Sip Trips #138: Exploring Europe (Part 3)

Our arrival in Porto, Portugal, unfortunately occurred on a Sunday afternoon, meaning all stores and most restaurants were closed. We didn’t let that deter us though, finding Bao’s Taiwanese Burger. I had the Pulled Pork Bao, while splitting an order of Fries 101 with Mrs. Sip. To drink, I had a bottle of Opo Gyroscope IPA and we both finished our meal with a Happy Ending Shot, made with Licor 43.

As we ate, our laundry was going through a wash cycle at a nearby laundromat. So, as we waited for the load to dry, we popped into Café Candelabro for a beverage. There, I had a bottle of Cristal Preta, while Mrs. Sip enjoyed a glass of wine and Baby Sip gnawed on a drink coaster!

Laundry.jpg

The next day, we went on an excellent Food & Wine Tour. The trek began with traditional egg tarts at Manteigaria, before cod cakes and veal pockets with a generous serving of wine at Imperio. Next, we were off to O Pretinho Do Japao for a charcuterie platter and more wine, followed by Port tasting (white, red and tawny) at Pouriga. The main event was a fantastic bifana em pao sandwich, paired with a Super Bock Lager at Conga. This sandwich, with meat marinated in a mix of beer and peri-peri sauce, was the highlight of the tour, as far as Mrs. Sip and I were concerned. McDonald’s actually has their own version, which I also tried, but obviously it was just not the same.

Following the tour, we made our way to the city’s riverside area, where we joined an English tour of the Calem Port Museum. The tour and five tastings cost us 27€ for me and Mrs. Sip. Unfortunately, Baby Sip was being really fussy during this tour, so we didn’t get to fully enjoy it, but the tastings kind of made the difficult experience a little more tolerable.

Looking to get back on track, we continued along the riverside, ending up at Sandeman Cellars outdoor patio area for some Port cocktails. Mrs. Sip had their Vau Nilla (Sandeman Branco Port, apple, vanilla syrup, lemon juice, bitters), while I went with the Club Ruby (Sandeman Ruby Port, red fruit puree, pepper, lemon juice, mint). The drinks were delicious and the setting spectacular.

Wine Flu

Sadly, our short stay in Porto was over and we were onto the capital city of Lisbon via train. Upon arriving, we ventured to LisBeer, home to a variety of Portuguese craft beers. En route, we passed a Napoleao wine and spirits shop, so decided to have a looksee. There, we found a bottle of Sharish Blue Magic Gin to bring home. While I have yet to use the liquor, it apparently turns pink when you add ice, tonic water or another mix to it. When we finally made it to LisBeer, we selected a pair of 8a Colina Brewing products in the Urraca Vendaval IPA and Ze’ Arnaldo Porter. This bar had a very relaxed atmosphere and we enjoyed our brief visit.

For dinner, we made our way to Lisbon’s Hard Rock Café. The busy restaurant provides priority seating for guests with babies and young children, which was a nice bonus. I ordered the Original Legendary Burger, with a pint of Sagres Bohemia Beer, while Mrs. Sip had the Tupelo Chicken Tenders and a bottle of Sagres Bohemia Wheat Beer. Our food was very good and the staff at the eatery were top notch in our books.

We wrapped the long day with some cherry liqueur tasting at Ginginha do Carmo. While I enjoyed the booze straight up, Mrs. Sip had hers out of a chocolate cup, adding a whole new element to the experience. While these venues are very small, patrons are able to enjoy their drink outside the establishment. Our next morning also began with cherry liqueur, this time from A Ginjinha Registada, the oldest of these hole-in-the-wall shops.

Pace Yourself

Our main tourist activity on this day was a two-hour walking tour of the city. Afterwards, we joined the guide and a few fellow tourists for a drink at Noobai Café. Upon entering the place, I spotted what looked like a beer tasting opportunity, so promptly ordered that menu item. My flight was comprised of four Super Bock Seleccao 1927 varieties, including a Munich Dunkel, Bavaria Weiss, Bengal Amber IPA, and Thames Porter.

We wrapped our second day by visiting a marketplace in the center of the town, sitting down to a plate of various sausages and glasses of red and white sangria. We also picked up a bottle of Rose Wine, which the vendor opened up for us right there, allowing us to walk the stalls of the market with glasses of vino.

Before travelling to Belgium, the final stop of our expedition, we visited Sintra, Portugal, a beautiful little town, highlighted by Pena Palace and a Moorish Castle. Given all the pushing of Baby Sip’s stroller I was doing up and down cobble stone streets, I enjoyed a couple Super Bock cans to reward my efforts.

