December 17 – The Nutcracker

Winter Wonderland

While the holiday season is meant to inspire quality time with family and friends, it can also be a time of rivalry and hostility… and I’m not just talking about your Christmas dinner! Here are some of the many winter sports traditions that bring a smile to sports fan’s faces each holiday season!

College Bowl Games

It seems like every team gets to play in a Bowl Game, providing there’s a major corporate sponsor able to fund the event. In fact, there are currently 35 games, providing 70 teams a chance to play. Five of these contests are considered part of the Bowl Championship Series, which culminates with the National Championship Game, played between two selected teams in early January. That’s right, “selected” teams… way to earn you way into the biggest game of the season.

viagrabowl

Winter Classic/Heritage Classic

The NHL’s Winter Classic is played at an outdoor stadium each year on New Year’s Day and has become a tradition for the league and fans alike, as they nurse their New Year’s Eve hangovers. While the conditions haven’t produced any classic games, it is a huge event and HBO’s 24/7 series, which follows the two teams playing in their lead up to the big game, has manufactured a number of memorable moments. The Heritage Classic is the Canada-only version of the game and is played later in the year.

NBA Christmas Day Games

Each Christmas Day (since the NBA began operations in 1946) provides hoops fans with a collection of highlight showdowns. Currently, the league offers five Christmas Day match-ups. In recent years, games have included the Miami Heat battling the Los Angeles Lakes, with a mass amount of star power on each side. This season, the two loaded teams will meet again, as well as a number of strong regional tilts, despite some controversy over the league operating on Christmas.

Teddy Bear Toss

It has become a tradition with many junior and minor leagues hockey clubs to host an annual Teddy Bear Toss. People bring a new stuffed toy to the game where the promotion has been planned and when the home team scores their first goal, fans are permitted to litter the ice with the gifts they brought. When all the bears and other animals are collected, they are donated to a local charity to help the less fortunate provide a wonderful Christmas experience to their kids.

Thanksgiving Football

The holiday season for sports fans begins with a bang as turkey day football hits the air and allows gents to ignore their families over Thanksgiving, as well as the rest of the year! The NFL provides fans with a smattering of traditional games, featuring the same teams each year. The league has recently added a third contest with rotating opponents. The Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys, respectively host the first two games each season, with the Green Bay Packers often being included, as well.

World Junior Hockey Championship

For hockey fans, this is the equivalent to March Madness. Watching young athletes that will be the future of their sport, do what they do best. The annual event is huge for Canadians, probably because we place pretty well most years and because it kicks off every Boxing Day (Dec. 26), it’s the perfect thing to have on as you relax with your new gifts. One of my great achievements was covering the 2006 tournament for Hockey Canada, in Vancouver, where the Canadians took home the gold medal!

Winter X Games

We’ll close this list with the most extreme of winter sports activities, the X Games. Comprised of events in snowboarding, skiing, and snowmobile, and held in late January, the X Games provides a bit of a coming together for the counter-culture. The success of the Winter X Games has translated into snowboarding events being added as Olympic competition events and made folks like Shaun White rich and famous!

Drink #351: The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Frangelico
  • 1 oz Vodka
  • 1 oz Amaretto
  • 1 oz Crème de Cacao
  • Garnish with Chocolate Shavings

Let’s not forget that every four years, the Winter Olympics roll around. The 2010 event in Vancouver was simply amazing and it was so wonderful to be around all the festivities, as well as working for NBC Universal Sports during the Games. What’s your favourite winter sporting tradition?

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I’ve seen a couple different versions of this recipe, including one that subs Irish Crème and Kahlua in for Frangelico and Crème de Cacao. Use whichever you prefer. I thought this was a pretty good martini and wasn’t too strong. The Chocolate Shavings were a specific delight to take in with each sip. I used an Aero bar, which I think is one of the best chocolates to grate.

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October 29 – Angel of Death

Trick & Treat

Halloween is right around the corner and I’ve been studying up on the event. I want to make sure that every little sipper out there has a wonderful night. So, here is some info and tips on how to make that happen:

Facts about Trick-or-Treat

Halloween Candy Popularity

Drink #302: Angel of Death

angel of Death Drink Recipe

I hope everyone has their candy purchased, costumes picked, and pumpkins carved. Have an amazing evening, y’all!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
This drink was a decent dessert option and the Chocolate Shavings were an enjoyable touch on top of the cocktail. Like the name suggests, the recipe seems angelic, but it can kill, too!

