Mixer Mania #42 – Advent Amazement

Mrs. Sip has long been a tea drinker. The last couple years, she received tea advent calendars, which previously I didn’t know existed. With Christmas right around the corner, I thought it would be a good time to look at other advent calendars that differ from your typical chocolate ones:

Make-Up/Beauty

There are numerous cosmetic advent calendars on the market. Every company you can think of seems to have put a collection together, with varying prices. Some focus on nails, others on the face. Beauty has never really been a concern for the Sip Advisor, as you can’t improve on perfection.

Cheese

The world’s first cheese advent calendar hit store shelves this year, after a blogger created her own in 2016 and the concept went viral. For only 8-pounds, fromage-aholics can find this product at ASDA stores across the UK. Not sure if similar products can be found in other countries.

Cheese Emergency

Jewellery/Charm Bracelet

Ma Sip loves her charm bracelets. So, when I came across an advent calendar version, which gave you the bracelet and then 24 holiday-themed charms over the Christmas season, I was thrilled… and Ma Sip was even more so.

Fly Fishing

A tackle box already kind of looks like an advent calendar, so why not release one for the Christmas season, with a lure for each day. One issue here, is that you’re not likely to head out each day of the calendar for a fishing expedition and to try your new treat.

Cookbook

While I like the concept of this advent calendar, you’re basically saying to the person you give this to: “Hey, why don’t you make me something different every day, through on of the busiest times of the year?” I don’t see that flying at the Sip Advisor headquarters.

Toys

For kids and kidults alike, come advent calendars from Play-Doh, Lego and Playmobil. Parents will just have to be vigilant that the toys aren’t consumed like traditional chocolates.

Eating Play-Doh

Craft Beer

While craft beer advent calendars can be found in most liquor stores, I’ll never forget Mrs. Sip personally making me one, comprised of 24 bomber bottles. Pulling it all together at the last minute – as she’s prone to do – the poor girl had to carry heavy boxes all around Vancouver. Her efforts paid off nicely, though!

Wine/Liquors

Similar to craft beer, there are wine, bubbly a liquor sets out there, typically featuring 24 mini bottles of the preferred subject matter. One particular Scotch advent calendar features rare whiskeys from around the world, setting buyers back 10,000-pounds.

Potato Chips

God bless Pringles. The potato chip company has released their own advent calendar, containing 12 tubes of various flavours. Apparently, the calendar is quite popular and has already sold out, with the products popping up on eBay for double the original retail price.

For Pets

Don’t have any kids or spouses you can spoil with an advent calendar? If you have pets, you can still get into the Christmas spirit with sets that provide toys and treats to your fur baby. The gift of giving is one of the best!

Mixer Mania #42: Irish Tea Party

Irish Tea Party.JPG

  • Absinthe Rinse
  • 1.5 oz Jameson Irish Whiskey
  • Top with Green Tea
  • Garnish with Lime Wheel

The lead up to Christmas is my favourite part of the season, so sometimes I think advent calendars should just replace Christmas gifts… but they’re probably in a good place as a holiday enhancer, rather than as a main event player.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (1 Sip out of 5):
I was totally disappointed by this drink. The ingredients intrigued me, but the end result was a watery, flavourless cocktail. Mrs. Sip wants me to try it again with a different Green Tea – and I will – but it must be pointed out that round one of the beverage was a dud.

November 8 – The Incredible Hulk

As Themselves

You know you’ve really made it big when you can appear in a major production as yourself. There have been some amazing performances where someone basically accentuates their real-life persona and pokes a little fun at themselves. This list, of course, does not include reality TV and I’ve also decided not to include bands who may show up in a film or TV show for performance purposes. With that said, on with the article!

#5: Bill Murray – Zombieland/Space Jam

Bill Murray has appeared a few movies playing himself, some more notable than others. First, in the Looney Tunes-Michael Jordan crossover Space Jam, Murray and Jordan are golfing buddies, causing the former Ghostbuster to get dragged into the intergalactic basketball battle between the Tune Squad and the Monstars. Years later, Murray made a surprise cameo in the horror-comedy Zombieland. Unfortunately, that appearance didn’t end too well for the comedic legend, as his living dead costume was a little too convincing for his newfound friends.

