Ukraine – Black Sea Blackout

Hearty Homage

While I’m not of Ukrainian descent in any way, Ma Sip always made a point of celebrating Ukrainian Christmas in late January. With that, came a healthy dose of perogies and cabbage rolls. Borsht is also an originally Ukrainian dish, which has been adapted around the world. You might not want to read this article on an empty stomach, because we’re delving into the best of Ukrainian cuisine!

Borscht

This soup, made from beets, cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, onions, and spices is a Ukraine original. There is said to be about 30 different varieties of borscht, depending on ingredients used. Borscht can be served either hot or cold, just like pizza, although I don’t think the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will be going out of their way for soup. The country is also known for a number of other brothy offerings, none of which seem overly appetizing, in the Sip Advisor’s opinion.

Borscht Dog

Similar to the fabled Bible Belt in the United States, there is a Borscht Belt, referring to parts of Upstate New York, where many Jewish immigrants vacationed between the 1920s and 1970s, bringing the Ukrainian dish with them over to America. Also dubbed the Jewish Alps, the area consists of many out of business summer resorts, although many stars got their start performing there, including comedians, singers, dancers, musicians, and variety acts. The area even inspired Fozzie Bear!

Pierogies

Although the pierogy was invented in Poland, it is a staple of Ukrainian meals. The people of Ukraine call these dumplings varenyky and they can be found stuffed with potato and cheese, meat, cabbage, mushrooms, or anything else that meets your fancy. Pierogies can be either savory or sweet and while some choose to boil their dumplings, the Sip Advisor is an advocate for the fried variety, especially if topped with crisp bacon, sautéed onions, and drizzled with ketchup and ranch dressing (freaky deaky!).

Pierogi Eater

The dessert pierogy options are typically stuffed with various berries or even cheese. They are topped with anything from butter to jam to honey. There is even a type of pierogy called Lazy Varenyky and we all know how fond of laziness the Sip Advisor can be. Varenyky monuments can be found in a couple Ukrainian towns and have even popped in in Glendon, Alberta, Canada, and Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States.

Cabbage Rolls

While never likely to make the Sip Advisor’s list of favourite foods, cabbage rolls have a devoted following around the world. In the Ukraine, cabbage leaves are either pickled or parboiled and then usually stuffed with only rice. This was because cabbage rolls were a meal of the peasants and meat was too expensive. Of course, the recipe has evolved in recent times to include meats, vegetables, and even tofu.

Cabbage Rolls Food

Cabbage rolls are typically cooked in or topped with sauces such as tomato juice, beef or vegetable stock, or different soup broths. Variations of this Eastern European classic have travelled the globe, to places including China (bai cai juan); Japan (rōru kyabetsu); Brazil (charuto de repolho); Iran (dolmeye kalam); Quebec, Canada (cigares au chou); and numerous other locales.

Babka

Famously known for its inclusion in an episode of Seinfeld, where Jerry and the gang are picking up a cake for a party they’ve all been invited to and in typical fashion, things go quite differently than intended. The Babka is a sweet bread, often baked with raisins and other dried fruit. It is mostly only produced at Easter to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ – as the dough rises, so shall the lord… or something to that effect!

Babka Barker

Unlike most cakes, which are long/round, the Babka is tall and cylindrical. The Babka dates back thousands of years, with evidence that ancient Greeks and Romans dined of the delicacy. Some versions of the dessert, typically from Sardinia, Italy, are decorated intricately with flowers and become more of an art form than a holiday food item. You’d feel horrible scarfing down something that looked so festive. Now that we have an appetizer, main, side, and dessert, I think it’s time for a drink!

