Sip Trips #103: Babymooning (Part 1)

Back in 2012, Mrs. Sip and I celebrated our honeymoon with a cruise through the Panama Canal. Nearly five years later and with a little girl on the way, we decided to take our babymoon from Rome to Dubai – through the Suez Canal – aboard another luxury liner. Here’s part one of that expedition:

Our first stop of the journey was Rome, Italy, a favourite city for both Mrs. Sip and myself. Friends from London joined us for this portion of the vacation and after some sightseeing, we journeyed to the 404 Name Not Found bar, which one of our companions had researched. There, complex cocktails (and a mocktail for Mrs. Sip) awaited us. Always a fan of spicy drinks, I tried the 666, complete with Jalapeno-infused Tequila, Cointreau, Lime Juice and Honey.

The next morning, I was able to cross an item off my drinking bucket list, when I enjoyed my first ever McBeer (Beera Moretti Baffo D’oro) at the McDonald’s just outside the walls of the Vatican City. Despite beer being available at a McDonald’s stop or two prior, this was the first time I’ve imbibed in the option and it was a great experience with my set of famous hamburgers.

McBeers

Later that day, we were off to board our ship at the Civitavecchia Port, over an hour outside Rome. After checking in, we arrived at our room (which had been upgraded from a balcony to a mini suite) and were promptly given glasses of sail away bubbly. It was a very nice start to our two-week journey aboard the Majestic Princess.

Mrs. Sip surprised me with bottles of Bacardi Rum, Skyy Vodka and Gordon’s Gin to go along with the two bottles of wine I had just grabbed at the Termini train station. I also brought a handful of Grey Goose mini bottles, so giving I was drinking solo, I was quite set for the voyage. I never buy the all-inclusive pop package available on the cruise, so having mixers for my booze can be challenging, but I’ve picked up some tricks along the way. I did purchase a soda set, which provided me with six cans of pop, while also taking advantage of free orange juice for breakfast and lemonade throughout the day. This allowed me to create an array of drinks, enhanced by some clever fruit pick-ups at the buffet.

Our first stop of the cruise docked in Naples, Italy. Our excursion for the day would take us to the island of Capri, where I got to do a little Limoncello tasting, followed by lunch in Sorrento (where I chugged back close to a bottle of house wine) and finishing with a tour of the historic Pompeii.

Pompeii Stoned

Our next port of call was in Athens. Mrs. Sip and I elected to take a hop-on, hop-off bus into the city, where we visited the 360 Cocktail Bar. With views of the legendary Acropolis from the bar’s rooftop patio, I sat back and enjoyed servings of their Heat Wave (Russian Standard Vodka, Mezcal, Jalapeno Chillies, Oregano, Herbs, Agave, Lime) and The Journey of Chivalry (Chivas Regal 12-year, Noilly Prat Vermouth, Cashews, Smoked Salt, Coconut Water) cocktails. I had also tried to order the Summer Loading (Bacardi White Rum, Watermelon, Orgeat, Lime, Three Cents Agean Tonic), but sadly it was not available.

As we continued to explore the area, we popped into a store where I purchased a bomber-sized bottle of Alfa Weiss Beer and cans of Fanta Strawberry-Kiwi and Tuborg Orange-Cinnamon Soda to add to my mixer collection. The greatest treat came as we returned to the port. There was a duty-free shop in the terminal and after confirming purchases wouldn’t be taken away, as there was no security check to go through boarding the ship, I popped back into the store before we set sail to snag a half-liter bottle of Jim Beam Bourbon.

Our stop the next day on the Greek island of Santorini was one I was greatly looking forward to. We had visited for a week 10 years prior and it became one of my favourite places I’ve ever been to. Sadly, this trip wasn’t nearly as good, as the tiny island was hosting three different ships and was overrun. To salvage the day, Mrs. Sip and I sat down in a tiny bar in the capital city of Fira, where I had an Alfa Beer and enjoyed the sights. Then we travelled down 700 steps to the port, dodging donkeys and their droppings along the way.

That wraps up part one of our expedition. Join us tomorrow for the second half of an amazing holiday.

Beer of the Week #21 – Lighthouse 150 Heritage Ale

In the lead up to Canada’s 150th birthday bash, a number of companies have released products to coincide with the celebration. Add Lighthouse Brewing to that group with this special release.

Their 150 Heritage Ale recently hit store shelves. The 6.3% ABV, 14 IBUs beverage is highlighted by flavours of maple, smoke and rye malt. These elements represent Canada, oil lamps and colour, respectively.

