I’m always surprised that as this list grows each year (ie. Top 19 of 2019, Top 20 of 2020, etc.), I still struggle to narrow down the list of events to highlight, even in another COVID-affected year. No point delaying any longer, let’s get right to it:
Polar Bear Plunge
We got the year started off in style, as I attempted to appease the gods with a quick dip into Ma and Pa Sip’s frigid pool. Despite my parent’s having a pool my entire life, this was the first time I took advantage of a winter swim, which was helped along with shots of Fireball, spiced rum-spiked hot chocolate and other body-warming beverages.
As part of Mrs. Sip’s birthday celebrations, we finally cashed in a gift card we had for Dirty Apron in Vancouver, where we cooked a four-course meal, each dish paired with a B.C. wine selection. The evening was full of delicious food and drink, as well as the laughter that comes with preparing decadent culinary items with limited experience.
Our Valentine’s Day celebration was two-pronged, with part one being a blind wine tasting at Township 7 Vineyards in Langley and the second portion being dinner at The Keg, taking advantage of their Dine Out Vancouver special menu. With two young kids, keeping our relationship flame aglow is challenging, but I’d like to think we’re doing okay.
For this entry, I’m combining two separate trips that took us out to Abbotsford, Mission, Chilliwack and even Hope, trying to achieve the same feat for Boy Sip, as we had for Girl Sip: 52 breweries visited before they turned one. Thanks to these expeditions, we surpassed our goal with days to spare and had a lot of fun doing so.
Boy Sip’s Big Day
While the day wasn’t as boozy as others on this list, how could I not include our little guy’s first birthday. Born on the day British Columbia announced their state of emergency due to the COVID virus, it was an interesting year for us all. Boy Sip had a great day, tentatively enjoying some cake and diving into his first McDonald’s Happy Meal.
Time to Myself
For Mother’s and Father’s Day this year, Mrs. Sip and I exchanged days without kids and spouses, allowing us to do whatever we wanted with our free time. I spent the day enjoying food, drink and relaxation. There was absolutely nothing on my schedule for a full 24-hour period, which sadly, has become a completely rare occasion.
Our first of three trips to Whistler this year was spent celebrating Father’s Day, with Ma and Pa Sip and the Sip-in-Laws. Highlights included hitting all three Whistler breweries, a date night out with Mrs. Sip, where we tried axe throwing and had a wonderful meal together, and quality time spent with the kids (we do enjoy that!) and family.
Hot, Hot, Hot
Soon, we were off again, this time to Penticton. One downside of the trip was it occurred during our heat wave bubble, but we made the best of the situation with lots of time spent hydrating with cold drinks and swimming in the hotel pool. We also got a guy’s night, spent at the hotel’s restaurant, since the temperature was so stifling.
Luck of the Irish
It’s funny how some nights completely go off script. Plans to meet a friend at Kelly O’Bryans in New West started off innocent enough, with said friend saying he’d probably only do dinner and then call it a night. Hours later, we were still at the restaurant, having moved from outside to inside, and ended up staying well past closing time.
Very Merry Unbirthday
To finally celebrate Boy Sip’s first birthday with family and friends, we hosted a Very Merry Unbirthday party for him. Part of the festivities were my cocktail menu, featuring a handful of drinks that kept guests refreshed and delighted. After his initial shyness wore off, Boy Sip seemed to enjoy having the spotlight on himself for an afternoon.
Wet and Wild
To end the summer, Mrs. Sip and I joined Cousin Sip and her husband for the Sip n’ Dip event at the Otter Co-op Outdoor Experience waterpark in Aldergrove. Floating around the lazy river with drinks was a lot of fun. Mutual friends of ours were also at the event and it was one of their birthdays, so the evening continued at the Townhall Pub in Langley.
With me and Girl Sip’s birthday being back-to-back, there’s usually a lot of fun going on. This year, I got a nice free lunch and Chinese dinner, while Girl Sip’s special day was My Little Pony-themed and featured another Sip Advisor original cocktail lineup. This year, we’ll hopefully get to finally do the Disneyland trip we were supposed to do in 2020.
Like a Kid Again
For my birthday this year, Mrs. Sip organized a gathering of friends to check out the Industry Arcade in Sapperton. Beginning with beers at the adjacent ABC Brewing, we then moved over to the arcade, where we had two hours of unlimited play. Following our gaming session, we hit the Sapperton District Taphouse for dinner and even more drinks.
Sunshine Coast Ale Trail
At the end of September, we travelled to the Sunshine Coast for a weekend getaway. Over our stay, we visited all the breweries we could in Gibsons and Sechelt and also had a lot of fun in our Gibsons holiday home (Girl Sip’s term for all our accommodations), especially when the young’uns mercifully went to bed without issue each night.
Osoyoos Wine Country
A couple weeks later, we were in Osoyoos for the Thanksgiving long weekend. While this venture was largely spent at wineries during the day, each evening saw the extended Sip Family doing a lot of hotel drinking, enjoying each other’s company and an array of food and snacks. Sadly, we only hit one of the areas breweries, so will have to return.
I’ve come to really enjoy Halloween with the kids. While they travel around our neighbourhood, stocking up on candy, I get to enjoy drinking outdoors. This was Boy Sip’s first Halloween where he participated and Girl Sip ranks the occasion among her favourite holidays. Topping off the night, was a meal of scrumptious Chicko Chicken.
Return to Whistler
Trip number two to Whistler in 2021, was with friends and their kids. Over the course of the weekend, we had some good meals in the village, while also enjoying downtime at our Airbnb home. We even managed to use the place’s hot tub one of the evenings, sipping beers while basking in the serenity of the area and watching snow fall.
Celebrating in Style
In between Whistler getaways, we celebrated a friend’s 40th birthday, who went all out in the planning of his milestone. Entertainment included dueling pianos and karaoke, while an open bar, food and snacks were all offered. Going all out ourselves, Mrs. Sip and I spent the night at a Downtown Vancouver hotel, allowing us much rest.
Return to Whistler: The Returnering
Our final adventure to Whistler was sans kids, for another friend’s 40th birthday celebrations. It was so nice to have a couple full childless days, allowing us to go at our own pace and not have to worry about our responsibilities. We managed to hit a number of new locales in the village, so have even more ideas for future visits.
Held at El Santo in New West, Mrs. Sip’s work Christmas party was a lot of fun. I got to see some old friends and meet some of her new coworkers, all while eating a delicious meal and ordering a series of creative cocktails. They weren’t able to have spouses/partners involved in 2020, so this was a welcome change, right before restrictions returned.
Christmas Day was its typical mix of chaos and merriment, with multiple present openings and other activities. For Christmas dinner, I served up my most impressive cocktail collection yet, enjoyed by all. I love Christmas (in spite of how crazy the season can be) and it has become even more enjoyable with kids to watch experience the season.
While 2021 never produced the full return to normality we all hoped for, perhaps 2022 can provide us with that. If not, the Sip Family has seemingly found a way to continue having prosperous years and I imagine that will continue to be the trend!