Cocktail Corner – Clean Slate

Good Riddance

As the Sip Advisor has done in years past, it’s time to look back at those that enjoyed the best and worst years in 2015. As for me, 2015 was a mixed bag of amazing experiences and personal lows. I’m happy to bid farewell to the year and start fresh with 2016. Let’s see who’s likely to join me:

#5: Jared Fogle and Subway

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Jared Fogle went from the face of Subway and role model to those looking to shed pounds, to public pariah overnight, after it was revealed he was being investigated for paying for sex with minors and receiving and distributing child pornography. The fall was even swifter than his rise to fame as spokesperson of the sandwich shop. As 2015 came to a close, Fogle was sentenced to a 15-year prison term. I wonder if he can get his precious sandwiches from behind bars?

Jared Subway

#4: Hulk Hogan

Once the greatest star the wrestling industry has ever seen, the full damage of Hulk Hogan’s leaked sex tape from 2007 was finally revealed in 2015. In the video, Hogan uses racial slurs in describing the thought of his daughter Brooke’s dating a black man and instantly, the ‘drink your milk, take your vitamins (ahem, steroids),’ all-American hero was gone. There will be no Hulking-up from this and if we ever see Hogan again in a WWE ring, it will be a complete and total shock.

#3: Sepp Blatter and FIFA

One of the most crooked sports organizations in the world was finally served a slice of humble pie, in the form of an FBI-lead investigation into corruption accusations against a number of FIFA officials and president Sepp Blatter. After originally forging ahead and even winning his bid for re-election as head of the football association, Blatter eventually chose to resign due to the scandal. Most recently, Blatter was banned from any FIFA involvement for eight years.

Sepp-Blatter-FIFA

#2: Bill Cosby

Despite a collection of friends, colleagues, and fans who are still willing to defend Bill Cosby, in light of countless drugging and sexual assault allegations, the comedy legend was finally backed into a corner and charged with sexual assault by Pennsylvania authorities, on December 30, 2015. To date, more than 50 women have come forward in recent years, claiming that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted them. Depending on where this heads in 2016, Cosby could top this list next year.

#1: Syrian Refugees

With images of bodies – young and old – washed ashore, as Syrian refugees attempted to flee their country for better lives, amidst civil war and unrest, this international incident finally came to the forefront in 2015. With many countries accepting the four million refugees into their borders, let’s hope that 2016 is a year in which the Syrian refugees are moved from the worst list, to the best, finding new and prosperous homes, around the world.

Cocktail Corner: Clean Slate

Jan 4

  • Rim glass with Sugar
  • 0.75 oz Amaretto
  • 0.5 oz Elderflower Liqueur
  • 0.5 oz Cherry Liqueur
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Sour Apple Mixer
  • Top with Champagne

Some dishonourable mentions include fraudster Martin Shkreli, reality star rapist Josh Duggar, Volkswagen, Ashley Madison and their users, Ebola victims, and American police. Next week, we look at those who had a great 2015 and look to ride that momentum in the New Year.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
I did some tinkering with this recipe, but the end result was a decent drink. There’s a bunch of different flavours all competing for your attention, with the Amaretto probably winning the battle. A fun drink for New Year’s celebrations.

Hungary – My Cherry Baby

Cube Compulsion

The Sip Advisor gets easily frustrated by toys like the Rubik’s Cube. I suppose there are some things my massive intellect just can’t solve… and I’m at peace with that fact. Let’s take a closer look at this popular toy, invented by Hungarian Erno Rubik:

The Rubik’s Cube (originally called the Magic Cube, before it was released worldwide in 1980) was created in 1974, as a way for Rubik to help explain three-dimensional geometry. At the time, Rubik was only 29 years old, but was already a sculptor and architecture professor. When Rubik’s had created his cube, it took him a month to solve for the first time. Later, Rubik could solve his own puzzle in under a minute, which he showed off at trade shows.

Rubiks Cube Solved

More than 350 million Rubik’s Cubes have been sold around the world and thanks to these sales, it is the best-selling toy of all-time. After its international release, it won Toy of the Year honours in 1980 and again in 1981. The popularity of the toy bred the first annual International Rubik’s Championships in 1982, which was won by Minh Thai of the U.S. with a time of 22.95 seconds. A World Cube Association was created in 2004 to govern international competitions and chart world records.

The Rubik’s Cube can be solved in 20 moves or less, regardless of how it’s mixed up. This has created an entire sub-genre of speed cubers. These folks can solve the Rubik’s puzzle in under six seconds. All this, despite the fact that the toy has 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 (into the quintillions) possible patterns. A guide to solving the Rubik’s Cube was created by a 12-year-old, Patrick Bossert of England, in 1981 and went on to become a best-seller, with 1.5 million copies sold.

