporting void left by men being shipped off to battle during World War II is so much better than it sounds on paper. Just kidding all you feminist sippers out there. Seriously, this is a fantastic movie, following a pair of sisters as the league tries to gain credibility during one of the roughest times in human history. With Tom Hanks playing the team’s oft-drunk manager and having to handle the issues of a girls’ team for the first time in his coaching career (there’s no crying in baseball… unless a modern male pitcher has a hangnail!), I can even forgive the casting of Madonna and Rosie O’Donnell.

league of their own

#2: The Sandlot

This is such a great movie, pushing folks to look back fondly on their days of neighbourhood sports. Every kid who ever played street hockey, or met at the nearest baseball diamond for a game of ball can relate to this film, which goes back in time to follow the adventures of the new kid in town as he gains friends and experiences the joys of childhood freedom. Roger Ebert compared the movie to a summertime version of A Christmas Story, which is high praise, as far as the Sip Advisor is concerned. The film has become a cult favourite and that’s exactly what it should be.

#1: Mighty Ducks

While the third installment might as well have been direct-to-video, the first two movies are childhood classics. As a young hockey player, it was inspiring to see a group of bad players be transformed into a skilled team… the downside was the mounting number of times we tried to execute the Flying-V play to little success. As if Emilio Estevez wasn’t a legend already, this series made his aura grow exponentially and no player out there didn’t want to have Gordon Bombay behind their bench. Disney even turned the success of the movie into its own NHL franchise, the Anaheim Mighty Ducks (now just the Ducks), although they sold the team in 2005.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Three Strikes

Three Strikes Shot

  • 0.5 oz Cinnamon Schnapps
  • 0.5 oz Jagermeister
  • 0.5 oz Yukon Jack Perma Frost
  • Garnish with Big League Chew

I have to say that for some reason, I love baseball movies. I’m a steadfast non-supporter of the actual sport, but I love me a good baseball flick. Stay tuned next week for our look at the best adult sports movies and even more ball and bat goodness!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
I’ve wanted to garnish a drink with Big League Chew for some time now and this was the perfect opportunity to finally do so, melding baseball and childhood all in one. Did I mention that the Big League Chew flavour was Ground Ball Grape! The actual name for this recipe is “Three Strikes, You’re Out,” but I chose to cut the title in half. The shot is quite strong with competing flavours of cinnamon, peppermint and other spices. It’s not bad, but it’s one that will sit in your gut for some time.

Scotland – Macbeth’s Dream

Land of Make Believe

When picking what to write about for our visit to Scotland, golf was an obvious choice. And while there was an abundance of options for a second article, I kept being steered towards fictional characters. Rather than spend a fair bit of time on only one of these individuals, I’ve decided to split my time and cover the gamut of my favourite Scots. Hell, even some of Scotland’s most famous real-life citizens have been largely fictionalized in media portrayals following their deaths. So, let’s take a look at some of these fine fictional figures:

Scrooge McDuck

An all-time favourite character of the Sip Advisor, Scrooge McDuck can do no wrong. Do you know that he has even invited me over for a swim in his vault? Physics be damned, we had a hell of a time wading through all his gold and jewels. There’s a great DuckTales episode where Scrooge and family return to his native Scotland and Castle McDuck, which is being haunted by druids and a ghost hound. The fictional McDuck has actually been honoured in Glasgow as a famous citizen of the city.

Duck Dynasty

William Wallace

Braveheart is a wicked awesome movie and can be forgiven for all of the creative license the production took on the real-life version of Scotland’s fight for independence. Wallace (or at least his fictionalized version) is a born leader, who has been wronged too many times by the ruling English. In response, he pulls together an army of like-minded Scots to finally take arms against the English and win back their land. I won’t spoil the story, but let’s just say things could have turned out better.

Merida

Brave centers on this young Scottish princess, who isn’t ready to take on the role she is destined for. She wants to get dirty, ride horses, and shoot her bow and arrow. She certainly doesn’t want to be married off to a boy she’s never met or be responsible for ruling over her subjects. This difference of opinion causes a rift between Merida and her mother and an errant use of magic makes matter worse. Can the curse be reversed in time, restoring peace and order to the Scottish Highlands?

