August 30 – Smokestack

Mains & Sides

Well, this is the last long weekend of the summer, which means it’s primetime for all the barbecue masters out there to whip up the delicacies we crave all winter long. While I’m pretty open to anything someone is kind enough to put on my plate, here are the Top 5 barbecue foods, according to the Sip Advisor:

#5: Kangaroo

Although Mrs. Sip and I only enjoyed this barbecued delicacy once, it’s a meal I will never forget… which is a little surprising because we were on a winery tour in the Barossa Valley of Australia and well on route to a drunken bender. The meat was prepared in red wine and was so tender and juicy that we went at the offering with a piranha-like frenzy. While I would usually never commit the faux pas of eating the last remaining piece, in this case, I even stabbed some poor dude with a fork to get it!

Kangaroo Meats

#4: Corn on the Cob/Cornbread

Corn is an essential ingredient for a good barbecue and thanks to these two serving options, can be enjoyed in different forms with equally pleasurable results. While the Sip Advisor hates getting food stuck in his teeth (the main reason he loathes popcorn), corn on the cob is one situation where that fear is thrown out the window. As for cornbread, you better lay your hands off my slice or it’s dueling time. Slap some butter on either of these side dishes and you’ll be in sweet-salty heaven.

#3: Potato Chips

My affinity for the potato chip has been discussed at length, but here we go again! I love my chippies and am practically addicted to the snack treat. Like a junkie, I start itching for that sweet release that comes with the first bite and the burst of flavour that will soon fill the void in my soul. Chips are an easy side for any meal, but work best when you have a big ol’ bowl of them on display for the Sip Advisor to steal, hide in some dark, dank corner and inject straight to the veins.

potato-chips-funny-quotes

#2: Pulled Pork

There’s nothing like smacking a glob of pulled pork down onto a fresh bun, topping it with some slaw and taking a mammoth bite out of the wicked sandwich. Preferably, you next move will be to wash down that food with an ice cold brewski, thus completing two-thirds of the holy trinity. All that’s left is to take a brief cat nap and repeat the process again. God bless the pig for all the awesomeness it provides.

#1: Hot Dogs

Is there anything that smells better in this world than a barbecue grilling up hot dogs? Other meats are all well and good, too, but for my money, nothing tops some smokies! Hot dogs are so amazing that they can become the icing on the cake or the cherry on the sundae, even when purchased on the street in the wee hours of the morning after getting blitzed all night long. Somebody better get the grill going because I’m ready for a feast fit for a Sip Advisor!

Super Saturday Shot Day: Smokestack (A Sip Advisor Original Recipe)

Aug 30

  • Rim glass with Barbecue Sauce
  • 1 oz Absolut Texas Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Chipotle Spirit
  • Garnish with Cucumber Slices

I have to throw a massive shout out and honourable mention to potato and noodle salads. Without these two brothers in mayonnaise, I don’t know how I would have survived barbecues as a little sipper picky eater!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2 Sips out of 5):
This could be the world’s next great punishment shot, even though on their own, in various cocktails, the alcohols are quite nice. Speaking of the alcohol, Mrs. Sip and I recently stumbled upon this entry in the Absolut City Series, which combines Cucumber and Serrano Chili Peppers… a perfect summer blend. The Cucumber Slices were a nice touch visually, but were a choking hazard during the actual shooter.

Greece – The Odyssey

Mythologically Speaking

There are some great characters found in the annuls of Greek mythology. I love shows like Hercules (the Disney cartoon, of course) and Clash of the Titans, which give you a glimpse of the legends, but in a way where you don’t feel you’re actually learning something! Let’s take a look at the most rockin’ gods and goddesses:

Zeus

The god of gods and a man you would not want to piss off. Some of his punishments are extreme, to put it lightly. To be fair, along with being the god of the sky, weather, thunder, and lightning, Zeus does also cover law, order, and justice. You probably also wouldn’t want to be a woman around Zeus, as the deity had a penchant for banging everything with a pair of legs… although I doubt missing limbs would stop the insatiable one.

