Mixer Mania #45 – Use and Abuse

‘Tis the time of year that we bundle up indoors with a cup of hot chocolate and rewatch our favourite Christmas movies and TV specials. With that comes advertisements, where Santa has been used to sell everything from soda to snacks. Sure, we have Coca-Cola to thank for the modern image of jolly ol’ St. Nick, but other companies have done more to tarnish the legacy of Santa than build it up. Here are some of the most shameless uses of the yuletide icon:

Painkillers

Mrs. Sip and I just saw this Aleve ad the other day and while it seems harmless, the underlying message is concerning. To see Santa requiring medication to perform his annual duties should frighten every young tot in the world. It also takes away some of the big guy’s magic, thinking he suffers to bring joy to children all over the world. And what if Aleve is a gateway drug to more serious painkillers, causing Santa to have an opioid addiction and eventually need rehab to get his life and career back together.

Santa Aleve

Cigarettes

A number of companies have used Santa to market their smokes. I particularly like the one which shows Santa taking a break from his Christmas Eve activities to enjoy some smooth nicotine. This includes lighting up inside a family’s home, as he kicks back on a cozy chair, filling the dwelling with smoke. And here I thought he was more into milk and cookies… better leave a carton out for the gift-giver this year, ensuring years of good fortune and gifts.

Santa Smokes.jpg

Booze

Brands such as Crown Royal, Dewar’s, Martini, and Budweiser have all used Kris Kringle as a marketing figure to hawk their wares. The Byrrh company even released an ad in 1934 showing an very inebriated Santa – so drunk he can’t continue his epic yearly journey – taking five atop a home’s roof and drinking the wine-based aperitif. St. Nick is so blitzed that he even hallucinates an angel to share the liquor with, but she doesn’t look very impressed with Father Christmas. Maybe he’s sexually harassing her.

Santa Wine

Guns

With all the gun violence around the world, particularly in the U.S., why shouldn’t Santa also protect himself? That’s what one Californian gun range figured, when a billboard popped up in the state in 2014, featuring Santa (accessorized with dark sunglasses, of course) with a menacing glare and proudly holding an assault rifle. The owner of the range stated: “I got guns from Santa Claus when I was growing up. Some people get toys and some people get firearms. It’s kind of just where you’re from.” Indeed…

Santa Guns.png

Mixer Mania #45: All Warm And Fuzzy

All Warm And Fuzzy

  • 0.5 oz Kahlua
  • 0.5 oz Baileys Irish Cream
  • 0.5 oz Butterscotch Schnapps
  • 0.25 oz Cointreau
  • 0.25 oz Cognac
  • Top with Hot Chocolate
  • Garnish with a Marshmallow

What other examples of Santa Claus exploitation exist out there? Part of me wants to know and the other part would rather those examples stay hidden.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This drink is very tasty. It is certainly boozy and that was with me halving each liquor measurement. The recipe originally called for Grand Marnier, which I had to substitute with Cointreau and Cognac. There’s a lot of flavours going on, but the end result is warmth and a little decadence!

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June 13 – PayDay

Extravagant Eccentricities

With great money comes great financial stupidity… or at least that’s how it seems for some celebrities and their spending habits. Here are some of the wildest purchases made by the stars, many of which later led to financial hardships:

#5: Kanye West – 10 Burger King Franchises ($7.5 million)

I think many people dream of owning their own fast food chain (unless they’re vegan or some other weird dietary thing), having the food at their disposal whenever they are in need of a quick snack. Hell, Richie Rich had a McDonald’s in his expansive mansion back in the 1994 feature film. Anyway, how have we not started calling Kanye ‘The Burger King’? Is it because he bought these joints for his wife, Kim Kardashian, as a wedding gift? At least, access to all those BK outlets, across Europe, will certainly help Kardashian keep up her ample assets.

Kanye Burger King

#4: Mike Tyson – Bathtub ($2 million)

That bathtub, given to now ex-wife Robin Givens as a Christmas present, would have to be jewel-encrusted and include technology only seen on The Jetson’s to justify the exorbitant cost. For the Sip Advisor, it would also have to be outfitted with laser beams that caused Mrs. Sip to immediately shed her clothing, whenever activated (by remote control, of course!). I mean, I guess that’s what people generally do before getting into the tub, but it would be a required feature for me. Tyson’s money troubles have been well-documented, with the former Heavyweight Champ racking up millions in debt.

