Sip Trips #136: Exploring Europe (Part 1)

The Sip Family’s four-country, six-city European expedition has come and gone. Travelling with Baby Sip added a whole new element to traversing the continent and while she was very well-behaved, we were lucky to have a pit crew of friends helping us out along the way. Here’s part one of our journey:

Starting in London, where we have good friends living in the east end of the metropolis, our first full day happened to fall on Mrs. Sip’s inaugural Mother’s Day. With that event in mind, I worked with our friends to book an Afternoon Tea at the Hilton Hotel Park Lane. We opted for the bottomless prosecco option and enjoyed drinking for two and a half hours. As for tea, I went with the Black Currant and Hibiscus variety, while enjoying the collection of sandwiches and desserts before me. The service from staff at the Podium Restaurant & Bar was fantastic and made for a special celebration for Mrs. Sip.

To wrap up our excursion, we stopped into the East London Liquor Company for Baby Sip’s very first distillery visit. The cocktail I selected was the Black Garlic Matters, comprised of the company’s own Demerara Rum, along with maraschino, cold brew coffee, black garlic, cola, and orange. The drink was delicious and I savoured every sip.

modern-art

The next day, we took a long walk around London, visiting Tower Bridge and dropping into the Tate Modern. I hate this art gallery, but was bribed by Mrs. Sip’s promise of having a beer in their cafeteria, if I behaved myself. I didn’t, but she still let me have a drink anyway! The cafeteria provides a beautiful view of the city, which I enjoyed with a pint of Beavertown Neck Oil Session IPA.

From there, we met our friends for dinner at Wagamama. I had a very good order of Chicken & Prawn Yaki Soba, paired with a pint of Asahi. For her beverage, Mrs. Sip ordered a can of Nix And Kix Mango & Ginger Soda (with a touch of Cayenne Pepper), which was very tasty and I tried to track down another can to bring home for the purpose of making a cocktail with it, but came up empty handed.

On our final night in London, we met for dinner at Bubble Dogs, which combines hotdogs with champagne. The concept seems odd, but kind of works. Over a couple bottles of Rose bubbly, I had their Fourth of July Hotdog (barbecue sauce, coleslaw, crispy bacon), while we also split a number of the restaurant’s side dishes, including sweet potato fries, Horny Devils (corn and jalapeño fritters) and tater tots.

Cat with Hotdogs

Having Baby Sip with us limited some of our drinking activities, as some bars were unable to accommodate a little one, sometimes due to their liquor licence and sometimes to do with available space and us using a stroller. For example, I really wanted to do the Beefeater Gin Distillery Tour, but we weren’t able to with Baby Sip in tow.

As for craft beer, London has a bit of a bizarre scene, where most locations are only open for a few hours… and that’s not per day, but each week. We wanted to do the Bermondsey Beer Mile (10 breweries within a mile-long stretch), but it’s only an option on Saturdays. Regardless, I did pick up a number of bottled beers to enjoy, including Sharp’s Doom Bar Amber Ale, Adnam’s Ghost Ship Pale Ale, Young’s Special London Ale, and St. Austell Proper Job Cornish IPA.

Next up, we were off to Lyon, France to meet up with another set of friends. Part two will look at that brief stay, which included a tour into the Beaujolais wine region.

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March 6 – Skinny Miami (The Drink)

A-MUSE Me

Inspiration can come in many forms. After all, Walt Disney conceived the idea for Disneyland while watching his daughters play at a Southern California playground and realizing that there weren’t many places that offered entertainment both kids and adults could enjoy together.

Disneyland & Walt

For a pseudo-bartender (I only play one on TV), original drink ideas can come from a wide array of avenues.

While perusing Facebook recently, a friend’s status recollected her enjoying a “Skinny Miami” while eating waffles on a hot summer day on her balcony (yes, it actually gets warm in Canada… we’re not all igloos and polar bears). Instinctively, I concluded that this must be some sort of cocktail I hadn’t heard of. After all, the comment thread was started by her kindly promoting this site (which everyone out there should be doing daily!). Being the Sip Advisor that I am, I inquired about the recipe and showcased my enthusiasm to try this new treat, hoping to share it with all of Sip Nation.

The response I received wasn’t exactly what I expected. As other mutual friends made jokes about my comment (as they were in the know) and even Mrs. Sip took a shot at me, saying we’d talk when she got home, the friend in question private messaged me, explaining that her version of a Skinny Miami, was in fact code for the thin guy from Miami she had dated last summer (okay, maybe what they were doing wasn’t exactly dating per se).

Let me tell you, my little sippers, there isn’t much that embarrasses this old dog anymore, but here I was, basically inquiring about drinking… a dude. Boy was my face red… well, more of an auburn-magenta combo.

Embarrassed

I guess, in the end, I wasn’t far off in my assumption that a Skinny Miami was a COCKtail. And the two can have similar effects: loss of inhibition, flushed appearance, short attention span, increased self-confidence, decreased anxiety, blurred vision and all that other good stuff.

On the plus side, this gaffe of mine provided the impetus to come up with a pretty cool drink recipe that was recently tried out and results have so far come back in the positive side of the ledger.

So, if you’re anything like me, don’t be afraid to make silly mistakes. Hell, most great inventions are stumbled upon accidentally. You never know when you’ll come up with your next great idea!

Drink #65: Skinny Miami – The Drink (A Sip Advisor Original Recipe)

Skinny Miami Drink Recipe

  • Rim glass with Sugar
  • 1 oz Malibu Rum
  • Top with Champagne
  • Dash of Grenadine 
  • Add Coconut Shavings (optional)

As you can see, this drink is served in a long skinny glass (at least six inches tall is preferable or so I’m told), and has a nice warm peachy colour (or flesh-like tone). And as for the white sugar around the rim… a reference to cocaine, clearly. After all, it’s Miami and I’m a huge Don Johnson fan!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This drink actually came together pretty well. I liked how the Grenadine sank to the bottom and gave the cocktail a distinct split mixture look. The Sugar rim was also a nice visual touch, as were the Coconut Shavings at the top of the liquid.