Australia – Moonlight Martini

Land Down Under

We’re going “down under” as we leave Estonia for the warmth and beauty of picturesque Australia. Mrs. Sip lived in the country for half a year and I was lucky to join her for six weeks. While together, we toured a fair portion of the country. There were numerous and diverse sites that we both fell in love with during our stay. Here are some of our favourites:

Phillips Island

Home to the World’s Smallest Penguins, hundreds of tourists gather each day and brave the elements to watch the little flightless birds return from the water, like clockwork, to their burrows on Phillips Island. Sadly, but understandably, you’re not allowed to take photos of the tiny travelers, as flashes from cameras can blind them and cause them to become disoriented, get lost, and turn into easy prey for predators.

Penguin Parade

Great Barrier Reef

Cairns is home to the Great Barrier Reef and its impressive collection of coral formations. In some of the clearest, most stunning water I’ve ever been in, I did my first ever scuba dive and saw species of sea creatures I may never see up close again. We also snorkeled the area for a few hours and enjoyed the bathtub temperature of the ocean… plus, it’s always fun to perv on Mrs. Sip in the water!

Daintree Rainforest

Also while in Cairns, Mrs. Sip and I also toured the Daintree Rainforest, including a river cruise where we searched for legendary crocodiles and a hike through the tropical bush. The Daintree is home to an untold number of animal and plant species and you never really know what you’ll come across in your trek. Mrs. Sip was on edge about seeing any spiders, while I was ever-vigilant in avoiding snakes.

Wildlife

There are some animals you will only see in zoos and around Australia during your lifetime. We decided to combine the two by visiting one of the country’s nature reserves: the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. There, we viewed epically large crocodiles, fed kangaroos, and were attacked by parakeets and lorikeets. We even got our photos with a koala and all was well until it peed all over our friend!

Koala Currumbin

Ayers Rock/Uluru

This mystical mass of land is located in the Australian Outback and while I did not journey there for my own personal walkabout, Mrs. Sip made the trip. It takes between two to three hours to walk around Ayers Rock/Uluru and it’s also a wonderful spot to view sunrise and sunset each day. Interestingly, it’s said that if you take any rock from the site you will be cursed, leaving many trying to return “souvenirs” they’ve pick up from the World Heritage Site.

Sydney Opera House

Sydney was such a neat city (surprisingly clean and green) in its entirety, but perhaps its most famous landmark is the Opera House located in Sydney Harbour. Mrs. Sip and I did a Hop-On, Hop-Off bus tour of the iconic metropolis and spent a fair bit of time hanging out in the harbour. Tourists can even climb the Harbour Bridge for a spectacular viewing opportunity.

Surfer’s Paradise

While I failed miserably at my attempt to learn surfing in Australia, the beaches around the country are a sight to behold. Surfer’s Paradise is where all the youngsters go to hang out and hang ten. If you’re not into the beach and ocean stuff, the area is also home to numerous dining and shopping options. If you choose to stick to the sand and water, be careful of disruptive visits by anything from jellyfish to sharks.

Australia: Moonlight Martini

Moonlight Martini Drink Recipe

  • Muddle Blackberries
  • 1.5 oz Shiraz/Syrah Wine
  • 1.5 oz Raspberry Vodka
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Garnish with Blackberries

Australian wine is also a big deal and they are most famous for their Shiraz/Syrah grape variety, which was brought to the country from Europe by James Busby in the 1830’s. Speaking of Aussie wine, Mrs. Sip and I also thoroughly enjoyed the Barossa Valley wine tour we joined in Adelaide, specifically our meal of kangaroo cooked in… you guessed it: red wine!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
Given the World’s Smallest Penguins was one of my favourite Australian attractions, coming across the Little Penguin Shiraz Wine was almost too perfect to be true. Sadly, I didn’t have the Orange Vodka the recipe asked for, so I subbed in Raspberry Vodka with a splash of Triple Sec to get the orange flavour. The drink was pretty good and had a number of different notes to tease the taste buds!

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January 1 – Perfect Kiss

Mission Accomplished!!!

