Florida – Rum Runner

Each week, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the United States, discovering the best each state has to offer in a variety of subjects. Today we travel to the Sunshine State for some fresh-squeezed orange juice and a slice of Key Lime Pie. Aside from citrus fruits, Florida has a lot else to offer, so let’s start our exploring:

Motto: “In God we trust” – Given Florida is an epicenter of the annual hurricane season, that’s probably a good idea!

Food: The Cuban Sandwich, comprised of ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard on Cuban bread, is a Sip Advisor favourite and I have restaurants in Tampa, Key West and Miami to thank for it. The sandwich has sparked a rivalry between Tampa and Miami over who does it best, with the conflict even reaching government levels.

Drink: Gatorade was developed in 1965 at the University of Florida, to help the Florida Gators football team replace bodily fluids lost during games, practices and workouts. Two years later, the Gators won their first Orange Bowl and another two years after that, Gatorade became a commercial product.

Gatorade

Site to See: The obvious choice here is the Disney World Resort, comprised of four theme parks, two water parks, 27 hotels, multiple golf courses, a campsite, and much more. If visiting Mickey Mouse and his pals isn’t your thing, there’s also the Kennedy Space Center or Everglades National Park, as popular tourist options.

Street: Duval Street in Key West is party central. When Mrs. Sip and I had the chance to crawl the street many moons ago, we hit a half dozen bars, drank our faces off and barely spent any money while doing so. While paid pub crawls are available, it’s just as fun to make your own route and meet fellow imbibers along the way.

TV Show: It would be a disservice to all my little sippers, if I didn’t pick The Golden Girls here. Running for seven seasons and 180 episodes, the sitcom starred such legends as Bea Arthur, Betty White, Rue McClanahan and Estelle Getty, as four woman living in a retirement community in Miami. The theme song alone is enough to give viewers goosebumps!

Movie: The 1983 film Scarface documents the rags-to-riches story of Tony Montana, as he goes from Cuban refugee to Miami drug lord. The memorable Al Pacino character can be credited with some of movies greatest lines, including “Say hello to my little friend!”

Golden Girls

Book/Author: Since it hasn’t squeezed into a category yet, here I’ll highlight the Dexter series of books, by Florida writer Jeff Lindsay. Made into a TV series later, the Dexter stories involve a vigilante serial killer, who murders serial killers. Eight Dexter novels were released between 2004 and 2015.

Fictional Character: Ace Ventura, Pet Detective, is a wild and zany animal lover. Played by Jim Carrey, Ventura’s most high-profile case, involved the theft of Miami Dolphins animal mascot Snowflake and later the kidnapping of quarterback Dan Marino by a disgruntled ex-teammate.

Fictional City: Grand Theft Auto: Vice City takes place in Miami-based Vice City. The 1980’s-set video game follows ex-con Tommy Vercetti, as he moves up the city’s crime ladder, eventually seizing control of the entire empire. Back when the Sip Advisor has time for video games, this was a favourite.

Actor/Actress: On top of his acting chops, Sidney Poitier also gets the nod here for the barriers he knocked down during his career. This included being the first black actor to be nominated for a Best Actor Oscar, for The Defiant Ones), and later the first black actor to win the award, for Lilies of the Field. Poitier has been honoured with a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth, as well as awarded the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Ace Ventura

Song: With the highest percentage of people over 65 years old, it may come as no surprise that Florida’s State Song is Old Folks at Home by Stephen Foster. Written in 1851, the song has seen changes to controversial lyrics over time, especially since it’s often performed during government events.

Band/Musician: Rock star, Tom Petty, was born in Gainesville. Inspired by bands such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, Petty always wanted to be a musician and achieved great fame with his band, The Heartbreakers, as well as other with other projects. A catalogue of successful songs saw Petty inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001. The Sip Family saw Petty in concert in 2017, mere months before his untimely passing.

People: Comedian Daniel Tosh grew up in Titusville, graduating from the University of Central Florida with a degree in marketing, before beginning his stand up career. Tosh now hosts the popular Tosh.0 video clip show, which has aired for 11 seasons and counting.