#3: Celine Dion – Humidifier ($2 million)

We get it, you use your voice (unfortunately) to make your oodles of money, but $2 million seems incredibly excessive for a device you can usually find for a few hundred dollars… and that’s if you want to splurge. For the amount of money Dion was willing to shell out, there better be guarantees that you will never suffer from deadly diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, and basically everything else that can be medically diagnosed. The air moisturizer was installed into her Las Vegas hotel room when she was performing nightly at the Caesar’s Palace Coliseum. Viva Las Vegas, I suppose.

Celine Dion Titanic

#2: Kim Basinger – City of Braselton, Georgia ($20 million)

Talk about getting bad advice from your entourage. In 1989, Basinger was encouraged by family members to buy the town of Braselton, Georgia, for $20 million. What association did Basinger and company have with the city of Braselton? Absolutely none. You’d think she was born there or at least had a wonderful family vacation there in her youth. Basinger tried to turn the town into a resort destination, which would host an annual film festival, along with other tourist attractions and movie studios. The whole ordeal caused Basinger to file for bankruptcy and have tension with her family.

#1: Nicholas Cage – Numerous (Millions and millions…)

No wonder the Oscar winner has had his fair share of financial difficulties, given the lavish spending habits he has exhibited, throughout his career. Cage can be credited with buying everything from a Bavarian castle, to a tropical island, to a dinosaur skull. He has also assembled one of the most impressive comic book collections, including Action Comics #1, featuring the debut of Superman. Thus, Cage has been forced to take a number of roles that he really should have avoided, simply to earn a paycheck. I gotta say, though, $3 million for an island in the Bahamas seems pretty reasonable!

Super Saturday Shot Day: PayDay

  • Rim the glass with Salt
  • 1 oz Butterscotch Schnapps
  • 1 oz Frangelico
  • Garnish with a PayDay Ball

There are so many other bizarre, expensive purchases made by celebrities, it’s hard to cram them all into one article. Suffice to say, if you have the money, why not enjoy it. Too often, though, these stars’ lifestyles often lead to trouble, when the cash coming in and going out doesn’t even out.

Trinidad & Tobago – What’s Kraken?

Feel the Rhythm

Originating from the islands of Trinidad and Tobago, Calypso music enjoyed the height of its popularity in 1956, when Harry Belafonte released the “Banana Boat Song”, otherwise known as “Day-O”. The music style also produced other popular spinoffs, such as Soca, Reggae, Chutney, Rapso, and Ringbang. Let’s take a look at the history of this cultural music and get our groove on!

Calypso music, like many other genres, started with humble beginnings. During colonial slavery in the 17th century, slaves were not allowed to speak to each other while working long, exhausting days at sugar plantations, but were able to come together at night and play music. These songs helped form a bond among the slaves, as they mocked their masters and sung about the hardships of their existence in a French Creole language.

Day-O Spider

The music is based off of a call and response style, where the singer (dubbed the Calypsonian) engages his audience and involves them in the song. Instruments often associated with Calypso music include, steel drums, banjo, guitar, and other percussion devices. Calypso was played in tents made of palm trees and poles, which were constructed to keep rain away from performers and dance-goers alike.

Calypso music eventually became used to spread news around the islands and became a reliable source for current events. Songs battled political corruption, which sparked the British rulers to censor the songs and for officials to decide what could and couldn’t be heard by the public. This just pushed Calypsonians to use other tools to get their message across in song, such as double-entendres, satire, irony, and other elements of humour.

Long before rappers were taking aim at one another with thinly veiled criticisms and threats, Calypso musicians were insulting each other, while also making music based around sex, gossip, scandal, and innuendo. Like much of the music industry, there are some great artist names in the Calypso world, such as Lord Invader, Growling Tiger, Mighty Sparrow, King Fighter, Macbeth the Great, Sir Lancelot, and Duke of Iron.

