Mrs. Sip and I were recently gifted this Anthon Berg Chocolate Liqueurs Gift Box. The 64-piece set includes bottles from Sauza Tequila, Jim Beam Bourbon, Cointreau Orange Liqueur, Canadian Club Whiskey, Galliano Vanilla Liqueur, Danzka Vodka, Borghetti Caffe Liqueur, and Remy Martin Cognac.
Despite not being a big dark chocolate fan, I do like these in small doses at one or two at a time. My favourites of the bunch seem to be the liqueur-flavoured options, while there aren’t any I dislike.
The collection is sold in many different formats, so the treats can be sampled at varying price points. I know Walmart (at least in Canada) often sells a set around Christmas that is reasonably priced and I believe contains 16 pieces.
Anthon Berg also has a Chocolate Cocktails line, which I’d be interested in trying. Drinks include the Cosmopolitan, Margarita, Mojito, and Strawberry Daiquiri.
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With many of our family and friends asking, “Do they ever work?”, Mrs. Sip and I were out of town again the past week and a half, enjoying a coastal cruise aboard the Star Princess, followed by a few days with her parents at a resort in Escondido, California. Here’s part one of all the fun we got up to:
One of the first things we do after boarding our ship is search out potential drinks deals and get a lay of the land. One of these deals came to us, as our steward dropped off two complimentary drink tickets upon meeting us. We used these later to grab a couple of their cocktails. While Mrs. Sip ordered an Ultimate Mai Tai – her favourite Princess beverage – I tried The Isaac, designed for Princess Cruises 50th anniversary, by the man who played the bartender on The Love Boat. The drink combined Bacardi Rum with lime and pomegranate juices and it was fun to have a drink made by the fictional liquor slinger.
Mrs. Sip and I are platinum members with the cruise line and therefore have access to their Elite Lounge from 5-7pm each day of the voyage. This includes feature drinks and appies. While there used to just be one drink on the menu priced at $5, they now feature a line of about a half dozen cocktails that are discounted. We worked our way through the list over our four-day cruise, which included the Chairman of the Board; Rob Roy; Mojito; Japanese Slipper; Brezza Marina; and Cosmopolitan. I like that they picked strong drinks for the lounge options.
Another trick of the trade was the ship’s new BOGO hours, which allowed passengers to buy one drink and get a second of the same for only one dollar more. We used this on a couple occasions, to get Mojitos and Beverly Hills Iced Teas.
As far as bringing alcohol on board the ship, passengers are allowed one bottle of wine each, but we always bring on a little more. To cover the entire gamut, we brought on one red, one white, and one bubbly. We also typically tuck a couple mini liquor bottles into our toiletry kits, which go perfectly with the complimentary lemonade you can get at the buffet. On this cruise, we combined the soft drink with Evan Williams Cherry Liqueur, Smirnoff Watermelon and Camarena Reposado Tequila, Absolut Raspberri and Camarena Reposado Tequila, and Pinnacle Peach Vodka and Cruzan Coconut Rum.
As previously mentioned, Princess Cruises is currently celebrating their 50th anniversary and had some specially designed drinks to ring in their golden anniversary year. Mrs. Sip and I splurged and tried a couple – at $12 per cocktail, we couldn’t enjoy them all – including the Anniversary Bliss (Bulleit Bourbon, Peach Schnapps, Frangelico, simple syrup, mint leaves) and 50 Years More (Don Julio, Blue Curacao, White Creme de Cacao, Galiano, lime juice). Both drinks we nicely crafted and blended some interesting ingredients.
Despite being on international waters, craft beer could still be found. We tried both the Seawitch Denali Red Alaska Style Red Ale and the Seawitch West Coast IPA, brewed exclusively for Princess Cruises by Denali Brewing and Strike Brewing, respectively. The Red Ale was the better of the two, as the IPA had a copper aftertaste, although that dissipated as you consumed more of the beer.
A new find for the Sip Advisor on this cruise was the Margarita Bar, which featured a number of great recipes. Mrs. Sip and I shared their Strawberry & Black Pepper (Cazadores Reposado, strawberry juice, black pepper) and Chocolate & Chili (Don Julio, White Creme de Cacao, fresh jalapeños) options. I loved the Chocolate & Chili, as the chocolate really balances out the jalapeños. There was also a Sweet & Smokey (Tequila, Scotch, Grand Marnier, orange juice) I was interested in, but did not get a chance to try.
