March 21 – The Punisher

Power to the People

Vigilantes fascinate me to a degree. People who are willing to take justice into their own hands and set the wrongs of the legal system right, taking up a cause and fighting for the people who have no voice. This list will not include super heroes who have special powers, but just ordinary folks, trying to make a difference:

#5: Casey Jones

While the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are vigilantes in their own right, it’s Casey Jones who goes out night after night with no special powers to protect him and takes care of business with an array of sports-themed weapons, highlighted by his protective mask and hockey stick armament. Jones is best remembered for his appearance in the original TMNT movie, where Michelangelo calls his “Wayne Gretzky on steroids!” and he joins the team and helps take down Shredder and the Foot Clan.

Casey Jones

#4: Dexter

The serial killer of serial killers, Dexter is there to pick up the scraps whenever the justice system fails. Operating under a code passed down to him by his father, police officer Harry Morgan, Dexter stalks his prey and once he has confirmed that they are indeed guilty as charged, he puts them in his kill room and under the knife… quite literally. It’s funny how much you can like someone that would normally be so reviled. Does the end justify his means? After all, Dexter is still a murderer.

#3: Machete

The former Mexican Federale (played by real-life ex-inmate Danny Trejo) is one badass you don’t want to mess with. Still, some idiot – drug kingpin Rogelio Torrez – decided to murder Machete’s wife and daughter, which sends Machete over the edge and seeking revenge. Machete’s kill count soars to astronomical numbers and the bloodshed is immense while his vengeance is being sought. Amusingly, Trejo’s own mother has likened calling her son by his killer character’s name.

Machete

#2: Kick-Ass

Before becoming a “superhero,” Dave Lizewski had hoped to make a difference in his crime-ridden city. He gets beat up pretty bad on his first attempt, but this results in severe nerve damage and numerous metal plates being surgically implanted in his body, thus making him somewhat impervious to pain. Along with fellow do-gooders like Hit-Girl, Colonel Stars and Stripes, Night Bitch, and Battle Guy, Kick-Ass takes to the streets to dole out some vigilante justice and keep would-be criminals in check.

#1: The Punisher

After his family is killed by members of organized crime, Frank Castle has nothing left to lose and becomes The Punisher, a vigilante who is hell bent on extracting revenge for his fallen kin and ridding the world of evildoers. The Punisher has become more of an anti-hero thanks to his willingness to take on all contracts and for the ruthless nature in which he operates. The man gets the job done, though, unwilling to let anyone get in the way of his end goal: total villain annihilation.

Super Saturday Shot Day: The Punisher

The Punisher Shot

  • Rim glass with Chocolate Sprinkles
  • 0.5 oz Bourbon
  • 0.5 oz Jagermeister
  • Splash of Mudslide Mix

Honourable mentions go to the A-Team, the Boondock Saints, and Batman, who narrowly misses this list because of his immense wealth, unlike other less fortunate crime fighters. Now, I will surely have Batman haunting me and stalking the Sip Advisor like some easy-to-catch prey!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
There are other Punisher/Vigilante recipes out there that I considered, but I felt this one best represented the character. I was missing both Mudslide Mix and Whip Cream (which you’re supposed to garnish the drink with), but mixed my own Mudslide ingredients (Irish Creme, Kahlua, Vodka, Milk) and went with some Chocolate Sprinkles for presentation points. The best part of this shooter is that it couldn’t be further from a punishment and is actually quite delightful!

Brazil – Leite de Onça

Party People

Now, we could have delved into the history and statistics of the Brazilian Wax, while visiting the country, but instead we’ll delve into the intricacies of Carnival, an event which gathers folks from around the world for music, masks and revealing costumes! Trust the Sip Advisor, I pushed hard at the creative team meeting to do the wax article, but was shot down by the powers that be… oh well, it’s time to party on!

Carnival lasts four days, leading up to Ash Wednesday and is considered one of the world’s largest celebrations and parties. The national holiday also marks the beginning of Lent, which encompasses 40 days of sacrifice en route to Easter. The event is celebrated differently in various regions of Brazil, where everything from music to costumes can differ, but Rio de Janeiro is home to the most-populated Carnival experience and therefore the location we’ll focus on.

hot girl-carnival

I decided that every photo for this article will feature a beautiful woman… life is pretty great when you’re running the show!

