Flavour Revolution – Grapefruit

Ruby Roundup

Last year, when rockin’ the Around the World project, I wrote about the grapefruit when stopping briefly in Barbados. With that in mind, this time around, we’ll be looking at the ruby red version of the fruit and so we might as well dig deeper into the jewel and some of its greatest examples:

The term ruby comes from the Latin ruber, which means red. That said, rubies can range in colour, including shades of pink, purple, orange, and brown. This depends on the chromium and iron components that make up the gem, as well as which wavelengths of light are absorbed by the stone.

rubies in drinks

Rubies are symbolic of devotion, integrity, courage, and happiness. If you or a loved one is lacking in any of these areas, go out and pick up a precious gem and turn your life around today. Also, rubies have a reputation of being the stone of love, passion, and vitality. That’s a lot of pressure to take on and I can understand why emeralds balked at the job offer.

Aside from being the birthstone of folks born in the Cancer zodiac sign (June 22-July 22), rubies are also perfect gifts for people celebrating their 15th or 40th wedding anniversary. Mrs. Sip and I have a more than a decade to go before we even hit the first of those milestones, but I might as well start saving now!

Placing just behind diamonds and drawing even with sapphires, rubies are one of the sturdiest gems in existence. Perhaps, this is why some members of the Hindu religion don the stone, in order to keep their enemies at bay. That’s a potentially expensive security system. Similarly, in Burma (one of the hottest ruby regions in the world), warriors believed rubies made them invincible in battle, even going so far as to embed them in their body.

cat security system

There are very few flawless rubies and you can bet you’ll have to fork over a ton of cash to get your hands on those rarities. A ruby without any blemishes can be more expensive than a diamond of the same weight and quality.

Here are some famous rubies from across the globe:

Sunrise Ruby

Purchased by an anonymous buyer at an auction in 2015 for $30.3 million, the Sunrise Ruby (aka Sunshine Ruby) is the world’s most expensive coloured gemstone. Not bad for a gem which has had its colour described as “pigeon blood” red. The Swiss Gemmological Society described the piece as “a unique treasure of nature”.

jewellery woman

Liberty Bell Ruby

This gem, the largest mined in the world, was subject to an elaborate heist in 2011. A few years later, and after a $10,000 reward was offered, four men were arrested in connection with the crime. Despite the arrests, police believe that the jewel will never be recovered. The ruby was originally found in East Africa in the 1950s and weighed four pounds. Sculpted in 1976, to imitate Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell, the jewel was joined by 50 diamonds (one for each U.S. state) and had a worth of $2 million.

Elizabeth Taylor Collection

One of Hollywood’s most proficient jewellery collectors – likely due in part to her eight marriages to seven different husbands – it took two full days to auction all of Elizabeth Taylor’s massive assembly of trinkets. This included many ruby pieces and among the top sellers were a $4.2 million ring set and a $3.7 million necklace.

Flavour Revolution: Love Machine

In some Asian countries, rubies are placed underneath the foundation of buildings to bring the development good luck. I wish I had enough of a fortune to use gems solely for blessings!

Barbados – Sweet Heat

Grapefruits of Wrath

It took some serious digging to figure out a second post topic for Barbados. Pop star Rihanna was an obvious choice, but the country didn’t offer a whole lot of other in-your-face options… until I discovered this little nugget: grapefruits (a hybrid crop) were first produced in Barbados in the 18th century. Let’s take a look at this subtropical citrus fruit and its impact on the world:

Grapefruit was first known as “forbidden fruit” after its discovery by Rev. Griffith Hughes in Barbados, circa 1750. It has since earned status as one of the ‘7 Wonders of Barbados,’ which also include a cave, a tree, a mill, a synagogue, a cannon, and some mansions. Apparently an eight item (coral reefs) has recently been added to the list, as well.

grapefruit too much effort

The fruit comes in a few varieties, including white, ruby red, pink, golden, and star ruby (the darkest of the hues). Grapefruit even has its own special spoon, complete with serrated teeth at either the tip of the device or on the sides, used to cut the flesh from the rind.

Although discovered in Barbados, the country doesn’t crack the Top 10 list for producers of the fruit. The United States grows over 1,500,000 metric tons of grapefruit each year, dwarfing their nearest competitors. Also cracking the list are China, South Africa, Mexico, Syria, Israel, Turkey, India, Argentina, and Cuba. Speaking of China, pomelos have been nicknamed Chinese Grapefruit and are very popular around Chinese New Year for their resemblance to the moon.