On our final evening of cruising, we went to the Vines wine bar, where they were advertising a wine and chocolate pairing. Unfortunately, they only had one set of the chocolates left, so I let Mrs. Sip be the fortunate recipient (chivalry is far from dead, my little sippers!) of the truffles designed by chocolatier Norman Love. Her pairing combined one light, medium and heavy red with chocolates using cocoa from five different countries (Venezuela, Tanzania, Peru, Dominican Republic, Ghana). On the server’s recommendation, I did New World wine flight which included Wild Horse Pinot Noir (USA), Caliterra Carmenere (Chile), and McPherson Shiraz (Australia).
I suppose my only complaint from the cruise would be that near the end, they had run out of a number of supplies, such as the aforementioned chocolates to pair with the wines and some other chocolate ingredients that were meant to go with a menu of cocktail concoctions intended to celebrate the 50th anniversary.
Only half way through our little vacation, part two will look at our time spent in the San Diego County area, with a journey into the Temecula Valley Wine Country and time spent exploring the city’s craft beer community!
You’d think that with St. Patrick’s Day in the rear-view mirror, the partying would come to a stop, or at least a gradual slowdown. Not so with the Sip Advisor! Last weekend was just as busy, if not more so than the one before and that’s not a bad thing… that’s a good thing!
The weekend got started off on the right note with friends coming over for some drinks and games. I picked up a pack of the St. Ambroise variety collection, as my contribution for guests. This set contained two each of the company’s IPA, Double IPA, Scotch Ale, Blonde Ale, and Oatmeal Stout. I’m still working my way through the case, but have enjoyed the offerings thus far. The Scottish Ale is particularly good and will knock your socks off with its bold flavour.
On the same shopping trip that I picked up the beer, I finally grabbed the UV Sriracha Vodka I’ve had my eyes on (to be featured in an upcoming Flavour Revolution post). I really like this spirit and have invented a great Cosmopolitan variation, using it and mixing with Cranberry-Lemonade juice. Based on Sriracha’s nickname of Cock Sauce – due to the rooster logo on the bottle, of course – I call my creation the Cock Buster! It was a hit with my guests/customers all weekend.
The booze highlight of the week was Yaletown Brewery’s Ales of March Caskival, which offered samples of 11 different beers for only $22. At the event were breweries from around B.C.’s Lower Mainland region, including Dead Frog, Strange Fellows, Red Truck, Big Ridge, Persephone, Powell Street, Moody Ales, Bridge, and, of course, Yaletown. This Caskival was far less populated than February’s IPA showcase, but that is not a complaint, as we were able to move much more freely and even snagged a table this time around. Mrs. Sip wonders if the Ciderwise event (featuring ciders and gluten-free beers) going on at the same time caused the split audience.
Not content to let Sunday be a day of rest, we went for a leisurely drive out to Port Moody, to visit Yellow Dog Brewing. The place was packed when we arrived, but we managed to get Mrs. Sip a seat at the front bar, while sharing a taster set that included their Play Dead IPA, Chase My Tail Pale Ale, Lightly Smoked Pilsner, Shake a Paw Smoked Porter, and Tripel Dog Dare Belgian Tripel. As you can see, Yellow Dog has some of the most creative brew names I’ve come across on the scene. We enjoyed each of the beers, with my personal favourite probably being the Pale Ale. That’s saying something because I usually don’t gravitate towards this type of suds.
Our mid-week break (who am I kidding, we’re always having fun!) featured a stop at The Winking Judge Pub, where Mrs. Sip and I got to sample some of East Van Brewing’s beer options. I ordered their Wheel Bite IPA, which was a really good drink. Best of all, some proceeds from my purchase went to charity… now that’s the kind of philanthropy I can get down with!
Who knows what this coming weekend has in store, but it certainly has a lot to live up to. With a winery event, housewarming party, WWE WrestleMania, and my and Mrs. Sip’s 13th dating anniversary on the horizon, I can say with some certainty that there will be much to discuss!
Personally, I’m not a fan of ready-made booze products. But it’s a topic I feel should be discussed and what better time to do it than while we enjoy a fresh serving of one of the more popular bottled options, the Mudslide. Here are some other pre-mixed selections available on the market:
Mudslide – Packaged by the folks at Kahlua (among other companies), this is one concoction that I’ve actually tried and I remember (stop laughing… I do have some brain cells left) enjoying. Of course, this was years before I got into mixology and I don’t think I’d try this type of product nowadays.
Caesar – There’s been quite the market the last few years for ready-made Caesars and while it’s nice to have such a complicated recipe simplified in bottle form, I think the Caesar truly shines when you put all those intricate ingredients together yourself.