#4: Wil Wheaton – Big Bang Theory

The former Star Trek child star has appeared in a number of Big Bang Theory episodes, first as a nemesis to Sheldon Cooper and later, a friend. His early battles with Sheldon included a fantasy card game tournament (which Sheldon only entered to extract some revenge against Wheaton for no-showing a personal appearance years earlier), as well as a bowling challenge. Wheaton has also shared screen time with aspiring actress Penny (whose last name has never been divulged) on a low-budget production. For being able to poke fun at himself, Wheaton has found himself embraced by geeks everywhere, whether Star Trek fans or not.

#3: Stan Lee – Mallrats/The Simpsons/Big Bang Theory

The king of the cameo, Lee is known to appear briefly in the movies of all his comic creations, usually as a security guard, hot dog vendor, or other minor character. He has also shown up as himself in a number of TV shows and films. Most notably was his turn in the comedy Mallrats, where he provides main character Brodie with some sage advice about love and romance, prior to a book signing appearance. Similar to his appearance in Mallrats, he has guest-starred on episodes of The Simpsons and The Big Bang Theory as appearing at the comic book stores featured on each show. He even officiated Comic Book Guy’s wedding!

#2: Neil Patrick Harris – Harold and Kumar Franchise

When the former Doogie Howser M.D., Neil Patrick Harris, appeared in Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle as a drug-addled sex fiend, he virtually re-launched his career, leading to being cast as womanizer Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother. NPH’s random appearances in all three of the Harold and Kumar movies have always been loaded with laughs, as he plays an out-of-control former child star who always seems to meddle with the main journey. Funnily, he’s actually credited as Neil Patrick Harris in each Harold and Kumar film and not with the typical “As Himself” acknowledgment.

#1: Adam West – Family Guy

The former Caped Crusader has proven before that he doesn’t mind poking fun at himself. Hell, how else could he get through the campy 1960’s Batman TV series!? Still, as the Mayor of Quahog, Adam West is lampooned as an out-of-his-mind dignitary who is more likely to erect unnecessary statues, than properly run the town. West has even gone on to marry Peter Griffin’s sister-in-law (he also dated Peter’s daughter, Meg, briefly), thus making him a member of the family. The one-time Bruce Wayne has also parodied himself on other cartoons, including The Simpson and The Fairly OddParents.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Incredible Hulk

Incredible Hulk Shot

  • 0.5 oz Absinthe
  • 0.25 oz Melon Liqueur
  • Top with Mountain Dew
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

I also have to give honourable mentions to Dennis Rodman (3rd Rock from the Sun), Bob Barker (Happy Gilmore), Alice Cooper (Wayne’s World), Al Gore (Futurama), and Lou Ferrigno (King of Queens). One day, the Sip Advisor hopes to appear as himself in some form of media… other than Cops, that is!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
I went with this shooter recipe because Stan Lee created the character and Lou Ferrigno, who I included in the honourable mentions, played the big guy. After downing the shot, I blacked out and went into a rage, destroying everything in my path. When I awoke, my clothes were tattered and there was green make-up everywhere. In all seriousness, this recipe is kind of neat, with Absinthe actually coming across nice, thanks to the Melon Liqueur and Mountain Dew.

November 21 – Brain-Duster

Whiskey Truth

I normally don’t do the quote thing, but I found that whiskey and its close relatives have inspired many to wax philosophical about the liquor. Here are some of the great quotes I was able to find:

“Whiskey, like a beautiful woman, demands appreciation. You gaze first, then it’s time to drink.” ― Haruki Murakami

Yeah, beautiful woman may demand appreciation, but you have to make them work for it a little too! Perhaps throw in a little appreciative tease, making them think you’ve fallen hook, line and sinker. Then pull a complete 180, get off that hook and make them dangle some bait to bring you to the surface again!

appreciation-show-some

“Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.” ― Mark Twain

I’ve never agreed with the statement that too much of a good thing can be bad. I think we should be able to have as much good stuff going in our lives as constantly as possible. Why does our good mojo need to be broken up by some bad vibes? I think that’s bullshit. Whiskey, on the other hand, is always good, so let’s enjoy it for that.

“Love makes the world go round? Not at all. Whiskey makes it go round twice as fast.” ― Compton Mackenzie

I’m sure we’ve all been there (except for those straight edge types) when we find our world spinning a little (or a lot) thanks to a little liquid encouragement! Whenever I’m feeling like an internal merry-go-round, I just ride it out and enjoy all the sensations of utter inebriation. If you can’t handle the waves, you probably shouldn’t have hopped on the boat.

