April 11 – Penalty Shot

Line Dancing

As hockey fans around the world gear up for the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Sip Advisor thought it might be a good time to look at some of the sport’s greatest line combos. This list was narrowed down by taking into account the success of the line, as well as how awesome the name they were given was. Let’s get the puck rolling:

#5: West Coast Express – Brendan Morrison, Markus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi

After a string of dismal years, Vancouver Canucks fans finally had something to cheer about again, when this line began filling the back of the net and piling up points. Once put together, each enjoyed the best years of their career, with Naslund and Bertuzzi even finishing second and third in league scoring during the 2002-03 season. Sadly, a long-awaited Stanley Cup never materialized, thanks in part to Bertuzzi’s indefinite suspension, after punching Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Moore in the back of the head. The West Coast Express is actually a commuter train line in the Sip Advisor’s home area, connecting people living in the suburbs of Vancouver to the downtown core.

West Coast Express Canucks

#4: Capital Punishment Line – Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza, Dany Heatley

Playing in the Canadian capital of Ottawa, the Senators enjoyed their greatest success as a franchise on the backs of Alfredsson, Spezza, and Heatley. The trio took the Senators all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2007, but they were defeated by the Anaheim Ducks in five games. The three stars were also given the nickname ‘The Pizza Line’ thanks to the Pizza Pizza chain offering to give away free slices to ticket holders, anytime the Senators scored at least five goals. With the line racking up points that season, it happened often. Ironically, Canada abolished capital punishment in 1976… I guess this threesome never got the news!

#3: Legion of Doom – Eric Lindros, John Leclair, Mikael Renberg

For a time, Lindros was the most dominant player in the game, utilizing his size, strength, and natural talent. Flanking him on the wings were Leclair and Renberg, who each enjoyed great seasons playing with ‘The Big E’. The line combined for 305 goals and 361 assists over three season, highlighted by a Stanley Cup Finals appearance in 1997. The line’s name was created (or at least borrowed) by teammate Jim Montgomery, before being used and promoted by Flyers announcer Gene Hart. While they weren’t as successful as the Broad Street Bullies of the 1970’s, the Legion of Doom ushered in a new generation of Flyers dominance.

legion-of-doom-flyers

#2: Red Army – Sergei Fedorov, Igor Larionov, Vyacheslav Kozlov, Vladimir Konstantinov, Viacheslav Fetisov

As if three forwards weren’t enough, imagine icing an entire five-man unit that could cohesively work together and dominate the opposition. All hailing from Russia and formerly starring for that country’s national team, the Red Army had been built by Red Wings coach, Scotty Bowman, who had always admired the USSR’s playing style. The gamble worked out well for Detroit, as the team won the Stanley Cup in 1997 and repeated the feat in 1998. Sadly, Konstantinov was not part of the second championship, as just days after the 1997 win, he was involved in a serious auto wreck, which ended his career. The only thing missing was a Russian goaltender to complete the on-ice sweep.

#1: Trio Grande – Bryan Trottier, Mike Bossy, Clark Gillies

When New York Islanders coach Al Arbour combined these three young, highly-touted players in 1977, it’s what would eventually push them over the edge and produce a four-year Stanley Cup dynasty. The line combined for 668 goals and 1498 points, throughout the years, piling up trophies, team records, and other accolades, during that time. Both Trottier and Bossy would win the Conn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP (1980 and 1982, respectively), proving the line was also quite productive in the crunch time that is the playoffs. All three members of the line have had their numbers retired by the Islanders and been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Penalty Shot

Penalty Shot Shooter

  • 0.25 oz Blue Curacao
  • 0.25 oz Gin
  • 0.25 oz Tequila
  • 0.25 oz Citron Vodka
  • Pinch of Cinnamon
  • Garnish with a Cinnamon Stick