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Mixer Mania #2 – Orange Crush

As the Sip Advisor recently watched Rambo (aka First Blood Part II) the other day, I began thinking of other fictional Vietnam War veterans. Taking advantage of today’s feature mixer being orange juice and the involvement of Agent Orange in that war, here are some of the greatest fictional Vietnam vets:

John Rambo

Speaking of the former special forces soldier, Rambo was captured by North Vietnamese forces and held and tortured in a POW camp for months before escaping. The horrors of the war scarred Rambo and his return home didn’t go any better, given all the anti-war sentiment across the U.S. The second Rambo movie sees the character return to Vietnam to rescue some American prisoners of war and when things don’t go as planned, Rambo goes on a rampage until the mission is accomplished.

rambo-fly-in-room

Thomas Magnum

Flanked by his buddies and fellow veterans Rick and T.C. (both marines), Magnum fought in Vietnam as a Navy SEAL. After the war, Magnum gets hooked up with a pretty sweet gig, watching the Hawaiian home of wealthy friend/author Robin Masters. While situated there, Magnum takes a up a career as a private investigator, which placed him in a number of hairy situations (I intentionally use the word ‘hairy’ for all the shots we got of a shirtless Magnum, as he patrolled the beaches and waters of Hawaii).

Principal Skinner

Back when he was a punk teen, known as Armin Tamzarian, the future principal of Springfield Elementary was shipped off to Vietnam to fight as a Green Beret. There, he met Sgt. Seymour Skinner, who turned the angry orphan around. When the real Skinner was apparently killed in action, Tamzarian returned to Springfield to deliver the news to Skinner’s mother… only he couldn’t break her heart and ended up spending the rest of his life taking his mentor’s identity.

principal-skinner-no-future

The A-Team

Consisting of Col. John “Hannibal” Smith, Lt. Templeton “Face” Peck, Capt. H.M. “Howling Mad” Murdock, and muscle Sgt. B.A. “Bad Attitude” Baracus, this special forces team is court-martialed for a crime they are falsely accused of committing and are forced to escape military prison. On the run, they become mercenaries, travelling the world, helping those they meet along the way. The show was turned into a feature film in 2010 and a rebooted TV series is in development.

Forrest Gump

A fair portion of Forrest Gump’s story plays out in the jungles of Vietnam, where Gump meets fellow recruit Benjamin Buford “Bubba” Blue and Lt. Dan Taylor, both of whom have a profound impact on his life. Gump and Lt. Dan eventually team up and enter the shrimping game, in honour of Bubba, who never made it home from the war. Their success eventually leads to both men being financially set for life, thanks to Lt. Dan investing in Apple, a small, but rising company at the time.

Mixer Mania #2: Blood and Sand

blood-and-sand

  • 0.75 oz Blended Scotch
  • 0.75 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 0.75 oz Cherry Liqueur
  • Top with Orange Juice
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

Honourable mentions go to Travis Bickle (Taxi Driver), Angus MacGyver (MacGyver), Martin Riggs (Lethal Weapon), Tommy Vercetti (Grand Theft Auto: Vice City) and even Saved by the Bell’s Mr. Belding.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.25 Sips out of 5):
I thought I had created this classic cocktail some time ago, but a quick search revealed it was still on my liquor bucket list. I only wish I had made it earlier, as it’s a pretty good drink. I liked how there was some strength to the alcohol content, but not an overwhelming amount.

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.

April 4 – Easter Basket

Easter Eats

Every year, I put together an Easter candy hunt for Mrs. Sip. Yeah, I know, I’m the greatest husband in the world! This surprise holds two benefits: I score major points with the missus and I have a plethora of Easter treats to enjoy for myself. It’s like guilt free and all! Here are some of my favourite Easter goodies!

#5: Chocolate Eggs

Whether it be Snickers, Oh Henry, Butterfinger, Crunch, or some other option, these are some of the most satisfying Easter treats and you can’t stop at just demolishing one. Sure, it’s basically just the chocolate bar in a flat, egg shape (which you pay more for than a full-size treat), but there’s something to be said for small sizes and being able to eat more of a variety of things, than just one option. This is why Halloween is so awesome, too!