The first Carnival took place all the way back in 1723. The term comes from carnelevare, which loosely translated means “to remove meat,” one of the items traditionally neglected during the period of Lent (and why I’ve never been a Lent-suffering person). Over time, Carnival evolved to include masquerade balls before the lively parades that the event is known for today.

The highlight of Carnival is the Samba Parade, which sees all of the different groups (200-plus) compete in the Sambrodromo, where they are judged based on their floats, costumes, dancing, and music. Some groups spend excessively on these requirements, sometimes into the millions of dollars. All this, despite the units being largely made up of Brazil’s poorest citizens. I hope they do more than car washes to raise the necessary funds.

Given the two million-plus people lining the streets each day of Carnival, many Brazilians will retreat to quieter, more relaxing places for the duration of the festivities. I can’t really blame them. As much as I’d love to party in Rio for the week, I don’t do well in crowds – at least ones that aren’t caused by being in a Disney theme park – and probably wouldn’t be able to completely enjoy myself.

A reveller of Mocidade samba

Your plumage is fierce, babe!

Another reason for the locals to get out of Dodge, is that cities around Brazil practically shut down for Carnival. Only industrial operations, malls, restaurants, hotels, and other businesses needed to stay open for the celebrations remain active. Despite the closures, 250,000 jobs are created thanks to Carnival, which generates hundreds of millions of dollars for the country’s economy. Carnival can cause Brazil to become a tourist trap, with the price of accommodations jumping sharply, sometimes four times what they would normally cost.

The 1959 film Black Orpheus introduced many foreigners to the Carnival revelries in Brazil. The movie was set in Rio and featured numerous local actors, as well as a soundtrack highlighted by legendary Brazilian performers. Black Orpheus caused outsiders to fall in love with the sights, sounds, and vibrancy of Brazil and later won the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival, as well as an Oscar for Best Foreign Film.

In Rio, parades begin at 9:00pm and don’t end until 5:00am, with the city’s metro system open 24 hours on parade days. Performers must wear a costume, which can include masks, headdresses, feathers, and exposed skin! Carnival takes place during the hottest part of the year for Brazil, which means tons of sweaty, sunburned, dehydrated folks… you’ve now been warned!

Rio 5

Nothing wrong with pluralizing my earlier comment!

Although there is an overwhelming number of public toilets placed around the cities hosting Carnival events, ‘Pee Patrols’ have been set up to stop partygoers from relieving themselves in the streets. I wish we had these officials in my neck of the woods. Too many times, the Sip Advisor walks into his building’s back alley and is greeted by the pungent aroma of urine.

There is also Micareta, which occurs in the off-season and allows locals to celebrate without all the lame tourists invading the country. For us travelers, let’s get this party started!

Brazil: Leite de Onça

Leite de Onca Cocktail

  • 1 oz Cachaca
  • 1 oz Crème de Cacao
  • Top with Milk
  • Garnish with Chocolate Sprinkles

Now that you’re all partied out, it’s on to the next stop of our journey. While we leave Brazil with a new fondness for the country in our hearts, we soon realize that our wallets are no longer intact… a true Rio de Janeiro experience!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
The name of this drink, Leite de Onça, translates to Jaguar Milk and one can only hope the drink will give you the powers of the big cat. I have to say that I was quite impressed with the recipe. You can never go wrong with mixing Crème de Cacao and Milk (takes me back to Nestle Quik as a little sipper) and although I was apprehensive about adding Cachaca to that tried and tested combo, it really worked well. You kind of got a sugar cane rum burn at the end of each sip that wasn’t overwhelming and was actually quite pleasant. Now, I am one with the jaguars!

December 24 – White Christmas Dream

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

When it comes to Christmas Eve traditions, I’m sticking to the sweet things in life. None of this going to church crap or fasting and depriving yourself of all the wonderful things this world has to offer. I’m talking stuffing your face with food, watching great entertainment, and drinking yourself into a delightful Christmas coma. Here’s what we should all be up to that night:

Eating Right

By eating right, I of course mean eating wrong. If you haven’t polished off something deep-fried and greasy or chocolate covered before the evening is through, then there is something seriously and inherently wrong with you. Mrs. Sip and I have enjoyed meals out the last few years, gorging ourselves on lobster, beef, beer, and wine. Others might order out and let others do their cooking. It’s a fantastic idea and will keep you sane through the crazy holidays!