Loch Ness Monster

Without the advent of ol’ Nessie, I don’t think many people would travel to Loch Ness. While the area looks beautiful, the real drawing power here is the legend of the monster. Similar legends of underwater creatures exist around the world (including the Ogopogo, just a few hours away from the Sip Advisor’s home base), but the Loch Ness version is by far the most famous. To be fair, she was discovered by Mr. Burns on an episode of The Simpsons, so perhaps all the sightings weren’t hoaxes.

Kitty Loch Ness

Groundskeeper Willie

Speaking of The Simpsons, one of the funniest secondary characters on the show has to be this cynical, downtrodden Scotsman. The often kilt-clad Willie hails from Kirkwall in Orkney, a dispute that had to be settled when both Glasgow and Aberdeen laid claim to the groundskeeper. Much humour is derived from other characters not being able to understand what Willie is saying and also his penchant for ripping his clothes off to reveal a ripped and toned body.

Shrek

Sticking with the animated world, Shrek may be based off other nationalities (thought to be a stereotype of medieval Hungarians), but his voice is 100% Scottish. The role was originally intended for Bill Murray and later Chris Farley, before Mike Myers joined the project. After watching a rough cut, Myers asked to re-voice the character with a Scottish accent (which he also used as Fat Bastard in the Austin Powers franchise) and the rest is fairytale history.

Hulk to Shrek

Macbeth

This Shakespearean play (one of the original game of thrones) is based off the real-life King Macbeth of Scotland, although ol’ Billy Shakes takes Macbeth and makes him a regicidal anti-hero, who kills for the role of ruler. Because of his actions, Macbeth’s conscience won’t let him enjoy his ascension and when his wife, Lady Macbeth, goes crazy from guilt – despite pushing her husband into the whole scheme – both are tragically dealt with in typical Shakespeare style.

Montgomery Scott

Whenever Captain Kirk demanded, “Beam me up, Scotty!” he was referring to Montgomery Scott, the engineer of the USS Enterprise. Scott, in the original Star Trek series, was actually played by Canadian, James Doohan, who auditioned for the role using a variety of accents. Creator Gene Roddenberry settled on the Scottish accent, when Doohan explained that the Scots had a storied history of nautical engineering. Ironically, the character was almost completely cut from the series.

Scotland: Macbeth’s Dream

Macbeth's Dream Martini

  • 2 oz Scotch
  • 0.25 oz Triple Sec
  • 0.25 oz Amaretto
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Orange Bitters
  • Pinch of Sugar
  • Garnish with an Orange Slice

In closing, it should be pointed out that the Sip Advisor is actually the greatest fictional character of Scottish descent. Hailing from the Clan Wilson, makers of fine scotch, bagpipes, and kilts, we also took the legend of Rob Roy and turned it into a cocktail!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
I think this recipe ended up being a little too sweet thanks to ingredients like Triple Sec, Amaretto, and the Sugar. That said, it went down easy enough and the Scotch had its typical smoky finish to boot.

Scotland – Hole-in-One

Teeing Off

Golf was invented in Scotland in the 15th century and soon after came the legendary Old Course at St. Andrews. The Sip Advisor won’t bore all you little sippers with the details of how the game came to be, likely because there is way too much debate over those facts and laziness is a hell of a drug. Instead, let’s take a look at some of the wilder facts about the game:

Golf was actually banned in Scotland by the Scottish Parliament on three separate occasions, as the government believed the game was causing citizens to neglect their military training, particularly learning archery. These bans occurred in 1457, 1471, and 1491.

Golf Sport

A number of celebrities and sports stars are known for their golf game and this has bred the popularity of Pro-Am tournaments. Michael Jordan, Bill Murray, Samuel L. Jackson, Jack Nicholson, and Wayne Gretzky all have a penchant for the links. On the female side of the ledger, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Cameron Diaz are known to get their swing on. There are also a number of high-profile folk who have invested in golf course ownership. This list includes Clint Eastwood, Justin Timberlake, Willie Nelson, and Celine Dion.