“There is no bad whiskey. There are only some whiskeys that aren’t as good as others.” ― Raymond Chandler

In my memory (as depleted as it may be) I can’t say that I’ve ever tasted a bad whiskey, so I can’t really challenge Mr. Chandler on his assertion. Sadly, Mrs. Sip is not a whiskey fan and this is one thing we can’t share together. It has led to some serious questions about our relationship longevity that I continue to quash with drinking more whiskey.

Carousel

“Sometimes life is sad. You can cry in your booze, if you want. I think that’s called a Whiskey Sour.” ― Jarod Kintz

I do enjoy Whiskey Sours, but I’ve never thought of creating one from human tears. This could open up a whole new field and craze in the mixology world! Remember, you heard it here first!

“I have never in my life seen a Kentuckian who didn’t have a gun, a pack of cards, and a jug of whiskey.” ― Andrew Jackson

Those Kentuckians sound like pretty great people… well, minus the gun part. I’m totally down with the whole jug of whiskey and pack of cards mentality, though. I think I should organize a little game of strip poker with some southern belles and see if this whole quote actually holds up!

Drink #325: Brain-Duster

Brain-Duster Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Absinthe
  • 0.5 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 0.5 oz Whiskey
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Garnish with an Orange Wheel

Got a whiskey quote you really like that I haven’t touched upon above? Or do you have an alternative interpretation to what I’ve deciphered here today? Let’s get philosophical together!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2 Sips out of 5):
Good lord this drink is strong. Mrs. Sip snagged a sip of the cocktail while I was prepping dinner (that’s right, the Sip Advisor does it all!) and nearly knocked herself loopy with one fell swoop… or sip. The Absinthe is just so potent and needs to be mixed with just the right ingredients or else it’s hard to make it palatable.

October 9 – Colony Club Martini

Come Together

There are some common names for groups of animals – colony, herd, troop, swarm – but I’ll be looking at some of the more unique collections. I don’t know where they come up with some of this stuff, but I’m happy to enjoy it and share it with all you little sippers!

Grumble of Pugs – Could they have come up with anything cuter?

pugs-grumble

Pack of Wolves – I’m a one-man wolf pack myself,

Flamboyance of Flamingos – No surprise here, the pink birds like to make a show of themselves when gathered.

Scurry of Squirrels – Gotta love these frantic little guys. My cat might not, but I do.

Train of Camels – Pa Sip just fell in love with the camel for the first time!

School of Fish – With a dwindling population, clearly they’re not learning very much.

Gaggle of Geese – I’m not quite sure what a gaggle is, but I don’t think I want any part of it.

Murder of Crows – So sinister and why shouldn’t they be… disease-carrying, noise-making ravages of society.

Crows Attempted Murder

Array of Hedgehogs – The chocolate variety!?

Crash of Rhinos – That’s exactly what they’ll do if you piss them off enough!

Congregation of Alligators – They make it sound so official when they meet up for their alligator symposiums.

Cloud of Bats – I’ll never forget the bats that dominated the skies in Bali, Indonesia… they’d make the caped crusader so very proud!

Gang of Buffalo – Complete with Tommy guns and pin-striped suits!

Flight of Butterflies – Isn’t it more of a flutter?

Sleuth of Bears – Does this make them all detectives!?

Sleuth of Bears

Destruction of Wild Cats – Hell, any feline can be relatively destructive. I think this fits for their whole species.

Barrel of Monkeys – Makes me want to go back and play the children’s game.

Brood of Chickens – So, chickens are vampires now?

Pandemonium of Parrots – What have parrots ever done to deserve such a wicked group name!?

Convocation of Eagles – I know the eagle is supposed to be a noble bird, but I don’t think they’ve done enough education to graduate.

Business of Ferrets – That’s one business I’d like to invest in.

Army of Frogs – Here come those plagues!

Frog Army

“We attack tomorrow at dawn!”

Tower of Giraffes – Sure, rub it in our faces that you’re taller than all us plebeians!

Bloat of Hippos – Taking pot shots at a hippo’s weight is sooooooo not cool.

Cackle of Hyenas – This probably makes them laugh more than it makes us laugh.

Mess of Iguanas – Only if they’ve been run over by cars on the highway.