Zeus on the Loose

Hercules

Played by acting icons such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno, Ryan Gosling (Young Hercules) and to a much lesser extent, Kevin Sorbo, numerous performers have taken on the mythical character. Hell, this year alone, there will be two films released on the demi-god, starring The Rock and Kellan Lutz, respectively. An immortal strongman, as a youngster, Hercules even strangled a snake sent to kill him and for that, we thank him.

Hades

Lord of the underworld, Hades is also known as the god of regret and every time I don’t yell at someone who deserves a sound verbal thrashing, I am overcome with remorse. Thanks to the Disney version of Hercules, Hades will forever have James Wood’s voice attached to him in my head, telling me to do bad stuff and end up in the underworld, rather than living the sweet life in the heavens… it’s a tough voice to ignore!

Dionysus

Who can’t love this little scamp; the god of wine, parties and festivals, madness, chaos, drunkenness, drugs, and ecstasy. Personally, I think that sounds like a wicked weekend. Dionysus is so much cooler than Demeter, goddess of grain, agriculture, the harvest, growth, and nourishment (although grain is needed to make many alcohols and there’s nothing wrong with a good meal). Why build up your body when Dionysus is offering you all these fun ways to ruin it!

Dionysus AA Meeting

Ares

God of war, bloodshed, and violence, without ol’ Ares, we might not have all the awesome sports we enjoy today. Sure, the world would be a safer place, but someone would eventually ruin the peace, so chaos might as well reign. The one thing I can fault Ares with is that his sacred animals includes venomous snakes, which have been noted before as the Sip Advisor’s greatest fear. I am down with Ares moodiness and act first, ask questions later mentality.

Aphrodite

This firecracker is often depicted nude or en route to getting there. The goddess of love, beauty, desire, and pleasure, that sounds about as fun as Dionysus and perhaps a weekend under the spell of each of them would be the wildest thing you’d ever experienced. Aphrodite was said to have many lovers and if you were a god, you probably would as well. She can’t be faulted for wanting to get down with her bad self with anyone willing to tango with a goddess.

Aphrodite-Goddess

Hermes

As a writer, I have to give a shout out to Hermes, god of boundaries, travel, communication, trade, language, and writing. I find it odd that the “messenger of the gods” has a sacred animal like the tortoise. You’d think it would be something faster like a cheetah or something. That said, the tortoise did beat the hare, so perhaps it’s more about an accuracy issue. Hermes also guides souls into the afterlife, so he’s a pretty busy dude.

Poseidon

I’ve always been a water enthusiast and therefore I make yearly sacrifices of cannonballs and belly flops to Poseidon, god of sea, rivers, floods, and droughts. The broski of Zeus and Hades, Poseidon lords over all bodies of water. I wonder if this includes toilets, urinals, puddles, and all manner of liquid pooling devices. Can you imagine the all mighty Poseidon showing up in your bathroom stall and pronouncing: “I am king of the crapper and you must respect my authority!”

Greece: The Odyssey

Aug 28

  • Muddle Dill Sprig and Cucumber Slices
  • 1.5 oz Vodka
  • 0.25 oz Ouzo
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Garnish with a Dill Sprig and Cucumber Slice

While the examples above are my list of cool gods, the following deities are on the naughty list with reason attached: Hestia (goddess of chastity – no explanation needed), Artemis (goddess of childbirth and the plague – covering both ends of the spectrum), Apollo (god of manly beauty – men should be rugged and ugly), and Athena (goddess of wisdom – who needs it).

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This was my first opportunity to put Dill in a cocktail and it made for a very interesting drink. Throw in the rogue Ouzo and you never really know what you’ll get. For any Cucumber lovers out there (of which, I am one), this is a martini you have to try.

Greece – Greek Buck

Games We Play

Greece is the birthplace of the Olympic Games, which most of us love every time they roll around and dominate our conscious for two and a half weeks. You don’t even have to be a sports fan to enjoy the Olympics (it helps, but it’s not needed) which has grown to be the landmark athletic event across the globe. And we have the Greeks to thank for all this physical goodness!

The Olympics, held in honour of the god Zeus, were named as such because they took place in Olympia, dating back thousands of years ago. It wasn’t until 1896 that the modern version of the Games took place, hosted by Athens (featuring 43 events, being contested by 280 athletes from 13 countries). The term Olympiad refers to the four year period between Olympics and became a unit of time measurement for Greeks.

