May 8 – McNuggetini

McHappy Day

While I don’t go there nearly as often as I did in a previous life, I still have a fondness for the “golden arches”! One of my favourite McDonald’s menu items of all time is the Big Xtra (or Big N’ Tasty for the American audience). This sandwich has vastly disappeared from most McDonald’s restaurants, but for some reason is available at all Wal-Mart McDonald’s outlets.

When I once worked conveniently across the street from a McDonald’s, I would occasionally walk a couple extra blocks to the nearby Wal-Mart to get my true menu item of choice. On a recent Wal-Mart shopping expedition, complete with Big X-tra indulgence, I got to thinking about McDonald’s mains and sides I’d love to see back on the menu.

McDonalds Apples

Shaker Fries

Back when Mickey-D’s featured a limited-time “Taste of the Month” menu item, the shaker fries were introduced. The flavour options included sour crème and onion and barbecue. The gimmick was simple. You’d pour your carton of fries into a shaker bag, along with your seasoning of choice, give it a quick whirl and voila, flavoured fries. When Mrs. Sip and I were visiting New Zealand, we came across a McDonald’s that had these very fries and best of all, you were able to eat your meal inside a replica small plane!

Arch Deluxe

A precursor of sorts to the company’s current crop of “luxury” burger offerings, the Arch Deluxe featured a larger than normal beef patty, along with lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese, and optional bacon. Today, the chain offers Angus burgers in its place (in Canada, at least) and we have this innovator to thank for the progressive burger movement.

McPizza

Another McDonalds oddity that was actually pretty decent. I remember Papa Sip – never a huge fan of McDonalds food, except breakfast – would always order this menu item. McPizza was taken off the menu because it took the restaurants too long to make each order, thus not falling in line with the concept of fast food.

McPizza

McDonaldland Cookies

A very memorable childhood treat and featured in a little cardboard box, the McDonaldland chocolate chip cookies existed in a time where we didn’t force kids to have a side of apple slices with their cheeseburger because they don’t know what it’s like to go outside and exercise. Sadly, these cookies have been extinct for some time now. I wonder if anyone is selling a pack on EBay or something.

Orange Drink

This stuff was totally radical! It was like that Super Socco juice box, except watered down to extreme levels. If I could get my hands on this substance today, first I’d also ask to take a tour of the McDonalds facility (do you remember when they used to do that at birthday parties?) and play in the ball pit, before heading home and coming up with some drink ideas for the sweet nectar.

McDonald's Orange Drink

Deli Sandwiches

These subs were pretty good… not Subway good, but not too shabby, either. The sandwiches were released at a time when McDonalds was trying to improve its image as a healthy choice in the fast food market and compete with restaurants like Quiznos and the aforementioned Subway. My choice among the lot was the Turkey BLT, which came with all the ingredients you’d expect from its name.

Meal Days

Mondays were Big Mac day, Tuesdays featured the Big Xtra, Wednesdays brought the McChicken to the yard and so on. The only meal day I didn’t much care for was Filet O’ Fish on Fridays, but cheap burgers each day of the week was pretty epic. Why they ever got rid of this promotion, which surely had to be successful, I’ll never know. At least it existed during my high school days. Ah, so many classes skipped to hang out at McDonalds, playing cards, and scoring cheap eats!

Drink #128: McNuggetini

McNuggetini Martini

  • Rim glass with Barbecue Sauce
  • 1.5 oz Vodka (I used Pinnacle Chocolate Whipped)
  • Top with McDonald’s Chocolate Milkshake
  • Garnish with a Chicken McNugget

Such an awe-inspiring concoction! There are many McDonalds’ items that I have yet to try, as I constantly add to my “To Eat” list. This includes the McRib and McLobster sandwiches as well as McPoutine. Help me on my quest by donating to the ‘Make a Sip Foundation’. Seriously, though, go out and grab a menu item that provides money for charity on this, the happiest of all days, McHappy Day!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
Most people probably can’t wrap their heads around the Barbecue Sauce rim working with a Chocolate Milkshake, but I have to say that the sweet sauce was a nice compliment to the chocolate shake. Chocolate Whipped Vodka was also an excellent call, on my behalf.

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March 19 – PAMA-Jama

Thunder Shower

We ain’t talking about a weather system… when Mama and Papa Sip were getting hitched, their friends threw them a party where each guest brought a bottle of alcohol for the happy couple to set them up with a nice bar for the start of a new life together (marriage drives a person to alcoholism joke inserted here). Wanting to pass that tradition on, the Parents Sip planned the same party for Mrs. Sip and me, about a month prior to our wedding. This was our Thunder Shower!

Frankly, it was a wonderful break from the daily wedding planning and a chance to gauge where we were at with the guests who would soon be sharing our special day with us.

Wedding Planning

With the party being Mexican Fiesta-themed (the food included a make your own nachos, tacos and burritos bar – what can I say, Mama and Papa Sip know how to throw a good bash) we were given four bottles of tequila, as well as a couple bottles of margarita mix. Some favourites I’m known for knocking back like Fireball Whiskey, Bacardi Rum, and Smirnoff Vodka were also bequeathed to us.

There were also some new tastes to try, which I’m always happy to oblige. Cousin Sip contributed a bottle of cucumber-infused Hendricks Gin, which I have taken a particular liking to. One set of friends passed along a bottle of Jim Beam Black Cherry Bourbon, as well as a bottle of Cointreau. Mama and Papa Sip gifted us a bottle of Chocolate Whipped Vodka, which quickly became a favourite of Mrs. Sip, whose wine and champagne collection was topped up, too.

