Snack Time #40 – Goldkenn Liquor Collection Chocolate Bars

Recent gifts for myself and Mrs. Sip included some Goldkenn Chocolate products. Of course, given our reputations, the delicacies came from the Swiss Chocolatier’s Liquor Collection and they were a very good introduction to the line.

Among the Chocolate Bars Mrs. Sip and I received, were the Amarula and Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey varieties. Both were very tasty and not too booze heavy. I particularly liked the honeycomb of the JD bar, while the fruit flavour of the Amarula bar was delicious.

Goldkenn Liquor Collection Chocolate Bars.png

Each bar is comprised of breakable pieces, so the treat can be savoured for some time. The collection also includes Beluga Vodka, Cointreau, Remy Martin Cognac, Grand Marnier, Saint James Rum, Famous Grouse Whiskey, and Morand Williamine Pear Liqueur.

The lineup reminds me of many of the chocolate liqueur bottle collections that are available, especially around Christmas. I’m hoping to try there bars and some of their Goldkenn siblings again very soon.

For more Snack Time articles, please visit our main page…

Advertisements

Mixer Mania #32 – Site Songs

When working with strawberries, the Beatles tune Strawberry Fields Forever will often pop into my mind, earworm style. With this week’s feature mixer being Strawberry Juice, I thought it would be a perfect time to look at some songs about places (more specific than a city or state) you can actually visit:

Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields Forever – The Beatles

The world’s most famous band (my opinion, of course) had a couple of hits about real places around their hometown of Liverpool. These include Penny Lane and the aforementioned Strawberry Fields Forever. When the Sip Family visited Liverpool in 2007, we took a tour that stopped at these locations, as well as the grave of Eleanor Rigby, featured in the song A Day in the Life, and rumoured to be where John Lennon and Paul McCartney first met.

Strawberry Fields

Folsom Prison Blues – Johnny Cash

Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues made the Folsom State Prison a part of pop culture. Later, Cash would perform twice at the venue, calling the inmates who watched his shows, “the most enthusiastic audience I have ever played to.” Notable prisoners of the 137-year-old jail, include musician Rick James, actor Danny Trejo and notable psychopath Charles Manson. That said, I doubt the prison is any kind of attraction, unless you’re a serious Johnny Cash fan.

Electric Avenue – Eddy Grant

While sounding upbeat, this Eddy Grant song is actually about a riot that took place on the south London street in 1981. The riot started due to recession tensions, which were felt particularly by the area’s African-Caribbean community. When we first moved in together, Mrs. Sip and I almost rented an apartment in a building called Electric Avenue. You better believe this song would have been going through my head every time I walked through the front doors.

Electric Avenue

Portobello Road – Bedknobs and Broomsticks

Portabello Road, located in the Notting Hill area of London, was featured in song in this 1971 Disney musical film. The track highlights the road’s market and those who inhabit it. Mrs. Sip’s love of Disney resulted in us venturing to the area on one of our trips to London. Sadly, there wasn’t much of a market running when we visited, perhaps due to the inclement weather we had to contend with. Despite this, I still allow Mrs. Sip a lot of control over our touring plans.

Baker Street – Gerry Rafferty

This song is most memorable for the amazing saxophone pieces, which apparently increased sales in the instrument, following the track’s release. Baker Street, of course, refers to the London road, whose most famous resident is the fictional Sherlock Holmes. Rafferty’s song, however, was about feelings of alienation and isolation. On most of my visits to London, I’ve ended up in the area, for a quick picture or two outside 221B Baker Street.

Mixer Mania #32: Valentini Martini

Valentini Martini.JPG

  • Rim glass with Strawberry Jam
  • 2 oz Vodka
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • Top with Strawberry Juice

It’s amazing how most of these songs highlight areas of England and finding other such examples was very difficult to do. Oh well, time to rock down to Electric Avenue (you know, after the eight-plus hour flight to the UK and pain getting through immigration and all!).