Olympics Relevance

From humble beginnings (the first recorded Olympics only included one event: the stade (where we now get the word stadium from), a 192-meter foot race based on the size of Zeus’ foot), the world’s biggest sporting event now showcases countless sports and within them, a number of different disciplines. The ancient games were said to have been started by Hercules (aka Heracles), who ran a race that he decided should be repeated every four years. I wonder if that story will make it into any of the Rock’s new movies based on the character.

It wasn’t until many years and Olympics later that other events were added to the slate. The diaulos, a 400-meter race and the dolichos, either 1,500 meters or 5,000 meters. Later additions included the petathalon (five events comprised of a foot race, long jump, discus, javelin, and wrestling), boxing, chariot racing, and pankration, a no-holds-barred wrestling and boxing hybrid that sounds like a precursor to mixed martial arts.

The last event added to the ancient Olympics was the hoplitodromos, a 400-800-meter race run wearing full armor, including shields, helmets, and all the other suit pieces. Competitors were likely to have fallen repeatedly thanks to their own outfits, as well as the discarded pieces of other racers. I’d love to see something like this run today, for sheer entertainment purposes. It would be like Wacky Racers for world-class athletes.

Olympic Event

Events were originally contested by only freeborn Greek males. Not only were women not allowed to participate in the sports, but married women couldn’t even attend the Olympics. Competition winners received an olive branch instead of a gold medal. I wonder if they still wore it around their neck and received endorsement deals based on their performance. Perhaps Coroebus, winner of the first recorded Olympics ended up hawking used chariots or something.

Prior to and during the Olympic Games, truces were arranged country-wide to let athletes and viewers pass through cities on their way to Olympia unscathed. Capital punishment and acts of war were banned, although there are accounts of these rules being broken, often resulting in the aggressing group’s exclusion from the Games, as well as a hefty fine.

What has now become a nearly three week long cultural event began as five days, with three being dedicated to sport and the other two to celebrations and rituals. The ancient version of the closing ceremony included a feast of 100 oxens… something I’d like to see return to the modern Games. In the years that the Olympics weren’t being held, there were similar competitions known as the Pythian, Nemean, and Isthmian Games. The Olympics remained the preeminent sporting event.

olympics nude

Athletes competed nude as a tribute to the gods and much like ESPN’s Body Issue magazine series, so people could appreciate the male body. We get the word gymnasium from the Greek word gymnos, which means naked. Kind of makes you never want to do physical education ever again. Some participants chose to wear a kynodesme, which sounds like a really uncomfortable penis cap. Can you imagine the TV ratings if Olympians still had to compete in the buff!?

After Greece was seized by the Roman Empire, Emperor Nero once entered the chariot race and declared himself the winner, despite falling off his chariot during the running. Later, Emperor Theodosius ended the Games, banning all pagan festivals. The Olympics wouldn’t return for 1,500 years, revived by Baron Pierre de Coubertin of France, who also established the International Olympic Committee.

The first Olympic marathon in 1896 was fittingly won by Greece’s Spyridon Louis. It followed the 25-mile path run by a Greek soldier from the city of Marathon to Athens to inform the masses of the Greeks victory over the Persians. Nearly 30 years later, the marathon’s distance was permanently set at 26 miles and 385 yards. No amount of Ouzo could help me through that epic event, but it will nicely wrap up this article!

Greece: Greek Buck

Greek Buck Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Brandy
  • Top with Ginger Ale
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Float Ouzo
  • Garnish with Lemon Wedge

One of my greatest pleasures was working for NBC during the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. I suppose I still owe the Greeks a debt of gratitude for that wonderful winter month!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
I never know how an Ouzo cocktail is going to turn out and this one was pretty damn good. Floating the Ouzo was a really nice touch as first of all, it looked good, like white frosting across the top of the cocktail. Next, getting a splash of Ouzo with each sip, followed by the Brandy, Ginger Ale, and Lemon Juice made each taste a new adventure!

