Cocktail Corner – Fashionably Late

Here’s Looking At You

For my birthday in September, I took a look at the best of 1983. To celebrate Mrs. Sip’s anniversary today, I decided we should delve into her birth year of 1984. Yes, on top of being more successful and better looking, Mrs. Sip is younger than yours truly. So, what do I bring to the table… sweet posts like this! I’ll be looking at the year in regards to what impacted Mrs. Sip the most, rather than myself. So, while 1984 was amazing for TV show debuts (The Cosby Show, Transformers, Murder She Wrote, Night Court), those series matter more to me, than her. On with the list and again, happy birthday, honey!:

#5: MAC Make-Up Launches

While Mrs. Sip is a natural beauty, the minimal make-up she uses is often from MAC and when she really wants to get gussied up for a special event, she lets the artists at the company do their thing. I am no cosmetics expert, but I can only assume they make fine products if Mrs. Sip and others have committed their time and financial resources to them. Not that she needs the help, but Mrs. Sip certainly looks stunning after applying MAC wares.

makeup lipsticks

#4: Legal Taping Using Betamax

Growing up, Mrs. Sip had a regular routine that consisted of coming home from school, napping, doing her homework, and then staying up late watching TV shows she had taped from earlier, before repeating the process. Well, that would have never been possible had the Betamax not won a 1984 legal battle versus Universal City Studios, which allowed home videotaping to be legalized. Given Mrs. Sip’s profession as a lawyer, a landmark legal decision seems perfect for this article.

#3: Movie Releases

1984 was an amazing year for feature films, with hits like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Ghostbusters, Gremlins, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Revenge of the Nerds, Beverly Hills Cop, Police Academy, and many more all hitting the big screen. Many of these movies are beloved by Mrs. Sip, particularly Indiana Jones and Gremlins. All that’s missing is a Star Wars movie and you might have been able to call this the most important year in 80’s cinema.

Indiana Jones Temple Run

#2: Craft Breweries Open in B.C.

With the opening of both Granville Island Brewing and Vancouver Island Brewing (clearly, the islands knew something long before the rest of the province) craft beer arrived in British Columbia and while Mrs. Sip and I weren’t drinking back then, their hard work established a growing movement which we would finally be able to enjoy much later. While wine is still Mrs. Sip’s beverage of choice, she has become a craft beer junkie just like the Sip Advisor.

#1: Cirque du Soleil is Founded

Mrs. Sip is a huge fan of Cirque du Soleil productions, having seen a number of the Las Vegas-based shows, as well as big top performances here at home. Before hitting the international stage, Cirque du Soleil grew from a small touring operation in Quebec, Canada. Today, their combination of circus, theatrics, costumes, atmosphere, and music is loved the world over. Among Mrs. Sip’s favourite Cirque shows are O, Ka, and Love, proving it doesn’t take a long title to make a great experience.

Cocktail Corner: Fashionably Late

Jan 19

  • 1.5 oz Whiskey
  • 1 oz Port
  • Top with Cranberry Juice
  • Dash of Angostura Bitters
  • Garnish with an Orange Twist

Mrs. Sip shares her birth year with such dignitaries as Scarlett Johansson and LeBron James. Some honourable mentions for 1984, include Michael Jackson’s Thriller album, Michael Jordan being drafted into the NBA, the creation of Tetris, and the birth of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in comic form. At least the actual 1984 didn’t turn out like the classic George Orwell novel, which showed the world in a state of dystopia. That said, 1984 brought the birth of crack cocaine, as well as the discovery of the AIDS virus, so maybe the novel wasn’t that far off.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This drink is, of course, in honour of the habitually late Mrs. Sip. I used Vanilla Spiced Whiskey in favour of Bourbon and that added a whole bonus flavour to the cocktail. My Port choice came from Backyard Vineyards, where Mrs. Sip is a member. Everything came together quite nicely for a refreshing, interesting martini.

