Sip Trips #57: In the Name of Science

After taking a week off from Sip Trips articles, I’m back with a vengeance. Mrs. Sip and I shelled out the big bucks to attend the Science of Cocktails charity event at Science World and had a fantastic night, albeit a fuzzy one for myself.

Tickets were $145 each (and no, that wasn’t even VIP pricing… those tickets went for $250 a pop), which had Mrs. Sip and I approaching with caution while friends of ours instantly balked at the price. We decided that if tickets were still available in late January, after our credit card rolled over to a new bill cycle, we’d commit. That is sound financial planning, my little sippers!

managing finances

What initially got me excited about the event was the list of alcohol sponsors, including Jack Daniel’s, Chambord, Ardbeg, El Jimador, Hennessy, Ciroc, Tanqueray, Remy Martin, Belvedere, and so many others. Just looking at the list again has me licking my chops. Even Parallel 49 Brewing was there, but this was a rare night in 2016 where beer took a backseat for the Sip Advisor.

Featuring some of the city’s top bartenders, working 25 beverage stations, Science World was transformed into a booze lovers paradise… all in the name of science. Each of the booths set up provided a lesson in molecular mixology, from smoking Ardbeg Scotch fumes to the three different way to consume a Mai Tai, including smoking, eating (jellybeans) and drinking.

The food on hand was pretty good, but some of it ran out very early into the evening. I enjoyed the sushi and poutine booths, while Mrs. Sip feasted at the meat and cheese table. The sushi was too popular, though, and was gone by 10pm, despite the event ending at midnight.

adult lunchables

We didn’t get to check out any of the presentations going on throughout the night, as the general game plan was comprised of receiving a drink at one station and enjoying it while lined up at the next one. My goal of hitting each and every station was moderately successful. We thought we’d hit them all, until referencing the map we were given at the start of the night and realizing we missed a couple of the more hidden booths. We’ll just have to do better next year.

Proceeds from the gala will go to help fund school field trips to Science World, which hosts thousands of students each year. I personally remember attending as a high-schooler and having a really good time, so I’m happy to pay the experience forward.

For the Family Day weekend, the Sip Alliance hit the road for a two-day, 12-brewery expedition, which was a wonderful way to spend a long weekend, while staying local. Our experiences on this journey will largely be documented in upcoming BC Beer Baron articles (tried 86 different beers over the span), but if anyone out there wants itinerary ideas for their own excursions, feel free to hit me up for our routes.

Flavour Revolution – Lemon

When Life Gives You Lemons

I find stories of people turning their lives around to be quite fascinating and inspiring. Going through challenges makes for better people on the other end and some of the greatest things we know today were created by those who took risks, defied protocols, and pushed through adversity. Here are some fine examples of folks turning lemons into lemonade!

Walt Disney

Had Walt Disney been one to easily give up, we wouldn’t have an archive of wonderful characters, shows, movies, theme parks, and experiences. Countless times, it was speculated that Disney would destroy his own company with new ventures. This included the making of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves – dubbed Disney’s Folly by the media – and the construction of Disneyland, which many believed had no chance of success. Disney had so much trouble raising funds for the theme park that he made a deal with the ABC TV network, exchanging programming for help in financing his dream. Everything worked out in the end, thanks to Disney’s risks.

Walt Disney Legacy

Henry Ford

The man who eventually brought the world the automobile went through a number of struggles before finally reaching success. Ford came from a farming family and was expected to take over the homestead, although he hated the work and lifestyle. Ford wanted a better life for himself, but simply leaving the farm didn’t guarantee anything. In fact, Ford was forced to file for bankruptcy twice, but he learned from his mistakes and gained a net worth of $188 billion. Ford was also one to look after his employees, offering them an unheard of $5 per day wage, allowing them to buy the vehicles they were making.

JK Rowling

The Harry Potter author, now raking in cash from her books, movie deals, theme park lands, etc. was once living off welfare and trying to complete her novel by travelling to various coffee houses, while caring for her infant child. Even when interest began swelling for her manuscript, she was advised to seek a day job, as it was unlikely she would make enough money solely on writing children’s books. While speaking for a graduating Harvard class in 2008, Rowling said: “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”

Steve Jobs

Before he became the technological icon that we know him as today – creating devices such as the iMac, iPod, iPad, and iPhone – Jobs went through many hardships. Among them, he was an adopted child, struggled in school, dropped out of college course he could barely afford in the first place, and struggled to find his niche in the working world. Even running his own company would not provide smooth sailing. In fact, at one time, he was forced out of Apple, the company he created and would later bring back to prominence. Even in declining health due to cancer, Jobs never gave up hope or his dreams and kept working hard through it all.

