Mixer Mania #15 – Going Nutty

The Sip Advisor feels bad for folks with a peanut allergy. I don’t know how I’d cope with existence if I wasn’t able to enjoy the legume. Not to rub salt in the wound, but here are my favourite peanut-based products that they’re missing out on:

Peanut Butter

Of the crunchy variety, of course, this glorious spread is best enjoyed in making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I have also come to like using the substance on crackers, as well as mixing it with a handful of Honey Nut Cheerios.

Trail Mix

The Sip Advisor is a trail mix fiend, particularly of the variation that includes Smarties or some other chocolate treat to complete the experience of salty nuts (peanuts, cashews, almonds) and raisins. That sweet touch is just right to balance the blend.

Trail Mix

Chocolate Bars

Among the peanut-packed confections I enjoy are Reese Peanut Butter Cups, Pay Day, Take 5, Snickers, Oh Henry!, Peanut M&Ms (as well as other chocolate-covered peanuts), and Butterfinger. Did you know, the Reese behind Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups was Harry Burnett “H.B.” Reese, who invented the treat in 1928. Amazingly, he did this while raising 16 children!

Peanuts

Although I adore potato chips, during times while I’ve tried laying off the snack, I have often relied on peanuts to get my salt fix. Whether that be through barbecue, honey roasted, or mesquite mustard-flavoured releases, it gets the job done.

Cookies

There are few things as satisfying than a fresh-out-of-the-oven peanut butter cookie. If you add chocolate chips to the cookie, you’re in heaven. I have never tried to add jam, however, so this may be a future experiment.

Peanut Butter Cookies

Alcohol

Whether it be a Peanut Butter Stout or Van Gogh PB&J Vodka, I welcome peanuts in liquid form. One of my most favourite cocktails of all time used a peanut liqueur and it was to die for. As for nut-based brews, I’m always in for a pint… or pitcher… or keg!

Asian Dishes

I’m totally into menu items that incorporate peanuts into it for a little crunch or flavour. This includes Japanese Gomaae (spinach salad with peanut sauce) and Chinese Kung Pao Chicken. Most recently, the Sip Advisor has greatly enjoyed the Hunan Kung Pao meal at Earl’s Restaurants.

Mixer Mania #15: Peanutty Buddy

Peanutty Buddy.JPG

  • Rim glass with Peanut Butter & Jelly
  • 1.5 oz Frangelico
  • 1 oz Crème de Cacao
  • Top with Peanut Butter & Jelly Soda
  • Splash of Milk

In wrapping up, is there anything peanut-based that the Sip Advisor doesn’t like? Well, I’m not a fan of peanut brittle and I’d rather not have shelled peanuts because of the effort it takes just to get two little bits out, not to mention the resulting mess. That’s about it, I’d say.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.5 Sips out of 5):
I can’t believe how hard it is to find any cocktail recipes for the Lester’s Fixins Peanut Butter & Jelly Soda. I did find this concoction and altered it to suit my needs, removing the Lemon-Lime Soda and chunk of Peanut Butter in favour of the PB&J Soda, while also lowering the milk content. The drink wasn’t offensive in any way, but there just wasn’t much of a flavour profile at all.

Sip Trips #29: Camping Capers

There’s a lot to get to this week, so let’s get right to it. With Mrs. Sip’s return from Europe, she brought home a bottle of Pimms Strawberry with a hint of Mint and a bottle of Croatian wine. Friends of ours, living in London, also had mini bottles of schnapps (peach and pear) to send back with her.

For our camping trip to Golden Ears, some serious shopping had to be done, to stock up on beverages for the getaway. While I prefer drinking from bottles, it’s always good to have some canned beer on you when camping, as it fits better in coolers, is easier to conceal (if need be… I don’t tell people how to live their lives!), and provides near identical relief.

camping tent

I grabbed the Big Rock Swinger Pack to satisfy this requirement. The mixed set included their Grasshopper Wheat Ale, 7B California Common, Rhine Stone Cowboy Kolsch, and Cherry Farini Kristalweizen, which I was particularly curious about and was looking forward to try. I like Big Rock, but I find their Grasshopper to be very light on the wheat side. The Cherry Farini was a little heavier, though, and I liked the flavour, which wasn’t too overwhelming. As for the rest of the pack, they were solid brews and just right for the summer heat.