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Cocktail Corner – Midnight Martini

Let the Good Times Roll

Last week, we looked at the Top 5 people and groups who had the worst 2015. This week, we look at those who enjoyed the year so much, they probably wish the calendar never turned over. Let’s get the party started!

#5: Donald Trump

Despite being a complete ass, Donald Trump is looking like the next Republican candidate for President of the United States. Some have joked that this is a blessing to Hilary Clinton or whoever holds the Democrat nomination, but the fact Trump has gained any hold over the race can be deemed a success for his camp (and all the fellow bigots who swallow his crap). As he leads the polls, I can’t help but hear the thundering hooves of the four horsemen of the apocalypse approach…

Donald Trump Bankrupt

#4: Justin Trudeau

After being elected Prime Minister of Canada, Trudeau became a media darling not only within his own country, but in many other parts of the world. He’s been viewed as the most attractive political leader in the universe and many have urged him to strike while the iron is hot. Having ousted former Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, who many viewed as a tyrant and bringer of doom, helped in his ascent and much is anticipated from the new head of state in 2016.

#3: Chinese Parents

I can’t imagine being limited to a set number of kids, should I choose to have any at all, but for 35 years, couples living in China were limited to having just one child. This had the adverse effect of dwindling the female population in the country, as parent’s preferred to sire a male heir to continue their bloodlines. That will all be no more, as the republic declared that the law would be repealed and that partners would now be able to have up to two children.

One Child Policy

#2: Disney and Star Wars

Notwithstanding a lackluster reception for episodes 1-3, faith was renewed in the Star Wars saga thanks to Episode 7: The Force Awakens. Hype for the film was palpable and as someone who is not a fan of the franchise, even I must admit that the new movie was quite good and I’m looking forward to its sequels. Disney, having bought the rights to the space opera, is now building Star Wars themed lands at many of its resorts and I’ll be the judge of whether that’s a good thing, in the future.

#1: Caitlyn Jenner

While there are mixed opinions on Caitlyn Jenner, one thing that can’t be denied is that she brought the issue of transgendered people to a height of public debate that it had never experienced before. Jenner’s choice to live her life as a female, while existing in the public eye, has led to numerous accolades, including being the recipient of the ESPY’s Arthur Ashe Courage Award and being named Barbara Walters’ Most Fascinating Person of 2015 and Glamour Magazine’s Woman of the Year.

Cocktail Corner: Midnight Martini

Jan 13

Honourable mentions include teams that brought home championships in their respective leagues, the LGBT community, potheads everywhere, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lawrence, and the Toronto Blue Jays, who after two decades of futility, finally gave their fans something to cheer about.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
I haven’t had the chance to use my Patron XO Café Tequila very often, but looked forward to applying it to this recipe. To accentuate the martini, I used Stoli Salted Karamel Vodka and the two mixed well together. Start with a drizzle of Caramel Sauce around the glass and you have the makings of a great cocktail!

Flavour Revolution – Papaya

Slang Bangers

Somehow, the papaya has become slang in Costa Rica for a statement lacking truth, as well as in Cuba for a woman’s downtown lady parts. Here is some other fruit-based slang that will change the way you look at melons, berries, and citrus:

Apples

In this category, you can become a bad apple, be the apple of one’s eye, be an apple that didn’t fall far from the tree, polish one’s apple with a flattering comment, be a Jackson 5 song and spoil the whole bunch, or be compared through the apples and oranges argument. So, how do you like them apples?

apple mcdonalds

Bananas

I’m not a big banana fan and I certainly wouldn’t want to live in a banana republic, which means crazy stuff is going down in an unstable country… and yet a clothing store took the name. On the other hand, I’ve often enjoyed the work of second bananas on TV and in movies. And in all honesty, Mrs. Sip would probably tell you I went bananas many years ago and somehow she still puts up with me… perhaps she drove me there!