Jobs Taking Over

Terry Fox

Fox was only 18 years old when he was forced to have his leg amputated due to cancer. The young man didn’t let that stop him, though, as he not only won national wheelchair basketball championships, but also embarked on a trip across Canada, running to raise money for cancer research. Fox’s Marathon of Hope lasted 143 days and 5,373 km, garnering $1.7 million in donations. Sadly, the journey had to be halted in Thunder Bay, Ontario, when Fox was too sick to continue, cancer returning to the athlete’s body. In honour of his campaign, the Terry Fox Run is done annually around the world and has raised over $650 million.

Rick Hansen

Sticking with Canadian content, the wheelchair-bound Hansen gave the opening address at one of my college convocations and his message really hit home with Mrs. Sip and myself. The crux of it was: “Failure is not having the courage to try.” Hansen is best known for his Man in Motion World Tour, an attempt to raise funds for spinal cord injury research by circumventing the globe in his wheelchair. Hansen had been crippled in an auto wreck at the age of 15, but that didn’t stop the man from raising $26 million over his 26 month journey. The song St. Elmo’s Fire was written for Hansen and his courageous expedition.

Oprah Winfrey

With a media empire that includes its own magazine, television network, and devoted fan base, one could certainly say that Oprah Winfrey did well for herself. When you learn of the broadcasting mogul’s humble and difficult beginnings, her success is all the more impressive. She had a strained relationship with her teenage mother, who was in and out of her life and was the victim of sexual abuse from family members. After running away from home, Winfrey herself became pregnant at age 14, although the baby died after premature birth. Once Winfrey entered the media world, it was a slow rise to the heights she currently enjoys.

Flavour Revolution: Floradora

Floradora Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Gilbey’s Lemon Gin
  • 0.5 oz Chambord
  • Top with Ginger Ale/Beer
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with a Lemon Wedge

The phrase “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” has been credited to two sources. First, Elbert Hubbard, a Christian anarchist writer, used it for the obituary of Marshall P. Wilder, a dwarf actor, who Hubbard wrote of: “He cashed in on his disabilities. He picked up the lemons that Fate had sent him and started a lemonade-stand.” Fellow writer Dale Carnegie has also been said to have invented the term, writing in his book ‘How to Stop Worrying and Start Living’: “If You Have a Lemon, Make a Lemonade.”

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This is an interesting drink. I used my Dark Ginger Ale, but kind of wished I’d used some Ginger Beer, perhaps Crabbie’s orange or raspberry flavour. There’s a lot of different tastes going on here, but the end result works. And if it hadn’t, I would have made lemonade from the lemon experience!

Israel – Bloodbath

Pilgrimage & Play

Israel has the greatest number of museums per capita in the world. Therefore, it should be no surprise, especially given the country’s religious and historical significance, that many travelers are willing to risk their own security to visit the nation. Let’s take a look at some of those important religious tourism sites:

Western Wall

Also known as the ‘Wailing Wall,’ this location is recognized as one of the most sacred sites to Jewish people and is a favourite pilgrimage spot. It is commonly believed to have been built by Herod the Great, although the project was not finished during his lifetime. Visitors have been known to stuff papers, containing their prayers, into cracks the have developed in the structure. Conflicts between Muslims and Jews occurred frequently at the Western Wall, with both groups laying claim to the fortification. The wall was also the site of a major zombie attack in the film World War Z.

Western Wall

Dome of the Rock

The Dome of the Rock is located next to the Western Wall, and no, it’s not a temple dedicated to wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne Johnson. It is one of the earliest examples of Islamic architecture and has a reputation of being one of the most recognizable sites in Jerusalem and Israel. The shrine’s centerpiece, the Foundation Stone, holds great significance for Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Also known as the Well of Souls, Jews believe it to be the link between Heaven and Earth and typically face it while praying.

Masada

Translated into English, Masada means “fortress” and it was the site of numerous clashes throughout history. It is thought to be the first site that Herod the Great fortified. Masada has become one of Israel’s most popular tourist attractions, seen by the citizens of Israel as a symbol of resistance and holding religious significance, as a result. Masada became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001 and today, visitors can hike up one of two trails (the Snake Trail and the Roman Ramp) or simply ride a cable car to the peak. There’s also an audio-visual lightshow presented each night.

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Located within the Christian quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City, this is the spot where Jesus was said to have been crucified, as well as where he was thought to have been buried. Therefore, it is also where Jesus’ resurrection would have occurred. All of these assumptions make the Church of the Holy Sepulchre a popular pilgrimage site for Christians. Among the church’s treasures are the Stone of Anointing, the Rock of Cavalry, the Aedicule, the Cross of Golgotha, the Prison of Christ, and the Altar of the Crucifiction.

jesus_resurrection

Sea of Galilee

Israel’s largest freshwater lake is said to be the sight of many of Jesus’ miracles, including walking on water, calming the storm, the boatload of fish, and feeding 5,000 people. The Sea of Galilee is also where Jesus recruited at least four of his disciples (Saint Peter, Saint Andrew, John the Apostle, and Saint James the Great) and conducted his Sermon on the Mount. Tourism along the shores today is largely made up of Christian pilgrims, who can walk along the 40-mile ‘Jesus Trail,’ which was opened by the Israeli government in 2011.