While you always worry about whether your packed enough booze, some of the bottles I picked up with the hopes of consuming while out in the forest, I never even got to. This included the Red Truck Campfire Kolsch (ironic due to the current province-wide campfire ban), Old Yale Moon Dance Mango Wheat, Hoyne Dark Matter, and Cannery Blackberry Porter.

Mrs. Sip and I did split the Mango Wheat after returning to civilization, and while good, it wasn’t chilled to the right level, having just made the journey home with us in a cooler that had lost much of its cool. That’s my fault for jumping the gun on the beer, but thirst needed to be quenched!

camping bar

For future camping, we learned to save our canned beers for trips to the beach or hiking, as they travel a little easier than bottles and seem to stay chilled longer. Tasting glasses also seemed to be a hit, especially with bigger bomber bottles that were better split and shared among friends.

Late last week, we managed to squeeze in a bike ride to Postmark Brewing, where we sat down to a tasting flight of their beers, including the Raspberry Lemon Zest Hefe (the brew that drew me into visiting the location), West Coast Pale Ale, IPA, and Dry Irish Stout.

While there, we also grabbed a couple of products from their store, including the Glassbender Farmhouse Ale and BISA, a Belgian ISA. It was interesting to note that the Farmhouse Ale was $4 cheaper in the store, compared to the adjacent restaurant. If you’re on the fence about whether to give the brew a shot, pick it up and take it home. Mrs. Sip and I both enjoyed it, pouring it into plastic wine glasses while camping, to emulate how the beverage was being served in the restaurant. The BISA, which combines tangerines and spice, is at the forefront of my Drinking ‘To Do’ List!

bears-on-camping

I also bought a bottle of Wiser’s Vanilla Spiced Whiskey recently, as I need to get caught up on all the recipes I wasn’t able to put together as first we had to vacate our apartment due to the flood all the way back at the start of May and then Mrs. Sip leaving for a month-long vacation in Europe, taking our camera with her.

The next week looks busy (when doesn’t it?) with a family barbecue, a trip to the drive-in theatre, a Vancouver Whitecaps game – where thankfully, the stadium has come to embrace the craft beer revolution! – and who knows what else wild stuff we’re likely to get up to!

Flavour Revolution – Sriracha

Fierce Flames

Hailing from eastern Thailand, Sriracha has burst onto the world scene over the last few years, even being used by restaurant chains, such as Subway, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Jack in the Box, and many others.  Even McDonald’s has jumped on the Sriracha bandwagon. The hot sauce is made from chili pepper paste, vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt, and it will leave a sizzle on your taste buds. Let’s learn some more about the product that is sometimes referred to as “cock sauce”, thanks to the rooster adorned on the bottle:

Sriracha No Sauce

That cock symbolizes Huy Fong Foods and Sriracha founder David Tran, who was born in the year of the rooster, according to the Chinese zodiac. Huy Fong can push out 3000 bottles of Sriracha each hour, from their production plant in Irwindale, California. 100 million pounds of red jalapeno peppers are used each year to make the sauce and are all provided by Underwood Ranches in Amarillo, California.

Si Racha, where the sauce has been originally traced back to, is actually a seaside town in Thailand, with a population of almost 20,000 inhabitants. Sales of the Americanized version have topped 20 million bottles per year and that number just continues to rise.

On the Scoville scale, which measures how spicy different sauces, peppers, and other food items are, Sriracha gets a score of 2200 points, which is actually quite low, in the grand scheme of things. The hottest pepper currently listed on the scale is the Carolina Reaper (great name!) at 2,200,000 heat units. Your face would probably implode if you put that pepper in your mouth!

