Mixer Mania #36 – Risky Business

Taking a trip through your local grocery store, you may come across one of the oddest drink flavours: Dandelion and Burdock. That got me thinking about other weird or odd soda flavours and I found that some companies seem to specialize in this. Here are some of those companies and their eclectic lineups:

Jones Soda Company

Perhaps Jones Soda’s most bizarre release was Poutine. I mean, I love the Canadian cultural dish, but don’t think that drinking the essence of fries, gravy and cheese curds sounds very appealing. Other seasonal releases from the company target holidays, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas and include oddities like Turkey & Gravy, Mashed Potatoes & Butter, Brussels Sprouts with Prosciutto, Wild Herb Stuffing, Candy Cane, and Christmas Ham.

Jones Soda Holiday Packs

Lester’s Fixins

Bacon, Ranch Dressing, Buffalo Wings, and Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwiches. While these are some of my favourite things to have on my plate, I’m actually listing soda flavours from the Lester’s Fixins company. I’ve even used two of the products on previous Mixer Mania drink recipes this year. While the sodas weren’t bad, they are certainly novelty items and not repeat purchases. Perhaps they should have their soda making licence revoked.

Avery’s Beverages

In an divisive marketing ploy, Avery’s Beverages has released a line of sodas dubbed ‘Totally Gross Soda’ or ‘Sodasgusting’. While the intended flavours don’t sound too bad, the names alone will likely keep some customers from purchasing the drinks. Options include: Kitty Piddle (Orange-Pineapple), Dog Drool (Orange-Lemon), Bug Barf (Kiwi-Pineapple), Toxic Slime (Blue Raspberry-Orange), and Fungal Fruit (Passionfruit-Lime), among others.

Gross Gus’s

Again, we have some tantalizing flavours… if only you can get over the beverage’s name and imagery produced by it. Releases consist of Pimple Pop (Marshmallow), Dinosaur Dung (Chocolate), Bloody Nose (Cherry), Dragon Drool (Black Licorice), and Pirate Piss (Banana). Some have even recorded themselves trying to complete the Gross Gus’s challenge of drinking some of these products. All the power to them, if they succeeded.

Mixer Mania #36: Spiced Roots

Spiced Roots.JPG

  • ​2 oz Spiced Whiskey
  • Top with Dandelion & Burdock Soda
  • Garnish with a Cinnamon Stick

This list does not include Pepsi’s eye-popping limited edition releases in Japan, which include Salty Watermelon, Ice Cucumber, Pink (Strawberry Milk) and White (Yogurt). Only in Japan!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
There are actually a few cocktail recipes – although all are basic – offered by Fentiman’s, who produce the Dandelion and Burdock Soda. I settled with this drink, as I wanted to use my Spiced Whiskey. It was actually a pretty good combo with a unique flavour. I’d love to see some more complex recipes for the mixer.

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February 21 – China White

Lunar Love

With millions, around the world, recently celebrating Chinese New Year, I thought it would be a great time to look at all the wonderful things the culture has brought to our lives. While they also invented coffins, gunpowder, and puppet theatre (all of which did not make this list), the following items should bring national pride to those that call China home:

#5: Fortune Cookies

I don’t love fortune cookies for their taste, which is far too often stale, but rather their inspirational messages inside. If I receive one, in particular, that speaks to me, I will often keep it in my wallet, hoping the good vibes will actually reward me. Yes, there are much better desserts out there, but fortune cookies are like getting a McDonald’s Happy Meal, giving you both a treat and a little toy, in a well-balanced, all-encompassing meal.

Fortune Cookies

#4: Fireworks

Who doesn’t love fireworks? Seriously, if you’re not down with big blasts of colour lighting up the sky, you should seek some psychiatric help. Fireworks have highlighted some very momentous occasions in my life. For one, I first asked out Mrs. Sip on a date, while positioned in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland, as their nightly firework show provided our soundtrack. To this day, Mrs. Sip jokes that she had to give me at least a date, based on my romantic timing!

#3: Toilet Paper

Alright, this is a pretty damn important invention in the annals (yes, I had to use that word) of human history. As a bit of a germophobe, I can only imagine what hell my life would be if us civilized folks had to use other methods to clean up after a trip to the bathroom. The Chinese also developed the first paper for writing and although I’m a self-described scribe, my nod would go to toilet paper as the more important development of the two items.

Toilet Paper Commercial

#2: Chow Mein

I am a chow mein fiend. I also love stir fry, almond chicken, fried rice, honey garlic chicken, egg rolls, and most other typical items. While they may be the westernized version of Chinese food, it’s so delicious, so I really don’t care if I catch any flak for this entry. I’m greatly looking forward to a Chinese food feast, with Ma and Pa Sip tonight, to celebrate the Lunar New Year. As a little bonus, did you know the Chinese invented the restaurant menu? I wonder if early versions also had numbered items for simplicity!?

