Flavour Revolution – Pomegranate

Seed Stories

Have you ever wondered why most of us go through six months of shitty(ier) weather (and I ain’t talking about scientific mumbo jumbo)? Well, it’s all because of the pomegranate… or its seeds to be exact. At least, that’s how the Greek myth goes. In fact, the pomegranate is viewed in a number of different ways by some of the world’s greatest civilizations. Let’s see how the fruit is depicted around the globe:

Ancient Greece

Let’s start with this sordid tale of unrequited love, kidnapping, and confinement. It all began when Hades, lord of the underworld, fell in love with Persephone (daughter of Demeter, the goddess of the harvest). Hades took Persephone against her will to the underworld to be his wife and kept her there by feeding her six pomegranate seeds. As a result, Persephone had to spend six months every year in the underworld (the winter months), thus giving pomegranates the title “fruit of the dead”.

Hades Greek Mythology

Ancient Egypt

Backtracking, the Ancient Egyptians viewed the pomegranate as a symbol of prosperity and ambition and they were required to be readily available to the pharaohs. Pomegranates were drawn on crypt walls, a figure for life after death, with the infamous King Tut being entombed with a pomegranate vase. The pomegranate’s juice was also used to treat various illnesses and infections, such as tapeworm, while the fruit’s flowers were turned into dye for leather products.

Ancient Israel

When Moses sent scouts to the ‘Promised Land,’ they returned with pomegranates to show the area’s fertility. Therefore, it is a common practice on the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashana to eat the fruit because it is a symbol of prosperity. The pomegranates 613 seeds are said to match the 613 commandments of the Torah. In my typical luck, my last pomegranate only had 612 seeds. I wonder which commandment doesn’t apply to the Sip Advisor?

Western Europe

Here’s where the pomegranate takes on a bit of a morbid identity (I mean, aside from being known as the “fruit of the dead”), as it was often depicted in paintings as breaking open, to symbolize the suffering of Jesus and his later resurrection. Sometime in the distant future, the Sip Advisor’s suffering and resurrection will be portrayed by a bottle of liquor falling to the ground and smashing to pieces… however the liquor will still reach the lips of my many disciples.

Pomegranate Pain

Qur’an

In this ancient text, pomegranates are described as growing in the gardens of paradise and being an example of a positive thing that God creates. Nowadays, you’d have to cite items like the X-Box, Playstation, and Wii to get across to youngsters that God, in fact, creates good things… or at least robots do. And God created those robots, am I right!?

Armenia

Armenians believe that the pomegranate represents fertility, abundance, and marriage. One potentially messy Armenian tradition is to give a bride a pomegranate and let her throw it against the wall. Hopefully nobody gets in the way, or a game of dodge ball may ensue. Anyway, the scattered seeds of the smashed fruit are said to guarantee the bride’s – as well as the groom’s – fertility. Remember, it takes two to tango!

Fertility Drugs

Persia

Love and fertility is the name of the game for Persians. Also, the mythical character of Isfandiyar is said to have become invincible after eating a pomegranate. Clearly, I haven’t been enjoying my pomegranate liqueur enough to absorb such powers. If I consume a fair bit, I feel invincible, but have never disappeared. It would be fun to play ghost every once in a while and scare the bejesus out unsuspecting folk.

China

In China, the pomegranate symbolizes fertility and many children… too bad the Chinese are only allowed, by law, to have one child, thus negating and powerful vibes the pomegranate may send their way. Many homes were even adorned with pictures of ripe pomegranates, their seeds highlighted in the works, which was meant to bless the family with high numbers of offspring.

Flavour Revolution: Burning Duchess

Burning Duchess Cocktail

  • 2 oz Bourbon
  • 1 oz PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur
  • Dash of Agave Syrup
  • 1 Sliced Jalapeno
  • Top with Tonic Water
  • Garnish with a Jalapeno Slice

To sum up, here’s what we’ve learned about the pomegranate: they have a lot to do with how many children you have, how successful your marriage may be, and how much wealth you may acquire, but at the same time, may lead you to be destined to an eternity in the underworld. I guess that’s why the fruit is so expensive in grocery stores!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
Build the drink by combining the Bourbon, Pomegranate Liqueur, and Agave Syrup, stirring to blend ingredients, before adding the sliced Jalapeno and shaking the mix. Pour into a glass and top with Tonic Water, making it ready to serve. I enjoyed this cocktail, which wasn’t a huge surprise, as I like a bite to my drinks. The Tonic Water left a bit of an odd aftertaste, but not enough to diminish from the rest of the recipe.