Ukraine: Black Sea Blackout

Black Sea Blackout Cocktail

As I mentioned in one of my 25 Days of Christmas articles, Ukrainians (as well as other Eastern Europeans) also have a 12-course Christmas Eve feast, consisting of 12 meatless dishes, meant to symbolize the 12 Apostles. This year, I will do my own 12-course meal consisting of 12 different flavours of potato chips!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This cocktail is supposed to use the regular Khortytsa Vodka and more Blue Curacao than I was willing to let into a drink, so I adapted the recipe a smidge. The results were quite nice, especially when paired with my Cran-Lemonade mixer, which is a wonderful addition to any bar. The Honey Hot Pepper Vodka also lends a nice little burn at the end of each sip.

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Germany – Black Blood

Beer Bash

It is certainly on mine and Mrs. Sip’s boozy bucket list to one day attend the Oktoberfest event in Munich, Germany. After all, Germany is already a place where we absolutely love the beers, food, and snacks, so why not join some fellow revelers. For now, though, let’s take a journey together to Munich and get into the spirit of the festival. Don’t forget your lederhosen!

Although named Oktoberfest, the event begins on the third weekend of September – coincidentally right around the time of the Sip Advisor’s birthday! – and lasts until the first Sunday of October. The event is over 200 years old and was first celebrated in commemoration of the marriage between King Ludwig and Queen Therese in 1810. The grounds which have always housed the festival are called Theresienwiese and are known by locals as the Wiesn.

Oktoberfest

Only breweries operating within Munich are allowed to supply the festival with their suds and each has a tent on the fairgrounds that holds thousands of people. The beers available include: Hofbräuhaus München, Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu, Paulaner Bräu, Löwenbräu, Hacker-Pschorr Bräu, and Augustiner Bräu. There’s a couple in that list I know I’ve enjoyed in the past, so things are looking up for Mr. and Mrs. Sip!

In the beginning, the beer was brewed in March with a higher alcohol percentage, so it could last through the summer. It was then expended in the fall, so as to diminish the stock for the next brewing season… and the circle of life continues endlessly. It should be noted that there is also a wine tent during the modern day Oktoberfests, appeasing all walks of life.

The festivities aren’t allowed to begin until an official 12-gun salute, followed by the mayor announcing “O’ zapft is!,” meaning “It’s tapped!” The first mug of ale is then handed to the Minister-President of the State of Bavaria, and only then can us regular folks start boozing. Oktoberfest has a carnival feel to it, as the event began as a county fair, featuring horseracing, various contests, and freak shows. The activities have changed over time, but the freak show is now just a natural occurrence.

Oktoberfest Punishment

If accompanied by an adult, 14 year olds are allowed to partake in all the joys of Oktoberfest and 16 year olds can join the fun on their own accord. Young children are even allowed to attend the festival (without drinking), although I’m not sure I’d want to leave my kids at any daycare tent there. The child crowd has resulted in numerous cases of missing kids, as many as 100 reports in 2012, thanks to parents imbibing a little too much.

In fact, the Lost and Found department is quite busy during Oktoberfest, having approximately 4,000 misplaced items come to their attention each year. Other lost possessions have included cell phones, wallets, passports, glasses, keys, clothing items, dentures, crutches, wheelchairs, strollers, and even dogs. Perhaps the most bizarre item turned in was a Viking helmet… although, it does kind of fit the whole theme.

Although swigging from glass beer steins is a highlight of the party, they weren’t used until 1892. Before that, stone and metal steins were filled with wonderful German brews. The current glass is called a Maß (good luck with the pronunciation!), which holds 1 litre of beer and will cost around €12 each pour. These steins are great souvenirs, but rather than purchase one, many tourists will try to steal it (Mrs. Sip, I’m looking at you!). This can result in a charge of theft if caught by security guards.

Oktoberfest Lost Child

If you can’t handle the stronger beer mixed with hot temperatures, you may be labeled with the term Bierleichen, which translated means Beer Corpse. Water and pop are also available for purchase to quench your thirst, but cost nearly as much as the booze, so you might as well keep drinking beer. Food options include roasted chickens, sausages, giant pretzels, and other traditional German fare.