Well, my little sippers, we did it! *Confetti and streamers fall from the sky while fireworks erupt, setting off the ever-hated car alarms and the somewhat necessary sprinkler systems!*

missionaccomplished

365 days of boozing made 2013 a very memorable year… well, at least the parts of it I remember!

As I hop up onto my soapbox, I’d like to thank Mrs. Sip for first coming up with the idea for the project and supporting me throughout (at least until you were made more of a figurehead board member).

To anyone that provided liquor or anything else for any of the drinks made, especially Ma and Pa Sip, who often brought me items from their collection, to help with my recipes, I am humbly in your debt.

To all my fellow media moguls out there who helped along the way by liking a post, making my tweet a favourite, directing people to my site, and anything else, I couldn’t have reached the heights I did without your assistance.

For everyone out there in Sip Nation who took the time to read my wonderful prose, give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back. It takes a village to raise something, anything, and together we got this wicked site off the ground and launched it into orbit.

if-it-makes-a-difference

Getting things done regardless of the consequences!

So, I guess you’re wondering what’s next for The Sip Advisor. Well, here’s the long-awaited plan for 2014:

We’ll be switching gears from the 365-day project to a world showcase of sorts, as I virtually travel the planet and experience the feature libations of over 50 countries. Each week, the Sip Advisor will be in a new country with posts highlighting some of the features of each stop, as I drunkenly bounce around the globe.

Articles will be published every Monday and Thursday, starting January 6th with my home nation of Canada getting the proverbial ball rolling. From there, you never really know where I’ll end up… it’ll be like tracking down the infamous (and super sexy) Carmen Sandiego!

We’ll still rock the Super Saturday Shot Day entries, so join us every weekend for another shooter to get the party started. Finally, in my spare time, I’ll also be taking on various special projects for this spectacular site (including Product Reviews, Man vs. Liquor Challenges, and a yet-to-be-named Competition Page [please vote for your favourite: Spirit Skirmish/Scuffle, Recipe Row, Drink Dispute, Beverage/Bevvy Brawl, Booze Battles]. Stay tuned for all the developments.

And what Sip Advisor post would be complete without a drink recipe. Here’s one last little gift of thanks from me to you on this most glorious of days. Enjoy!

Drink #366: Perfect Kiss

Perfect Kiss Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz White Rum (I used Grand Melon)
  • 1 oz Peach Schnapps
  • Top with Lemon-Lime Soda
  • Garnish with Berries

Much love and much thanks to you all you little sippers! I wish you nothing but the best in 2014!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This is a great cocktail for celebrating that first kiss of 2014 with the nearest/dearest loved one! The drink was really nice and refreshing with tastes of berry, melon, citrus, and peach. It provided my first chance to use the spherical ice cubes Mrs. Sip got me molds for as a Christmas gift. Look out for my first product review post based on these little gems!

August 9 – The Big Crush

Love Me Tender

We’ve all had crushes. Whether it’s on a TV character, a famous celebrity or a person who actually exists in our own life, everyone ends up pining for someone. Today, not only am I going to open up to the world and let them know about my childhood and teenage crushes, but I will also do it in chronological order, so we can all see the development of the Sip Advisor!

April O’Neil

As a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fan, I was completely smitten with one April O’Neil. I wonder if she influenced me to want to go into journalism given the characters career as a reporter. Anyway, my fondness for her was two-fold. First, she was attractive and had an energy that was striking. Second, she got to hang out with the turtles and what youngster wouldn’t kill for that opportunity?

april o'neil

It’s “tough” searching April O’Neil when the character apparently shares her name with a porn star…

Kelly Kapowski

My first real-life TV crush. I loved Saved by the Bell as a wee little sipper, particularly because of the stunning Kelly Kapowski (Tiffany Amber Thiessen). Even just the other day, I stumbled upon an episode of the show and Mrs. Sip was quick to remark at how deliciously gorgeous Thiessen was (I may have put those words in her mouth and paraphrased a little, but you get the gist). Sadly, Thiessen didn’t go on to appear in Showgirls like her co-star Elizabeth Berkley did!

