November 11 – Burnt Martini

Hall of Fame 2014

Last year, we opened the doors to the Sip Advisor Hall of Fame, inducting five spirits, one entry into the beer and wine wing, and one mixer, as well. It was a festive evening, although nobody really remembers much about it! Without further ado, here is the class of 2014!

Jack Daniel’s Honey Whiskey

Honey Whiskey was the final cut from last year’s Hall of Fame class (with two other whiskeys going in), making it a surefire entry this year. I love this stuff, going so far as to chip one of my teeth when I couldn’t get my flask open and the container was carrying this elixir… not one of my finer moments, but it did occur. Even Mrs. Sip, who has a love-hate relationship with whiskey, is a fan of cocktails made with JD Honey (which would be my porn name if the industry was lucky enough to have me!).

JD Bees

Tanqueray Gin

Although I’m a big fan of gin, this is the first alcohol of that genre to enter the hallowed halls of the Sip Advisor Hall of Fame and it was a tough choice. After a close race between Tanqueray and a competitor brand, the nod went to Tanqueray thanks in large part to the Rangpur variety that I have enjoyed so much, since picking up earlier this year. It has leap-frogged all other options in the phylum to find its place amongst so many other fine spirits.

Appleton Rum

I’m sad to say that Appleton Rum is currently not part of the Sip Advisor liquor colletion after being a mainstay for years. After using and finishing it for Jamaica week, I have yet to replace it and Appleton has become a casualty of having to pick up other rums for the Around the World project, instead. That doesn’t mean that the fondness has faded, however, and it won’t be long before the shelves are stocked again with this fine rum.

Absolut Vodka

Like gin, vodka was absent from the inaugural Sip Advisor Hall of Fame class, an act that must be remedied. Also like gin, it came down to a very difficult decision between a few companies, but in the end, it was inspirational flavours that won the day. Absolut has all the usual suspects available for consumption, but advancements such as their fine City Series, and mixing of interesting flavours has pushed Absolut ahead of its contemporaries and into the hall.

Absolut Flavors

Hiram Walker Peppermint Schnapps

Rounding out the spirit entrants into the Hall of Fame is Peppermint Schnapps, which is great on its own as a shooter, or combined with hot chocolate and a few other drinks. Around Christmas, there are so many events that are favourable to Peppermint Schnapps-spiked beverages. It’s no wonder that mint is often on the Sip Advisor’s breath and emanating from Sip family mugs and thermoses.

1884 Malbec Wine

Wine gets the nod over beer this year in the category they share. Mrs. Sip and I have enjoyed many lazy Sundays with a bottle of this Argentinian red. I even used it for this year’s Around the World project, when the Sip Advisor visited Argentina. This wine is perfect great evenings with a loved one, relaxing and boozing (the two things the Sip Advisor does better than perhaps anyone else). I like adding a little ice to my wines (even reds), which I hope you little sippers won’t hold against me.

Dr. Pepper

In the mixer wing, Dr. Pepper joins Pepsi, perfectly depicting the evolution of the Sip Advisor’s drinking habits. When I’m looking for an easy-to-make well drink, I’ll often toss in anything from the aforementioned Honey Whiskey to Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum (part of last year’s HoF class) and top whatever spirit I’ve chosen with Dr. Pepper. The flavours are more intense with this soda than others available, making for a crisp, tasty, and effervescent experience.

Hall of Fame 2014: Burnt Martini

Burnt Martini

It’s so nice to see everyone all decked out in their finest threads. We sure make a great looking group. I wonder which spirits will finally hear their names called next year for enshrinement… only time will tell!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
As we did last year, with the Dirty Martini, we’re pulling out a very classic recipe for our annual Hall of Fame article. This edition gets the Burnt Martini, which combines two of my favourite alcohol varieties in Gin and Scotch. It was a nice drink, but certainly strong. The smoky flavour of the Scotch at the end of each sip was quite enjoyable.

October 11 – T&A Integration

Wardrobe Malfunctions

Who doesn’t love a good nipple slip? How about a crotch shot? Some butt cleavage? Whale tale? With cameras everywhere nowadays, celebrities (and even us normal folk) must always be vigilant with our wardrobe. Here are some of the most famous clothing malfunctions:

Rob Schneider Wardrobe Malfunction

Janet Jackson

This is the exposure that started the whole concept. During Jackson’s Super Bowl half-time show, featuring Justin Timberlake, Timberlake went to Jackson to pull something off her outfit only to reveal one of Jackson’s breasts. The incident was dubbed everything from Boobgate to Nipplegate and led to censorship crackdowns, fines and lawsuits. While it was the cause of a national outcry in the United States, here in Canada, apparently only about 50 people complained. I guess we just appreciate titties more!

Britney Spears

The former pop princess showed the entire world how dangerous it is to get out of a vehicle when you’re going commando. Of course, this all occurred around the time questions about Spears mental state were swirling wildly. I don’t blame her for going a little Looney Tunes. I’m a mild celebrity compared to her and I feel the daily pressure and grind to perform for all my little sippers out there. Don’t worry folks, my crotch shot controversy and baby mama dramas are coming down the pipeline!