Honourable mentions go to the French Connection (Gilbert Perreault, Rick Martin, Rene Robert), the Triple Crown Line (Dave Taylor, Charlie Simmer, Marcel Dionne), and That 70’s Line (Jeff Carter, Tyler Toffoli, Tanner Pearson). While not making up a complete line, one of the most prolific scoring duos in hockey history, Brett Hull and Adam Oates, were given the nickname Hull and Oates, a play on the musical act Hall and Oates… too bad neither of them rocked a great 80’s porn stache!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This shooter had a nice blue colour until I added the dash of Cinnamon and then it all turned into a fuzzy green hue… I think it still looks okay, though. I used a Cinnamon Stick for garnish to imitate a good ol’ fashioned wooden hockey stick. As for taste, this all came together like a Long Island Iced Tea, just miniaturized. And that’s a drink that goes down easy.

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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.

South Africa – African Lullaby

His Excellency

Our voyage across the Atlantic Ocean ends with our arrival in South Africa. It’s pretty easy to pick out the country’s most notable citizen. Competing against the likes of wrestler Col. DeBeers (actually played by American Ed Wiskoski) and disgraced Olympian Oscar Pistorius, it’s a no-brainer that Nelson Mandela stands above the rest of the nation’s celebrities. Here are some facts about the man, the myth, the legend, that might not be very well known:

Mandela Quote

Mandela’s birth name “Rolihlahla” means troublemaker (or pulling the branch of a tree, but troublemaker is so much cooler, especially given the changes Mandela was responsible for). He was given the name Nelson by a teacher on his first day of school, as African children were given English names so colonial masters could pronounce them easier.

The man known as Madiba (a term of endearment and respect) was on the U.S. terror watch list until 2008 due to his militant fight against apartheid with members of the African National Congress. He was 89 years old when finally removed from the record.

Mandela was a boxing fan and found similarities in the sport to his struggle, according to his biography Long Walk to Freedom: “I did not like the violence of boxing. I was more interested in the science of it – how you move your body to protect yourself, how you use a plan to attack and retreat, and how you pace yourself through a fight.”

Outside the sports arena, Mandela was a big fan of the late 90’s pop group, the Spice Girls. He claimed upon meeting them in 1997, “These are my heroes.” Perhaps the leader should have parlayed some of his power into a ménage a cinq!

Original Spice Girls

Mandela opened the first black law firm in South Africa and provided free counsel to many blacks.

The prison cell Mandela occupied for 18 years on Robben Island is now a World Heritage Site. The cell measures 8-feet by 7-feet and contained a straw mat to sleep on. While incarcerated, Mandela was forced to work in a quarry and denied the use of sunglasses. The intense glare coming off the limestone permanently damaged his sight.

Towns, streets, squares, parks, buildings, schools, monuments, flowers (Madiba and Mandela’s Gold), a nuclear particle (Mandela particle), and even a woodpecker (australopicus nelsonmandelai) have been named after the former South African president.

Mandela was a noted ladies’ man in his youthful days, as documented in the book Young Mandela. It’s said he carried on numerous affairs at any given time proving just exactly how awesome he was.

Mandela Stud

Ladies man, indeed!

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Mandela’s second wife, was convicted of kidnapping, involving the abduction and murder of a 14-year-old suspected police informant. Mandela later divorced Madikizela after 38 years of marriage, including all of Mandela’s time while incarcerated. Other accusations made against Madikizela include ordering murders, violent interrogations, and supporting the use of “necklaces” (a death sentence of putting a burning tire around the head of an enemy).

Mandela’s film credits include Spike Lee’s Malcolm X, in which he plays a teacher reciting the activist’s famous speech. Mandela would not say the line “By any means necessary,” due to his pacifist beliefs, so the movie ends with footage of Malcolm X delivering the axiom.

Morgan Freeman played Mandela in the movie Invictus, about South Africa’s underdog victory at the 1995 Rugby World Cup, an event which has been credited for uniting the citizens of the country, regardless of colour or creed. The title of the movie is also the name of the William Ernest Henley poem Mandela drew strength from during his long imprisonment.

