Flavour Revolution – Chipotle

Spice Spree

The Sip Advisor is a fan of spice in his beers and cocktails, so picking up a bottle of Rogue’s Chipotle Spirit was a no brainer. In honour of the liquor, I thought it would be good to look at the restaurant chain Chipotle Mexican Grill, of which I have visited on one occasion. Should I go back for more? Let’s weigh the evidence!

Today, Chipotle is worth an estimated value of over $22 billion, but its beginnings were much more humble. Founder Steve Ells launched the chain on July 13, 1993, with the first restaurant located in Denver, Colorado, financed thanks to an $80,000 loan from Ells’ father. The minimalist design that is common for Chipotle locations was based on Ells having to establish the original restaurant on a tight budget.

chipotle-burrito

Fast food giant McDonald’s was an early investor in the Chipotle business, joining the venture when it was still a budding brand with only 14 outlets located around Denver. By the time McDonald’s pulled out of Chipotle (wow, that sounds pretty bad… or delicious… I don’t know!?) in 2006, Chipotle had over 500 stores around the country. Sure, the deal netted McDonald’s $1.5 billion, but Chipotle is worth so much more now.

Some Chipotle joints in Chicago have partnered with craft brewery 5 Rabbit Brewing, to serve their specially made 5 Vulture, which is brewed with ancho chili, and 5 Rabbit Golden Ale. Other expansion the company has taken on includes a pizza chain, Pizzeria Locale, as well as ShopHouse, a collection of Southeast Asian eateries.

Sports stars Russell Wilson, Bryce Harper, Abby Wambach, and Tony Hawk (among others) have received “Free Burritos” cards from Chipotle, which allows them free meals for one year. The offer has also been extended to folks outside of athletics, including rocker Steven Tyler of Aerosmith and comedian Gabriel Iglesias.

chipotle salad

They may be rare, but free burrito coins for the franchise do exist. They boast: “In Burritos We Trust,” which is a message many of us can get behind. The coins sell for pretty decent money on eBay, but that seems counterproductive to the whole idea of a free meal.

Chipotle goes through a ton of avocados each day, 480,000 to be exact… or at least estimated. 60 avocados go into each batch of guacamole, which also included red onions, cilantro, jalapenos, lime juice, and salt. Musician Jason Mraz is one of the folks that owns an avocado farm which supplies Chipotle.

While not an officially recognized world record, Matt ‘Megatoad’ Stonie can destroy a Chipotle burrito in 35 seconds. He has also been recorded eating four burritos and downing a Diet Coke (gotta save calories somewhere!) in just three minutes.

Chipotle Server

Although first established in Denver, Colorado, Chipotle has become a sponsor of both the Boston Celtics (NBA) and Boston Bruins (NHL). It looks like teams in Colorado missed jumping aboard the burrito train and Boston fans can thank them for that.

Lastly, Chipotle delivery trucks warn that “Drivers Do Not Carry Burritos,” which puts my draft for a food truck heist movie on hold. It would have starred John Cho and Kal Penn and been the fourth installment in the Harold & Kumar franchise, seeing the two stoners in need of satisfying their munchies, with a cameo from Neil Patrick Harris as the truck driver. That actually sounds better than most of the drivel in theatres today!

Flavour Revolution: Berry Caliente

Berry Caliente Martini

  • 1.5 oz Chipotle Spirit
  • Top with Wildberry Juice
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Garnish with a Lemon Wedge

Chipotle means smoked chili and is derived from the Náhuatl (Aztec) word “chilpoctli”. Rogue also now has a Chipotle Whiskey, which looks pretty darn good and will be added to the Sip Advisor’s ‘I Want to Taste That’ list!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I really liked the smokiness of this drink, thanks to the Chipotle Spirit. The Wildberry Juice also played an important part, while the Lemon Juice gave it just enough zest to complete the cocktail.

Ireland – The Emerald

Pot of Gold

The leprechaun has long been associated with Ireland and is an important figure of Irish folklore. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will always be portrayed in the best of lights elsewhere. Here are some of the famous leprechauns we can learn from:

Lucky the Leprechaun – Lucky Charms

Also known as Sir Charms and L.C. Leprechaun (monikers he invented to avoid creditors who were after his Lucky Charms!), this imp was introduced in the 1960’s, shortly after the cereal hit store shelves. Originally, the breakfast option only contained four different marshmallow shapes, but over time that number grew to eight permanent charms. Lucky was briefly replaced by Waldo the Wizard in 1975, but it wasn’t long before the leprechaun was back with the brand. Some say he bought his way back into the picture with his pot o’ gold riches!

lucky-charms-marshmallows

O’Reilly – The Simpsons

This little hellraiser appears in a number of Simpsons episodes, most notably one of the Treehouse of Horror segments where Homer has drawn the ire of a gypsy and has been cursed. Looking to reverse his fortune, he traps a leprechaun (using Lucky Charms as bait), but O’Reilly just causes havoc in the Simpson home. When Homer takes the leprechaun to battle the gypsy, the two fall in love and are married in a ceremony performed by Yoda of Star Wars fame. O’Reilly is also an imaginary vision for Ralph Wiggum, telling the youngster to burn things.

