November 28 – The Talking Monkey

A Glimpse Inside

Last week, we began looking at one of the most underrated elements to visual storytelling: narration. It’s amazing how essential the narration of a movie or TV show can be, sometimes making or breaking a project. This week, we move to the big screen. Let’s get things rolling!

#5: Sin City

As if coming from the pages of a comic book, viewers are taken on a journey through the voice of each focal character, learning their desires, motives, issues, fears, and discoveries. Narration comes from a variety of sources, including Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, and Clive Owen, each captivating the audience with their character’s story. Film noir is no stranger to the narrator storytelling device, but Sin City brought the style back to the mainstream.

sincity

#4: A Clockwork Orange

The ultra-violent Alex (played by Malcolm McDowell) is a drug-fueled sociopath who won’t hesitate in committing all kinds of horrible acts on innocent victims. As a result, many of Alex’s thoughts are quite disturbing and the way they are delivered by McDowell, in Alex’s teenage Cockney slang, will really have your skin crawling. Despite all efforts to reform Alex, the teen eventually returns to his old habits and more suffering is in the cards.

#3: How the Grinch Stole Christmas

It’s one thing to narrate a movie and it’s a whole other ball of yarn when you’re delivering the words of Dr. Seuss! I wonder how many retakes were needed to perfectly deliver some of the Seussian language? Regardless, Hannibal Lecter himself, Anthony Hopkins, nailed it, retelling the tale of The Grinch, who can’t stand the Whos down in Whoville, especially as the Christmas holiday approaches. While critics were less enthusiastic about the film, the Sip Advisor has always enjoyed it.

the grinch decorating

#2: Fight Club

The haunting narrations of this film will leave viewers chilled to the bone, as the protagonist (played by Edward Norton) turns his insomnia into attending support groups and later, starting a terrorist organization, bred out of a fighting club. While we never get the main character’s name, we certainly get all the thoughts that make him tick and lead to his mental breakdown… the problem is, he realizes too late exactly what he’s started and can’t stop.

#1: A Christmas Story

In a style that would go on to be the inspiration for The Wonder Years, we learn about the trials and tribulations little Ralphie goes through as he asks for a “Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle” for Christmas. This includes convincing his teacher, parents, and even the big guy himself, Santa, that the gun isn’t as dangerous as many fear. As if that’s not enough, Ralphie has to deal with schoolyard bullies, swearing in front of his parents, and ruined Christmas dinner.

Super Saturday Shot Day: The Talking Monkey

  • 0.5 oz Chocolate Liqueur
  • 0.5 oz Banana Liqueur
  • 0.25 oz Coffee Liqueur
  • 0.25 oz Milk
  • Garnish with a Banana Slice

Of course, there’s always the king of the narration, Morgan Freeman, with credits in the role including Shawshank Redemption, War of the Worlds, March of the Penguins, and Island of Lemurs: Madagascar. If a Hall of Fame, dedicated to the art, were to ever be built, Freeman would be its inaugural inductee!

Flavour Revolution – Macadamia Nut

Edible Honours

Macadamia nuts were named as such, by Ferdinand von Mueller, who discovered and named many Australian plants. The name was derived from von Mueller’s friend, Dr. John Macadam. Macadam was a chemist, teacher and politician, proving it certainly helps to have friends in high places. This all got the Sip Advisor thinking about what other foods were named after people… so let’s get right to it:

Caesar Salad

The Sip Advisor is a massive fan of Caesar Salad. There’s just something about the blend of greens, croutons, parmesan cheese, and dressing that is so perfect. Hell, throw some bacon or chicken on that appetizer and you’re in heaven. Who do we have to thank for all this? Caesar Cardini, a chef, restauranteur, and hotel owner, who turned the salad and particularly the dressing into viable business and family fortune. Apprently, there’s an “original” version of the salad served at Hotel Caesar’s in Tijuana, Mexico, where Cardini ran businesses, allowing him to avoid prohibition laws.

Caesar Salad Stab

Nachos

Originally consisting of fried tortilla chips, melted cheese, and jalapenos, this Mexican culinary staple was created by Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Anaya for his El Moderno restaurant in Piedras Negras, Mexico. Legend has it, Anaya quickly whipped up the dish when visitors arrived at his eatery when it was already closed. Nachos have grown to be so popular that they even have their own international day of celebration, each October 21st. Even when the Sip Advisor refused all cheese as a youngster, he made the occasional exception for nachos.