Cherry

My life is pretty damn good. One might say that it’s a bowl of cherries. I work hard to maintain my relationships and keep everything in cherry condition. I’m very careful in making choices and tend to cherry-pick. Although, in sports such as hockey, I’ve never been one to cherry pick offensively and have always had a mind for the defensive end and a complete game.

Lemon

Perhaps best applied to cars – some U.S. states even have lemon laws to protect used car buyers – this term is used to describe items that are constantly in need of repair. In a completely different realm, adult-oriented Japanese comics, known as Hentai, are apparently called lemon in the western world.

large lemons

Melon

Running the complete gamut, the noble family of melons can be used to describe everything from someone’s head to a women’s ample bosoms. If you were trying to decide the best melon for either of those body parts, I’m sure the answers would be quite varied.

Grape

I think some of the worst people out in the world are those who have sour grapes because they are envious of what others have, not appreciating what they themselves have been blessed with. Also, if you go to the vine where grapes are grown, you might become a player in the spreading of a rumour and these folks might not be much better than those with sour grapes.

wine-grape-depression

Pear

When something takes the shape of a pear, you know trouble is coming. It means that plans have backfired and some serious improv is needed to get things back on track and save the mission. There are many theories on where the term originated, from human bodies as we age to World War I and II happenings and even ship construction.

Peach

As described above, most of my life can be described as being peachy. Mrs. Sip plays a large role in this, as she’s a peach. I suppose if you hated peaches or were allergic to them, you might be hesitant to use the term to define anything good.

Flavour Revolution: Compadre

It seems like so many of these fruit slangs can be turned sexual. Even the innocent apricot is used to describe a man’s cajonies, while the cherry can be referenced for a number of different adult-oriented ideas.

Flavour Revolution – Blueberry

Where is my Mind?

Blueberries are said to help greatly in maintaining cognitive functioning and fighting off memory loss – so long as you enjoy a serving of them once per week – as the berries clear toxins that gather in the brain. Clearly, the entertainment industry is unaware of these developments because it is rife with stories of amnesiacs. Here are some of the most notable memory loss cases:

Jason Bourne – The Bourne Franchise

If a case of amnesia resulted in the Sip Advisor being able to instinctively fight secret agent style and have a highly-functioning mind, I’d say it would all be worth it… I know Mrs. Sip would appreciate the change in brain activity! Jason Bourne awakens one day and can’t remember who he is, but he can certainly kick ass and that keeps him alive through three (soon to be four) films.

short term memory loss

Leonard – Memento

Although suffering from short-term memory loss, Leonard is still working to solve the murder of his wife. To remember the clues he’s put together, Leonard uses Polaroid photos and self-inflicted tattoos as reminders. I should do the same on binge nights! This psychological crime thriller is told in reverse order, which only adds to the building mystery.

Wolverine – X-Men Franchise

Following the procedure which gave him his trademark adamantium bone structure, Logan struggles to remember his past (in the origins movie, an adamantium bullet to the noggin also helps) and it takes the mind reading power of Professor X to make any headway into the mutant’s psyche. We all have events we’d like to block from our memory, but I’d rather have a mix of good and bad than none at all.

Lucy Whitmore – 50 First Dates

Can you imagine having to remind your partner each and every day about your shared past together? Thankfully, Mrs. Sip only has to do this for me after a hard drinking night. In this case, perhaps it was working with Adam Sandler again that drove Drew Barrymore to memory loss. Anyhoo, Lucy is helped along by Sandler’s Henry to break the pattern and live a happily ever after, each new day.

memory loss favourite movie

Joel Barish and Clementine Kruczynski – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

This one is a little different, in that main characters Joel and Clementine choose to wipe their minds clear of any memories to do with each other after their relationship goes awry. Regardless of this, they wind up together again, as if their love was always meant to be. Jim Carrey must be the king of playing amnesiacs, having also tackled the role in The Majestic and The Number 23.