Rapper Rapping

The first Calypso recording was made in New York City in 1912, by the visiting Lovey String Band. It’s thought that this was the first recording to ever take place of a musical style not to have originated in either North America or Europe. Not many other Calypso recordings were made until the late 1920’s and early 1930’s (given the title: the golden era of Calypso), perhaps due to the wartime economy and depression.

Attila the Hun (not the barbarian, but the musician) and Roaring Lion brought the music back to the United States in 1934, where they became regular recording artists and were later joined by other Calypsonians from Trinidad and Tobago. A tradition that ran up to the late 1970’s, with Mighty Sparrow being the last great Calypsonian abroad. The musical style then branched off into other genres.

prelude music

One of the first big Calypso hits, “Rum and Coca Cola”, by Lord Invader, was not about the fizzy beverage being mixed with alcohol, but the prostitution industry that popped up when American military bases began appearing in Trinidad during the 1940’s. Regardless, the Andrews Sisters turned this into a U.S. chart topper and were later sued by Lord Invader for copyright infringement, being awarded $150,000 in royalties after years of court battles.

Calypso music can be seen in popular works like the movie Beetlejuice, where Harry Belafonte’s “Day-O” plays during a very memorable scene. You can also hear “Day-O” at sporting events, often used to get fans pumped up as they echo the song’s title back to the singer. Interestingly, Eleanor Roosevelt dubbed Belafonte “The King of Calypso” after seeing him perform in 1958. Daylight come and me wan’ go home!

Trinidad & Tobago: What’s Kraken?

What's Kraken Cocktail

  • 1 oz Kraken Rum
  • 1 oz Butterscotch Schnapps
  • Top with Hot Chocolate
  • Garnish with Whipped Cream

That “Day-O” song sure can get stuck in your head easy. Belafonte even performed the hit on an episode of The Muppet Show, with Fozzie Bear interrupting the singer… and for that, we thank him!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I really enjoy Kraken Black Spice Rum, which gets its rum content (molasses) from Trinidad and Tobago. I made this cocktail for Pa Sip, also a fan of Rum, as well as Butterscotch Schnapps. It was a pretty good drink and perfect for this time of the year!

May 17 – Carry Me Home

Won’t You Be My Neighbour?

Neighbours… sometimes you love them and sometimes you hate them. One thing is for sure: you rarely get to choose them. Over the next two weeks, we’ll be looking at some of the best and worst neighbour pairs, so be prepared for the good, the bad, and the ugly. Here are the Top 5 best neighbours to have:

#5: Ricardo Family & Mertz Family – I Love Lucy

Sure, Lucy and Ethel get into a lot of trouble together, which can wreak havoc on the collective group’s relationship, but this quartet has managed to remain friends through the thick and thin of some of the greatest sitcom misunderstandings. Ironically, off-screen, Vivian Vance and William Frawley, who played the Mertz’s did not like each other, with Vance even turning down a proposed spinoff and own series for the two. Instead, Vance chose to share a house with Lucille Ball in another series, The Lucy Show, becoming the first divorced character in American TV history. I guess Vance wanted to be even closer to her longtime neighbour.

Lucy and Ethel

#4: Monica Geller/Rachel Green & Joey Tribbiani/Chandler Bing – Friends

Chandler moved in to the apartment building in Greenwich Village, Manhattan thanks to Monica telling him about the available flat across the hall from her. By the end of the series, the two were married and starting a family together. Rachel and Joey (their eventual respective roommates) almost became a couple, as well, but it wasn’t meant to be. I didn’t watch a ton of Friends, but the best episodes I ever saw were when the two sets of roommates competed for apartments. The boys won, but swapped properties back in exchange for the girls kissing.

#3: Leonard Hofstadter & Penny – Big Bang Theory

The only thing better than a decent neighbour is one you can have sex with. When the gorgeous Penny moves in across the hall from geeky Leonard, his world is turned upside down. She is certainly out of his league, but this tale of nice guys never win has a happy ending, with Leonard and Penny finally becoming a couple. I still wonder why the two haven’t moved in together, to at the very least, save rent money, but perhaps Penny still needs to have a sanctuary where she can get away from Sheldon. Interestingly, I hadn’t noticed that Penny’s last name has never been divulged on the show until putting together this article. Soon enough, it may be Hofstadter.

