December 1 – Winter Mojito

Christmas Cheer

While most of the world is only capable of rocking around the Christmas tree for 12 days of holiday cheer, the Sip Advisor will be bringing you more than double that with 25 days of wonderful recipes. Today, we start things off with some facts about Christmas. I hope you’re all snuggly by a roaring fire!

Halloween By the Numbers

Drink #335: Winter Mojito

Winter Mojito Drink Recipe

  • Muddle Mint Leaves and Cranberries
  • 1.5 oz White Rum (I used Bacardi)
  • Splash of Cranberry Juice
  • Top with Lemon-Lime Soda
  • Garnish with Drunken Cranberries

This is among my favourite times of the year and I’m giddy with all the drinks and fun that is sure to come in the lead up to Christmas Day!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
I put together two different recipes for this cocktail. The one listed above and also a more basic mojito, with the simple addition of Cranberries floated on top for garnish. The version I went with for the article I feel is better because of its colour and that it’s truly a variant of the usual mojito concoction. It’s a wonderfully tasty drink and a great way to bring in the season!

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November 8 – Sweet Tweet

Technologically Traditional

Yesterday, we looked at my favourite apps and while I’ve embraced the games and information tools available to tablet and smart phone users, there is a lot of technology I refuse to adapt to. Kicking and screaming, I’m trying to hold onto my familiar way of life. Here are some items I refuse to give up or learn.

Laptop Mouse

It may surprise some that the Sip Advisor, this internet guru you’ve come to love, still uses a mouse with his laptop. I hate that little square built into the actual computer that you’re intended to use. I find that it completely slows my progress down. I occasionally use Mrs. Sip ‘s laptop for some site work and I wish she’d regress back to a mouse so that I’m more comfortable operating her computer.

Mouse Hunt

Touchscreen Keyboard

Recently, my old phone died on me and I was forced to upgrade. I had dreaded this day for some time, as I knew it meant losing my pullout keyboard. I think too many errors occur with the touch screen typing system and don’t even get me started on Mrs. Sip’s swiping texts that are littered with spelling errors and unrecognizable words. I often respond to her with a simple “?” because I have no clue what she’s writing me about. And sometimes I do it just to be a dick!

Websites (Instagram, Linked In, Foursquare)

While I’ve joined sites like Facebook, Twitter, and even Pinterest, there are numerous other social media hubs that I just can’t get into. I don’t get the rage over Instagram and the weird filters people use on their low-resolution pics, I don’t care to meet business contacts through Linked In (I mean, my contacts would just be winos and alcoholics anyway), and I don’t need to let everyone know I’m still sitting on my couch through Foursquare!

Cell Phone Photos

Speaking of low-res photos, I really don’t understand why people are relying on their cell phones to capture the greatest moments of their life. I get it that you’ve shelled out a fair amount of money for these devices and that bringing along an actual camera is another hassle to deal with, but you just can’t replace the quality of image a real camera provides. No matter how good cell phone pixel quality gets, it will never supersede the ol’ digital camera.

Camera Phone

Ear Buds

Am I the only person in the world who absolutely despises these sound delivery devices? Everywhere I look, people have ear buds jammed into their head. That’s not to say I don’t like listening to music, but I prefer to have an actually set of headphones and not something that constantly feels like it’s going to fall out of the snugness of my earlobe. Perhaps my ears are made to the specifications desired for bud usage, but I hate those little things.

Tablets

I have nothing against tablets and I think they are actually pretty neat with the big screen and all the functions they can provide. That said, between my laptop and phone, I have no intention of ever purchasing one. Donations will be accepted (they always are!) at the Sip Advisor headquarters, however. If anyone is tired of their iPad, Tab, Surface, or Nexus, you know who to ship it to.

ihad-ipad

E-Reader

I barely read enough print books to justify having eyes and a brain, let alone an e-reader. Mrs. Sip spends countless hours on her digital book, which infuriates me to near madness. No, I don’t see the Sip Advisor picking up a Nook, Kindle, or Kobo anytime soon; unless it becomes the only way for little sippers to read my awesome work… then I’ll practically become the face of the industry!

Video Game Systems

I’ve said it before and I’ll probably have to say it again: I will not buy another video game console. After the Nintendo 64, I held out for years without buying a system until finally caving an buying a Playstation 2 near the dying days of the console. Then I said it again before becoming enamored with the Nintendo Wii, again in its later years of existence. Clearly, I’m not an early adopted and I may own all of these products right before they become useless!