Dory – Finding Nemo

Played for comedic effect, Dory is one of the many characters father Marlin comes across in his search for his son Nemo. Dory proved to be such a popular character that the pacific regal blue tang (thanks to Wikipedia for that!) will be getting her own movie, Finding Dory, due out in 2016. Ironically, the movie will be centered on Dory getting her memories back, leading to another adventure.

amnesia joke

The Wolfpack – The Hangover

The one thing worse than one person not being able to remember what happened before, is three friends blanking out on the previous night’s activities. Thanks to being slipped roofies, the Wolfpack can’t figure out what trouble they got up to and worst of all, their buddy Doug is missing and his wedding day is coming up quickly.

Douglas Quaid – Total Recall

Mrs. Sip and I love to travel, but I’m not sure we’d be into futuristic travel methods which include having images placed in your mind, while you sit in a chair. Of course, an innocent visual journey to the planet Mars, helps Quaid realize that he’s actually a secret agent operative, with crazy fighting skills. Quaid (aka Carl Hauser) now has to go to the real Mars, to figure out why his memory was wiped.

Flavour Revolution: Lucifer’s Tears

  • 1.5 oz Gin
  • 0.5 oz Blueberry Liqueur
  • 0.25 oz Galliano
  • 0.25 oz Sambuca
  • Garnish with Blueberries

Soap Operas are also a prime breeding ground for cases of amnesia, either occurring after a death, or leading to a murder most foul!

November 11 – Gibson

Hall of Fame 2015

In 2013, we launched The Sip Advisor Hall of Fame and since then, have filled its hallowed halls with 14 entrants worthy of enshrinement. This has included a Beer and Wine Wing, as well as one for Mixers. If you’re curious about past inductees, you can check out the 2013 and 2014 festivities. Tonight, however, is all about the class of 2015!

Captain Morgan Rum

Captain Morgan was the first spiced rum I ever enjoyed and it introduced me to a wonderful world of rum variants. Since then, I’ve also become a fan of the brand’s Lime Bite release, although it is impossible to find in Canada, despite having a large Canadian presence. I won’t be petty about that, though, and blacklist the company from the Hall of Fame. As far as new products go, I’m looking forward to trying the recently released Barrel Blast (cinnamon and citrus in a cannonball-themed bottle).

Captain Morgan Cannon Blast

Absolut Vodka

Over the years, I’ve been able to try some really unique vodka flavours from Absolut, including Texas (cucumber and serrano chili), and Karnival (passion fruit and orange blossom), but there are many more to try, such as Orient Apple (ginger and red apple). Absolut was even the Sip Advisor’s selection for the Sweden entry of my Around the World project. While Absolut may not be the finest vodka on the market, it plays an important role in cocktail development, thanks to incredibly diverse line-up.

Bols Melon Liqueur

The Sip Advisor has always been a fan of melon-flavoured items and this green gem is no different. Perfect for martinis, cocktails, and shots, it is a bottle that I’m quick to replace when it runs dry. There are so many great recipes I’ve used that incorporate Melon Liqueur that it’s hard to narrow down a top choice. The House of Bols released their liqueurs in foam dispensers a couple years back (we have Blue Curacao and Crème de Bananes) and I’d love to track down the Melon Liqueur one.

Jim Beam Black Cherry Bourbon

Like Absolut Vodka, Jim Beam Bourbon played a role in the Around the World project, representing the United States. My affinity for the alcohol goes back much further, though. The Sip Advisor was once a participant in a murder mystery game, given the character of Jimmy Bourbon. While my Cajun accent was atrocious, I did get to carry around and drink from a bottle of Jim Beam Bourbon all night, so all was well. Later, I levelled up and grabbed the company’s Black Cherry Bourbon and the rest is history!

jim beam black cherry bourbon

Ouzo/Sambuca

These cousins are perfect for an after meal shot, helping with digestion. When Mrs. Sip and I travelled to Athens and Santorini, Greece (you know, before the country went down the crapper), a highlight of our amazing dinners was sharing some Ouzo, sometimes with the staff who has served us. The restaurants outside of Greece that have adopted the tradition are tops in my books. While the licorice-flavoured liqueurs don’t factor into many cocktails, they are still very useful spirits.