The Dead Sea

One of the world’s saltiest bodies of water, the Dead Sea gets its name because animals and other life forms can’t thrive in the area. The Dead Sea Scrolls, made up of 981 religious texts were discovered here in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. Israelites were said to have lived in caves near the Dead Sea during biblical times and King David used the Dead Sea for sanctuary. Herod the Great turned the Dead Sea into one of the world’s first health resorts and to this day, the sea’s water is used for a number of different therapies, including psoriasis (skin disorder), rhinosinusitis (nasal condition), and osteoarthritis (knee ailment).

Israel: Bloodbath

Bloodbath Wine Cocktail

Other popular attractions include Yad Vashem (Israel’s official memorial for Holocaust victims), The Grave of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, and the Hanging Gardens of Haifa, along with all those museums located around the country. I’ve never really been too hot on the prospect of travelling to Israel and while writing this article didn’t convert me, it does give me pause to think about the possibility.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
This cocktail looked like a neat one to try and I suppose the name also goes well with the subject matter of this article given all the blood that has been spilled in the name of religion in and around Israel. This drink was really good… I’m talking great even. That Cranberry-Lemonade mix I’ve been using the last few months is a real gem. Most interesting about the wines from Israel is that many of them are kept kosher and can only be handled by observant Jews, while not including certain ingredients.

Slovakia – Dragon Tea

Stimulating Statues

Every European country is chock full of history, monuments, and statues. Slovakia (particularly in the country’s capital Bratislava) is no different and has a collection of busts that are incredibly unique, bordering on bizarre. Most of the sculptures have their own name and backstory. Here is a look at some of those works and an examination of what they are telling us:

The Greeter

This friendly fella was known to walk the streets of Bratislava, dressed to the nines, and offer women flowers or songs as they went about their daily business. The original ladies’ man, he could often be heard saying “I kiss your hand,” in a variety of languages. While his real name was Ignác Lamár, he was known by the moniker Schöner Náci and received free food from many of the city’s restaurants. Here’s hoping that one day they make a statue of me holding doors open for people and getting angry when they don’t appreciate the gesture.

Greeter statue

The Sewer Man

This statue, dubbed Rubberneck (perhaps because of the accidents it causes when people are distracted by it while driving or walking) is the world’s first bust to show a person emerging from a sewer. Perhaps he had given up his search for the fabled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, resulting in his exasperated look. I would also be despondent had my quest failed to turn up any leads. The sculpture has actually been decapitated twice by motorists, prompting city officials to create a sign warning passersby’s of the figure.

sewer statue

The Photographer

You can play celebrity for a day in Slovakia… providing you hang out in this alley for the entire time. I’m not sure if the artist was hoping to inspire some social commentary on the state of paparazzi stalkers or to just make people feel famous for a brief moment. I wonder if folks like Sean Penn and Alec Baldwin, known for their run-ins with photographers have made their way to Bratislava to slap around this statue and get some free therapy courtesy the artist and the Slovakian government. It might be worth the trip if it saves the life of one dirty paparazzo!

paparazzi statue

The Threesome

Well, I’m not exactly sure what’s going on here, but I definitely want in! Three naked chicks frolicking… hell yeah, let’s party! I really can’t describe the scene and would love to hear what the artist was aiming for. It looks like the chick on the right is in one of the those skydiving simulators, while the one in the middle is knee boarding (or perhaps performing other tasks that at best achieved at that level!) and the broad on the left is in the middle of a Matrix-style bomb explosion. I kind of want to use the structure for some hardcore parkour to tucker myself out.

threesome statue

The Soldier

Imagine that you’re just hanging out, enjoying a good rest on a bench and next you know, the infamous military midget Napoleon (or one of his men) shows up behind you. Apparently, they enjoy gags like that in Slovakia. For some reason, it has become a popular photo op in the city, although I don’t understand the appeal myself. When I travel, I’m more about experiences (usually involving a drink or three) rather than standing in front of various icons and buildings just to say that I’ve been there. Not to stomp on anybody that tours in that way, but it’s not what works for me.

Napoleon statue

Slovakia: Dragon Tea

Dragon Tea Cocktail

  • 1 oz Tatratea Forest Fruit
  • 0.75 Grand Marnier
  • 0.75 Chambord
  • Top with Cranberry Juice
  • Splash of Wildberry Juice
  • Dash of Lemon Juice
  • Garnish with Cranberries

Well, that wraps up our little jaunt through Slovakia. We took some interesting photos, met some intriguing people and drank some wonderful booze… that’s my kind of travelling!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I have to say that the Tatratea website is kind of lame when looking for recipes to try with their liqueurs. If they want to send me a couple bottles of their product, I promise to invent a minimum of three rockin’ recipes with each spirit. Even online videos seem to exclude which ingredients to use or names of the cocktails being created. Very frustrating, indeed. As for this cocktail, it was very good. The flavours were nice and made for a pleasant martini.

