Mixer Mania #42 – Advent Amazement

Mrs. Sip has long been a tea drinker. The last couple years, she received tea advent calendars, which previously I didn’t know existed. With Christmas right around the corner, I thought it would be a good time to look at other advent calendars that differ from your typical chocolate ones:

Make-Up/Beauty

There are numerous cosmetic advent calendars on the market. Every company you can think of seems to have put a collection together, with varying prices. Some focus on nails, others on the face. Beauty has never really been a concern for the Sip Advisor, as you can’t improve on perfection.

Cheese

The world’s first cheese advent calendar hit store shelves this year, after a blogger created her own in 2016 and the concept went viral. For only 8-pounds, fromage-aholics can find this product at ASDA stores across the UK. Not sure if similar products can be found in other countries.

Cheese Emergency

Jewellery/Charm Bracelet

Ma Sip loves her charm bracelets. So, when I came across an advent calendar version, which gave you the bracelet and then 24 holiday-themed charms over the Christmas season, I was thrilled… and Ma Sip was even more so.

Fly Fishing

A tackle box already kind of looks like an advent calendar, so why not release one for the Christmas season, with a lure for each day. One issue here, is that you’re not likely to head out each day of the calendar for a fishing expedition and to try your new treat.

Cookbook

While I like the concept of this advent calendar, you’re basically saying to the person you give this to: “Hey, why don’t you make me something different every day, through on of the busiest times of the year?” I don’t see that flying at the Sip Advisor headquarters.

Toys

For kids and kidults alike, come advent calendars from Play-Doh, Lego and Playmobil. Parents will just have to be vigilant that the toys aren’t consumed like traditional chocolates.

Eating Play-Doh

Craft Beer

While craft beer advent calendars can be found in most liquor stores, I’ll never forget Mrs. Sip personally making me one, comprised of 24 bomber bottles. Pulling it all together at the last minute – as she’s prone to do – the poor girl had to carry heavy boxes all around Vancouver. Her efforts paid off nicely, though!

Wine/Liquors

Similar to craft beer, there are wine, bubbly a liquor sets out there, typically featuring 24 mini bottles of the preferred subject matter. One particular Scotch advent calendar features rare whiskeys from around the world, setting buyers back 10,000-pounds.

Potato Chips

God bless Pringles. The potato chip company has released their own advent calendar, containing 12 tubes of various flavours. Apparently, the calendar is quite popular and has already sold out, with the products popping up on eBay for double the original retail price.

For Pets

Don’t have any kids or spouses you can spoil with an advent calendar? If you have pets, you can still get into the Christmas spirit with sets that provide toys and treats to your fur baby. The gift of giving is one of the best!

Mixer Mania #42: Irish Tea Party

Irish Tea Party.JPG

  • Absinthe Rinse
  • 1.5 oz Jameson Irish Whiskey
  • Top with Green Tea
  • Garnish with Lime Wheel

The lead up to Christmas is my favourite part of the season, so sometimes I think advent calendars should just replace Christmas gifts… but they’re probably in a good place as a holiday enhancer, rather than as a main event player.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (1 Sip out of 5):
I was totally disappointed by this drink. The ingredients intrigued me, but the end result was a watery, flavourless cocktail. Mrs. Sip wants me to try it again with a different Green Tea – and I will – but it must be pointed out that round one of the beverage was a dud.

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Flavour Revolution – Banana

Fave Foods

Bananas are making a huge comeback – in fact, they may have never been so popular – thanks to the Minions and their fondness for the tropical fruit… heck, “banana” is one of the few words that can be understood from the Minionese language. Despite all the wonderful food out there, some characters have favourites, preferring one item over anything else. Here are some of the finest examples:

Cookies – Cookie Monster

Thank the lord above that this character wasn’t created nowadays or he might have been Fruit-in-Yogurt Monster or something ridiculous like that. As a proud and certified member of the Cookie Monster club, I fully endorse the high pursuit of cookie happiness. While the Sip Advisor has his favourite cookie options, Cookie Monster is not picky in the slightest. Every treat is perfect for the occasion.

Lasagna – Garfield

While this kitty isn’t adverse to any food, lasagna is by far his favourite. This is based on the fact that creator Jim Davis is also a lasagna lover, saying fans come up to him often saying their cats eat the Italian dish. The thought of any cat I’ve ever had enjoying pasta noodles just doesn’t jive, but Garfield is in it for the meat and cheese (kind of sounds like Mrs. Sip!).