Drink #312: Sweet Tweet

Sweet Tweet Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Rum
  • 0.5 oz Galliano
  • 0.5 oz Peach Liqueur
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Dash of Cherry Syrup
  • Garnish with Lime Wheel

Which items do you refuse to purchase and accept as the way things are done today? Am I the only one who refuses to give up the Discman, Sega Genesis, and MySpace!?

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
I “borrowed” this recipe from a photographed menu from the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York, which also offers guests the Garden of Google, Brbon Tumblr, and… the SipAdvisor. Hey, wait, hold on a second. Should I be asking for royalties? Perhaps a cease and desist order? I’ll have to contemplate my legal options! As for the cocktail, it wasn’t bad, but it was a little too sweet. I guess that was implied in the drink’s name.

September 26 – Lost Generation

My Generation

Every person thinks that their generation was the cat’s pajamas. I’m no different. But, in my role as your Sip Advisor, I have to play an impartial role. Therefore, today, I will be examining the highs and lows of my generation. We’re pretty flipping awesome, but we’re not perfect… and here’s why!

Why I’m glad I grew up now:

Technology

The fact that I have lived in different parts of the world (as has Mrs. Sip) and we’ve been able to communicate with each other, as well as friends and family, for absolutely nothing, alone makes me happy that I grew up in this age. Programs and sites like Skype, instant messaging, Facebook, Twitter, MSN (remember MSN?) and others have helped maintain communication with friends and family that normally may have disappeared from my life as a result of the distance separating us.

Technology Today

Flavour Revolution

What I like to think of as the Flavour Revolution has benefitted me in so many ways. Not only am I enjoying all the different liquor and mixer flavours that is part of this experimental boom, but everything from potato chips to condiments has vastly grown from what it was mere years ago. Everyone seems to be trying to come up with the next big thing so that playing around with tried and tested recipes is the norm today. We are not happy to simply rest on our laurels.

No Rush to Have Families

Oh, sweet heaven, thank you for this! My parents didn’t have children until they were about 27 and even for them, that was later than most folks of their generation. I’m just not ready to be unselfish and settle down with kids of my own. Despite Ma and Pa Sip looking forward to grandchildren, it’s just not in the cards right now. Mrs. Sip and I are just living too freely and enjoying our adult years too much to have little ones. It will happen eventually, but until then, party on!

Child of the 80’s

Being a “child of the 80’s” was wicked. Us dudes had Transformers, He-Man, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (I guess they still have that now), and so many more treasures. Girls had their My Little Pony, Care Bears, Barbie, and all that other good stuff. We weren’t force-fed a steady diet of Japanimation. And that’s only looking at the TV side of things. Our food had yet to be attacked by zealous health nuts, our music yet to be diluted by voice-altering technology, and movies were allowed to be silly and geared towards kids. It was good, no–scratch that, GREAT times!

Child of the 80s

Why I hate having grown up now:

Reality Shows

When I was younger, the 6 O’Clock News was the only form of reality programming. Today, it’s all you find on TV. People think they can dance, or sing, or do all sorts of crazy things. They’re volunteering to be thrown into ridiculous situations which they are supposed to survive from, but nobody watching them really wants them to pull through and live to see another day. This all leads to the next thing I hate…

Celebrity Culture

Good lord I hate Celebrity Culture. Everyone wants to be a star and they’re willing to do anything it takes to achieve their 15 minutes of fame. Anytime I’m unfortunate enough to pass by a gossip magazine or television program, I’m blown away by how many names I don’t recognize. If I can identify 50% of the people listed, I consider that a good day… and good days are rare in these here parts. How so many people can be famous for doing so little is mind boggling.

Celebrity Culture

Missed out on Golden Ages of Rock

Because of my birthdate, I was never able to experience the brilliance of bands like The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, etc. live. While other acts have experienced more longevity or reformed with some replacement players, I missed out on seeing them in their prime. It would have been great to live during the days of highly publicized record releases and the music culture of say the 70’s (minus the disco, of course), where bands were followed by diehard fans all around the world.

Death of the Sitcom

There really aren’t that many sitcoms (situational comedies) anymore. Fighting for space amongst dramatic and reality TV (more on this soon) programming, the sitcom has largely been buried and eulogized. There are a few holdouts on the air today, such as Modern Family, Big Bang Theory, and Community, but it’s a dying breed. Each year, a new set of sitcoms debut, with few lucky enough to survive a full season. And the numbers continue to dwindle.