Great golf movies to check out include: Caddyshack (plus its sequel), Happy Gilmore, Tin Cup, and The Legend of Bagger Vance. Bill Murray’s famous ‘Cinderella Story’ scene from Caddyshack was completely improvised and is perhaps the best part of the entire movie.

Along with javelin (I can’t believe an astronaut actually packed a spear with him), golf is one of only two sports to be played on the moon. As part of the Apollo 14 space mission in 1971, astronaut Alan Shepard brought along a 6-iron and hit a one-handed shot (it was all he could manage given his bulky suit) which will eventually return to earth as an unstoppable meteor, causing mass chaos and human extinction.

Golf Club

Most are unclear as to where all the bird names (birdie, eagle, etc.) for golf shots came from, but the Sip Advisor is here to settle the matter, at least for birdies. In 1889, George Crump hit a bird with his first shot. On his second attempt, he hit the ball mere inches from the hole (a putt he easily made later, giving him a one-under par score for the hole). The Smith brothers, whom Crump was playing with called it “a bird of a shot” and that later became a birdie, as the term spread through their club and then across the country.

Sticking with the golfer’s glossary, a hole-in-one (known as an ace) is golf’s greatest shot, but it can be even better. If hit on a par four, the player has scored an albatross, while if the rare feat is achieved on a par five, it’s known as a condor. Only four condors have been recorded and verified in history.

One of the most unique golf courses in the world exists in Nunavit, Canada, where a nine-hole tournament is played each year for the Toonik Tyme Festival. Golfers battle freezing conditions, a course made up of sheets of ice and snow, and use fluorescent balls to get their round in. The highest golf course in the world is located in Morococha, Peru, where the Tactu Golf Club can be found 14,335 feet above sea level.

Monkey Golfing

Little guy probably plays better than the Sip Advisor!

If you want to play some of the best golf courses in the world, you better start saving now. Aside from the astonishing cost to become a member at some of these clubs – New Jersey’s Liberty National Golf Club (where Phil Mickelson and Eli Manning are members) has a membership price tag of $250,000, plus yearly dues of $25,000 – even many public courses will take a serious chunk out of your wallet. Shadow Creek Golf Course in Las Vegas is the most expensive at a whopping $500 per 18 holes.

There are some great pro golfer nicknames out there. Some of the best include: Wild Thing for John Daly, the beer-drinking, heavy-smoking, trailer-living, lovable star; Halimoney for Hal Sutton, who is thrice divorced; Aquaman for Woody Austin, who once fell into a lake following a shot at the 2007 President’s Cup; and Smiling Assassin for Shigeki Maruyama, a Japanese player, whose facial expression is locked on smile, regardless of his performance.

Golf Score

Before tees were invented, golfers would build mounds of sand to hit their shots off of. It’s amazing how the smallest piece of wood can make such a huge difference… like they say, it’s not the size of the tool, it’s how you use it!

One last little nugget of info to blow your mind: there are 336 dimples on a regulation golf ball. Can you imagine the insanity of the person who actually took the time to count these indentations? What if he lost count halfway through and had to start over again? That would drive someone to drink!

Scotland: Hole-in-One

Hole-In-One Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Scotch
  • Top with Iced Tea and Lemonade
  • Garnish with a Lemon Wheel

When I was 13, I became wildly interested in golf. While that passion petered out when I realized I wasn’t any good at the game, I did make one hole-in-one during my brief career. Hole #15 at the Sunshine Woods Golf Club will always be in my memories thanks to that great day. Amazingly, one of the guys in the pair my friend and I were playing with that day, scored an ace earlier in our round on hole #6.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I really liked this cocktail. I know Scotch isn’t traditionally meant to be mixed, but this was a good coming together of flavours. If you like your drinks strong, but easier to down than straight booze, then this is a recipe you should seriously consider.