Pizza – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Mostly all teens love pizza and that’s no different with these heroes in a half shell, who manage to get their hands on the meal, despite living in the sewers beneath New York City. What took the Turtles enjoyment of pizza to a whole other level was the wacky combinations they ordered, such as granola and licorice, peanut butter and clams, and coconut and sweet pickle.

Donuts – Homer Simpson

If there’s one thing Homer Simpson loves more than beer and even pork chops, it’s donuts. So much so, that one element of currency in the game The Simpsons: Tapped Out, is the dessert treat. Donuts have played a role in many of Homer’s adventures, most notably, the selling of his soul for a tasty pastry… to a devil Ned Flanders, of all people!

Homer Donut

Honey – Winnie the Pooh

The lengths, to which Winnie the Pooh will go, in the pursuit of honey (or ‘hunny’ as it’s known in the Hundred Acre Wood), are pretty remarkable. This loveable, seemingly always hungry bear has a habit of getting his head caught in a honey pot, but it’s totally worth it for a smackeral of the good stuff. There’s even a song, penned by Pooh, which is basically all about honey love!

Tater Tots – Napoleon Dynamite

The only thing that gets Napoleon Dynamite through a tough day of school (or at his dysfunctional home, for that matter) is the promise of tater tots from the school cafeteria. The teen always seems to have the side dish on him, often stuffed in his pockets for later enjoyment. He also doesn’t hesitate to snatch his friend’s tater tots, if the opportunity arises.

Marmalade – Paddington Bear

Much like his carnivorous counterpart, Winnie the Pooh, Paddington Bear has a weakness for a toast accompaniment. In Paddington’s case, it is a fondness for marmalade. In 2007, Paddington tried “something different” with Marmite sandwiches, but he will always be a marmalade bear. If we’re talking preserves, the Sip Advisor is more of a raspberry jam fan, but whateves!

Flavour Revolution: Monkey Business

  • Muddle Cardamom Pods
  • 1.5 oz Bourbon
  • 1 oz Bols Banana Liqueur
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Garnish with Cardamom Pods

Some honourable mentions include Monterrey Jack (Rescue Rangers) and his crazed obsession with cheese; Bugs Bunny (Looney Tunes) and his penchant for chomping on a carrot every time he’s foiled an antagonist; and Popeye, who without spinach, would have absolutely no chance against the dastardly Bluto, in his pursuit of Olive Oil. I can’t help but notice that many of my favourite characters ever comprise this list. When you add the Sip Advisor as a bona fide potato chip connoisseur, the article is complete!

Flavour Revolution – Strawberry

Decreased Desires

Nothing beats a plate of chocolate-covered strawberries to celebrate a romantic occasion. There’s also a tradition in France of giving strawberries and cream to newly married couples, as an aphrodisiac. Normally, in this case, we’d take a look at aphrodisiacs out there, but I’ve already written an article on that subject. Therefore, we’re going to flip the script and look at the aphrodisiac’s lesser known (and lesser liked) sibling, the anaphrodisiac… translation: things that will kill your mojo!

Graham Crackers – I’ve mentioned in a previous article how Graham crackers were invented by Sylvester Graham, a Presbyterian minister, who believed that the crackers would suppress sexual urges. Then, some genius got the great idea to throw marshmallows and chocolate on top, funkifying them into smores and the rest of campfire loving is history!

Teddy Grahams

Hops – Bad news for IPA beer fans… although I have my doubts about this one, as I know a lot of beer drinkers that don’t really lose their sexual charge after drinking all night. That said, all alcohol can decrease one’s desires, just based on the drug being a depressant. Why hops, in particular, gets such a bad rap is beyond me.

Corn Flakes – If I was to choose a cereal to get down with, it would probably be something along the lines of Cookie Crisp or Count Chocula. Corn Flakes were invented by Dr. John Harvey Kellogg to suppress libido. The good doctor believed that flavourful food led to flamed loins and so he created an incredibly boring product. They should try using this in their advertising material today. That would work real well.

Soy – Used by monks to suppress their naughty feelings – probably a good thing, given their surrounded by only other monks – soy, in large quantities, is said to kill one’s sex drive. I do like using soy in cooking stirfrys and as a sauce for various dishes, but I may have to be cautious with it now. I mean, who wants a sushi outing to not eventually lead to carnal pleasures!

soy-milk

Mint – What’s funny here, is that mints are meant to lead to sexual attraction (or so the ads tell us), as fresh breath is the starting point to any close encounter. Menthol, however, has actually been proven to lower testosterone. Bad breath, it is!