Not Even a Mouse

Hey, we all have to eat, right!?

Viewing Party

The perfect combo, as you enjoy your gloriously fattening meal is to thrown on some of the movie, special, and TV show favourites I’ve pointed out throughout this month. Make sure snacks are thoroughly stocked throughout the house, including the bathroom. You never know when you’ll be stuck in there for a prolonged period of time and it’s always recommended that you keep feeding the beast, rather than starve it.

Deck the Halls

If you’ve chosen to take this time and do a little last minute decorating, first, shame on you, and second, put all that crap down and relax. It’s too late anyway and all you’ll end up doing is un-decorating on Boxing Day. Take my advice and simply wait for next year. You’ll be happier, but perhaps not healthier.

The Good Book

This may be the only time I ever advocate for the act of reading, but some should probably be done Christmas Eve, especially if you have young ones roaming your halls. Of course, The Night Before Christmas is the perfect tome to share aloud. There has to even be recorded copies of the classic, so I don’t have to actually doing any reading myself!

Last Minute Wrapping

Gimme, Gimme, Gimme

I prefer to not open gifts on Christmas Eve (not even one) in favour of saving them all for a grand Christmas morning melee. If you’re one of those poor suckers still tracking down gifts on the day before Christmas, let me enjoy a thorough laugh at your expense. Make sure to get a treat for your pets, as well, as it’s amazing to watch kitties get lit up on catnip and chase little toys among the discarded wrapping paper!

Getting Blitzened

Not surprisingly, the Sip Advisor doesn’t view Christmas Eve as any less of an evening to get your drink on. There’s nothing like burning out your own bulb and passing out in front of the TV before a long winter’s nap. If you have to do any driving Christmas Eve, this of course isn’t achievable. The second you arrive at your final stop, however, you better do everything you can to get into the Christmas spirit, whether that’s shot-gunning a few brews or challenging your loved ones to a shooter challenge.

Leaving Something Out

Before heading to bed tonight, make sure to leave out a little sumpin’ sumpin’ for Santa Claus and his team. For the reindeer, a helping of carrots will keep their vision strong throughout the night, while jolly ol’ St. Nick can keep his energy level up with cookies and milk. Let’s just hope the guy isn’t lactose intolerant. Finally, make sure to leave a little cheese for Santa Mouse, the littlest helper of the bunch!

Drink #358: White Christmas Dream

White Christmas Dream Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Vodka (I used Smores)
  • 1 oz Amaretto
  • Top with Milk
  • Garnish with Chocolate Sprinkles and a Wafer Stick

I wish all you little sippers a very merry Christmas. May you each get everything you wanted and more. As for myself, providing Mrs. Sip ends up wearing only tinsel, I’ll be the merriest of us all!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I suppose I went against the whole “White Christmas” theme by adding Chocolate Sprinkles and the Wafer Stick, but all white snowfalls eventually turn a little dirty. The drink tasted really good and wasn’t overly sweet or anything like that.

November 24 – Grasshopper

Big Crunch

While a crunching noise isn’t always a good thing (broken bone, car accident, etc.) for the most part, it is one of the most satisfying sounds in nature. Here are some of the many instances where you may crave that sweet auditory result!

Stepping on a Bug

I’m not one to commit frequent acts of insecticide, but there’s the odd time where even an accidental murder can sound pretty damn satisfying! It’s especially gratifying if the crime is committed on a vile pest: your spiders, silverfish, and roaches of the world. Just when a bug thinks they’ve outsmarted you and avoided your giant crushing abilities, SPLAT… and another one bites the dust!

cat_controls_bugs

Wad of Potato Chips

Picture yourself grapping a fat stack of potato chips, pinching them together and stuffing them into your mouth, ready to deliver an earthquake-like crunch that will completely satisfy all your desires and disturb every other person in your general vicinity. Now picture yourself doing that repeatedly until before you know it the bag of snack food is nothing more than crumbs. Now you’re getting a sad, yet wonderful glimpse of my life.

