August 30 – Smokestack

Mains & Sides

Well, this is the last long weekend of the summer, which means it’s primetime for all the barbecue masters out there to whip up the delicacies we crave all winter long. While I’m pretty open to anything someone is kind enough to put on my plate, here are the Top 5 barbecue foods, according to the Sip Advisor:

#5: Kangaroo

Although Mrs. Sip and I only enjoyed this barbecued delicacy once, it’s a meal I will never forget… which is a little surprising because we were on a winery tour in the Barossa Valley of Australia and well on route to a drunken bender. The meat was prepared in red wine and was so tender and juicy that we went at the offering with a piranha-like frenzy. While I would usually never commit the faux pas of eating the last remaining piece, in this case, I even stabbed some poor dude with a fork to get it!

Kangaroo Meats

#4: Corn on the Cob/Cornbread

Corn is an essential ingredient for a good barbecue and thanks to these two serving options, can be enjoyed in different forms with equally pleasurable results. While the Sip Advisor hates getting food stuck in his teeth (the main reason he loathes popcorn), corn on the cob is one situation where that fear is thrown out the window. As for cornbread, you better lay your hands off my slice or it’s dueling time. Slap some butter on either of these side dishes and you’ll be in sweet-salty heaven.

#3: Potato Chips

My affinity for the potato chip has been discussed at length, but here we go again! I love my chippies and am practically addicted to the snack treat. Like a junkie, I start itching for that sweet release that comes with the first bite and the burst of flavour that will soon fill the void in my soul. Chips are an easy side for any meal, but work best when you have a big ol’ bowl of them on display for the Sip Advisor to steal, hide in some dark, dank corner and inject straight to the veins.

potato-chips-funny-quotes

#2: Pulled Pork

There’s nothing like smacking a glob of pulled pork down onto a fresh bun, topping it with some slaw and taking a mammoth bite out of the wicked sandwich. Preferably, you next move will be to wash down that food with an ice cold brewski, thus completing two-thirds of the holy trinity. All that’s left is to take a brief cat nap and repeat the process again. God bless the pig for all the awesomeness it provides.

#1: Hot Dogs

Is there anything that smells better in this world than a barbecue grilling up hot dogs? Other meats are all well and good, too, but for my money, nothing tops some smokies! Hot dogs are so amazing that they can become the icing on the cake or the cherry on the sundae, even when purchased on the street in the wee hours of the morning after getting blitzed all night long. Somebody better get the grill going because I’m ready for a feast fit for a Sip Advisor!

Super Saturday Shot Day: Smokestack (A Sip Advisor Original Recipe)

Aug 30

  • Rim glass with Barbecue Sauce
  • 1 oz Absolut Texas Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Chipotle Spirit
  • Garnish with Cucumber Slices

I have to throw a massive shout out and honourable mention to potato and noodle salads. Without these two brothers in mayonnaise, I don’t know how I would have survived barbecues as a little sipper picky eater!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2 Sips out of 5):
This could be the world’s next great punishment shot, even though on their own, in various cocktails, the alcohols are quite nice. Speaking of the alcohol, Mrs. Sip and I recently stumbled upon this entry in the Absolut City Series, which combines Cucumber and Serrano Chili Peppers… a perfect summer blend. The Cucumber Slices were a nice touch visually, but were a choking hazard during the actual shooter.

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Mexico – Sea of Cortez

Lucha Libre Lunacy

Wrestling and especially masked wrestlers are a huge hit in Mexico… perhaps more so than anywhere else in the world. The mask adds a dash of mystery to each character and also provides them a colourful outfit and persona. The fast-paced, high-flying in-ring style of the luchadores is mesmerizing for fans and has been captivating spectators for close to a century. Let’s take a look at some of the personalities and history of the genre:

Mask Manufacturing

Don Antonio Martinez is credited with creating some of the earliest lucha libre masks, moving to the face veneers from a successful leather boot business. As the story goes, Martinez employed a set of 17 facial measurements (a trade secret to this day) to help make the masks feel snug for the grapplers using them. Some of Mexico’s greatest wrestling stars would go on to wear a Martinez mask, taking the sport to unimaginable heights.

Lucha_libre_máscaras

The Saint

It takes some dedication to wear your wrestling mask at all times, inside and outside the ring. El Santo became one of Mexico’s cultural icons, appearing in countless movies, comic books, and other media. He only revealed his face to the world late in his life. Appearing on a talk show more than a year after his final match (at the age of 65, no less!), without warning El Santo removed his mask. One week later, the star passed away after suffering a heart attack. The grappler was buried donning his trademark silver disguise. His funeral was one of the biggest in Mexico’s history.