August 23 – Death Shot

Get the Tissues

There are some incredibly sad scenes in movies meant for children. Many of these incidents stick with kids, as they did with myself, and require some serious psychological therapy in adulthood. This is going to be a tough article to get through, so make sure you have a drink in one hand and a box of tissues in the other. Here are the Top 5 saddest scenes in kid’s movies:

#5: Rufio – Hook

The leader of the Lost Boys in Peter Pan’s absence, Rufio takes the longest time to accept Peter back into fold, even while other members of the group welcome their long lost front man. Rufio’s death is so shocking because of his young age and childhood exuberance. Not to mention, he and Peter had finally become friends-on again and Rufio is shot point blank by Captain Hook during a climactic battle scene featuring a number of humorous Lost Boys tactics. In a realm where death doesn’t seem to occur, Rufio’s tragic killing snaps viewers back into the real world. We all hoped Rufio would be bangaranging forever, but sadly, that wasn’t meant to be.

#4: Ellie Fredricksen – Up

I’m a huge Disney backer (mainly for the theme parks, although the movies are a’ight too), but man do they love killing off women. Perhaps they are closet misogynists or something. Mrs. Sip and I recently attended an orchestral performance of Pixar film songs and they played the entire opening to Up, complete with video… I don’t think there was a dry eye in the audience. The one thing that cushions the death in this movie is that Ellie lived her adventure and despite her sad passing, wasn’t cut down in her prime like some of the others on this list. It would have been nice, though, if the Fredricksen’s had been able to take that trip to Paradise Falls together.

#3: Optimus Prime – Transformers: The Movie

It’s hard to make a robot’s death matter, but they nailed it in this film. The saddest part about Optimus Prime’s passing is how his team of Autobots react, breaking down in grief from the crushing blow of their leader’s demise. Prime goes out with one of the greatest death bed speeches ever delivered, imploring his Autobots to continue fighting the good fight, while assuring Ultra Magnus that he can be the next leader of the crew. There are, in fact, a number of Transformer deaths in this movie and even more were supposed to occur, but were cut from the film. The losses largely took place to set up a new toy line for the franchise.

#2: Mufasa – Lion King

This is a rare case of Disney killing off a father instead of a mother. In Hamlet-esque style, Mufasa’s broski Scar engineers the death of the king and makes the young prince Simba believe he is to blame (and he kind of is). It’s heart wrenching to watch Simba nuzzle up to his dying dad before going on the run at Scar’s instruction. Simba, of course, grows into a fully-grown lion and with his father speaking to him from beyond the grave, returns to the Pridelands to battle his uncle for his rightful place on the throne… a game of thrones, if you will!

#1: Littlefoot’s Mom – Land Before Time

While the direct-to-video sequels took a much lighter tone, focusing on sing-a-long songs, the original film was gripping with its drama and tragedy. Littlefoot’s mom suffers mortal wounds at the hands and teeth of a ‘Sharptooth’ (aka the original King of the Jungle, the Tyrannosaurus Rex), while protecting her young son from harm. It’s so very sad seeing Littlefoot try to wake up his fallen mother, who can only muster some advice for her kin before dying. Littlefoot is now separated from his herd, as a result of the whole scene, and only the guidance of his mother’s voice can lead him back to safety with his clan.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Death Shot

Death Shot

  • 0.5 oz Tequila
  • 0.5 oz Sambuca
  • Garnish with a Raspberry

Honourable mentions to Old Yeller, Bambi’s mom, and Macaulay Culkin’s character in My Girl. Have I missed anything? What’s your pick for saddest scene in a children’s flick? After reliving all of these moments, it’s really no wonder that the Sip Advisor had anxiety issues regarding death as a little sipper. Perhaps a little more liquid therapy will be needed!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.5 Sips out of 5):
This shooter was exactly what I thought it would be: punishing. I can’t say it tasted bad, but it was strong and I wouldn’t recommend it for those faint of heart… just like these films. The crushed Raspberry was a nice touch for garnish, given the article’s theme and the potent libation. Despite the two clear liquors, I purposely edited the shot to look dark for the finishing touch on this post.

France – Between the Sheets

Sensational Skyline

The Eiffel Tower is an iconic symbol, regularly associated with not only Paris, but the entire country of France. The structure can be found in numerous forms of media representing the country and celebrated its 125th anniversary earlier this year. Let’s take a closer look at this mammoth structure:

The Eiffel Tower was opened to the public on March 31, 1889, taking two years, two months and five days to build by 300 workers. It was erected to serve as the entrance to the 1889 World Fair (or Exposition Universelle, since the French always have to put their own twist on titles). While it is an icon of the country today, its construction was protested by French artists and writers, who called it a “hateful column of bolted sheet metal!”