Other actors who have portrayed Mandela include: Idris Elba (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom), Danny Glover (Mandela), Terrence Howard (Winnie Mandela), and Dennis Haysbert (Goodbye Bafana).

South Africa: African Lullaby

African Lullaby Cocktail

  • 2 oz Amarula
  • Top with Milk
  • Splash of Coconut Milk/Rum
  • 2 Dashes of Nutmeg
  • Garnish with Coconut Shavings and Cinnamon

Lastly, it should be noted the Mandela deplored the vuvuzela horn… okay, I don’t know this for fact, but I have to assume that a dude as cool as Mandela would grow tired of the annoying horn eventually!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
I’ve always been curious about Amarula cream liqueur (amarula is an African fruit) and finally decided to grab a bottle for this Around the World project. It’s a very nice spirit on its own and made this cocktail unique and delicious. The recipe suggests to use Coconut Milk, but I went with Coconut Rum to change things up. After all, regular Milk is already part of the drink.

November 25 – Brandy Alexander

Night Moves

Nothing finishes off a good evening of boozing than a perfectly-timed night cap. But what to enjoy as your final drink of the evening is up for debate. Here are some ideas I’ve accumulated and, of course, would love to share with all you little sippers.

Evening Cocktail

Amaretto

A lot of night caps consist of straight alcohol, neat or on the rocks. Amaretto and its almond flavour can be a little sweet for some, but for the Sip Advisor, it’s pure heaven in a glass. I’m usually rounding out my buzz on Disaronno, while Mrs. Sip is rushing around prepping for a late night shower… and I’m pestering her the whole time!

Cognac

I haven’t really delved into the world of cognacs too much, but I do enjoy the Courvoisier offerings I’ve had to this point and Mrs. Sip picked up a bottle of Hennessy for me while she was recently in Europe. I find cognac to be comparable to scotch, but perhaps it doesn’t share the exact same level of manliness as scotch.

Spiked Coffee

This can be achieved with everything from Irish Crème to various liqueurs. Pa Sip likes to use Pinnacle Whipped Vodka in his late night coffee, while sitting around the fire pit and roasting marshmallows (or himself!). Now I know why that bottle is always depleted when I come home for visits!

Cat-spiked-his-coffee

Hot Toddy

The Hot Toddy can be made up of various recipes, depending on your locale. The traditional Scottish version mixes whiskey, hot water, sugar or honey, and lemon slices or cinnamon, depending on the desired flavour. In North America, you might be served a variation using ginger ale subbed in for the water.

Scotch on the Rocks

When Mrs. Sip and I were in Mexico last year, enjoying my first all-inclusive experience, I made sure to finish off every night with some scotch. It’s a wonderful sipping drink that calms the nerves and the powerful alcohol makes you rest peacefully when you decide to hit the hay.

Cat Scotch

Grand Marnier

With its sweet orange flavour, this liqueur is perfect for a little nip before bedtime. I remember when I was just a wee little sipper, enjoying the Grand Marnier liqueur chocolate bottles best, among options that included Kahlua, Irish Crème, and others. I had to get my Sip Advisor start somewhere!

Night Cap

Well, given its prominence in the drinking lexicon, you had to figure there would actually be a cocktail called Night Cap. The drink recipe consists of rum, warm milk, cinnamon, and sugar. It doesn’t sound like something I would particularly enjoy, as I don’t really like warm beverages, but it might be just right for others.

Drink #329: Brandy Alexander

Brandy Alexander Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Cognac (I used Hennessy)
  • 1 oz Crème de Cacao
  • Top with Milk
  • Garnish with Nutmeg

Now that you’re all cozy and tucked in for a long winter’s nap (wearing your warmest footy pajamas and all), remember to check out this wonderful site for your bedtime reading!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This was a pretty decent cocktail, but I feel like it’s too similar to other cocktails I’ve made over this project. Given this is a classic cocktail, it probably came well before the others I’ve sampled, but I could help but think of other recipes, like the International Incident when sipping this nightcap.

