April 24 – Frostbite

Bangers and Mash

Both Mrs. Sip and I have had the privilege to live in England for some time as part of school exchange programs. She lived two hours south of London, at Herstmonceaux Castle, while I spent a term in Preston, in the Northwest… not a castle. Living in England allowed us ample opportunity to explore the country and have numerous adventures!

Beatles Mania

You can’t walk through much of Liverpool without being reminded of the contributions The Beatles made to the realms of music, style, entertainment, politics, and pop culture. Whether walking through Mathew Street to grab a pint at the infamous Cavern Club, visiting The Beatles Story along the Liverpool docks or hell, flying out of the John Lennon Airport (I’ve done them all!) the band and their aura are always around you.

Liverpool Beatles

Old Trafford

Home to the perennial contenders, Manchester United, Old Trafford is a haven for fans of the massively popular football club. I was fortunate to get to see a live game at the legendary stadium and also return later with Broski Sip to enjoy the stadium tour, complete with Manchester United Museum. On the subject of football glory, I should also mention that the National Football Museum was located a short walk from my accommodations in Preston, so I was a frequent visitor!

Lake District

Northwest England’s Lake District provides a beautiful and tranquil opportunity to… chase sheep. Okay, so my journey with Mrs. Sip to the Lake District started out as a chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and see all the beautiful landscapes the area had to offer, but it degenerated into a search for crisps, lager, and wildlife harassment!

Stonehenge

No one knows exactly why it’s there and what its purpose was, but that doesn’t mean they won’t charge you to see the wonder of the world. It was an awe inspiring site to see, to be sure, but on the day I visited, by my lonesome, it was a gusty, drizzly day and all I could really do is rush around the entire façade, snapping quick pictures, before taking refuge in the gift shop.

bacon-stonehenge

This might be more impressive than the real landmark!

Alton Towers

This theme park had some really neat attractions over its expansive landscape. I remember being impressed by the Duel: The Haunted House Strikes Back ride where you are given a laser gun and have to shoot various haunted targets as you move through a creepy house aboard a vehicle. This park also featured some of the wildest roller coasters I’ve been on including Nemesis and Oblivion.

Canterbury Tales

Most of us have read these harrowing tales sometime throughout our education. My travels to Canterbury were exhaustive, but it was cool to see the Canterbury Cathedral and also embark on the Canterbury Tales interactive tour. It was a little creepy to walk through these story boards with lifelike characters acting out a few of the tales, while being the only person in the entire attraction. I felt as if it was only a matter of time before the cutout came to life and I became the next unwilling member of the stories.

Canterbury Tales

I was pretty sure these models would end up killing me…

Blackpool Pleasure Beach

The really neat thing about Blackpool Pleasure Beach, was how many of its rides were meant to echo famous Disneyland attractions. As an as-regular-as-possible visitor to the California park, Mrs. Sip and I immediately noticed knockoffs of Space Mountain and Alice in Wonderland. There were also some original offerings at the park, such as the intensely wet Valhalla, fast-paced Steeplechase, and bobsled coaster Avalanche.

Cadbury World

Cadbury is the maker of some of the finest chocolate products on the market, so this little landmark was a must hit while Broski Sip and I were in Birmingham to see Ricky Gervais on his stand-up tour. A highlight of the visit was, of course, the chocolate samples, which provided a great picture of your Sip Advisor with chocolate splash across my mouth and a disgustingly sweet grin!

Drink #114: Frostbite

Frostbite Cocktail

  • 1 oz Gin (I used Tanqueray)
  • 0.5 oz Blue Curacao
  • 0.5 oz Peppermint Schnapps
  • Top with Lemon-Lime Soda
  • Garnish with Lemon Wedge

Now before you go off, wildly packing your bags and booking last minute flights to England, I should remind you of the country’s downsides. Um… well, there’s the… no, I actually like that… oh, just go ahead and don’t forget your neck pillow… it’s going to be a looooong flight!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I’m always cautious when throwing Peppermint Schnapps into any cocktail. It just seems like a liquor that doesn’t necessarily play well with others. On this occasion, though, it made friends for life with all its fellow ingredients and the group could have auditioned for America’s Best Dance Crew with the way they were entertaining my mouth!