Reuben Sandwich

There are two different stories about the creation of this sandwich, consisting of corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, on rye bread, with either Russian or Thousand Island dressing. The first, says that Ruben Kulakofsky invented the meal, while playing poker at the Blackstone Hotel in Omaha, Nebraska. The sandwich went onto fame when a former employee at the inn submitted it to a national recipe contest. Another tale, gives credit to Arnold Reuben, owner of Reuben’s Delicatessen in New York. Published items, referencing the sandwich and the deli, appeared as early as 1926, although Kulakofsky’s poker game lasted between 1920 and 1935, approximately.

Graham Crackers

Without these beauties, we might never know the joy of smores! The crackers were invented by Sylvester Graham, a Presbyterian minister, who advocated for vegetarianism and the Temperance Movement. Graham’s followers were dubbed Grahamites and they were taught to abstain from alcohol, bathe regularly, brush their teeth daily, and abstain from masturbation (which he thought led to blindness) and sex. There’s definitely a few items in that list I’m not down with… I mean, who needs toothpaste every day! I’ve known Graham crackers to often lead to camping craziness, so I think the good minister missed his mark.

Kit Kat Lasagna

Cobb Salad

You know those times when you’re desperate for a late night snack and you just start throwing things together to see what works? Well, Robert H. Cobb was having one of those nights in the mid 1930’s, and invented the Cobb Salad. Cobb was the owner of the famous Brown Derby restaurant in Hollywood, California. Once the recipe passed Cobb’s taste test, it was added to the café’s menu and it grew in popularity from there. For those unfamiliar with the salad, it consists of greens, tomato, bacon, chicken, hard-boiled egg, avocado, onion, cheese, and black olives, all doused in a red-wine vinaigrette.

Salisbury Steak

The Salisbury steak was invented by J.H. Salisbury, with the term “Salisbury” being used for meals of ground beef, shaped like a steak, with gravy on top, since 1897. This guy sounds pretty awesome, shunning vegetables and starch items, which he believed were poisonous… and he was even a doctor. Salisbury suggested that folks eat the meal three times a day, as part of a low-carb diet. Despite the good doctor’s original theory, Salisbury steaks today are often paired with mashed potatoes or noodles. The name, for what is basically a hamburger, grew in popularity during World War I, when countries around the world were encouraged to rename food items with German monikers.

Flavour Revolution: Mauna Kea Martini

Mauna Kea Martini

  • 1.5 oz Gold Rum
  • 0.5 oz Macadamia Nut Liqueur
  • 0.25 oz Chocolate Liqueur
  • Splash of Milk
  • Garnish with a Chocolate Ball

Anyone who has travelled to Hawaii knows of the popularity of macadamia nuts. They’re everywhere on the collection of islands and you can’t return home without picking up a few cans of the snack. Mrs. Sip is also a huge fan of Nutty McWhite’s at Purdy’s Chocolates, here in our home province of B.C. You gotta try one, if you ever have the chance!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
While one doesn’t normally turn to rum when crafting martinis, in this recipe, it worked incredibly well. The martini is strong, but not overwhelming… exactly what you’d expect from a beverage of this ilk. Best of all, none of the ingredients overshadows its fellow compatriots, with flavours of Macadamia Nuts, Chocolate and Rum all coming in at varying points of each sip!

Switzerland – Island Donkey

Confectionary Dream

Well, we began our layover in Switzerland with a helping of cheese fondue and today we move onto dessert in the form of Swiss chocolate. The Swiss are the world’s largest consumers of the sweet stuff and therefore, are home to some of the greatest chocolate factories in existence. Let’s take a look at some of those famous confectionaries:

Cailler

After learning the art of chocolate manufacturing in Italy for four years, François-Louis Cailler opened Switzerland’s first factory in 1819. In 1875, Cailler’s son-in-law, chocolatier Daniel Peter (ironically, this dude’s name features both the Sip Advisor’s and Broski Sip’s names), concocted the brilliant idea of combining his chocolate with Henri Nestlé’s condensed milk, thus creating milk chocolate, which is by far the best chocolate in existence. Things came full circle in 1929, when the Cailler company was absorbed by Nestlé, which had grown to be one of the world’s largest manufacturing conglomerates after Henri Nestlé sold his company to fellow associates.