Cola Mixes – This can be done with rum, whiskey, bourbon, etc. with companies such as Bacardi, Malibu, Bulleit, Jim Beam, and Jack Daniel’s flooding the market. Broski Sip and I did find ourselves enjoying Jack Daniel’s Hard Cola on one vacation, but that was many moons before I became the Sip Advisor you worship today… I’m a bit of a booze snob now. Most of these liquor companies also offer their spirit mixed with ginger ale for the anti-cola drinker.
Gin & Tonic – G&T’s are so easy to make, it amazes me that anyone would need it to be pre-mixed and bottled for them, but the world has become incredibly lazy. Gordon’s is one prominent company that has jumped aboard the ‘ready-to-drink’ train. Smirnoff also offers a vodka tonic mix.
Cosmopolitan – I guess you could still pour your Cosmo bottle into a martini glass, but I think all of the class and sophistication the drink is supposed to come with would be lost. The girls on Sex and the City would be so horrified!
Mojito – I strive to make a wicked Mojito and have received rave reviews. I just can’t fathom enjoying a pre-mixed version of the cocktail, so I’ll just move on.
Long Island Iced Tea – I am a fan of the pre-mixed Long Island Iced Tea spirit, combining vodka, gin, rum, and triple sec in one fell swoop, but I don’t think I’d like a pre-bottled version of the drink, eliminating the chance for me to play with different mixers.
Long Island Iced Tea in a box!?!? Oh, shizzle, where do I sign up!
Dark N’ Stormy – Made by the Bundaberg Rum company, I only wonder if they got clearance from the Gosling’s folks to bottle this drink, since Gosling’s claims a copyright on the Dark N’ Stormy recipe and will fight bartenders who use it sans Gosling’s Rum.
Daiquiri/Margarita – I’ve seen these offerings in a wide array of flavours, from lime to strawberry to mango and everything in between. I’m a huge fan of the legitimate versions of these drinks and am curious to try the pre-mixed style, but also a little cautious, as well.
Pina Colada – We finish with the Pina Colada, which troubles me a little because I think the drink is best received in frozen form. I guess you could add it to shaved ice, much like a snow cone, but given we are mired in the onset of winter, I can’t even think about summer drinks at the moment.
It seems that all of your popular cocktails have been released in pre-mix form. That’s capitalism for you, I suppose. If this is how you prefer to get your swerve on, I don’t hate you… I just don’t like you very much!
Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5): There are a variety of Mudslide recipes in existence. The ingredients I used are an amalgamation of those offerings. The Tequila stood out a little stronger than I would have liked, but otherwise, the cocktail was passable.
One of my favourite wrestlers – yeah, that’s right, I watch wrestling, so what of it? I like to watch a good slobber-knocker every now and again, while sipping back the booze… mmm, booze… wait, where was I? As I was saying, one of my favourite wrestlers of all time, the ‘Fallen Angel’ Christopher Daniels, started a gimmick recently in which he’s always seen with an Appletini during interviews and even while coming down to the ring. This got me thinking (and drinking) about the Appletini, of course, and also about the characters out there that are associated with a particular drink, frequently having it in their possession.
It is a rare sight to see Julian without a rum and coke in his hands and there were many times throughout the run of Trailer Park Boys when viewers marveled over the tasks he was able to complete while not spilling his coveted beverage. Among them, playing street hockey and running from the cops in a high-speed chase.
Tough as nails, Ron Swanson refuses to drink anything but Lagavulin Scotch. Only once has he departed from his nectar-of-choice, after co-worker Tom Haverford designed snake juice (described as a high-end Kahlua style liquor by its creator, but as basically rat poison by others – to be discussed in a future post on invented drinks) and bet Ron he would love it. Ron did and the result was the video posted below.
Throughout the movie, The Big Lebowski, The Dude enjoys nine White Russian cocktails. There’s even a drinking game out there, where players are supposed to have a White Russian every time The Dude has one. That’s an impressive feat and could be a future Liquor Challenge for myself (coming soon to The Sip Advisor)!
Mad Men sucks… sorry, it had to be said. I love how my site can be a platform for me to hate things! I’d start writing about Mr. Draper, his drink of choice and his show, but too many words have been wasted on—
The ladies of Sex and the City revitalized this cocktail after making it their favourite libation. As I recently wrote in my Cosmo post, I do enjoy this drink and for that, I guess I have to thank Carrie and company for making it so popular in restaurants. In return for my gesture of gratefulness, I only ask that there be no more Sex and the City movies. Deal?
“I love scotch. Scotchy, scotch, scotch. Here it goes down, down into my belly.” That is one of many amazingly funny quotes about scotch in Anchorman. I can’t wait for the Anchorman sequel, where I’m sure Ron will get back to his womanizing, scotch-loving ways. Stay classy, San Diego!