Animal: For the Flipper films and TV series, which spanned 1963-1967, four real-life dolphins were used to portray the titular character. One of those animal actors, also doubled as the live mascot for the Miami Dolphins of the NFL, trained to do jumps in her tank when the team scored a touchdown or field goal.

Tom Petty

Invention: Given Florida’s weather, great advancements were made by inventors to keep people cool and protected from the sun and heat. These creations included mechanical refrigeration, air conditioning, and sunscreen. The personal computer was also invented in Florida, so there’s that.

Crime: After a troubled childhood and numerous run-ins with the law as an adult, Aileen Wuornos murdered seven men in Florida within a one-year span (1989-1990). She was convicted of six of the murders and executed by lethal injection in 2002. Wuornos’ story was documented in the 2003 film Monster, for which Charlize Theron won a Best Actress Oscar for her depiction of the serial killer.

Law: In Florida, all doors must open outward in public buildings, taking away that awkward push-or-pull moment when approaching any entrance.

Sports Team: Florida’s Big 4 professional sports landscape is spread among a number of cities. While most clubs are split between Miami – Dolphins (NFL), Marlins (MLB), Panthers (NHL), Heat (NBA) – and Tampa – Buccaneers (NFL), Rays (MLB), Lightning (NHL) – there is also the Jacksonville Jaguars (NFL) and Orlando Magic (NBA).

Air Conditioning

Athlete: A trio of Dallas Cowboys legends and Pro Football Hall of Famers, in Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin and Deion Sanders, each hails from Florida. Add to that, iconic pro wrestler Hulk Hogan grew up in Florida and lives there to this day, and you’ve got quite the collection of athletic stars.

Famous Home: Ernest Hemingway House in Key West has been designated a U.S. National Historic Landmark. The author lived in the home from 1931-1939, writing some of his most famous titles. Hemingway House is now a tourist attraction, famous for the six- and seven-toed cats that live there, descendants of Hemingway’s original cats.

Urban Legend: The Devil’s Chair, located in Cassadega, is one of many graveyard benches found around the world (including England and other U.S. states), which is said to bring bad luck to any person who sits on the throne. What’s unique about the Florida seat is legend has it, a can of beer placed on it will be empty when checked the next morning… even if it’s unopened.

Museum: Florida is home to the most golf courses in the U.S., so it’s no surprise the World Golf Hall of Fame and Museum would be found in the state. Located in St. Augustine, 26 different governing bodies from the golf world participate in the association, including male and female tours.

Gold Instructions

Firsts: On January 1, 1914, the world’s first scheduled commercial flight transported a single passenger (St. Petersburg mayor Abraham Pheil) from St. Petersburg to Tampa. Over 3,000 people attended the departure. Pilot Antony Jannus was the country’s first federally-licensed pilot.

Company: When Mrs. Sip and I were young travellers, we tried to hit the Hard Rock Café in many of the cities we ventured to. Headquartered in Davie, the music-influenced chain has 185 restaurants, 25 hotels and 12 casinos, spread across 74 countries. For cheaper fare, Burger King is also operated out of the state.

Events: The Cuban Revolution brought more than a million refugees to Florida, over a series of mass exoduses from the communist country. Continued issues between Cuba and the United States has also resulted in high-profile international incidents, such as the Elian Gonzalez custody battle.

Miscellaneous: News headlines containing the term “Florida Man” became popular in 2013 for the outrageous stories that usually followed. Some examples include: ‘Florida Man Tells Police Bag of Cocaine Found in Car Must have Blown in from the Wind’ and ‘Florida Man Arrested After Giving Aggressive Wet Willy’.

Rum Runner

Rum Runner

  • 1 oz Blackberry Liqueur/Chambord
  • 1 oz Banana Liqueur
  • 1 oz Light Rum
  • 1 oz Dark Rum
  • Top with Pineapple Juice and Orange Juice
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Dash of Grenadine
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

There are many recipes for this cocktail, with mine being a bit of an amalgamation of them. I liked the overall blend of this drink, invented at the Holiday Isle Tiki Bar, in Islamorada, in reference to the rum-runners (aka bootleggers) who operated on Florida’s islands during prohibition.

