Mixer Mania #38 – In the Face of Danger

Sometimes, grapefruits are used to describe a person’s bravery… as in that dude has some huge grapefruits on him. Today we look at some of the most courageous actions the Sip Advisor has taken in his life. While none were earth shattering, they helped form the person I am today:

Kidney Conundrum

Moving in a somewhat chronological order, when the Sip Advisor was 12, I had my right kidney removed, as it was not functioning properly. Major surgery when you’re that young can be hard, but it’s also a blessing to have the issue dealt with early on, before it does even more damage. I think I took the whole thing pretty well and the scar can provide an interesting talking point.

Kidney Operation.jpg

Asking Mrs. Sip Out

On mutual family trips to Disneyland, I mustered all the swagger I could and asked Mrs. Sip out on a date in front of Cinderella’s Castle during the nightly fireworks extravaganza. The moment was perfect and she couldn’t say no. Had she turned me down, not only would that have stung bad, but it would have probably ruined one of my favourite places in the world. Luckily, we’re still together 15 years later.

Moving Abroad

Leaving all the comforts you have always known can be a daunting task. On two different occasions, I packed up my belongings and ventured to other parts of the world for new adventures. I spent a semester in Preston, England as part of an exchange program, before later moving to Toronto, Canada for a year-long school course. Both journeys made me much more confident.

Traveller’s Choice

Along with Mrs. Sip, I have journeyed to 51 different countries across the globe, including some that aren’t as safe and settled as others. With each expedition, insight has been gained about how other parts of the world operate. There are many more places on my wish list, though, so this courageous enterprise will never be fully achieved.

Dangerous Travel

Daredevil Days

The Sip Advisor can have a bit of a reckless spirit, doing crazy things like leaping off of high platforms (sometimes tethered to a bungee cord) into watery depths below. Some highlights have included jumping off the Auckland Bridge in New Zealand, swimming in the Devil’s Pool on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, and ziplining in multiple locales.

Conquering Anxiety

While it always remains in the background of my psyche, I can proudly say that I’ve conquered anxiety issues on three separate occasions in my life. For me, anxiety has largely been a fear of fear. It has been brought on by different circumstances and while each occurrence is tough, I have always worked through and made it out the other end stronger.

Daddy Daycare

Through my life, I haven’t really been around babies, meaning I’d never changed a diaper, fed a little one, and rarely even held a baby. So, taking the leap into fatherhood recently has certainly been an eye opener. It’s also been an awesome experience, despite the sleep deprivation, second guessing and unsolicited advice from all angles. I wouldn’t change a thing!

Mixer Mania #38: Hemingway Daquiri

Hemingway Daquiri.JPG

  • 2 oz White Rum
  • 0.25 oz Maraschino Liqueur
  • Top with Grapefruit Juice
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge and Maraschino Cherry

Perhaps one day I’ll be viewed in a similar vein to Sir Ranulph Fiennes, recognized as the bravest man in the world. If not, I’m still happy with my own accomplishments!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This drink is very good and has brought me around to the Grapefruit Juice bandwagon. I’m particularly impressed with the Maraschino Liqueur. Ernest Hemingway was onto something!

Mixer Mania #37 – Notably Negligent

Did you know that we have Ginger Beer to thank for the legal term of negligence. It all stems from the English 1932 case of Donoghue v. Stevenson, which resulted when Mrs. Donoghue drank a Ginger Beer that had been manufactured by Mr. Stevenson’s company. There happened to (allegedly) be a snail in the bottle, which caused Mrs. Donoghue to become sick. Mr. Stevenson was guilty due to negligence, which had previously not been used in legal matters. Here are some other infamous cases of legal negligence:

McDonald’s Coffee

Almost everyone out there knows of this lawsuit, which most point to as being ridiculous. After hearing the circumstances, though, many change their minds and can understand why the restaurant chain was punished as harshly as they were. When 80-year-old Stella Liebeck spilled a cup of java on her lap, causing third-degree burns, she asked for $800 to cover the treatments for her injuries. When McDonald’s balked, Liebeck sued and was awarded $2.7 million by a jury. Apparently, the franchise had received hundreds of complaints about the temperature of their coffee which was served much higher than other restaurants.