#1: Alcoholic Beverages

What goes better with food, than drink and seriously, where would the Sip Advisor be without the advent of booze. I’m sure someone, somewhere would have eventually stumbled upon elixirs that made you feel all warm and fuzzy, but the fact exists that China beat them all to the punch. Dating back to 7000 BC, scientists have discovered that the Chinese made fermented drinks, using fruit, rice, and honey. That doesn’t sound so palatable, but if it’ll get ya drunk, I’m game!

Super Saturday Shot Day: China White

China White Shot

  • 0.75 oz Crème de Cacao
  • 0.25 oz Irish Crème
  • Dash of Cinnamon
  • Garnish with Cinnamon Stick

Well, after all this loving, I have to give the Chinese a wag of the finger for inventing chopsticks… I mean, come on, who would ever choose these twigs over a fork and a knife. And yet, I’m shamed when I ask for the tools I’m most accustomed to in Asian eateries. Kung Hei Fat Choy, everyone!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
You can’t say anything bad about this shot. It’s totally delicious. You’re combining all good tasting ingredients and it’s quite obvious why this is a classic recipe. I thought the addition of the Cinnamon Stick as a garnish kind of looked like chopsticks. Had I been able to track down a Fortune Cookie, I would have used that, as well.

December 4 – Eggnog

Music to Your Ears

It seems that a lot of artist’s take the easy route and compile an album of Christmas covers at some point in their career. Here are some of the worst examples of that trend and offerings I suggest you avoid at all cost!

Bob Dylan – Christmas in the Heart

He may be one of the greatest song writers of all-time, but this Christmas offering was just weird. Pa Sip will often play it, but only for everyone to make fun of the legendary performer. This is one of those albums that seemed to simply fulfill a record deal. Dylan’s singing is unintelligible at some points, as if the dude had a mouth full of marbles when hitting the studio. At least all proceeds went to various charities, so credit is deserved there.

David Hasselhoff – The Night Before Christmas

While he’s an icon in Germany, domestically, he’s more a laughingstock. I’d much rather see Hasselhoff barreling down the beach or behind the wheel of a speaking car than stepping up to a microphone… and I don’t even like him as an actor… or any of the shows he’s been on. Perhaps Hasselhoff should stick to bathroom floor cheeseburgers and Rob Ford-esque drunken stupors.

Rosanne Barr – Sings the Christmas Classics

If her infamous rendition of the American national anthem tells us anything, it’s that Roseanne Barr can’t sing worth a lick. I refuse to even sample any of the songs from this album. Just looking at the selections featured on the cover have me nervous. ‘Santa Baby’ should only be sung my sex bomb and *gulp* her ‘12 Days of Christmas’ is a freakin’ “extended version”!

Kickin’ Kazoos – Kazoo Christmas

I don’t know why everyone has such harsh critiques for the kazoo. Wrestler’s Edge and Christian use to play a mean kazoo… for humourous effect, at least. Granted, they only played for brief periods of time and never thought of compiling a 30-minute album devoted to Christmas tunes… if you could even call them that. I think kazoos can only be appreciated by the same people that weren’t annoyed by vuvuzelas during the 2010 World Cup.

Brady Bunch – Christmas with the Brady Bunch

The entire Brady Bunch has the accumulative musical talent of absolutely zero! I bet Marsha gets all the good lines in this release. Marsha, Marsha, Marsha! I hate all those kid sing-a-long albums. I even saw a commercial recently where youngsters were singing song like Macklemore’s ‘Thrift Shop’… what happens when they get to the “this is fuckin’ awesome lyric”!? Such a sad state this world is in.

Various Artists – Yuletide Disco

Disco and Christmas should always have a minimum of 500 meters between them. Mrs. Sip should work on that court order for me!

William Hung – Hung for the Holidays

While the album title is totally wicked, having a guy who can barely speak English (let alone sing it) perform Christmas classics was probably a bad idea from the start. Add the fact that Hung thinks he’s a legitimate talent, while everyone else views him as a total joke and you have a recipe for disaster. The entire entry is only 18 minutes long and ends with Hung belting out Queen’s ‘We Are the Champions’!

RuPaul – Ho Ho Ho

From one train wreck to another… how RuPaul had a career of any sorts, simply by being a drag queen is beyond my comprehension. Perhaps, she (or is it he?) was the beginning of the non-talented celebrity? This chart topper contains such classics as ‘I Saw Daddy Kissing Santa Claus’ and ‘RuPaul the Red-Nosed Drag Queen’. If I find this in my stocking I’ll cancel Christmas for good.

Various Artists – Christmas with Colonel Sanders

Sadly, we’re not just talking about feasting on the Colonel’s original recipe of 11 herbs and spices. Can you believe this is actually a sequel to the album Christmas Day with Colonel Sanders!? I’m not even sure why he gets top billing for both albums, as they seem to be made up of various artist tracks. I guess that’s just the pull the fried chicken magnate had!