Head-Splitting Chair Shots

While the wrestling chair shot has been relegated to only being used against an opponent’s back (in trying to avoid concussions and all that jazz) we can still look fondly back to some of the greatest steel to skull bashings from the history of sports entertainment. If I had to pick a favourite from years of watching grapplers, I would have to select the time ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin cracked The Rock in the cranium, allowing Mankind to win his first ever WWE World Championship!

Glass-Shattering Body Checks

I perfectly-timed and –executed body check in hockey can bring the fans to their feet and pump up your own squad. But on thaty rare occasion when one player slams another right through a pane of Plexiglas meant to keep the action out of the stands… well, that’s a truly special moment. One of my favourite Vancouver Canucks of all-time, Trevor Linden, did exactly this, driving Jeff Norton into the unsuspecting crowd. Ever the gentleman, at the end of the video, you can see Linden going to check on Norton.

Fried Foods

There’s nothing like taking a massive bite into something deep fried and getting that sweet and satisfying crunching sound to go along with everything your palate is enjoying. Eating, when done properly, should stimulate all five senses: your smelling, seeing, feeling, and tasting the food are all quite obvious, but hearing plays a factor, as well. I’ve found I prefer most anything fried to a crisp. From sushi to chicken to fish and chips, and everything in between!

Playing in Leaves

Stomping around in dry, crunchy fallen leaves shouldn’t just be left to the kiddies. A highlight of each autumn was a spectacularly-choreographed wrestling match between Broski Sip and myself, after we’d huddled together a massive pile of leafs to serve as our mat. It’s the only time we ever really helped Pa Sip with housework around the yard. By the time we were done mucking about, we had to rake everything up again, but it was so totally worth it!

Drink #328: Grasshopper

Grasshopper Cocktail

  • 1 oz Crème de Cacao
  • 0.75 oz Crème de Menthe
  • Top with Milk
  • Garnish with Chocolate Sprinkles

The most satisfying crunch may be the exercise version (not that I’m advocating physical activity… ever!). What’s your favourite crunch-inducing action?

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This cocktail smelled fantastic and tasted pretty good too. The Crème de Menthe might be a little too similar to a mouthwash and I might sub in Peppermint Schnapps in the future, but then the colour would be changed and I thought it looked neat, especially with the Chocolate Sprinkles as garnish. When making the martini, lean towards adding a little more Crème de Cacao over Crème de Menthe, despite it asking for equal portions.

April 15 – Whiskey Sick Day

Under the Weather

Recently, your faithful Sip Advisor contracted a flu which knocked me for a loop and caused me to miss my very first days of work due to illness. During my three-day sabbatical, I worked diligently to document my ordeal and I hope to share those notes with you, my little sippers, today. Don’t worry, all the gross stuff has been removed unless you find under-garnished hamburgers as disgusting as I do!

The first day I wasn’t feeling well I still dragged my butt to work and even played soccer, part of a rotating sports league I’m a member of. For some reason, I’ve always played well when ill. While this wasn’t the seven goals I sniped a few weeks back in ice hockey while playing with a cold, it was a half decent performance. Afterwards is when I really started feeling grungy, though.

Sickness

The next morning I woke up and decided to pull the plug on my iron-man streak. I grabbed a spot in front of the TV and searched for some suitable entertainment… quickly learning that there’s not much out there.

When I myself was just a little sipper and was home from school sick, The Price is Right was a favourite viewing pleasure of mine. Bob Barker and his crusade to get your pets spayed and neutered was something all viewers could get behind… plus Plinko was pretty awesome!

The first thing I noticed when watching the show last week is that it now employs a male prize model. The strapping young man is hard not to notice among the horde of attractive women. I wonder if Bob Barker’s sexual harassment allegations would have been any different with less of Barker’s Beauties around. Rod Roddy, on the other hand, would have certainly found himself in hot water with all the males running about.

Barkerfail

The funniest thing is seeing male contestants win a prize and go to hug all the ladies, only to double clutch when approaching the guy and go for the ol’ handshake-hug-reacharound.

