Mixer Mania #4 – Jack of All Trades

Upon further research, it seems that Club Soda is a pretty versatile product. Yes, it can be used for more than getting drunk, while limiting calorie intake! Here are some other uses for the drink:

Stain Remover – Unfortunately, it can’t remove some of the human stains that exist out there (your Donald Trump’s and the like), but perhaps if those folks drank enough of the pop, it might make them disappear.

Fluff Food – Sorry, I was laughing too hard when I thought of food needing to be fluffed, in the same manner that the term is used in the adult film industry.

Remove Rust – I wonder if it would also work on the Sip Advisor’s joints after winter hibernation. Those first few trips back to the gym are not very fun.

Water Plants – Hmmm, water is free and soda costs money… I think I’ll stick to the water. Better yet, just get rid of all your plants and eliminate the dilemma entirely.

watering-plants

Soothe Your Belly – Given the pop in mixed drinks often leads to “gut rot” for some, I’m skeptical about this solution.

Restore Hair Color – This tactic is to be used after swimming, but won’t you damage your hair to a similar degree if you first have to wash it with Club Soda and then wash it again to wash out the Club Soda? I mean, those dyes are only good for so many washes.

Shuck Oysters – I would still think this process would eliminate some of the natural flavours oysters are supposed to provide… you know, the aphrodisiac qualities.

Preserve Newspaper Clippings – What lunatic still does this!?

Clean Surfaces – If you ever spill some Club Soda, you can simply tell your wife/girlfriend/mother, etc. that you were simply trying to clean the place, like they’ve been asking you to do for weeks.

spring-cleaning-tip

Windshield Cleaning – I bet there are some car guys out there that have always dreamed of having a drink with their vehicle.

Clean Gems – Then have sticky fingers for the rest of your life.

Rid Pots and Pans of Stuck-On Food – So much for leftovers.

Remove Bird Droppings – If only it could remove birds, as well.

Deodorize Pet Accident Areas – I wonder if it would also work to eliminate the odor of those who like to use alleys as toilets. If so, I think we’re going to need a lot more of it.

Mixer Mania #4: Gin Rickey

Gin Rickey.JPG

  • 1.5 oz Gin
  • Top with Club Soda
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

It seems Club Soda’s best attribute is being able to remove unsightly and gross things. And yet we’re throwing all caution to the wind and still drinking the stuff. Well, bottom’s up!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
Yet another classic cocktail that the Sip Advisor has yet to profile. This is the ultimate scurvy remedy, but I would have loved a little more complexity to the recipe.

Flavour Revolution – Gingerbread

‘Tis the Season

Mrs. Sip and I picked up a bottle of Southern Comfort: Gingerbread last year in Hawaii and should play around with it more than we have to this point. Here are some other spirits perfect for the winter and holiday season:

Bailey’s Irish Crème

Bailey’s is a holiday staple, perfect for morning coffee (not for the Sip Advisor, though) or straight up as a night cap. Last Christmas, Sis-in-Law Sip gave me a bottle of Chocolate Cherry, which I only haven’t opened because I was going through another crème liqueur and don’t like having too many on the go. Other flavours perfect for the season (and year round), include Orange Truffle, Vanilla Cinnamon, Biscotti, Hazelnut, Salted Caramel, Mint Chocolate, and Crème Caramel.

Bailey's Straight

Kahlua

With flavours such as Hazelnut, Cinnamon Spice, Peppermint Mocha, and French Vanilla, Kahlua ranks right up there with Bailey’s as a textbook winter treat. New to their product line is a Salted Caramel version, which has the Sip Advisor quite intrigued. Kahlua – and other liqueurs – are basically the only way I will intake coffee and despite my complete disregard of the hot beverage, I do have a soft spot for it in booze form.

Peppermint Schnapps

I love putting a couple dashes of Peppermint Schnapps in my hot chocolate. The Sip Advisor is currently using Yukon Jack Permafrost as his go to winter warmer. This product is unique in that it combines the flavours of peppermint and cinnamon all in one bottle. There are also a few peppermint-flavoured vodkas on the market, including Smirnoff Peppermint Twist Vodka and Burnett’s Candy Cane Vodka. Earlier this month, I used the Candy Cane Vodka for another Flavour Revolution article.