Swiss Chocolate Smothered

Suchard

Phillippe Suchard opened Switzerland’s second chocolate factory in 1826 and struggled to keep the business running until a mass order of his creations by Frederick William IV, King of Prussia, in 1842. Suchard selected the unique packaging colour of purple, believing that it would separate his products from others and eventually became the largest chocolate producer by the end of the 19th century. After Suchard passed away in 1884, his company created the Milka product, which is immensely popular in Europe. Today, Kraft Foods owns Suchard’s factory.

Lindt

This company produces one of Ma Sip’s favourite lines, the Lindor chocolate balls, which now come in a variety of different flavours, including Peanut Butter, Raspberry, Mint, Coconut, Caramel, Mocha, and so many others. Each style comes wrapped in a different coloured foil. Lindt runs six factories around the world, including facilities in Germany, France, Italy, Austria, and the United States. Swiss tennis star Roger Federer was named Global Brand Ambassador for Lindt in 2012 and now plays his sport solely using the chocolate spheres, walking off courts if they insist on the old fuzzy green tennis ball!

Tobler

Earlier, we looked at one of Ma Sip’s favourite treats and now we get to Pa Sip’s chocolate of choice, Toblerone. Perhaps Toblerone’s greatest mark on the industry came in 1932, when they created the first filled chocolate bars, with the Tobler-O-Rum (I can certainly appreciate their desire to bring liquor into the chocolate game!). Since then, the Toblerone bar has been stuffed with everything from fruit and nut to honeycomb. The company has also played a role in politics, as Swedish Prime Minister candidate Mona Sahlin was bounced from the ballot in 1995, after it was discovered that she had purchased two Toblerone bars using taxpayer money. I only hope the marketing folks at Tobler jumped on this fortuitous occurrence.

Toblerone

Frey

Over 500,000 chocolate bars leave the Frey factory in Aargau, Switzerland every single day thanks to the enterprise’s 2,400 different products. That totals approximately 42,000 tons of the sweet stuff every year. The unicorn head that adorns the company’s logo and labels is a nod to the brothers (Max and Robert Frey) family crest. The siblings started the business in 1887. Frey makes six million Easter bunnies each year and has given their line of rabbits the names Sunny, Funny, and Lucky. The company also dabbles in chewing gum just in case people ever stop eating chocolate!

Teuscher

Teuscher outlets can be found around the world, including posts in New York City, Toronto, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Berlin, and a number of other major cities (I’ll concede, just this once, that Toronto is, in fact, a major city). Teuscher is perhaps most famous for their Champagne Truffles, which the company invented. The treat uses Dom Perignon champagne in its recipe, meaning it’s the candy choice of thug rappers everywhere. Despite their operations being run out of Zurich, the company also bakes popular cookies (a gingerbread-esque offering) for the city of Basel, Switzerland, a top rival to Zurich.

Switzerland: Island Donkey

Island Donkey Martini

  • 1 oz Chocolate Liqueur
  • 1 oz Coconut Rum
  • 0.5 oz Goldschlager
  • Garnish with Swiss Chocolate

After all that chocolate talk, I need a nice cold glass of milk to wash it all down. This drink may do the trick, as well, but I’m not sure how well it will pair with the Lindor and Toblerone snacks I’ve put aside for my own enjoyment!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
I’m not a fan of the name of this cocktail, but it did allow me to find a Goldschlager recipe that included chocolate, which goes perfectly with the theme of this article. The drink was a little thicker than I would have liked, but I couldn’t complain about its flavours. I used some Toblerone Chocolate for the garnish and that’s always an enjoyable element!

Sweden – Unforgettable Night

Prize Fights

Nobel Prizes are awarded in six fields: Peace, Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature, Economic Sciences, none of which the Sip Advisor excels in, but I’ve made peace with my shortcomings, even if all you little sippers have not. The host country for the ceremony is Sweden (home to prize creator Alfred Nobel), except for the Peace Prize which is presented in Norway. Nobel, also the inventor of dynamite, is said to have created the awards to leave a better legacy after his condemnable obituary was accidentally printed in France (nothing good ever comes out of there!) following the death of his brother. Let’s take a look at the awards and see if Nobel’s image has indeed been altered:

Alfred Nobel

The first awards ceremony took place in 1901, five years after Nobel passed away… for reals this time. Since then, the event is held annually on Dec. 10, the anniversary of Nobel’s death. Prizes don’t have to be handed out each year for every category, but each award must be tendered at a minimum of every five years. Throughout World War II (1939-43), no Nobel Prize events were held.

