Sip Trips #43: California Dreamin’ (Part 1)

With many of our family and friends asking, “Do they ever work?”, Mrs. Sip and I were out of town again the past week and a half, enjoying a coastal cruise aboard the Star Princess, followed by a few days with her parents at a resort in Escondido, California. Here’s part one of all the fun we got up to:

One of the first things we do after boarding our ship is search out potential drinks deals and get a lay of the land. One of these deals came to us, as our steward dropped off two complimentary drink tickets upon meeting us. We used these later to grab a couple of their cocktails. While Mrs. Sip ordered an Ultimate Mai Tai – her favourite Princess beverage – I tried The Isaac, designed for Princess Cruises 50th anniversary, by the man who played the bartender on The Love Boat. The drink combined Bacardi Rum with lime and pomegranate juices and it was fun to have a drink made by the fictional liquor slinger.

Isaac The Love Boat

Mrs. Sip and I are platinum members with the cruise line and therefore have access to their Elite Lounge from 5-7pm each day of the voyage. This includes feature drinks and appies. While there used to just be one drink on the menu priced at $5, they now feature a line of about a half dozen cocktails that are discounted. We worked our way through the list over our four-day cruise, which included the Chairman of the Board; Rob Roy; Mojito; Japanese Slipper; Brezza Marina; and Cosmopolitan. I like that they picked strong drinks for the lounge options.

Another trick of the trade was the ship’s new BOGO hours, which allowed passengers to buy one drink and get a second of the same for only one dollar more. We used this on a couple occasions, to get Mojitos and Beverly Hills Iced Teas.

As far as bringing alcohol on board the ship, passengers are allowed one bottle of wine each, but we always bring on a little more. To cover the entire gamut, we brought on one red, one white, and one bubbly. We also typically tuck a couple mini liquor bottles into our toiletry kits, which go perfectly with the complimentary lemonade you can get at the buffet. On this cruise, we combined the soft drink with Evan Williams Cherry Liqueur, Smirnoff Watermelon and Camarena Reposado Tequila, Absolut Raspberri and Camarena Reposado Tequila, and Pinnacle Peach Vodka and Cruzan Coconut Rum.

pirate cruise

As previously mentioned, Princess Cruises is currently celebrating their 50th anniversary and had some specially designed drinks to ring in their golden anniversary year. Mrs. Sip and I splurged and tried a couple – at $12 per cocktail, we couldn’t enjoy them all – including the Anniversary Bliss (Bulleit Bourbon, Peach Schnapps, Frangelico, simple syrup, mint leaves) and 50 Years More (Don Julio, Blue Curacao, White Creme de Cacao, Galiano, lime juice). Both drinks we nicely crafted and blended some interesting ingredients.

Despite being on international waters, craft beer could still be found. We tried both the Seawitch Denali Red Alaska Style Red Ale and the Seawitch West Coast IPA, brewed exclusively for Princess Cruises by Denali Brewing and Strike Brewing, respectively. The Red Ale was the better of the two, as the IPA had a copper aftertaste, although that dissipated as you consumed more of the beer.

A new find for the Sip Advisor on this cruise was the Margarita Bar, which featured a number of great recipes. Mrs. Sip and I shared their Strawberry & Black Pepper (Cazadores Reposado, strawberry juice, black pepper) and Chocolate & Chili (Don Julio, White Creme de Cacao, fresh jalapeños) options. I loved the Chocolate & Chili, as the chocolate really balances out the jalapeños. There was also a Sweet & Smokey (Tequila, Scotch, Grand Marnier, orange juice) I was interested in, but did not get a chance to try.

margaritas archer

On our final evening of cruising, we went to the Vines wine bar, where they were advertising a wine and chocolate pairing. Unfortunately, they only had one set of the chocolates left, so I let Mrs. Sip be the fortunate recipient (chivalry is far from dead, my little sippers!) of the truffles designed by chocolatier Norman Love. Her pairing combined one light, medium and heavy red with chocolates using cocoa from five different countries (Venezuela, Tanzania, Peru, Dominican Republic, Ghana). On the server’s recommendation, I did New World wine flight which included Wild Horse Pinot Noir (USA), Caliterra Carmenere (Chile), and McPherson Shiraz (Australia).

I suppose my only complaint from the cruise would be that near the end, they had run out of a number of supplies, such as the aforementioned chocolates to pair with the wines and some other chocolate ingredients that were meant to go with a menu of cocktail concoctions intended to celebrate the 50th anniversary.

Only half way through our little vacation, part two will look at our time spent in the San Diego County area, with a journey into the Temecula Valley Wine Country and time spent exploring the city’s craft beer community!

 

November 19 – John Collins

Whiskey Business

That has to be one of the more clever headlines I’ve ever come up with (thanks, Tom Cruise)! Today, we explore advertising in the whiskey world and we don’t even have to be like the tools on Mad Men. Well, on with the show!

Knob Creek

Whiskey is definitely not a “training wheel” liquor. It’s for the stallions of this world and I’m thrilled to be among their leaders. The child in me always has a brief giggle over the company name Knob Creek. I’m sorry, but it’s just funny.

jim-beam-ad-1jim-beam-ad-2
jim-beam-ad-3jim-beam-ad-4

This series of Jim Beam ads further exemplifies that bourbon products are not for the tame of heart. I had to post all four of these ads, as they’re all pretty smart. I must point out that I appreciate each of the drinks that have been slammed in these photos, particularly the Mojito, which I love. That said, they must take their place in line in the pecking order.

No Other Whiskey

Clever use of word play by our friends at Jack Daniel’s. I’m on the fence about regular JD, but I love their honey whiskey varietal. I think Jack Daniel’s has a wonderful legacy in the liquor world and it’s well-earned. Jack Daniel is one dude I would have loved to share a drink with and we’d have some great laughs over his impending ironic death, which could have been prevented by his own product!

fireball_whiskey_ad

All you little sippers know of my affinity for Fireball Whiskey. I bring that shizzle everywhere and made it an inaugural class member of The Sip Advisor Hall of Fame. It’s hard to explain where my fire comes from. As far as I know, it’s always been there. It’s an inherent part of my awesomeness and I wouldn’t give it up for anything.

Shoot Blanks

There’s nothing like firing a shot at your competitors, straight across the bow, while also highlighting your offering to the world! And what better company to do so than Bulleit Bourbon. While I can’t say that I’ve ever owned a bottle of this brand, I have enjoyed the alcohol in a number of cocktails while travelling throughout the United States.

Crown Wishes

I’m a huge Crown Royal supporter, also nominating this liquor to The Sip Advisor Hall of Fame. If I was presented with the opportunity to make three wishes, one would certainly be to have unlimited liquor, while the other two would probably be a bottomless bag of potato chips and a forever un-clothable Mrs. Sip!

Drink #323: John Collins

John Collins Drink Recipe

  • 1.5 oz Whiskey (I used Crown Royal)
  • Top with Lemon-Lime Soda
  • Garnish with Lemon and Lime Wedges

What’s your favourite whiskey ad? If it’s one I haven’t presented here, you’ll gain bonus points on your Sip Advisor rewards card!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I like drinks from the Collins family. They’re easy to make and fun to drink. This entry was no different. While the Tom Collins(gin-based) is the patriarch of this brood, I’d place the John Collins in the uncle spot on the family tree. It’s earned a decent ranking and some respect from all us sippers!