Sip Trips #9 – Home Cooking

With Mrs. Sip out of town again this weekend – I know, I really have to rein that girl in! – the Sip Advisor spent his time out in the ‘burbs with the fam. While this article may not be as wild as a summary of Mrs. Sip’s trip to Las Vegas with the gals, I still made sure to get up to some fun!

It may not be booze related, per se, but I finally got around to trying the new McDonald’s CBO (Chicken, Bacon, Onion) on Friday and I have to say that I was impressed with the sandwich. I’ve really been into crispy onions – whether in ring or straw form – lately, and you can’t go wrong with bacon and chicken. I fully endorse the burger and advise anyone out there interested, to try this item before it’s gone.

McDonald's Classy

Saturday saw the Sip Advisor help Pa Sip with his construction of a new pool shed. My role was mixing the concrete and my experience behind the bar came in handy. We were basically throwing together one part concrete mix, with three parts navijack, topping with water, and garnishing with a trowel!

To reward me for my assistance, Ma Sip picked me up a pack of the Four Winds IPA, which was a nice treat for all my hard work. I also took the opportunity to open up my parent’s bottle of Rhubarb Tea Liqueur, for a future Flavour Revolution post.

On Sunday, we made our way to the Dublin Crossing Irish Pub in Cloverdale for a family event. Given the legend that I am, I decided to take advantage of their Sunday Caesar special (a double, of course!), as well as picking up a pint of their Hop City Barking Squirrel Lager. Dinner is always better with a few new friends!

Sober Decisions

Next up, Ma and Pa Sip decided to visit yours truly during the week, and we took our appetites to Jimmy’s Taphouse, which has long been one of the Sip Advisor’s favourite local watering holes. The poutine here is to die for and with great happy hour specials; it can be had for half price, every day of the week.

Over the course of dinner, I enjoyed both a pint of Phillip’s Blue Buck Ale and Hoyne’s Dark Matter. Talk about some serious great contributions from Victoria! Blue Buck is a solid beer, while the Dark Matter is a great starting point if you’re interested in getting into dark beers.

With Mrs. Sip’s return home, came the return of some duty free alcohol – like Christmas in… what month is it? Anyhoo, Mrs. Sip grabbed me bottles of Hendrick’s Gin and Appleton Rum, both of which are favourites in the Sip Advisor’s bar cabinet and were running low. Isn’t she so awesome!

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November 11 – Burnt Martini

Hall of Fame 2014

Last year, we opened the doors to the Sip Advisor Hall of Fame, inducting five spirits, one entry into the beer and wine wing, and one mixer, as well. It was a festive evening, although nobody really remembers much about it! Without further ado, here is the class of 2014!

Jack Daniel’s Honey Whiskey

Honey Whiskey was the final cut from last year’s Hall of Fame class (with two other whiskeys going in), making it a surefire entry this year. I love this stuff, going so far as to chip one of my teeth when I couldn’t get my flask open and the container was carrying this elixir… not one of my finer moments, but it did occur. Even Mrs. Sip, who has a love-hate relationship with whiskey, is a fan of cocktails made with JD Honey (which would be my porn name if the industry was lucky enough to have me!).

JD Bees

Tanqueray Gin

Although I’m a big fan of gin, this is the first alcohol of that genre to enter the hallowed halls of the Sip Advisor Hall of Fame and it was a tough choice. After a close race between Tanqueray and a competitor brand, the nod went to Tanqueray thanks in large part to the Rangpur variety that I have enjoyed so much, since picking up earlier this year. It has leap-frogged all other options in the phylum to find its place amongst so many other fine spirits.

Appleton Rum

I’m sad to say that Appleton Rum is currently not part of the Sip Advisor liquor colletion after being a mainstay for years. After using and finishing it for Jamaica week, I have yet to replace it and Appleton has become a casualty of having to pick up other rums for the Around the World project, instead. That doesn’t mean that the fondness has faded, however, and it won’t be long before the shelves are stocked again with this fine rum.

Absolut Vodka

Like gin, vodka was absent from the inaugural Sip Advisor Hall of Fame class, an act that must be remedied. Also like gin, it came down to a very difficult decision between a few companies, but in the end, it was inspirational flavours that won the day. Absolut has all the usual suspects available for consumption, but advancements such as their fine City Series, and mixing of interesting flavours has pushed Absolut ahead of its contemporaries and into the hall.