September 21 – What’s My Name Again?

30 for 30

While the title of today’s post is shared by the popular ESPN sports documentary series, I’m using it to describe 30 great achievements of my 30 years on this planet. This is kind of my bucket list of crossed off items… mission accomplished!

Family and Friends

1: Got Engaged – I’m still surprised she said yes!

2: Got Married – Again, I’m still surprised she said yes… I gave her a year and a half to change her mind!

funny-marriage

3: Was a Best Man – Broski Sip got married in 2010 with me by his side.

4: Planned a Stag Party – Nothing says “I love you, man” than planning the perfect sendoff as your buddy enters married life.

Rites of Passage

5: Earned a Driver’s License – Been on the roads for 14 years now… Mrs. Sip still doesn’t have a full license!

6: Graduated High School – Some people didn’t see that coming!

High School Graduate

7: Earned 4 Diplomas/Degrees/Certificates – I have quite the resume… anyone looking to hire!?

8: No More Picky Eater – Chicken strips and fries are pretty awesome, but lobster and escargot are better.

9: Moved Out – It was hard to leave the amazing home of Ma and Pa Sip, but living with Mrs. Sip has its own benefits!

Travel

10: Travelled to 34 Countries – Mrs. Sip will hit 50 countries before she turns 30, but I think I still made a pretty damn good dent.

11: Stepped foot on 6 Continents – I’m only missing Antarctica, which we hope to get to one day.

12: Lived Abroad – Spent six months living in England and travelling Europe.

studying-abroad

13: Visited the Greatest Cities in the World – From London to St. Petersburg, Sydney to Los Angeles, the resume isn’t full yet, but I’ve been to so many cool places.

Academics

14: Made the Honour Roll – Got my shit together one year and made the honour roll twice… it never happened again.

15: Graduated with Honours – Always knew journalism and I were a match made in heaven!

Professional

16: Became Published – My first article ever (aside from online and school writing) was for B.C. Hockey Now.

17: Covered the Vancouver Canucks (NHL) and B.C. Lions (CFL) – The two biggest sports franchises in Vancouver and I got to watch both for free!

Journalism

18: Worked the 2010 Winter Olympics – NBC Universal Sports hired me for the Games, a goal of mine when I first entered journalism school.

19: Made Money Doing What I Love – Watching sports for a job just doesn’t get much better… perhaps getting paid to have sex!?

20: Started The Sip Advisor – I was thirsty (literally!) for a new project when Mrs. Sip suggested The Sip Advisor. Here we are and I’m pretty sure everyone is having a good time!

Adventure/Crazy

21: Tried a Number of Extreme Sports – Bungy jumping, ziplining, zorbing, luging, surfing, scuba diving… I’ve tried them all!

22: Saw my Favourite Comedians Perform – From Christopher Titus to Daniel Tosh, I’ve seen all of the living comedians I ever wanted to.

23: Won Money in Las Vegas – I’m too cautious to lose or win a lot of money, but I did come home up on one trip and that’s more than a lot of people can say.

Stays in Vegas

24: Won Money at the Races – My last trip to Fraser Downs resulted in six winning bets on nine races, including picking three winners straight up!

25: Hosted an Annual Event – My annual Beer Pong tournament is a highlight of the summer social calendar.

26: Invented a Word – Walk Blocking – like cock blocking, but everyone can do it!

27: Became an Internet Sensation – And the journey has only just begun!

28: Swam Across a Body of Water – I joined Mrs. Sip for a crossing of the water outside our lodge in Indian Arm, B.C. It took us 45 minutes round trip to make the journey.

29: Shot a Gun – Cousin Sip and I hit one of the many ranges in Las Vegas to help cross this off the list.

30: Sang Karaoke – Not well, but Mrs. Sip and I do perform a rocking version of ‘I Hate Everything About You’!

Drink #264: What’s My Name Again?