The world record for fastest completion to the Rubik’s Cube is held by Mats Valk of the Netherlands. He solved the puzzle in 5.55 seconds, beating the previous best time of 5.66 seconds. A smartphone-powered Lego robot, known by the name CubeStormer 3, solved a Rubik’s Cube in 3.253 seconds, blowing away all the competition. These are the robots who will one day take over the world, pissed that they were made to endlessly solve puzzles.

Rubiks Cube Hard

Within the world of speed cubing, there are those not happy to simply solve the puzzle quickly. Some competitors take things to whole new levels of insanity, like one guy who did one-handed push-ups, while only taking 25 seconds to complete the challenge. Another fella solved the Rubik’s Cube in 23.80 seconds… while blindfolded! Perhaps most intimidating is the three-year-old Chinese toddler who was done with the toy in under two minutes.

You just knew a toy like this would have entries in the smallest, largest, and most expensive categories. The smallest is 1omm wide and was designed by Evgeniy Grigoriev of Russia. The largest can be found in Knoxville, Tennessee and measures three metres tall, weighing in at over 500kg. As for most expensive, it was created by Diamond Cutters International in 1995. Dubbed the ‘Masterpiece Cube,’ it features amethyst, rubies, and emeralds, all set in gold and valued at $1.5 million.

If you simply can’t put the device down, you may be a Cubaholic (and that doesn’t mean you like taking frequent trips to Cuba or chain-smoking fine cigars). A documentary, titled Cubers, was released in 2008 and followed the lives of some of those afflicted with the compulsion as well as those competing for the title of World Rubik’s Cube Champion.

Rubiks Cube Bra

The Rubik’s Cube has been featured in numerous areas of popular culture, including: movies, TV shows, comics, music videos, songs, art, and museum exhibits. Seeking to take advantage of the toy’s popularity, a Saturday morning cartoon debuted in 1983, called ‘Rubik, The Amazing Cube’ and featured a sentient Rubik’s Cube, who could come to the aid of a Hispanic family. It only lasted one season and 18 episodes and starred Ron Palillo (aka Arnold Horshack) as the titular toy.

On the 40th anniversary of the Rubik’s Cube, earlier this year, the toy was featured as part of the daily Google Doodle, as a playable interactive puzzle. It’s only fitting to end this piece with some words from the inventor himself: “If you are curious, you’ll find the puzzles around you. If you are determined, you will solve them.”

Hungary: My Cherry Baby

My Cherry Baby Cocktail

  • Muddle Cherries
  • 0.75 oz Palinka (Cherry)
  • 0.5 oz Amaretto
  • 0.5 oz Galliano
  • Top with Champagne
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

Thanks to working on this article, I’m adding “Solve a Rubik’s Cube” to my lifetime bucket list and it may eventually be what does me in (despite the current odds favourite in Vegas being alcohol-induced bungee accident), but I will achieve this feat!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.5 Sips out of 5):
This drink was just too sweet… and not in the New World Order wrestling way. The flavours were nice, but some changes need to be made to the recipe to make it a little more likable and evened out.

France – French 75

Champagne Showers

While I’ve chosen cognac as the spirit of choice while visiting France, that doesn’t mean we can’t devote some time to another well-associated libation for the country: champagne. I’m not the biggest fan of the stuff, but Mrs. Sip loves her bubbles and therefore, this article is dedicated to her and her taste in finer things… like the Sip Advisor!

Champagne was discovered accidentally and through a process that makers in the region are still trying to correct. When the cold weather hits this northern area, the fermentation procedure is interrupted and only continues when warm temperatures return while the wine is already bottled. This creates the carbonation and pressure that champagne is known for.

champagne-christopher-walken

Dom Perignon is often credited with inventing champagne in 1662, but he had some serious help from a British scientist named Christopher Merret, who broke down the process for creating the libation. Also, British bottles were stronger than the French ones and helped eliminate the likelihood of bottles bursting from the intense pressure of the drink.

In fact, the real Dom Perignon (a Benedictine monk) was one of the many who worked hard to prevent the second fermentation that creates champagne. What Perignon can be recognized for is giving champagne its classic colour. Champagne used to have a pale pink hue before Perignon started the process of blending grapes before pressing them, which caused red grapes to produce a white wine.

In 1813, Madame Clicquot Ponsardin created the riddling machine, which greatly improved champagne production and the quality of the product being released. These machines allowed for bottles to be turned upside down in order to have sediment (dead yeast) removed, refining the second fermentation process. The Veuve Clicquot champagne house still exists today.