Star Wars – Christmas in the Stars

And the songs are sung by the original movie cast? Shut the front door! Yeah, because I want to hear Harrison Ford’s monotone voice belt out the Christmas classics or have R2-D2 beep, bop, and boop his way through my cherished childhood memories. Do they even celebrate Christmas on Tatooine? I seriously doubt it, but don’t care enough about the series to know the answer.

Regis Philbin – The Regis Philbin Christmas Album

I don’t understand the thinking that goes into some of these albums: “Hey, I got a great idea. Let’s take a TV personality who has no musical talent and get them to record a Christmas album.” No matter how famous that person may be, that pile of trash won’t sell. Donald Trump even appears on the album for a rendition of ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ *shudder*.

Yoko Ono – An X-Mas Message from Yoko

I hate Yoko Ono with a passion… and I don’t even care that she’s blamed for breaking up The Beatles. I hate her for everything else she’s plagued upon the world. If I was ever sent a Christmas message from this ogre, I’d use it for its only practical application… as toilet paper. I mean, who the hell uses a pitch black background as cover art to market a Christmas album?

Drink #338: Eggnog

Eggnog Drink Recipe

  • 1.5 oz Rum (I used Malibu Sundae)
  • Top with Eggnog
  • Sprinkle with Nutmeg
  • Garnish with Gingerbread M&Ms

Okay, we spewed some serious venom in this post, so now it’s time to sit back and relax with my Eggnog… given I’m not a huge advocate of the ‘Nog, we could be in for a bumpy ride!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I’m not the type to make eggnog from scratch, so I mooched some of the pre-made stuff off Ma and Pa Sip and came up with this delicacy. It was pretty tasty, especially with Pa Sip’s idea of using Malibu Sundae for the Rum quotient of the recipe. The M&M’s added a nice sweet flavour to each sip, as they melted in the cocktail and not in my hands!

August 23 – Mosquito Bite

Summertime Blues

Today, I’m going to go against typecast and play the role of Debbie Downer. Summer is an awesome time, but like most things in life, it isn’t perfect. Here are the things that sadly suck about the summer season:

Mosquito Bites

I came up with this list after awaking to some awful itches that are driving me insane as I type this article. The worst thing about mosquitos is that you know they’re around, buzzing by your ear and hunting you down. Sadly, they are good at what they do and if you’re not careful, you’ll wind up bitten to pieces. Poor Mrs. Sip is a mozzie magnet which is usually how I walk away unscathed.

mosquito-bites

Dehydration

I believe I was the victim of dehydration a couple weeks back, which is a little odd because I work diligently to keep myself and others hydrated with not only booze, but water, as well. I guess I just wasn’t on my game that day and a little too much time poolside was giving me flu-like feelings. A half-dozen glasses of cold water and I was feeling myself again… the club can’t handle me, yo!

Intolerable Night Heat

Nothing is more frustrating than trying to sleep during the heights of summer heat. I myself, like to be covered by a blanket when snoozing, but in the summer, I constantly have to throw my legs on top of our comforter or completely toss the covering off. Many sleepless nights are spent trying to acclimatize to the heat and get comfortable. Mrs. Sip encroaching on my side of the bed with her furnace-like temperature doesn’t help matters.

summer

Sun Burns

Speaking of Mrs. Sip, she’s currently nursing a pretty nasty burn thanks to a little too much time in the sun. There is an upside to all this though, because guess who works some pretty decent magic with a bottle of Aloe Vera… that’s right, the Sip Advisor! You have to be diligent with healing a sun burn, so as not to enter the peeling stage, which is beyond gross.

Forest Fires

While a sun burn is like a forest fire for a person’s body, these incidents are capable of leaving a scorched earth that takes years to recover. That’s not even factoring the loss of homes, wildlife, and in the most tragic cases, human life. We’ve had a pretty dry summer in these here parts, but I haven’t heard too much about forest fire issues. Perhaps the cigarette butt-tossing folk have finally learned their lesson.

Drink #235: Mosquito Bite (A Sip Advisor Original Recipe)

Mosquito  Bite Cocktail

  • 1 oz Vodka (I used Smirnoff)
  • 1 oz Fireball Whiskey
  • Top with Milk
  • Garnish with Cinnamon Powder and Stir

Upon making this list, one quickly realizes that these minor inconveniences of summer are totally worth it for such an amazing period of the year. I hope everyone out there enjoys what is left of their summertime fun!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.5 Sips out of 5):
This cocktail was a bit of a miss. It just didn’t come together as expected, but it wasn’t horrible either. I was disappointed not to find a drink called Mosquito Bite, but a couple simply called Mosquito… I refused to have any of that and changed the name to the way I liked it (renegade style!). The bites of Cinnamon are like the stings of a mosquito and the white Milky flesh provides a perfect canvas for the little buggers to do their damage, dotting the work with Cinnamon Powder.