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China – Flying Tiger

Zodiac Zenith

The Sip Advisor’s Chinese Zodiac animal is the pig and I’d like to think I’m more Babe: Pig in the City (you know, an inspiration) than anything else. Putting on my astrological reading glasses, here’s what your Chinese Zodiac sign says about you, according to some of the celebrities and historical figures who fall under them:

Rat – Antonio Banderas, Cameron Diaz

Regardless of gender, you have been seen as a sex symbol at some point in your career and life. Remember, every person has a type. It should also be noted that your voice talents may lend themselves to the adventures of an animated ogre and you may find yourself immersed in a world of fairy tales… of the fractured variety, of course.

Shrek Kitty

Ox – Adolf Hitler, Napoleon

You have serious issues with people of certain creeds and your militaristic side always shines through. Your thirst for land and power cannot be quenched and it seems like you have a chip on your shoulder for whatever reason. Some serious counselling should be pursued before you are added to the list of worst people EVER!

Tiger – Marilyn Monroe, Natalie Wood

You’re natural in front of a camera, but have your vices. You are pursued by numerous gentlemen callers and your beauty is undeniable. Sadly, you’re a starlet who will leave this world too soon and your death will be surrounded by mystique and intrigue. Conspiracy theories, debate and investigations abound, but the truth may never be known.

Rabbit – John Cleese, Robin Williams

You’re a comedian, sometimes manic, but always hilarious. You will go to extreme lengths to get a chuckle and while some of your humour may be hard to absorb, the effort with which you try to draw in an audience is always appreciated. In later years, you may calm a little and accept a different type of role, but the comedy always finds a way to shine through.

Dragon – John Lennon, Ringo Starr

Going out on a bit of a limb here, but are you possibly a Beatle? You will go on to revolutionize your industry and leave a lasting mark on the world. You work best with a group of like-minded talents, but even on your own, there is a catalogue of decent offerings. Your hard work will serve you well later as fans continue to thirst for anything to do with the group.

Real Music

Snake – John F. Kennedy, Dick Cheney

You thrive in a position of power and are not afraid to stick to your guns to get your way. You are cool under pressure and use your many contacts to ensure success in all your endeavours. Tread lightly though, as accidents seem to happen when you’re near firearms and one thing is for sure: You should avoid riding in convertibles at all costs.

Horse – Mike Tyson, Kobe Bryant

You are a top athlete in your sport, but bad decisions can come back to haunt you. Perhaps you were given too much, too soon. It’s an awful lot of pressure to still be a teenager and have worldwide success and the fame that goes with that. Despite the negative hype, fans still love you and championships seem like a natural fit.

Goat – John Wayne, Robert De Niro

Your style is so infamous and distinguishable that you’ve become a parody of yourself as your career has entered its twilight. While many wish to remember you at your finest, you keep trucking along, piling up the credits and cash. Nothing wrong with that. Anyone in a similar position would do the same, riding into the sunset with a boatload of money.

Monkey – Leonardo Da Vinci, Julius Caesar

You appear in many history textbooks and have played a great role in shaping the world, although your impact may not be fully appreciated until later. Movies and TV series’ will be made in your honour, posthumously of course. That’s not to say you didn’t have a decent existence while you were living. Beware of turncoats… that will allow you to prosper longer.

monalisa_smile

Rooster – Beyonce, Britney Spears, P Diddy

All you want to do is sing and the term diva could apply. Diddy, I’m looking at you! Your talents may range and you enjoy dabbling in a number of different business ventures from record labels to fragrances to clothing lines. Yuck, I just found out that Yoko Ono is also a Rooster and that makes me disgusted with the whole lot of roosters… bunch of cocks!

Dog – Harry Houdini, Michael Jackson

You have a fascination with the mysteries of the universe and are considered… well, quirky, to put it nicely. You are worshipped by some, but trashed and disregarded by others. Either way, you will be remembered for your showmanship and talent. Who let the dogs out? You did… you did.

Pig – Alfred Hitchcock, Stephen King

You prefer to explore the dark side of the human psyche. You are capable of causing people to fear everything from birds to clowns and may have even been offered the title ‘Master of Horror’. Apparently, you like to cameo in your own works when they are adapted for film and television… if that’s the case, I can’t wait for The Sip Advisor film to be shopped!

China: Flying Tiger

Apr 3

  • 1.5 oz Chu Yeh Ching Chiew
  • 0.5 oz Gin
  • Splash of Grenadine
  • Dash of Peychaud’s Bitters
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

Although many of us believe we fall under one animal only, Chinese astrology assigns animals not only based of birth year, but also by month (inner animals), by day (true animals) and by hour (secret animals). This makes the Sip Advisor some sort of pig, rooster, rat/pig (Thursdays have two animals), dog hybrid. And here I was hoping to be the elusive man-bear-pig from South Park!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
Thanks to this drink, I finally placed what Chiew reminds me of… Absinthe. It has those medicinal/herbal flavours and that can cause issues for some. Luckily, I like Absinthe and therefore had no problem with this cocktail. The one complaint I could throw its way is that it wasn’t fizzy and lacked a citrus taste that could have helped.

