January 1 – Newfoundland Flower

Home for a Rest

While many don’t know the song “Home for a Rest” by Spirit of the West, it’s a Canadian classic. And after a year away from Canada, travelling the virtual world, I have FINALLY returned home. The journey has me feeling a little weary, as like the song states: “I’ve been gone for a month (a year in the Sip Advisor’s case), I’ve been drunk since I left!”

I’m far from complaining however, as it’s been a wonderful year abroad. In the last 12 months, we’ve visited 52 countries, featuring seven rums, six vodkas, five whiskeys, two beers, six wines, nine liqueurs, and a whopping 15 spirits. Hell, we even tried two different types of gin! Along the way, we’ve learned about historical figures, sports and athletes, artists and the arts, products and inventions, tourist attractions, foods, and events. Milestones have been passed, including our 100,000th site view and 500th cocktail and 100th shot recipes!

“These so-called vacations will soon be my death,” but the fun can’t stop yet. We have so much more to discover together. Here’s what to expect over the course of the next year:

Monday – Flavour Revolution

The big project of 2015 will highlight 52 different flavours, never once repeating a taste as the main ingredient in a cocktail. For example, when I use my Evan Williams Elegant Crisp Gin (apple flavoured), I can’t later use apple rums, vodkas, liqueurs, mixers, or anything else as a featured element. By the end, the Sip Advisor will be like the Baskin Robins of booze… Viva la revolution!!!

Thursday – Out and About/This Week in Liquor

Each week, we’ll delve into the latest news from the booze world. Just in time for your weekend trip to the liquor store! In these articles, we will include a feature titled: Out and About with the Sip Advisor. Here, I will be able to detail what I’ve personally experienced in the week that was. That may include visiting new craft breweries, tasting new spirits, attending cocktail events, etc.

Saturday – Super Saturday Shot Day

The triple-S-D will enter its third year of existence and will continue to feature the best in Top 5 lists on whatever subject I feel like covering. Suggestions are always welcomed, but otherwise, expect a lot of coverage on the fictional world… where we all prefer to reside!

It wouldn’t be a true New Year’s celebration without some drinks. Since I’m back in my own backyard, I figured we could enjoy some Newfoundland Screech Rum and conquer a rite of passage for my friends from the east!

Canada: Newfoundland Flower

Newfoundland Flower Cocktail

Thank you one and all for your support over the last two years. Please continue to follow the Sip Advisor adventures and enjoy all we have to offer you in 2015. Happy New Year!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
A friend was hosting a party where we were all invited to sample Screech, an Eastern Canadian rum and get “Screeched In,” so I figured, what better way to wrap up the Around the World tour than to finish right where it started! The Screech was nice, paired with the very tasty Elderflower Liqueur. I certainly liked the drink and it seemed everyone at the party who I made it for enjoyed it, as well.

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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.