Sriracha Eye Drops

Sriracha has now been infused into everything from candy canes to potato chips. One of those sounds delicious and the other disgusting and I bet you know which way this potato chip monster is leaning. The spicy dip has also been added as an ingredient to lollipops, beef jerky, lip balm, and even cocktail bitters.

Portland’s Rogue beer and spirits company has produced a Sriracha Hot Stout Beer. I’ve had and enjoyed the company’s Chipotle Ale, so I’m curious to also try the Sriracha offering. Perhaps, the Sip Advisor will get his grubby hands on it during Easter weekend, when the Sip Family is planning a crawl of the Portland scene!

While Sriracha has made its way around the world, it has also left our atmosphere, aboard the international space station, demanded by astronauts, to be used on their dehydrated meals. Some folks are quick to put the sauce on anything and everything, but the most popular items include pizza, burgers, noodle dishes, eggs, and stir fry.

sriracha-food-pyramid

A 34-minute documentary on Sriracha was released in 2013, thanks to a Kickstarter campaign, which saw 1315 people donate $21,009 to the cause, in just 31 days. All this success – sales increases by about 20% each year – despite never advertising their product. Sriracha is also not trademarked, so that’s why imitators may be aplenty, including a version made by Tabasco.

The Sriracha story hasn’t been all sunshine and chili peppers, though. The Huy Fong company has been sued and shutdown over the smell omitted by their factory. Complaints from area residents included sore throats, burning eyes, and nosebleeds. That’s a small price to pay for convenient hot sauce!

The factory opened again, once the odor issues were dealt with and fans of the sauce can actually take a tour of the place, getting to see how peppers become paste and how Sriracha makes its way from harvest to bottles to consumer’s mouths. Occasionally, there’s also an ice cream truck on the site, offering Sriracha-infused ice cream!

Flavour Revolution: The Cocky Rooster

The Cocky Rooster Beer Cocktail

  • Rim glass with Salt
  • 1.5 oz UV Sriracha Vodka
  • Top with Beer
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Soy Sauce
  • Garnish with Lemon Wheel

In a not totally surprising note, I first experienced Sriracha in potato chip form and liked it enough that I want to give it more opportunities aboard Sip Advisor delicacies. I’ve heard of a Sriracha-mayonnaise mix, which has me very interested.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (1.5 Sips out of 5):
This drink is similar to a Michelada, but altogether different, at the same time. While I’m really getting into this Sriracha Vodka, I did not like this drink. I just felt that things didn’t work well together and the taste was off. The beer I chose to use was Red Truck Ale, as I wanted something that would allow the other flavours to take over and take over they did… just not with good results. Back to the Sriracha Vodka, my only qualm is that it’s not actually red, but clear. The bottle is red and I was hoping the alcohol would be too, adding a new element to my collection.

Sip Trips #1 – Holiday Hops

We begin this new, exciting project at The Sip Advisor with a look at the holiday season. Let’s start with New Year’s Eve, where every year, people fret over their plans for the evening. Are they doing something epic enough? Who are they choosing to spend the big night with? Well, this year, the Sip Advisor and members of the Sip Syndicate took our partying to the Craft Beer Market for their Best of 2014 Brewmaster Dinner.

The event featured the best food and beer pairings from the restaurant’s Brewmaster Series of dinners, throughout 2014. This included Winter Onion Soup with Howe Sound Rail Nut Brown Ale; Korean Tacos with Hopworks Urban Brewery Organic IPA, Hop Glazed Pork Belly with Parallel 49 Gypsy Tears Ruby Ale; and Chocolate Liege Waffles with Red Racer Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Porter, for dessert.

Beer for Dinner

The meal was very good overall, with the only blemish being that the soup came out lukewarm. The great staff at Craft quickly remedied this with a round of Burt Reynolds shots. The Sip Advisor also ordered a couple side beers in the Stanley Park Ice Breaker Winter Ale and the Steamworks Black Angel IPA. By the time 2014 turned into 2015, we were all about as glazed as the pork belly!