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
I couldn’t find any straight up Strawberry Juices, so I went with Strawberry-Kiwi. To enhance the berry flavour, I used Raspberry Vodka and rimmed the glass with Strawberry Jam. The results were decent, but nothing spectacular.

Mixer Mania #6 – It Gives You Wings

Energy drinks have become such an integral part of popular culture that of course they would be spoofed on TV and in movies. Let’s take a look at some of the more famous fictional energy drinks:

Brawndo (Idiocracy)

Otherwise known as ‘the thirst mutilator’, this sports drink was being used to irrigate the crops of the United States, before the process actually started destroying farming yields and causing food shortages. Of course, this is about 500 years in the fictional future, so we have nothing to worry about… for now. Brawndo actually became a legit product for a time, although it was released years after the film, so they kind of missed the cross-promotion possibilities.

Blue Bronco (The Simpsons)

Appearing in a handful (at least for the four-fingered Springfielders) of episodes, this energy drink is most prominently featured when teacher Mrs. Krabappel is fired and replaced by hipster Zachary Vaughn. When Bart looks to get Mrs. Krabappel rehired, he plans to spike Zach’s Blue Bronco – which he refers to as “riding the indigo pony” – only to discover that the new educator already does this, ending with a booze-fuelled rant about hating the children, prior to his firing.

Booty Sweat (Tropic Thunder)

Endorsed by rapper-turned-actor Alpa Chino, Booty Sweat comes with the slogan “Pop An Ass Open”! As part of the marketing campaign for Tropic Thunder, Booty Sweat was actually released to the public. Not surprisingly, one of the most common places to find the product was at bookstores on college campuses. Throw in a few retail chains, such as Hot Topic and the cherry-flavoured energy booster became a short-term hit.

Tru Blood (True Blood)

While meant to keep vampires alive, without having to draw blood from humans, the ‘energy drink’ was also a key component in the final seasons of the HBO series, when Tru Blood stock was tainted with the dreaded Hep-V virus. This made it useless to vampires and drove them to need to feed on human plasma to stay alive… or at least not die for reals. Later, New Blood replaces Tru Blood as the next vampire nourishment supplement.

Butters’ Creamy Goo (South Park)

Wow… how to approach this entry without losing my blogger’s license. Okay, so to become better Sarcastaball players (don’t have enough word count to explain the sport), the young South Park kids begin ingesting Butters’ Creamy Goo, the newest ‘sports drink’ on the market. In the end, the adults discover that the product is actually just semen and as usual, Butters ends up grounded. Only in the quiet little mountain town that is South Park!

Mixer Mania #6: All Nighter

All Nighter.JPG

  • 1 oz Galliano
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • 1 oz Strawberry Liqueur
  • Top with Energy Drink
  • Garnish with an Orange Slice

I’ve never been much of an energy drink guy, only dabbling in them when mixing the odd drop shot or other alcoholic beverage. I don’t think I’ve ever had a serving that hasn’t been spiked in some manner and I don’t plan on bucking that trend anytime soon.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
When describing this drink to friends, I said that it sounded really neat… until you added the Energy Drink. But since I used the Tropical-flavoured version of Red Bull, it was pretty tasty. The entire concoction was on the lighter side, but the flavours were all really good.

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?

Hungary – Breakfast at the Bar

Scourge of God

While Attila the Hun’s empire stretched across much of what is now Europe, he is greatly associated with the people of Hungary, thanks to the Hungarian Royal Court laying claim to him as their own ancestor. Let’s take a look at this brutal legend and sort the fact from the fiction:

Attila wasn’t a big dude (perhaps for his time he was), despite how he’s depicted in modern media as a hulking brute. His tale of the tape stated that Attila was only 5’6” and 145 lbs. When Rugila (king of the Huns) died, he left the Hunnic Empire to his nephews, Attila and Breda. Eventually, Attila tired of sharing the kingdom with his brother and had him killed. Attila ruled from 434 AD to 453 AD and was a terror to both the Eastern and Western Roman Empire.