Pride of Lions – One must look up to the noble, dominant lion… especially Simba!

Mischief of Mice – Mice get up to all sorts of trouble… just look at the likes of Jerry, Speedy Gonzales, and Mickey.

mice mischief

Scourge of Mosquitos – How fitting, as they are, in fact, the scourge of the earth!

Parliament of Owls – Totally makes sense, as owls are in fact unintelligent and parliament is where politicians get their “work” done and are equally as useless.

Unkindness of Ravens – Why do all the coolest names go to the birds!?

Bed of Snakes – This is the stuff of nightmares, my little sippers…

Cluster of Spiders – See above (Mrs. Sip would think this, at least).

Ambush of Tigers – No, they just want to play… that red stuff is just juice!

Drink #282: Colony Club Martini

Colony Club Martini Drink Recipe

  • 2 oz Gin (I used Bombay Sapphire East)
  • 1 tsp Absinthe
  • Dashes of Orange Bitters
  • Garnish with Lemon Twist

Did I miss any groups of animals that should have been acknowledged? I’m thinking not, but I’m always open to other suggestions.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2 Sips out of 5):
This was a very strong bitter cocktail. The strong, I can handle. The bitter… eh, not so much. No matter how much I tried to sweeten the drink with the Orange Bitters (I know, you can’t really sweeten a drink with a ‘bitters’ product) and even some Lemon Juice from the Twist, it just wasn’t happening.

September 30 – The Wink

Near Misses

Here is part two of my investigative series looking at roles actors and actresses passed on that cost them millions of box office dollars, increased fame, and iconic characters and franchises. Let’s get right on with it!:

Johnny Depp – Ferris Bueller (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off)

Depp’s career could have been launched years before he finally broke through, or perhaps it could have fizzled out much like Matthew Broderick’s has. We’ll never really know, as Depp passed on the role of Ferris Bueller and all of his ditching class hijinks. Had he taken the role, perhaps Depp would have never developed into the eclectic actor he is today and we would have missed out on characters like Edward Scissorhands and Capt. Jack Sparrow.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off Johnny Depp

Michelle Pfeiffer – Clarice Starling (Silence of the Lambs)

An Oscar could have been Pfeiffer’s prize if she had accepted the offer to play Clarice Starling in the wildly successful (both critically and financially) Silence of the Lambs. It’s not like Pfeiffer saw a drop in her career at that point, later playing Catwoman in Batman Returns, but she missed a rare chance to snatch up an elusive Oscar statue. It seems Pfeiffer made a career of turning down roles, including the female leads Pretty Woman, Basic Instinct, Thelma & Louise, and Evita, among others.

Jeremy Irons – Hannibal Lecter (Silence of the Lambs)

Sticking with Silence of the Lambs, Irons turned down the role of Hannibal Lecter because he found the script to be too violent. So, let me get this straight, it’s okay to voice an evil lion (Scar) who causes his own brother’s death and nearly his nephew’s, as well (in a kids movie, no less), but wearing the face of another human is not okay!? Irons missed out on a movie that swept the Oscars and is best remembered for being an animated kitty.

Hugh Jackman – James Bond (Casino Royale)

On top of playing everyone’s favourite adamantium-infused mutant, Jackman was also offered the role of iconic spy James Bond. He passed on the part, saying he wasn’t ready to hold down two so very notable characters at the same time… then went on to play freakin’ Jean Valjean! Okay, the Les Miserables protagonist isn’t on the same level as the other two, but I have to get something for sitting through that drudgery. On a positive note, Daniel Craig has been perfect as Bond, thus far.

James Bond - Hugh Jackman

Jackman as Bond could have worked!

Russell Crowe – Wolverine (X-Men)

Speaking of Wolfy, Crowe was originally pegged to play the age-unknown Logan/Wolverine. Rumour has it (or at least the rumour I made up) that Crowe was unable to grow the sideburns necessary for the character and therefore abandoned the project, not wanting to lose any legitimacy if he had used make-up or special effects instead. Crowe and Jackman would later play bitter enemies in Les Mis, with Crowe using his turned down role as inspiration for his hatred towards Jackman’s character.

Dave Chappelle – Bubba (Forrest Gump)

While he has since gone on to have a highly acclaimed TV show (as well as his highly-publicized meltdown and leaving said show), Chappelle was originally offered the role of Bubba in Forrest Gump. Had he taken the part, Chappelle would now have numerous restaurants around the United States in his honour. Perhaps he passed on the character because the slim comedian just couldn’t put back enough shrimp to justify Bubba’s obsession with the seafood.