Canada – Unsuspecting Victim

Legend of Poutine

As we continue our trek across Canada’s often frozen tundra, we discover another of the country’s greatest products: poutine. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, it basically means fries with gravy and cheese curds, but it can also be so much more. Let’s take a look at Canada’s cultural cuisine.

Poutine Heart Attacks

As with most things that earn a cult status and become famous, there are many that claim to have created the dish. A number of French Canadian cities also assert that they are the home of poutine’s invention. Drummondville, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Victoriaville, and Warwick each have ponies in this race.

It is commonly believed that poutine earned its name (which is French slang for “a mess”) when a trucker asked cook Fernand Lachance to add cheese curds to his fries in the 1950’s.

You can really make anything with the poutine base of fries and curds. Butter chicken, ribs, ground beef, pulled pork, and most other meats can be used in recipes. There are also Greek and Italian poutines which include Greek salad and gyro meat and Bolognese sauce and Italian sausage, respectively.

Chef Chuck Hughes even won an episode of Iron Chef America with an offering of lobster poutine, which sounds so amazingly fantastic. Not so fantastic (to the Sip Advisor, at least) are recipes which include foie gras, caviar, and truffles. I’d still give them a shot, though and probably end up eating crow.

Despite its wonderful taste, one major downside of poutine is its high-caloric value. Servings can range from 750-1,500 calories depending on how many ingredients are thrown on top of the base.

calories-poutine

A number of fast food joints have also jumped aboard the literal gravy train. New York Fries, KFC, Burger King, Dairy Queen, A&W, Wendy’s, and even McDonald’s, known for their world famous skinny fries, have got in on the poutine act. A number of poutine specific restaurants have also began popping up across Canada. In a small area of downtown Vancouver, you can find La Belle Patate, Smoke’s Poutinerie, Mean Poutine, and others.

My favourite rendition of the meal is available at my local watering hole, Jimmy’s Taphouse. It’s not an elaborate serving of the delicacy, but what pushes it over the edge is the chipotle drizzle they put over the fries, giving it a bit of spice. The menu item is also on the bar’s half price happy hour menu, which makes it all the more amazing.

Jones Soda released a poutine-flavoured beverage for a limited time in 2013, which was met with mostly harsh reviews. Still, I wish I could track it down and use it in a drink recipe. If you have a bottle lying around, donations to The Sip Advisor are always accepted and like a church offering plate are strongly encouraged!

Some close family members of poutine include Disco Fries (using mozza cheese and served in New Jersey and New York since the 1970’s), Chili Cheese Fries, and In-N-Out Burger’s Animal Fries (with cheese, onions, and secret sauce).

All this talk of poutine has worked up quite an appetite for me, so we’ll close with a note on perhaps the most famous moment for the popular dish. For Rick Mercer’s satirical ‘Talking to Americans’ segment on This Hour Has 22 Minutes, during the 2000 U.S. election, Mercer told George W. Bush that Prime Minister Jean Poutine had endorsed him. The actual Canadian PM at the time was Jean Chretien, but not a single interviewee picked up on the discrepancy. When President Bush made his first trip to Canada, he joked that he wanted to thank Mr. Poutine for the endorsement, finally clued in to the gag.

Canada: Unsuspecting Victim

Unsuspecting Victim Drink Recipe

  • 0.75 oz Crown Royal Whiskey
  • 0.75 oz Chambord
  • 0.75 oz Amaretto
  • Top with Pineapple Juice and Sweet & Sour Mix
  • Splash of Lemon-Lime Soda
  • Garnish with Lemon and Lime Wheels

This is one of the few things we can thank the French for… that and an endless number of liquor options. Please share your favourite poutine recipe, fact, or story. Then go get yourself some of Canada’s finest gastronomic delight!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
Well, my little sippers, it happened again. I ended up with some Pineapple Juice that had gone bad and came out as clumpy as some poutine gravies. Luckily, I had some Pineapple Soda still lying around and it added a very nice touch to the drink. The always reliable (aren’t all Canadian items!) Crown Royal Whiskey tasted really good combined with the Chambord and Amaretto and everything mixed together made for an excellent cocktail.

December 26 – Santa’s Last Job

Boxing Day Blowout

There are jokes out there that Boxing Day got its name from people packing up the gifts they got for Christmas, in order to return them to stores for refund or exchange. Same goes for people hastily packing up their holiday ornaments mere hours after their family celebrations. While both are completely untrue, here are some things you could be doing on Dec. 26!

boxing-day

Shopping

Malls and stores are madhouses on this day and I prefer to not have to deal with either. I don’t really think great deals are achieved and the headache of waking up early and dealing with crowds isn’t worth it. The couple times I have previously gone Boxing Day shopping were more hassle than anything else, like the year I bought a new laptop, with very little savings, and in the outlet’s haste, they didn’t even load it up properly and I had to return to the outlet numerous times to drop off and pick up my new computer.