Cilantro – I’ve never been a huge fan of cilantro – if it’s in a dish, fine, but I’m not going to necessarily search it out – and apparently that’s a good thing. It’s ironic that cilantro is used in many exotic dishes and those are the ones the likes of Dr. Kellogg and Minister Graham believed led to unsavoury desires.

Black Licorice – I don’t want to sound like a candy racist, but why do all the worst candies come in the colour black? I’m talking jujubes, jelly beans, licorice, etc. I’ve never been a fan of black licorice, but do like the red variety. I’m just going to pretend that red licorice is a completely separate strain of the plant and is therefore not exempt from the Sip Advisor’s snack drawer.

blacklicorice

Granola – Today’s modern day granola bars, with their phallic shape (don’t forget the optional chocolate covering!), should be changing the way we view granola, but their original intention was much like Corn Flakes and Graham Crackers, meant to keep thoughts pure and wholesome. Then they started adding all the different flavours to the bars and even the cereal and all hell broke loose!

Cheese – I include this one only as a way to shame Mrs. Sip and all her cheese-loving friends. Yes, the Sip Advisor has begun to dabble in some cheese arts, but nowhere near to the degree as my peers. And that’s why the Sip Advisor is the world’s greatest lover… voted this for many consecutive years in popular surveys. It’s all because of the anti-cheese movement, my little sippers.

Flavour Revolution: Thigh High

Thigh High Martini

There’s even a program out there, looking to help folks reduce their sex drive. These monsters believe that they will help users have deeper relationships and a clearer mind. Where’s the joy in all of that!?

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
There are Strawberry Liqueur recipes called Chocolate-Covered Strawberry and Aphrodisiac, but those seemed too easy to use in this post. Therefore, I chose a drink that gets the Sip Advisor’s mojo rising! This martini was a little sweeter than either Mrs. Sip or me would prefer, but it was very tasty and would be perfect as a dessert cocktail and for those in your life that enjoy the sweeter things in life!

Switzerland – Golden Delicious

Cheese Please

I never thought I’d write an entire article on my mortal enemy, cheese, unless it was to destroy its reputation among the international community. Never say never, I suppose, as our journey through Switzerland unearths a bulk of dairy options. Here are some lesser known facts about Swiss cheeses:

While most people immediately think of Swiss cheese (you know, the one with holes in it) when Switzerland’s fromage production is brought up, the country is actually responsible for a number of varieties – 450 different types, in fact. The long list includes: · Appenzeller, Berner Alpkäse, Emmental, Gruyère, L’Etivaz, Raclette, Sbrinz, Schabziger, Tête de Moine, Tilsit, and Vacherin. The cheeses are classified by structure and fall into hard, semi-hard, semi-soft, soft, and the all-important other category. There’s even a Federation of Swiss Cheese Producers.

Holy Cow

Cheese Fondue has been recognized as Switzerland’s national dish. Sadly, it is the one fondue creation I do not enjoy, but it thrills Mrs. Sip… even more than my Adonis-esque body does! Some popular fondue recipes include: Neuchâteloise (gruyère and emmental), Moitié-moitié (gruyère and Fribourg vacherin), Vaudoise (gruyere), Fribourgeoise (Fribourg vacherin using potatoes instead of bread), Innerschweiz (gruyère, emmental, and sbrinz), Appenzeller (appenzeller cheese with cream), Tomato (gruyère, emmental, crushed tomatoes, and wine), Spicy (gruyère, red and green peppers, and chili), and Mushroom (gruyère, Fribourg vacherin, and mushrooms).

Similar to fondue, raclette involves melting cheese on a grill or plate and slicing off the melted bits as they become softer. There are even special grills meant specifically for this process and I bet Mrs. Sip will buy one before I ever get my deep fryer.

Swiss cheese should be enjoyed at room temperature and thus, it is recommended that it be removed from the fridge 30 minutes prior to eating. There are a number of different pairings that best allow Swiss cheese to be enjoyed. This includes fruit (apples, pears, strawberries, grapes); deli meat, such as ham and corned beef, as well as prosciutto, pastrami, salami and bratwurst; and spicy condiments like mustard and horseradish. On the drink front, it is recommended that Swiss cheese be washed down by beverages such as cranberry or raspberry juice and even tomato juice.

Have you ever wondered why Swiss cheese has its trademark holes? No, neither have I, but I’m here to explain it anyway. Apparently, when the gases in the cheese expand during its ripening, this causes the holes, also known as “eyes” to form.

Cheese Question

Le Gruyère Premier Cru is a special variety of Swiss cheese that is matured for 14 months in caves with a humidity of 95%. It is the only cheese to win Best Cheese of the Year four times at the World Cheese Awards. If I was ever sent a press pass for this event, I would return it promptly along with a letter declaring my contempt for the award ceremony and cheese, in general.