 

Eggnog Liqueur

You can’t go through the Christmas season without eggnog. Even people who aren’t crazy about the beverage (such as myself), end up indulging in the nog at least once… for tradition’s sake. A number of companies have jumped on the eggnog bandwagon, releasing pre-mixed bottles of the festive drink. An interesting Peppermint Chocolate variation comes from the Evan Williams distillery, which turns the dial up on Christmas!

christmas cat_eggnog

Spicebox Gingerbread Whiskey

In a similar vein to the SoCo Gingerbread we’re working with today, comes Spicebox Gingerbread Whiskey. I’m going to start sounding like a broken record, but this is another spirit that I have had great interest in, but have yet to purchase and sample. Along with the cookies it is inspired by, gingerbread is perfect at this time of year, soothing eaters and drinkers with a spice and warmth that is unlike any other treat available.

Jack Daniels Winter Jack

Having been a Jack Daniels fan since before I even began drinking, I’ve always been curious of this winter release, which combines the famous Tennessee whiskey with apple cider to produce a ready-to-drink cocktail. Sis-in-Law Sip gifted me a bottle of this for Christmas this year, but as of press time, I’m still showing it off underneath our tree. It sounds like the perfect liqueur to bring in the New Year with, so perhaps I’ll have to report back to all you little sippers.

Flavour Revolution: Late Night Affair

  • Rim glass with Gingerbread Crumbs
  • 1.5 oz Southern Comfort Gingerbread
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • Top with Cranberry Juice
  • Splash of Club Soda
  • Dash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

There’s also a multitude of winter beers on the market, many of which I have covered in my recent Sip Trips articles, looking at the craft beer advent calendar Mrs. Sip compiled for me. Is there anything else out there I’ve neglected and should add to my shopping list?

Flavour Revolution – Cotton Candy

Daunting Debuts

Cotton Candy was first introduced to the mass public at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, There, it sold 68,655 units at 25-cents per box (which in today’s money would be approximately $6 each). To say it was a success, would be an understatement. That got me thinking about other famous items that were first unveiled at World’s Fairs or similar events. Here are some of the notable products we may never have known had it not been for masses of people gathering in the name of advancement:

Disneyland Attraction Technology (1964)

Walt Disney played a massive role at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York, presenting a number of the technologies that would later become fixtures at his theme parks, namely Audio Animatronics. The Disney company created two awe-inspiring experiences for visitors to the event, with the It’s a Small World ride, and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln show. As a Disneyland fan for close to my entire life, I must heap great praise on this turning point in the park’s history.

Hangin with Tinkerbell

Broadcast TV (1939)

Any casual observer of this site knows of the Sip Advisor’s love of television. Well, it all began here, with RCA President David Sarnoff, choosing to put a TV on display for the start of the fair, including broadcasting President Frankiln Roosevelt’s opening address. As if people’s minds weren’t already blown, colour photography, air conditioning and even Smell-O-Vision were introduced to the public, although I think they’re still working out the kinks to that Smell-O-Vision concept.

Telephone (1876)

My love-hate relationship with phones (I love MY phone, I just hate everyone else’s!) wouldn’t be possible without its unveiling at the 1876 World’s Fair in Philadelphia. Who could have imagined then, that phones would become portable, let alone be able to accomplish so much with, while out and about. Other items to be featured at the event, included the typewriter, the steam engine, Heinz Ketchup and Hires Root Beer.

Electrical Outlet (1904)

With developments in electricity rapidly coming down the pipeline, all folks needed was a place to plug in all their future appliances and gadgets. Thanks to the 1904 World’s Fair civilization was introduced to a whole new way of harnessing power, which still exists today. Now, if only companies would stop making unnecessarily large plugs, which take up so much space that you can’t get another cable into the same outlet… and don’t get me started on European adapters!

Going Places Outlet

X-Ray Machine (1901)

This device can be credited with saving an untold number of lives and advancing medical technology in a number of avenues. Interestingly, the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo was infamous for the assassination of President William McKinley. After being shot by gunman Leon Czolgosz, doctors were afraid to use the X-Ray Machine on McKinley to locate the bullet, due to fear of adverse side effects… instead, he died from his wounds eight days later.

Touchscreens (1982)

While touchscreens are all the rage today, they were actually first introduced more than 30 years ago, at the World’s Fair in Knoxville. You’d have to imagine that this advancement blew a lot of people’s minds, given they were still fiddling around with rotary phones and such. Why it took so long for the technology to be developed before most of us had it in our hands is likely due to costs. For example, Sega had planned to follow the Game Gear with a touchscreen device, but had to scrap it.