Sept 21

  • 0.3 oz Spiced Rum (I used Kraken)
  • 0.3 oz Southern Comfort
  • 0.3 oz Peach Schnapps
  • 0.3 oz Goldschlager
  • 0.3 oz Vodka
  • Garnish with a Lemon Slice

There are still so many things left to do (get a tattoo, touch a snake, go skydiving, drink motor oil!) that the next 30 years should be just as adventurous as the first 30. Any suggestions!?

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This shot finishes Rum Week and the story goes that if you have enough of these, you’ll forget your own name! While it is a rather potent shooter, it’s also very tasty, helped along by the Peach Schnapps, Southern Comfort, and Goldschlager. I’ll have to try their little dare sometime and see how long it takes for the ol’ mind to go blank! Let’s drink to my successes and excesses!

May 6 – Spiritual Enlightenment

Spiritually Speaking

Once you read through my list of spirit guides – those that I dub the Sinister Seven – you may notice some themes and common threads. This is what makes the Sip Advisor the man he is today: a Canadian icon and treasure!

Master Shake – Aqua Teen Hunger Force

The only thing Master Shake cares about is having fun. Sadly, the anthropomorphised drink container doesn’t have the necessary funds to accomplish most of his desires and thus has to settle for pleasures within his means, like swimming in neighbor Carl’s filthy pool. His lack of riches doesn’t stop him from arrogantly boasting about various skills he thinks he possesses, so you gotta give him props for believing in himself.
When to summon: When it’s party time, obviously!

Master Shake

Jeff Winger – Community

Mr. Winger was able to fake an entire law career for years, until he was busted by a competing colleague. As the husband of a lawyer, I know that this surely was no easy task and full credit has to be given to someone who exuded so much confidence and intelligence to pull the rouse off.
When to summon: In situations when massive amounts of swagger will put you over the edge.

Roger Smith – American Dad

Roger is a self-described “advanced drinker” and as all you little sippers have learned over our past few months together, no moniker has ever fit this Sip Advisor better than that. While I’ll leave the disguises and alter egos to my alien friend, I do like Roger’s penchant for stirring the pot and getting into (and out of) sticky situations. Might as well have some fun while we’re here on earth!
When to summon: Anytime liquor is being cracked open for mass consumption.

Sterling Archer – Archer

Your Sip Advisor may not be a secret agent, but he does share many traits with one of the best in the business. First and foremost, our complete and utter misunderstanding of “core concepts” has bonded us for eternity. Next comes our love, appreciation, and total devotion to sweet lady liquor. Archer is afraid to quit drinking cold turkey because of the massive hangover he feels has accumulated and is now pending should he ever quit. I’ve never been able to put those same thoughts into words before.
When to summon: When the skills and touch of a secret agent are necessary, like bedding numerous females in a single mission.

Archer

Zack Morris – Saved by the Bell

Zack had all the right moves to accomplish everything from ditching detention to winning the heart of Kelly Kapowski. Usually with the help of friend and resident nerd Screech, Zack got up to so much mischief during his formative years that the principal’s office was a second home to him.
When to summon: In any situation that harkens back to your days as a teenager and high school student… or at least any time your cell phone is as big as your forearm.

Daniel Tosh – Tosh.0

No topic is off limits for Daniel Tosh and he isn’t concerned whether or not he’s crossing a line and offending anyone. People nowadays can be way too cautious, afraid anything they say or do may set off a cluster bomb of hysteria and backlash against them. The safe and easier road more travelled is not for this comedian.
When to summon: In moments where freedom of speech is the only right you really have left anymore.

Bucky Katt – Get Fuzzy

Bucky is always scheming and thinking up his next big idea and opportunity to grift his roommates – human Rob Wilco and dog Satchel Pooch – out of some cash. He has tried everything from a line of clothing, to merging two popular products together into one, to even writing his own poetry. That’s a pretty good resume for someone that sleeps 20 hours each day.
When to summon: When the entrepreneurial spirit hits you and you feel like hitting back… or when you feel that you just need a good nap.