Drink #269: Lost Generation

Sept 26

  • 2 oz Rum (I used Bacardi)
  • Top with Grapefruit Juice
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Maraschino Cherry Juice
  • Garnish with Lemon Slices and a Maraschino Cherry

So, what makes your generation the best or the worst? I’m sure with enough responses, I could put together an interesting cross section of why every feels they are the best and the worst, at the same time!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
While this drink wasn’t bad by any means, I find Grapefruit Juice to be quite the acquired taste. I was supposed to use Maraschino Cherry Liqueur, but since I had none on hand, I subbed in some Maraschino Cherry Juice for flavouring. Whether the two are remotely similar and can cover one another is a complete mystery!

August 16 – Mexican Bulldog

Freebie Frenzy

On my twice daily trips to the liquor store, I love seeing the little freebies that are often attached to a bottle of alcohol. They can sometimes provide the tipping point in what I choose to spend my allowance on. Here are some of the more unique items I’ve seen:

Glass Clip and Rimming Salt – Corona Beer

In homage of today’s frozen cocktail, Corona released a set that included a case of beers, a Margarita-style glass, rimming salt and a clipping device that would allow you to pop a beer bottle into your drink with little fuss or mess. Sadly, I didn’t pick up the set and am kicking myself over it ever since.

Bulldog Clip

Rimming Salt – Sauza Tequila

Much like the above entry, rimming salt and Tequila go hand-in-hand. Legend has it that they were separated at birth and have been destined to walk the earth searching for one another, reuniting solely in Margaritas, Palomas, and Tequila Shooters. It is a quest worth completing.

Playing Cards – Bacardi Rum

What does every boozehound need to have on their person at all times? A deck of playing cards, of course. When the Rum is flowing and fun is needed to be had, is there a better way to find it then shuffling up some cards? You can play a myriad of games, from Strip Poker to King’s Cup and everything in between.

Coaster – Wiser’s Whiskey

The Wiser’s Whiskey advertising campaign celebrating the Society of Uncompromising Men is one of my favourites. Well, what better way to be a classy drinker than to have a travelling coaster with you at all times. The only thing that sucks about giveaways like this are you’d have to buy four bottles to have a complete set of coasters. I’m up for the challenge, though!

Wiser's Coasters

Phone Case – Bacardi Oakheart Spiced Rum

I’ve never actually had a phone skin or protective case. It’s called looking after your shit and not damaging it with reckless disregard. That said, if you want to sport the Bacardi Oakheart logo on your phone, all the power to you. It is a pretty wicked logo and at least now, you won’t be cracking your screen the next time you’re plastered!

Speaker – Smirnoff Vodka

I suppose the theory behind this pairing was that you could take your bottle of Vodka and speaker and create a one-man party! With no one else around, playing garbage music and ruining your funk, the good times would keep on rolling all through the night… until you blacked out in a glorious bender, that is.

Socks – Captain Morgan Spiced Rum

You may be thinking that socks are an odd item for a liquor company to be attaching to their product. And you might be right. It wasn’t even Christmas or anything. I do, however, believe there is a method to the madness here. The Captain Morgan company is simply making sure that their customers don’t get cold feet after passing out.

CMsocks1 CMsocks2 CMsocks3

Cocktail Shaker – Dr. McGillicuddy’s Peach Schnapps

The last time I bought a bottle of Peach Schnapps, it came with a miniature cocktail shaker, which allowed you to make one drink at a time. Sure, it’s not a full-sized shaker, but the intent is to get you interested in mixology and playing around with Peach Schnapps, in particular. That is exactly what I did!

Bottle Light – Absolut Vodka

It’s been a dream of mine for some time now to have a full-sized man cave bar, complete with backlit shelves to highlight all the wonderful liquor I’ve purchased over the years. This device allows you to at least light up one of your bottles, letting it gleam a mesmerizing glow throughout your life, surrounding you with liquid sunshine and warmth.

Drink #228: Mexican Bulldog

Mexican Bulldog Cocktail

  • Rim glass with Strawberry Sugar
  • 2 oz PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur
  • 2 oz Triple Sec
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Blend with Ice
  • 1 Bottle of Coronita Beer
  • Garnish with Lime Wheel

If you’re interested in checking out my previous post on the subject of liquor freebies, you’ll find that here. Do you have a suggestion for a third post on this topic? As always, I’m waiting with bated breath!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
It’s pretty awesome to combine a delicious Margarita (the PAMA Rita is perhaps one of the best I’ve ever had) with a fresh, crisp beer! Coronita Beers were made especially for building the Mexican Bulldogs and they’re a cute little bottle of beer to have around. You have to be cautious with dunking the beer into your drink. Once we had it nestled into the drink, there was no mess to worry about, but first getting the brew in there caused some issues, particularly overflowing.