Rewinding a little, Christmas was also kind to the Sip Advisor with new additions to the collection. Sis-in-Law Sip gifted yours truly with a bottle of the new Bailey’s Irish Crème Chocolate Cherry, while Mrs. Sip was the recipient of a bottle of Centenario Tequila. Also under the tree this year was a couple new bar tools, as well as a new apron that proudly exclaims that “Sip Happens!” After all, real men aren’t afraid to wear an apron!

Mrs. Sip sure knows how to shop for me, picking up some neat Bitters Flavours that will be great for future experiments. For her, I picked up a great set of three sparkling wines (200 ml bottles) from around the world, which even came with a $5 gift card to Legacy Liquor Store. There was also a large plastic candy cane, filled with Pinnacle Vodka mini bottles, including Peach, Salted Caramel, Whipped, and Cinnabon flavours.

Christmas Liquor

Mrs. Sip, myself, and Sis-in-Law Sip also took some time to set up our own German beer tasting, featuring Maisel’s Weisse, Ayinger Brau-Weisse, and Hofbrau Oktoberfestbier. It was a nice way to try some great brews from the land of beer and chocolate.

In some liquor news, I was recently made aware of a new Crown Royal release: Crown Royal Regal Apple Whiskey, which I can’t wait to add to my cabinet. It still amazes me when a Canadian product (and a proud one at that) enters my conscious thanks to an American store’s e-mail, rather than happily stumbling upon it at any local store. At least the Canadian product will be in stores across the country, unlike many Yukon Jack offerings, which I’ve only been able to locate across the border.

That wraps up this first edition of Out and About with the Sip Advisor. Time will only tell what next week holds in store!

Belgium – Belgian Mojito

Full Meal Deal

Belgium is a pretty creative place. After all, they are responsible for the saxophone, the Body Mass Index, Club Med, Jean-Claude Van Damme (the Muscles from Brussels) and these culinary treats!

Beer

Let’s start with the fact that there are over 800 brands of Belgian beer. When Mrs. Sip and I were in Belgium many moons ago, we decided to try a bunch of different types of brew (not a hard choice, really) and were handed a menu that read like a phonebook. Each beer comes with its own specialized glass, said to improve the overall experience. It’s estimated that Belgians drink 84 liters of beer per person, per year. Those are numbers to be quite proud of!

Belgian Beer

French Fries

According to lore, it wasn’t the French who invented one of the greatest side dishes ever known to man, but the Belgians. In fact, the Belgians have an entire culture devoted to the French fry, including most citizens owning a deep fryer so they can make their own at all hours of the day. As a sauce man, myself, I’m happy to note that the fine folks of Belgium will use an array of different toppings on their fries, including mayonnaise (the big one over there), tartar sauce, and many others.

Chocolate

The sweet stuff is a big deal in Belgium, with chocolatier and confectionary outlets on many street corners. Point being, they are not hard to find. Some of the most popular chocolate brands in Belgium, include Guylian (makers of the sea shell chocolates) and Neuhaus (inventor of pralines and even the method of gift wrapping chocolate purchases). The world’s greatest chocolate sales occur at the Brussels International Airport, as travelers stock up on the goodies before exiting the country.

Belgium Waffles

I’m not sure what exactly takes a waffle and makes it Belgian (apparently this is a North American term to describe larger, but lighter battered waffles), but if they want to lay claim to this breakfast fixture, I say let them have it. In Belgium, it’s more common to see the term Brussels waffle, but it seems to all mean the same thing. In Belgium, waffles are even sold on the street as a snack on the go and sometimes from ice cream trucks.

Belgian Waffles

Brussels Sprouts

One of the most child-despised food items to ever exist, parents of fussy eaters can thank the Belgians for this culinary gem. The sprout has been grown in Brussels for over 400 years and while it could have originated anywhere, Belgium has jumped aboard the edible bud train. Mrs. Sip has recently got into Brussels sprouts, providing they’re roasted and smothered in cheese. I’m still not onboard with the leafy green, but we have a ceasefire with one another.