Attila Inspired

Nobody knows exactly what Attila the Hun looked like, although he’s often depicted in his leather armor and with rough facial features and disheveled hair. Scholars debate over whether Attila would have had European features (like a Viking) or Asian characteristics (like a Mongolian). Although viewed and depicted as a cruel and ruthless leader, Attila was said to also possess great diplomatic skills.

Attila picked up a number of not-so-kind nicknames and credits during his lifetime and centuries later, as historians examined his reign of terror. He was known as the ‘Scourge of God,’ but that’s a title he actually gave himself. The History Channels ‘Ancients Behaving Badly’ named Attila ‘history’s first great terrorist’ and ranked him as history’s greatest psychopath. Count Dracula (in Bram Stoker’s Dracula) went so far to claim to be a descendant of the warrior, perhaps explaining his own bloodlust.

Despite his status as a legendary conqueror and barbarian, Attila died of a common nosebleed, choking on the blood. Researchers have thought that other factors contributed to his demise, such as alcoholism, which caused a rupture in his esophagus and death from internal bleeding. Attila’s death occurred on the same day as his marriage to the princess, Ildico, and therefore, poisoning has often been speculated as a cause of death.

Attila Death

Attila’s burial was shrouded in secrecy, with all those who witnessed the interment being executed. He may have been buried under part of the Tisza River (with the waters temporarily diverted) in a tomb of gold, silver, and iron. Although Attila was succeeded by his son, Ellac, his other children began fighting over Hun territory and the empire was divided, causing the Hun legacy to dissipate.

There have been TV mini-series and movies based off Attila and he has made appearances or been referenced in many other projects. In the Night at the Museum movies, he is portrayed as being simply misunderstood and in need of help. In an episode of Married with Children, he lines up on the devil’s football team to battle Al Bundy, with Bundy’s chance to return to earth up for grabs.

Attila has been used in many other forms of media, including as an occasional adversary to Hagar the Horrible in comics; as part of a planned, but never completed opera by Beethoven; as a hero and villain in various video games; and as a political euphemism, to describe an extreme conservative. McFarlane Toys even released an action figure of the iconic thug, as part of the series, ‘McFarlane’s Monsters III: 6 Faces of Madness.’

Attila Personal Trainer

On Spike TV’s ‘Deadliest Warrior,’ a show which takes historical figures and armies and matches them against each other to see who would win based on weaponry and battle tactics, Attila was matched up against Alexander the Great and defeated the legendary ruler. Attila’s weapons consisted of the Sword of Mars, the Lasso, the Hunnic Bow, and the Scythian Axe and his combat skills while riding horseback are thought to have largely secured the victory.

The oddest tribute came from Calypso musician Raymond Quevedo, who for whatever reason, chose to adopt the Attila the Hun moniker for his recording career. Instead of massacring tribes across Europe, Quevedo turned his artistry into entering the political realm in his home of Trinidad and Tobago. The real Attila the Hun and his exploits were even turned into a pinball machine, released in 1984… I love me some mass-murderer gaming action.

Hungary: Breakfast at the Bar

Breakfast at the Bar Martini

  • Muddle Marmalade
  • 1.25 oz Palinka (Apricot)
  • 0.75 oz Cointreau
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Garnish with a Lemon Slice and Orange Wedge

The Sip Advisor has yet to travel to Hungary, but in Budapest alone, there are 10 different streets named after Attila. This proves that all you need to do is be a total dick during your life and you’ll be remembered and honoured forever!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
This was a very good cocktail, offering my first chance to use Marmalade in a drink. It added a unique tangy orange flavour that was very much welcomed. I used a Lemon Slice, as well as an Orange Wedge to add some extra flavour, as well as presentation to the recipe.

Bolivia – Agwacadabra

Leafy Greens

In Bolivia, it’s common to see working-class folks drinking an illegal cocktail called Casquito (a mix of pure alcohol used for medical purposes and soft drinks or juices). The name translates to Little Helmet, describing the blue cap that the alcohol comes with, but I think it better describes the casket you may end up in after consuming the potent cocktail. And while that all sounds like an awesome experiment to undertake, that’s not the purpose of our stop in the country. So, let’s spin the wheel and learn about… the coca leaf!