Braun the Leprechaun – World Championship Wrestling

Leave it to professional wrestling to have a leprechaun running around the ring and causing havoc. Braun briefly appeared with the Dungeon of Doom stable, a group of dark and sometimes mythological characters, including The Yeti (although he was dressed like a mummy… no, seriously) and Loch Ness (a 600-plus pound monster of a man, billed from the Scottish Highlands). Portrayed by the grappler (real name DeWayne Bruce) that would eventually become perennial loser Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker, he is most recognized for his work training future stars, particularly Bill Goldberg.

Hornswoggle – World Wrestling Entertainment

Sticking with professional wrestling, years after Braun, another shot was taken at the character, this time using a little person. Originally named Little Bastard, the character soon evolved into Hornswoggle (which means to cheat, swindle, hoodwink, or hoax), helping Irish bruiser Finlay score a number of underhanded victories. Hornswoggle has gone on to become a fan favourite, while enjoying high-profile roles such as joining D-Generation X as their mascot, being the illegitimate son of WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, winning the Cruiserweight Title, and holding the position of anonymous General Manager of Monday Night Raw.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish/Boston Celtics Leprechauns

These famous logos and mascots have helped define both squads. For Notre Dame, the team had gone through a number of nicknames (Catholics, Hoosiers, Rockmen, Bulldogs) before settling on the Fighting Irish. This was done because a leprechaun joined the cheerleading squad and has remained on the team’s sideline ever since. As for the Celtics, their mascot Lucky was designed by the brother of legendary coach Red Auerbach. Complete with shillelagh and shamrock-adorned attire, it just doesn’t get much more Irish… although Lucky lacks the red locks we usually associate with leprechauns.

The Leprechaun – Leprechaun Movies

Played by little person Warwick Davis (of Willow and Harry Potter fame), The Leprechaun horror movie franchise has spawned six films and is due for a reboot with the aforementioned Hornswoggle (real name Dylan Postl) taking over the lead role. Falling in line with recent movie trends, the new film will be an origin story. Back to the original series, premises ranged from The Leprechaun tracking down his stolen gold, to searching for a bride, and even rampages through Las Vegas, space, and Compton, California (in the ghetto!). The first installment even featured a young and unknown Jennifer Aniston… she ended up doing pretty well for herself!

leprechaun-back2thahood

Seriously, they did not one, but two Leprechaun films set in “Tha Hood”!

Brian Connors – Darby O’Gill and the Little People

This Disney live action movie features a horde of leprechauns led by Brian Connors, the ‘King of the Leprechauns’. Connors and O’Gill are friendly adversaries, each trying to outsmart the other. O’Gill, an elderly groundskeeper is trying to capture Connors and be granted three wishes, hoping to set his daughter up for a happy life. Conners was played by Jimmy O’Dea, an Irish comedian and songwriter. Sean Connery is also in the film and he even sings! Legend has it that his role as Michael McBride, the daughter’s eventual love interest, led to him being cast as James Bond.

Shado – Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law

Known as Shado the Brain Thief because he possesses telepathic abilities, this leprechaun lawyer uses his powers to mess with opposing counsel and juries and manipulate them for his own gains. If Mrs. Sip (also a lawyer) was capable of telepathy, she’d be even more of a legend than she already is… which is due largely in part to her association with the Sip Advisor. Anyhoo, Shado is voiced by Toby Huss, who provided the dialogue for a number of characters on King of the Hill, including Cotton Hill, Kahn Souphanousinphone, Joe Jack, and M.F. Thatherton.

Ireland: The Emerald

Mar 20

  • 2 oz Irish Whiskey
  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • Dashes of Orange Bitters
  • Garnish with Orange Zest

I hope everyone finds their pot of gold at the end of the rainbow… that is, unless you have to battle a deranged leprechaun to get at your cash money. My advice is to wait until the little guys tucker themselves out before achieving your treasure. Kind of like I do with my desire to high-five monkeys!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
This is basically a Manhattan variation and it was decent. Whenever I make a drink with Orange Bitters, I go a little crazy with the dashes and that’s not a bad thing. I thought the Orange Zest bits looked pretty darn good, if I don’t say so myself. Party on!