One of the leagues for Major League Baseball’s spring training has been dubbed the Grapefruit League and plays out of the Florida area, while the Cactus League takes place in Arizona. The Grapefruit League has existed since 1914.

grapefruit spoon

The consumption of grapefruit can play havoc with a number of medical drugs, either speeding up the effectiveness of the dose or even inhibiting some of the chemicals needed to be absorbed. The intensified potency of the medicine can be potentially life threatening. I’m no doctor, only playing one on TV, but I’d advise you little sippers to enjoy grapefruit cautiously if you are taking various meds and perhaps consult a physician to make sure it’s all good in the hood.

Even more negative publicity for the fruit came in a July 2007 study published in the British Journal of Cancer (I guess everything has an outlet for recording their own thoughts), which stated that eating grapefruit everyday increased the risk of breast cancer by almost a third. This of course was refuted by two subsequent studies proving once again that everything in existence both causes and reduces the threat of cancer.

Enough about the bad, let’s see some of grapefruit’s benefits. First, because it doesn’t mess with a person’s blood sugar, it’s a great snack for diabetics. The citrus treat can also help in burning fat and is perfect for those trying to drop some pounds. Grapefruit is also rich in fiber, which can leave the eater feeling fuller longer and help with cleaning out one’s system. Don’t forget about all the vitamins and minerals coursing through the grapefruit. They can help with your immune system and energy level.

grapefruit_evil orange

In the Seinfeld episode ‘The Wink,’ George Costanza takes a blast of grapefruit juice to the eye, which in usual Seinfeld style, sets off a series of unfortunate events for the people that surround the main characters of the show. First, Kramer misinterprets George’s winking for giving him permission to sell a signed birthday card from the New York Yankees, meant for a sick child. Later, George appears to be winking when questioned by his boss on the whereabouts of a co-worker. The boss assumes that George is covering for the co-worker, who is promptly fired with George getting the position, which means longer hours, more responsibility and not enough pay increase to make up for the changes.

Sticking with TV, in The Simpsons episode Das Bus (a parody of Lord of the Flies), the children become stranded on a deserted island after bus driver Otto gets grapefruit juice in his eyes and crashes, following an ill-advised bowling game by the kids, where Milhouse Van Houten rolls a grapefruit that gets stuck under the brake pedal. To this day, I still think Ralph Wiggum’s banana should have won the fruit race and I will be forever perplexed as to why he lost out.

Grapefruit Juice

Grapefruit is also used in the film The Public Enemy, when James Cagney’s character Tom Powers, smacks a grapefruit into the face of his girlfriend Kitty (played by Mae Clarke). Director William Wellman added the controversial scene to the 1931 crime drama because his wife always ate grapefruit for breakfast and whenever the couple would get into arguments, he fantasized about pushing the fruit into her face to get a reaction out of her. Cagney has said that Clarke’s ex-husband enjoyed the act so much that he would buy tickets to multiple showings of the movie, entering shortly before the scene and leaving after.

There are a number of grapefruit sodas available out there, although they may not expressly be called grapefruit sodas and are instead described as citrus drinks. Brands like Fresca, Squirt, Wink (funny name, given the Seinfeld episode mentioned above), Citrus Blast, and San Pellegrino will help give you some fizz if that’s what you prefer. I’ve recently come to enjoy grapefruit soda, especially over juices, and that reminds me… we have a drink to get to!

Barbados: Sweet Heat

Sweet Heat Martini

  • 2 oz Mango Rum
  • Top with Wildberry Juice
  • Garnish with Strawberry Slices

Well, I hope you enjoyed hanging out with the Sip Advisor and learning about a fruit you never thought could produce nearly 1,000 words on information for it. Now go out and grab yourself a nice ripe grapefruit… so long as you have the necessary utensils and aren’t on any meds that may result in your death when combined with consumption!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
I feel, given the subject, that I should have added some grapefruit juice or soda to the recipe, but that may be saved for another time behind the scenes. The recipe actually calls for Wild Berry Rum, but I went with Wildberry Juice to add a little mixer to the recipe. There is no heat to the drink, so I’m not sure where the name comes from, but it’s still a tasty martini.

Barbados – Mango Crème Pie

Caribbean Queen

Well, this site has hit a new low (a near weekly occurrence, though!)… I never thought I’d write an article about pop star Rihanna, but here we find ourselves on the beautiful beaches of Barbados and she just happens to be one of the biggest things to ever come from the island country. Let’s take a look at her story:

Rihanna began singing at the age of seven and her career was launched when she signed with rapper Jay-Z’s Def Jam Records (to a six-record deal, no less). It wasn’t until her third album Good Girl Gone Bad, featuring the track ‘Umbrella’ that things really took off for the artist. Since then, Rihanna has worked with some of music’s biggest names, including Eminem, Kanye West, Coldplay, and, of course, Jay-Z. Her other hits include ‘Take a Bow,’ ‘Disturbia,’ ‘Only Girl (In the World),’ ‘We Found Love,’ ‘Diamonds,’ and ‘Stay.’