November 1 – Day of the Dead Cocktail

Burial Blitz

Halloween may be over, but we still have the Day of the Dead to celebrate. What better way to do so than look at interesting burial rituals from around the world! Here are some of the most bizarre:

Dining In (Papua New Guinea/Brazil)

Practiced by the Melanesians and Wari peoples, the ‘Feast of the Dead’ was used to bolster a lasting relationship between a recently deceased person and their loved ones. With the ingestion of the body, that dead person was also making one last sacrifice for the tribe, helping them get over their grief. Along these lines, the Yanomami will cremate a body first before consuming the ashes with a banana paste. Mmmm, that’s good eating!

cat-cannibalism

Soul Searching (Tibet)

The Buddhist believe that the body is just a capsule for the soul to live. Therefore, when a person dies, the body no longer has any worth and is dismembered and left to be eaten by scavengers. Ground burial isn’t really a possibility in the frigid mountains of the region and so this is apparently the best way to deal with the deceased. Just think of all the condos that could be built if we no longer needed space for cemeteries.

Totem Poled (Pacific Northwest)

The Haida would take the bodies of their most respected citizens and crush it with clubs, making it fit into a box similar in size to a suitcase. It would then be placed upon a totem pole, which was to protect the individual and guide them into afterlife. Apparently this left quite the stench, though, as described by original missionaries to the areas. Bears must have also been a problem, as they searched for that ever-elusive picnic basket!

Hard Knock Life (Northern Europe)

The slave girl of a dead high-ranking Viking would be forced to have sex with every man in the village before being strangled to death and stabbed by a village matriarch. She would then be placed aboard a ship, with her master’s body and the ship would be lit on fire. This was all done to make sure the slave would serve her master in the afterlife and the Viking’s life force would be released through the mass sex (known today as rape).

Vikings Mad

Apparently you all aren’t good with grieving either!

Cliff Dive (China)

The Bo people buried their dead in caskets on platforms that jut out from the side of cliffs in southwest China’s Gongxian County. Why they did this is a mystery, as the civilization was largely wiped out by the Ming Dynasty centuries ago. Today, they are referred to as the “Sons of the Cliff” or “Subjugators of the Sky”. The cliffs also feature murals showing examples of how the Bo lived, similar to the Egyptians hieroglyphics.

Light My Fire (Bali)

This mass burning of bodies is at least followed by a feast of epic proportions, so at least you always have that to look forward to. The Hindu population of the island bury village members as they pass away in a mass grave. When there are enough bodies (I’m not sure of how many constitutes “enough”) the bodies are unearthed and placed on a float, which is showcased around the village (this ain’t no Disney parade), before being lit on fire in the hub of the settlement.

Immolation Sensation (India)

Today, we comfort a widow in the event their partner dies, but back in the day, it was a whole different story, particularly for women. In India, women were subjected to burn themselves to death during the funeral of their husband, in an act known as Sati. Of course, not all participants were willing. Some believe that the Sati was started to make sure wives wouldn’t poison or otherwise dispose of their husband to marry a lover. I hope Mrs. Sip keeps this in mind!

Drink #305: Day of the Dead Cocktail

Day of the Dead Drink Recipe

  • 1.5 oz Tequila (I used 1800 Reposado)
  • 0.75 oz Grand Marnier
  • Splash of Orange Juice
  • Dash of Cinnamon
  • Garnish with Cinnamon-Dusted Orange Slice

Of course, there are many other burial traditions out there, but I found these to be the most interesting. Can you imagine having to take part in any of these? What burial techniques fascinate you? Until next time…

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
This cocktail wasn’t that bad. I like how the Cinnamon dusting kicked in at the end of each sip and added some spice and flavour to the drink. The Grand Marnier was my favourite component of the recipe and I feel the orange-flavoured liqueur works quite well with Tequila.

August 7 – Undercover Squirrel

Dicks

I often try to match the subject matter of a post to the name of the featured cocktail… but with a drink called the Undercover Squirrel, what is a liquor deviant supposed to do? Therefore, I decided to write about a topic very close to my heart: the greatest detectives. I love me a good mystery and these sleuths are some of the best!