Chuck Norris Touchscreen

Ice Cream Cones (1904)

1904 was a big year for revelations in the snacking industry. Along with cotton candy, ice cream cones also made their debut. While I’m not the biggest ice cream buff, preferring my iced treats to be in bowl or cookie form, I can’t say that I’ve never enjoyed a cone (preferably waffle) covered with all the necessary goodies. I wonder how the original cones held up given even nowadays, you often end up with ice cream all over your hands. Perhaps they used materials back then that are illegal now.

IMAX (1970)

For everyone that’s ever suffered motion sickness from these monster movie screens, you have the 1970 EXPO to thank. It figures that Japan would be the debut site of this technological wonder, but it should be noted that the film (Tiger Child) was produced by a Canadian company. I have never felt so proud of my country than right now! The IMAX might have been rivaled by the large moon rock on display at the American pavilion, recently returned from the second trip to the moon.

Flavour Revolution: Funhouse Cocktail

Some other more “minor” debuts of note at World’s Fairs include Cracker Jack (1893), Dr. Pepper (1904), the Twinkie (1940), and Cherry Coke (1982). It should also be noted that one of the world’s most famous landmarks, the Eiffel Tower, was built for the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris, while other notable attractions were also erected for a city’s turn to host the world, such as the Space Needle in Seattle and Science World (aka that golf ball looking building) in Vancouver.

Flavour Revolution – Pineapple

Taste the Rainbow

A number of fruit and vegetables are quite polarizing, but none may be more so than the pineapple. That said, there a number of culinary items that are enhanced by the tropical plant… a fact even haters of the fruit can’t argue. Here are some of those select items:

Pizza

This one is obvious and I must admit that I am a huge fan of Hawaiian pizza. Did you know that the style was actually invented by two Canadians? The Panopoulos brothers created the topping combo in 1962 for their Satellite Restaurant in Chatham, Ontario. I must thank them for this, as it is among my favourite pizzas to order, especially with the addition of barbecue chicken.

Hawaiian Pizza

Cocktails

Why not wash down your pizza with a nice, refreshing cocktail!? There are so many drinks that utilize pineapple juice… and we’re not just talking about tropical libations. Pineapple juice isn’t just consumable; it is also a weather pattern of sorts. When it rains in Hawaii, some locals will call the downfall “pineapple juice”? You might not want to drink that, though!

Fruit Salad

Mrs. Sip and I are not breakfast people (brunch is the earliest we’ll do), but fruit salad is one morning meal element I do enjoy – you know, aside from bacon and hashbrowns! Pineapple provides a nice balance to various melons, grapes, strawberries, etc. Fruit salad can provide an incredibly refreshing start to the day and pineapple certainly plays its role in opening your eyes!

fruit salad skittles

Kebabs

Breaking up chunks of meat with fruit and veggies is what truly makes a kebab work (as well as make it a balanced meal!). Some of the best options include peppers, onions, and our good friend pineapple. The pineapple’s sweetness can be a good contrast to beef, pork, chicken, or whatever else you choose to skewer.

Burger

I have never tried this variation despite being a staunch burger supporter. I think the beefy goodness of the meat patty and the tangy flavour of the pineapple ring would actually complement each other quite well. I’ll have to give it a fair shot next time the opportunity arises. My only question is what kind of sauces would go with this combo. I can’t see the usual burger toppings working well.

Flavour Revolution: Pineapple Smash

  • 1 oz Cruzan Pineapple Rum
  • 1 oz Spiced Rum
  • Top with Club Soda
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with a Pineapple Wedge

While the brothers Panopoulos invented Hawaiian pizza and perhaps even the Hawaiian burger, another man was responsible for the Toast Hawaii sandwich (combining toast, ham, cheese, a pineapple slice, and a Maraschino cherry of all things). German chef and TV personality Clemens Wilmenrod can be credited with the snack, which just couldn’t crack this list.

Flavour Revolution – Elderflower

Spiritual Safety

The Elder Tree, producer of the elder berry, is surrounded by tales of myths and legends, some good and some bad. Some believe the tree keeps evil spirits at bay, while others think that cutting the tree released a force known as the Elder Mother (who sounds like the sweetest lady you could ever meet) would be unleashed on the cutters, to take revenge. I’d like to believe in the former, so let’s look at some other items believed to ward off baddies!