Mussels

Or as they know it, moules-frites (mussels and fries), has often been given the title of Belgium’s national dish. I like mussels from time to time, particularly if done in a Cajun-esque style and in one of those big pots with other seafood, potatoes, and corn on the cob. Back to Belgium’s take on the dish, the shellfish is typically cooked or steamed with vegetables such as onions, celery, and leeks, although other, more savoury techniques can be utilized.

Jenever

This ancestor of gin has been the national spirit of Belgium for hundreds of years. In fact, Jenever is a protected product of origin and can only be manufactured in Belgium, the Netherlands (where we will sample it in a few weeks), and parts of France and Germany. The traditional serving method includes a shot glass fresh from the freezer and filled to the brim. The first sip should be taken without the use of hands, before you can return to normal sipping procedures!

Belgium: Belgian Mojito

Belgian Mojito Cocktail

As a beer and French fry connoisseur, I give great praise to the people of Belgium and that’s without even taking into consideration the Sip Advisor’s sweet tooth. I won’t even deduct points for their addition of Brussels sprouts to the international potluck!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I’ve never put together what is basically a Beer Mojito, so I figured this was the perfect opportunity. My drink turned into its own ecosystem with all the greenery in there. It tasted pretty good, though, helping me further my claim to being the ‘King of Mojitos!’

September 25 – Mojo

Aphrodisiastic

I’m the kind of guy that’s ready to go at all hours of the day. I don’t need any food, drink, or other item to ‘put me in the mood’. I’ve come to understand that not everyone is as awesome as the Sip Advisor and therefore, I’m here to help all you little sippers out there that need an extra boost to get your mojo fired up. Here is an examination of some of the many items purported to help with libido!:

Chocolate – Named an aphrodisiac by women just so they can stuff their faces with the stuff and have an excuse to do so. In the end, they just complain they’re too full and not in any mood for making whoopee.

chocolate-aphrodisiac

Oysters – Well, I suppose the whole ‘slimy substance travelling down your throat’ could be practice for fun times later?

Spicy Peppers – These are sure to simulate some part of the body!

Snake Blood – Why not drink the snake’s venom, as well!? I think the only reason snake’s blood is an aphrodisiac is because once you kill one, your heart is pumping so fast you’d be ready to bed a rhino.

Dried Tiger Penis – Oh sure, this will be an easy find. Tiger’s are cuddly and approachable right!? Just like stuffed animals!

No, not that Tiger!

Bull Genitals – Why do all these cultures think that consumption of animal junk will make them more virile?

Spanish Fly – The European Blister Beetle can apparently provide a long-lasting erection that will later require medical attention. Is it worth it?

Fetal Duck Egg – Thanks for this haunting image, Asia. Apparently the fetal duck is most potent after 17 days, begging the question: who tests this stuff?

Stewed Crocodile – Sure crocs are cold-blooded killers, but I really don’t see that translating into sexual prowess, unless you plan on holding your lover underwater until they’re unconscious first.

crocodile toy

Looks like kitty got the message!

Leaf-Cutter Ants – At least they’re supposed to taste like bacon when roasted.

Deep-Fried Tarantula – I’m pretty sure Mrs. Sip would kick me out of our place if I even suggested deep-fried tarantula for snack time. I bet it won’t be long before this delicacy is being served at fairs around the world, right next to those deep-fried Mars bars!

Ambergris – This solid, waxy substance is either regurgitated or defecated by sperm whales… you know what, you already lost me…

Pumpkin Pie – So I guess people are only going to get laid around Thanksgiving… at least they’ll have something to be thankful for!

Pineapple – I always told Mrs. Sip that she should get into Hawaiian pizza. It’s tough when you’re always right!

Drink #268: Mojo

Sept 25

  • 1 oz Rum
  • 1 oz Cherry Liqueur
  • Top with Beer
  • Splash of Cola
  • Splash of Sweet & Sour Mix
  • Splash of Orange Juice
  • Splash of Pineapple Juice
  • Garnish with Tiger Penis (kidding!)