Frances-Thong

Writer Guy de Maupassant was one of the most vocal haters of the Eiffel Tower, yet was discovered eating lunch inside the setting on a daily basis. He claimed that it was because it was the only place in Paris that he didn’t have to look at the building. Other residents of the city initially viewed the construction as an eyesore.

Although the tower is named in honour of engineer Gustave Eiffel, he wasn’t initially interested in the project. Designed by his company’s engineers Maurice Koechlin and Émile Nouguier, Eiffel only really came on board when the design was tweaked by his head of architecture, Stephen Sauvestre. Then, Eiffel purchased the patent rights for the structure.

A symbol of modern science, for 41 years, the Eiffel Tower was the tallest man-made object (standing at 1,063 feet) in the world, but that reign came to an end in 1930 with the completion of New York’s Chrysler Building. I bet the French regretted giving New York the Statue of Liberty after they were trumped. The tower is comprised of 18,038 pieces linked by 2.5 million rivets.

Tower or Battleship

Today, the Eiffel isn’t even the tallest structure in France anymore. It has been surpassed by the Millau Viaduct, a cable-stayed bridge that connects parts of Millau-Creissels, France over the River Tarn. While it does provide a nice photo-op (if you’re into bridges and such), the Eiffel Tower is still the place tourists flock for their Parisian moment.

The tower was treated with 60 tons of paint to protect from the weather and has been repainted numerous times (about every seven years) since its original covering. It is painted lighter at the bottom of the structure and becomes gradually darker at the top so it looks like one uniform colour, despite atmospheric pressure. On warms days, the Eiffel tower can grow up to six inches, thanks to thermal expansion… does this mean that Mrs. Sip is also thermal expansion!?

The tower’s elevators weren’t running until almost two months after the building opened. Visitors could still enter the structure, but had to climb 1,710 steps to reach the summit. Still, more than 30,000 people were willing to traverse the many flights to get a view of the city. Mrs. Sip and I have talked about doing the stair thing sometime, but I think my laziness will always prevail.

Eiffel Lightning

The Eiffel Tower was supposed to be taken apart after 20 years, but it was later used as a radio communications tower, transitioning into telecommunications with the change in technology. The city chose to keep the structure after its permit expired in 1909. A post office, theatre, newspaper, science labs, and even an annual ice rink have also set up shop at the structure.

In the 1920s, con man Victor Lustig sold the Eiffel Tower twice for scrap metal. With forged government documents, Lustig invited six scrap metal dealers to a meeting where they discussed dismantling the run down and expensive-to-upkeep landmark. When the scam worked once without Lustig ending up in jail, he returned to try it again, but this time authorities were summoned. Lustig did get away this time, but eventually found himself in jail, where he died in 1947. His death certificate listed his occupation as ‘apprentice salesman!’

Eiffel For You

The tower sure is sturdy, surviving wars, fires, and countless visitors. One time when Mrs. Sip and I were visiting the landmark, we even saw some dude relieving himself against the iconic iron! Today, the Eiffel Tower is the most visited pay monument in the world, with over seven millions visitors annually, 75% of which are foreigners.

It may not be the copycat Eiffel Tower located at The Paris Hotel in Las Vegas, but Joe King, an engineering professor from California, constructed a toothpick replica of the famous structure in 1988, using 110,000 sticks. The tower stood 23 feet high. Other imitations include: Tokyo Tower in Japan, Torre del Reformador in Guatemala, Petřín Lookout Tower in the Czech Republic, AWA Tower in Australian, and many more.