Legendary Lineage

Another hugely popular lucha libre fixture was Mil Mascaras. Hell, the guy even appeared on three different Mexican stamps. Mascaras competed all around the world and is considered one of the most influential wrestlers of all-time. A ban on masked wrestlers appearing at Madison Square Gardens was even lifted specifically so Mascaras could work for the then World Wrestling Federation. His legend lives on today through his nephew and current WWE superstar Alberto Del Rio. While Mascaras has never been unmasked during his lengthy career, Del Rio wrestles sans cover.

Dancing with the Demon

Blue Demon rounds out lucha libres first “Big Three” group of stars (also including El Santo and Mil Mascaras). Much like his fellow “Big Three” alums, Demon starred in numerous feature films, even leading a group of masked wrestlers on the big screen. Together they were dubbed The Champions of Justice and gave other legendary super groups such as the Justice League and Avengers a run for their money. Okay, I made that part up, but they were definitely more proficient when it came to cartwheels and somersaults!

misterioenlasbermudas

I guess the “big three” were kind of like the Rat Pack… yup, Frank, Dean and Sammy were replaced by El Santo, Mil Mascaras and Blue Demon!

For Sale

I nearly every market around Mexico, a traveler can find wrestling masks of varying quality to be purchased. The disguises include replicas for some of the biggest stars of Mexico, as well as those for competitors who have gained popularity abroad. You can even pick up the odd comic superhero façade, such as Spider-Man and Captain America.

Something to Lose

It is humiliating for a wrestler to be unmasked and therefore one of the most exciting and highly-anticipated contests in Mexico is the Mask Match (aka Luchas de Apuestas, which translates to “gambling fights”), where the loser has to reveal their face to the viewing audience. If the masked wrestler’s opponent doesn’t wear a mask, they often put their hair on the line in return. When a wrestler loses and is unmasked, it is common for his personal information to finally be recognized and published. That star is often no longer allowed to compete as that character, a further humiliation heaped on top of the original loss.

Big Time

In 1994, Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA) joined forces with World Championship Wrestling (WCW) to co-promote a pay-per-view event entitled When Worlds Collide. The show launched the careers of many Mexico-based stars, including Rey Mysterio, Jr., La Parka, Eddie Guerrero, and Konnan. Thanks to this platform, the grapplers started being signed to contracts with bigger American promotions like Extreme Championship Wrestling and the aforementioned WCW.

Mexico Wrestlers

No Respect

Throughout the mid to late 1990’s, more and more wrestlers from Mexico exploded onto the scene in the U.S., exciting fans with their speed, agility, and aerial offense. Things started off pretty well for the imports, but soon turned sour as the roster became flooded with foreign talent, most of whom weren’t featured much and found themselves buried underneath the bigger American grapplers. A number of stars were stripped of their mask in matches that had little to no meaning. Rey Mysterio, Juventud Guerra, and Psicosis all found themselves without their familiar covering and despite revealing themselves to fans, saw little improvement to their position in the pecking order.

Return to Glory

In 2002, pint-sized phenom Rey Mysterio (nee Jr.) debuted with the world’s largest wrestling company WWE, returning to wearing the mask that once brought him such great popularity. Bursting onto the scene by defeating some of WWE’s top stars, a renaissance of masked competitors seemed on the horizon. Sure enough, in 2006, Mysterio captured the World Heavyweight Title. No small feat (pun intended) for the 5’6” ultimate underdog!

Mexico: Sea of Cortez

Sea of Cortez Cocktail

 

  • Rim glass with Salt, Sugar and Chili Flakes
  • 1 oz Tequila
  • 0.5 oz Chipotle Spirit
  • 0.5 oz Triple Sec
  • Top with Grapefruit Soda
  • Splash of Sweet & Sour Mix
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

The luchadores comprise the Sip Advisor’s favourite style of wrestling. I just love seeing these smaller guys steal the show from the larger, hulking bodies with their crazy, high-risk action-packed contests. Perhaps it’s the cruiserweight in me or maybe it’s just the thrill of watching people fly through the air with complete disregard to their own safety. Either way, I thank them for their contributions to my entertainment.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (5 Sips out of 5):
This recipe provided one of my first chances to use the Chipotle Spirit I picked up a couple months back at Rogue Distillery in Portland, Oregon. On that trip, myself and Ma and Pa Sip ate at Gustav’s Pub, where I found this recipe. My favourite aspect is the rim, complete with Chili Flakes, which take a margarita recipe and make it that much better. I went with Grapefruit Soda instead of Juice and may have found a new mixer to advocate for. I love my drinks that have a bit of a bite to them and this was certainly no different!