Mixer Mania #45 – Use and Abuse

‘Tis the time of year that we bundle up indoors with a cup of hot chocolate and rewatch our favourite Christmas movies and TV specials. With that comes advertisements, where Santa has been used to sell everything from soda to snacks. Sure, we have Coca-Cola to thank for the modern image of jolly ol’ St. Nick, but other companies have done more to tarnish the legacy of Santa than build it up. Here are some of the most shameless uses of the yuletide icon:

Painkillers

Mrs. Sip and I just saw this Aleve ad the other day and while it seems harmless, the underlying message is concerning. To see Santa requiring medication to perform his annual duties should frighten every young tot in the world. It also takes away some of the big guy’s magic, thinking he suffers to bring joy to children all over the world. And what if Aleve is a gateway drug to more serious painkillers, causing Santa to have an opioid addiction and eventually need rehab to get his life and career back together.

Santa Aleve

Cigarettes

A number of companies have used Santa to market their smokes. I particularly like the one which shows Santa taking a break from his Christmas Eve activities to enjoy some smooth nicotine. This includes lighting up inside a family’s home, as he kicks back on a cozy chair, filling the dwelling with smoke. And here I thought he was more into milk and cookies… better leave a carton out for the gift-giver this year, ensuring years of good fortune and gifts.

Santa Smokes.jpg

Booze

Brands such as Crown Royal, Dewar’s, Martini, and Budweiser have all used Kris Kringle as a marketing figure to hawk their wares. The Byrrh company even released an ad in 1934 showing an very inebriated Santa – so drunk he can’t continue his epic yearly journey – taking five atop a home’s roof and drinking the wine-based aperitif. St. Nick is so blitzed that he even hallucinates an angel to share the liquor with, but she doesn’t look very impressed with Father Christmas. Maybe he’s sexually harassing her.

Santa Wine

Guns

With all the gun violence around the world, particularly in the U.S., why shouldn’t Santa also protect himself? That’s what one Californian gun range figured, when a billboard popped up in the state in 2014, featuring Santa (accessorized with dark sunglasses, of course) with a menacing glare and proudly holding an assault rifle. The owner of the range stated: “I got guns from Santa Claus when I was growing up. Some people get toys and some people get firearms. It’s kind of just where you’re from.” Indeed…

Santa Guns.png

Mixer Mania #45: All Warm And Fuzzy

All Warm And Fuzzy

  • 0.5 oz Kahlua
  • 0.5 oz Baileys Irish Cream
  • 0.5 oz Butterscotch Schnapps
  • 0.25 oz Cointreau
  • 0.25 oz Cognac
  • Top with Hot Chocolate
  • Garnish with a Marshmallow

What other examples of Santa Claus exploitation exist out there? Part of me wants to know and the other part would rather those examples stay hidden.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This drink is very tasty. It is certainly boozy and that was with me halving each liquor measurement. The recipe originally called for Grand Marnier, which I had to substitute with Cointreau and Cognac. There’s a lot of flavours going on, but the end result is warmth and a little decadence!

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July 18 – Red Baron #2

Sordid Sequels

With the prevalence of movie sequels nowadays (the summer season being riddled with them), it’s amazing that some of these franchises never received a second treatment. Hell, we waited 20 years for a follow-up to Dumb & Dumber! Some supplemental films get stuck in development hell (for example, Jurassic World, which was finally released last month, 14 years after the last film), while others never get off the ground and running. Here are the Top 5 films we should have seen a sequel to:

#5: Quick Hits

I’m going to lead off this article with a few honourable mentions, with brief ideas I would have for the sequels. Snakes on a Plane – Why not ‘Snakes on a Train’!? Wedding Crashers – The twist for this movie is that the main characters from the original have their wedding crashed, by the next generation of comedic stars. Serenity – What’s left of the infamous space crew goes after Fox executives to teach them lessons on giving up too soon. Team America: World Police – Not gonna lie, I just want more puppets! If any film studios want to hire me, my agent will be happy to hammer out a contract!