Unibroue Beer

Mrs. Sip and I are big fans of this Quebec-based brewery (perhaps the best thing since poutine and smoked meat sandwiches to come from the Canadian province), which has a line of beers that are each interesting and delicious. Last year, we were lucky to attend a pairing dinner, featuring Unibroue selections and this year we’ll be repeating the feat later this month. Our favourites from the brewery include Blanche de Chambly, La Fin du Monde, Trois Pistoles, and La Resolution.

Lemon-Lime Soda

With Pepsi and Dr. Pepper already enjoying spots within the Hall of Fame’s Mixer Wing, it’s time for Lemon-Lime Soda to join the fray. I can’t really narrow down whether I like Sprite or 7-Up (or a non-name brand variation) better, so I’ll just enshrine the entire genre. Lemon-Lime Soda doesn’t stay on the Sip Advisor’s shelf for long, often used in Tom Collins experimentation, as I try different gins. As the King of Mojitos, I’m also quick to use Lemon-Lime Soda over Club Soda, for that added flavour kick.

Hall of Fame 2015: Gibson

  • 2.5 oz Gin
  • 0.5 oz Dry Vermouth
  • Garnish with a Cocktail Onion

Thank you for joining us on this festive evening, as we salute the booze that has made The Sip Advisor possible. Where will 2016 take us, you ask? Only time will tell!

Flavour Revolution – Hazelnut

Nutty Goodness

As we delve into some Frangelico hazelnut liqueur, I thought it would be a good time to discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly of the nut world, or better put: the ones I love versus the ones I loathe!

Good:

Peanuts – I am a certified peanut fiend. I like most all types, with the exception being peanuts in shells and with their skins still on. I’m just not a fan of the fuss and mess that comes with them. I’m currently in the process of devising a masterful trail mix recipe, set to include honey roasted peanuts, Smarties, chocolate covered raisins, and cashews (more on them later).

elephant peanut

Almonds – These are best smothered in chocolate and not being sold by one of those groups that charges an arm and a leg for a small box. Charity be damned when I want my almond fix. Almonds also work on their own, roasted or salted. I also have massive respect for almonds for the flavouring they lend to Amaretto, one of my preferred nightcaps.

Macadamia Nuts – The Hawaiian treat, which everyone must bring back when vacationing on the islands, is a favourite of mine and Mrs. Sip. We are particularly fond of the Mauna Loa line, which includes varieties such as milk and dark chocolate, honey roasted, Maui onion and garlic, and coffee glaze. A couple companies have also devised Macadamia Nut liqueurs, which are very tasty.

Cashews – I absolutely love cashews, but they are so darn expensive that I only get them on very special occasions (ie. when other people serve them and I’m lucky enough to be on hand to help them with their abundant supply). Figuring everything was cheaper in southern Africa, during our recent travels, I grabbed a pack of cashews, without even looking at the price. When they were scanned at the checkout, my jaw dropped, but I’m not one to leave an item behind. They were delicious and got me through some long bus days.

cashews mixed nuts

Bad:

Pecans – I like pecans in Turtles chocolates, but little else. I think it’s because the other ingredients make up for this lackluster nut. There’s just something about the taste of pecans that I can’t wrap my head around. The texture is also an issue for the Sip Advisor.