Some downsides: While tourists may have visions of oom-pah bands playing the day away, while getting their drink on, music above 85 decibels isn’t allowed to be played until after 6:00pm. Also, to use a toilet, you will likely be charged, but that’s no different to other parts of the country and continent. This concept has provided some funny stories for the Sip Advisor over the years and travels.

To get a spot in one of the packed tents, visitors may have to purchase food and drink vouchers beforehand, sort of a reservation, exhibiting that you will make full use of the tent and drop some good money inside. Similarly, hotels book up very quickly during this time and making arrangements one year in advance is common. The price for accommodation will also be at a premium, so beware!

Oktoberfest Sleep

In 2004, a counterfeit ticket ring was busted after waiters inside a couple of the tents contacted police when they were handed suspicious vouchers. Had the scheme worked, the beer companies would have lost about $500,000 thanks to the nearly 30,000 forgeries. Sticking with crime, stein fights are known to occur and serious injuries have happened. Prosecution can lead to sentences of between six months and life in prison, depending on severity of the injuries.

Sadly, Oktoberfest has been forced into cancellation 24 times, mostly as a result of war and cholera epidemics. There were also issues during the 1920’s depression, which caused the event to be missed. On the bright side, Paris Hilton was banned from future Oktoberfests after attending the festival in 2006 as a spokesperson for a local canned wine product. She was said to have cheapened the event… a serious no-no in Munich circles.

Amid all the celebrating, a terrorist attack occurred at the 1980 Oktoberfest, where a pipe bomb was detonated, killing 13 people and injuring more than 200. Officials concluded that it was the work of right-wing extremist Gundolf Köhler, who died while placing the explosive. There is some dispute over whether Köhler acted alone or was part of a larger conspiracy.

Oktoberfest 2013 - Opening Day

The festival has jumped into the digital age with a few apps that enhance the whole experience. The event’s official app lets users input their height, weight, and how much beer they’ve consumed to learn their blood-alcohol level and how long it will take to sober up. There’s also the ‘Wiesn Flirt and Find’ app, which allows visitors to meet on the grounds for romance, a quick hook-up, or whatever else they may fancy.

If you can’t get to Germany, Oktoberfest events around the world include: Cincinnati, Ohio (largest in the United States); Denver, Colorado; Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario (largest in Canada); Blumenau, Brazil; Lima, Peru; Hong Kong, China; Bangalore, India; Hoh-Chi-Minh City, Vietnam; and Taybeh, Palestinian, of all places. Taybeh is home to the only brewery in all of the West Bank region.

Germany: Black Blood

Black Blood Cocktail

  • 1 oz Jagermeister
  • 1 oz Blue Curacao
  • Top with Squirt
  • Garnish with a Lemon Wedge

If anyone out there wants to sponsor the Sip Advisor’s trip to Oktoberfest, that would be awesome. In exchange, I’ll try to steal a stein for you, risking freedom and well-being for my generous benefactor. I think it would totally be worth it!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
As per usual, I went with Grapefruit Soda over Grapefruit Juice because I’ve learned over time that I just don’t like heavy juices (orange, pineapple, etc.) in my cocktails. These colours came together really interestingly, with the yellow Squirt turning some of the Blue Curacao and Jagermeister green. It certainly isn’t black, like the drink’s name would have you thinking.

July 5 – Too Cool for School

Teacher’s Pet

I have never felt comfortable in a teacher or trainer position and while these folks only play the role on TV and in movies, they do a pretty damn good job of it. I tip my metaphorical hat and give them my full attention. Here are the top five educators in media:

#5: Mr. Feeny – Boy Meets World

Guide and neighbour to the young, impressionable Cory Matthews, Mr. Feeny will always be remembered as the voice of Knight Rider… I mean as the voice of reason when Cory was facing a dilemma at school or in his personal life. As the kids moved from grade school to high school to college, Feeny came along with them, jumping from teacher to administrator to professor to pedo… no, he never went that far. When you really think about it, though, how awful would it be to live next door to your teacher/principal/professor? He’d always know what you were up to and there’d be no separation of school and not school.