Easter-Chocolate

#4: Reese’s Products

While any Easter entry from Reese’s is delicious, the topper is the company’s eggs, which are incredibly similar to their traditional peanut butter cups. I’m also a fan of their mini-cups (wrapped of course in pastel colours) and smaller foil-wrapped eggs. They even have peanut butter stuffed chocolate bunnies, which should have the entire population of chocolate bunnies cowering in fear. I smell a massive chocolate rabbit cull on the horizon…

#3: Jelly Beans

Every once in a while, I get a massive craving for jelly beans, which I only sometimes act on. While most around the world have to settle for other jelly bean offerings (Jelly Belly, Starburst, Jolly Rancher, etc.), us folks in this part of the world (that would be British Columbia) can enjoy Purdy’s jelly beans, which are the softest, tastiest confections ever devised. I say “settle” for the other companies, but they all have their own positive attributes. Eat on, my little sippers!

jelly bean diet

#2: Cadbury Crème Eggs

For some reason, Mrs. Sip isn’t down with Crème Egg candies, but that doesn’t stop the Sip Advisor from picking up a pack or two for himself! There’s just something fun about cracking one of these open and dealing with the creamy goo in whatever way you choose fit. Capitalizing on the popularity of Cadbury Crème Eggs, other companies have released similar products, with mixed results. Some are decent to good, but nothing compares to the original.

#1: Mini Eggs

While some knockoffs have popped up on the market, nothing beats the true version of Mini Eggs from Cadbury Chocolates. Ma and Pa Sip seem to always have a bowl around at their place and it is incredibly difficult to behave yourself and stay away from said bowl. I try to only have one of each colour every time I visit the bowl, but there are certainly times when I can’t pry myself away from the treats, especially after a couple Easter drinks!

Super Saturday Shot Day: Easter Basket

Easter Basket Shot

  • Rim glass with Coconut Shavings
  • 0.75 oz Cherry Liqueur
  • 0.25 oz Triple Sec
  • Splash of Milk
  • Dash of Grenadine

I have to include a couple items in my honourable mentions that Mrs. Sip enjoys, while the Sip Advisor doesn’t at the same level. This would include Whopper’s Robin Eggs and Peeps. Malt balls and marshmallows don’t totally work this guy, but I appreciate how happy they make Mrs. Sip!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
You can either add green food colouring or sprinkles to the Coconut Shavings to get that Easter basket grass effect. I wish I had used some other Easter candies for my garnishing, but I didn’t have any on hand. You know, the whole healthy lifestyle thing. The shot was highlighted by the sour taste of the Cherry Liqueur, but I wasn’t overly thrilled with the entire recipe as a whole.

February 14 – Love Bite

Lover’s Quarrel

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be a good opportunity to look at some of the classic “will they/won’t they” TV romances. Nearly every show has one, hoping to bring in the hopeless romantic as a regular viewer. My favourite story is from NewsRadio, where the network wanted this element for the show, much to the chagrin of producers. So, they had Dave and Lisa sleep together immediately, before then teasing their relationship from that point. Well, on with the list:

#5: Ben & Leslie – Parks and Recreation

The Parks and Rec crew are quite incestuous with numerous couplings coming out of the small department. Despite stiff competition (Andy and April, Chris and Ann, etc.), Ben and Leslie get the nod for best “will they/won’t they” storyline on the show, as it took the nerdy Ben to finally reel in the ambitious Leslie, who was more likely to be married to her job than a living person. Ben and Leslie’s wedding was especially touching, as the Parks and Rec crew had to stage the event on short notice.

Ben and Leslie

#4: Niles & Daphne – Frasier

Niles loved Daphne from the first moment he saw her… the problem was, he was in a loveless marriage with the never-seen Maris. By the time Niles got his side of things all sorted out, Daphne was due to be wed to Donny – ironically, Niles divorce attorney. Well, true love conquers all, and Niles and Daphne ended up together, marrying and having a baby boy. Poor Niles waited many years – and through many boyfriends – for his chance to be with Daphne, but fate works in mysterious ways.

#3: Leonard & Penny – Big Bang Theory

For those who believe that opposites don’t attract, take for example the relationship between blonde bombshell Penny and her kind, but geeky neighbour Leonard. Despite taking a while to date and an extended break-up, the two have been together for a fair portion of the show’s run and at this point are even engaged. Rivaling Leonard and Penny is Sheldon and Amy, who most fans just want to see finally get into bed with one another!

The Gorilla Dissolution

#2: Jim & Pam – The Office (US)

Based off of the similar storyline of Tim and Dawn from the UK version of The Office, Jim and Pam go from co-workers with a mutual crush to lovers, having to evade obstacles such as Pam’s pending marriage to Roy, Jim’s transfer to another Dunder Mifflin branch, and Pam going back to school in New York. Once Jim and Pam were all securely married, Dwight and Angela moved into the spot of “will they/won’t they,” but their relationship was always a little odd and unusual.

