January 17 – Sea Breeze

I’m Hot for Teacher (It’s Me!)

hot-teacher

Today is all about education at The Sip Advisor. At least this isn’t a science course and I’m not teaching you about real sea breezes. No, where we’re going, you don’t need any stinkin’ notepads. We’re learning through drinking. So, take off your hats and glasses, because this here’s the wildest ride in the wilderness! (*Gold star if you know where the reference comes from…)

The fraternal twin of the Bay Breeze gets its chance to shine today. What’s funny about the Sea Breeze is how many times the recipe has changed over the years. It’s as if makers of the drink were never fully satisfied with the ingredients… that or they got too drunk and forgot how to make it properly, stumbling upon better recipes accidentally. It began as a gin and grenadine mix during prohibition times, which would later include apricot brandy and lemon juice. Then it consisted of vodka, dry vermouth, Galliano and blue Curacao in the 1930’s (so yes, Sea Breezes used to have blue in it like… well, the sea!) . When cranberry juice began to be a popular mixer with alcohol, the Sea Breeze saw another adjustment to its formula (gone went the blue so that the closest ingredient referencing the sea today is if you use Ocean Spray cranberry juice).

Sea Breeze also has a family, known as the Cape Codder drinks. Descendant from papa Codder are sisters the Greyhound and the Salty Dog, as well as broski, the Bay Breeze. All these drinks saw a dip in popularity during the 1960’s as the U.S. Department of Health announced that cranberry crops were contaminated with toxic herbicides (who dropped the ball on that one?), before making a resurgence in the 1970’s, likely because of disco music (okay, I don’t know that last part for a fact, but you have to blame something and it might as well be disco. What’s disco going to do? Come after me? Get all up in my face and challenge me… to a dance off… which I would lose… dammit!)

Many popular actors and actresses have ordered the Sea Breeze on TV and in movies. This list includes Meg Ryan (French Kiss), David Spade (Just Shoot Me!), Woody Harrelson (The Walker) and perhaps neatest of all, especially for all the geeks out there who were into the whole Buffy/Angel series (which I may know all about having been forced to watch both entire series – that’s 12 seasons of awful – by a girl I once dated… and still married, despite the torture), the collectible figure of Lorne from Angel comes with his very own Sea Breeze accessory, as it was the character’s drink of choice.

Lorne figure

Now let’s all reenact the “Oh Captain, my Captain” scene from Dead Poets Society… no, you don’t want to do that for me… alright, but Robin Williams – the original Furby – is going to hold this over my head for years to come.

Drink #17: Sea Breeze

Sea Breeze Drink

  • 1.5 oz Vodka
  • Top with half cranberry juice and half grapefruit juice
  • Garnish with lime wedge

Please turn in your pencils, as time is up on the exam. Your final grades will be in at the end of the week and have a great summer. It may only be January, but it’s nice to think ahead to those warmer months, those colder drinks and the wonderful smell of barbecued meat!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
The Sea Breeze fared just as well as its sibling the Bay Breeze in that it was a decent drink, but nothing to take your breath away. They are both nice summer drinks and maybe I made the mistake of reviewing them in January.

January 10 – Bay Breeze

Missed Connections

Whenever I write a blog for this project, I try to come up with a topic that at least slightly goes along with the drink I’m presenting. Some work better than others. Given that today I’m covering the Bay Breeze, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to talk about one of the most famous, breezy (if sometimes foggy) bays in the world, San Francisco, and my chance to thank a mysterious stranger.

san-francisco

This is my version of a Craigslist ‘Missed Connection’ post. For my honeymoon in September 2012, my wife and I went on a two-and-a-half week cruise through the Panama Canal. We started in our hometown of Vancouver and finished in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The first port of the sailing was San Francisco. We had previously stopped in San Francisco earlier in May 2012, before taking a short cruise from San Fran back to Vancouver

(Note: Yep, we’re 29 going on 50 with all our cruisin’, but until you’ve sat on your own cabin balcony, clad only in a robe, with drink in hand, don’t knock it.)

On that trip, we spent most of our short time there, exploring the famous piers, where we enjoyed fantastic seafood meals, scrumptious sourdough bread and delicious pints at Beer 39 (cleverly located on Pier 39). When we returned in September, our plan was to once again hit the piers, but this time, my wife wanted to do some wine tasting. I got my beer last time, so it was only fair to do wine for her on this stop.

(Note: We still hit Beer 39 for a flight of beers because I wear the pants in this relationship!)

(Note: I don’t, but I’ve made peace with that!)

Pier 39

It was a grayish day in the bay area, but nice enough that we were able to sit outside on the beautiful fern covered patio for our wine tasting at Wines of California Wine Bar, ironically with our cruise ship situated behind us in the distance. We took turns taking pictures of each other with the ship in the background, before a woman at the table next to us asked if we wanted one together.

(Note: I love the random people you meet while out on a drinking adventure… the salt of the earth, if you ask me.)

One thing led to another and we began chatting with her and her boyfriend. They had been dating a few months and as a 50th birthday present (although the dude looked like he should have been celebrating 40, instead) she had taken him on a surprise trip to San Francisco. We chatted about our honeymoon just starting, his 50th birthday bash, which tequila we should look out for in Mexico (our next stop was Cabo San Lucas and he was a bit of an expert, given his Mexican heritage and story about how much tequila they had at his party).

It was a great way to spend some of our stop and I even found a wine that I really enjoyed, Francis Coppola’s 2011 Diamond Collection-Emerald Label-Pinot Grigio, which was kind of a big deal because I’m not the biggest wine connoisseur.

(Note: Yes, that Francis Coppola – producer of Apocalypse Now, etc. and uncle of Nicholas Cage – in case you were wondering!)

The couple we were chatting with had to run for their tour of Alcatraz Island and so with a “happy honeymoon” they paid their bill and we said our goodbyes. My wife and I finished out wine flights and food and I began wondering why the waitress hadn’t approached us for a little bit. Perhaps she was just letting us enjoy our afternoon without interruption. When she finally came over to us, she revealed that the couple had covered our tab.

We were truly touched by the generosity of these complete strangers and it was an absolutely amazing way to begin our long-awaited vacation. We have vowed to pay this kindness forward when we are in a similar situation in the future and I look forward to doing so.

So, wherever they may be and I hope they one day read this, from the bottom of my heart (as well as my wife’s), I thank both of you for providing us with a wonderful example of how to do things right for your fellow human beings.

Now onto today’s drink…

Drink #10: Bay Breeze

Bay Breeze Drink

  • 1.5 oz vodka
  • Top with half cranberry juice and half pineapple juice
  • Garnish with a lime wedge

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
I wasn’t a huge fan of this drink. That’s not to say it was bad, but it just didn’t amaze me or anything. Pineapple Juice is far from one of my preferred mixers, so maybe that played a role.