What Would Mr. Feeny Do

#4: Mr. Belding – Saved by the Bell

Mr. Belding is the authority figure children of the 80’s most identify with, as a school disciplinarian. His many run-ins with Zack Morris and the gang led to many of our fondest childhood memories and without him, we probably wouldn’t realize that principals actually do have a heart and are, in fact, real people. Belding was not without his faults, though. His relationship with his students bordered on creepy. He had a guy’s night with Zack, Slater and Screech, eating pizza and talking philosophically with the boys in Zack’s bedroom. What kind of absentee parents would allow this to happen under their own roof?

#3: Mr. Garrison – South Park

Mr. Garrison, has gone from Mr. to Mrs. and back to Mr. again. He’s been straight, gay, lesbian and even hat-sexual. While dealing with the potty-mouthed children at South Park Elementary, Garrison is just as likely to be caught cursing up a storm and acting as childishly as his students. His antics have resulted in his being fired or suspended on a few occasions and he seems to suffer from a number of mental health issues. Whether it be Mr. or Mrs. or something completely different, Garrison is one of the funniest recurring characters on the show and being in his classroom would be a very unique experience.

Mr. Garrison

#2: Dean Pelton – Community

Much like Belding, Dean Pelton has an odd affiliation with his student body, particularly that of Jeff Winger, unofficial leader of everyone’s favourite study group. While he just wants to better the image of his school, he goes about it in all the wrong ways, often leading to mass chaos on the campus. For example, end-of-the-year paintball tournaments have turned the community college into a post-apocalyptic warzone. If that is enough to make you want to enrol at the school, which for the Sip Advisor it is, then well done Dean… mission accomplished!

#1: Principal Skinner – The Simpsons

Perhaps the longest running school official and therefore, the most famous on this list, Skinner has a tough job, trying to operate Springfield Elementary on a shoestring budget and dealing with delinquents like Bart Simpson and below-average intelligence pupils, such as Ralph Wiggum. When he’s not challenged by the student body, he has to deal with Superintendent Chalmers breathing down his neck. And did you know that he’s not even the real principal Skinner??? Oh wait, we were supposed to completely forget that ever happened. My bad.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Too Cool for School

Too Cool for School Shot

  • Rim glass with Coconut Shavings
  • 0.3 oz Coconut Rum
  • 0.3 oz Mango Rum
  • 0.3 oz Blue Curacao
  • 0.3 oz Orange Juice
  • 0.3 oz Pineapple Juice

Honourable mentions include Gabe Kotter (Welcome Back Kotter), Peggy Hill (King of the Hill), and anything Ben Stein does (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off/The Wonder Years). I only include them so as to avoid the omnipotent threat of detention!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
Yet another cocktail I had to convert into a shot for my own purposes… what is this world coming to!? The shot was heavy with tropical juices, but it was nice to have the Mango and Coconut Rums come in with the aftertaste. This shooter provided my first opportunity to use the Bols Blue Curacao foam I picked up in Europe and I think I’ll have a lot of fun playing with this neat product in the future!

April 12 – Drunken Bunny

Bunny Style

It’s the season of the bunny… which means copious amounts of sex, right? Hmmm, apparently it just means lots of chocolate, jelly beans and other candy… I’ll take it! Here are the top five hippity hoppities (a colloquial term for rabbits):

#5: Br’er Rabbit – Song of the South

Ol’ Br’er Rabbit is always getting himself into trouble, which means the Sip Advisor has to bail him out and end up plummeting into the Splash Mountain briar patch, resulting in getting soaked. You know, sometimes I want to see Br’er Bear and Br’er Fox get their hands on the damn rabbit and tear him limb from limb. Together, we could celebrate with a jug of moonshine, some rabbit stew, and a barbecue cookout with all the trimmings. We could even watch Song of the South, providing we can find a copy of the banned film.

briarpatch

Why does Br’er Rabbit look happy to be thrown off a cliff into a briar patch!?