Open House

This year, like last Boxing Day, I have been given the task of playing barkeep for my family and in-laws, as they enjoy the Christmas afterglow with food, treats, and being incredibly lazy. Thankfully, this year, I’ve taken Dec. 27th off from work and can join in the celebrations, instead of having to drive home later in the evening and get ready to return to work the next day. It will be a rocking open house, indeed!

Watch Sports

As I outlined in an earlier post, there’s a lot of sports to be consumed during the holidays. Boxing Day features the kickoff of both the World Junior Hockey Championship and Spengler Cup, as well as test cricket matches and a yacht race in Australia. In the UK, each football league holds a full slate of matches and throughout Africa, prize fights are held, given true meaning to the name ‘Boxing Day’! Apparently, Boxing Day is also a popular day for horse racing in different parts of the world.

polar bear plunge

Polar Bear Swim… yeah, that could be worth watching, too!

Playtime

If you’re not cozied up watching sports, you could pop outside into the fresh air and enjoy some physical activity. There used to be an annual fox hunt in England, but while that has been outlawed, the powers that be can’t ban us from playing sports like hockey, soccer, and football, or participate in winter activities like skiing, snowboarding and ice skating. Make sure to include the young ones and give them an idea of what it’s like to be outdoors for a change.

Be Charitable

Boxing Day could provide the perfect opportunity to pitch in somewhere in your community and help those less fortunate. My donations to this world are this wonderful website and all of its free content, which until I’m paid to operate, will serve as my community service. There are so many other ways for you normal folks to lend a hand, but I’ll leave that decision to you… or you could just send money my way and turn this non-profit into a fully functioning industry!

Drink #360: Santa’s Last Job

Santa's Last Job Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Vodka (I used Devil’s Food)
  • 1 oz Chambord
  • Top with Milk
  • Garnish with Jellybeans

What do you prefer to do with your extra day off for Boxing Day? If it’s enjoying your new gifts while getting drunk off your ass, join the club!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
This cocktail is perfect for dessert or a nightcap, with Chambord kicking in a bit of berry flavour amongst the Devil’s Food Vodka chocolate taste. Sometimes something as simple as a couple Jellybeans can make a really nice garnish. Simplicity can be a beautiful thing!

December 14 – Christmas Kiss

Tonight, We Feast

While most of us are accustomed to a Christmas feast of turkey or ham and all the fixings, around the world, the story may not be the same. Here are some of the most unique Christmas dinners in the universe!

KFC – Japan

While the Colonel’s 11 herbs and spices are famous around the world, only in Japan is fried chicken such an enormously popular Christmas dinner. This was a case where false advertising worked out pretty well. The company stated through ads in 1974 that KFC was the meal of choice in North America and Japanese folks looking to get onboard with western culture followed along. The “Kentucky For Christmas” campaign was so successful that people pre-order their buckets en masse two months ahead of time for their celebrations.

Kentucky-Christmas

Fish Soup – Serbia

I won’t knock it, since I haven’t tried it, but not being much of a soup fan, I feel like I wouldn’t enjoy Christmas in Serbia very much. Unless the fish soup was some sort of lobster bisque or something like that. The Serbs also bake bread called Cesnica, which includes a silver coin inside, bringing good luck to the one who finds it. This has disaster written all over it though, ranging from a choking hazard to extreme dental work if someone bites down on the cash too hard.

Foie Gras – France

If anyone needs lessons on how to live decadently, the French have the knowledge, but they’re too busy sipping wine to help out and teach the rest of the world. For a French Christmas meal, one might find themselves indulging in foie gras, oysters, smoked salmon, and crepes. For dessert? Not one snack, but 13. Called ‘13 Desserts’ and meant to symbolize Jesus and the 12 Apostles, the treats are set out on Christmas Eve and left out to entice for the next three days.

Weisswurst – Germany

Germany’s Christmas dinner seems more like a barbecue gathering and I mean that in a good way. Items include sausages and potato salad and you better believe there will be beer served at this holly jolly feast. For dessert, the Germans destroy a gingerbread house that is meant to emulate the one from the Hansel and Gretel fairy tale. I bet you even get to chow down on some festively plump children, as part of the whole exercise!

German Stollen

Curry Goat – Jamaica

Washed down with Red Stripe beer (or at least I hope), curry goat just doesn’t seem very appetizing. I’m a fan of curry, specifically of the Indian variety, but I usually have the spicy sauce atop chicken dishes. This brings a whole new meaning to those ads that want you to send a goat to an impoverished village in Africa. Not saying Jamaica is an impoverished African village (that would simply be foolish), but it gets the ol’ brain thinking and that’s never a good thing.

12-Dish Supper – Lithuania

Once again, representing the 12 Apostles (Jesus gets left out here), Lithuanians are served 12 separate dishes on Christmas Eve and no one can open their presents until every last apostle has been eaten. Okay, I added that last little bit, but for all we know, I could actually be right… I know it’s rare, but it has been known to happen. You know, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, nobody knows how to truly party like a Lithuanian!