August 12 – Wildberry Daiquiri

Missing Meals

Over the span of my life, I’ve seen restaurants come and go. Some I couldn’t care less for and others left a little mark on this boozehound’s soul. I’m prone to the odd moment of nostalgia. While some of these chains still exist, their locations that were closest to me have ceased operations, leaving me le sad. Here are the restaurants I miss:

Godfather’s Pizza

The pizza you can’t refuse! The Godfather’s outlet that was near our house growing up was filled with video games and played host to a number of wind-ups for sports teams I belonged to. It was perfect for parents. Stuff your child full of pizza and pop and let them run around and blow a stack of quarters on games. Surely, they slept well that night!

Bonanza Steakhouse

This will start an interesting trifecta of restaurants that just couldn’t catch on in the same location. I don’t remember too much about this joint because I was quite young, but I believe Ma and Pa Sip were fans because I was cognizant of its existence. The chain went through bankruptcy in 2008 (a somewhat common theme in the industry), but emerged and still has locations in the U.S. When Bonanza left my area and went back to the Ponderosa, in its place came…

Sizzler

As a fussy eater when I was young, I used to love salad bars, where I could just grab a few items here and there and not be bugged to struggle with food I didn’t much care for. I guess it’s kind of ironic that I liked salad and veggies as a young’un, while most kids hate the healthy stuff. In the interest of full disclosure, I was in it for the croutons and bread sticks! Sizzler left the area when I was still quite young, to be replaced by…

Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon

As a little sipper, I attended a number of birthday parties at the one Lone Star location that came to my neck of the woods. It was a novelty to go to a country-western themed eatery, with cow-folk servers and permission to throw your complimentary peanut shells on the floor. The chain didn’t last long enough for me to attend as a Sip Advisor. Interestingly, the Lone Star chain has no restaurants in the Lone Star State of Texas. I guess it just wouldn’t be unique there.

Izzy’s Buffet

This was the meal stop for many shopping trips across the border with family. It provided a nice mix of culinary options that could suit all the tastes and cravings of a large group. I remember their dessert table being specifically fantastic, with a self-serve ice cream sundae bar and other confectionary delights. The Bellingham, Washington Izzy’s location closed many years ago, replaced by a sex shop of all things

Rainforest Café

When the local Metrotown Mall underwent abundant upgrades many moons ago, one of their newest additions was the Rainforest Café, complete with animatronic jungle animals and an expansive aquarium. It didn’t last long, though, eventually being replaced by an Old Navy store. The only Rainforest Café’s I’m able to visit anymore are in Downtown Disneyland in Anaheim, California and at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, if I can get Mrs. Sip to tag along.

T.G.I. Friday’s

Mrs. Sip and I enjoyed an early date at T.G.I. Friday’s, but it may have been the one and only time we ever ate there together. Sadly, it was also before we could legally drink, so we never got to enjoy that element of the chain. Perhaps we’ll have to track down a location in the U.S. and give it another shot now that our tastes have evolved beyond chicken strips and fries orders.

Bennigan’s

The only thing I really know about this chain is that Butters on South Park absolutely adored it. I would love to try it myself, but the company went into bankruptcy in 2008 and closed a number of locations, as a result. 31 Bennigan’s restaurants in the U.S. and 44 abroad still remain, so I may get to try the Irish pub-themed joint eventually. I’ll do it for Butters!

Drink #224: Wildberry Daiquiri (A Sip Advisor Original Recipe)

Wildberry Daquiri Frozen Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz White Rum (I used Bacardi)
  • Top with Wildberry Juice
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Blend with Ice
  • Garnish with Blueberries

Which restaurants do you wish still existed and why? I’m curious about this because nostalgia can often be a great thing, but sad in many ways, as well, as we think about all the things we once enjoyed that are no longer an option. Now I need to have a little cry!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
The berry taste comes through nicely at the end of each sip, but it’s a pretty tame cocktail overall. Perhaps the flavour can be jacked up a little more with alcohols and liqueurs that go with the mixer.

April 7 – Mojito

Muddle with Care

I was born to muddle. And no, I’m not talking about confusing issues and messing things up (although I have a propensity for that, as well). I love crushing stuff up for drinks and seeing what the results are. I don’t know where this desire came from… probably some deep-rooted childhood stuff. Perhaps it had something to do with destroying sand castles or jumping in puddles.

I even went out and bought a $40 bottle of Bacardi Rum because it came with a muddler. Then I started making Mojitos, first the traditional kind, before adding raspberries and other fruit. I had an original recipe called “When All Else Fails” (to be featured on this site eventually), which included muddled watermelon and grapes, with tequila and lemon-lime soda.

Too bad my bottle of rum didn't come with the Bacardi Mojito girls!

