Sip Trips #2 – Best of 2014

Well, Mrs. Sip and I didn’t get up to too much this last week in the booze realm, including a rare well-behaved weekend. We did make time to enjoy a couple craft beers, including Unibroue’s La Resolution and Wychwood’s Bah Humbug. This does give me the opportunity to finally publish my Best of 2014 Drinking Nights article. Some of the memories are fuzzy, but they made for an amazing year. Since all drinking days/nights are wonderful, I will not be ranking these… they will merely be listed in order of occurrence!

#1: Dominican Republic

Sadly, I got sick a couple days after arriving in the Dominican, but the first two nights of all-inclusive partying for Mrs. Sip’s 30th birthday were tropical bliss!

#2: New York

Bourbon followed by as true a cab ride as you can have in New York. Our buzz was killed a little by a snafu with picking up our City Pass tickets, but that was merely a bump in the road on an otherwise awesome first visit to the Big Apple.

#3: Portland Beer & Wine Fest

One of the best booze events I’ve ever attended and we were even the happy recipients of a pile of free tokens. When we returned to our hotel, I ended up triple fisting a few drinks to take advantage of the complimentary happy hour and the party just kept going. Late at night, I was the sole survivor, heading out to pick the family up some Voodoo Doughnuts for the morning!

Portland Guide

#4: Edmonton Airport

One would normally think that being stuck in Edmonton for six hours would be tragic. But the city’s airport – or at least their International Terminal – has one of best selection of bars I’ve ever seen. We made a point of turning our layover into a pub crawl, which certainly helped with falling asleep on the plane from Edmonton to Reykjavik, Iceland!

#5: Hamburg Garden Party

While visiting Hamburg, Germany, a garden party provided the setting for a family reunion. The craft beers Mrs. Sip and I brought with us from Vancouver helped loosen everybody up and the well-stocked party (highlighted by a bottle of Jack Daniels that I made sweet love to) kept the festivities rocking through the night. A torrential downpour of rain couldn’t stop our revelry!

#6: Self-Guided Vancouver Brewery Tour Weekend

Ever the adventurers, Mrs. Sip and I decided to take ourselves on a tour of Vancouver’s best bars and breweries, with stops at the Alibi Room, Postmark Brewery/Urban Winery, Brandywine Bartending School, 33 Acres Brewery, and Brassneck Brewery. Our typical good fortune was emphasized when we arrived at 33 Acres Brewery just in time for their first anniversary party!

#7: Made with Love

While I have some reservations about liquor events, I have nothing but love for Made with Love. Mrs. Sip and I bought tickets to this all-inclusive craft cocktail competition, in part because it fell on our 2nd wedding anniversary and seemed like a wonderful way to celebrate the occasion… oh, how right we were!

Bartender Juice

#8: Las Vegas Strip Drinking

Given that entire trips to Las Vegas are booze-fueled, it’s hard to narrow down any one day to highlight, but this one does stick out in my memory. It all started with an innocent game of Battle Shots at the PBR Rock Bar and then featured Hyde Lounge, gambling wins, Cirque du Soleil: Zumanity, dueling pianos at New York, New York, and a host of things I probably can’t remember.

#9: Surprise Birthday

Imagine my surprise when we showed up for what was supposed to be a friend’s birthday brunch and it turned out that the whole thing was meant for little ol’ me! I wish someone had captured the look on my face when the realization set in. Mrs. Sip always seems to find a way to outdo herself!

#10: Birthday Cruise Embarkation

Before the ship even set sail, we were all pretty loose (the bucket of beers, bottle of wine, and cocktails may have helped with that!), which made for a very fun muster drill. I can say with complete conviction that I’ve had worse! 😉

#11: Dave & Busters

I absolutely love this place, having visited three different locations (Honolulu, New York, Anaheim) in the last year and a half. It’s so much fun to play all the games while having a full-service bar at your disposal. Of course, the day started with Disneyland drinking, before we moved on to the fun and games at D&B’s.

GIFSec.com

#12: Bellingham Visit

All I can say is thank god we had a driver (Pa Sip), because I was pretty fuzzy after our tasting at Boundary Bay Brewery and it certainly made for some interesting shopping.