Brokeback Mountain 2

#4: Zombieland

Mrs. Sip and I are big fans of the original movie, particularly the rules of surviving a zombie apocalypse that appeared throughout the film. Following the success of the first installment, all of the main cast members expressed interest in returning for a sequel, but nothing has come to fruition as of yet. There was an attempt to bring Zombieland to the small screen with both a CBS and later Amazon series, but the CBS run never materialized and an Amazon ordered pilot was not picked up. In October 2014, rumours of a movie sequel surfaced again, so there’s still a chance for the franchise.

#3: Roger Rabbit

A sequel to Roger Rabbit has been in development for years, following the success of the first movie, released all the way back in 1988. One of the biggest hurdles was original director Steven Spielberg having a change of heart, as the original script would have seen Roger’s origin story and saving Jessica Rabbit from being kidnapped by Nazis. After Spielberg made Schindler’s List, he decided he could no longer combine Nazis and comedy. In 2013, news surfaced of a Roger Rabbit-Mickey Mouse buddy comedy, but no updates have come from the original reports.

Toy Story 9

#2: Beetlejuice

There have been numerous attempts to bring a second Beetlejuice movie to the big screen after the quirky 1988 film was both a critical and commercial success. Scripts have been written that included Beetlejuice moving his operations to Hawaii, where he was to battle an ancient Hawaiian Kahuna and win surf competitions… seriously, this was in the script. As recently as January 2015, news broke that a script had been finished and that director Tim Burton, along with stars Michael Keaton and Wynona Ryder would participate.

#1: Ghostbusters

With a third installment of the popular Ghostbusters franchise due in theatres in 2016, it will have been a long time between releases, with Ghostbusters 2 hitting big screens all the way back in 1989. Since then, fans have held their breath, waiting for a follow-up. Interestingly, the third film will star a cast of female Ghostbusters, including Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig. Will that work out for the devoted supporters that have longed for just one more run of the Ecto 1? Time will only tell, but I’m willing to give it a chance.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Red Baron #2

  • 0.75 oz Crown Royal
  • 0.5 oz Amaretto
  • Splash of Cranberry Juice
  • Garnish with Cranberries

There’s a great scene at the end of 22 Jump Street that suggests the franchise could make numerous sequels in the future; everything from Medical School to Culinary School. There are some films, however, that as much as I’d love to see more of the story or characters, are better as one-offs. This list would include Inception, The Sixth Sense, and Fight Club… you know, movies with cliffhanger endings or big twists that just couldn’t be replicated.

January 10 – Bad Apple

In the Shadows

A number of TV shows have utilized characters that are never seen by the audience. Some even become integral parts of storylines, despite never being visible. Here are the Top 5 most intriguing characters that are largely left to your own imagination:

#5: Dr. Claw – Inspector Gadget

While having a voice that is instantly recognizable, when it comes to making an appearance, we get to see more of Dr. Claw’s kitty, than we do of the M.A.D. leader, himself. For decades, I’ve pondered what Dr. Claw might have actually looked like. I was remarking to Mrs. Sip the other day about how much I wanted to see Dr. Claw finally win a round with the hapless detective… then, perhaps, we’d finally get the big reveal and find out that Dr. Claw is actually Chief Quimby, who’s sick and tired of being blown up by Inspector Gadget every time he delivers a new self-destruct mission.

Dr. Claw

#4: Robin Masters – Magnum P.I.

How kind is author Robin Masters to let both Thomas Magnum and Jonathan Higgins stay at his sprawling mansion (Robin’s Nest), despite the fact that he never resides there himself?  Due to all the trouble that results from Magnum and Higgins living at the estate. Masters “sort of” appeared in a few episodes as a narrator, voiced by Orson Welles. At one point, it was even speculated upon that Higgins was in fact Masters. However, although Masters confessed as much to Magnum during the series finale, he retracted his statement later.

#3: Maris – Frasier

A fair amount of humour in early seasons of the series was derived from comments about Maris’ appearance and behaviour, always adding to the character’s mystique. Despite all her quirks, she is said to be wealthy and that might be reason enough for Niles to stay with her… at least for a little while. For a character that was never seen, Maris factored into a number of storylines, one including her committing murder in self-defense and having to flee the country to avoid prosecution.