Horseshoe

This is why the Sip Advisor always keeps a box of Lucky Charms on hand! If you were to hang a horseshoe above your door, it was believed that witches couldn’t enter your humble abode. It was also said to pass along good luck to all that passed by the symbol. This is why folks working at barns are the happiest people around!

toilet seat horseshoes

Wind Chimes

Along with providing sweet, melodic sounds during storms, wind chimes are thought to scare off evil. They can also scare off humans and animals who are opposed to loud noises. Ma and Pa Sip have a large collection of wind chimes on their back porch, so I guess their home is one of the safest places in my network of hiding possibilities.

Arrowheads

Do you live in a not-so-safe neighbourhood? Compton, I’m looking at you! Well, try this little theory: arrowheads above your doorway. It’s believed by some that burglars won’t be able to enter your home, thanks to these spiked tips. My theory is that a thief would see these arrowheads and assume the person inside the home was just too crazy to mess with!

Wishbone

Okay, this one is a little bizarre (yes, more so than those already listed). If you’re lonely and in search of love, place a wishbone above your door on New Year’s Day and a relationship will soon be yours. Oh, you’ll also have to chant “Lover, come hither!” three times fast. Sounds like a debauchery-filled night for Mrs. Sip and I… she’ll deny that, though!

human wishbone

Door Gods

Given the Sip Advisor’s penchant for holding doors open for people, I thought they were referring to me, but apparently this dates back to China’s Tang Dynasty. The two gods (generals of Tang Taizong) come together and face each other, while also intimidating evildoers. Just don’t put the gods back-to-back, or you’re basically welcoming bad mojo.

Garlic

Let’s wrap things up with the world famous vampire repellent. I mean, garlic is often cited as having a myriad of health benefits, but nothing is better towards a healthy lifestyle than repelling evil spirits, am I right!? While not all cultures love garlic and its pungent odor, I for one will continue eating fries, bread, and everything else made with it!

Flavour Revolution: Le Soirée

Le Soiree Martini

There are many other items meant to repel evil spirits, but I like to keep these articles short, in order to stave off the wrath of Mrs. Sip and her editing skills! Stay safe, my little sippers!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I have no idea where I found this recipe, but I did record it on my phone and wanted to use it all along for this project. It was pretty good, with the bitter Hendrick’s Gin getting some balance from the sweet St. Germaine Elderflower Liqueur. To turn it up a notch in the future, I might sub in Lemon-Lime Soda for Club Soda, just to get an extra citrus burst.

Flavour Revolution – Rhubarb

Sweet Relief

Well, this article might get a little dicey, so viewer’s discretion is advised. Simply put, rhubarb contains a number of laxative properties, which somehow got me thinking of the greatest laxative scenes in movies. Don’t ask me to explain how my mind works… I don’t get it, either. Well, might as well get this story started:

Dumb & Dumber

After Lloyd discovers that his best friend Harry is going out with the girl he has a massive crush on, Lloyd decides to spike Harry’s drink with a laxative… and lots of it! En route to another date, Harry starts to feel a rumble in his tummy. When he arrives at Mary Swanson’s home, Harry is in serious need of a washroom. He does his business, but the hilarity goes up another couple notches when it’s revealed that the toilet Harry has been using is broken. This begs the question: What would you do!? It’s a question that has haunted the Sip Advisor and many I know for two decades. Answers may vary, but in the end, you’d have to assume that things would get much worse, before they got any better.

American Pie

Poor, poor Finch. The teen has made it his mission to never use the school washrooms, fearing how unhygienic they might be. In fact, if he has the urge to use the facilities, he runs home during the break between classes to do his business. Finch’s plans go awry when Stifler spikes his drink with a laxative, angry that girls throughout the school are turning him down for a date to the prom, hoping Finch will ask them. Like Harry and the broken toilet in Dumb & Dumber, Finch can’t seem to buy a break, getting tricked into using the girl’s washroom to relieve himself. This results in no date at all for Finch, but he does get back at Stifler by having sex with his mom. Sounds like a fair trade!

Van Wilder

There is nothing worse than desperately needing the use of a bathroom, when you aren’t able to access one or have other obstacles in your way. This plays into a scene in Van Wilder when Gwen Pearson (Tara Reid) slips some laxatives into her boyfriend Richard’s drink, upon learning that he cheated on her and got Van Wilder in some hot water with the school and police. While writing an exam, the symptoms begin to hit and things go from bad to worse as Richard races through the test and tries in vain to reach a toilet. The guy eventually uses a garbage can (hey, things could have been worse), while still in the public eye. That sounds like an apt punishment for betrayal!