Coca leaves are a cash crop for a number of South American countries, but are perhaps most notable in Bolivia, where they have played a role in the nation’s democracy, including the rise of the Cocalero Movement and that group’s leader, Evo Morales, becoming president of Bolivia in 2005. The movement was established in 1987 as the United States worked to crack down on drugs coming into the country.

coca leaves llama

As a result of the United States’ war on drugs, attempts to eliminate the coca leaf from existence have occurred with varying results. The Cocaleros have set-up blockades, attempted to write their own law proposals, and protest marches against the eradication of the plant. This has caused deaths, arrests, fights between growers and opposing forces, and even the Villa Tunari Massacre, which saw 16 Cocaleros murdered.

With Morales in power, new laws are being created and considered, with the elimination of the plant being scaled back. While other crops (coffee and citrus fruits) were offered in exchange for getting rid of coca operations, the profit return was dramatically less than farmers could get from their coca production and I’d be pissed too, if someone all of a sudden came in and told me I couldn’t make something that my family had been creating for years and surviving from.

Coca is also commonly used in medicines, usually in anesthetics and analgesics, providing relief from headaches, altitude sickness, and arthritis. In Bolivia, it is also used by locals to treat ulcers, asthma, digestion, and even malaria. Chewing on the leaves, or using them in teas will not provide similar results to using the drug cocaine. Although the same leaves do provide the psychoactive alkaloid for cocaine, it can only be removed through a chemical process known as acid/base extraction.

Drugs Draw the Line

Throughout Bolivia and other coca manufacturing countries, teas, granola bars, cookies, hard candies, and other items are sold in grocery markets. It is an ingredient in Agwa, the herbal spirit that we will be using during our pit stop in Bolivia. Most infamously, the coca leaf was used in the production of Coca-Cola from 1885 to 1929 and a similar product is used to this day, with the cocaine element removed from the plant.

The coca leaf is illegal in Brazil and Paraguay. In the United States, only one company brings the plant into the country (although others are registered to do so). The Stepan Company receives hundreds of tons of coca leaf each year, turning some of it into pure cocaine for medical use and the rest as a cocaine-free flavouring agent for Coca-Cola.

Bolivia: Agwacadabra

Agwacadabra Cocktail

  • 1 oz Agwa
  • 1 oz Gin
  • 0.25 oz Cointreau
  • Top with Cranberry Juice
  • Splash of Sour Mix
  • Garnish with Cranberries

I’ve never been a big Coca-Cola fan, preferring my mixers to come in the form of Pepsi or Dr. Pepper, but it would be interesting to take a trip (perhaps literally) in the ‘way back machine’ to a time when the soda contained drugs. I’m sure you’d have to down copious amounts of the pop to get any effect, but it might be an experiment worth undertaking!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
Mrs. Sip and I were lucky to stumble upon some mini bottles of Agwa in the Iceland Airport Duty Free, of all places. The Coca Leaf Liqueur is light and has a nice smell and taste to it. I absolutely love the name of this cocktail and it was very tasty with the Gin kicking in at the end of each sip. I had hoped to garnish the drink with a coca leaf, but no such luck.

Spain – First Avenue

I’d Tap That

Without Spain, we wouldn’t have tapas… and without tapas, we would never eat. Okay, that might be a little bit of exaggeration, but we certainly appreciate the invention of the appetizer, for without it, monstrous starter platters could not be devoured! Let’s take a look at some common Spanish tapas (according to Wikipedia – the number one source for online legitimacy) and see whether they pass the Sip Advisor taste test:

Tapas or Tapass

Albóndigas: Meatballs with sauce

Okay, we’re off to a decent start. Who doesn’t like meatballs? Well, I guess vegetarians and vegans, but do they really count?

Tortillitas de Camarones: Battered prawn fritters

Anything described as “battered” can play on my team!