Absolut Flavors

Hiram Walker Peppermint Schnapps

Rounding out the spirit entrants into the Hall of Fame is Peppermint Schnapps, which is great on its own as a shooter, or combined with hot chocolate and a few other drinks. Around Christmas, there are so many events that are favourable to Peppermint Schnapps-spiked beverages. It’s no wonder that mint is often on the Sip Advisor’s breath and emanating from Sip family mugs and thermoses.

1884 Malbec Wine

Wine gets the nod over beer this year in the category they share. Mrs. Sip and I have enjoyed many lazy Sundays with a bottle of this Argentinian red. I even used it for this year’s Around the World project, when the Sip Advisor visited Argentina. This wine is perfect great evenings with a loved one, relaxing and boozing (the two things the Sip Advisor does better than perhaps anyone else). I like adding a little ice to my wines (even reds), which I hope you little sippers won’t hold against me.

Dr. Pepper

In the mixer wing, Dr. Pepper joins Pepsi, perfectly depicting the evolution of the Sip Advisor’s drinking habits. When I’m looking for an easy-to-make well drink, I’ll often toss in anything from the aforementioned Honey Whiskey to Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum (part of last year’s HoF class) and top whatever spirit I’ve chosen with Dr. Pepper. The flavours are more intense with this soda than others available, making for a crisp, tasty, and effervescent experience.

Hall of Fame 2014: Burnt Martini

Burnt Martini

It’s so nice to see everyone all decked out in their finest threads. We sure make a great looking group. I wonder which spirits will finally hear their names called next year for enshrinement… only time will tell!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
As we did last year, with the Dirty Martini, we’re pulling out a very classic recipe for our annual Hall of Fame article. This edition gets the Burnt Martini, which combines two of my favourite alcohol varieties in Gin and Scotch. It was a nice drink, but certainly strong. The smoky flavour of the Scotch at the end of each sip was quite enjoyable.

Jamaica – Au Pair

Dread Heads

Reggae music was born in Jamaica in the 1960’s and has since traversed the globe thanks to acts like Bob Marley and The Wailers. Let’s take a look at some of Jamaica’s greatest musicians from the genre:

Bob Marley

Marley’s influence spread well beyond his music, as he became a figure of the Rastafarian movement and even helped warring political parties come to agreements. “I Shot the Sheriff,” “No Woman, No Cry,” “Could You Be Loved,” and “Buffalo Soldier,” highlight the long list of hits Marley is credited with. Prior to the 1976 Smile Jamaica concert, an attempt on Marley’s life was made, but he only suffered minor injuries. Marley died of cancer on May 11, 1981, He was only 36 years old. There is a statue of Marley in Kingston, Jamaica and many of Marley’s children have entered the entertainment business, carrying on dear ol’ dad’s legacy.

Bit Da Sheriff

Jimmy Cliff

Born James Chambers, Jimmy Cliff acquired his recording name from the cliffs that surrounded his childhood village of Adelphi Land in St. James, Jamaica. Cliff’s first hit, “Hurricane Hattie” came at the age of only 14. Working with producer Leslie Kong, Cliff released one successful track after another until Kong passed away. Cliff also appeared in the movie The Harder They Come, which brought reggae to new audiences. He was the face of the genre until usurped by Bob Marley. Cliff was enshrined into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.

Toots Hibbert

Dubbed ‘The Skafather,’ Hibbert is the leader of the band Toots & The Maytals and he might as well be, given he can play every instrument that makes up the ensemble. In 1966, Hibbert found himself in prison thanks to a possession of marijuana conviction, but his experience inspired one of his best known songs “54-46 That’s My Number.” With The Maytals, Hibbert wrote the first song to actually use the word reggae with 1968’s “Do the Reggay.” Hibbert received the Order of Jamaica in 2012 and still performs to this day, at the age of 71.

Peter Tosh

Amazingly, Tosh was self-taught on the guitar and he even helped Bob Marley learn to play the instrument. Joined by Bunny Wailer, the three formed the Wailing Wailers. After Tosh split from The Wailers and began a solo career, he released “Legalize It,” his pro-marijuana anthem. This, and Tosh’s defiant personality, led to beatings from Jamaican police. Tosh was even signed to the Rolling Stones record label before returning to his own. On September 11, 1987, Tosh was shot and killed by a man who he had given money to, when that man and three accomplices went back to try and get more cash from the artist.