Drink #348: Christmas Kiss

Christmas Kiss Shooter

  • 0.75 oz Chambord
  • 0.75 oz Kahlua
  • Garnish with a Candy Cane

Are there any meals that particularly stand out to you as a little bizarre? Everyone has their own way of celebrating, but that certainly doesn’t make it normal!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
I thought this shot would give me the chance to finally use the candy cane shot glass I picked up for Mrs. Sip a couple years ago (because that’s what I do: buy gifts for her that are really for me!). Then, tragedy struck when the shot glass immediately began to leak. I acted quickly, sucking the liquid through a hole in the bottom of the vessel and promptly tossed that waste of money into the sink, shattering it into pieces. Sweet revenge! The shot itself was pretty tasty, as I was expecting with the mix of two pleasant liqueurs.

November 12 – Zelda’s Lullaby

Game Shark

A friend recently wrote to me and pointed out a glaring omission from the Sip Advisor library. While I’ve examined movies, spent a fair bit of time on TV, and even dabbled in the dark arts of travel, I have never done any work in the realm of video games. That is to be corrected in a two-part series on my favourite games and series of all-time. This one is for the nerd in all of us!

Legend of Zelda

The trials and tribulations of our hero Link, as he wages war on Ganondorf in an attempt to save Princess Zelda and keep the Tri-Force out of the hands of evil have been one of the greatest video game epics in history. While there have been many iterations of the franchise, my favourite are A Link to the Past (SNES) and Ocarina of Time (N64), perhaps the greatest video game experience I’ve ever had. Sadly, I started to play Twilight Princess (Wii) a couple years ago, but have found myself too busy to go back to the game.

Ocarina of Time

Blades of Steel

This game is so awesome I can’t even begin to describe what Blades of Steel meant to me as a kid. As a young, aspiring hockey star, this was my first chance to ever take to the ice digitally and guide my team to championship glory. The game had it all: goals, saves, fighting, penalty shots, a shootout if overtime was necessary… you get the picture. When I downloaded a Nintendo emulator onto my computer a number of years back, the first title I searched out was Blades of Steel. This time, though, I got to sub beer in place of chocolate milk!

Peggle

This game takes the Japanese gambling parlour tradition of Pachinko and turns it into something both kids and adults can access and enjoy. One thing the gambling powers can’t provide (although Peggle doesn’t allow you to win money!) is characters who each have their own special power when you use them and access their specific skill. Even after beating the normal game, there were tons of challenges to work through and the fun just kept on going.

Super Mario Kart

The original Mario Kart was awesome, but I also thoroughly enjoyed the Wii entry as well, which required you to actually play with a steering wheel. Once you got the motions down, it was an awesome ride which made you feel more involved in the races. My favourite racer was the Koopa Trooper because I like to have a balance of speed and accurate turning. In the Wii game, I usually used my Mii character and I was awesome behind the wheel!

Mario Kart

7 Wonders of the Ancient World

I’m a certified casual games match-three genius. Seriously, if you could go pro playing these games, I’d be the Wayne Gretzky of the genre. 7 Wonders was one of the first releases I picked up and I’m so glad I did. I find games like these keep your brain sharp, which counteracts all the damage I’ve done to the poor thing with drinking! There were two sequels to the original game, each offering a new gameplay style to switch things up.

Rock Band/Guitar Hero

When Mrs. Sip and I first heard about the Guitar Hero and later Rock Band franchises, it spurred us to go out and buy a Playstation 2 (after not owning a video game system for years) and get these musical games. We spent many nights with Mrs. Sip either rocking the guitar or microphone and me slamming away at the drums, usually downing copious amounts of alcohol, just like all of my drumming idols!

cat-plays-rock-band

Mario Party

While I haven’t played every entry in this series (come on, there’s like 10 of them!) I’ve always enjoyed sitting around with a good group and battling it out in all the mini games to see who will obtain virtual board game glory. My win-loss record might not be great in the Mario Party world, but I always have fun regardless and you never really know who will come out ahead in the end thanks to the games “bonus stars” awarded once all the turns have expired.

Grand Theft Auto

I’m a law-abiding citizen… but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun to be a criminal in the fictional world of video games. I played all the GTA games up to San Andreas, with my favourite being the Vice City installment. There was just something so great about stealing cars and performing other underhanded tasks in the Miami beach setting to the greatest (and sometimes lamest) music of the 80’s!

Drink #316: Zelda’s Lullaby

Zelda's Lullaby Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Chambord
  • 0.75 oz Vodka
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Dash of Egg Whites
  • Garnish with a Lemon Twist

Sip Advisor 3:16 (drink #316) says I just got you drunk! Thanks for letting me borrow your famous line Stone Cold! Look out for part two of my favourite games tomorrow, including wrestling titles.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
Credit for this recipe goes to The Drunken Moogle, which is a great site for video game-themed drinks and other pop culture offerings. I was itching to make this cocktail for Mrs. Sip and the long wait made her enjoyment of the martini all that more amazing. Chambord is one of her favourite liquor ingredients, but that does not make a guaranteed success. Where the drink really works is that all the other ingredients come to play as well… like the flying-V in the Mighty Ducks movies!