Friends with Geeks

#2: Matthews Family & Mr. Feeny – Boy Meets World

Mr. Feeny is a wealth of knowledge (likely thanks to his experiences as the voice of a car) and while his tutelage isn’t always openly accepted by young Eric and Cory Matthews, he is there for all the members of the Matthews family when needed. It would be rough going through your entire education with your neighbour as either a teacher, principal, or dean, but that’s exactly the hand Cory, in particular, has been dealt. If it weren’t for Mr. Feeny being so awesome, it may have been tough sledding for the young Matthews men, although it’s not like they didn’t ever stir the pot and put Feeny through some hell.

#1: Tim Taylor & Wilson Wilson – Home Improvement

When you get into as many sticky situations as Tim Taylor, it’s a blessing to have a neighbour like Wilson Wilson around to help you sort through your dilemmas with offbeat allegories and thought-provoking messages. And Wilson wasn’t only help to Tim. He practically had a hand in raising each of the three Taylor children, as well as keeping Tim and Jill’s marriage running as smoothly as possible… given Tim’s penchant for putting his foot in his mouth or a tool through an appendage. You may never see Wilson’s full face or get a sense of his lifestyle, but one thing is for sure: the dude spends a lot of time in his backyard!

Super Saturday Shot Day: Carry Me Home

Carry Me Home Shot

  • 0.5 Butterscotch Schnapps
  • 0.5 oz Crème de Cacao
  • Dash of Kahlua
  • Splash of Milk
  • Garnish with Cocoa Powder

Like a good neighbour, State Farm is there… or at least these other pairings are. Next week, we delve into the worst neighbours of all-time. Oh, the stories I could tell from my own experiences… I’m still going through counseling thanks to some of them!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This shot was pretty good with flavours of Butterscotch Schnapps and Crème de Cacao competing for your attention and the Kahlua coming in with the aftertaste. Make sure to share one of these with your favourite neighbour!

December 19 – Gingerbread Man

Dessert Delicacies

Christmas is a time of peace, love, joy… and desserts! It seems Ma Sip is always baking this time of year and even Mrs. Sip spends some rare time in the kitchen. Cookies exchanges and potlucks are the norm during the holiday season, so you can’t even escape overindulging while at work. Here are some Christmas dessert staples:

Gingerbread Men/Houses

I’m not a massive fan of Gingerbread, while Mrs. Sip does enjoy it. We used to construct a yearly Gingerbread House, but have long since left that frustrating process behind us, in favour of… well, being lazy. I really only enjoyed the process for getting to eat all the candy you’re supposed to apply to the house, so maybe instead of buying the kit every year, I should have just grabbed a bag of candy and ate myself stupid!

Gingerbread Men

Shortbread Cookies

I’m not sure why Shortbread Cookies are so addictive. I mean, in the grand scheme of things, they’re pretty plain. Even if you dress them up with chocolate and other ingredients, there’s not a whole lot going on there. Similarly, Sugar Cookies just seem to hit the spot when you start binging on them. Like potato chips, it’s hard to stop at one. Looking back at this project I’ve been doing for the last year, it seems I have a myriad of concerning vices that need to be dealt with!

Cinnamon Buns

I’ve already written that Cinnamon Buns are often a featured item on Christmas morning for the Family Sip. They also make for a great snack throughout the holiday season. This is one of the few circumstances where I welcome cream cheese… and lots of it! All you need to do is warm those suckers up (if they’re not fresh out of the oven) and go into icing shock. Make sure to lick that plate clean… it saves on time spent washing dishes!

Fruit Cake

I’ve never really done the Fruit Cake thing. It seems that a lifetime of jokes about Fruit Cakes (usually being passed back and forth and never consumed because nobody wants it) has steered me clear of the oft-criticized dessert offering. I’m making it my goal to try the cake this year at some point. All I need to do is get blitzed enough that my taste buds are in full retreat and I’ll go in for the score. I’ll keep you updated on my adventures.

fruitcake

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’m such a cookie fiend that yes, this is the third entry on this list to be cookie-based. Chocolate Chip is a good starting point, but I love Cookies that go beyond the normal recipe. Ma Sip made a batch this year with Cinnamon Chips and I’ve always been partial to throwing some peanut butter in the recipe. Mrs. Sip and I have our own patented recipe called ‘Bitches be Poison’ which includes chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, and Smarties among other indulgent ingredients.