#4: Roger Rabbit – Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

You have to give a ton of respect to anyone (and I mean ANYONE) who can land the vivacious Jessica Rabbit. Sure, all Roger wants to do is play pattycake with her and that’s why I invented a sexual maneuver with the same moniker. Back to Double-R, I wonder if they’ll ever get around to doing the long-rumoured sequel to Who Framed Roger Rabbit? It’s taken more than two decades to sort things out, but producers don’t seem any closer to working on the prequel project that would apparently see Roger in his earlier days.

#3: Greg – Greg the Bunny

This adorable Fabricated-American isn’t just cute and cuddly… he’s naïve and innocent to boot. By chance, Greg joined the cast of Sweetknuckle Junction (inadvertently replacing his idol Rochester Rabbit), a children’s show akin to Sesame Street. The difference being that off-screen, his fellow puppets Warren the Ape, Count Blah, and others have a bad side that includes sex, drugs, and alcohol – sounds like fun, don’t it! Greg has to work hard to keep up with his cast mates, all while living the life of a second-class citizen among all the humanoids.

gregbunny

A meal with Gilbert Gottfried… Fabricated-Americans get all the lucky breaks!

#2: Babs and Buster Bunny – Tiny Toon Adventures

Babs and Buster, no relation, are a mischievous duo that head the crop of Acme Looniversity students and are looking to be the next generation of cartoon stars, following in the footsteps of the fabulous Looney Tunes gang. With school principal Bugs Bunny acting as their mentor, the two are the heir apparent to the Looney Tunes throne. Buster is Bugs’ intelligent, calculating side, while Babs represents Bugs’ manic, wild side. The couple comes together for a perfect mixture of mayhem. And I can’t be the only one who found Babs kind of attractive with her spunky attitude and sweetness. I mean, at least if you’re into animated femme fatales.

#1: Bugs Bunny – Looney Tunes

There’s no other way to say it: Bugs Bunny is an icon! His feuds with Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, and so many others are legendary. The great thing about Bugs is that he’s not impervious to his own battles and doesn’t always end up on the winning side. Surprisingly, the creators of the character didn’t think it would be the smash Bugs ended up being. Bugs has entertained his way to being a symbol for the entire Warner Bros. company (well, him and that damn singing frog!) and is still used in numerous media today.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Drunken Bunny

Drunken Bunny Shot

  • 0.5 oz Orange Rum
  • 0.5 oz Blue Curacao
  • 0.5 oz Melon Liqueur
  • Top with Whip Cream
  • Garnish with Mini Eggs Bits

I have to give out some kudos to some bunnies that are best associated with company logos and mascots. This would include the Playboy Bunny (logo or girls, they’re all good), the Cadbury Bunny (I love me some crème and mini eggs), and the Energizer Bunny (we all wish we had its stamina). Which rabbit would you have liked to see shoehorned into this list? Happy Easter y’all!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This is actually a cocktail recipe that I’ve adapted into a shooter, which I seem to have to do a lot around here! The liquid is delicious, although I had to combine White Rum and Grand Marnier to achieve the desired Orange Rum. The Mini Eggs Bits at the end of the drink were a very nice touch and were easy to crush up for the shooter.

April 12 – Canuck-tini

Rebuild Realization

As the NHL season winds to a close and the playoffs are set to begin, the Sip Advisor’s team, the Vancouver Canucks only have a spring of golf tee times to look forward to. This rare occurrence over the last decade is the culmination of the squad unraveling since their 2011 Stanley Cup Final appearance, thanks to a few highly-publicized misfires. Please forgive me a moment to regionalize my work for this site, as here are the top five reasons the Canucks are in need of a reboot:

#5: Trading for Derek Roy

While some trade deadline rental deals work out and the player sticks with the team for a few seasons (ie. Chris Higgins and Max Lapierre in 2011), trading for Derek Roy from the Dallas Stars in 2013 completely blew up in the Canucks collective face. Roy never seemed to click with his Vancouver teammates and signed with St. Louis in the off-season. Worst of all, the ‘Nucks gave up some of their future in the deal, trading away defensive prospect Kevin Connauton and a second round draft pick, which was used to select goaltender Philippe Desrosiers. Only time will tell if that comes back to bite Vancouver in the butt later.