Maris Crane

#2: Mrs. Wolowitz – Big Bang Theory

We may never get to see her, but we certainly hear from her often enough. Mrs. Wolowitz’s shrill voice can often be heard yelling at Howard and treating him like a child. This often causes Howard, frustrated with his treatment, to shout in return, and ultimately end up sounding like a child. Although, for a time, Mrs. Sip and I thought that Bernadette (Howard’s wife, played by actress Melissa Rauch), also voiced Mrs. Wolowitz, the noise was actually supplied by Carol Ann Susi, who sadly passed away in November 2014.

#1: Mrs. Columbo – Columbo

Although mentioned in numerous episodes, often to advance Lt. Columbo’s relationship with the villain, we never get to meet the true Mrs. Columbo. Sure, there was a spinoff TV series titled Mrs. Columbo, but it starred a young actress that was better suited to playing Columbo’s daughter than wife. Some have speculated that in actuality, there is no Mrs. Columbo at all and she is only used by the lieutenant as an investigation technique. That would have made for quite a series twist ending.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Bad Apple

Bad Apple Shot

  • 0.75 oz Whiskey
  • 0.75 oz Sour Apple Mix

Honourable mentions go to Vera (Cheers), The Mother (How I Met Your Mother), Sheridan and Violet (Keeping Up Appearances), Bill (Kill Bill Vol. 1), and Charlie (Charlie’s Angels). Hell, the Sip Advisor could have also made this list. Will all you little sippers ever get to see the man behind the liquor magic? Only time will tell!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
I figured this would be a good shot for the article, as Dr. Claw and even some of the others on this list at, in fact, bad apples. I used my split shot glass and the results looked really neat. The taste was pretty good, with the Sour Apple Mix hitting first, before the stronger Whiskey overtook the whole experience.

May 25 – Banana Boomer

Attached at the Hip

I got the formula for today’s shot from one of those recipe cards attached to the bottle of Crème de Banane I bought a few months back. While it’s somewhat common nowadays to receive a few ideas on how to use the liquor you’re buying, companies have also come up with a number of creative freebies to entice customers to purchase their brand over another. Here are some of those items:

Beef Jerky – Alberta Premium Whiskey

Nothing beats buying a bottle of liquor and having a suggested snack right there waiting for your consumption. It’s one stop shopping, as now you don’t have to hit the convenience store on your way home and can get straight to the important part: the drinking! One little side note about Alberta Premium Whiskey: it was the favourite drink of one Jim Lahey on Trailer Park Boys, except the label was covered (for copyright reasons) with Jeddore Premium, a joke on the French J’adore, meaning “I love”!

beefjerky

Glasses – Various

As common as it is to get recipe cards with your booze, a glass to enjoy those recipes in is frequently thrown into the sale’s mix. My favourite glasses that I’ve been able to accumulate include the always classy Crown Royal, the fun-loving Bacardi, and delicious Jack Daniel’s Honey Whiskey shot glass. One day, this could be like a young kid’s baseball card collection… just a little more scrumptious.

Pump – Big Bottles (Smirnoff Vodka, Jack Daniel’s Whiskey)

I’m not sure if anyone other than me has looked close enough, but you know those giant bottles of liquor… I’m talking about the ones that come in at a price of about $100 and are 3 litres… did you ever notice that they come with a giant pump, similar to ones that come on hand soap? I guess that’s not really a freebie and more of a necessary accessory, but it’s pretty cool nonetheless.

Mini Bottles – Various

Another fixture of the liquor freebie is the mini bottle of the same or another brand. If I have the choice between buying a bottle with no mini bottle attached and buying a bottle that comes with a mini bottle of another liqueur I’ve been wanting to try, of course I’m going to take the free mini. I’m smarter than the average alcoholic, after all!

minibottles

Muddler – Bacardi White

I’ve already recounted the tail about how I went out and bought a $40 bottle of rum a few years back, just because it came with a muddler. It was at a time when I was just getting into mixology and experimenting with different ingredients and techniques. While I could have just gone to a kitchen utensil store and picked up a muddler for $10, I figured it never hurts to have a giant bottle of rum accompany said muddler.