Flavour Revolution: Royal Blush

Royal Blush Cocktail

  • Muddle Strawberries
  • 1.5 oz Rhubarb Tea Liqueur
  • Top with Club Soda
  • Dash of Grenadine
  • Garnish with a Strawberry Slice

There’s actually an area known as the Rhubarb Triangle in the West Yorkshire area of England. I only hope they’ve constructed enough washrooms in the zone to make sure any visitors are covered, should they imbibe in rhubarb treats.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This was a pretty good cocktail, one of the drink ideas found on those little bottle attachments that I love so much. Although I hate when they bother to include a little recipe booklet and all the options are plain and suck. I mean, why bother. The Rhubarb Tea Liqueur was not like this. Anyhoo, I believe this is the first time the Sip Advisor has ever used Rhubarb anything and it was a hit. Ma Sip is already looking to make this her summer cocktail, later this year.

Israel – Cabernet Cobbler

People & Products

It’s kind of crazy how many people and products most of us had no clue originate from Israel. From starlets and rockers to computer programs and board games, Israeli influences are more common that you would think. Let’s take a look at some of those that are changing the world from the Holy Land:

Natalie Portman

The beautiful actress who has stolen my heart time and time again was actually born in Israel as Natalie Hershlag and moved to the U.S. in 1984, at the age of three. After wowing audiences as a 13-year-old in the 1994 Film, The Professional, Portman has gone on to star in Star Wars prequels, V for Vendetta, Black Swan, and Thor.

Natalie Portman Straw

Max Brenner Chocolates

The “chocolate by the bald man” has its headquarters based in Ra’anana, Israel. The company was actually founded by Max Fichtman and Oded Brenner (the chocolatier of the duo). My favourite cocktail of all-time (Satisfaction Guaranteed) came from the Max Brenner restaurant and store at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.

Cherry Tomatoes

No salad is truly complete without the addition of cherry tomatoes. These versatile little veggies were the product of a 12-year breeding program, overseen by labs in Israel. Highlights of the cherry tomato include an increased shelf life and optimal ripening cycle. Who would have thought it could take so long to make a baby tomato!

Gene Simmons

The KISS frontman and tongue wagging demon was born Chaim Witz in Haifa, Israel, in 1949. Along with his mother, Simmons came to the U.S. at the age of eight, speaking no English. He’s certainly come a long way, as the legendary rocker had his own reality show and even claims to have had sex with nearly 5,000 women.

Gene Simmons Doctor

SodaStream

Given my position as a top notch liquor slinger, I’ve often thought that one of these machines could come in handy, especially given I like fizz in nearly every drink I choose to make. SodaStream’s headquarters are located in Lod, Israel, which must make for some interesting flavour proposals, such as hummus and falafel!

USB Flash Drives

Where would many of us be without these pocket-sized tools? The flash drive virtually killed the floppy disk, which could only hold a fraction of the amount of information most USB’s are able to contain. The drives were developed by Israeli company M-Systems, who joined with tech giant IBM to release the product.

Haim Saban

One of the craziest phenomena of my childhood was the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, which was the work of Israeli Haim Saban (or at least his production company). The series is still alive and kicking to this day, having gone through countless iterations. Saban is worth an estimated $3 billion, according to Forbes.

Power Rangers Killers

ICQ

Standing for “I Seek You,” ICQ was developed by Mirabilis, an Israeli company since absorbed by America Online (AOL) for $407 million. It was the first one-on-one online conversation program that allowed users their own account. While I didn’t use the system much, ICQ was once the hottest instant messaging service available.

Hillel Slovak

An original member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Slovak (born in Haifa, Israel) was there for the bands earliest successes. Sadly, Slovak died from a heroin overdose, in 1988, at the young age of 26. An inspiration for the group, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012, with fellow members of the Chili Peppers.

Rummikub

This tile-based game was invented in Israel by Ephraim Hertzano and went on to be the best-selling game in the U.S. in 1977, as well as win Game of the Year awards in Germany (1980) and the Netherlands (1983). I’ve never actually played Rummikub before, but assume I’d be good, simply because the game has the word rum in it!