March 27 – Loopberry Splash

You Will Get Wet

I usually try to theme each day’s post in relation to the featured drink. Today’s subject may be a bit of a stretch, but given the word “loop” and “splash” are there, I wanted to discuss my favourite amusement park rides from around the world. So, let’s secure our personal belongings in the seat front pouch and hold on for dear life!

Crush’s Coaster – Disneyland: Paris

When you combine a kid’s movie with a turbulent rollercoaster, you satisfy all of my needs! This attraction takes guests through the East Australian Current, riding on Crush the surfing turtle’s shell. What starts out as a normal coaster turns (literally) into a very memorable one, when your vehicle begins spinning with the gravity and speed created by the ride track, at one point going into a dark room that gives space mountain a run for its money. Mrs. Sip and I are continually surprised the ride hasn’t been picked up by any of the other Disney parks.

Crush's Coaster

The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man – Universal Studios: Islands of Adventure

This is one of those classic 3-D movie attractions, but with the twist that you move from scene-to-scene in your ride vehicle. You speed, web sling, and plunge through the streets of New York, watching Spidey battle the Sinister Syndicate. Spider-Man rules, so this attraction gets bonus points on that fact alone.

Riddler’s Revenge – Six Flags

I’m not sure why so many attractions are trying to gain revenge on their riders (Montezuma’s Revenge also comes to mind), but this stand-up coaster is a wonderful salute to the Batman franchise and the insanity of Edward Nigma. Highlights of the actions include the pumping techno soundtrack and the vertical loops that wraps around the launch lift.

Jurassic Park – Universal Studios: Hollywood

I never really got the obsession with Jurassic Park until I rode this water ride. Everything starts off all nice and normal as you take a relaxing trip through pens belonging to many herbivore dinos. That all takes a drastic twist when your boat goes off course and you enter raptor cages, with the looming threat of an accidentally released T-Rex. Before you know it, the only route to safety is a dramatic plunge into the cold waters below.

Jurassic Park The Ride

The Four Mountains – Disney Parks

Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, and Matterhorn Mountain are some of the original amazing E-ticket attractions to exist and are must hit rides for any visit to the Disney Parks that house them. Without these tracks, so many other advancements in theme park technology would not have been possible.

Ghost Rider – Knott’s Berry Farm

When they warn you not to go on rides if you have back or neck problems, they were probably thinking of this attraction. It’s a classic wooden rollercoaster that spans the parks and even crosses over into the parking lot. The wildest part about it is that you’re constantly ducking your head, thinking that it’s going to get sliced off by the beams above.

Toy Story Mania – Disneyland: California Adventure

The rapid advancements in ride technology are amazing. This attraction brings out the competitive spirit in riders as you compete with your mate and all other guests, in fact, to record the highest score possible. Throw on some 3-D glasses, and shoot at as many targets as possible on the screen in front of you before moving on to the next Midway challenge. Each ride experience is different, providing you don’t mind waiting 40 minutes to an hour in line for this popular attraction!

Toy Story Mania

Valhalla – Blackpool Pleasure Beach

I refuse to buy ponchos for water rides… that totally defeats the purpose. But in this case, as we watched ride attendants vacuum water out of each boat that arrived at the loading zone, we were happy we’d taken the advice to grab a couple. I’ve never been so drenched, in my life… even with the damn poncho. Had it not been a dreary English spring day, we would have rode the ride – which featured a ton of special effects, as well as going backwards in a log flume – again, but as it was, we were already chilled to the bone.

Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit – Universal Studios: Florida

Rides that have their own soundtrack are amazing… but how about a ride where you get to pick the song of your choice, which is perfectly edited for the duration of the track. You can pick from rock, rap, country, dance and just about everything else. There are even hidden songs that you can access. That will keep the guests coming back for more, looking for the perfect jam to their experience.

Drink #86: Loopberry Splash

Loopberry Splash Cocktail

While there are many theme parks we have yet to visit, this is a list of some of our favourites thus far. Sadly, I had to leave so many rides I love with all my being off this list. Hopefully I can squeeze them into a future post.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
The final drink in my trilogy of Loopy Vodka recipes was pretty decent. The mix of half Cranberry Juice and half Ginger Ale was good and worked well with the spirit. I should have done more with the garnish, but I guess I got a little lazy.