Fun for Whole Family

#4: Trading for David Booth

A former 30-goal scorer with the Florida Panthers, Booth has scored a combined total of 26 tallies in his nearly three seasons with the Canucks. While Vancouver only gave up a couple of players (Mikael Samuelsson and Marco Sturm) who didn’t seem to fit with the club going forward, Booth has never been able to live up to the expectations fans first hoped for when he came to the Canucks and has found himself frequently on the injured reserve list. Booth is certainly a buyout candidate this summer, despite his strong play to end the campaign, with one season remaining on his six-year, $25.5 million contract.

#3: Trading for Keith Ballard

Looking to beef up their options on puck-moving defensemen, the Canucks traded for Keith Ballard, of the Florida Panthers, at the 2010 NHL Draft. To land the rearguard, Vancouver gave up former first round draft choice Michael Grabner, Steve Bernier, and their opening pick of that draft, which turned out to be Quinton Howden. Grabner flourished with the New York Islanders, scoring 34 goals in his rookie season after being waived by the Panthers. Bernier is a regular with the New Jersey Devils, while Howden is now cracking the Florida line-up. Ballard was bought out in the 2013 off-season after a couple seasons of ineffectiveness and time spent in the press box.

Canucks Riot

#2: Trading Cody Hodgson

Hodgson apparently wanted out of Vancouver, but trading him away depleted a strong center ice core. With Ryan Kesler likely on his way out of town, Hodgson could have seamlessly slotted into the second-line center role that would have opened up. Getting Zack Kassian in the deal was a decent return, but he has yet to realize his full potential. Some have argued, however, that he hasn’t been given a fair chance to succeed under the current coaching regime. Hodgson, meanwhile, has put up 85 points for the Buffalo Sabres since the swap, leaving Vancouver (Kassian has 41 points in the same time) without the greatest prospect they’ve had in years.

#1: Trading Cory Schneider/Roberto Luongo

This whole fiasco lost the Canucks not only their number one netminder, but also the goalie of their future. When the team moved on from Luongo during the 2012 playoffs, I knew he was done with the squad… yet the saga lasted until March 2014 and by that time, Schneider had already been dealt. Now, the Canucks are left with two young, inexperienced and unproven tenders in Eddie Lack and Jacob Markstrom, while their once solid tandem wins games for other franchises. That puts a lot of pressure on the shoulders of Bo Horvat (drafted with the pick exchanged for Schneider) and Shawn Matthias (the other part of the Luongo deal, along with Markstrom).

Super Saturday Shot Day: Canuck-tini

Apr 12

  • 0.5 oz Raspberry Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Blue Curacao
  • Dash of Honey
  • Garnish with Mint Leaves

Hopefully, the Canucks can clean things up a little at this year’s draft and through free agency. Picking up a free agent goalie and trading Ryan Kesler (I hate to see him go, but he clearly wants out) for a package of assets could get this reboot off the ground quickly. I can’t help but notice that the Florida Panthers have played a great role in Vancouver’s misery and demise. That said, Florida can also be credited with the Canucks’ last ascension, when Roberto Luongo was plucked from the Southeast Division in 2006.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
After a year like the one Canucks fans just endured, downing copious amounts of alcohol is in short order. Will this shot do the trick? Well, it can’t hurt! This martini recipe comes from the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel in Vancouver and I’ve taken the liberty of converting it into a shooter. It was okay and probably makes a better martini, to be honest. You mostly taste the Blue Curacao, with a hint of the Raspberry Vodka. Much like the Canucks 2013-14 season… it’s disappointing!