Israel: Cabernet Cobbler

Cabernet Cobbler Wine Cocktail

  • 4 oz Cabernet Sauvignon Wine
  • Top with Club Soda
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Pinch of Sugar
  • Garnish with an Orange Wedge

For whatever reason, Israel seems shrouded in mystery, but the Sip Advisor likes a good mystery. We also have Israelites to thank for Windows XP, the Amazon Kindle, and modern computer printing, among many other things. Heck, they even bred the golden hamster, which has my little kitty Furious B salivating!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
While I enjoyed this drink, it could basically be made by combining Cabernet Sauvignon Wine and Lemon-Lime Soda. It’s a pretty simple recipe, but one I felt I needed to do with the wine I selected for these articles.

Iceland – Katla

Viking Power

I’ve always been fascinated by the World’s Strongest Man competitions. Iceland, is home to two of the sport’s greatest icons, Jón Páll Sigmarsson and Magnús Ver Magnússon, who combined won the event eight times (four each), ranking Iceland at the top of the powerlifting game. Let’s take a look at these two hulking men and their contributions to strongman lore:

Jón Páll Sigmarsson

Born in Hafnarfjörður (just don’t ask the Sip Advisor to try and pronounce the word), Sigmarsson was the first to win the World’s Strongest Man event four times, doing so in a seven year span. His lowest finish in the tournament was third place in 1989. From humble beginnings, Sigmarsson’s legend grew as he participated in events around the world, including Scotland’s Highland Games.

Sigmarsson was a showman and loved to put on a performance. His charisma came through the TV screen with roars, shouting, and celebrations. During one event of the 1985 World’s Strongest Man, an audience member made the mistake of calling Sigmarrson an Eskimo, to which the powerlifter replied, “I am not an Eskimo, I am a Viking!” before snatching and seemingly with ease, lifting a 495kg cart.

Sigmarsson

Sadly, Sigmarsson passed away at the young age of 32, from a heart attack. He died doing what he loved, lifting, in his own gym, Jakaból (which means Giant’s Nest). While steroid use played a role in his death, there was also a heart defect that others in his family had suffered from. Sigmarsson was survived by a son, Sigmar, and I wonder if he ever followed in the footsteps of his dear ol’ dad?

A fascinating documentary was made on the life of Sigmarsson, titled Larger than Life. The Sip Advisor actually watched it en route to Iceland and it gave me a different perspective going into the country. Sigmarsson was enshrined in the World’s Strongest Man Hall of Fame in 2012, one of only three competitors to be selected thus far into the hallowed halls.

PIPES_grande

Magnús Ver Magnússon

Hailing from Egilsstaðir (again, I don’t even know where to begin with the pronunciation of this place name) and already owning one of the greatest villainous names in entertainment history, Ver Magnússon seemed like the perfect fit to take the torch from Sigmarsson and become the next great Icelandic strongman. Like Sigmarsson, Ver Magnússon travelled the world in his early years of lifting, winning competitions across the globe.

Equaling Sigmarsson’s achievement of four World Strongest Man titles (between 1991 and 1996), it should be noted that Ver Magnússon also ranked as the event’s runner-up in 1992 and 1993. That’s domination if I’ve ever seen it. The two Icelandic warriors are only surpassed by Mariusz Pudzianowski of Poland, who has five wins to his name.

magnusson

Ver Magnússon reached mass American audiences, not only with his World’s Strongest Man accolades, but with an appearance in a Coors Light commercial, as well as an appearance on The Daily Show, in 2008, where he showed off his still formidable strongman skills. There are rumours that Ver Magnússon has been trying to raise funds to film a movie about his life, titled ‘My Way.’

In the meantime, Ver Magnússon has gone on to own the Jakaból gym, replacing Sigmarsson, and training the next generation of Icelandic Vikings. One of his protégés is Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, nicknamed ‘Thor.’ Bjornsson recently appeared on Game of Thrones as the fearful Gregor Clegane, aka The Mountain. Ver Magnússon also judges strongman and powerlifting competitions internationally and remains a face of the sport.

Iceland: Katla

Katla Cocktail

  • 1 oz Brennivin
  • 0.5 oz Kahlua
  • Top with Club Soda
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Garnish with a Lemon Slice

I can’t even imagine lifting some of the items these two behemoths tossed over their shoulder or hurled through the air. Simarsson even set a Guinness World Records by lifting the largest whiskey bottle… that’s a feat the Sip Advisor can truly appreciate!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
Brennivin is also known as Black Death, which I don’t fully understand, given the spirit is clear and doesn’t taste bad at all. Icelanders might disagree with me on the taste experience, but I think I know my liquors. This cocktail is named after an active volcano in Iceland, but it will certainly not cause you to erupt and is actually quite nice.