November 10 – Movember Rain

‘Stache Central

In honour of all the dudes out there that are growing mustaches that make their partners less attracted to them, all in the name of raising awareness for men’s health, particularly prostate and testicular cancer, here’s a look at some of the greatest whiskers in the media world!

Magnum PI – Tom Selleck is so associated with his trademark facial hair that the network wouldn’t allow him to get rid of it for his role on Blue Bloods. Can you believe Selleck turned down the role of Mitch Buchannon (later went to David Hasselhoff) on Baywatch because he didn’t want to be a sex symbol… uh, hey Tom, too late, buddy!

magnum-pi-moustache

Hulk Hogan – Hogan’s Fu-Manchu plays a vital role in his image as a do-gooder and leader of Hulkamaniacs everywhere. So much so, that when he finally became a bad guy and leader of the reprehensible New World Order, a dirty black beard was added to show he had fully embraced the dark side.

Ned Flanders – Everyone’s favoruite religious zealot has had many storylines center around his nose neighbour. Usually when Ned is forced to shave the facial hair, good things come his way. Surprisingly, when he refused to rid his upper lip of fur, the omnibenevolent one was labeled and rebel and troublemaker.

Yosemite Sam – Sam has such a wicked moustache that it actually encompasses his entire face, including around his eyes. Sam is a mentor of mine, as just like him, I am prone to obscenity-laced tirades when I’ve been outsmarted by a no-good varmint.

Cat Mustache

Captain Hook – Whether the cartoon character or the live action depiction by Dustin Hoffman, Captain Hook’s trademark cookie-duster is comical and to be feared all at the same time. If you were in his position, wouldn’t you also grow a mustache and do anything else to distract from the hooked hand!?

Snidely Whiplash/Boris Badenov/Dick Dastardly – It seems that back in the day, you couldn’t be an animated villain without sporting some sort of soup strainer. These are some of the most despicable dudes to ever exist and they evilness was only accentuated by their lower brow.

Ron Swanson – The man’s man of the Parks and Rec crew just wouldn’t carry the same respect if he was sans mustache. He is such an aficionado that he’s gone on to teach others how to grow a great mustache and NBC even has t-shirts with Swanson’s likeness available in their shop.

Mario, Luigi, Wario & Wailuigi – These four guys have a yearly competition to see who has the best lady tickler. My vote goes to Wario and his lightning bolt-esque flavour saver!

Machete – What would an anarchist assassin be without a badass ‘stache!? For Machete, the facial fur is all part of the look meant to strike fear in the hearts of those he is paid to dispose of.

Cleveland Brown – In flashbacks, it’s revealed that Cleveland has had a rockin’ ‘stache since his teenage years and when his son shaves it off in an act of revenge, we learn why. Apparently Brown’s voice is created thanks to the hairs and without the mustache, it sounds squeaky and pathetic.

Aficionado

Inspector ClouseauClouseau’s mustache was based off of fellow fictional investigator Hercule Poirot, but I’ll take the funny man over the more serious detective any day… providing it’s the Peter Sellers version and not the Steve Martin one.

Borat – I just can’t imagine Borat without his goofy lip foliage. The Kazakhstan journalist has been an inspiration to me and millions around the world, showing us all what lengths we should go to in order to get a story done.

Ron Burgundy – What would a 1970’s newsman be without an epic crumb catcher? In fact, some posters for the upcoming Anchorman sequel prominently focus on the icon’s mustache and that’s all you really need to know before going into the theatre!

ronburgundy

J. Jonah Jameson – The Spiderman hater sports a push broom similar to one Adolf Hitler… could there be a connection there? I’m sure Spiderman and all his employees would think so.

Evil Abed/Evil Cartman/Evil Spock – For some reason, a character can be turned “evil” simply by adding facial hair to their usual look. I’ve experimented with this theory every Movember, by becoming a complete and total dick throughout the month!

Drink #314: Movember Rain

Movember Rain Drink Recipe

  • Muddle Berries and Mint Leaves
  • 1 oz Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Chambord
  • Top with half Grapefruit Juice and half Pineapple Juice
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Garnish with Mint Leaves and a Berry

Who possesses your favourite upper lip caterpillar? Unfortunately, this is one area where you won’t all be shouting my name. I just can’t seem to grow great facial hair. Good, yes… but great… not for the Sip Advisor.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
There’s a lot going on in this cocktail and I think that detracts from the overall enjoyment on the drink. When you get a focused sip of the Chambord, for example, it’s very good. On other sips, however, you get a mix of different juices and so on and it’s hard to pinpoint a taste. I’m not a fan of weird, combined, unidentifiable flavours, so it’s too bad that happens in this recipe. I tried to make the mint leaves look like a moustache… mission accomplished!