China – China Blue

Great Walls of Fire

The Great Wall of China was erected (that word always makes me giggle) over a number of eras and decades and is one of the most impressive engineering feats in history. Since its construction, it has become a world famous monument and used for countless other achievements. Here are some of its notable uses and appearances:

Big Air

There have been a number of attempts by bikers, skateboarders, and the like to jump the Great Wall. Extreme athlete Travis Pistrana even tackled the challenge on a toy bike. Sadly, not every attempt has been successful. Two Chinese BMX riders were looking to fly over the wall to celebrate a national holiday. One landed safely in the area set up to catch the falling stuntmen, but the other flew right over it to his death. So much for home field advantage!

Great-wall-I-can-hold-it

Go Your Own Way

While jumping the Great Wall is a dream for some, that vision wasn’t held by cyclist Kevin Foster. Instead, Foster wanted to travel a fair chunk of the world heritage site. In 50 days, Foster trekked 1,174.8 miles of the wall, through sandstorms, hail, monsoons, high temperatures, and even a crash that sent him through a portion of the structure and caused three broken ribs. The journey was called “the last, greatest, cycling adventure on the face of the earth.”

Running with the Wall

Most little sippers, like the Sip Advisor, probably don’t follow the sport of free running. It’s basically akin to parkour, but involves more theatrics… wait, there can be even more acrobatics thrown in? World renowned free runner (you can be renowned in this field?), Ryan Doyle put the Great Wall in its place as part of his Red Bull World Wonders Tour. Remember, Red Bull: It gives you wings… and hopefully not because you’re dead and on your way to the afterlife.

Super Repairs

In perhaps one of the cheesiest special effects of all-time, Superman used laser vision to repair the Great Wall after it had been damaged by the equally cheesy villain, Nuclear Man (before The Simpsons Radioactive Man). This all came about in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, which effectively killed the movie franchise. I’ve never been a Superman fan, but I have to give him credit for fixing a landmark I have yet to see.

Building the Wall

In 2005, a number of acts gathered for a concert using the Great Wall setting as a backdrop. Headlined by Boyz II Men, other performers included Cyndi Lauper and Alicia Keys. The show was recorded for a DVD release, The Great Wall Concert (I’m blown away they couldn’t come up with a more glitzy name than that), and also included interviews with historians, visits to other Chinese landmarks, and comedy performances on the streets of Beijing.

Abracadabra

There has been some amazing feats performed in the world of magic and David Copperfield’s act of walking through the Great Wall has to be among them. What else would you expect from the same man who has levitated above the Grand Canyon, made the Statue of Liberty disappear, and wed Claudia Schiffer!? For this illusion, Copperfield used a sheet and his faithful assistant to appear to go through the legendary wall… his secret is safe with me!

Maid in China

Rope Tricks

Chinese acrobat Adili Wuxor (dubbed the ‘Prince of Tightrope Walking’) and his apprentice Yakup Jang performed a tightrope walk of 1,100 feet from one point of the Great Wall to another in 2013. It’s estimated that the duo was 328-feet above the ground at the highest point. If that wasn’t enough, the stuntmen performed some theatrics during the 40-minute crossing, including sitting on the rope, balancing on one foot, dancing, and even going blindfolded.

The Wall is Not Enough

While it has yet to happen in a Bond film, it has long been rumoured and researched to film a motorcycle chase scene at the Great Wall for the long running franchise. First dreamt up for the 1989 License to Kill, negotiations with the Chinese government hit a snag when the politicians asked for power over the script. The most recent 007 saga, Skyfall, was to include the fabled act, but plans changed and although Bond travels to China, the Great Wall was not used.

