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!

May 19 – Kamikaze

Voducation

It’s the start of Vodka Week here at The Sip and as we’ve done in the past, day one is all about educating ourselves. I will play the role of teacher and as per usual, you my little sippers will be my eager pupils, taking in the breadth of my knowledge (or at least what I could scour from the internet). There will be a test at the end, so please pay attention. Ah, what do I care, let’s go through the motions of the lesson plan and get drunk!

drinking-vodka-in-commercials-vs-real-life

Northern, Eastern and Central Europe – Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Scandinavian countries, Latvia, Lithuania, etc. – is known as the Vodka Belt because these countries are the historic home of the spirit as well as the area where it is most consumed worldwide.  Sure beats living in America’s Bible Belt! Imagine you could actually have a belt that was filled with vodka and had an extendable straw you could pull out to access the alcohol… I call dibs on the franchising rights. Lucky for me, I’m on my way to many of these countries at the moment during a Scandinavian cruise! (I see lots of vodka in my foreseeable future!)

Vodka gets its name from the Russian word ‘voda’, which translates to mean water. I have it on good authority that Russians actually drink vodka like IT IS water and are practically raised on the stuff. That’s pretty badass, as they’re running around with mickeys as bottles, while us North Americans are deciding how much Nesquik to put in our milk.

vodka_water

Vodka is considered to be the purest alcohol in the world thanks to its distillation process and lack of fusel oils.

While vodka can be blamed for too numerous injuries and deaths to count, the libation can also have many positive medical effects. It is known to keep arteries strong and clear, while also keeping drinkers cholesterol down. It can also be used to heal cold sores and fever and stave off strokes, heart attacks and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Before 1885, vodka was only sold in buckets of12.3 litres at a time. You could bathe in that much booze and apparently in Poland they did, as vodka was originally scented and used as after shave. Could this be why Mrs. Sip’s legs smell so good? She is part Polish, after all!

Super-Size-McVodka

Vodka has a ton of other uses, such as being a disinfectant that is strong enough to clean bathrooms. I find this to be a two-fold problem. First, who has the money to overpay on cleaning products and second, that’s just a lot of wasted liquor. In a pinch, though, if you have company coming over and have used your entire budget on entertainment goods, I guess you could pull off the clean sweep using vodka. As early as the 15th century, the liquor was even used in gunpowder manufacturing by Sweden.

There are actually Vodka museums in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Stockholm, and Amsterdam.

Today, nearly anything you can think of has been turned into a flavoured vodka. There’s bacon, smoked salmon, Froot Loop, cupcake, marshmallow, and the list is endless. Companies like Smirnoff, Absolut, Three Olives, and Pinnacle have the flavoured vodka market cornered, but even top shelf spirits like Grey Goose and Van Gogh have delved into the exotic vodka flavours.

Drink #139: Kamikaze

May 19

So, let’s get into our best Vodka Belt mood and party ‘til the sun comes up! And what if it’s that time of year where the sun never comes up, you ask? Then you better have some longevity when it comes to your boozing!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I like that this is a vodka version of a margarita. I took the shot recipe and turned it into a delicious, refreshing drink, perfect for summer. The Cherry Lemonade Vodka was a nice touch, with Cherry flavour coming through in the aftertaste.