France: Between the Sheets

Between the Sheets Cocktail

  • 1 oz Cognac
  • 1 oz Triple Sec
  • 1 oz Light Rum
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Garnish with a Lemon Wedge

Every time Mrs. Sip and I have been at the Eiffel Tower (with the intent of going up), the weather has been inclement. The first time we ever scaled the monument, the weather was near freezing and windy and even snowed a little. Other times, we have passed on going up because we know it isn’t as enjoyable when it’s wet and cold. On one visit, the weather was gorgeous as we were winding our way through the Louvre line-up early in the day. That afternoon was supposed to be Eiffel Tower time, but as we made our way to the attraction, the clouds burst open and we were thwarted once again. C’est la vie is all you can really say!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
Despite three ounces of alcohol, this drink was pretty damn good. I was worried about how harsh it might be, so instead of using plain Light Rum, I subbed in Torched Cherry Rum and the flavour went very well with the Triple Sec. Both tasted very nice with Cognac as part of the mix and while still potent, the drink was delicious.

France – French 75

Champagne Showers

While I’ve chosen cognac as the spirit of choice while visiting France, that doesn’t mean we can’t devote some time to another well-associated libation for the country: champagne. I’m not the biggest fan of the stuff, but Mrs. Sip loves her bubbles and therefore, this article is dedicated to her and her taste in finer things… like the Sip Advisor!

Champagne was discovered accidentally and through a process that makers in the region are still trying to correct. When the cold weather hits this northern area, the fermentation procedure is interrupted and only continues when warm temperatures return while the wine is already bottled. This creates the carbonation and pressure that champagne is known for.

champagne-christopher-walken

Dom Perignon is often credited with inventing champagne in 1662, but he had some serious help from a British scientist named Christopher Merret, who broke down the process for creating the libation. Also, British bottles were stronger than the French ones and helped eliminate the likelihood of bottles bursting from the intense pressure of the drink.

In fact, the real Dom Perignon (a Benedictine monk) was one of the many who worked hard to prevent the second fermentation that creates champagne. What Perignon can be recognized for is giving champagne its classic colour. Champagne used to have a pale pink hue before Perignon started the process of blending grapes before pressing them, which caused red grapes to produce a white wine.

In 1813, Madame Clicquot Ponsardin created the riddling machine, which greatly improved champagne production and the quality of the product being released. These machines allowed for bottles to be turned upside down in order to have sediment (dead yeast) removed, refining the second fermentation process. The Veuve Clicquot champagne house still exists today.

Dom Perignon

Only the bottles produced in France’s Champagne region can be classified as champagne. It is known around the world by such other names as bubbly, Prosecco, brut, and sparkling wine. Today there are over 15,000 grape growers in Champagne, working with pinot noir, chardonnay, and pinot meunier grapes.

Although Double-O-7, James Bond, is best associated with the shaken, not stirred martini, in the films, he is most often seen downing champagne. In fact, the secret agent seems to like his bubbles so much, he has consumed close to 40 glasses. Perhaps Bond, the perpetual sex machine, was drawn to the classic champagne glass, which was designed from a wax mold of Marie Antoinette’s breast.

There are about 49 million bubbles in a typical bottle of champagne. Those suds can cause immense pressure in the bottle (90 pounds per square inch), which can launch a cork at 40 miles per hour. The world record for cork flight is 177 feet. Those same bubbles can cause a headache for drinkers, if consumed too quickly, as they cause the alcohol to enter your bloodstream quickly. Take your time with champagne and enjoy the taste of the wine and the cascade of the fizz.

Popped a Cap

Need more than a normal sized champagne bottle? How about a lot more? The Melchizedek serving provides 30 liters of the good stuff. That’s equivalent to 40 typical bottles. Despite the massive serving, these bottles pale in comparison to the price attached to some selections. The Shipwrecked 1907 Heidseick will set you back $275,000 per bottle. 200 bottles of the champagne were discovered in 1997, after sitting at the bottom of the ocean for 90 years, presumed to have fallen off the ship carrying it.

Champagne can be used for many other purposes. In the 1800s, English nobles used the drink to polish their boots. Many moons later, Marilyn Monroe is reported to have bathed in a tub filled with 350 bottles of champagne. Had they re-bottled the used bath water, they could have made millions. Instead, today we have a Marilyn Monroe-themed strawberries and cream vodka from Three Olives. I think some companies really missed the boat on this one.

France: French 75

French 75 Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Cognac
  • Top with Champagne
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Pinch of Sugar
  • Garnish with a Lemon Wedge

Although I don’t love champagne, it is perfect in helping celebrate milestones, triumphs, and even the passing of another day where you made it through alive. Drink up, my little sippers!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
Much like Italy, there are a number of liquor options available for France. I went with Cognac because it seemed like a nice way to change things up with this project. This is the Cognac version of the popular Gin-based cocktail that I found in my Mixology App. It tasted alright, but I’m still not a huge fan of Champagne in general.