April 29 – Sin City

Sin-sational

Over the Easter weekend, Mrs. Sip and I visited one of our favourite places in the world, Las Vegas. Along with many of our usual haunts (not one, but two trips to the Hyde Lounge!), here are a few new places we tried on our recent long weekend extravaganza, with wonderful cocktail options at almost every turn.

Max Brenner’s

This place specializes in chocolate, mixing it into every recipe on the menu (food, drink, dessert). Mrs. Sip and I went during its bar happy hour, sampling three of their dessert cocktails ($6 down from their normal $12), while also sharing some appies – waffle fries with chili-chocolate powder… um, yes please! Mrs. Sip enjoyed the classic chocolate martinii (garnished with a huge chocolate dipped strawberry) while my favourite drink was the wonderfully delicious Satisfaction Guaranteed, made with peanut and caramel liqueurs. When I think of a drink that is 5 sips out of 5, this is it!

max-brenner-satisfaction-guaranteed

Wynn Buffet

We like to get to at least one buffet on each trip to Las Vegas and over time, we’ve been able to try nearly every hotel’s offering on the strip. On this excursion, I gorged myself on a selection of Asian delicacies, from sushi to noodles and vegetables and followed that up with a plate of crab legs. Dessert was great too, with a make your own gelato sundae bar. Althoght a bit more pricey than your regular buffet ($38 for dinner), the Wynn Buffet is well worth the price and everything you would expect from the 5 star hotel and casino!

Parasol Down

While I can’t fully recommend the little shows that run every half an hour on the Lake of Dreams (two balls birthing a baby ball???) the place does provide a lovely setting for an evening cocktail, with it’s lake and forest atmosphere. Here, I tried the Sinatra Smash, made with Crème de Cassis, whiskey, sweet and sour mix, vanilla syrup, and blackberries.

Guns & Ammo Garage

It has long been on my bucket list to shoot a gun. Not at anything in particular (might I suggest the birds infesting my patio), but just to merely shoot a gun. When the opportunity arose to go to one of the many gun ranges in Las Vegas, I was happy to tag along. There, I shot a M9 and an Uzi (relatively well) and gained a whole new respect for the fine folks that have to carry a piece as part of their daily living.

guns-and-ammo-garage

Rock & Rita’s

A little off the main strip, but worth the trip, this restaurant features a southern barbecue menu, complete with massive drinks you can get in a souvenir toilet glass. I tried the 2000 Flushes recipe, while splitting an appie platter. This is a fun place for adults and kids alike, as while flair bartenders did their thing just outside the joint, one of the greatest balloon artists I’ve ever seen visited each table, making amazing creations for the little ones.

Go Pool Cabana

Mrs. Sip and I have done the hotel pool thing a few times before, but when Mama Sip (also in Vegas at the time) wanted to reserve one of the poolside cabanas for the day, it brought a whole new meaning to swim luxury. Myself and Papa Sip were able to watch a hockey game, while the ladies soaked in the sun. We also had around the clock service, which resulted in me ordering the Alligator Bite drink, made with a host of liquors and pineapple juice.

Flamingo-cabana

The ladies and me at the cabana!

Carlos & Charlie’s

This wild restaurant inside the Flamingo was just being built the last time we were in Vegas and we stopped here for lunch one day before hitting the pool. While splitting a scrumptious quesadilla stuffed with the works, I enjoyed a Lazarillo cocktail, made with tequila, cranberry juice, and lime. It was basically a Mexican Cosmo, but it really hit the spot as a good starter drink to another wild day.

New Cocktails

As previously mentioned, we enjoyed the Bellagio fountains at the Hyde Lounge twice on this trip and while there sampled a number of fantastic concoctions. Mrs. Sip finally gave the nitrogen drink, Bees Knees, a go, while I ordered a host of luxury cocktails, including the sweet and spicy Burning Mango, bell pepper-infused Love Unit, and subtle yet delicious Cucumber Watermelon Margarita.

Drink #119: Sin City

Sin City Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Vodka (I used Absolut Raspberri)
  • Top with Cranberry Juice
  • Splash of Club Soda
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry and Cinnamon Stick

We will be back to Sin City again soon. It doesn’t take long before that itch returns and we’re booking our flights and hotel, salivating over the copious options available and prepping for a weekend filled with booze, sun, food, lack of sleep and hard partying!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.5 Sips out of 5):
This cocktail was your typical Vodka-Cran-Soda. I was hoping the addition of the Cinnamon Stick would change things up – even using it as a straw for a couple sips – but unfortunately, any difference was so subtle that the flavour wasn’t modified at all.