Lighthouse 150 Heritage Ale

Part of the brewery’s Explorer Series, the Heritage Ale can be found in bomber-sized bottles at BC Liquor Stores, as well as private retailers. The limited edition brew won’t be around long, though.

The product is also meant to salute all those, past and present, who have watched Canada’s shores in lighthouses. As the country’s “keepers”, the brewery tips their caps to these fine folks.

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Mixer Mania #21 – The Thirst Quencher

Today’s feature mixer is Gatorade, which may be best known for its use in pro sports. The drink isn’t only meant for consumption, though, and has become a part of team celebrations. Here are some interesting facts about the Gatorade Shower:

A Ritual is Born

This odd sports tradition was started innocently enough when Jim Burt of the New York Giants drenched head coach Bill Parcells with a cooler of the drink following the team’s victory over the Washington Redskins on October 28, 1984. Apparently, the shower was the result of Burt feeling he was mistreated by Parcells during the previous week. The following season, Parcells was cascaded with Gatorade 17 times, en route to the 1986 Super Bowl Championship.

Gatorade with Gators

Giving Credit

The practice of the Gatorade Shower is often mistakenly credited to Dan Hampton of the Chicago Bears, probably because he claims to have invented the exercise. Unfortunately for Hampton, his first recorded washing of coach Mike Ditka occurred about a month after the Burt-Parcells occasion.

Jumping Leagues

Doc Rivers of the Boston Celtics was reportedly the first NBA coach to receive a Gatorade shower, following the team’s 2008 NBA Championship. I can only imagine the hazard this created on the hardwood surface of the basketball court.

Odds Maker

One of the bets people can put their money on during the Super Bowl has to do with what colour the Gatorade will be when it’s splashed onto the winning coach. Even the curmudgeonly Bill Belichick has received colourful sports drink drenchings in the past.

Gatorade Commercial

Killer

Would you believe that the custom has actually contributed to a death? At the age of 68, Pro Football Hall of Fame coach George Allen was dunked by his Long Beach State players and weeks later died of pneumonia. Sure, there could have been other contributing factors, but one has to wonder if the icy beverage simply claimed its first victim.

Too Soon

In 2002, Kentucky coach Guy Morriss was doused by his team with mere seconds remaining on the score clock. Unfortunately, this occurred as their opponents, Louisiana State, threw a Hail Mary pass that after pinballing around a little, was hauled in for a touchdown and an LSU 33-30 victory. The incident is known as the Bluegrass Miracle.

Things to Come

One could argue that the Gatorade Shower was a precursor to the Ice Bucket Challenge, which had folks dousing themselves with buckets of icy water during the summer of 2014, hoping to raise money for ALS research. I still wish I’d had the chance to nominate Mrs. Sip for a dunking.

Mixer Mania #21: Southern Rain

Southern Rain.JPG

  • 1.5 oz Southern Comfort
  • Top with Gatorade
  • Garnish with a Strawberry

Despite the Sip Advisor’s massive popularity, it looks like my skills don’t translate to any team sports and therefore I’ll likely never be on the receiving end of a Gatorade Shower. I can still dream, though!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
I picked up this variation of Gatorade (Summit Storm) because the colour was so unique. Unfortunately, that didn’t translate to this cocktail and may work better with clear spirits. As for taste, the Gatorade is light, but works well with the Southern Comfort.

Snack Time #20 – Imperial Nuts Sweet & Savory Bar Mix

Ma Sip found this Imperial Nuts snack mix in recent times and I can’t help but grab a handful or two every time I’m over for a visit. After all, the Sip Advisor is a massive trail mix fan.

The Sweet & Savory Bar Mix is very good… delicious even. Featuring Honey Roasted Peanuts, Pretzels, Smoked Almonds, Toffee Peanuts and Spicy Peanuts, what more could you ask for?

Imperial Nuts Sweet & Savory Bar Mix

The 1.28kg tub will keep you and your guests well fed for hours. As the canister advertises: “Plenty to share” and “Great for snacking”. I couldn’t have put things better myself.

While the mix is available at a number of different outlets, for Canadians, Ma Sip located the product at the Real Canadian Superstore chain. And I’m so very glad she did!

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Beer of the Week #20 – Bridge Bourbon Blood Orange Wheat Ale

If you’re looking to “enjoy the deep south way up north”, then this Bridge Brewing release may be the perfect fit for you. I remember when I first saw it on menus a couple years ago, I had to order a few pints and satisfy my curiosity.

The Bourbon Blood Orange Wheat Ale is a good beer that can be enjoyed year round, but is especially perfect on a hot summer day. The 5.5% ABV, 20 IBUs beverage combines many of the Sip Advisor’s favourite alcohol elements, including bourbon, wheat beers, and fruit.