Apparently, there’s also the Cheese World Championships in Wisconsin of all places. It was there in 2006 that Emmentaler Switzerland Premier Cru (also aged for 14 months in humid caves) was the first cheese from Switzerland to earn the title of World Champion. I wonder if the distinction comes with a mini championship belt like in professional wrestling or boxing!?

Some general cheese facts: The term “big cheese” referred to someone with enough cash money to buy a whole wheel of cheese. The remains of cheese (I would murder it too) have been found in Egyptian tombs dating back to over 4,000 years ago. Can you imagine one of those CSI losers going through a dark, dank tomb with their little flashlights and coming upon a hunk of rotten cheese and dropping some stupid line about it before a Who rock anthem breaks the boredom and launches the opening credits! Lastly, Queen Victoria was given a massive cheddar cheese wheel as a wedding gift. The wheel weighed over 1,000 pounds and was consumed over her lifetime… that may not be factually accurate, however.

Switzerland: Golden Delicious

May26

  • 1.5 oz Goldschlager
  • Top with Sparkling Apple Cider
  • Garnish with an Apple Slice

Well, I made it through that entire post about cheese without yacking all over my keyboard. Small victories, my little sippers… small victories!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I have to admit that I’m not a big fan of cider. It just seems like a step down from beer and wine and drinks like that. That said, I enjoyed this cocktail, which seemed enhanced by the shot of Goldschlager. It was scrumptious with a nice little bite at the end thanks to the Cinnamon Schnapps!

July 13 – Cement Mixer

Gross Gastronomy

Today I’ll be examining the foods I don’t like to eat. Because if I don’t like to eat them, neither should you, right? I draw inspiration from today’s shot, which while it tasted well enough, is actually intended to curdle in your mouth (needless to say, the texture isn’t what I would define as “pleasant”). When I was just a little sipper, I was a very picky eater. Thankfully, I evolved and now there’s basically nothing I won’t try… except these deplorable substances:

Cheese

I’ve made some peace with my old enemy. I’m okay with most melted options and have recently expanded to try the odd non-melted offering, but in general, I have a hate-on for the stuff that seems to make girls melt (especially if you mention “cheese” and “wine” in the same sentence). It was hard growing up not liking cheese because rather like the mold in my bathtub, it was everywhere (that’s right, Mrs. Sip is slacking on her household chores again!). It wasn’t until my teens when I realized I could control the stuff by asking for sans fromage.

cheese and woman

No one told me my cheese could come like this!

Sour Crème

Ironically, my favourite types of chips usually fall under the sour crème and [insert ingredient here – onion, bacon, etc.] category, but I can’t stand sour crème on its own or even on nachos or in dips. Perhaps it’s because I’m a diehard supporter of ranch dressing and have just found a better substitute for sour crème in my growth as an eater. One day, they will build statues in my honour grasping a ranch dressing bottle!

Yogurt

You must be getting the impression that I don’t like dairy, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I just don’t like the taste of yogurt in the slightest. It’s made from bacteria and it tastes just like that. I won’t even kiss Mrs. Sip if she’s recently consumed some and trust me, she’s on to that fact and uses it as a repellant to my advances. But just like the persistent mosquito, I eventually get my bite in!

Popcorn

This is my least favourite of all the snack foods. I hate that the kernels always find a way to get stuck in my teeth and gums and even throat. Mrs. Sip and her family are big popcorn people, so you can start to see our vast philosophical differences. I will eat it on some occasions, but I’m a chippy man, through and through. Which begs the question: why don’t theatres sell potato chips? They’re less messy than popcorn and soooooo much better.

popcorn stuck

Tuna

My cats sure love the chicken of the sea and have been known to come in from miles away if Ma Sip is cracking open a can. Sadly, though, I’m not a fan (although I do love watching the kitties go nuts over the tuna water). The taste is just off-putting to me, regardless if it’s in sashimi form or part of a tuna salad sandwich. Give me salmon, cod, halibut, or literally anything else from the ocean, before tuna.

Ribs

Okay I know I’m against the huge majority of Rib lovin’ eaters out there, but I just don’t understand how food in which you have to constantly work around the bone is so damn popular. I eventually got over the whole bone thing for fried chicken, but with ribs, even when you get around the bones, the often fatty meat doesn’t do much for my meal enjoyment. I also don’t like getting too messy when eating and we all know that ribs are like the poster child of dirty foods, necessitating bibs and a multitude of napkins.