Wardrobe Malfunction Cat

Wrestling Divas/Knockouts

It is a common occurrence in professional wrestling to get a brief peek at women’s naughty bits; especially given they’re rolling around and getting all physical with each other in the skimpiest of outfits. Some have gone so far as to accuse the promotions of making these incidents not-so-accidental. Whatever the reason they occur, us fans are thankful… it is, after all, the only reason worth watching most female battles… kind of like watching NASCAR and waiting for a crash!

Mrs. Sip

Near tragedy (or pleasure in this case) almost occurred while Mrs. Sip and I were touring Egypt. During a dinner and party, in which all us travelers had to dress in traditional Egyptian garb, Mrs. Sip was selected to join some dancers. She had previously done some belly dancing, so she was open to the opportunity. Problem was, she was wearing a top (that already didn’t leave much to the imagination) that was originally too loose, so she altered it. Moments into her dance, POP goes the weasel and Mrs. Sip has to cover up, hoping nobody caught a glimpse!

Drink #284: T&A Integration

T&A Integration Drink Recipe

  • Rim glass with Strawberry Candy Powder
  • 1.5 oz Gin (I used Bombay Sapphire East)
  • Top with half Fruitopia Strawberry and half Lemon-Lime Soda
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Garnish with Lemon Zest

I love how wardrobe malfunctions have been defined by various sources. Wikipedia states: “A wardrobe malfunction is accidental exposure of intimate parts.” The American Dialect Society defines the mishaps as: “An unanticipated exposure of bodily parts.” Chambers Dictionary lists the term as: “The temporary failure of an item of clothing to do its job in covering a part of the body that it would be advisable to keep covered.” Finally, the Sip Advisor describes it as: “Absolutely wonderful and often hilarious.” We’re all right!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This was a very good martini and I have to give a huge shout out to the folks at McDonald’s for carrying the Fruitopia Strawberry mixer as part of their drink station. The Lemon Juice and Lemon-Lime Soda add a nice bite to the subtle Strawberry pop. A tasty treat, indeed!

October 9 – Colony Club Martini

Come Together

There are some common names for groups of animals – colony, herd, troop, swarm – but I’ll be looking at some of the more unique collections. I don’t know where they come up with some of this stuff, but I’m happy to enjoy it and share it with all you little sippers!

Grumble of Pugs – Could they have come up with anything cuter?

pugs-grumble

Pack of Wolves – I’m a one-man wolf pack myself,

Flamboyance of Flamingos – No surprise here, the pink birds like to make a show of themselves when gathered.

Scurry of Squirrels – Gotta love these frantic little guys. My cat might not, but I do.

Train of Camels – Pa Sip just fell in love with the camel for the first time!

School of Fish – With a dwindling population, clearly they’re not learning very much.

Gaggle of Geese – I’m not quite sure what a gaggle is, but I don’t think I want any part of it.

Murder of Crows – So sinister and why shouldn’t they be… disease-carrying, noise-making ravages of society.

Crows Attempted Murder

Array of Hedgehogs – The chocolate variety!?

Crash of Rhinos – That’s exactly what they’ll do if you piss them off enough!

Congregation of Alligators – They make it sound so official when they meet up for their alligator symposiums.

Cloud of Bats – I’ll never forget the bats that dominated the skies in Bali, Indonesia… they’d make the caped crusader so very proud!

Gang of Buffalo – Complete with Tommy guns and pin-striped suits!

Flight of Butterflies – Isn’t it more of a flutter?

Sleuth of Bears – Does this make them all detectives!?

Sleuth of Bears

Destruction of Wild Cats – Hell, any feline can be relatively destructive. I think this fits for their whole species.

Barrel of Monkeys – Makes me want to go back and play the children’s game.

Brood of Chickens – So, chickens are vampires now?

Pandemonium of Parrots – What have parrots ever done to deserve such a wicked group name!?

Convocation of Eagles – I know the eagle is supposed to be a noble bird, but I don’t think they’ve done enough education to graduate.

Business of Ferrets – That’s one business I’d like to invest in.

Army of Frogs – Here come those plagues!

Frog Army

“We attack tomorrow at dawn!”

Tower of Giraffes – Sure, rub it in our faces that you’re taller than all us plebeians!

Bloat of Hippos – Taking pot shots at a hippo’s weight is sooooooo not cool.

Cackle of Hyenas – This probably makes them laugh more than it makes us laugh.

Mess of Iguanas – Only if they’ve been run over by cars on the highway.

Pride of Lions – One must look up to the noble, dominant lion… especially Simba!

Mischief of Mice – Mice get up to all sorts of trouble… just look at the likes of Jerry, Speedy Gonzales, and Mickey.

mice mischief

Scourge of Mosquitos – How fitting, as they are, in fact, the scourge of the earth!

Parliament of Owls – Totally makes sense, as owls are in fact unintelligent and parliament is where politicians get their “work” done and are equally as useless.