Dom Perignon

Only the bottles produced in France’s Champagne region can be classified as champagne. It is known around the world by such other names as bubbly, Prosecco, brut, and sparkling wine. Today there are over 15,000 grape growers in Champagne, working with pinot noir, chardonnay, and pinot meunier grapes.

Although Double-O-7, James Bond, is best associated with the shaken, not stirred martini, in the films, he is most often seen downing champagne. In fact, the secret agent seems to like his bubbles so much, he has consumed close to 40 glasses. Perhaps Bond, the perpetual sex machine, was drawn to the classic champagne glass, which was designed from a wax mold of Marie Antoinette’s breast.

There are about 49 million bubbles in a typical bottle of champagne. Those suds can cause immense pressure in the bottle (90 pounds per square inch), which can launch a cork at 40 miles per hour. The world record for cork flight is 177 feet. Those same bubbles can cause a headache for drinkers, if consumed too quickly, as they cause the alcohol to enter your bloodstream quickly. Take your time with champagne and enjoy the taste of the wine and the cascade of the fizz.

Popped a Cap

Need more than a normal sized champagne bottle? How about a lot more? The Melchizedek serving provides 30 liters of the good stuff. That’s equivalent to 40 typical bottles. Despite the massive serving, these bottles pale in comparison to the price attached to some selections. The Shipwrecked 1907 Heidseick will set you back $275,000 per bottle. 200 bottles of the champagne were discovered in 1997, after sitting at the bottom of the ocean for 90 years, presumed to have fallen off the ship carrying it.

Champagne can be used for many other purposes. In the 1800s, English nobles used the drink to polish their boots. Many moons later, Marilyn Monroe is reported to have bathed in a tub filled with 350 bottles of champagne. Had they re-bottled the used bath water, they could have made millions. Instead, today we have a Marilyn Monroe-themed strawberries and cream vodka from Three Olives. I think some companies really missed the boat on this one.

France: French 75

French 75 Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Cognac
  • Top with Champagne
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Pinch of Sugar
  • Garnish with a Lemon Wedge

Although I don’t love champagne, it is perfect in helping celebrate milestones, triumphs, and even the passing of another day where you made it through alive. Drink up, my little sippers!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
Much like Italy, there are a number of liquor options available for France. I went with Cognac because it seemed like a nice way to change things up with this project. This is the Cognac version of the popular Gin-based cocktail that I found in my Mixology App. It tasted alright, but I’m still not a huge fan of Champagne in general.

Cuba – Frizzante Mojito

Castro Calamity

From the Great White North of Canada, we jet set our way to the Republic of Cuba. We have to leave via Canada because no flights from the U.S. go to the communist country. Speaking of communism, it has been discovered that the government of the United States tried to assassinate Fidel Castro an estimated 638 times, as they opposed the dictator’s rule. Here are some of the craziest plans they drew up!

Cartoon Violence

We’ve all seen the famous exploding cigar cartoon gag and apparently the CIA thought it was a pretty good idea, too. Heck, if Bugs Bunny can make it work, why couldn’t they. Castro was known to have a love of cigars (Cuban, of course), so why not slip an explosive one into his collection and let him light his own ending. The CIA also had a plan for cigars contaminated with botulin to be given to Castro, showing smoking definitely can kill!

Castro Cheating Death

Shaken, Not Stirred

As much as Castro loved his stogies, he also had a penchant for milkshakes, particularly the ones made at the Havana Hilton. Therefore, the CIA tried to poison his frosted treat. Apparently, the plan went awry when the deadly pill froze to the surface of where it was being held and when the would-be assassin tried to pry it loose, the capsule split and the poison was lost. According to longtime Castro bodyguard Fabian Escalante, this was the closest Castro came to meeting his maker.

PADI Certified

The Cuban Prime Minister was also an avid scuba diver and this factored into two attempts on his life. First, plans were hatched to give Castro a scuba suit infected with spores of tubercle bacilli. When that fell through, discussion turned to rigging a conch shell with explosives and placing it in one of the areas Castro frequented and favoured when diving.

Womanizer

In their attempt to oust Castro from power, the CIA even turned to some of his many mistresses, hoping they would be vengeful enough to kill the Latin lover. One, Marita Lorenz, even smuggled poison capsules into Castro’s bedroom, but they dissolved in the jar of cold cream they had been stashed in. According to Lorenz, when Castro learned of the plot, he handed her his gun and challenged her to shoot him… she couldn’t even do that.

cubanmissle

Bond Gadgets

If only things worked as well for the CIA as they always seem to for James Bond, thanks to gadget wizard Q. The CIA brainstormed such spy contraptions as a hypodermic needle inside a pen, with the hopes someone could get close enough to prick Castro and inject him with deadly toxins and get away with it. Speaking of deadly bacteria, there were also plans to give Castro an infected handkerchief, more commonly known as a snot rag.