Rihanna Umbrella

Ironically, Rihanna had to ban people from bringing umbrellas to her concerts, afraid that fans would try to impersonate her dance moves with the rain deflectors and wind up injuring fellow concert-goers. It is for these same reasons that I banned people from bringing cocktail shakers into my performances. Nobody knows how to make love to a shaker like the Sip Advisor!

In an industry run amuck with nicknames, Rihanna is no different. Her monikers include RiRi, the Barbados Babe, Caribbean Queen, and even Rihanna… that’s because the singer’s real name is Robyn Fenty and her middle name has become her stage name. I wonder if the same goes for Madonna, Bono, Sting, and the list goes on and on. Speaking of Madonna, Rihanna has referenced the ‘Material Girl’ as her idol, going so far as to say that she wants to be the “Black Madonna”. Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, and the late Aaliyah, among others, have also influenced the Barbadian.

Rihanna has taken home seven Grammy Awards, eight American Music Awards, 22 Billboard Music Awards (these must be easier to get), and two BRIT Awards. Her worldwide sales total 30 million albums and 120 million singles. She has enjoyed 13 chart-topping songs and has seen her name on lists like Forbes’ Most Powerful Celebrities and TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in the World.

This year, Rihanna will receive a Fashion Icon lifetime achievement award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America. The girl is only 26 and she’s already being handed lifetime achievements. Damn, the fashion world is so ridiculous. Chew’em up and spit’em out before they’re 30… that’s a lifetime in fashion.

rihanna no hugs

I won’t go into details about the elephant in the room; Rihanna’s assault at the hands of Chris Brown, as that loser doesn’t deserve any attention from this site. All I’ll write, is that this wasn’t the first time her life was tumultuous. Growing up, her father was addicted to cocaine, marijuana, and alcohol and her parents rocky relationship ended in divorce when she was 14. Rihanna was an army cadet growing up, with fellow performer Shontelle as her drill sergeant, but dropped out of school before graduating to pursue her musical career.

Not solely devoted to the music world, Rihanna has appeared in four movies, including Bring it On: All or Nothing; Battleship; This is the End; and Home (an animated film to be released later this year). For her role as Petty Officer Cora Raikes in Battleship, Rihanna was bestowed both a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actress and a Teen Choice Award, proving that adolescents today are idiots.

The sex symbol has also appeared on the cover of a number of publications, most notably, Maxim, FHM, Rolling Stone, and GQ has been romantically linked to baseball player Matt Kemp, as well as rapper Drake. Despite the magazine appearances, she has turned down offers to pose for Playboy on several occasions.

Following in the footsteps of other bombshells, Rihanna has unleashed a few fragrances upon the world. Her scents include ‘Reb’l Fleur’ (2011), ‘Rebelle’ (2012), ‘Nude’ (2012), and ‘Rogue’ (2013). MAC Cosmetics also released a Rihanna line of makeup dubbed ‘RiRi hearts MAC’ (begging the question: who comes up with all these shitty names!?).

rihanna-sideshow-bob

And somehow she still became a fashion icon!

 

Rihanna’s Believe Foundation was created to help terminally ill children. The charity also provides medical supplies, school supplies, and toys to kids in need.

For the fans of inked girls out there, Rihanna offers a number of tattoo options. The list actually seems almost endless, but working our way from head to foot: Pisces sign behind right ear; star in left ear; a trail of stars down her neck, as well as a rebelle fleur; the date 4/11/1986 in roman numerals on her left shoulder; “Never a Failure, Always a Lesson” on her right shoulder; a cross on her collar bone; “Freedom in Messiah” and a handgun on her ribs; a Sanskrit prayer on her hip; a goddess Isis on her stomach; a henna-style dragon claw on her hand; “Love” on her left middle finger; “Shhh…” on her right index finger; “Thug Life” on her knuckles; a skull with a pink hair bow on the back of her foot; a gun-shaped Egyptian falcon on her right foot; and music note on her ankle. I think I covered them all, but now I’m out of breath!