Tapioca/Rice Pudding

It doesn’t take a scientist to tell you what this gunk actually looks like… just any red-blooded male! I’d rather eat paper mache until my stomach exploded more dramatically than a fourth grade science fair project. And can someone explain to me the whole bubble tea craze? Do people actually want to suck tapioca bubbles through a massive straw? What am I missing here?

Drink #194: Cement Mixer

Cement Mixer Shooter

So, which foods irk you? Let’s see what happens when we share a little… come on sippers, bring in the love!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
I was curious as to how this shooter would come together given the mix of acidic Lime Juice and thick, rich Irish Crème. As long as it didn’t curdle, I figured we’d be in business! On my first attempt, the shot turned into instant cement and we had to start from scratch. After a little more research, I found you had to actually mix the shot in your mouth by doing two separate shots or carefully layering the shooter. Luckily I have a split shot glass, so I took advantage of that. After swishing the liquids around in my mouth it does get lumpy quick. Don’t get me wrong, it tastes good, but the texture takes a little getting used to and may incite gagging for some.

March 23 – Windshield Wiper Fluid

Gross Income

Having the opportunity to travel and live abroad has also brought opportunities to try new, weird, and different flavours. After you read this list, you will question the fact that I was a picky eater when I was younger. Over the years, my tastes have expanded and my willingness to try seemingly anything has skyrocketed. I blame the constant liquorization of my body, mind and spirit, but other theories do persist. Without further ado, here are the oddest things I’ve personally eaten.

Funny Pictures of Cats and Kittens

Escargot

In France, our tour group was offered this French delicacy and this was at a time when my tastes were just evolving. It probably didn’t help that the snails were simply served on a bed of green leaves and looked like someone had just picked them out of the garden. As Mrs. Sip and I approached the serving tray, there was only one more shelled snail available. I was elected to try the hors d’oeuvre and while Mrs. Sip snapped pictures of my eating experience, I learned that escargot actually tastes pretty good… with a nice garlic butter sauce, of course, to mask the whole slimy snail bit.

Frog Legs

This was a menu item on one of the first cruises Mrs. Sip and I took and the server was kind enough to put in an order for us to share, on top of our other appetizer selections. These weren’t bad, although I can’t remember what kind of sauce they were done in and there wasn’t much meat to them. Sometimes the “tastes like chicken” expression actually holds true. The only problem is the legs looked like… well like long, dead frog legs. Still, it was fun to give them a whirl and cross it off the “foods you have to try” list.

Cheese

Okay so I hear you wondering, how is cheese classified as odd? Well I hate cheese. Just downright detest it. I don’t mind it in most melted situations like on pizza, nachos, and grilled cheese sandwiches, but even then, I prefer a mild form, like mozzarella. In recent years, I’ve tried to buck this childhood trend and try some more adventurous options. Some have been okay, while others not so much. Smoked Gouda on a sandwich went well, as did feta on Greek salads. Bleu cheese on a pizza however, while eaten, was not enjoyed.

GUILTY!!!

GUILTY!!!

Fried Rattlesnake

I’m deathly afraid of snakes, but when I was younger, only seven years old, I mustered the courage to try fried rattlesnake when my family was travelling throughout the old west. This was another one of those “it tastes like chicken” cases and we were even given some dried rattlesnake bone, along with a certificate saying we tried the delicacy, as keepsakes.

Oysters

While I’ve had many of these in recent years and some have been tasty, I still don’t get the whole buzz around them. You swallow whole, a slimy lump of indeterminate origin, which you’ve packed various flavours onto to mask the actual taste, and this is supposed to be an aphrodisiac? Quite frankly it sounds very similar to the end result of most dirty movies to me. Why are most girls okay with oysters, but not the other thing… you know what I’m getting at.

Drink #82: Windshield Wiper Fluid

Windshield Wiper Fluid Shooter

  • Rim glass with Sour Apple Pop Rocks
  • 0.75 oz Blue Curacao
  • 0.75 oz Sour Puss Apple

So, I bet you’re asking what The Sip Advisor still won’t eat. Well, I still largely avoid cheese in most situations and I think yogurt is disgusting. Sadly, Mrs. Sip’s diet largely consists of dairy and so we don’t see eye to eye on a number of these items. I’m more awesome than her though (as if it still needs to be written), so my say goes (or so I like to tell myself).

Would I ever actually drink windshield wiper fluid? My head says no, but my heart says give it a shot (poison warnings be damned)!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
A light and very tasty shooter. Blue Curacao and Sour Puss Apple have contrasting tastes that mix well. The Sour Apple Pop Rocks were a fun addition to the recipe.