Bacardi Mojito girls have mint on their breasts… I’ll muddle that, too!

Much like my fondness for rimming (drinks, that is), I’m willing to muddle anything: cucumber, mint, raspberries, strawberries, watermelon, mandarin oranges, apples, bananas… all the colours of the rainbow.

I’ve often heard jokes from professional bartenders that Mojitos are a dreaded bar order because they find muddling to be such a pain in the ass. I tend to disagree and find that muddling isn’t much of a problem for me. Granted, I’m not being asked to make more than say four Mojitos at a time.

supersized_mojito

There’s just something very satisfying about building a drink from scratch (for yourself or others) and the flavours that are released by muddling really enhance the taste and even smelling senses while enjoying a cocktail.

A list of things I plan on muddling in the future is practically endless – chocolate bars, sour candies, peanuts, cereal, etc. If you are interested in experimenting with muddling, you don’t even need to go out and get a muddler like I did. A spoon, some skill, and patience will do the trick and you’ll be thanking me later for inspiring you to go down this road!

Drink #97: Mojito

Mojito

  • 8 Mint Leaves
  • 2 Lime Wedges
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1.5 oz White Rum
  • Top with Club Soda
  • Garnish with Lime Wedge

Muddle the mint leaves, limes and sugar together, before adding ice, the rum and finally the club soda. A slight variation that many of my “customers” enjoy is to substitute the sugar and soda with 7-Up or Sprite. I still maintain that I make the best Mojitos in the land and I defy anyone to prove me wrong. It is on like Donkey Kong, yo!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I still prefer Mojitos to be made with Lemon-Lime Soda, instead of Club Soda, but I had to try the original once for this site. Wait until the start of summer when I present my award winning (in my mind only!) Raspberry Mojito.

March 19 – PAMA-Jama

Thunder Shower

We ain’t talking about a weather system… when Mama and Papa Sip were getting hitched, their friends threw them a party where each guest brought a bottle of alcohol for the happy couple to set them up with a nice bar for the start of a new life together (marriage drives a person to alcoholism joke inserted here). Wanting to pass that tradition on, the Parents Sip planned the same party for Mrs. Sip and me, about a month prior to our wedding. This was our Thunder Shower!

Frankly, it was a wonderful break from the daily wedding planning and a chance to gauge where we were at with the guests who would soon be sharing our special day with us.

Wedding Planning

With the party being Mexican Fiesta-themed (the food included a make your own nachos, tacos and burritos bar – what can I say, Mama and Papa Sip know how to throw a good bash) we were given four bottles of tequila, as well as a couple bottles of margarita mix. Some favourites I’m known for knocking back like Fireball Whiskey, Bacardi Rum, and Smirnoff Vodka were also bequeathed to us.

There were also some new tastes to try, which I’m always happy to oblige. Cousin Sip contributed a bottle of cucumber-infused Hendricks Gin, which I have taken a particular liking to. One set of friends passed along a bottle of Jim Beam Black Cherry Bourbon, as well as a bottle of Cointreau. Mama and Papa Sip gifted us a bottle of Chocolate Whipped Vodka, which quickly became a favourite of Mrs. Sip, whose wine and champagne collection was topped up, too.

All in all, it was a wonderful evening with great food and drinks, good fun with friends and family, and the beginning of our wedding celebration summer.

Marriage

Why do I bring this event up? Well, for a number of reasons. My forum provides me with another chance to thank all of our guests for their generosity and truly show them how much we appreciated and enjoyed their gifts. Next, because I think every couple should get to enjoy a similar event and finally, because today’s drink features PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur, a bottle we received at our Thunder Shower and although we only recently opened it, the results have been thoroughly enjoyable thus far.

Drink #78: PAMA-Jama

Pama-Jama Cocktail

  • 8 Muddled Mint Leaves
  • 1.5 oz PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur
  • Top with Ginger Ale
  • Dash of Lemon Juice
  • Garnish with Lemon Wedge

This has to be one of my favourite drinks of the project to date. I wasn’t sure how much I’d like the liqueur, as I don’t have any recollection of having actually ever eaten a real pomegranate, but once again life proves that as long as alcohol is inside something, it will be enjoyed (or at least consumed). How much did I like the drink? Well, given I’m making at least 365 drinks over the next calendar year, I try not to double up too often. I ended up making three of these for myself and just had to share the recipe with Mrs. Sip. Track it down and give it a shot (literally!). You won’t be disappointed.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (5 Sips out of 5):
A fantastic drink… I can’t say enough good things about this cocktail. It was the first time I busted out my PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur and what a wonderful mix I was treated with to begin my relationship with the spirit!