The ‘Orange Whip’ isn’t pictured, but you can tell that this guy is a booze hound!
Mercer’s drinking of this beverage even inspired a renaissance of sorts for it. I definitely need to steal his way of asking who wants a drink. He basically makes a drink for each time he asks if anyone wants one and then likely enjoys them all, himself. “Who wants an orange whip? Orange whip? Orange whip? Three orange whips.” Ha, classic!
Everybody has done the “shaken, not stirred” joke at some point in their life. We get it, you watch movies and can quote one of the shortest and most misinformed lines featured on the silver screen. The funny thing is that the way Mr. Bond has his drink constructed, is actually incorrect. Anytime you are only using alcohols, with no mixers involved, it’s recommended that you stir your ingredients, rather than shake, so as not to bruise the alcohol too much and diminish its taste. Tisk, tisk, James…
And now we come full circle! Like wrestler, Christopher Daniels, J.D. on Scrubs loved his Appletinis. Despite the fact most bartenders mistook him for being female, as a result of his drink order, J.D. would not be deterred and that takes some balls. J.D. even paid $105 for an Appletini once, but found it a little too light on the ‘tini’. Let’s salute J.D. and make him a proper one.
The best part about putting this piece together is that it has inspired me to make some cocktails I had previously never tried. I’ve always wanted to try the Bond-styled martini – although I’ll be stirring my ingredients, thank you very much – and the Orange Whip intrigues me, as well. I also have never had a true old fashioned yet, but I will certainly not be thinking about ‘the show that shall not be named’ when I enjoy the classic concoction.
Have I missed anything? Did I neglect your favourite character and their drink of choice? Drop me a line and chew me out, just make sure to have fun with your insults. Until next time…
Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
I like the Appletini… there, I said it. That sour apple flavour, while not my favourite, is quite tasty. One must always be sure to use sour green apples for this recipe. I guess you could use red or golden delicious, but what would be the point.
Don’t be so shocked, Skeletor, dudes be drinking Cosmos too!
When I was 12 I had one of my kidneys removed, leaving me with a wicked scar that surprisingly worked well with the ladies. I like to think I know how studs like Ryan Reynolds and Matthew McConaughey feel with people everywhere ogling their midsection… only problem, I don’t have a ripped abdominal core… I’m on the freak side of the awe and attention. But that’s not the point of this story.
Prior to the operation I met with a dietary physician or something like that – basically someone who tells you what to eat and drink and what not to indulge in. I was told to reduce my salt intake (never really happened… seasoning salt, I put that shit on everything), drink alcohol in small doses when I became of legal age (you think I listened to that advice… I’m doing this blog, aren’t I) and to drink cranberry juice (lame… gross… hated the vile substance). That is, until recently, when I tried a Cosmo on my honeymoon cruise – hell, it was handed out to me for free – and found that cranberry juice wasn’t so bad after all… providing vodka, triple sec and lime juice are large portions of the mix.
Now, the Cosmo is likely one of the most ordered “Girls Night Out” drinks, but I’m going to team up with the drink and bring equality to the cocktail world. Together, we will change this perception that the Cosmo is only for the ladies. Like the You Can Playcampaign in the hockey/sport universe, I vow that You Can Drink a Cosmo, or any other martini, and not feel ashamed to be doing so.
There’s nothing wrong with a man holding a pink drink. A few months back, I even had a Cotton Candy Collins at Society in Vancouver. The restaurant being empty that particular afternoon might have helped, but it was worth the risk to enjoy this creative cocktail, which, of course, came with a healthy dose of pink cotton candy on the top of the drink and has inspired me to do a future Candy Drink Week.
Back to the Cosmo… I began to make them more regularly and before I knew it, a bottle of juice that I thought would sit in my fridge untouched for years was nearly empty. As you’ve seen in previous entries, I often don’t play by the rules in my cocktail construction, and for the Cosmo, this is no different. I personally prefer to drink a Cosmo on ice and in a rocks glass (as I first enjoyed it on the cruise), but for the purposes of this entry, I’ve presented the drink in a martini glass, as that is the traditional method. Just put all the ingredients into a shaker and strain.
Drink #6: The Cosmo
1.5 oz vodka (I used raspberry vodka just to girl it up a little more!)
All that’s left is to get cozy in a fuzzy robe and slippers (picture coming soon), throw on your favourite chick flick (mine’s Debbie Does Dallas – that counts right?!) and sip the night away!
Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
It may be a girly drink, but it’s a good one. The Cosmo was one of the first drinks that allowed me to enjoy Cranberry Juice and for that, I have to thank it. I have to admit though, my favourite ingredient is the splash of Lime Juice.