Discredited

If they couldn’t kill him, the American government figured they could at least take him down a couple pegs and taint his image with Cubans. First, they strategized destroying his trademark beard with thallium salt, hoping this would make him look weak to citizens of the republic. Plans were also concocted to fill a radio station he was appearing on with LSD through an aerosol spray, hoping he would embarrass himself to the audience and lose their trust.

Cuba: Frizzante Mojito

Frizzante Mojito Drink Recipe

  • Muddle Mint Leaves
  • 1.5 oz Havana Club Rum
  • Top with Champagne
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Dashes of Angostura Bitters
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

Castro once joked about the assassination attempts: “If surviving assassination attempts were an Olympic event, I would win the gold medal.” If you have a clever way you would have used to eliminate the former Cuba leader, share it below. It can’t be any worse than some of the stuff the CIA and others actually tried!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I have written before about my dislike of Champagne, but this recipe may change my wicked heart. I love Mojitos and it was fun to have the bubbles associated with Champagne as part of the traditional cocktail. The sweetness level can be changed with how much Simple Syrup you choose to add. The group I sampled this drink with preferred little to no sweetness and enjoyed the dryness of the cocktail.

December 31 – Bring in the New Year

Auld Lang Syne

That may look like gibberish above, but most little sippers would recognize it in a heartbeat as the popular song of choice after the clock rolls over to a New Year. I have many fond memories from New Year’s Eve nights past. Here’s a sample of how the Sip Advisor watches the calendar turn!

Big Announcement

After Mrs. Sip and I got engaged, we were hoping to announce it to as many friends as possible in one shot, so we offered to host a New Year’s party six days after our amazing morning. Unfortunately, on this night, we were the victims of some inclement weather and it also having been a work day for most, a lot of friends’ bailed last minute, not realizing we had an ulterior motive for the gathering. We still wound up with a nice little group that we were able to celebrate the New Year and our engagement with.

New Year's Party

Staying In

I’ve always been a house party guy as opposed to going out to bars and clubs. I want to be as comfortable as possible and that is certainly not found out and about for ol’ Mr. Sip. I prefer to be with close friends, playing drinking games and other such nonsense, while not having to shell out tons of cash for drinks and food. Things always get a little crazy as the booze adds up and midnight approaches… then the party truly begins!

On Location

Mrs. Sip and I have been lucky to spend New Year’s Eve in a couple different parts of the world from Las Vegas, where we celebrated with countless others and enjoyed the strip firework extravaganza, to Playa Del Carmen, where our group partied on the beach. Last year, we were in Whistler, enjoying a lavish meal out before watching fireworks in the heart of the Village.

Good New Year's Party

Silent Night

When I was just a little sipper at the age of only 14, the Sip Family spent a very secluded New Year’s in the tiny town of Vanderhoof, B.C. (population non-existent!). We were en route to a funeral service for Grandpa Sip and this just happened to be where we ended up for Dec. 31. Luckily, we were able to find a pizza joint that was open and delivered, as most else was shut down. It was a good chance to spend the holidays quietly with family and away from the usual hustle and bustle.

Full House

If the house is a rockin’ don’t come knockin’! Growing up, my parents hosted a number of New Year’s Eve parties. That meant, while the adults got blitzed upstairs, the young’uns were left to their own devices downstairs. Hand hockey was usually the activity of choice, although professional wrestling battle royals snuck into the evening’s agenda often, as well. Then came the years when we tried to sneak the odd beer into the festivities!

Drink #365: Bring in the New Year

Bring in the New Year Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Vodka (I used Bubble Gum)
  • Top with Champagne
  • Dash of Grenadine
  • Garnish with Lime Wedge

What are your New Year’s Eve memories? I’m a little surprised I still have some given the wear and tear this old mind has endured!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
Despite my aversion to bubbly, there is really only one way to celebrate a New Year in style. This drink was a pretty good offering. I only wish I could have garnished the cocktail with streamers and confetti… gotta save something for tonight!

December 13 – Tinsel Bellini

Christmas Blitzed

As the holiday season rapidly rushes by, it’s important to sit back and take in all that surrounds you. That can definitely include the many winter-themed alcohol options, most of which are only released at this time of year. Here are some to keep an eye out for!

Jack Daniel’s Winter Jack

This spirit blends Jack Daniel’s famous Tennessee whiskey with Apple Cider liqueur and holiday spices. I’m not entirely sure what qualifies as a holiday spice, but I’m hoping the term somehow includes beautiful women bedecked in Christmas lingerie. Now fetch me some mistletoe and dangle that shrubbery from all the required erogenous zones!