#13: Canucks game in Anaheim

When your day begins with an upscale bar (Disneyland’s Carthay Lounge) and ends with a fun sports bar in JT Schmid’s, everything else in the middle must be pretty good. In between, was a day of drinking at the “Happiest Place on Earth,” including California beers, wine tasting, thrill rides, and even animation tutorials!

#14: Hawaii

To celebrate Ma Sip’s birthday, we began at the Kona Brewery for tour and tasters. Next up, was Huggo’s on the Beach, where happy hour was in full swing and we were only too happy to join!

Some honourable mentions include an earlier trip to Portland for some beer tourism; traversing the Hamburg Reeperbahn; and surviving the wild Marrakesh market square. After all, it’s always fun drinking in a country that discourages alcohol consumption and I make it a point of every voyage to foreign lands!

January 4 – Lemon Drop

Around the Bend

Today marks a new beginning for the Super Saturday Shot Day page. After much pestering, I promised Mrs. Sip that each Shot Day post would include rankings rather than just lists. She thinks this will engage the reader more and we have a little bet running on that. Let’s see if I’ll end up owing her a Coke (her least favourite beverage!). Anyway, here are the top five things to look forward to in 2014, according to the Sip Advisor!

#5: Box Office Smash

2014 will see the release of a myriad of highly-anticipated films. Among the ones I’m looking forward to seeing are: X-Men: Days of Future Past; Dumb and Dumber To; How to Train Your Dragon 2; and The LEGO Movie. Sure, there are others that may eventually catch my attention, but there are also others I have no intention of checking out, such as Robo Cop (I was never a fan of the franchise) and Godzilla (I never got the appeal of all these monsters).

dumb-and-dumber

#4: Small Screen Gems

The TV schedule gets a boost of rejuvenation with the return of some great series early in the New Year. Archer, Community (premiered two days ago), and Sherlock all return within the first couple weeks of 2014, proving that shows with a one-word title are most appreciated. Add in all the other programming coming off their Christmas hiatus and your DVR player better have a ton of free space available.

#3: Blog-O-Sphere

I’m really looking forward to the new Sip Advisor project I’m starting on Jan. 6, as we traverse the globe and learn about a different nation’s top imports and celebrated alcohol each week. It will give me a great opportunity to delve into the collection of spirits I’ve built from around the world and share with all you little sippers a more international flavour than ever before.

Drinking Around the World

#2: Travel Tips

It looks like Mrs. Sip and I already have some crazy travel plans on the horizon, including tentative vacations to New York, the Dominican Republic, Iceland, Germany, and the U.K. already in the pipeline. On top of that, we’re sure to end up in Disneyland and Las Vegas at some point, as we do every year. With each journey, I’ll be checking out unique libations and visiting fine establishments all in the name a liquor education… can I claim a tax refund on that!?

#1: Milestones

Speaking of Mrs. Sip, the gorgeous goddess will celebrate her 30th birthday this year and you better believe we’ll be partying in style. 2014 will also see us enjoy our 12th dating anniversary and 2nd wedding anniversary. As for this natural wonder of a website, we’re rapidly approaching our 50,000th view. Sadly, I won’t be able to know exactly who that person is and award them a lifetime supply of free blog articles!

Super Saturday Shot Day: Lemon Drop

Lemon Drop Shooter

  • 0.75 oz Vodka (I used Smirnoff Blueberry)
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • 1 Sugar Cube
  • Garnish with a Lemon Wedge

What are you looking forward to in 2014? Perhaps you’ll give me other ideas of what I should be keeping an eye on in the next calendar year!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I can’t believe it took so long to get around to doing this shot, but it’s a great way to ring in 2014. The shooter is simple and delicious. You could probably achieve different tastes depending on which Vodka you choose to use. I thought the Smirnoff Blueberry and Lemon Juice blended together quite well. I left the Sugar Cube to dissolve on it’s own, rather than stir it into the recipe.

October 3 – Waikiki Wave

Aloha

As many of you little sippers know, I recently celebrated my 30th birthday in Hawaii! While there, I did what the Sip Advisor does best: got smashed all around the island, leaving a path of destruction not seen since the attack on Pearl Harbor… too soon!? Here is an account of my misadventures and some great spots to hit if you are ever in Honolulu:

Birthday Crawl and 30-Drink Challenge

Mrs. Sip and I arrived on the beautiful island shortly before the clock turned over to my birthday. At exactly midnight, I sipped my first drink and was promptly challenged to down 30 libations before the day was done. I had six down the hatch before going to bed and awoke to a shot around 8am. After picking up friends at the airport, the birthday pub crawl was off and running. Over the rest of the day, we hit Jimmy Buffett’s, LuLu’s, Tiki’s, Rum Fire, and The Yardhouse, where I destroyed a half-yard of brew for my 30-in-30!

