New Zealand – Pink Haze

Island Inhabitants

The Sip Advisor is a huge fan of New Zealand and it is perhaps the place I would choose to live if forced to leave Canada (it may happen one day!). I could become the country’s next big thing… and there are some serious high profile personalities to contend with. Here are some of the most famous citizens of New Zealand, affectionately known as Kiwis!

Kiwi Birds

Mrs. Sip’s sister (an avid reader) will love me for writing this piece on the kiwi bird, a national icon of New Zealand… so long as I don’t advocate for the mass consumption of the bird as a delicacy. The video game NewZealand Story focused on the adventures of Tiki, as he tries to save his mate Phee Phee and other friends, who have been abducted by a blue leopard seal. Kiwis live in pairs and mate for life, so Tiki and Phee Phee may have been together 25-50 years.

Kiwi Bird

AJ Hackett

An original bungee jumper and operator of the first commercial set-ups for the extreme sport, Hackett famously jumped off the Eiffel Tower in 1987, helping to popularize the whole concept. He also holds a number of World Records in the discipline. The Sip Advisor is a bungee enthusiast, completing my first jumps where else but New Zealand. I’ve even plunged off the Auckland bridge, dipping into the harbor far below and I have Mr. Hackett to thank for all of my thrills.

Sir Edmund Hillary

A distant ancestor of one Mrs. Sip, Sir Edmund Hillary was the first person (along with Nepalese guide Tenzing Norgay) to conquer the summit of Mount Everest. Forever grateful to the people of Nepal, Hillary spent a great deal of time there, setting up schools and hospitals to help the Sherpa people, through his Himalayan Trust foundation. The dude was knighted for his achievements, was viewed as New Zealand’s most trusted citizen, and is even on the country’s $5 bill.

Peter Jackson

The director most famous for taking on the Lord of the Rings trilogy and its Hobbit prequel series, Jackson has also worked on such notable films as King Kong and The Adventures of Tintin. Jackson is so fond of his homeland that he chose to bring the filming of the J.R.R. Tolkien books to New Zealand. Mrs. Sip and I visited Hobbiton, as part of a tour stop, but were more interested in grabbing a snack than posing in front of miniaturized doorways!

Peter Jackson

Lucy Lawless

Xena: Warrior Princess herself, Lucy Lawless was a perfect blend of strong and sexy when she starred in the mythological fantasy series. Lawless went on to appear in a number of other shows and has even launched a successful singing career. She currently has a recurring role on Parks and Recreation as the wife to Mr. Ron Swanson. If he can love her, then she should be in everybody’s good books!

Flight of the Conchords

Comprised of Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie, Flight of the Conchords began as a musical-comedy performance duo before venturing into the TV world together. The boy’s HBO show is extremely funny, with fellow Kiwi Rhys Darby joining in the fun as band manager Murray and Kristen Schaal as their lone fan. Sadly, it only ran for two short seasons, but in that time, they created a number of great songs, including Too Many Dicks on the Dance Floor and Hurt Feelings.

Lorde

While I’m personally not a fan of this young artist’s work, Mrs. Sip can be caught belting out her tunes from time to time, and she should be commended for hitting it big at such an early age. Hopefully, she doesn’t burn out like other teen stars. Born Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O’Connor (I can see why she shortened her stage moniker), Lorde’s first hit ‘Royals’ won her two Grammy Awards and she has enjoyed continued success with the song ‘Team’.

The Bushwackers

These rowdy New Zealanders were originally known as The Sheepherders, an ultraviolent tandem of brawling wrestlers, before they arrived on the scene of the child friendly World Wrestling Federation and became the goofy, loveable Bushwackers. Luke and Butch were known to do anything to win a match, from lick their opponent’s faces to use each other’s heads in a battering ram maneuver. The team even battled Steve Urkel and Carl Winslow on an episode of Family Matters.

New Zealand: Pink Haze

Pink Haze Cocktail

  • 0.5 oz Blackcurrant Liqueur
  • Top with Sauvignon Blanc Wine
  • Dash of Grenadine
  • Garnish with an Orange Slice

Also unique to New Zealand is Black Water Rafting, which Mrs. Sip and I participated in while visiting the country in 2008. In this activity, you explore the caves of Waitomo, repelling and ziplining into the dark depths, before floating downstream with vibrant glowworms lighting your route. You finish by scaling a small waterfall before returning to the surface.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This drink provided the first chance to use the homemade Grenadine Mrs. Sip and I concocted recently and it was delicious. The Sauvignon Blanc Wine from The Ned is a very interesting vino with a fruity flavour that’s hard to describe, but goes down easy. All in all, the cocktail was quite nice and enjoyable.

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July 9 – Woo Woo

Things That Make You Go Woo

While I’m not one to show my emotions easily, there are many things in my life that bring out an emotional charge in me that few ever knew existed. Here are the things that make me (and I’m sure many others) go woo!

Shots & Shooters

You had to figure that the Sip Advisor gets his motor running with alcohol. And nothing beats slamming back something hard like whiskey or tequila and shouting out a resounding woo as your face goes fuzzy and you ride the burn of the liquid shredding past your throat and down your esophagus. Might as well load up another round… the party is just getting started!

shots and shooters

Beautiful Women

When I see Mrs. Sip dressed up in anything from her sexy business attire to nothing at all, I may have to mutter it under my breath, so as not to cause a public disturbance, but you can bet her sweet ass that I’m going woo-woo-woo, as my mind spins and the salivary glands completely disregard the information my brain has passed on to them.