Winter-Jack-Cider

Peppermint Schnapps

I’m not sure why, perhaps its candy canes, but the peppermint flavour has a rich history and association with the Christmas season. It could also be because I spike a lot of drinks with Peppermint Schnapps when I’m out and about town in the chilly temperatures. One particular fond memory I have is from sneaking in a bottle at Disneyland and getting torched before the spectacular Christmas fireworks show, which finishes with a smattering of fake snow to frolic in.

Burnett’s Candy Cane Vodka

I’ve been planning to use this liquor during the Christmas season, ever since Ma and Pa Sip picked it up last year. In fact, it was featured in my recent Snowflaketini and I’ll probably bring it back for an encore performance later this month, so stay tuned… Burnett’s also has a Suger Cookie Vodka, as well!

Pinnacle Cinnamon Roll Vodka

Sticking with flavoured vodkas, one of the newest releases is a crossover between Pinnacle Vodka and Cinnabon to bring the world a Cinnamon Roll-based alcohol. Cinnabon buns are a bit of a tradition for Christmas morning breakfast for myself. We don’t have them every year, but when we do, it’s a very merry Christmas!

cinnabon-vodka

Kahlua Gingerbread

While most Kahlua products can be enjoyed during the winter, thanks to their excellent mixability with hot beverages like coffee and hot chocolate, the Kahlua Gingerbread release is a particular stand out for the holiday season. If you get wrecked enough on the sauce, you might even enjoy making your gingerbread house… that or destroy the entire village in some sort of stupor!

Evan Williams Egg Nog

There seems to be a dispute as to what liquor should go into your Egg Nog. I was raised to believe that some sort of rum should be used, preferably a spiced rum, but other places lean toward a whiskey or bourbon, as is the case with this product. I suppose, in the end, as long as your getting your swerve (and your nog) on, the debate doesn’t really matter!

Malibu Winter/Snowcoco

What’s neat about this product is that instead of just being coconut flavoured, the company actually added bits of coconut to the spirit and offered a window on the bottle through the labelling, so you could see the chunks float around, much like the bits in a snow globe. I think it only comes out as a seasonal release, so pick it up while you can.

Malibu-Winter

Yukon Jack Perma Frost Liqueur

I grabbed this product last month and while I’ve always appreciated Peppermint Schnapps, the Perma Frost Liqueur takes that tradition to a whole ‘nutha level with the addition of cinnamon spice. Also, unlike Peppermint Schnapps, which usually comes in at about 20% alcohol content, Perma Frost packs a punch at a whopping 50%!

Sourz Spirited Winter

This limited edition release combines sour cranberry and sour apple, two of the holiday season’s most prolific fruits. I’m very curious to sample this libation, but I believe it may have only been released for a short time in 2010. Like Indiana Jones, I will find my treasure!

Vana Tallinn Winter Spice

Vana Tallinn is Estonia’s primary spirit and this is their winter adaptation. The liqueur is so good that it has been selected Best Estonian Food for 2013 in the alcohol category. It is enriched with holiday spices, such as cinnamon, cardamom, anise, and nutmeg. Mrs. Sip and I grabbed a bottle of Vana Tallinn last spring and now I wish I could have the Winter Spice, as well.

Drink #347: Tinsel Bellini

Tinsel Bellini Drink Recipe

  • Rim glass with Sugar
  • 2 oz Hpnotiq
  • 1 oz Limoncello
  • Top with Champagne
  • Splash of Lime Juice

Of course, there’s also a bunch of Christmas-themed beers and wines out there, but I figured I’d stick to the harder stuff… art, imitating life!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
It was a total pain in the ass to achieve the icicle look using Simple Syrup and Sugar, but I think in the end the visuals totally made the frustration worth it. Blending Limoncello and Hpnotiq together was an interesting combo that tasted pretty good.

December 2 – Poinsettia

The Most Wonderful Time

Well, my little sippers, with December finally here, we have to decide how we’re going to spend the month. There’s more to do than you would think. Here are a couple of ideas:

Advent Calendar

This is the third year that I’ll be doing an advent calendar for Mrs. Sip, providing her with a treat each day until Christmas finally arrives… then the treats stop and we spend the big day in separate rooms, Mrs. Sip reading one of her nauseating books, the Sip Advisor seeing how drunk he can get before noon. It really is a wonderful time of year. In all seriousness, this is a fun idea and it scores you some serious brownie points!

redneck-advent-calendar

Santa Claus Parade

I only offer this as a suggestion because frankly, I don’t like being out in the cold for hours watching marching bands, as much as the next heat seeker. It’s a great event for kids, I guess. They at least hold out hope until Santa finally shows up atop the main event float. As for myself, I’ll be inside my warm little apartment, snuggled under a mess of blankies, sipping on (not gin and juice) spiked hot cocoa, and pestering Mrs. Sip to lose her clothes and entertain me!