Columbo

I grew up watching Columbo and his inverted mystery adventures where you know who the killer is all along and the fun comes in how the good Lieutenant trips them up with his idiosyncrasies and constant hounding. The disheveled, but always polite homicide detective was known for his catchphrase “Just one more thing,” which usually signaled he had a prime suspect in mind and all he had to do was reel them in.

Columbo murderer

Sherlock Holmes

With Sherlock Holmes, the game is always afoot and the adventures for this crime solver are seemingly endless thanks to all the different incarnations of the character. Currently, there is a movie franchise and two TV series (starring Robert Downey, Jr., Benedict Cumberbatch, and Jonny Lee Miller, respectively) focused on Holmes. The legendary detective has provided inspiration to many of the other entries on this list.

Jessica Fletcher

I don’t think anyone has been surrounded by so much death and homicide than the Murder, She Wrote author, Jessie Fletcher. It seems everywhere she goes, from her sleepy hometown of Cabot Cove to travels around the world results in someone losing their life. I think a great finale to the show would have been revealing that Fletcher was in fact a Dexter-esque serial killer or perhaps she was Death itself!

Thomas Magnum

Private investigator Thomas Magnum may be the luckiest man alive. He gets to live in an expansive Hawaiian estate, free of cost; drive hot cars around the island, also free of cost; and meet a bevy of beautiful, tropical women… that might cost a little bit. All he has to do in his spare time is solve the odd theft, kidnapping, or murder and he gets to live in paradise. Plus, he has one of the best theme songs known to man!

Magnum PI Moustache

Inspector Jacques Clouseau

The bumbling imbecile and lead of the Pink Panther movies may have his heart in the right place as he tries valiantly to be a good officer of the law, but his ineptness always shines through. How much of a screw-up is Clouseau? He has even driven his superior into a state of madness, as the former Chief Inspector designed a doomsday device with the core intention to kill Clouseau.

Scooby Doo and the Gang

Travelling the country in the legendary Mystery Machine, Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy, and Scooby are often thrust into a mystery and have to solve it while being chased and spooked by any number of scary monsters, usually in rumoured-to-be-haunted settings. The crew always prevail in the end, unmasking some villainous individual who was looking to capitalize on some local urban legend. It should be noted that Scooby and company narrowly edged out the Rescue Rangers for the animated sleuth team entry.

scooby-doo

Adrian Monk

Adrian Monk is an ex-homicide detective, who was forced to leave the police after the murder of his wife, which triggered an extreme obsessive compulsive disorder and various phobias. He now works closely with the San Francisco Police Department as a consultant and usually outshines his fellow cops by solving every murder that the team is investigating.

Ace Ventura

The pet detective, Ace Ventura doesn’t play by the rules… in fact, he probably doesn’t even know what they are. Ventura is more than just a pet detective; he’s a lover of animals and is able to form a special bond with many of the creatures he is trying to rescue. This character launched the career of Jim Carrey and the first movie was a childhood favourite of mine. Never forget, friends: laces out…

Drink #219: Undercover Squirrel

Aug 7

  • Muddle Mint Leaves
  • 1.25 oz Pear Vodka (I used Absolut)
  • 0.5 oz Galliano
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Top with Cranberry Juice
  • Sprinkle of Cinnamon
  • Garnish with Mint Leaf

Damn, there were a lot of private detective type shows in the 80’s. Along with Magnum P.I., which I included above, I was forced to leave out such classics as Jim Rockford, A.J. and Rick Simon, and Remington Steele (with partner Laura Holt). A great movie to look out for if you can find it is Murder by Death, which spoofs many classic detectives including Sam Spade, Nick and Nora Charles, Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, and Charlie Chan.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
What a fantastic drink with a number or rarely used ingredients. I have to say that Mint may be my favourite item to use in cocktails, as it always provides a unique and wonderful taste. The Cinnamon worked really well with the Galliano to add a beautiful note of vanilla and spice.