Why can’t things like hamburgers and hot dogs be aphrodisiacs? Why does it always have to be the weird stuff!? I’m going to go find me some ambergris and pester Mrs. Sip for a little roll in the hay!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
Wow, this cocktail was good. I was weary of how it would turn out given how many ingredients it called for and which ingredients you were expected to be mixing together, but I really enjoyed the finished product. Cola and Beer mix together much better than I could have ever imagined!

September 11 – Euthanasia

Nicknamed

I bet you’re wondering how I got from euthanasia to nicknames. There is a method to my madness, or perhaps more aptly called alcoholness. Famous ‘right to die’ activist Dr. Jack Kevorkian earned the moniker of Dr. Death, having assisted in the suicide of numerous terminally ill patients. That’s a pretty wicked nickname, regardless of how he came to have it. Perhaps it worked better for wrestler Steve Williams, whose physical style and impressively dangerous move set earned him the same handle. Here are some other nicknames that rule:

Stu Grimson – The Grim Reaper

This one is almost too perfect to be true. What do you name a hockey enforcer with a last name that has “Grim” in it? Why, The Grim Reaper naturally! Grimson pounded his way to 2,113 penalty minutes in a career that spanned 729 games. Perhaps most impressive is that Grimson went on to earn a law degree and practices in Nashville, Tennessee where he presumably continues to bash his opponents in the courtroom.

Gordie Howe – Mr. Hockey

Doesn’t that say respect! Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe, played an unbelievable 32 seasons of the game (split between the NHL and WHA) playing from the age of 18 until he finally retired at 52. When he left the game, the record books were largely dedicated to his successes and he is the epitome of a hockey player: tough, talented, humble, and awesome.

Madonna – Material Girl

I searched far and wide for a female to include in this article and sadly Madonna was the best I could come up with. Madge earned this moniker thanks to her 1984 hit ‘Material Girl’. Interestingly, Madonna has stated this is the song she regrets recording the most because of how the name stuck with her, despite the video being about her character rejecting diamonds and money.

Johnny Cash – The Man in Black

The legendary musician earned his nickname because of the dark clothing he usually wore for his performances (a contrast to other country stars of the time), explaining his dress in the song ‘Man in Black’: “We’re doing mighty fine I do suppose; In our streak of lightning cars and fancy clothes; But just so we’re reminded of the ones who are held back; Up front there ought to be a man in black.”

Johnny-Cash-Kitty

Wicked… Johnny Cash was a fan of kitties, just like the Sip Advisor!

Frank Sinatra – Chairman of the Board

Which board he was the Chairman of is up for debate, but one would have to assume it involved boozing, partying, entertaining, and having non-stop fun with your best pals. Sinatra could chair any board that I had a direct association with and I’d be more than happy to have him as a leader. Hopefully Dean and Sammy were members also and we’d get blitzed at every meeting!

Elvis Presley – The King

They didn’t even need to say what he was “The King” of, everybody just knew. Elvis was considered entertainment royalty, with thriving music and movie careers. He was the type of guy men wanted to be and women wanted to be with. Despite passing away in 1977, it could be argued that Elvis is even more popular now than he was as an active performer.

Drink #254: Euthanasia

Euthanasia Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Jack Daniel’s Honey Whiskey
  • 1 oz Southern Comfort
  • Top with Beer (I used Corona)
  • Garnish with a Lemon Wedge

What have I missed? Who have I left out that you feel so incensed about; you want to leap through your computer screen and track me down? I am a simple comment away and you’ll never forget my nickname… Sip Advisor out!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.5 Sips out of 5):
I had high hopes for this beer cocktail recipe and was sadly let down. There just wasn’t much going on with the mix other than a lingering taste of the Honey Whiskey. The recipe calls for Southern Comfort Peach Liqueur, which I’ve unfortunately never seen before. To spice things up, however, I did use Jack Daniel’s Honey Whiskey instead of the regular stuff. The drink also calls for each ingredient to be used equally (4 oz per), but that just seems wasteful to me, so I dropped the increments. I used a lighter beer in Corona, so as to let the liquors come through stronger.