Christmas Train

This option might be available to all you little sippers, but whether you live near a Christmas Train or some other Christmas Wonderland, you should definitely make a point of visiting once. It’s an annual tradition among the Family Sip. We meet at Stanley Park, ride the train, check out the lights and then head off to our favourite restaurant White Spot for a healthy dose of burgers, beer, and other merriment!

Snowball Fight/Build a Snowman

If you live where snow actually falls, then this is a great idea. If you don’t get the white stuff, you should probably avoid this idea, as you’ll just be playing with dirt. I can only remember a couple White Christmases (damn Vancouver’s mild temperatures) and you can bet when those happened, we were messing about in the snow and not all sheltered inside, afraid to go out into the open air as today’s little ones seem to be.

not-coming-to-work

Ice Skating

I look majestic when on the ice… except for that one time in the U.K. when all you could rent was figure skates and having spent my entire life in a hockey boot, I wasn’t used to the toe picks and wound up introducing my face to a sheet of ice! Luckily, I wasn’t much to look at before my accident… some say the accident actually resulted in a slight improvement. To be fair, my knees took the entire brunt of the fall, keeping my mind intact to be ruined by alcohol!

Christmas Parties

While I normally shun social gatherings with vehement disgust, I do find a way to fake it through the Christmas season. Mrs. Sip had to attend like nine parties last year. I matched her in nights I just sat on the couch and got blasted, but with her being so busy, we didn’t even have a chance to watch the Family Matters Christmas episodes I tracked down. I have a need for Urkel and that has yet to be satisfied.

Secret Santa/Gift Exchange

This is the only reason to have friends, am I right!? Hell, they don’t even have to be friends; they just have to be rich! I’ve written before about how we pull out our Roulette Shot Wheel and dole out shooters during our gift exchange. Usually we make the person who’s stealing a gift have to take a shot, but we usually end up ramping it up and also punishing the person who has just been stolen from… that’s the reality of life, my little sippers!

Drink #336: Poinsettia

Poinsettia Drink Recipe

  • 0.5 oz Cointreau
  • Top with Champagne
  • Splash of Cranberry Juice
  • Garnish with Mandarin Orange Piece

What suggestions do you have for the Sip Advisor on how to spend the Christmas holiday? Clearly, you can see I’m going to be busy, but I’ll try to fit your advice in!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This is a really simple recipe and a definite crowd pleaser. Before starting this project, I bartended one of Ma and Pa Sip’s Christmas parties and this drink was the hit of the evening. A Mandarin Orange Piece is the perfect garnish this time of the year and works well with a champagne flute.

November 5 – International Incident

Drink Nation

I recently stumbled upon a report about the 10 greatest drinking nations in the world. Sadly, Canada did not make that list, but neither did our neighbours to the south… or even their neighbours to the south. Here are my thoughts on those that did crack the top 10 and where I think Canadians need to improve to better our future ranking.

10. Australia

While Australia has wine and beer creations to its credit, I can’t think of any liquors they’ve introduced to the world. The article does point out that former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke made the Guinness Book of World Records for downing 2.5 pints of beer in 2.5 seconds. If that’s the effort your politicians are putting forward, I guess you deserve to be on this list.

Kangaroo Drinking

Wow, even the roos are getting in on the act!

9. Germany

The land of Oktoberfest; the event which has largely earned them this spot on the countdown. Germany is known for their beer making, beer serving (wenches impressively carrying eight beer steins at the same time), and beer consumption. Although the Czech citizens drink more beer than the Germans, that’s still not enough to topple this suds nation.

8. Uganda

How does an African nation make this list? Does professional wrestler Kamala (the Ugandan Giant) have something to do with this, forcing the country’s way onto the list through sheer intimidation tactics? Apparently residents will gather and sit around a pot of ajono (beer-like substance) and pass a long straw around. Not sure that earns their way onto this list.

7. South Korea

All this despite South Korea’s strict social guidelines. Apparently, it’s common practice in the country to get plastered on mixes of beer and whiskey and let loose, getting out all of your pent-up anger and frustration. So, basically what every drinker in the world does when they’re a few wobbly pops deep into the night!

Korean drinking

6. Moldova

According to the World Health Organization, Moldova is the most liquored up nation in the world. Stats say that per person, each resident drinks 18 litres of alcohol in a year. Does that include children? The former Soviet nation’s favourite hangover cure is pickle juice and I’m down with that. Perhaps we could share some Moldovian fruit brandies, followed by pickles for breakfast!