Unkindness of Ravens – Why do all the coolest names go to the birds!?

Bed of Snakes – This is the stuff of nightmares, my little sippers…

Cluster of Spiders – See above (Mrs. Sip would think this, at least).

Ambush of Tigers – No, they just want to play… that red stuff is just juice!

Drink #282: Colony Club Martini

Colony Club Martini Drink Recipe

  • 2 oz Gin (I used Bombay Sapphire East)
  • 1 tsp Absinthe
  • Dashes of Orange Bitters
  • Garnish with Lemon Twist

Did I miss any groups of animals that should have been acknowledged? I’m thinking not, but I’m always open to other suggestions.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2 Sips out of 5):
This was a very strong bitter cocktail. The strong, I can handle. The bitter… eh, not so much. No matter how much I tried to sweeten the drink with the Orange Bitters (I know, you can’t really sweeten a drink with a ‘bitters’ product) and even some Lemon Juice from the Twist, it just wasn’t happening.

September 29 – Negroni

Bittersweet

There are some legendary roles that have been passed up by actors and actresses for various reasons. That probably made some of these folks pretty bitter… let’s take a look!:

Tom Selleck – Indiana Jones (Raiders of the Lost Ark)

The Magnum P.I. star and his moustache were slated to play the role of archeologist Indiana Jones, but Selleck wasn’t allowed to vacate his TV role long enough to film the movie. The role went to Harrison Ford instead and three sequels followed. Selleck has done okay since, but lost out on playing such a treasured character. At least Selleck didn’t have to suffer through the backlash The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull received.

tom-selleck-indiana-jones

Molly Ringwald – Vivian (Pretty Woman) / Molly (Ghost)

The 1980’s icon missed the boat on a couple big roles in 1990 including Vivian in Pretty Woman and Molly in Ghost, played by Julia Roberts and Demi Moore respectively. Instead, Ringwald was living and acting in France. When she returned stateside, she had parts in TV movies and series but hasn’t done anything of note since her heyday decades ago. Roberts and Moore on the other hand enjoyed strong careers after these movies.

Will Smith – Neo (The Matrix)

I am certainly not a fan of The Matrix trilogy of movies and apparently, neither was Smith. The Fresh Prince turned down the character of Neo, saying he found the script too hard to follow. Instead, Smith would go on to make Wild Wild West, a universally panned film, around the same time. Smith has also admitted that Keanu Reeves was perfect for the role, which I take to mean the character was always intended to be one-dimensional, monotone, and boring.

will smith as neo

Mel Gibson – Bruce Wayne/Batman (Batman)

With all the uproar over the selection of Ben Affleck to play Batman, it’s interesting to note actors who previously passed on the iconic role. Gibson turned down the offer for Tim Burton’s 1989 film, believing the movie would be a flop… and this is all before his high-profile meltdown. Michael Keaton, of course, stepped up to the plate and knocked it out of the park before the franchise took a downswing with Val Kilmer and George Clooney behind the mask.

Sean Connery – Gandalf (Lord of the Rings)

The former James Bond legend passed on the role of Gandalf, reasoning that he didn’t “get” fantasy (because, you know, the James Bond plots are super realistic) and instead went on to make The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, a movie that involves superheroes and is based on comics. Yup, that seems much more grounded in reality. Connery was paid $17 million for his part in the League, but it also pushed him to retire from acting. Had he accepted the Gandalf role and the offered 15% of the box office, he could have made $400 million through the trilogy!

sean-connery-gandalf

Denzel Washington – Det. David Mills (Se7en)

Denzel reportedly turned down the role later played by Brad Pitt, saying the movie was too dark. Apparently, he later regretted passing on the part, but he did alright for himself eventually, with an Oscar win for Training Day. Se7en launched Pitt into superstardom and also paired him with director David Fincher. Over the years, the two would also combine their efforts for Fight Club and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Kevin Costner – Andy Dufresne (The Shawshank Redemption)

Costner was huge in the early 90’s and his acceptance of the Andy Dufresne role would have helped him avoid the total bomb that became his Waterworld passion project. After Waterworld, it took quite some time for Costner to rid himself of the stench of failure (must have been some stinky water on that set) and some could argue he’s never fully recovered. Tim Robbins took the Andy Dufresne part and went on to enjoy a renaissance of sorts.

Drink #272: Negroni

Negroni Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Campari
  • 1 oz Gin (I used Bombay Sapphire East)
  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • Garnish with an Orange Twist

I sincerely hope that every actor and actress whose career was launched by one of these roles originally turned down sends that person some kind of gift basket each year, thanking them for their poor judgment and decision making. Join us tomorrow for part two of this franchise!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (1.5 Sips out of 5):
I knew going into this cocktail that I wasn’t going to like it very much. I find Campari’s bitterness to be too harsh and the Sweet Vermouth wasn’t able to bring it back to a tolerable level. I’m unclear as to why this has become such a classic cocktail. I guess there are enough people out there that prefer bitter drinks.