Nobel wrote the final draft of his will, including the Nobel Prize request on a torn piece of paper. The process was witnessed by four associates, as Nobel didn’t trust lawyers… I can’t really blame him given Mrs. Sip is one and I sleep with one eye open every night! Also, Nobel never bothered to ask any of the bodies he expected to govern the awards, whether this was something they were cool with. Nobel’s family contested the will after finding out they were shit out of luck and the cash would go towards awards for strangers. Clearly, the appeals did not work out.

There are anywhere between 100-250 nominees for each category. A person who has died can’t be nominated and will also be removed from contention if they pass away during the consideration process. If a person was selected as a winner before expiring, they are still eligible to win posthumously that year. A maximum of three people can win any one award.

Scarecrow Nobel Prize

The Nobel Prize consists of a medal, a personal diploma and money. The financial award comes from interest from Nobel’s estate (and varies each year), which is looked after by the Nobel Foundation. Prize winners are called laureates… another title you will never see beside the Sip Advisor’s name… although I’m still working on that Chemistry award with Mrs. Sip! Apparently, the cash awarded in 2013 was $1.2 million US per prize. Damn, Mrs. Sip and I really need to get that chemistry diorama finished!

While most of the prizes are well-deserved, some have been followed by protest, particularly over the Peace Prize. Some of the most controversial prize recipients include Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho, who were awarded the Peace Prize in 1973 for negotiating a ceasefire between North Vietnam and the U.S., although both nations were still hostile towards one another. Similarly, Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres, and Yitzhak Rabin were handed the 1994 Peace Prize following their efforts towards harmony between Israel and Palestine, but many issues remained unsettled between the two nations. Lastly, Barack Obama’s 2009 Peace Price was controversial in that he had only been in office for 11 days when nominations closed. Obama went on to say that he was undeserving of the award.

Not every Nobel Prize winner has accepted the honour. Jean-Paul Sartre refused the Literature Award in 1964, sticking with his credo to not accept any official honours (but unofficial ones were okay) and the previously mentioned Le Duc Tho declined that controversial 1973 Peace Prize, given the ongoing strife in Vietnam.

Nobel Peace Prize

As of the 2013 ceremonies, there have been 561 Nobel Prizes awarded to 876 recipients. Only 45 of those winners have been women. The youngest recipient ever was Lawrence Bragg (1915) for physics, at the age of 25, although he did win with his father (there’s nothing like riding someone else’s coattails). The oldest was Leonid Hurwicz (2007) for economic sciences, at the ripe age of 90. The Red Cross has won three separate times (1917, 1944 and 1963). Linus Pauling and Marie Curie each won two Nobel Prizes in different categories, while John Bardeen and Frederick Sanger received two prizes in the same discipline.

Inventors Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla never won Nobel Prizes. They were offered a joint prize, but the committee quickly rescinded the offer upon realizing that the two competitors despised one another and refused to be anywhere near each other. The same goes for Mrs. Sip and I, but I’m pretty sure the prize money would be enough of a draw for us to put aside our differences for one night.

Antonio Moniz was awarded the Medicine Prize in 1949 for his work involving prefrontal lobotomies as a treatment for schizophrenia. The practice was abolished in the 1960’s and is now looked upon with much criticism. A similar Medicine Prize debacle (retrospectively) occurred in 1926 when Johannes Fibiger received the award for “finding a cure for cancer.” It’s truly too bad that didn’t work out as well as hoped or expected.

Women Nobel Prize

When Robert E. Lucas won the Economics Prize in 1997 for his theory of rational expectations, his ex-wife was perhaps happier than he was. Her lawyer had actually written a clause into their divorce settlement for such an occasion and Lucas was forced to share his $1 million award with her. He may have been a prize-winning economist, but he clearly wasn’t good with contracts.

We’ll end things off with this little factoid, before retiring to the post-awards gala for nibbles and drinks: Oddly enough, eight different Nobel Prize recipients were born on February 28th. I think the fix is in!