My TV viewing pleasures didn’t stop there as I tuned into the Maury Show for some paternity results. Not the best idea to try and catch a nap while moms are screaming about babies having the same eyebrows as prospective daddies and these fine gents are denying they’re fathers with more passion than they’ve ever put into, well… anything!

One case in particular caught my attention as a guy, who was denying his daughter, kept bringing up that he had bought his girlfriend a $900 engagement ring. It was mentioned like 10 times, no exaggeration. Did he follow up the proposal by treating her a two-can-dine for $9.99 meal at Mickie D’s!?

Maury

Later on during my sickness, I had a massive craving for salt and grease. In my mind, I knew that a quick jaunt to McDonalds was the only way to appease these desires. Without Mrs. Sip around to take care of me and explain to me that McDonalds is not recovery food – she was off gallivanting around town, selling my secret recipes to unscrupulous barkeeps… or so my delirious mind told me – I had to venture out into the rain, umbrella-less and forage for food. While at the restaurant, and figuring I didn’t want to make the brief trip again, should the urge arise a second time, I ordered four hamburgers.

Sadly, I was only able to stomach one (and that was a challenge… damn, I hate it when Mrs. Sip is right!) before throwing the other three in the fridge for a later date with destiny. Those other meals were massive disappointments, with two of the three sandwiches only containing one pickle… and tiny slices at that. This has been a longstanding issue between myself and Ronald McDonalds’ peeps. I’ve complained before, something I’m rarely charged enough to do, but the results of my pleas have not been satisfactory.

Lastly, I largely stayed away from alcoholic bevvies during my recovery, save for my work on this site. However, I felt best – and this could be a disturbing sign – after I had a couple of drinks nearly a week after I was first sick. Alcohol: it cures what ails you!

Drink #105: Whiskey Sick Day

April 15

  • 0.75 oz Whiskey (I used Wiser’s Spiced)
  • 0.75 oz Bailey’s Irish Crème
  • Top with Hot Chocolate (I used Rolo Cocoa Powder)
  • Garnish with Whip Cream and Chocolate Sprinkles

My final observation of the week is that being sick absolutely sucks. You think it won’t be so bad being away from work and lazing around, but it’s horribly lonely, boring and tedious. At least I had sweet lady liquor and this little gem to keep me company!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
An impromptu drink to “celebrate” my recent illness, this was quite tasty, although totally messy… not that there’s anything wrong with that! The whip cream runneth over the glass, but it is forgiven because of how well it mixed with the hot chocolate based concoction on the inside of the glass. I never mind getting a little sticky for the sake of discovery!

February 15 – Banana Split Martini

Sip Harmony

Valentine’s Day 2013 has come and gone, which means you have 365 days to find a partner (or new partner, if you weren’t happy with your V-Day gift) for the 2014 edition. If you follow The Sip Advisor’s date night advice (yeah, I’m good at that, too) you’ll do just fine… only fine, not great (our legal counsel insisted I throw that line in to cover our asses).

Dinner Out

I like to take Mrs. Sip to the finest McDonalds, which in our neck of the woods, means homeless people outside, bathrooms you have to be buzzed into, watered down pop stations and receiving you order wrong two-out-of-every-three times. Remember to always keep your options open. If your date is being fussy and wants to try something new on this special occasion, make sure there’s a Burger King nearby as a back-up.

Dinner Date

Movie Time

The first obstacle with this option is agreeing on a movie. Unfortunately, as they don’t show pornography in megaplex cinemas, my second choice is usually a comedy. Problem is your date will likely want to see one of the romantic variety and now you’re really suffering. She better be worth it, friend. Sneaking in your own snacks is a must, or else you’ll be stuck putting a mortgage on your home to get a freakin’ drink (in a size that will burst your bladder and make you miss the climax of the film) and bag of popcorn.

Drinks on the Town

I’ve never been one to advocate drinking on a date…said the Sip Advisor never. I’ve had dates with drinks! The Cosmo and I once had a beautiful night out together, enjoying each other’s elixir. When it came time to seal the deal, though, I found out Cosmo saw me as more of a friend. We’re still close, but I’ll never forget how close I came to spending a night with sweet lady Cosmo.

Drinks Out

Do Something Crazy!