Chestnuts – The roasted ones at Christmas smell so good, but it’s like eating warm paste, if you bother to buy a pack. My displeasure with chestnuts has even caused me to question my enjoyment of the yuletide classic The Christmas Song, which opens with the line “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire”…

roasted chestnuts

Walnuts – It’s amazing how odd these nuts look, inside their cases. They remind me of a turtle shell and don’t look very appetizing. I think I turned on walnuts when considering the work it takes to get one open, using a nutcracker (which, given its name, brings about many images of horror) and then having to clean up the mess that creates.

Corn Nuts – These are the jawbreakers of the nut world and while they come in many interesting flavours (some of which I’d like to see brought over to other nut and even potato chip options), I just don’t enjoy the munching experience that comes along with corn nuts.

Flavour Revolution: Mister Frangelico

  • Rim glass with Crushed Nuts
  • 1 oz Frangelico
  • 1 oz Dark Rum
  • Splash of Orgeat Syrup

There are also a few nuts that I just don’t have any opinion on one way or the other. These include hazelnuts (funny enough, given today’s liqueur choice), Pistachios, and Brazil Nuts. Have I missed anything?

Flavour Revolution – Violet

Pleasing Purple

I’ve always wanted to get my hands on a violet liqueur because you don’t see too many purple cocktails. With that in mind, the Sip Advisor started to think about the most notable things out there that are purple. Here is that list:

Purple Haze

Jimi Hendrix sure knew how to rock a guitar and this is one of his most recognizable songs. In fact, it was the opening track on the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s debut album, so it was technically the first time most listeners heard the band’s work. Many believe the song describes a psychedelic experience, but Hendrix called it a love song. Perhaps it was both! Also in the realm of purple-themed music is Prince’s ‘Purple Rain’ and D-12’s ‘Purple Pills/Hills’.

purple hays

Purple Heart Award

Given to soldiers who are wounded or killed in action, the Purple Heart is the oldest military award still handed out by the United States. The medal has been awarded since 1917 and was previously known as the Badge of Military Merit, dating all the way back to the time of George Washington. The estimates of how many times this medal has been awarded through the years is quite sobering. World War II alone accounts for 1,076,245, according to a 2009 National Geographic article.

Purple Nurple

These were the absolute worst growing up… perhaps the Indian burn was more painful in the short term, but purple nurples lasted longer in both throbbing ache and bruising. The bullying act has gone by other names, such as the titty twister and nipple cripple, but purple nurple is the name the Sip Advisor knew (and feared) it as. The purple nurple has been turned into a cocktail recipe, which sounds pretty good, combining Coconut Rum, Triple Sec, Blue Curacao, and Cranberry Juice.

purple nurple

The Color Purple

This book-turned-movie-turned-musical sees a poor, uneducated 14-year-old black girl, living in the southern U.S., deal with issues such as an abusive father, racial tension, sexism, women’s rights, and so much more. Written by Alice Walker, the book won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, as well as the National Book Award for Fiction. The film, directed by Steven Spielberg, starred a young Whoopi Goldberg and also featured the debut of Oprah Winfrey.

Purple People Eater

The tone of this song sounds like we should embrace the purple people eater, but I advocate avoiding it at all costs. The tune became a Billboard pop chart topper for about a month in 1958, which blows my mind, especially when compared to number one songs nowadays. The “one-eyed, one-horned, flying, purple people eater” made its way to also being a 1988 sci-fi-comedy family film, starring one Neil Patrick Harris. The movie’s plot is one whole sentence on Wikipedia!

Flavour Revolution: Blue Moon

There are also a few character who are memorable for their purple hue, clothing, or accessories. This list includes Ronald McDonald’s diabetic buddy Grimace; Barney the Dinosaur; Donatello of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; and the ‘Clown Prince of Crime,’ the Joker.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (??? Sips out of 5):
This recipe is a variation of the classic Aviation cocktail. There’s also a similar adaptation called Moonlight, which adds Cointreau and subs Lime Juice for Lemon Juice.
I upped the dose of Violette Liqueur from 0.5 oz to 1 oz, because I wanted it to be featured more