Guyana – Hart of Darkness

Cult Following

While we happily looked at the legendary city of El Dorado after arriving in Guyana on this worldwide tour, today we take a somber twist and discuss the Jonestown Massacre, an event which brought the most international attention to Guyana, following the mass suicide/murder of 909 Peoples Temple cult members:

First, let’s get some background on these folks. The Peoples Temple was founded in 1956 and led by reverend Jim Jones. First established in Indianapolis, Indiana, the church was moved to Redwood Valley, California in 1966. Seeking to build a communistic community, free from the U.S. government’s involvement, the Peoples Temple set up shop in Guyana after buying jungle land from that government in 1973.

jonestown_news

As an article about Jones was set to be printed, featuring quotes from ex-Peoples Temple members, the cult leader moved his operation to Guyana, dubbing the compound, Jonestown. Things got off to a rocky start in Jonestown, as there weren’t enough cabins, making those that existed overfilled. Followers were also split up according to gender, separating married couples and families.

The conditions were rough in the humid jungle, where members were required to work long days and rest wasn’t rewarded in the evening, as Jones broadcast his non-stop thoughts over a loudspeaker all through the night. Followers weren’t allowed to leave the armed-guarded compound and escape was futile, given the remote location deep in the bush.

On November 18, 1978, U.S. congressman Leo Ryan, who was visiting Jonestown (along with worried family members of Peoples Temple worshippers and various news crews, reporters, and photographers) after hearing stories about the situation, offered to bring anyone who wanted to leave the compound back with him to America. Only a few followers accepted the proposition, scared of Jones and his power.

Jonestown Airport

As the group was set to leave, a Peoples Temple member attempted to attack Ryan. This let the whole group know they were in danger and they made their way to the nearby airport, but tragically, the planes weren’t ready to take off yet. As the ensemble waited, cult followers opened fire on them, killing five, including Ryan. Ryan’s death made him the first congressman to perish during official government duty.

Jones gathered his worshippers, told them of the attack on Ryan and his group, and warned them of repercussions from the U.S. government. He advocated for a “revolutionary act” of mass suicide and quelled the one objection to the plan. Tubs of a grape-flavoured drink (I never was a fan of grape drink), mixed with cyanide, chloral hydrate, and Valium were brought out and distributed to members – women and children first – with armed guards enforcing everyone to drink the potion.

It only took approximately five minutes for the whole congregation to perish, 303 of which were kids. As for Jones, he died after being shot in the head, although it’s inconclusive if the bullet was self-inflicted or not. Only 33 people (some of them children) survived the whole ordeal, including members who hid within the compound, escaped into the jungle or were part of the group not killed at the airport.

Jonestown Tombstone

It was later discovered that Jones, referred to as ‘Dad’ by his followers, was addicted to various drugs, which didn’t bode well for his rampant paranoia. Jones had even been arrested in the men’s room of a Los Angeles movie theatre, five years before the tragedy, for soliciting sex from an undercover cop. Although sex was banned (LAME!) at Jonestown, Jones regularly participated in intimate acts with female and male worshippers, saying it was to bring them a closer connection to him.

While the massacre bred the term ‘Drink the Kool-Aid,’ Kool-Aid wasn’t even the refreshing beverage used at all, but a knockoff called Flavor-Aid. I hope the fine makers of Kool-Aid, represented legally by their mascot the Kool-Aid Man, took every person who used the line to court and if they didn’t change their ways, were the recipient of one of Kool-Aid Man’s classic wall crashing “Oh-Yeah’s.”

Today, what was once Jonestown has disappeared back into the jungle landscape, with the buildings destroyed and the plant life overgrowing and dominating the area again. The massacre was the greatest loss of U.S. civilian life (not including natural disasters) until the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Guyana: Hart of Darkness

Hart of Darkness Martini

  • 1.5 oz Lemon Hart Rum
  • Top with Club Soda
  • Splash of Sweet & Sour Mix
  • Dash of Passion Fruit Syrup
  • Dash of Honey
  • Garnish with a Peach Wedge

It’s crazy to think that anyone can be swayed so dramatically as to kill themselves and allow their families to suffer such a horrible fate. Tragically, cults have popped up from time to time across the globe, feasting on the minds of the weak and needy. At least in the Cult of Sip you get frequent doses of booze… join me, won’t you!?