As fun as bowling, mini-golf and ice skating (for us Canadians) can be, there’s nothing like giving your heart to each other while it’s jumping out of your chest. Great advancements have been made in tandem daredevil activities and even if you only go on one date together, he or she will never forget you or their near-death experience (I personally recommend Zorbing… what says love more than be stuck in a giant plastic ball and being pushed down a hill with that special someone?). Then again, the way I bowl, that may be as near-death as most people are willing to go.

Staying In

Lock the door, throw away the key and stay home. Better clear it with your date first, or else she’ll think you’ve taken her prisoner… although some ladies and gents might like that. Whether it’s to relax and watch Hockey Night in Canada (or, fine, a movie) together; have a romantic, candlelit dinner; or push the twin beds together for a night of wild passion; sometimes staying in is the best course of action.

The most important thing to plan for when staying home, is every night in together should start with a couple of these!

Drink #46: Banana Split Martini

Banana Split Martini

  • 1.5 oz Chocolate Whipped Vodka
  • 1 oz Crème de Bananes (I used Bols)
  • 1 oz Crème de Cacao
  • Top with Whip Cream
  • Garnish with chocolate sprinkles, banana slice and raspberry

If any of these tricks of the trade work for you, you can pay homage to me by giving your future child the middle name “Sip Advisor”… kind of has a nice ring to it, don’t ya think!?

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This might have been my favourite of the Chocolate Week cocktails. It tasted very similar to the dessert of the same name and was just as fun to drink as it is to eat.

February 6 – After Five

Sloganization

We don’t need any encouragement to crack a bottle of our favourite libation, but these saying can sometimes really get you in the mood:

“It’s five o’clock somewhere”

A favourite saying among the Sip Advisor staff, as we just can’t stand to wait for 5:00pm to hit in our own neck of the woods. Imagine you actually had to wait until 5:00pm in your part of the world to be able to touch alcohol. I can see people with corkscrews and bottle openers at the ready, glasses already filled with ice, as the final seconds tick away from 4:59pm. It would be like New Year’s Eve every single day of the year!

It's_5_O'Clock_Somewhere

“Sip happens”

You’re damn right it does… every day here at The Sip Advisor! This is the happy version of “shit happens,” which when you’re living downtown and people don’t care where their little pocket dogs poop and walking around is like going through a minefield… shit happens can often lead to sip happens, to restore order to yourself and the world.

“Wine a bit… you’ll feel better”

While I’m not the biggest connoisseur of wine, I can definitely get behind this message. Many of Mr. Sips friends and family sure do wine a lot, but I can’t really blame them with all the liquoring I do. Liquoring, by the way, is a crossbreed between ranting, raging and spitting. They all come together to form this beautiful medley of sound and light.

Wine a bit

“Home is where the bar is”

A play off of the phrase, “home is where the heart is,” there’s nothing that warms my heart more than spending time with my home bar. Everything from stocking it, to making drinks for all my little sippers, is a complete joy. It’s the one piece of furniture in our apartment that I have absolutely no qualms about dusting and keeping clean and organized… despite Mrs. Sip’s role as primary dust neutralizer.

“Save water, drink beer” (or replace beer with your bevvy of choice)

An especially important message in places like Mexico, where water should be avoided in almost all situations. I prefer to sub the term ‘anything’ into this slogan: “Save water, drink anything.” On rare occasions, when I’m really feeling it, the motto can even be adapted to read: “Save water, drink EVERYTHING!”

Save Water Drink Beer

“Have you had your sip today?”

Never heard this one before? That’s cause I just made it up. And soon enough, it will become part of the global lexicon. Together, we can make a difference.

Drink #37: After Five

After Five Martini

  • Rim glass with chocolate sprinkles
  • 1 oz Kahlua
  • 1 oz Irish Crème (I used Carolans)
  • 1 oz Peppermint Schnapps

Do you have your own drinking slogan? Share it with Sip Nation by leaving a comment. The best slogans may appear in a future Sip Advisor post!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This is your prototypical dessert drink. I’m not sure I can get down that often with Irish Crème. It’s just not among my favourite liqueurs. This cocktail is definitely for the after dinner fans of libations.