China – China Blue

Great Walls of Fire

The Great Wall of China was erected (that word always makes me giggle) over a number of eras and decades and is one of the most impressive engineering feats in history. Since its construction, it has become a world famous monument and used for countless other achievements. Here are some of its notable uses and appearances:

Big Air

There have been a number of attempts by bikers, skateboarders, and the like to jump the Great Wall. Extreme athlete Travis Pistrana even tackled the challenge on a toy bike. Sadly, not every attempt has been successful. Two Chinese BMX riders were looking to fly over the wall to celebrate a national holiday. One landed safely in the area set up to catch the falling stuntmen, but the other flew right over it to his death. So much for home field advantage!

Great-wall-I-can-hold-it

Go Your Own Way

While jumping the Great Wall is a dream for some, that vision wasn’t held by cyclist Kevin Foster. Instead, Foster wanted to travel a fair chunk of the world heritage site. In 50 days, Foster trekked 1,174.8 miles of the wall, through sandstorms, hail, monsoons, high temperatures, and even a crash that sent him through a portion of the structure and caused three broken ribs. The journey was called “the last, greatest, cycling adventure on the face of the earth.”

Running with the Wall

Most little sippers, like the Sip Advisor, probably don’t follow the sport of free running. It’s basically akin to parkour, but involves more theatrics… wait, there can be even more acrobatics thrown in? World renowned free runner (you can be renowned in this field?), Ryan Doyle put the Great Wall in its place as part of his Red Bull World Wonders Tour. Remember, Red Bull: It gives you wings… and hopefully not because you’re dead and on your way to the afterlife.

Super Repairs

In perhaps one of the cheesiest special effects of all-time, Superman used laser vision to repair the Great Wall after it had been damaged by the equally cheesy villain, Nuclear Man (before The Simpsons Radioactive Man). This all came about in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, which effectively killed the movie franchise. I’ve never been a Superman fan, but I have to give him credit for fixing a landmark I have yet to see.

Building the Wall

In 2005, a number of acts gathered for a concert using the Great Wall setting as a backdrop. Headlined by Boyz II Men, other performers included Cyndi Lauper and Alicia Keys. The show was recorded for a DVD release, The Great Wall Concert (I’m blown away they couldn’t come up with a more glitzy name than that), and also included interviews with historians, visits to other Chinese landmarks, and comedy performances on the streets of Beijing.

Abracadabra

There has been some amazing feats performed in the world of magic and David Copperfield’s act of walking through the Great Wall has to be among them. What else would you expect from the same man who has levitated above the Grand Canyon, made the Statue of Liberty disappear, and wed Claudia Schiffer!? For this illusion, Copperfield used a sheet and his faithful assistant to appear to go through the legendary wall… his secret is safe with me!

Maid in China

Rope Tricks

Chinese acrobat Adili Wuxor (dubbed the ‘Prince of Tightrope Walking’) and his apprentice Yakup Jang performed a tightrope walk of 1,100 feet from one point of the Great Wall to another in 2013. It’s estimated that the duo was 328-feet above the ground at the highest point. If that wasn’t enough, the stuntmen performed some theatrics during the 40-minute crossing, including sitting on the rope, balancing on one foot, dancing, and even going blindfolded.

The Wall is Not Enough

While it has yet to happen in a Bond film, it has long been rumoured and researched to film a motorcycle chase scene at the Great Wall for the long running franchise. First dreamt up for the 1989 License to Kill, negotiations with the Chinese government hit a snag when the politicians asked for power over the script. The most recent 007 saga, Skyfall, was to include the fabled act, but plans changed and although Bond travels to China, the Great Wall was not used.

China: China Blue

Mar 31

  • 2 oz Chu Yeh Ching Chiew
  • 0.5 oz Blue Curacao
  • Top with Lychee Juice and Grapefruit Juice
  • Garnish with Lemon and Lime Wheels

I’m proud of all you little sippers for traversing the Great Wall with me and not needing to be carried by bodyguards like that twerp (nee douche bag) Justin Bieber. Now that was an amazing feat… of stupidity!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
Some say Chu Yeh Ching Chiew is similar to wine, others to gin, and some classify it as closer to vodka. One site calls it Chinese Bamboo Leaf Vodka and that’s good enough for me! What really matters is that it’s believed to cure hangovers… well, at least for you hangover prone little sippers out there. As for this cocktail, it’s not bad. The flavour is indescribable thanks to the mix of Chu Yeh Ching Chiew and Lychee Juice; two flavours I don’t know very well. It could use some fizz, however.

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!