Sweden: Unforgettable Night

Unforgettable Night Martini

  • 2 oz Absolut Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Chocolate Liqueur
  • Top with Coconut Milk
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Dash of Hot Sauce
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge and Coconut

Mrs. Sip and I, along with members of the Sip Syndicate visited the Nobel Museum in Stockholm, Sweden and had a great time learning about the history of the awards and many of the recipients. I’ll be back one day to accept my long-awaited prize… or, at the very least, to steal one!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
When searching for a drink to combine with this post, I stumbled upon this incredibly interesting recipe (Coconut Milk, Lime Juice and Hot Sauce!) that had the perfect name to suit the article. I was very curious going in about how this would taste and it was pretty decent with a bit of flame at the end. The Lime Juice caused some slight curdling, but not enough to disgust the drinker.

February 15 – Heart Warmer

Holiday Hell

Valentine’s Day is a funny beast to deal with. Among heightened expectations, shops and services everywhere jack up their prices and take advantage of the love frenzy (also the name of a sexual position I invented a few years back, but have yet to unleash on Mrs. Sip). After all, a sucker is born every minute and Valentine’s Day makes a fool out of us all. One of the best “Valentine’s Days” Mrs. Sip and I spent together was a couple days after the actual day, as Mrs. Sip had to travel for work and we weren’t able to be together. Here are the top five reasons to not celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 14th!

#5: Use Your Coupons

It sucks that most coupons (from sites like GrouponSocial Shopper, etc.) can’t be redeemed during the Valentine’s Day block of dates, usually Feb. 13-16, depending on where the holiday falls. And this is because the institutions using the coupon service know they have you hooked already for those dates. So, let’s get a little revenge on these establishments by redeeming for a romantic dinner on February 12th or 17th. Then, really rub it in their face by exchanging gifts, flowers, and the whole shebang!

Saint-Valentine

#4: Discounted Treats

Walk into any store after Valentine’s Day and you will find massive discounts on chocolates and other goodies, as the retailer is quickly trying to change their seasonal shelves over to anything from St. Patrick’s Day to Easter to even Christmas already (the holiday comes out earlier and earlier every year!). You can score some pretty wicked deals during this rush for savings, but be weary of fellow shoppers who will stop at nothing to deny you of you half-price stuffed bear.

#3: Easy-to-Get Reservations

If you don’t plan ahead and get onto making reservations as soon as the calendar rolls over to a new year, you may miss out on your preferred dining choice. Next you know, you’re chowing on McDonald’s takeout – actually not so bad, as Mrs. Sip and I did this last year when she wasn’t feeling well enough to fulfill our expensive seafood reservation… I saved a ton of cash! – and are decked out in sweatpants or pajamas, laying out on your couch… sounds pretty sweet, doesn’t it!?

I Tolerate You

#2: Cheaper Flowers

I’ll never understand how stores can get away with not only increasing their prices on flowers, but doubling them just because it’s Valentine’s Day. And yet they sell out every year and if you don’t grab a bouquet earlier in the day, you may be left with the scraps nobody else wants. Go any other day and your cost will be cut in half, you will have a ton of options to choose from and you risk getting into a skirmish with another dude over posies.

#1: What is So Important About February 14th?

Mrs. Sip and I make a point of having date nights on a frequent basis. Yes, it’s not always easy to accomplish with busy schedules that include work, social gatherings, sports, and other commitments, but if you only have time for each other on a capitalism-created holiday, then you have more issues to deal with than where to eat and what kind of flowers to buy. Treat each other like you actually love each other and the rest will fall into place easier than you ever thought!

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

Heart Warmer Shooter

  • 0.5 oz Chocolate Cream Liqueur
  • 0.5 oz Raspberry Cream Liqueur
  • Splash of Chile Chocolate Syrup
  • Garnish with Love Hearts

Valentine’s Day should be celebrated with the one you love, but perhaps not the way the restaurants and stores would have you spend it. Get together with your partner and have a quiet night in, snuggling up on the couch and watching zombie horror flicks… or whatever you two nutballs are into!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
I was originally going to complete skip any Valentine’s coverage this year, but decided that February 15th was the perfect day to drop some love wisdom on all y’all (and yes, I realize how that line could be interpreted!). Therefore, I needed a recipe and decided to go with an original I had been working on for a little while. Combining the Chocolate and Raspberry Cream Liqueurs was a great start, but the crowning touch was the Chile Chocolate Syrup. It left a wonderful light burn on the lips, tongue and made the whole experience a little more unique than your usual shooter!

December 3 – Chocolate Peppermintini

Christmas Classics

Especially given it’s the winter months and the weather outside is frightful, it’s nice to snuggle up and watch a bevy of classic Christmas films. What should you include in your movie marathon? Ask and you shall receive. Here are my favourite Christmas flicks!