Bridge Bourbon Blood Orange Wheat Ale

Originally brewed solely for Tap & Barrel locations, the beer has grown from a seasonal release to being part of Bridge’s year round lineup. Given its popularity and availability, I’m surprised I didn’t get around to profiling it during last year’s BC Beer Baron project.

The product can be found in bomber-sized bottles and tall cans. I also recently spotted it in a variety six-pack from Bridge, which included two bottles each of the Bourbon Blood Orange, North Shore Pale Ale and Hopilano IPA.

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Mixer Mania #20 – Measure of Success

Did you know that olives (the juice form being today’s feature mixer) were once used as a unit of measurement? A “k’zayit”, which translates to “like an olive” was used to estimate amounts of Jewish ceremonial foods, including challah, matzah and wine. Let’s take a look at some other odd units of measurement:

Wheaton

Based off of actor Wil Wheaton, this unit of measurement takes into account a person’s number of Twitter followers. A Wheaton is described as 500,000 followers, making a milliwheaton equivalent to 500 followers. Please take the time to follow the Sip Advisor on Twitter, so I can reach milliwheaton heights.

Sagan

As a tribute, scientist Carl Sagan’s catchphrase “billions and billions” was turned into a unit of measurement for quantity. A Sagan can now be used to describe a large quantity of anything. For example, the Sip Advisor has consumed a Sagan amount of potato chips in his lifetime.

carl-sagan

Warhol

Artist Andy Warhol once famously said (I’m paraphrasing here) that every person will famous for 15 minutes. As a result, his name has been associated with the measurement of fame. Some folks out there who have achieved kilowarhol and megawarhol status, still haven’t left the world with anything tangible… you know, your Kardashians, et al.

Waffle House Index

This measurement is used by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to calculate the effect of a storm and its following recovery efforts. It’s based on the Waffle House restaurant chain’s reputation of staying open during the worst of weather, serving up breakfast, while others are afraid to step outside.

Hobo Power

Coined by radio personality Adam Carolla, this unit can be used to describe an offending odor. It is based on a scale of 1-100, with 50 hobopower leading a person to become physically ill, while 100 hobopower results in death. Of course, this is all theoretical.

homeless

MegaFonzie

We can thank Futurama for this unit, which measures one’s coolness. Developed by Professor Farnsworth, and using Happy Days character Arthur ‘The Fonz’ Fonzarelli as a reference point, I once took the test and came away disappointed with a rare negative rating. Ay!

Helen

Unfortunately, this is another measurement where the Sip Advisor doesn’t show well. Mrs. Sip on the other hand ranks highly when associated with Helen of Troy, who is said to have had “the face that launched a thousand ships”. Therefore, a millihelen can be used to describe the beauty it takes to launch a single ship, while any negative helen (Sip Advisor territory) causes ships to be beached.

Mixer Mania #20: Crotch Kicker

Crotch Kicker.JPG

  • Rim glass with Salt
  • 1 oz Tequila
  • Top with Sweet and Sour Mix
  • Splash of Lemon-Lime Soda
  • Dash of Olive Juice
  • Garnish with Olives

There is also a Big Mac Index in existence, but it actually sounds kind of legitimate and recognized, so I’m not touching that one. My personal Big Mac Index is calculated as one sandwich per every second visit to the chain.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.25 Sips out of 5):
I haven’t done much experimenting with Olive Juice, aside from the Dirty Martini. I thought this cocktail was decent, with a fair mix of sweet and sour tastes. I didn’t notice the Olive Juice very much and that may have been all for the best.

Snack Time #19 – Anthon Berg Chocolate Liqueurs Gift Box

Mrs. Sip and I were recently gifted this Anthon Berg Chocolate Liqueurs Gift Box. The 64-piece set includes bottles from Sauza Tequila, Jim Beam Bourbon, Cointreau Orange Liqueur, Canadian Club Whiskey, Galliano Vanilla Liqueur, Danzka Vodka, Borghetti Caffe Liqueur, and Remy Martin Cognac.

Despite not being a big dark chocolate fan, I do like these in small doses at one or two at a time. My favourites of the bunch seem to be the liqueur-flavoured options, while there aren’t any I dislike.

Anthon Berg Chocolate Liqueurs Gift Box

The collection is sold in many different formats, so the treats can be sampled at varying price points. I know Walmart (at least in Canada) often sells a set around Christmas that is reasonably priced and I believe contains 16 pieces.

Anthon Berg also has a Chocolate Cocktails line, which I’d be interested in trying. Drinks include the Cosmopolitan, Margarita, Mojito, and Strawberry Daiquiri.

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