October 6 – Obsession

Curious Collections

Growing up as an aspiring Sip Magnate, I had a number of collections I was dedicated to: I collected hockey cards, wrestling figures, DVDs, and now liquor. Today, I’d like to look at some of the more specialized collections in the world, but don’t worry, I’m not here to gross anyone out and won’t look at the kind of people that collect their own ear wax or belly button lint. Here are some of the most interesting collections I found:

Soda

It’s hard to believe there’s even a culture of people that collect various beverages, but it does bring up a sort of nostalgia when you see a beloved product from your childhood that is no longer being distributed. The one problem with this collection is that you can only look at it and not taste it, which is the whole reason you probably enjoyed the product in the first place. I guess you could drink the beverage and just keep the can. That would make your collection even rarer.

soda-can-collection

Handcuffs

This dude (Joseph W. Lauher) must really be into BDSM to have so many pairs of handcuffs in his possession. I guess they do provide interesting stories and history, as well, but you can’t deny the handcuffs roll in sexual deviancy. Lauher has everything from thumbcuffs to leg irons and has even created pages about escape artists. If this gets you going, not that there’s anything wrong with that (Mrs. Sip!), you might want to check out his collection.

Sugar Packets

Phil Miller began his collection of sugar packets in 1978. While you wouldn’t think there’s much variance to packets around the world, you have to remember that most companies make their own packets complete with their own branding. Miller has two pages dedicated to packets found at restaurants and another for hotel finds. There’s even three pages full of U.S. presidents adorning the coffee enhancing products.

Chocolate Wrappers

Let’s be honest, everyone loves chocolate. Even those that suffer from lactose intolerance will find a loophole to be able to enjoy the cocoa stuff. Once you’ve eaten the treat however, is there really any reason to keep the wrapper. I say no, but Martin Mihál may tend to disagree. He has collected wrappers from around the world… seriously, it looks like every country is represented on his site. Brotha surely has diabetes by this point!

candy-wrappers-collection

Scratch Cards

Mrs. Sip loves scratch cards. When we’re out grabbing groceries, she’ll often pick up a card for fun and the chance to win a couple dollars. Thankfully, she hasn’t taken her passion for scratching to the level Victor Paul Taylor has. Taylor could be sitting on a gold mine of winnings, but he may never discover how much money is actually there. He keeps his precious card in mint condition, including never having scratched any of the possible winners.

Toothpaste

Dr. Val Kolpakov may have taken his dentistry too far with this obsession. Sure, toothpaste comes in a variety of styles and flavours, but does that make them special? I suppose the same can be said for my liquor collection, but at least I drink the stuff. You just know that this is the kind of guy that gives out toothbrushes and toothpaste for Halloween… only his stuff is vintage, which means expired and probably not worth a dime.

toothpaste collection

Napkins

Ma Sip loves her festive napkins, but even she would never take her passion so far as to collect the mouth and hand wipes. Helena Vnouckova, on the other hand, has done exactly that, putting together a collection of napkins that would be suitable for any occasion. Although, I doubt she ever puts them out for use and instead hordes them for her selfish needs. Similarly, there’s also a guy who collects moist towellette packs. Perhaps the two should hook up!?

Condiment Packets

I’ve shared my love of various condiments with all you little sippers. And while I thoroughly believe that sauces make a meal, it has never crossed my mind to collect these condiment delivery devices. Like the sugar packets above, each eatery usually brands their own packaging, making items unique. I wonder if he has any discontinued sauces that could go for great sums of cash on the condiment black market!?

Drink #279: Obsession

Obsession Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Amaretto (I used Disaronno)
  • 1 oz Crème de Cacao
  • 1 oz Chocolate Liqueur
  • Top with Milk
  • Garnish with Chocolate Shavings

After researching for this article, it seems that if an item exists, someone collects it. Join me tomorrow as we look at celebrity collectors and the odd things they choose to spend their millions of dollars on!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
My favourite part of this cocktail was the Chocolate Shavings… that’s not to say the other ingredients weren’t good, as well, but the chocolate was delicious and it being dark and bitter helped balance the overall sweetness of the drink.