30th Birthday

Happy Hours and Mai-Tais

Hawaii, perhaps more so than any other place in the world, is famous for their midday and late night happy hours. You can bet that we took advantage of as many as possible, despite the collection of bottles we had waiting for us in our apartment. A must-have drink while vacationing on any of the Hawaiian Islands is the Mai-Tai. The Mai-Tai is among Mrs. Sip’s all-time favourite offerings, while I enjoyed a couple at Chuck’s Steak House (which is owned by Duke’s, another not to be missed dinner spot with a phenomenal salad bar located at the Outrigger hotel). They even came in tiki-head shaped glasses!

Yardhouse Options

While we enjoyed many locations, our group’s favourite hangout was probably The Yardhouse, which we visited nearly every day. Thankfully, I’ve learned this chain exists near enough to me that I will get to visit again soon. The food was great and the drinks even better. They have countless offerings on tap (definitely something for everyone) and I made sure to try nearly every wheat or white beer they had in stock. Food was also pretty good with boneless chicken wings and half priced happy hour pizzas!

Dave and Busters

In a previous article, I outlined some restaurants that I wanted to visit. One of those was Dave and Busters, which I learned only days before our vacation had a location in Hawaii. When Mrs. Sip and I stumbled upon the outlet, we made sure to enjoy some food (delicious pretzel dogs), copious amounts of beer (a shuttle of 100 ounces) and their midway games! We had a wonderful time, highlighted by a four-way air hockey contest, yours truly defeating Mrs. Sip on a massive Connect 4 game, and also scoring the only 5/5 on the trivia challenge!

Dave and Busters

Top of Waikiki

This top-rated bar was a wonderful retreat from Waikiki’s bustling streets. As we rotated around the bar, it was fun to check out the restaurant’s liquor collection and indulge in a few delicious cocktails. Our bartender, Kory, was second only to your very own Sip Advisor and catered to our every whim. It was here (as well as at Rum Fire) that I learned how much I enjoy and appreciate drinks with a little heat, whether through hot sauces or being mixed with peppers.  My favourite recipe was the Naughty or Nice, which combined rum, strawberry puree, mint, soda, and Serrano peppers.

Beach Time

While I’m not a huge fan of going to the beach (the poor man’s pool, as I call it), we did spend a number of afternoon hours soaking up the sun and getting filthy in the ocean and sand. A highlight, was making our own midnight pizza and taking it out onto one of the beach piers (along with some liquid sunshine) and enjoying the waves crashing against our bare feet as we ate, drank and pondered.

Boozy Ending

Mrs. Sip and I spent our last night in paradise kicking back and relaxing (not to mention polishing off every last bit of alcohol in our place). The only thing I like about coming home from vacation is introducing the liquor we purchase (our babies) to their new abode. On this trip, Mrs. Sip and I picked up bottles of Macadamia Nut Liqueur, Rock Coconut Rum, Apple Pie Moonshine, Malibu Red, and some mini bottles of various flavours to be featured soon!

Drink #276: Waikiki Wave (A Sip Advisor Original Recipe)

Waikiki Wave Drink Recipe

  • 1.5 oz Spiced Rum (I used Bacardi Oakheart)
  • Top with POG (Passion-Orange-Guava) Juice
  • Splash of Ginger Ale
  • Garnish with Hawaii Cookie and Macadamia Nuts

I’d say the only area that Hawaii drinking needs improvement is that you can’t drink on the street and beach. If the island could remedy this and become a little more like Las Vegas in their public alcohol consumption laws, that would be amazing. Especially with all the ABC stores, I just wanted to grab a beer, crack it and walk a block to the next outlet!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
This was an okay drink, but I think my Ginger Ale had gone a little flat and wasn’t the awesome ingredient it usually is. All the garnishes were certainly fun to eat after the drink was consumed and the munchies had truly kicked in!