Pie

Christmas is a perfect time to bring out the Pie (don’t think too dirty, my little sippers), regardless of which flavour. American Thanksgiving starts the ball rolling with Apple and Pumpkin Pie, both of which frequent Christmas feast menus. I’ve always preferred a fruit-filled pie like cherry or raspberry. Add some ice cream to your slice and you’ll be in a la mode heaven! Now you have the tough decision of which flavour to choose from, but I’m sure you’re capable.

Bread Pudding

I’ll finish up with another entry that I’m not particularly fond of (Mrs. Sip is, begging the question of how we ever found similarities to base our relationship around!). Bread Pudding just isn’t my cup of tea… although it is enjoyed with a cup of tea. I think my dislike has more to do with the pudding portion than the bread. The only pudding I find tolerable is chocolate-flavoured and only when it’s in one of those little snack-sized cups. I can thank Bill Cosby for that!

Drink #353: Gingerbread Man

Gingerbread Man Drink Recipe

  • Rim glass with Crushed Gingerbread
  • 1 oz Irish Crème
  • 1 oz Goldschlager
  • 1 oz Butterscotch Schnapps
  • 1 oz Vodka
  • Sprinkle with Crushed Gingerbread

What Christmas dessert traditions do you enjoy? Do you want to get in on my Fruit Cake pledge? Do you like the questions I ask of you? Am I just wasting my time with these wrap-up paragraphs?

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
This cocktail wasn’t bad, but Mrs. Sip didn’t like how strong it was. The only issue I had with it was that the Goldschlager is a little too heavy and dominant in the drink and I might knock back its proportion if I made the martini in the future. The Gingerbread Cookie rim and dusting worked okay, but not as good as other rims I’ve put together.

November 23 – Oatmeal Cookie

Whiskey Laughs

Whiskey is such a good friend to all of Sip Nation that it doesn’t even mind us sharing a few laughs at its expense. Thank you for all the good times sir whiskey, the great!

Pure Kentucky Whiskey

I wholeheartedly agree that whiskey is a cure for all ailments. Look no further than my Whiskey Sick Day article from last April. It is no coincidence that just days after downing this cocktail (the things I do for all you little sippers) I was feeling better and over my illness. I’ve never really ended up on the bathroom floor for any reason, but I’ve seen friends end up there and it’s pretty hilarious!

Funeral Whiskey

I’m that guy that brings whiskey nearly everywhere I go: wedding, funeral, sporting event, bris, dentist appointment… you name it! Whiskey will get you through whatever situation is in front of you. That’s right, whatever your girlfriend, wife, parents, siblings, family are set to put you through, just keep your old pal whiskey close by and all will go well… trust me!

Fireball-Chocolates

For the record, I would love to get Fireball Whiskey as a Valentine’s Day gift. I hope Mrs. Sip is paying attention to this article. She usually gets me liquor as presents, but I just want her to know that those gifts are greatly appreciated. Sex is cool too, if you’re taking notes (wink)!

favorite-nusery-ryhme-freebird

Freebird is a pretty wicked song… perhaps one of the best southern anthems of all time! Although I know this can be an issue for some people, I’m okay with these posed photos with kids looking like they’re boozing or smoking or whatever. For the most part, I find them pretty innocent and funny. Every kid needs a photo of them when they were little ones holding a beer bottle or having a pack of smokes nearby. It’s a rite of passage!

soup-of-the-day

If I ever saw this sign outside a bar, I would drop everything I was doing and promptly enter said establishment! I’m not even a fan of soup and have never really understood the concept of people getting soup at restaurants when it’s pretty friggin’ easy to make a bowl of hot liquid on your own. A mystery I may never be able to solve!