Luggage Tags – Fuzion Wines

This is just a neat little add on and a fantastic marketing ploy by Fuzion Wines. What a perfect way to spread word of their wines across the world than have customers (or as I like to affectionately call them, mules) do it for you, as they travel the globe. Not to mention, buyers will be more drawn to your wine among the thousands that exist if you are offering them a little something extra. It’s win-win-win!

Chocolates – Bailey’s Irish Crème, etc.

You might as well indulge your sweet tooth while grabbing some booze to go. These treats are often combined with Irish Crèmes and Chocolate Liqueurs, but can also be found with bottles of wine and even tequila brands. Usually the chocolates are long gone before the bottle of booze has even been tapped (especially with Mrs. Sip around), but it’s the thought that counts.

Drink #145: Banana Boomer

Banana Boomer Shooter

What was your favourite alcohol freebie? I’m sure there are many out there that I’ve missed, given that I largely have to do my liquor shopping in Canada and despite the fact we’re supposed to be some of the nicest, friendliest people in the world, we don’t seem to be extremely high on liquor swag. I guess you can only be so awesome!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This shot tastes very good, an obvious conclusion given the ingredients. You’ll want to be careful with any candy you put into the shot, as they could become a choking hazard (unless you’re into auto-erotic asphyxiation). The one downside of the drink is that it’s a little plain. Still, it’s a fun one to bust out around friends!

April 13 – Candy Apple

Fun Fare

With summer rapidly approaching, we’re nearing fair season so it’s time to sit down and plan out what you want to eat when that glorious period arrives. It’s also time to think about how you’ll work off those calories before or after the event!

Cotton Candy

The melt-in-your-mouth treat is fun for the first few bites and then you realize how sticky your fingers are getting and someone (cough, cough, Mrs. Sip) reminds you that cotton candy is pure sugar, while also asking for constant bites of your treat. Which one is it, unhealthy or delicious? Why can’t it be both?

Cotton Candy

Is that Morgan Freeman?

Mini Donuts

You can smell these suckers from miles away and the scent often drags you by the nose to a little booth where you shell out $5 for a bag of 12 mini donuts. And you’ll do it again the next time that cinnamon-sugar deep fried goodness invades your nostrils. It’s always sad how quickly these snacks disappear, but that’s why you happily go home broke.

Caramel Apples

I remember when I was a young’un that our last stop of the day at the fair was to grab a caramel apple for the road. Today they put all kinds of crazy stuff on apples, but back in the day you were happy to have a mound of caramel and if you were really lucky – I’m talking best day ever lucky – you’d find a caramel apple with Smarties on it.

Funnel Cake

This treat absolutely rules with all the options you can stuff in it or heap on top. It’s like a donut-pie combo and I’m a huge supporter of anything deep fried. I’ve even gone so far as to try to put a deep fryer on my wedding registry. When this was vetoed by Mrs. Sip, I launched a petition campaign to get the fryer on the ballot. Speaking of fried delectables…

Deep Fried Anything

From pickles to Mars bars, hot dogs to onions, anything can be wrapped in dough, shoved into a fryer, and found at a fair… and they all taste fantastic! I implore you to find me something that doesn’t taste like it was meant for a deity after it’s been glorified in batter.

Deep Fried Everything

Popcorn/Caramel Corn

I’m not a fan of the stuff, but Mrs. Sip is and if I don’t include it, I fear for my safety. Why don’t I like popcorn and other kernel-based snacks? Because I always seem to get those damn kernels stuck in my teeth, along my gums or worst of all, in my throat. For me, the risk-reward just doesn’t pay off. Mrs. Sip, on the other hand, could eat the stuff for dinner after loading it with butter and mixing the occasional Junior Caramel into each handful.

Corn on the Cob

Probably (and sadly) the healthiest item on this list. This is the one exception I will make in the kernel wars, as I don’t really care how much of the yellow stuff I get caught in my teeth or how much butter ends up smeared across my mouth… it’s all worth it in the end when I go for a smooch with Mrs. Sip and she realizes how messy I am…

Of course, you could always drink your carnival treat… yeah, let’s do that!