5. Ecuador

The local liquor in Ecuador, Zhumir, is affectionately known as “hangover in a bottle”… that’s a challenge the Sip Advisor would like to take, given my invincibility towards the morning after suffering. Etiquette in the country dictates that you cannot start drinking until someone has made a toast, so if you’re all alone, make sure there’s a mirror in your room to cheers yourself.

4. France

Home to the Champagne region and too-many-to-count wineries. Apparently the people of France turn their nose up to selling liquor from other countries. That’s not really surprising, but it means they’re really missing out, especially with Belgian beers, Spanish sangria and English gin offerings so close to their borders.

french-funny-flag

What does this have to do with drinking? Nothing, but I’m posting it anyway! Suck it, France!

3. Russia

Russians drink vodka at all times of the day. It’s just their way of life. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, bedtime snack… no time of day is enjoyed sans vodka. Russia is the all-important buckle of the Vodka Belt. I’m totally down with people that don’t drink in normal conventions. We’d get along real well.

2. China

Sadly, this site has never received a viewer from the massive country of China. Thanks to the nation’s censorship laws, citizens often have to tether on to other countries internet signals to access non-governmental approved sites. I guess the more citizens you have (and China of course has tons) the more liquor you need to keep the population docile and happy and therefore your portfolio in the alcohol world grows.

1. United Kingdom

While I’ve always had a good time drinking in the U.K., I’m not sure I agree with the country taking the top spot on this list. That said, the country is lined with bars that are often packed to the brim with people looking to get boozed up. They can also be credited with much of the world’s gin production and for that, we thank them. Party on Brits!

Drink #309: International Incident

International Incident Drink Recipe

  • 0.5 oz Irish Crème
  • 0.5 oz Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Amaretto
  • 0.5 oz Coffee Liqueur
  • 0.5 oz Macadamia Nut Liqueur
  • Splash of Milk
  • Garnish with Macadamia Nuts

If the fine folks in Mexico can’t even crack the list, despite their IP on tequila production, then us schlubs in Canada shouldn’t feel so bad. I also question nations like Ireland (although I guess it’s kind of part of the U.K.) and Belgium not cracking the top 10. I want answers, dammit!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
This recipe is intended to be a shot, but I increased the ingredient increments and turned it into a nightcap cocktail. The drink gave me my first chance to use our Macadamia Nut Liqueur, which I subbed for the originally scheduled Hazelnut Liqueur and it tasted great. A highlight of the cocktail was the hint of salt you got with each sip, thanks to the Macadamia Nuts garnish!

September 1 – Kir Royale

Your Majesty

There have been many fictional monarchs over the course of history. Some rulers are worthy of mention, while others have had subpar reigns. Here are some of the most liked and most hated to take the throne:

Joffrey Baratheon

As I’ve written before, I can’t wait to see this little brat get his comeuppance. It will happen and the only question is who will deliver that sweet blow? Will it be Tyrion Lannister, who has struggled to rein in Joffrey’s psychopathic behavior? Will it be Daenerys Targaryen, who is building an army to reclaim her family’s rightful place of power? My money is on Arya Stark, who only has sweet revenge on her mind. It will probably be someone we never expected, however. And if you are one of those self righteous people who has some inside knowledge because you’ve “read the book” (cough, cough, Mrs. Sip), don’t tell me a damn thing!

Joffrey

Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler

Jerry Lawler earned his crown in the Memphis wrestling territory and went on to hold that region’s championship countless times… it probably helped that he was usually an owner of the promotion. World Wrestling Entertainment used to also host an annual King of the Ring tournament, which was won by such dignitaries as Randy Savage (with Queen Sherri Martel), Steve Austin, and Brock Lesnar.

Queen of Hearts

Off with their heads! Poor Alice, stuck in Wonderland and having the most bizarre time ever… she goes from a quiet game of croquet to running for her life, while some mad queen wants her head served up by the executioner. And they call croquet a gentleman’s game (I don’t know that for fact, if you haven’t already noticed by now I just make stuff up as I go along). Luckily, Alice escape with her skull still attached to her body, but will she ever be the same?

Kingdom of Eternia

Most people are probably asking: what the hell is this. Well friends, this kingdom would consist of King Randor, Queen Marlena, Prince Adam, and Princess Adora. The last two are otherwise known as He-Man and She-Ra. Together, they were part of one of the greatest marketing concepts ever: combining action figures with cartoons and comics. I only wish I had come up with this billion-dollar idea.

He-Man & She-Ra

Evil Queen

There are few queens that are as wicked as the Evil Queen. She actually enlisted a huntsman to track down Snow White, the fairest of them all, kill her and bring back her heart as proof of the assassination. Her maliciousness has only been heightened on Once Upon a Time where she continues her battles with Snow White, Prince Charming, and all the other characters of Disney fantasy.