It’s a Wonderful Life

I absolutely adore this classic. And when you think about it, many of us might have never viewed the tale that has been copied and parodied so many times. It was never intended to be a “Christmas movie”, but that’s what it became. Jimmy Stewart is amazing throughout the movie (no surprise there, as the dude is actually an American hero) and his portrayal of George Bailey, who is too often in the wrong place at the wrong time, is one of the most treasured characters in cinema history.

Elf

The story of Buddy the Elf (Will Ferrell at his usual level of crazy!) searching out his father and integrating into the fast-paced world of New York City is a fun movie to get into the swing of things during the holidays. Buddy has to work hard to get the hardened folks of New York City, as well as the rest of the world to find their Christmas spirit, which powers Santa’s sleigh, of course. The film, which has material both kids and parents alike can enjoy, has even led to a Broadway musical.

Bad Santa

If you’ve been following this site for any period of time, you knew that a raunchier film was going to come up at some point… here it is! Billy Bob Thornton plays Willie T. Stokes, an alcoholic womanizer who roams from town to town as a mall Santa, staking out his place of occupation in order to rob the store before moving on to the next score. Things are different this time when he falls for a woman and a loner kid and decides to eventually change his ways.

A Christmas Carol/Scrooge

It’s hard to pick a version that is best to view, but my favourites include The Muppet version (no surprise there) and probably the edition with Alastair Sim playing the cranky curmudgeon. Like It’s a Wonderful Life, this is another Christmas tale that has been parodied constantly, as Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future, warning him that if he doesn’t change his ways, many will be affected and no one will care when his time on the earth is done.

Scrooge

Home Alone

While I’d caution folks who wish to view any of the movies past Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, the first two entries are cinematic gems. As a kid, you only wanted to see the last segments of the films, where plucky Kevin McCallister sends burglars Harry and Marv (The Wet Bandits) through his nightmarish house of horrors, but with age and wisdom, I’ve come to realize the movies are much more than that. They include a lot of wonderful Christmas imagery and are perfect holiday romps.

A Christmas Story

This movie is a family favourite around the Sip Advisor offices. The story sees young Ralphie embark on a quest to receive a Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas. He runs into obstacles at every corner from his teacher giving him a poor grade on his essay on what he wants for Christmas to Santa Claus himself (a mall Santa that is) telling him he’ll shoot his eye out… and he nearly does in the end. TV network TBS has been known to broadcast the movie in a 24-hour cycle on Christmas day, so if you haven’t seen it yet, shame on you!

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

What a treasure this movie is. From Cousin Eddie’s antics to the misadventures of the hapless Clark Griswold, there are so many laughs in this film. Clark is looking to provide his family the perfect Christmas experience, much like the ones he enjoyed as a youngster. That all goes awry as the holiday becomes more of a nightmare with each incident, underscored by Clark’s uncertainty of whether his Christmas bonus will arrive and allow him to build a swimming pool for his clan.

shitter-was-full

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Some people crap on this flick, but I think it’s quite enjoyable. Thanks to the longer running time, not afforded to the cartoon special classic, we get a better understanding of why the Grinch hates Christmas and all the Who’s down in Whoville. Jim Carrey was the perfect choice to play the ‘mean one’ whose heart grew three times that day. This movie ushered in the chain of Dr. Suess stories to be adapted for feature films; some good, some bad… this is one of the good ones.

Die Hard & Die Hard 2: Die Harder

I’m a little disappointed that this series abandoned the Christmas time setting after the first two releases. This is for the action fan out there that wants only a sprinkle of the Christmas spirit in their movies. The first film begins with an office Christmas party that is invaded by terrorists while the sequel is set in an airport, as hero John McClane is waiting for his wife to arrive home for the holidays. Both movies are filled with shootouts, creative kills, and catchphrases galore!

Love, Actually

If you’re looking for a little more romance with your Christmas movie fare, give this film a try. It’s one of those “separate stories that all come together at the end” ensemble cast dealies, but it’s very good… even if Hugh Grant is a featured actor… a Prime Minister, no less. Set in Britain during the lead up to Christmas, the film sets out to prove that “Love, actually is all around us” and they hit the nail on the head through the interweaving narratives.