We Be Jammin

Bunny Wailer

The Wailer in The Wailers, Bunny Wailer has been described as the best singer among the band and equally talented with writing songs, yet failed to achieve the same level of international fame as his bandmates. This could be the result of Wailer disappearing from the world’s eye for approximately three years after the Wailers disbanded. When he reemerged, Wailer didn’t miss a beat, going on to win the Grammy for Best Reggae Album in 1991, 1995, and 1997. Newsweek named Wailer one of the three most important figures in world music, along with King Sunny Ade of Nigeria and Brazil’s Milton Nascimento.

Gregory Isaacs

Known as ‘The Cool Ruler’ (which the Sip Advisor has to admit is a pretty wicked nickname), Isaacs is credited with over 500 albums, including many compilation releases. In the 80’s, Isaacs fell into drug troubles (who didn’t during that decade!) and served a six-month sentence for possession of unlicensed firearms. The drugs took a toll on his smooth voice, but Isaacs kicked the habit and worked in the industry up to his death in 2010, at the age of 59, following a lengthy battle with lung cancer. Today, the Gregory Isaacs Foundation carries on the artist’s charitable work and legacy.

Jamaica: Au Pair

Au Pair Cocktail

  • Muddle Apple Slices
  • 1.5 oz Appleton Rum
  • 0.75 oz Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka
  • Top with Ginger Ale
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Dash of Orgeat Syrup
  • Garnish with a Lime Wheel

Reggae music has shared a long association with marijuana, so if drinking isn’t your cup of tea, you can celebrate the songs in your own way!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (5 Sips out of 5):
This cocktail was a knockout spectacular. The Appleton Rum is so nice, as you get a hint of it at the end of each sip. Despite more than two ounces of booze, you can barely taste any liquor, thus making for the perfect recipe. This was my first opportunity to use the Orgeat Syrup Mrs. Sip and I picked up recently and it was a very welcome touch to the drink. I can’t advocate for this cocktail enough!

Jamaica – Neo-Tropical

Lightning Strikes

The fastest man on the planet in one Usain Bolt. This Jamaican worked his way up to become an icon of the running world and his country of Jamaica. Let’s take a closer look at the ‘Lightning Bolt’ (seriously, the dude’s name is perfect for the sport he excels at), while enjoying some fine Jamaican rum!:

Born in Trelawny, Jamaica on August 21, 1986, Bolt turned pro in 2004 after a successful youth and junior career. At his first Olympic Games in 2004, he was eliminated in the first round, while suffering through a leg injury. Four years later, the world would be formally introduced to the sprinter who runs at a whopping 23.7 mph.

Bolt Versus

Bolt holds the World Record in the 100m, 200m, and 4x100m relay, his three signature events. Combined, Bolt has taken home six Olympic gold medals as well as numerous other awards and accolades. His honours include IAAF World Athlete of the Year, Laureus World Sportsman of the Year, Track & Field Athlete of the Year, and BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

Despite his triple gold medal performance at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and leap into the world’s eye, Bolt had not been very successful in the 100m discipline up to that historic victory. It has been noted that Bolt’s finishing time could have been even better, given the runner slowed up at the end and began celebrating.

It’s hard to believe, but Bolt first aspired to be a professional cricketer. Can you imagine this energetic speed demon sitting idly and going through the long matches that make up the wicket sport? Instead, he takes care of business in under 10 seconds (20 for 200m races). Anyway, it was his cricket coach who steered him towards sprint running after noticing the athlete’s intense speed. Bolt is also an avid football fan (of the European variety, of course) and has dreamed of suiting up for Manchester United when he retires from sprinting.

Jamaican Zombies

Talk about an athlete you can love and respect: the man ate Chicken McNuggets throughout his time at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Apparently, Bolt was afraid to eat anything else while in China and estimates he consumed 1,000 McNuggets over his 10-day stay in the country. Somehow this didn’t lead to a McDonald’s sponsorship deal… perhaps it’s because his favoruite fast food restaurant has been noted as being KFC.

The Sip Advisor doesn’t like tying his shoe laces and apparently this is a trait shared with Bolt. The difference is, I’m an booze enthusiast who needs to be able to remove his shoes in the worst of stupors, while Bolt is a finely-tuned athlete who participates in a sport where equipment could make all the difference. Bolt even ran his record shattering 100m gold medal race with laces undone.

Bolt has his own mobile game app, Bolt!, which sees the track star running from pirates while trying to collect gold coins and avoid obstacles. Bolt is also a playable character in the wildly popular Temple Run video game series, which follows a very similar premise, just minus the pirates.

Conan on Bolt

The runner’s famous victory pose, dubbed ‘To Di World’, is more commonly known the world over as ‘Bolting.’ I’m still waiting for my ‘Sipping’ stance to take the universe by storm, but Mrs. Sip tells me I shouldn’t hold my breath. Then again, it’s not like I can really kill any MORE brain cells!