Burger King

I wish that I was king of burgers… I’m sure this would come with an endless supply of the meals from all parts of the world. You could probably summon a burger whenever you wanted one. Then, all you’d have to do is become buddies with the Fry King and Milkshake King and you’d have the full meal deal! As long as I didn’t have to look as creepy as the Burger King mascot, I’d be fine with the challenges and responsibilities of such a title.

Simba

Of course I had to have a kitty entry into this category. King of the Pride Lands, Simba has a rough go of things when he is led to believe that his actions caused his father Mufasa’s death. Thankfully, he meets Timon and Pumbaa, who restore his confidence. He also bangs his childhood sweetie, Nala, and then returns home to battle his uncle Scar over his right to the throne. Upon victory, he literally becomes the Lion King, although I have a feeling other kitties would challenge his claims.

Drink #244: Kir Royale

Kir Royal Drink Recipe

I think I’d be a good king, similar to how I preside over all you little sippers. I would make sure that my constituents are provided for in all realms of the booze world, including liquor, mixers, garnishes, and even drunken snackies like chips and pulled pork. If we really want to make this happen, let’s start a revolution tomorrow. Are you in!?

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
Mrs. Sip really liked this mix and she seemed to stumble upon the perfect fix for wines and champagnes that are a little too sweet. As for myself, I enjoyed the cocktail. The Blackcurrant Liqueur is a unique spirit and the Cherry garnish looked awesome!

August 30 – Mimosa

Balanced Breakfast

While some cocktails should only be busted out in the evening, other drinks are perfect for morning enjoyment. Keep this post in mind as we begin a beautiful long weekend that provides a number of opportunities for a wonderful morning drink and a great start to the day!

Mimosa

Today’s drink du jour is a favourite of Mrs. Sip and is perfect for getting your buzz on early in the day. I can’t count how many bottles of champagne Mrs. Sip and I went through on our honeymoon cruise after ordering the free OJ that comes with breakfast and then kicking back on our balcony in complimentary robes and watching the sea life that passed by our ship, including turtles, flying fish, and even dolphins.

Mimosa

Caesar

The Caesar has also been deemed a hangover cure, so it has that going for it. This is the perfect ‘hair of the dog’ cocktail, getting booze back into your system while also replenishing the fluids you lost the night before via the Clamato juice. A proper Caesar should also be stuffed with various garnishes, which do wonders when looking for a light morning meal. I suppose Bloody Mary’s work, as well.

Tequila Shot

You have to be careful with this entry, as it doesn’t take too many tequila shots before you’ll be back in bed… but maybe that’s your intention! I’m trying to recollect the earliest I’ve had a tequila shot, but perhaps not surprisingly, failed. That means I probably had more than one and likely was nearing the dozen mark before long.

tequila cat

Margarita

This drink is among my favourite of all-time and it’s even better to start your day with. When Mrs. Sip and I were in Mexico earlier this year at an all-inclusive, I made a regular appointment for margaritas as we enjoyed our first meal. Scotch at night, margaritas in the morning… a harmonious coupling.

Irish Coffee

I’m not a caffeine fiend, but I know these folks do exist (sadly!). If you’re going to drink the crap, you might as well ‘Irish’ it up a little and throw a nice liqueur into the mix for that bonus pick-me-up. If you’re like me and are adverse to java, you can go with a hot chocolate beverage (or even tea I guess) and dessert it up for breaky!

Irish Coffee

Morning Glory Fizz

This doesn’t even sound like a cocktail… more of a morning delight with your favourite bedmate! This fizzy recipe is bound to wake your senses and boost you straight into your activities for the day. Do you think it’s a faux pas to enjoy this drink at other times? I think glory should be shared at all times… I don’t think he’s talking about cocktails anymore.

Beer

It doesn’t matter what type, as long as it’s cold and ready to rock. I’m still surprised when I get a look of awe as I crack open a breakfast beer camping or anywhere else. Providing I don’t have any driving ahead, why would I wait to start the alcohol ball rolling!?

Drink #242: Mimosa

Mimosa Drink

  • Splash of Triple Sec or Grand Marnier
  • Splash of Orange Juice
  • Top with Champagne
  • Garnish with an Orange Wedge

So, do tell… what is your favourite morning cocktail? If you’re one of those “I don’t drink until [insert time here]” folks, you need not apply!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
It’s a freakin’ mimosa! You can’t really screw things up with it. The drink is very refreshing and tasty and can be drunk at all hours of the day. They go down easy and aren’t punishing at all. Have a great morning!