October 22 – Tootsie Pop

Candy Mascots

While every brand of cereal seems to have had a mascot for commercial purposes, finding mascots in the world of candy proved to be a little more difficult. Still, after diligent research, here are some of the best of the bunch:

Bart Simpson – Butterfinger

A lot of companies have capitalized on the enduring success of The Simpsons, highlighted by Bart Simpson becoming the mascot for Butterfinger chocolate bars. Most commercials would feature Homer trying to get his grubby paws on Bart’s chocolate, only to be thwarted by his rotten son. Then, Bart would deliver a catchphrase like “Nobody better lay a finger on my Butterfinger!” After 12 years of disassociation, Bart will return to the brand sometime in the very near future.

Butterfinger-Bart Simpson

Mr. Owl – Tootsie Pops

This pompous prick of a bird (aren’t they all horrible) took pride in stealing people’s Tootsie Pops, licking them twice and then chomping into the entire treat. Meanwhile dumb kids stood around seeing if the vermin would solve the age old question of how many licks it takes to get to the center of the lollipop. Thanks to Mr. Owl’s lack of cooperation, Universities have actually wasted time testing Tootsie Pops lickability with widely ranging results. Some studies say it only takes 150-350 licks, while others say it’s in the thousands.

Red and Yellow – M&Ms

Red and Yellow are a comedic pair with Red being a smart ass leader to Yellow’s less intelligent lackey persona. This usually means that Red gets the guys into some sort of trouble, despite Yellow’s warning of issues ahead. M&Ms have also added Green, Brown, Blue, and Orange characters over the years. Brown is probably the most recognizable as she’s a sassy female, spurning the advances of men who want to be with the candy-coated snack.

Yipes – Fruit Stripe Gum

Yipes the Fruit Stripe zebra has outlasted his entire family to remain as the sole mascot of the brand. He was originally introduced with Connor the Tiger, as well as an unnamed elephant and mouse. Yipes is known to be quite active, as tattoos packaged with the gum portray him rollerblading, snowboarding, playing sports, and, of course, eating grass. Using the zebra mascot, Fruit Stripe raised $100,000 for the preservation of endangered animals in 1996.

Fruit_Stripe

Bazooka Joe – Bazooka Joe Bubble Gum

Starting in 1954, Bazooka Joe appeared on comic strips wrapped around pieces of Bazooka Joe Bubble Gum, along with characters such as Pesty, Mort, Hungry Herman, Toughie, and Walkie Talkie. The comics were discontinued in 2012 thanks to a drop in bubble gum sales (a sad day, indeed!). Despite losing his comic strip gig, rumours have circulated that Bazooka Joe may have a future in the movie industry. Plans for a film adaptation of the comics were announced in 2009.

Floyd D. Duck – Bubble Yum

This water bird is one bad ass punk, complete with nose ring, frosted tip mohawk, spiked collar, and… ankle bracelet??? Isn’t an ankle bracelet something you’d expect a young, sexually-charged female ducky to be adorning? Anyway, Floyd D. Duck blows bubbles in the face of authority and won’t take any guff from pigs – both the animal kind and the police variety. Can ducks even blow bubbles? It seems like a beak of that size would prevent the lip formations necessary for bubble making.

Floyd D. Duck

Willy Wonka – Willy Wonka Candy Company

The candy company born from Roald Dahl’s classic children’s novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory came into being in 1971, the same time the first film based on the novel was released. With Willy Wonka, the new enterprise had a perfect mascot and spokesman already built in. Being portrayed by Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp doesn’t hurt, either. Today, the company sells products such as Nerds, Gobstoppers, Laffy Taffy, Pixy Stix, Runts, and Kazoozles… everything you’d expect from the eccentric candy mogul.

Freddo – Cadbury’s Freddo

Mrs. Sip and I first learned of Freddo the Frog when she was spending a semester in Australia. Apparently the frog-shaped chocolate bars are also sold in New Zealand, Ireland, the U.K., and Zimbabwe, of all places. Freddo has been featured in two online animated series, expanding his backstory, and was even part of Cadbury’s 2006 recall over a possible salmonella scare. That’s one crazy life for this amphibian.

Drink #295: Tootsie Pop

Tootsie Pop Drink Recipe

  • 0.5 oz Chambord
  • 0.5 oz Amaretto
  • Splash of Vodka
  • Splash of Sweet & Sour Mix
  • Splash of Cola
  • Garnish with a Tootsie Pop

It seems like candy mascots got their greatest availability of work from bubble gum products. Remember that the next time you’re trying to scrape the stuff off of the bottom of your shoes or you touch a gob of gum left under a table or seat by some inconsiderate asshole!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This cocktail tasted like a Tootsie Pop and I loved eating the suckers I used for garnishing after the drink was done. It heightened the entire experience. Perhaps most enjoyable with the drink was how Chambord and Sweet & Sour Mix work together for a sour raspberry flavour.