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This was a very nice martini, but I wonder if I would have enjoyed it more had I subbed in Lemon-Lime Soda, rather than Club Soda to give it a little more flash and flair. The Lemon Hart Rum is quite nice and will make for many good cocktails in the future.

Guyana – Gold Way Cocktail

Gold Digger

Guyana is said to be the location of the fabled El Dorado, or as it’s more popularly known, the Lost City of Gold. Like Scrooge McDuck and Flintheart Glomgold, I intend on finding this massive fortune, so join me if you dare, as we discover the truth about this lucrative legend!

The term El Dorado first referred to the king of the Muisca people, who were based in what is now Colombia. He would powder himself with gold dust and then jump into Lake Guatavitá as an offering to the creators of the universe. After learning of the legend, Spanish conquistadors swiftly conquered the Muisca folks, but when their findings of gold were so minimal, they refused to believe that they had actually located El Dorado and continued their fruitless search.

El Dorado

As with many legends, its stature grew with time and retellings, changing from being about a king to an entire city of gold. With occasional minor hauls of gold, inspiration continued to thrive, but the mother lode was never located. The Spanish weren’t alone in their pursuit of the wealthy empire and were joined by German explorers and even some English. Sadly, when Sir Walter Raleigh failed to find the city after two expeditions, he returned to England and was executed.

Another element that helped spread the myth was the various South American civilizations, who were getting slaughtered, realizing that the best way to get rid of the invading treasure seekers was to tell them that El Dorado was not where they currently were, but somewhere further on. This kept the search continuing and widening to the furthest reaches of the continent.

On the plus side, this all led to great advancements in exploring and mapping South America. Most notably, Francisco de Orellana discovered the Amazon River and traced it to the Atlantic Ocean. Maps in Europe during this time, even depicted the fabled golden city as existing in the mountains of Guyana. Of course, it was never actually found there, but like the Lost City of Atlantis, that doesn’t mean people have stopped searching for it.

Guyana Money

Maybe El Dorado is in Guyana, given they’re rocking $5,000 bank notes!

Lope de Aguirre became known as the ‘Madman of El Dorado’ when he usurped power over an expedition led by Pedro de Ursúa, murdered many in the party and went on to attack Spanish settlements, declaring his group independent from Spain. Aguirre was finally dealt with by the Spanish, but not before leading a brief reign of terror. Perhaps he went insane in his search for the lost city.

The El Dorado name has spread across the globe, often being used as a moniker for a mining town or other place that riches can be sought quickly. There’s El Dorado County in California and in contrast, Helldorado was a nickname earned by Tombstone, Arizona. Both the El Dorado and Helldorado tags have been used by beer brewing companies. Also, General Motors bestowed upon its most expensive model the name Cadillac Eldorado, in honour of the mythical city.

Cadillac-eldorado

DreamWorks animated film The Road to El Dorado may be the most recognized piece of popular culture referencing the myth. Starring the voice talent of Kevin Kline and Kenneth Branagh and having a stacked lineup for its soundtrack, the movie follows two Spanish explorers who discover the Lost City of Gold and are viewed as gods by the citizens of El Dorado. They try to con these fine El Doradians in the hope they can get away with all their loot and hijinks ensues.

The concept of El Dorado has been turned into metaphor, as it could involve anything a person longs for, whether that be wealth, love, happiness, etc. It can also be used to describe something unattainable. If you are said to be “looking for El Dorado,” you’re basically being told that your mission is hopeless and will result in nothing but misery. The Sip Advisor’s ‘El Dorado’ may be the success of this site and thankfully for all you little sippers, I’m just too dumb to give up!

Guyana: Gold Way Cocktail

Gold Way Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Lemon Hart Rum
  • 0.5 oz Galliano
  • Top with Club Soda
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with a Lime Wheel

I think it would have been fun to live in a time when all these mysteries weren’t disproved… when a sense of adventure and discovery existed and we couldn’t just Google everything to learn the answer. That said, I’m quite comfortable playing around on the internet, rather than going out to find answers on my own, so let’s just call the whole thing a wash!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
The recipe calls for Vanilla Syrup, but I subbed in Galliano instead and it was the highlight of the drink, coming in at the end on top of the Rum and Club Soda. I should also note that there is an El Dorado rum out there, that would be even more interesting if it included gold leaf!