Bolt enjoys annual earnings of over $20 million, coming from prize money, appearances, endorsements, and even the Jamaican government. He has promotional deals with Puma, Visa, Nissan, Virgin Media, Gatorade, and many others, which account for all but approximately $300,000 of his net worth.

Bolt Sperm

The Jamaicans are a musical bunch (our next post will focus on reggae and the Rastafarian movement) and Bolt even has his own line of headphones. Soul Electronics signed a deal with the runner to be their global ambassador. He also has his own restaurant and sports bar in Jamaica, called Tracks & Records, as well as a clothing line.

An autobiography chronicling Bolt’s life was released in 2010. Titled ‘My Story: 9.58: Being the World’s Fastest Man,’ Bolt said of the book at a press conference before it hit store shelves: “It’s my life, and I’m a cool and exciting guy.” Sounds about right for a guy who in his free time enjoys dancing and DJ’ing and has been described as laid back… everything you might expect from a Jamaican appearing in a Red Stripe beer commercial!

Jamaica: Neo-Tropical

Neo-Tropical Cocktail

  • 2 oz Appleton Rum
  • 0.5 oz Coconut Rum
  • 0.25 oz Jagermeister
  • 0.25 oz Raspberry Liqueur
  • Splash of Pineapple Juice
  • Garnish with Raspberries

I can’t believe how many similarities the Sip Advisor shares with this world-class athlete. From the untied shoes to supporting Manchester United to our mutual love of chicken nuggets… look out, Mrs. Sip, I think I’m falling in love with the man!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This cocktail’s liquor mix was interesting with Jagermeister being invited to play with the rums. Once again, Pineapple Juice isn’t a favourite mixer of mine, but it was decent here. I’ve always loved Raspberries as a garnish and this rendition was no different.

July 7 – Watermelon Mojito

Summer in the City

With summer upon us, it’s time to throw out some ideas for things you can do with the missus or the little ones. Here are some treasured Sip Advisor summer activities!

Drive-In Movie

The whole experience might as well be called, “How to Gorge Yourself on Snacks in a Few Hours,” but that’s all part of the fun. Our local drive-in presents two or three movies each night for the low price of $12.50! Because you’re in your own car, you can chat with your car mates without being shushed by other moviegoers and can even get a little naughty with your best gal, should the inspiration arise.

That's one hell of a line-up!

That’s one hell of a line-up!

Swimming

I’ve been lucky enough to grow up my entire life with a pool in the backyard, first an above-ground tank and later an in-ground swimming hole. It’s hard to see my life without easy access to water and a place to hang out with drinks, sun, and fun. Over the years, the pool has been home to some crazy behavior, such as backyard wrestling, balcony jumps and skinny dipping!

Fire Pit

After a day in the cement pond, we’ll often light up the fire pit at the Sip Advisor headquarters, where roasting marshmallows and building smores are the first order of business. Talk around the campfire is always entertaining, especially when one member of the Sip Alliance can’t control an Irish accent he’s never exhibited before and it only comes out when he’s tanked!

Camping

Ah, the great outdoors… where people stupidly risk the elements for the sake of “getting back to nature”. I’m just thankful that I’m a dude and I can pee wherever I want, while the ladies always have to have good facilities within walking distance. Food while camping is certainly a highlight of the entire experience, with so much junk that it would make any healthy person question the entire practice.

camping

Baseball Game

While I prefer other sports more, the ‘boys of summer’ experience is one not to be missed. It’s a great night out to hit the diamond and support your local team, whether professional, amateur, or beer league. The snacks and beer at a baseball game often overtake the actual sport itself in attention spent, but sometimes you get that special experience where your team ties the game late and wins in extra innings prior to a fireworks show (true story!).

Picnic in the Park

Very few things are as relaxing and peaceful as a picnic in the park. Just throw your blanket down wherever you’re comfortable and lay out, enjoying a spread of sandwiches, salads, chips, cookies, and wine or beer if you can sneak your sips in. You can even combine your meal with a rollerblade, bike ride, or top it all off with some playground activity!

Drink #188: Watermelon Mojito

Watermelon Mojito

  • Muddled Watermelon, Lime and Mint
  • 1.5 oz Appleton Rum
  • Top with Lemon-Lime Soda
  • Garnish with Watermelon Cube, Lime Wedge and Sugar Cane Stir Stick

While those are my favourite activities, there are a number of things I’d like to try again from the days of summer past, like busting out the ol’ slip and slide and getting soap in my eyes or a concussion from smacking noggins with another slider. Good… no, scratch that… GREAT times!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
I love Watermelon and I love Mojitos, so put the two together and you have a winning combination. I subbed Appleton Rum in for White Rum and it was a perfect choice given Watermelon’s light taste.