Pimientos de Padrón: Small green peppers fried in olive oil or served raw (most are mild, but a few in each batch are quite spicy)

Finding the spicy green peppers is like locating the toy in a box of cereal. At first, you’re really happy because you found the surprise before anyone else could get to it. Joy turns to disappointment quickly, however, when you realize the toy isn’t that great anyway, much like a spicy green pepper when you’re expecting mild!

Aceitunas: Olives, sometimes with a filling of anchovies or red bell pepper

To me, appies need to be something more than a condiment stuffed with another condiment, but I sadly don’t call the shots in the country of Spain.

fuck-you-tapas

Solomillo al Whisky: Fried pork scallops, marinated using whisky, brandy or white wine and olive oil

Put the pork scallops aside and give me a couple bottles of your best marinade!

Cojonuda (superb female): A slice of Spanish morcilla with a fried quail egg over bread – it can also be prepared with a little strip of red, spicy pepper

Looked up morcilla and it is actually blood sausage, so there’s strike one. Strike two is the fried quail egg although I’m sure somewhere in the world it is a delicacy. While I can’t find anything to call the cojonuda out, I’ve decided to change the rules of baseball to suit my purpose and now all you need is two strike to retire a batter.

Cojonudo (superb male): A slice of Spanish chorizo with a fried quail egg over a slice of bread

So, there are male and female versions of cojonudo… is your sexual orientation decided by which you prefer? What if you like to swing both ways?

Pincho Moruno: A stick with spicy meat, made of pork, lamb or chicken

Nothing beats meat on a stick unless it’s spicy meat!

Appetizers

Empanadillas: Turnovers filled with meats and vegetables

Any food pocket device stuffed with more food will always shoot to the top of my favourite list. The name would have you thinking you’re about to eat a small animal, however.

Gambas: Prawns sauteed in salsa negra (peppercorn sauce), al ajillo (with garlic), or pil-pil (with chopped chili peppers)

Poor prawns… such a small creature and still gets stuffed with any number of items.

Mejillones Rellenos: Stuffed mussels, sometimes called tigres (“tigers”) because of the spicy taste

Mrs. Sip would love her some tiger muscles, but I have to note that tiger ice cream isn’t spicy and I think this calls into the question the process of describing spice levels using animals. I feel calling them dragon muscles would be more apt.

Patatas Bravas or Papas Bravas: Fried potato dices served with salsa brava a spicy tomato sauce – sometimes served also with mayo or aioli

Are these like brave little potatoes… you know, in a similar vein to the Brave Little Toaster?

Tapas Bill

Chorizo a la Sidra: Chorizo sausage slowly cooked in cider

Cider, you say? Not my favourite, but it does have booze in it!

Chorizo al Vino: Chorizo sausage slowly cooked in wine

See above, but even better!

Calamares or Rabas: Rings of battered squid

I wonder if the Spanish can rival Greek calamari? Perhaps both countries should send me some of their finest product and I will, once and for all, get to the bottom of this ever-deepening mystery.

Zamburiñas: Renowned Galician scallops, often served in a marinera, tomato-based sauce

Renowned??? I’ll be the judge of that. Again, Spain, send some my way and we’ll send out the results as soon as our little feast has concluded!

Spain: First Avenue

First Avenue Martini

  • 1.5 oz Sherry
  • 0.5 oz Cointreau
  • Splash of Campari
  • Top with Club Soda
  • Garnish with an Orange Wedge

Sometimes I’m into the idea of tapas and other times, I loathe them. While they’re a treasure trove of variety and perfect portion size for the ladies, a dude sometimes wants something he can really sink his teeth into like a fat burger or other hearty meal. The worst is going out with a group and splitting a bunch of appies… you will not have a good time!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes: (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This drink was pretty good. Even when I subbed in Tonic Water for Club Soda, it wasn’t as bitter as I feared it would be, especially with the splash of Campari there to team up with the Tonic. I guess the Cointreau and Sherry balance out the sweet-bitter war and make for an interesting cocktail.