Jake Gyllenhaal – Jake Sully (Avatar)

Gyllenhaal did finally get to play a cripple (spoiler alert) in Source Code, but he missed out on the Avatar money train and getting to be a computer animated blue guy fighting a mechanized army to save FernGully, the last rainforest. Sam Worthington snatched up the role, which he will reprise for 2016’s Avatar 2 (which has the working subtitle ‘Blue Man Group Rides Again’). It should be noted that Matt Damon also rejected the offer for Avatar.

Drink #273: The Wink

The Wink Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Gin (I used Tanqueray)
  • 0.5 oz Triple Sec
  • 0.25 oz Absinthe
  • Splash of Simple Syrup
  • Dash of Peychaud Bitters
  • Garnish with Lemon Twist

With all the hype recently about who turned down the male lead in 50 Shades of Grey and who eventually accepted the role, it will be interesting to see if there are any regrets in the future. Menopausal women love this garbage, so I smell a big money franchise.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2 Sips out of 5):
This drink is pretty strong and bitter, with the Triple Sec and Simple Syrup only able to do so much to sweeten the mix. After some ice dilution, the cocktail tasted slightly better. It was nice to finally use the Peychaud Bitters Mrs. Sip picked up for me in New Orleans, but I hope to find better recipes to use it in, in the future.

April 27 – London Fog

Ice Ice Baby

Perfect for Halloween and all other non-denominational holidays, a recent fad in the mixology world has been to use dry ice or liquid nitrogen in cocktails, giving the presentation a special effect as a smoky fog rolls off of the drink.

Molecular Mixology

But there are dangers to the process, as well. An 18-year-old girl in the United Kingdom, celebrating her birthday, had her stomach removed after drinking a liquid nitrogen-Jagermeister recipe. That would be awful. You finally become legal and you’re out on the town for a wild night, but you can’t even get past your first drink… talk about a lightweight!

Also, you’d figure this chick’s stomach lining would be stronger given the diet of bangers and mash she certainly grew up eating. Jagermeister strikes again! So many years after the World Wars and Germany still wants revenge against the British.

Back to the issue at hand, these substances can cause cold burns to the mouth, throat and stomach, if ingested. Once it hits the stomach, it can warm rapidly, releasing air and other gases that can cause the stomach to burst… now that would be one epic fart.

Epic cat fart

This poor girl had to have a total gastrectomy (their words, not mine), which will certainly become all the rage for women, when it’s revealed that this process forcibly causes people to eat less, never feel hungry, and without a stomach, they won’t get big bellies.

If you are ever to order one of these “frozen” cocktails, you are advised to make sure the dry ice or liquid nitrogen has completely dissipated before taking a sip. That’s the issue here. This young girl was so fired up to get some booze into her system (aren’t we all!) that she couldn’t wait. Remember this little ditty I wrote to stay safe: If there’s steam, you’ll scream… if it’s clean, time to get smashed (I just didn’t feel like making it all rhyme… it’s more memorable that way!).

I have now tried a nitrogen cocktail, with Mrs. Sip at Hyde Lounge in Las Vegas. While they made the drink right in front of you with a travelling mixing bowl, it wasn’t served until the nitrogen had completely evaporated. The result was a frozen, blended recipe that tasted great as it slowly melted into a drinkable consistency.

I will discuss Molecular Mixology more in future blog posts. For the time being, like our stomachless friend from the UK, I simply can’t wait to get my drink on…

Drink #117: London Fog

London Fog Shot

  • 0.75 oz Absinthe (I used Mata Hari)
  • 0.75 oz Gin
  • Garnish with a Lemon Wedge

While some dry ice would have been really cool for this shot, I don’t feel like dabbling in the dark arts. I wonder if they ever investigated whether Voldemort was involved in some of these liquid nitrogen incidents? I’m on to you, thou who shall not be named…

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
Holy hell this shot tastes like poison. I’m sure that was always the intention, as some shots are merely meant as punishment, but still, I had hoped something would come along and save this blend. Shots are harder to rate than cocktails because of this reputation. You can’t merely score the drink on taste and presentation. People do shots to get drunk… this will certainly get the job done!