Drink #337: Chocolate Peppermintini

Chocolate Pepperminti Drink Recipe

  • Rim glass with Christmas Sprinkles
  • 1.5 oz Vodka (I used Smores)
  • 1 oz Peppermint Schnapps
  • 0.5 oz Crème de Cacao
  • 0.5 oz Chocolate Liqueur
  • Top with Milk

What are your favourite Christmas movie viewings? I’m always looking to add to my annual “To Watch” list, so send those ideas in!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
While not a bad drink, Mrs. Sip didn’t like how sweet it was. I enjoyed its booziness and flavours (I mean, who doesn’t like chocolate and mint together!), although using the Smores Vodka might have altered the taste and a plain Vodka may have been bettered suited for the recipe.

October 8 – Mudslide

Ready-Made

Personally, I’m not a fan of ready-made booze products. But it’s a topic I feel should be discussed and what better time to do it than while we enjoy a fresh serving of one of the more popular bottled options, the Mudslide. Here are some other pre-mixed selections available on the market:

Mudslide – Packaged by the folks at Kahlua (among other companies), this is one concoction that I’ve actually tried and I remember (stop laughing… I do have some brain cells left) enjoying. Of course, this was years before I got into mixology and I don’t think I’d try this type of product nowadays.

Kahlua Mudslide

Caesar – There’s been quite the market the last few years for ready-made Caesars and while it’s nice to have such a complicated recipe simplified in bottle form, I think the Caesar truly shines when you put all those intricate ingredients together yourself.

Cola Mixes – This can be done with rum, whiskey, bourbon, etc. with companies such as Bacardi, Malibu, Bulleit, Jim Beam, and Jack Daniel’s flooding the market. Broski Sip and I did find ourselves enjoying Jack Daniel’s Hard Cola on one vacation, but that was many moons before I became the Sip Advisor you worship today… I’m a bit of a booze snob now. Most of these liquor companies also offer their spirit mixed with ginger ale for the anti-cola drinker.

Gin & Tonic – G&T’s are so easy to make, it amazes me that anyone would need it to be pre-mixed and bottled for them, but the world has become incredibly lazy. Gordon’s is one prominent company that has jumped aboard the ‘ready-to-drink’ train. Smirnoff also offers a vodka tonic mix.Gordon's G&T

Cosmopolitan – I guess you could still pour your Cosmo bottle into a martini glass, but I think all of the class and sophistication the drink is supposed to come with would be lost. The girls on Sex and the City would be so horrified!

Mojito – I strive to make a wicked Mojito and have received rave reviews. I just can’t fathom enjoying a pre-mixed version of the cocktail, so I’ll just move on.

Long Island Iced Tea – I am a fan of the pre-mixed Long Island Iced Tea spirit, combining vodka, gin, rum, and triple sec in one fell swoop, but I don’t think I’d like a pre-bottled version of the drink, eliminating the chance for me to play with different mixers.

Long Island Iced Tea Box

Long Island Iced Tea in a box!?!? Oh, shizzle, where do I sign up!

Dark N’ Stormy – Made by the Bundaberg Rum company, I only wonder if they got clearance from the Gosling’s folks to bottle this drink, since Gosling’s claims a copyright on the Dark N’ Stormy recipe and will fight bartenders who use it sans Gosling’s Rum.

Daiquiri/Margarita – I’ve seen these offerings in a wide array of flavours, from lime to strawberry to mango and everything in between. I’m a huge fan of the legitimate versions of these drinks and am curious to try the pre-mixed style, but also a little cautious, as well.

Pina Colada – We finish with the Pina Colada, which troubles me a little because I think the drink is best received in frozen form. I guess you could add it to shaved ice, much like a snow cone, but given we are mired in the onset of winter, I can’t even think about summer drinks at the moment.

Drink #281: Mudslide

Mudslide Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Tequila (I used Hornitos)
  • 0.5 oz Kahlua
  • 0.5 oz Chocolate Liqueur
  • 0.5 oz Irish Crème
  • Top with Chocolate Milk
  • Garnish with Peanut Butter Cup

It seems that all of your popular cocktails have been released in pre-mix form. That’s capitalism for you, I suppose. If this is how you prefer to get your swerve on, I don’t hate you… I just don’t like you very much!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
There are a variety of Mudslide recipes in existence. The ingredients I used are an amalgamation of those offerings. The Tequila stood out a little stronger than I would have liked, but otherwise, the cocktail was passable.