Drink #126: Spiritual Enlightenment

Spiritual Enlightenment Cockttail

  • 1 oz Crème de Cacao
  • 1 oz Peppermint Schnapps
  • 1 oz Grand Marnier
  • Garnish with Spearmint Life-Saver

Who do you, my little sippers, summon when you are in need of a spirit check? If anyone takes the time to summon me, just please know that I am not available between the hours of 12:01am-11:59pm… that’s my time. I am available on a per crisis basis right around midnight each night, so please feel free to hit me up if you are in need!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.5 Sips out of 5):
This cocktail restored my faith in Crème de Menthe, as this drink wasn’t half bad… it wasn’t half good either, so I settled at a 2.5. Mrs. Sip thought it tasted like an After Eight chocolate and would have rated it a bit higher but I felt that the Grand Marnier is completely wasted in this drink. Plus, if the cocktail’s creator had been a clever, it would have been called Spiritual EnlightenMINT instead!

May 5 – Laugh-A-Minute

Laugh Your Ass Off

It’s World Laughter Day and Cinco de Mayo – two great reasons to celebrate! Today seems like a good time to discuss my favourite comedians. These guys have been making me laugh for years and deserve all the praise I can give them.

Christopher Titus

There is only one word to describe Christopher Titus: deranged… well, that or genius! Both really do fit and form the basis of his comedic style. Titus largely uses his own personal experiences in his act: growing up with a strict, alcoholic single father and split family; bad relationships throughout his adulthood; and the notion that in today’s society, to be dysfunctional is normal and the majority.

Christopher Titus

Lewis Black

The Daily Show correspondent and ranter extraordinaire, Lewis Black, is as funny as he is gruff. His wildness seems to go against the grain of being dressed in a suit and tie, but he makes it all work. There is a nervous energy to Black’s act that keep you totally invested in what he’s saying and trying to figure out which direction he’ll head in next.

Ron White

I love Ron White’s style. He spends most of his set chain smoking and drinking what appears to be scotch or whiskey. After that, ‘Tater Salad’s’ comedy is pretty damn good, too. He is my favourite member of the Blue Collar troupe and his dry, southern style will have you rolling with laughter. He has definitely had some wild times and the stories of his various arrests are a highlight of his act.

Ron White

Carrot Top

As I’ve written before, Carrot Top’s energy during his performance is astonishing. I’m not sure how many energy drinks he has to down to get to that level, but I appreciate his efforts (and sacrifice). Prop comedy is sometimes frowned upon by purists, but Carrot Top deserves a ton of credit for constantly adapting his act and finding new materials to suit his needs.

Russell Peters

Throwing some Canadian content on the list (although I maintain that we are one of the funniest country’s in the world and have an amazing profile of talented comedians), Russell Peters has turned his “rip on my dad” act into a worldwide sensation. Somebody’s gonna get a hurt!

russell peters

Emo Philips

The bizarre style of Emo Philips’ comedy isn’t for everyone. Just when you think his joke is going in one direction, Philips completely psyches you out and turns the entire joke upside down. With his odd sense of humor, he can seem quite loveable… just beware of his wild side.

Daniel Tosh

There is no subject that Daniel Tosh won’t rip on. He’s been accused of being racist, sexist, misogynistic, you name it. The only thing I’ve ever indicted him for is being hilarious. When not touring North America, performing his stand-up material, you can see Tosh hosting his Comedy Central smash hit Tosh.0, where he lampoons online videos and social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter.

Drink #125: Laugh-A-Minute

May 5 Laugh-A-Minute

  • 1 oz Cherry Vodka (I used Grey Goose Cherry Noir)
  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 0.5 oz Amaretto
  • Top with Lemonade
  • Garnish with Lemon Wedge and Maraschino Cherry

Amazingly (and feeling truly blessed), I’ve been able to see each of these performers live in various parts of North America. Some comics on my “must see” list include Steven Wright, Patton Oswalt, Dave Chappelle, and Louis C.K.

This blog post does not feature comedians who have gone to the great stage in the sky, like George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Rodney Dangerfield, Mitch Hedberg, and Greg Giraldo.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
You’re always doubtful about the varying quality of liquors until you have something as special as Grey Goose Vodka. The Cherry Noir variety was delicious, with almost a hint sour cherry flavour. Throw in Amaretto and you have one of my longtime preferred spirits being paired with one of my new loves.