Rihanna’s 777 Tour featured the artist performing seven shows, in seven countries, over seven days.

rihanna-xmas-card

After winning Gillette’s Venus Breeze ‘Celebrity Legs of a Goddess’ Award in 2007, Rihanna promptly insured her gams for $1 million. That same year, she was named the official face of Barbados tourism and holds the title of Ambassador for Culture and Youth. The home country accolades continued to roll in for Rihanna in 2008 when a national holiday was created in her honour. She responded with a free concert for her country folk.

In 2013, Rihanna joined some prestigious company when she had a UK Singles Chart number one for the seventh consecutive year. The others to achieve the feat were Elvis Presley and The Beatles. She is also tied for third most number one singles (13) on the Billboard Hot 100 with Michael Jackson.

Barbados: Mango Crème Pie

Mango Creme Pie Martini

  • 1.5 oz Mango Rum
  • Top with Pineapple Juice
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Splash of Whip Cream
  • Garnish with Whip Creamed Lime Wedge

This wraps up the TMZ edition of The Sip Advisor. Before this article, I could probably only name a couple songs by Rihanna or featuring Rihanna… and I’m thankful to say that fact remains true! Nothing against the pop princess, but it’s just not my type of music.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
This was a tasty, light martini that provided a rare occasion to appreciate Pineapple Juice. It wasn’t too sweet, which I was worried about going into the drink. The Whip Cream dollop on top of the Lime Wedge was fun and unique. The recipe I read says you should float the Lime Wedge, but when I tried that, it just sank into the cocktail. Perhaps a thin lime wheel would have been more suitable.

June 19 – Swashbuckler

Let Your Freak Flag Fly

Pirates are pretty legendary customers. Just by listening to “A Pirate’s Life for Me,” we get an idea of what it was like during their time, even if it is Disney-fied. Sometimes a flag was all that was needed to terrorize anything from a ship to a settlement. Here are some of the most famous pirate flags from the golden age of swashbucklers:

Blackbeard

This is a pretty epic portrayal of a skeleton pirate king, complete with goblet (other sources say that it’s an hourglass, but I’d like to think it’s a rum goblet). Perhaps this could be an early depiction of cupid, as he is trying to put a spear through a heart. Apparently this signified that no mercy would be given to any captive. Blackbeard was some badass. Legend has it that he would put smoking fuses into his hair and beard to make himself look demonic and strike fear into those he wished to attack.

Blackbeard

Black Bart 1

Bart’s first flag showed that time was running out for his victims with the pirate and skeleton both hanging onto an hourglass (again, I like to believe it’s a goblet fit for all the booze a pirate can handle). Bart captured approximately 400 ships in his three-year career as a pirate, which is a long tenure during those times.

Black Bart 1

Black Bart 2

This one has Bart standing on top of the heads of captains from his two least favourite ports, Barbados and Martinique. The ABH stood for “A Barbadian’s Head”, while AMH was “A Martinico’s Head”. Bart treated seized ships and their captains and crew from these ports especially bad because their colonial governments were always after him.

Black Bart 2

Calico Jack

This is the pirate flag that most of us recognize, thanks to its popularity in modern media. Ironically, Jack wasn’t a very successful pirate captain, but he is remembered for allowing women to join his ship (although the harlots totally betrayed him) and, of course, for this flag. The skull over crossed cutlasses has largely been recognized as the most common flag and now represents all pirates to some degree.

Calico Jack

Henry Morgan

I had to include our good friend, Captain Morgan, whose rums have always been stocked at the Sip Advisor headquarters. Morgan used the classic “skull and crossbones” flag, but with the added twist of the skull wearing an eye patch. Why he did this, isn’t entirely clear. It’s not like he wore a similar patch and the skull was meant to depict himself. Morgan was so successful that he was able to retire from piracy and became Lieutenant Governor of Jamaica.

Henry Morgan

Drink #170: Swashbuckler

Swashbuckler Cocktail

  • 1.25 oz Tequila (I used 1800 Reposado)
  • 0.75 oz Grand Marnier
  • 2 oz Sweet & Sour Mix
  • Top with Fruit Punch
  • Garnish with Red and Green Grapes and Runts

If I had ever been granted the luxury of being a pirate, my flag would have depicted a bottle of rum being poured into the open mouth of a smiling skull as the skeleton was giving a thumbs up gesture. Damn, I would have been one rockin’ buccaneer!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I’ve been wanting to play with Fruit Punch for some time now and I’m glad I finally had the opportunity. It’s a hell of a mixer, tasting so good and refreshing… perhaps my favourite of all the fruit juices. I’m a little surprised with a drink called Swashbuckler, that Tequila was the featured alcohol, over Rum, but whatevs.