Drink #103: Candy Apple

Candy Apple

  • 0.5 oz Crown Royal
  • 0.5 oz Sour Puss Apple
  • 0.5 oz Cranberry Juice
  • Garnish with Caramel/Candied Apple Slice

This shot was a great excuse to buy an entire, delicious caramel apple just to decorate it with… as if we need much of an excuse around here to go over the top! For those of you who don’t buy an entire candy apple each time you make this shot, a nice garnishing detail can be to rim the glass with caramel.

Well, I wish you all a wonderful trip to the fair, where I hope the food is awesome, the rides don’t make you yak, and that the demolition derby is still presented in your neck of the woods!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
The pleasure of this shot was two-fold, as the shooter itself was quite tasty and then Mrs. Sip and I chased the liquid with the absolutely scrumptious Caramel Apple. We even fought over the last piece, before she distracted me with another shot!

March 28 – Vegas Bomb

Vegas or Bust

Well I’m off to Vegas tomorrow, which is a favourite weekend getaway for Mrs. Sip and me. So with our trip quickly approaching, I’m turning my mind to one of my favourite drinking trends: public consumption. One of my favourite things about Las Vegas is the opportunity to drink in public. Nothing beats walking along the strip on a nice warm day with a cold 40 oz beer in your hand.

Grab a drink, hit the strip, party... it`s as easy as one, two, three!

Grab a drink, hit the strip, party… it`s as easy as one, two, three!

While liquor is available everywhere in Vegas, ABC Stores are great for cheap beer, liquor and even little bottles of wine for Mrs. Sip (I know, she embarrasses me too!). There’s even a jaunt you can do in the Miracle Mile shopping centre where you can grab a beer at one ABC, enjoy it as you walk through the mall and make another pit stop to refuel as you hit a second store deeper in the complex. Hell, it’s the only way I can get through the pain of shopping.

Drinking on the street in Vegas was a graduated learning process for us that evolved on each subsequent trip. First we started off with the hotel bought frozen drinks in crazy plastic shaped containers that you see everyone carrying around (we figured that the hotels are selling them to you, so it must be okay to walk around with).

Then we progressed to aluminum beer cans (aluminum is like plastic, right?). But the beers we really wanted were in bottles. So finally we took the plunge, bought a few, and dared to see if we would be challenged with our glass. As we exited one of the ABC stores, we realized that our beer bottles weren’t twist tops – a huge mistake on our part. As we tried to decide whether we should go buy an opener, a security guard began to approach us. We were quickly relieved to learn she just wanted to help us pop the tops of our drinks! Viva Las Vegas!

I’ve now advanced beyond beer in Vegas and instead I often like to grab a mickey of something and a mixer, take a swig out of the mixer bottle and drink my way through the entire combo as we go along. Mrs. Sip took advantage of one of these afternoon buzzes, by getting me to pose like a drunk for photos on the replica Brooklyn Bridge outside New York, New York. Little did I know that I was mimicking the exact pose of a real drunk behind me. Thanks babe!

Drinking on the Strip

Even celebrities drink on the strip!

Walking the strip, you get quite the eclectic group of people and that means a mix of drink ideas and opportunities. You get your beer guys and gals, your frozen drink enthusiasts, your hard liquor folk, and the dreaded sobriety demons (who you can recognize because they are usually yelling scripture at you and informing you that all sinners go to hell… too late!). It is perfectly fine to taunt these men and women, unless they are designated drivers… we here at The Sip Advisor are cool with DDs and support that cause.

Just writing this post makes me want to be there right now… I only hope my money can last the long weekend!

Drink #87: Vegas Bomb

Vegas Bomb Drink Recipe

  • 0.75 oz Crown Royal
  • 0.75 oz Butterscotch or Peach Schnapps
  • 1 Red Bull

Simply drop your shot into the glass of Red Bull and slam that sucka’. We don’t leave for Sin City until tomorrow, but we couldn’t resist getting all crazy and into the spirit of things!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
Drop shots can be fun, but messy. That was the case with this particular one, as the shot glass tipped sideways when I dropped it into the big glass. I went with Butterscotch Schnapps for the sweet portion of the shooter, but you could also use Peach Schnapps.