#1: Ross & Rachel – Friends

These two went back and forth so many times, that it makes one’s head spin. In the end, they of course wound up with each other, following the typical last-minute ditch effort to save the relationship, with Ross rushing to the airport to stop Rachel from leaving the country for a job opportunity in Paris. Through the series, the two even produced a child, all the while teasing a reunion, but never really getting back together from the first time they became a couple and broke up.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Love Bite

Love Bite Shot

  • 0.5 oz Cherry Liqueur
  • 0.5 oz Orange Liqueur
  • 0.5 oz Milk
  • Garnish with Chocolate

Honourable mentions go to Kevin and Winnie (The Wonder Years), Zack and Kelly (Saved by the Bell), Eric and Donna (That 70’s Show), and Fry and Leela (Futurama); some of which ended happily and others, not so much. Thankfully, my will they/won’t they with Mrs. Sip worked out pretty well!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.5 Sips out of 5):
The Cherry and Orange Liqueurs mixed together really well, but the Milk didn’t play nicely with the spirits, nearly curdling the alcohol. Luckily it didn’t get that far and the flavours could still be enjoyed. At least I always had the Chocolate garnish to enjoy afterwards!

February 24 – Hidden Mickey

DisneyBANNED

Disney Trap

It’s story time here at The Sip, as I have all the little kiddies gathered around for one of Uncle Sip’s most epic tales.

Let’s cut straight to the chase (almost literally):

The Sip Advisor and staff were on their way to Disneyland for a reunion of sorts and the trip will live in infamy as a result of the events that transpired. Let me sum up our experience in a few words: Disneyland, wine & beer festival, 10% beer, security, Space Mountain. The day really starts as we wake up, reach for our beers, and slowly nurse them in bed like babies with a bottle, as we wake up and plan our tasting options in Disneyland: California Adventure.

After finishing our tasting tours, and with light buzzes all around, we moseyed on over to the Pacific Wharf area for (surprise!) some more beer. And here’s where the trouble began. We found out that they were offering a “festival beer” that was 10% alcohol. And since we are all for efficiency and avoiding necessary line-ups, why not grab two at a time… four times… I think… but my memory is not entirely clear on this point.

What followed was some tortilla eating, hang gliding, fortune cookie hunting, pure insanity… and then the park closed… and we promptly decided to hit up Disneyland: Magic Kingdom since it was open for another two hours. Of course, being absolutely trashed at this point we should have practiced some stealth… instead of hanging upside down from the letter “A” in the giant CALIFORNIA between the parks.

Mary Poppins

Not sure which of us were the penguins, but this is a pretty accurate portrayal of what happened that night…

As we finally started to make our way across the no man’s land, towards the main park’s entrance gates, a Disney security guard cheerily asked us where we were going. Jubilantly, we acted as if we’d just won the Super Bowl and shouted “WE’RE GOING TO DISNEYLAND!”. Security smiles kindly at us and responds: “No, you’re not”. Shit, the fuzz was onto us and they want to give us the Song of the South treatment! She started following us towards the turnstiles, telling us we were done (we were!) and couldn’t go mingle with all the happy little kids in the park.

Cleverly we came up with a devious plan: somehow managing simple math we realized there were four of us and only one of her and we split up! Okay, that’s a lie, we couldn’t manage simple math at that point. Instead one of our group realized he had forgotten his bag in the now closed other park and turned around to get it without telling Mrs. Sip and I. The end result was the same however: we managed to make our way into the Happiest Place on Earth (that doesn’t sell beer).

Disney Drunk

The next morning I woke up with my memory a haze. I grabbed the camera and started scrolling through the pictures from the night before Hangover-style. There were pictures of all four of us crammed into a tiny tea cup, riding the Casey Jr. Railroad Train (of course, locked in the Wild Animals cage) and having our photo snapped on Space Mountain. It was the best night I never remembered and apparently after the second park closed, we went off in search of more beer, the evidence was in our fridge– a fresh six pack… well, it was down to four at this point.

We came that night, ready to play and we went home with a ton of great memories… well maybe some fuzzier than others!

Drink #55: Hidden Mickey (A Sip Advisor Original Recipe)

Hidden Mickey Drink Recipe

  • Malibu Rum 0.5 oz
  • Irish Crème 0.5 oz
  • Cherry Liqueur 0.5 oz
  • Kraken Spiced Rum 0.5 oz
  • Europa Chocovine 2 oz
  • Yummy Candy garnish

This drink features a number of “Hidden Mickey’s”. Can you find them all?

In the future, I will also have to regale you, my little sippers, with the tale of our EPCOT pavilion crawl. Remember, at EPCOT, Every Person Comes Out Trashed!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
I wish I could have incorporated even more ‘Hidden Mickeys’ into the recipe, but them’s the breaks. For such a random building of a cocktail, the drink tasted pretty good. The Europa Chocovine is a fantastic liqueur, should anyone be looking for such a product in the future.