All in all, it was a wonderful evening with great food and drinks, good fun with friends and family, and the beginning of our wedding celebration summer.

Marriage

Why do I bring this event up? Well, for a number of reasons. My forum provides me with another chance to thank all of our guests for their generosity and truly show them how much we appreciated and enjoyed their gifts. Next, because I think every couple should get to enjoy a similar event and finally, because today’s drink features PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur, a bottle we received at our Thunder Shower and although we only recently opened it, the results have been thoroughly enjoyable thus far.

Drink #78: PAMA-Jama

Pama-Jama Cocktail

  • 8 Muddled Mint Leaves
  • 1.5 oz PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur
  • Top with Ginger Ale
  • Dash of Lemon Juice
  • Garnish with Lemon Wedge

This has to be one of my favourite drinks of the project to date. I wasn’t sure how much I’d like the liqueur, as I don’t have any recollection of having actually ever eaten a real pomegranate, but once again life proves that as long as alcohol is inside something, it will be enjoyed (or at least consumed). How much did I like the drink? Well, given I’m making at least 365 drinks over the next calendar year, I try not to double up too often. I ended up making three of these for myself and just had to share the recipe with Mrs. Sip. Track it down and give it a shot (literally!). You won’t be disappointed.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (5 Sips out of 5):
A fantastic drink… I can’t say enough good things about this cocktail. It was the first time I busted out my PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur and what a wonderful mix I was treated with to begin my relationship with the spirit!

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.

January 19 – On the Cusp

Birthday Bumps

On the Cusp double shots

It’s my wife’s birthday and after everything she does for me (and you readers – she is, after all, responsible for most of the photos that grace this site, as well as being my muse, my editor and sometimes my censor), I owe her a great deal of gratitude. Therefore, I decided to invent a shot to celebrate her big day (as if the brand new Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks jersey and other surprises weren’t enough!), mixing a couple of her favourites together in this week’s shot.

I started with a thin layer of chocolate syrup that will make for a nice chaser to go with the rest of the recipe. Remember rule #1: girls love chocolate. Also, chocolate can represent the “earth” element of Capricorn or how Capricorns are supposed to be all grounded and practical or other such nonsense. Next up, when I first met my wife nearly 11 years ago, she was a massive coconut fan and still is. I believe one of the first hard alcohols she ever got into – as is the case with many 18-year-old girls – was Malibu Rum, so that was definitely going to be part of the shot. I followed that with  some Chocolate Whipped Vodka because, once again, rule #1: girls love chocolate. Seriously, I have never met a woman that doesn’t love the sweet stuff. Even if a girl is allergic to chocolate, they will eat it to the point of needing an EpiPen. Finally we finish the concoction with Blue Curacao for no other reason than I think of the colour blue when I hear the word ‘Aquarius’. Decorate it all up a little with coconut shavings and there you have it, a beautiful birthday shot that you can say is homemade and earn extra brownie points to be cashed in when you’ve bestowed a handful or so of these onto the pretty lady!

And to think, I was originally thinking of making her a macaroni self-portrait… her loss!

Drink #19: On the Cusp

On the Cusp Shooter

  • Rim glass with coconut shavings
  • Pour a thin layer of chocolate syrup into the shot glass
  • 0.5 oz Malibu Rum
  • 0.5 oz Chocolate Whipped Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Blue Curacao
  • Sprinkle some coconut shavings into the shot

If you would like me to create a shot for you or your partner, drop me a line, let me know what you or they like and I’ll do my best to come up with something.

P.S.: Tequila week starts tomorrow, so I better see everyone doing The Worm!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (5 Sips out of 5):
This shot, a completely original recipe, might I add, was absolutely amazing. From the Coconut Rim, all the way through the spirits to the thin layer of Chocolate Syrup, the whole shebang was wonderful. Of course, I save only my best for Mrs. Sip!

January 7 – Whipped White Russian

Just Pucking Around

I hear ya, boys!

I hear ya, boys!

With the NHL lockout coming to an end early yesterday, hockey has been on my mind. Coincidentally, I had the Whipped White Russian on my schedule for today, although given Russia’s recent victory over Canada at the World Junior Hockey Tournament – stopping Canada’s streak of bringing home a medal at the competition at 14 years in a row – perhaps it should be called a Whipped White Canadian! Wouldn’t that be Howie Mandel, though?

I’m pumped to have hockey coming back, even if I didn’t necessarily miss it while it was gone. There have been many nights where the inclusion of a hockey game (be it Hockey Night in Canada or another broadcast) would have been a stellar addition to my drinking exploits. Best of all, this saves me from having to find another sport to really get into, although I had hopes that roller derby would return to TV. No, really, the best thing about the lockout ending is that all the pundits will have to talk about something else and we can all finally move on from terms like HRR, decertification, disclaimers of interest and Gary Bettman.

I’m just happy to hear it will be returning to a rink near me very soon and now it’s onto the celebration. Cue up Kool and the Gang!

Drink #7: Whipped White Russian

Whipped White Russian Drink

  • Rim glass with chocolate sprinkles
  • 1 oz Chocolate Whipped Vodka or other vodka
  • 1 oz Kahlua
  • Top with milk

So, to all my friends out there that have a passion for puck – I said puck… and it wasn’t a typo – enjoy the season ahead and make sure to get cozy on the couch with one of these bad boys! GO CANUCKS GO!!!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I like White Russians, but this is the first time I ever used Chocolate Whipped Vodka in one and that made the experience that much better. A Chocolate Sprinkle rim and this dessert drink just got that much better!