Coffee Caution Hot.jpg

Google Maps

In 2009, Lauren Rosenberg used Google Maps for a walking journey she needed to take and ended up getting hit by a car. The map service advised her to walk on a freeway void of sidewalks as part of her trip, resulting in the accident. Rosenberg sued Google (and the driver who hit her) for $100,000 to cover her medical bills. The case was eventually dismissed, as Google does have warnings about the reliability of their directions.

Los Angeles Dodgers

After a San Francisco Giants fan, Bryan Stow, was viciously beaten by two men, causing brain damage, Stow sued the Dodgers, alleging his attack was to be blamed on a lack of security presence at the opening day contest between the two teams. Stow was awarded $18 million, of which the Dodgers were found to be 25 per cent responsible, but still have to fork over $13.9 million to cover all of Stow’s medical bills and loss of earnings. Hostilities between Giants and Dodgers fans have existed for decades, even resulting in a couple murders.

Wendy’s Chili

In 2005, Anna Ayala of California sat down to a meal at a Wendy’s restaurant in San Jose. While eating, she claimed to have discovered a severed fingertip in her bowl of chili. She sued Wendy’s, however, Ayala had a checkered history of lawsuits against companies and it didn’t take long for investigators to poke holes in her story. Ayala was later arrested and charged with attempted grand larceny for the incident, which she pled guilty to and was sentenced to nine years in prison, serving four years. The finger belonged to a co-worker of Ayala’s husband. Wendy’s estimated their loss of revenue from the incident to be $21 million.

Mixer Mania #37: Bermuda Black

Bermuda Black

  • 2 oz Rum
  • 1.75 oz Stout or Porter Beer
  • Top with Ginger Beer
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with a Lime Wheel

What are some other famous negligence lawsuits that have been filed in this crazy world? Whether legit or not, the subject matter is often quite interesting and often divisive.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
I was really looking forward to making this drink and it did not disappoint. If you try it and the Ginger Beer content is too high, you can even the drink out with more of the Stout/Porter Beer and the results will be absolutely delicious.

Mixer Mania #36 – Risky Business

Taking a trip through your local grocery store, you may come across one of the oddest drink flavours: Dandelion and Burdock. That got me thinking about other weird or odd soda flavours and I found that some companies seem to specialize in this. Here are some of those companies and their eclectic lineups:

Jones Soda Company

Perhaps Jones Soda’s most bizarre release was Poutine. I mean, I love the Canadian cultural dish, but don’t think that drinking the essence of fries, gravy and cheese curds sounds very appealing. Other seasonal releases from the company target holidays, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas and include oddities like Turkey & Gravy, Mashed Potatoes & Butter, Brussels Sprouts with Prosciutto, Wild Herb Stuffing, Candy Cane, and Christmas Ham.

Jones Soda Holiday Packs

Lester’s Fixins

Bacon, Ranch Dressing, Buffalo Wings, and Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwiches. While these are some of my favourite things to have on my plate, I’m actually listing soda flavours from the Lester’s Fixins company. I’ve even used two of the products on previous Mixer Mania drink recipes this year. While the sodas weren’t bad, they are certainly novelty items and not repeat purchases. Perhaps they should have their soda making licence revoked.

Avery’s Beverages

In an divisive marketing ploy, Avery’s Beverages has released a line of sodas dubbed ‘Totally Gross Soda’ or ‘Sodasgusting’. While the intended flavours don’t sound too bad, the names alone will likely keep some customers from purchasing the drinks. Options include: Kitty Piddle (Orange-Pineapple), Dog Drool (Orange-Lemon), Bug Barf (Kiwi-Pineapple), Toxic Slime (Blue Raspberry-Orange), and Fungal Fruit (Passionfruit-Lime), among others.

Gross Gus’s

Again, we have some tantalizing flavours… if only you can get over the beverage’s name and imagery produced by it. Releases consist of Pimple Pop (Marshmallow), Dinosaur Dung (Chocolate), Bloody Nose (Cherry), Dragon Drool (Black Licorice), and Pirate Piss (Banana). Some have even recorded themselves trying to complete the Gross Gus’s challenge of drinking some of these products. All the power to them, if they succeeded.