June 16 – Big Daddy

Man Models

It’s Father’s Day and here at The Sip we salute all the male role models out there. I’d like to take this opportunity to send a special shout out to Papa Sip for his years of hockey and soccer coaching, allowance providing, driving in difficult weather conditions, pool maintenance, barbecue mastery, household upkeep, road trip navigation, and the list goes on and on and on!

Ron Swanson – Parks and Recreation

The Alpha Male of the Parks and Recreation crew, Ron Swanson is quick to look after all of his colleagues and is really a big, sweet teddy bear, despite his outward gruffness. In particular, he’s very handy with a set of tools and even hand-crafted Leslie Knope’s wedding ring, prior to an impromptu ceremony. Heck, he’s even not too bad with his recent ladyfriend’s two devilish little girls!

Ron

George Bailey – It’s a Wonderful Life

Minus the whole attempted suicide thing, George Bailey is an upstanding citizen, helping countless friends and family members, while at the same time sacrificing some of his own dreams and desires for his family. In the end, he’s shown that his existence is necessary and has improved so many lives around him. Plus an angel got his wings thanks to ol’ George.

Kermit the Frog – The Muppets

Kermit the Frog is pseudo father to the entire Muppet gang. He keeps them all in line and they have Kermit to thank for their pay check, living accommodations and lifestyle. Without him, as has been shown countless times, they’d be lost. Similar leaders of rag tag groups include Gordon Bombay of the Mighty Ducks teams and Alex Rieger in the Taxi garage.

Al Bundy – Married with Children

While not your typical father figure, Al Bundy would much prefer to spend his time watching TV, drinking beer, and going to the nudie bar, than take care of his offspring. However, Al will defend his kids to a fault and has been involved in countless altercations with the boyfriends of his daughter, Kelly, and people who wish to cause harm to his son, Bud.

Al Bundy

Paul Hennessy – 8 Simple Rules

Poor Paul Hennessy had to look after the stunning Kaley Cuoco during her (very generous) formative years. No wonder John Ritter suffered a legit heart attack on the set of the show. The thought of all the guys lining up to date his teenage daughter must have taken its toll. I love John Ritter for everything he’s done, even forgiving him for the Problem Child movies and his appearance on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Cliff Huxtable – The Cosby Show

Raising a household of countless children, coming and going, Cliff Huxtable imparted many lessons on the viewing audience and Bill Cosby still pushes for strong father figures in the African American community to this day. Some accuse The Cosby Show of being “too white” – hell, scholarly essays have even been written on either side of the argument. I still have much respect for the Jell-O man!

cliff-huxtable

Homer Simpson – The Simpsons

Aside from his regular strangling of son Bart, inability to connect with daughters Lisa and Maggie, alcohol dependence, questionable intelligence, and the ever-present likelihood that he will lose his job… Homer Simpson is a wonderful father. Homer learned the tricks of the father trade from one of the best, Abe ‘Grandpa’ Simpson, who largely raised the big lug on his own after Homer’s mother was forced to go into hiding when he was young.

Red Forman – That 70’s Show

Red Forman’s gruff exterior and “dumbass” catchphrase masks a sweet inner core. He definitely has a weakness in wife Kitty, who seems to be able to get whatever she wants from her husband. Red even took in his son Eric’s friend, Steven Hyde, after his parents left him behind. Ah, the 70’s, what a wild and crazy time to be alive!

Drink #167: Big Daddy

Big Daddy Cocktail

  • 0.5 oz Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Rum (I used Appleton)
  • 0.5 oz Tequila
  • 0.5 oz Whiskey
  • Top with Lemon-Lime Soda
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

Please make sure to sit down and have a drink with your dad or the important male role models in your life today. If it’s this particular cocktail, you’ve earned yourself some bonus points! If physical distance doesn’t allow this to happen, do something else nice for the guy. You wouldn’t be here without him!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
When putting together this cocktail, I decided to go the “top shelf” route, using my new Beluga Vodka from Russia, Appleton Rum, El Jimador Tequila and Crown Royal Whiskey. The results were quite enjoyable and you could compare this drink to a Long Island Iced Tea, with a few altered ingredients. I thought it made the perfect salute to fathers everywhere!