Drink #327: Oatmeal Cookie

Oatmeal Cookie Shooter

  • 0.5 oz Butterscotch Schnapps
  • 0.5 oz Irish Crème
  • Splash of Jagermeister Spice
  • Splash of Goldschlager
  • Splash of Fireball Whiskey
  • Garnish with Oatmeal Cookie

If you know of any good whiskey memes out there in internet land, please send them along, care of The Sip Advisor, PO Box 71169, and I’ll be happy to enjoy a quick chuckle over the joke. Much love, little sippers!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
I’m not sure how much this shot tastes like an oatmeal cookie. There’s definitely a noticeable cinnamon flavour thanks to most of the spirits used, but I don’t think it exactly hits on the intended taste. That could be my fault, as I altered some of the recipe. It still tasted good and it was my first chance to use Jagermeister Spice, which I also tried on its own and it looks like we’ll become fast friends!

March 28 – Vegas Bomb

Vegas or Bust

Well I’m off to Vegas tomorrow, which is a favourite weekend getaway for Mrs. Sip and me. So with our trip quickly approaching, I’m turning my mind to one of my favourite drinking trends: public consumption. One of my favourite things about Las Vegas is the opportunity to drink in public. Nothing beats walking along the strip on a nice warm day with a cold 40 oz beer in your hand.

Grab a drink, hit the strip, party... it`s as easy as one, two, three!

Grab a drink, hit the strip, party… it`s as easy as one, two, three!

While liquor is available everywhere in Vegas, ABC Stores are great for cheap beer, liquor and even little bottles of wine for Mrs. Sip (I know, she embarrasses me too!). There’s even a jaunt you can do in the Miracle Mile shopping centre where you can grab a beer at one ABC, enjoy it as you walk through the mall and make another pit stop to refuel as you hit a second store deeper in the complex. Hell, it’s the only way I can get through the pain of shopping.

Drinking on the street in Vegas was a graduated learning process for us that evolved on each subsequent trip. First we started off with the hotel bought frozen drinks in crazy plastic shaped containers that you see everyone carrying around (we figured that the hotels are selling them to you, so it must be okay to walk around with).

Then we progressed to aluminum beer cans (aluminum is like plastic, right?). But the beers we really wanted were in bottles. So finally we took the plunge, bought a few, and dared to see if we would be challenged with our glass. As we exited one of the ABC stores, we realized that our beer bottles weren’t twist tops – a huge mistake on our part. As we tried to decide whether we should go buy an opener, a security guard began to approach us. We were quickly relieved to learn she just wanted to help us pop the tops of our drinks! Viva Las Vegas!

I’ve now advanced beyond beer in Vegas and instead I often like to grab a mickey of something and a mixer, take a swig out of the mixer bottle and drink my way through the entire combo as we go along. Mrs. Sip took advantage of one of these afternoon buzzes, by getting me to pose like a drunk for photos on the replica Brooklyn Bridge outside New York, New York. Little did I know that I was mimicking the exact pose of a real drunk behind me. Thanks babe!

Drinking on the Strip

Even celebrities drink on the strip!

Walking the strip, you get quite the eclectic group of people and that means a mix of drink ideas and opportunities. You get your beer guys and gals, your frozen drink enthusiasts, your hard liquor folk, and the dreaded sobriety demons (who you can recognize because they are usually yelling scripture at you and informing you that all sinners go to hell… too late!). It is perfectly fine to taunt these men and women, unless they are designated drivers… we here at The Sip Advisor are cool with DDs and support that cause.

Just writing this post makes me want to be there right now… I only hope my money can last the long weekend!

Drink #87: Vegas Bomb

Vegas Bomb Drink Recipe

  • 0.75 oz Crown Royal
  • 0.75 oz Butterscotch or Peach Schnapps
  • 1 Red Bull

Simply drop your shot into the glass of Red Bull and slam that sucka’. We don’t leave for Sin City until tomorrow, but we couldn’t resist getting all crazy and into the spirit of things!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
Drop shots can be fun, but messy. That was the case with this particular one, as the shot glass tipped sideways when I dropped it into the big glass. I went with Butterscotch Schnapps for the sweet portion of the shooter, but you could also use Peach Schnapps.