Mixer Mania #36: Spiced Roots

Spiced Roots.JPG

  • ​2 oz Spiced Whiskey
  • Top with Dandelion & Burdock Soda
  • Garnish with a Cinnamon Stick

This list does not include Pepsi’s eye-popping limited edition releases in Japan, which include Salty Watermelon, Ice Cucumber, Pink (Strawberry Milk) and White (Yogurt). Only in Japan!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
There are actually a few cocktail recipes – although all are basic – offered by Fentiman’s, who produce the Dandelion and Burdock Soda. I settled with this drink, as I wanted to use my Spiced Whiskey. It was actually a pretty good combo with a unique flavour. I’d love to see some more complex recipes for the mixer.

Mixer Mania #35 – Blood and Guts

It has become common practice in North America to turn Bloody Mary (or Caesar) drinks into entire meals. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most epic orders out there:

Home Cooking

Located a short jaunt from the Sip Advisor headquarters in Vancouver is Score on Davie, which boasts a Caesar Madness menu with garnished Caesars ranging from $12-$20. Their crowning achievement, however, is the Checkmate, including “roasted chicken, Score burger, pulled pork sriracha glazed slider, onion rings, chicken wings, a pulled pork mac & cheese hotdog and a brownie for dessert”. If you and a few others want to shell out $60, you have a complete feast here.

For Your Comedic Pleasure

While not available at a restaurant (yet!), comedian Randy Liedtke set out to construct the most insane Bloody Mary in existence and mission complete. The monstrosity includes a personal pizza, onion rings, fried chicken, a sub sandwich, French fries, cheeseburgers, garlic bread and traditional garnishes. There’s even a second Bloody Mary hidden in the concoction, which becomes a Where’s Waldo-like exercise. Liedtke then attempted to consume his creation, which I can only guess ended not-so-favourably.

Crazy Bloody Mary.jpg

Wild & Crazy

Imagine being so skilled at creating massive Bloody Mary beverages that you’re able to start your own company doing so. That is the reality for Sarah Jayne Pickart of Wisconsin, whose viral creations led to her establishing the catering company, Wild & Crazy Gourmet Bloody Marys. Among her most popular concepts is the Surf & Turf Supreme, including bacon-wrapped lobster, various sliders, pork loin lollipops, stuffed potatoes, Brussels sprouts, bacon, mussels, crab legs, calamari rings, shrimp, coleslaw, tuna salad, cheesecake, cheese curds, cheese whips, and veggies… something had to be healthy.

Beastly Dining

Staying in Wisconsin (where else would such gluttonous concoctions be dreamt up!?), we visit Sobelman’s Pub & Grill, which has five location throughout the state. The chain offers an entire Bloody Mary menu, highlighted by The Beast ($45), which contains Brussels sprouts, fruit and vegetables, shrimp, sausage, cheese, sliders, and the coup de grâce, bacon-wrapped cheese balls. Should that not be enough, you can get The Bloody Beast, complete with a whole fried chicken for only $5 more.

The Most Important Meal

At the Train Wreck Bar & Grill in Burlington, Washington, this is one Bloody Mary meal that the Sip Advisor (along with Ma Sip) has actually endured. Served atop of the Breakfast Bloody Mary is breakfast sandwiches, meatballs, bacon-wrapped potatoes, and typical trimmings, such as meats and vegetables. The restaurant is a favourite stop for Ma and Pa Sip whenever they are in the area and while I’ve only been this one time, it was a fantastic way to start the day.

Mixer Mania #35: Red Death

Red Death.JPG

  • 1.5 oz Scotch
  • Top with Tomato Juice
  • Dash of Worcestershire Sauce
  • Dash of Salt
  • Dash of Pepper
  • Dash of Salsa
  • Garnish with a Meat Spear

Writing this article now has me very hungry. I hope I haven’t caused the same pangs for all you little sippers out there!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
How can you do an entire article on Bloody Mary drinks and not feature one as your own cocktail, you ask? Well, I’ve already profiled the Bloody Mary long ago and I really don’t like the drink. I’m a Caesar man through and through. That said, this beverage does contain many elements of the Bloody Mary and was good. My garnish wasn’t as wacky as the beverages above, but still looked neat.