Ric Flair

The venerable wrestler has long had the catchphrase of simply shouting “Woooooooooo” and having the crowd echo it back to him. Every time he would chop an opponent across the chest, the fans would shout in unison along with the sick sound of slapping skin, all the while watching the victim’s chest turn red with welts. Flair’s catchphrase has even been adopted by a number of sports teams, being played following a goal or other scored point.

Rollercoasters

One of the greatest thrills for me is going over the apex of the first drop on a rollercoaster and falling at blazing speeds, screaming at the top of your lungs and preparing to do it again on the next descent. Everything from my first coaster, Montezuma’s Revenge at Knott’s Berry Farm to my all-time favourite, Space Mountain at the Disney parks is good reason to damage your voice box.

I hope they saved me a seat!

I hope they saved me a seat!

Bungee Jumping

When you step up to the edge of the platform and you feel the chord that’s supposed to support you drop into the open air below, you get a sense of what your body is about to do. There’s no turning back, though. Just jump, spread your wings and fly, all the while screaming as you plummet towards the earth below! That free-fall feeling is almost euphoric… providing you’re not afraid of heights! Whoo hoo!

Sports Triumphs

Being from Vancouver, Canada, we haven’t had many of these (40-plus years of hockey futility, mixed with losing our NBA and NLL franchises), but even if you’re live at the stadium, a big goal can lift you to your feet and have you high-fiving complete strangers in an instant. We did have the 2011 run to the Stanley Cup Finals and although it ended with disappointment (and a riot), the ride was absolutely fantastic!

Drink #190: Woo Woo

Woo Woo Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Peach Schnapps
  • Top with Cranberry Juice
  • Garnish with a Lime Wheel

What makes you go “woo”? It’s okay if it’s something weird like bird watching or gardening. To each their own, I always say.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
For some reason, Peach Schnapps and Cranberry Juice go so well together. It’s a nice mix of sweet and tart and the top shelf Vodka certainly helps. It also comes Mrs. Sip approved!

April 28 – Matador

Taking the Bull by the Horns

While I never intend to be a matador, I have done my fair share of crazy. Here are my experiences in the realm of extreme activities!

Zorbing

Rolling down a hill inside a giant rubber ball filled with water is something only the Kiwi’s could have invented. Mrs. Sip and I jumped into the ball together and tumbled our way to the bottom of the hill, giggling as we crashed around inside our vessel. As you exit the ball, you feel as if you’re being birthed. We also did solo runs down a zig-zag course, trying to stay upright as long as possible, but always ending up flipping our way down the track.

Zorbing

Commercial Luge

The more you speed, the more you bleed… I found this out the hard way. Again, while in New Zealand, Mrs. Sip and I took to a commercial street luge track. Mrs. Sip played it safe and did two runs on the beginner track before advancing to intermediate. I did one intermediate run before hitting the expert slope twice. On my last run, feeling ballsy, I tried to videotape my journey. This didn’t go well, as holding the camera, while trying to steer was nearly impossible. I crashed into the embankment, rolled a few times and walked away with a gnarly gash on my arm, a grass- and dirt-stained shirt and a camera that struggled to open and close. Eh, you win some, you luge some!

Bungee Jumping

I’ve bungeed a total of five times from three different locations, including one epic jump off the Auckland Harbour Bridge in New Zealand. Your mother always told you to never follow your friends and jump off bridges… that’s why I went solo and started the trend. Amazingly, Mrs. Sip has often accompanied me to view these jumps, despite her fear of heights. While I’m a fan of flipping through the air while bungeeing, I didn’t fully enjoy the backwards free-fall I once performed.

Bungee Jump

Ziplining

Despite what the creators of South Park might think about ziplining, I’ve always enjoyed flying through the air from platform to platform. Mrs. Sip and I have ziplined in Mexico, Costa Rica and into a cave in New Zealand (for a round of black water rafting). I like the lines where you can do some more elaborate tricks, like go upside down and pretend you’re a spider, hanging from your own webbing!

Scuba Diving

I know what you’re thinking (especially if you’ve never done it), how is scuba diving a danger sport? Well, just the concept of breathing deep underwater is something that can be difficult to wrap your head around. When Mrs. Sip (a certified diver) signed me up for an introductory scuba session, I was apprehensive to say the least. Once you get in the water, relax, and get used to the breathing and goggle techniques, the views are amazing and you can keep your fears subdued. I was privileged to do my dive at Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and I think I even found Nemo!

Drink #118: Matador

The Matador Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Tequila (I used 1800 Añejo)
  • Top with Pineapple Juice
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with Lime Wedge

In the future, I hope to do other crazy shit like run with the bulls, skydive, base jump and cliff dive. For those that are afraid to try any of these activities, just remember how dangerous normal everyday things can be like walking the streets of a downtown core and you should have no problem jumping out of a plane, off a cliff, or into a stampede!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
I liked this cocktail. It’s fun to put the odd non-bubbly-based drink into a champagne flute and I thought it worked really well for this recipe. All the ingredients mixed well together with many citrus notes shining through… plus you can never go wrong with Añejo Tequila!