China: China Blue

Mar 31

  • 2 oz Chu Yeh Ching Chiew
  • 0.5 oz Blue Curacao
  • Top with Lychee Juice and Grapefruit Juice
  • Garnish with Lemon and Lime Wheels

I’m proud of all you little sippers for traversing the Great Wall with me and not needing to be carried by bodyguards like that twerp (nee douche bag) Justin Bieber. Now that was an amazing feat… of stupidity!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
Some say Chu Yeh Ching Chiew is similar to wine, others to gin, and some classify it as closer to vodka. One site calls it Chinese Bamboo Leaf Vodka and that’s good enough for me! What really matters is that it’s believed to cure hangovers… well, at least for you hangover prone little sippers out there. As for this cocktail, it’s not bad. The flavour is indescribable thanks to the mix of Chu Yeh Ching Chiew and Lychee Juice; two flavours I don’t know very well. It could use some fizz, however.

February 8 – Cryonic Shock

Science Fact

There are some crazy ideas out there in sci-fi land. Some are so far-fetched that only the imagination could ever dream them up. Regardless of their practical application, here are the top five items I wish actually existed:

#5: Teleporters

How great would it be to instantly zap yourself from work to home, avoiding a tiresome and frustrating commute? How about being able to travel around the world in a flash… and not have to be a mutant to do so? Hell, even Urkel had one of these bad boys! I think the best use of a teleporter would be to pop in and out of people’s room, Monsters Inc.-style and scare the bejesus out of unsuspecting folk. Paranormal Sip Activity, yo!

teleport machine

#4: Cryonics

Let me set this up for you with a scenario we’ve all had loom before us in our future. Your significant other wants you to attend some show you have absolutely no interest in. And hey, this door swings both ways. While I’ve been dragged to plays and musicals before, I’ve also done the dragging, taking Mrs. Sip to the odd wrestling show or football game. The solution? Freeze yourself right through to the day following the event you need to avoid and voila, you’re safe and sound!

#3: Space Vehicles

Ranging from hovercrafts to light speed travel pods, I can’t wait for the days when traffic not only doesn’t limit me, but can no longer get me killed. I’d like to think of myself as a good driver, but there are so many bad ones out there. How nice would it be to leave out all the guesswork and even the playing field. Or, better yet, be able to take to the skies and zoom past the horrible motorists… although air transportation would surely provide its own slate of concerns.

Jetsons-science

#2: Death Rays

I wouldn’t say that I’m a violent person, but put one of these babies in my hands and goodbye homeless population! What’s that? You want my hard earned money so you can waste it on booze… wait, I’m all for that noble cause and that is where the cash is going anyway… where was I, oh right, ZAP! Goodbye panhandler, my money is mine to waste on jelly beans and race horses.

#1: Robots

Providing they don’t rise up and try to take over the world, having robots at our beck and call to do every single daunting task we don’t want to do would be amazing. We’re getting there, what with our Roomba vacuums and assembly lines. Best of all, you could have your pick of famous robots from Rosie of The Jetson’s fame to Bender Rodriguez from Futurama. I’d probably settle on Short Circuit’s Johnny-5 thanks to his mix of heart, intelligence, humour, and love of Steve Guttenberg.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Cryonic Shock

Cryonic Shock Shooter

  • Rim glass with Sugar
  • 0.5 oz Blue Curacao
  • 0.5 oz Ouzo
  • 0.25 Brandy
  • 0.25 White Rum
  • Splash Sweet & Sour Mix

Which science fiction creations would you love to see in the real world? How would you best use them to your advantage? What do you hope never sees the light of day? I eagerly await your thought-provoking responses!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
I adapted the cocktail version of this recipe to turn it into a shooter. Despite the wide array of ingredients, I liked this shot. You never know how the licorice-flavoured spirits will behave when combined with other ingredients, but in this case, I feel the Ouzo enhanced the shot, rather than making it suffer as a result of its inclusion. The Sugar Rim, which I created with candy powder was also a nice sour bonus to go along with the sweet liquid.