Mixer Mania #34 – Wondrous Watermelon

Up until recently, I didn’t realize Watermelon Soda was part of the Crush pop line or even existed. Given I love watermelon, this was a very happy discovery and I instantly grabbed a bottle. Much like this watermelon-based soft drink seemed mythical, let’s take a look at some legends meant to explain the existence of watermelons:

Making Papa Proud

Our first origin story comes from Vietnam, where a young prince angered his father, the king, and was banished to a deserted island. There, he found a fruit that he feared was poisonous and only consumed when all other options were gone. The fruit was tasty and extinguished his thirst. The prince then cultivated the fruit, which spread across the island. He also sent some of the fruit drifting into the sea, with his name and the island’s name carved into them. This brought others to the island, in search of the fruit. The king learned of his son’s achievements and invited him home, crowning him the next king.

Cat Watermelon

Slithering Save

Moving on to Armenia, this tale begins with a king’s servants cutting a snake’s horns off, in order to save it. As a thank you, the snake left a seed at the palace. From the seed, grew a new fruit, which was offered to an ailing old man, saving his life. The king tried the fruit next and felt invigorated. Thus, Armenians called watermelon “Not-Die”, once upon a time. I’m conflicted on this legend. On one hand, I don’t think I would ever be inclined to save a snake, but would rather chop its head off. On the other hand, the servants heroic efforts resulted in the creation of watermelon, so can I really fault them?

Passion of the Priest

We’ll wrap things up with a journey to the Philippines, where a Spanish priest was working hard to convert folks to Catholicism. One particular area was resistant to the priest’s teachings about Christ and his sacrifices. The ruler of this region eventually detained the priest and punished him according to his lessons, crucifying him on a cross. The priest succumbed to this treatment and his blood flowed into the ground below. When the ruler later returned to the cross, the priest had disappeared and in his place, a fruit had grown, its innards resembling the blood of the priest. And that’s how people get converted!

Mixer Mania #34: Nice Melons

Nice Melons.JPG

  • 2 oz Rum
  • Top with Watermelon Soda
  • Splash of Peach Juice
  • Dash of Lime/Lemon Juice
  • Garnish with Lime Wedge

There is also a legend of vampire watermelons (and pumpkins), but I’ll let you look into that yourselves…

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
For this recipe, I’ve subbed Watermelon Soda and Peach Juice in place of Watermelon and Peach Pieces, respectively. I also used the last of my Bear Hug Mango Rum to up the melon content and the result was very, very good. It may be a little sweet, but that can be evened out by Club Soda. The Watermelon Soda is nice on its own, reminding me of a 7-11 Slurpee.

Mixer Mania #32 – Site Songs

When working with strawberries, the Beatles tune Strawberry Fields Forever will often pop into my mind, earworm style. With this week’s feature mixer being Strawberry Juice, I thought it would be a perfect time to look at some songs about places (more specific than a city or state) you can actually visit:

Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields Forever – The Beatles

The world’s most famous band (my opinion, of course) had a couple of hits about real places around their hometown of Liverpool. These include Penny Lane and the aforementioned Strawberry Fields Forever. When the Sip Family visited Liverpool in 2007, we took a tour that stopped at these locations, as well as the grave of Eleanor Rigby, featured in the song A Day in the Life, and rumoured to be where John Lennon and Paul McCartney first met.

Strawberry Fields

Folsom Prison Blues – Johnny Cash

Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues made the Folsom State Prison a part of pop culture. Later, Cash would perform twice at the venue, calling the inmates who watched his shows, “the most enthusiastic audience I have ever played to.” Notable prisoners of the 137-year-old jail, include musician Rick James, actor Danny Trejo and notable psychopath Charles Manson. That said, I doubt the prison is any kind of attraction, unless you’re a serious Johnny Cash fan.

Electric Avenue – Eddy Grant

While sounding upbeat, this Eddy Grant song is actually about a riot that took place on the south London street in 1981. The riot started due to recession tensions, which were felt particularly by the area’s African-Caribbean community. When we first moved in together, Mrs. Sip and I almost rented an apartment in a building called Electric Avenue. You better believe this song would have been going through my head every time I walked through the front doors.