August 16 – Columbo

Private Dicks

I like a good mystery and these gumshoes have offered some of the greatest examples of sleuthing known to the world. They each employ their own tactics, but the end result is always the same: the bad guy is punished for their crime and the good guy feels some sort of redemption. Here are the Top 5 detectives:

#5: Rescue Rangers

Sometimes, some crimes go slipping through the cracks (did anyone out there sing that opening!?)… and that’s when you need the Rescue Rangers: Chip, Dale, Gadget, and Monterey Jack (plus his little buddy Zipper). This classic Disney Afternoon animation block cartoon sees the legendary Chip and Dale and company solve crimes, such as missing pets and all the other stuff the real police don’t feel like investigating. The gang also regularly battle such villains as Fat Cat and Professor Norton Nimnul. Interestingly, Chip and Dale weren’t even originally planned to be part of the show, but were used to add some established Disney characters to the series.

Chip & Dale

#4: Ace Ventura

Of the Pet Detective variety, Ace is an unconventional investigator and devout animal lover. When hired to solve the case of missing Miami Dolphins mascot and real-life dolphin, Snowflake, he becomes embroiled in a complex mystery involving a disgruntled ex-player and Dolphins superstar quarterback Dan Marino. Can he crack the case before the Dolphins’ next big game and bring Snowflake home safely? This role launched the career of Jim Carrey and the surprise hit even produced a sequel, When Nature Calls, which sadly didn’t live up to the first film.

#3: Magnum P.I.

Thomas Magnum is a fine private detective. He’s willing to work on everything from cases involving cheating spouses to more serious stuff like drug rings and assassination plots. The former Vietnam veteran gets a ton of help from his buddies TC, Rick and even Higgins, all while living the good life in Robin Masters’ Hawaiian home. Played by the dreamy Tom Selleck, the iconic role had to be good, as he even gave up playing Indiana Jones thanks to the series’ shooting schedule. There has been talk of a movie or TV series remake, but I just don’t know if it could ever measure up to the original.

Magnum Man

#2: Sherlock Holmes

Along with his companion (and I don’t mean to make it sound like they are lovers… although I’m sure some have explored this premise), Dr. Watson, Sherlock Holmes is certainly London’s finest sleuth and is perhaps the world’s greatest. The creation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Holmes has appeared in countless forms of media. Some of my favourites include the recent movies with Robert Downey, Jr., the current BBC TV series starring Benedict Cumberbatch, and the animated Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century. With Holmes, you must always remember that the game is afoot!

#1: Lt. Columbo

I grew up on the disheveled detective and it’s probably because of him that I haven’t become a criminal mastermind… well, that and to be a mastermind, you need to have a fully-functioning brain. Peter Falk is a god damn legend in my books and all Mrs. Sip can do is roll her eyes when I stumble upon a Columbo mini-movie and have a brief celebration. Although she’s often mentioned, we never see Mrs. Columbo throughout the entirety of the series and we also never learn Lt. Columbo’s first name. Many have speculated that it’s Frank, as it appears when his LAPD ID badge is shown close up. Oh, one more thing, Columbo loves chili as much as he loves solving murders!

Super Saturday Shot Day: Columbo

Columbo Shot

  • 0.75 oz Campari
  • 0.25 oz Orange Juice
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Garnish with a Cigar

The Sip Advisor would make a horrible detective. Sure, I like solitude and spying on folks can be fun, but you can only get so drunk while on a stakeout and I would find the job cramping my current lifestyle. Plus, there’s the whole critical thinking aspect and all you little sippers know that isn’t in my wheelhouse!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
I’m not sure if this shot (or cocktail I’ve shrunken down to shooter form) was actually meant in homage of the greatest detective of all-time, but I’m using it in that way anyway… there is an Italian connection between the character and Campari, so maybe there’s a match there. And how about that garnish!? Columbo was often seen smoking a stogie, so why not include it with the shooter. It all goes down okay and that bitter Campari aftertaste doesn’t kill like it usually does.