Jennifer Aniston

When I was young and Friends became a hit show, I fell in love with the beautiful Jennifer Aniston (how could you not with the way her nipples seemed to be iced before every scene?). I’m still quite fond of her, even as she ages. Her role as a sex-crazed dentist in Horrible Bosses is a particular favourite of mine. How Brad Pitt could ever leave her for Angelina Jolie will puzzle me until memory loss finally takes its toll.

Sunny

As a teenage wrestling fan, full of hormones, basically any women that flashed across the screen could have been a crush in waiting, but Sunny had a wild side and spunk to her that others didn’t. The first “diva” of the ring is actually currently offering to take photos with fans in a bed. For $50 you get the normal lying in bed together pic, but for $75, you can spoon the former star or have her lie her head on your chest! Now all I need is for Mrs. Sip to lend me a little cash and we’ll get everything sorted out!!!

Sunny

Post-apocalyptic never looked so good!

Rebecca Romijn

Long before she was Mrs. John Stamos or Mrs. Jerry O’Connell, I spotted this beautiful model in a GQ magazine and found myself quickly enamored with her. Romijn went on to play Mystique in the X-Men trilogy of movies, among other acting roles. She now has twin daughters and a family, so I guess we were never meant to be. That’s okay, though, there were better things destined in my future…

Mrs. Sip

A little bit of trivia: Mrs. Sip and I actually met two years before we ever started dating. And a couple months before we were re-introduced to each other, I was shown a photo that involved the future Mrs. Sip, immediately targeting her as the one I wanted. Like Wayne Campbell in Wayne’s World, I recited the mantra, “She will be mine… oh yes, she will be mine!”

Drink #221: The Big Crush

Aug 9

  • 2 oz Raspberry Vodka (I used Absolut)
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • 0.5 oz Raspberry Liqueur
  • Top with Champagne
  • Dash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with Cherries

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
I liked this cocktail, as the Raspberry alcohols and Cointreau worked nice together. The Champagne didn’t detract from my enjoyment and going light on the Lime Juice was a good choice. I put a bunch of Cherries in the drink and it was fun to eat them at the end when they were drunken!

July 4 – Firework Fizz

Home of the Brave

Today, we salute our neighbours to the south (unless you’re from the UK… why would you salute the French!? Oh okay, they do make a fine guillotine…article to come on July 14th!) as they celebrate their Independence Day (no, not the movie, you knucklehead). Here are the pearls of wisdom I learned about American patriotism from watching years of professional wrestling, where many of life’s great lessons can be learned!

#1) You want to be a good guy? Wear the red, white and blue.

A countless number of wrestlers, including Lex Luger, ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan, the Patriot, and Hulk Hogan (as his Mr. America character), have donned the American colours as part of their wardrobe. I have to ask, though, is it really being patriotic to have the American flag cradling your junk? Regardless of whether this is actually more damaging or not to the country’s shades, it’s an instant identifier that you are, in fact, to be cheered.

Torrie-Wilson

I’m okay with this kind of patriotism!

#2) The flag must never be desecrated.

With the jury still out on the crotch cover issue, one thing is for sure: the American flag is off limits. You can’t even break the pole holding the flag in half or your life is in serious jeopardy. If you lay the flag over a fallen foe, that is practically sacrilegious. Wrestlers have threatened to stage a live burning of the stars and stripes, only to be attacked en masse. Other flags can be defiled without issue, such as when Shawn Michaels stuffed the Canadian maple leaf up his nose during the early D-Generation X days.

#3) Every foreigner is a bad guy.

Well, we all knew this! The easiest way to draw heat onto a heel in wrestling is to make him a foreigner. They don’t even have to despise the good ol’ U.S. of A. at first, as long as they eventually get there. Even if the foreign character is simply being as patriotic towards their own country as any American hero would be towards his nation, the crowd will turn on them in a heartbeat. The ironic thing is that many of the greatest foreign heels were actually played by Americans. Nelson Simpson from Minnesota portrayed Nikita Koloff, who marched to the ring wearing the U.S.S.R. colours and competed in Russian Chain matches. The dastardly Yokozuna, a Japanese sumo wrestler, was depicted by Samoan-American Rodney Anoa’i. And the list goes on and on!

yokozuna

#4) If that foreigner converts, they become lovable.