Electric Avenue

Portobello Road – Bedknobs and Broomsticks

Portabello Road, located in the Notting Hill area of London, was featured in song in this 1971 Disney musical film. The track highlights the road’s market and those who inhabit it. Mrs. Sip’s love of Disney resulted in us venturing to the area on one of our trips to London. Sadly, there wasn’t much of a market running when we visited, perhaps due to the inclement weather we had to contend with. Despite this, I still allow Mrs. Sip a lot of control over our touring plans.

Baker Street – Gerry Rafferty

This song is most memorable for the amazing saxophone pieces, which apparently increased sales in the instrument, following the track’s release. Baker Street, of course, refers to the London road, whose most famous resident is the fictional Sherlock Holmes. Rafferty’s song, however, was about feelings of alienation and isolation. On most of my visits to London, I’ve ended up in the area, for a quick picture or two outside 221B Baker Street.

Mixer Mania #32: Valentini Martini

Valentini Martini.JPG

  • Rim glass with Strawberry Jam
  • 2 oz Vodka
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • Top with Strawberry Juice

It’s amazing how most of these songs highlight areas of England and finding other such examples was very difficult to do. Oh well, time to rock down to Electric Avenue (you know, after the eight-plus hour flight to the UK and pain getting through immigration and all!).

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
I couldn’t find any straight up Strawberry Juices, so I went with Strawberry-Kiwi. To enhance the berry flavour, I used Raspberry Vodka and rimmed the glass with Strawberry Jam. The results were decent, but nothing spectacular.

Mixer Mania #31 – Hard as they Come

Don’t get me wrong… I’ve been a root beer fan for many years, but I still can’t fully fathom why hard root beer has taken North America by storm. I mean, if I have the choice between a hard root beer and any craft beer, I’m reaching for the craft suds. With the fad in mind, let’s look at some of the hardest things out there, some real and some fictional:

Samoan Wrestler’s Heads

It’s long been a running joke in professional wrestling that a Samoan grappler’s head is virtually indestructible. For example, when an opponent would attempt a head butt, they would be the one to experience injury, while the Samoan would feel no effect, often laughing off the feeble attack.

Diamonds

That pretty little thing you’ve placed on your partner’s hand is actually one of the hardest substances known to man. Doesn’t seem so elegant anymore, does it!? Mrs. Sip has advised me that I should be shopping for another… better get on that.

Jawbreaker

Sometimes I don’t understand why this candy exists, given its unpleasant nature of causing dental damage for little to no enjoyment. A Gobstopper is okay because they breakdown easily enough, but those massive jawbreakers are simply a dentist’s dream.

Adamantium

Thought to be virtually indestructible, Adamantium is the element that has been fused to mutant Logan’s skeletal structure, turning him into a super weapon, code name: Wolverine. The painful procedure also caused Logan to become amnesic and forget his past.

Adamantium

Feminum

Sticking with indestructible super hero alloys, we have Feminum, used to forge Wonder Woman’s bracelets. This material can only be found on Paradise Island, home to Wonder Woman (aka Princess Diana) and her fellow Amazonians.

Anvil

Is there a better weapon in animated comedy than the anvil? Whether dropped by one of the Animaniacs or in a botched fashion by the lovable Wile E. Coyote, it can do some serious damage. You know, the type that causes chirping birdies or flashing stars to circle your noggin’.

Mixer Mania #31: Amber’s Revenge

Amber's Revenge.JPG

  • 1 oz Scotch
  • 0.5 oz Rum
  • 0.5 oz Tequila
  • Top with Root Beer
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

The whole hard root beer craze reminds me of a story my dad has told of a German relative trying root beer while visiting Canada and practically spitting out the soda upon discovering his beverage was far from the ales he was accustomed to back in Germany.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I’m not sure who Amber is/was, but she must have been pretty pissed off, as I had to quarter each of the liquor ingredients to make the cocktail palatable. Not many drinks include Scotch, which is a slight shame because it works really well here and probably in other recipes.