When Nikita Koloff joined forces with longtime foe, ‘The American Dream’ Dusty Rhodes, he became one of the company’s most popular stars in an instant. Similarly, as the Berlin Wall fell to the ground and the Cold War ended, Nikolai Volkoff went from U.S.S.R. anthem singing baddie to a man who embraced the coming together of the two rival countries, even wearing a jacket that featured both nation’s flags.

#5) Turncoats are worse than foreign bad guys.

When Sgt. Slaughter began empathizing with Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi side of the Gulf War, he was hated so much that WrestleMania VII had to be moved from the outdoor Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to the indoor L.A. Sports Arena because of security worries, including death threats against the former G.I. Joe character (although most insiders contend that poor ticket sales were really to blame). Other Benedict Arnold’s, if you will, include staunch American flag waver Jim Duggan, who joined a Team Canada faction for a time and looked out of place flapping the Canadian maple leaf and wearing a red and white tracksuit, sans the blue.

#6) Canadians are anti-American.

It has been done countless times in wrestling, where a group of Canadians have banded together to take on the entire and overwhelming American roster. A Team Canada unit existed in both WCW and TNA, while WWE hosted the pro-Canadian Hart Foundation and the Un-Americans. While I’m all for Canadian patriotism myself, it is usually only seen in the realm of hockey. I have to give credit to the Canadian mat stars that align together in the name of our country… sadly, they always wind up on the losing end of things.

Lance Storm

#7) Politics makes strange bedfellows.

When there aren’t enough members of one nationality challenging an American troupe, odd groupings can result. At the 1993 Survivor Series, the team of Japanese monster Yokozuna, Finnish strongman Ludvig Borga, and Canadian tag team The Quebecers, did battle with the All-Americans, putting to end a number of feuds that had lasted throughout the year.

#8) The “U-S-A, U-S-A” chant is devastating to foreigners.

This seems to be a foreign heel’s kryptonite. They can take ample amounts of physical punishment from their opponent, but if the crowd revs up and starts chanting “U-S-A, U-S-A” it sends the bad guy into a panicked rage, searching for relief by manically covering his ears, violently shaking his head, and searching for all ways to relieve the stress of being chanted at. Ironically, I’ve even heard the U-S-A chant directed at a bad guy while he was facing a Canadian grappler.

#9) Forgive and forget.

I have to give credit to the Americans, when a wrestler wants to make amends for his evil deeds and return to his patriotic roots, he is accepted back into the fold without hesitation. For example, after his Iraqi sympathizer stint, Sgt. Slaughter was featured in a series of vignettes, demanding his country back. Similarly, turncoat Jim Duggan has gone back to his flag waving ways and shouting “U-S-A,” sending crowds into a frenzy of patriotism, as they eat up the decades old act, once again.

Drink #185: Firework Fizz

Firework Fizz Drink Recipe

  • Muddled Peeled Ginger and Blackberries
  • 1.5 oz Vodka (I used Bols, infused with grape powder)
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • Top with Ginger Ale
  • Garnish with Ginger-Wrapped Blackberry

The most patriotic Americans seem to be wrestlers. There was even a wrestler named The Patriot, who wore an American flag-themed mask and tights, wrestled as part of a tag team dubbed Stars and Strpes, and incorporated finishing maneuvers like the Uncle Slam and Patriot Missile. Only in the world of wrestling!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
The Muddled Ginger is certainly an interesting flavour to have in a cocktail. The blend of Ginger and Blackberries is good and Ginger Ale has still yet to fail me. The original recipe calls for Grape Vodka, but personally I have been unable to find it in any of the liqour stores in Canada. Despite this fault, the Grape Powder Infused Vodka worked pretty well, if I don’t say so myself!