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.

November 21 – The Talking Cow

Story Guides

It’s funny how much narration can add to the overall effect of a TV show or movie. That’s why over the next two weeks, we will salute the voices behind our favourite entertainment. This week, we’ll start with TV land, while next week, we move to the big screen. Let’s get things rolling!

#5: How I Met Your Mother

Voiced by Danny Tanner… er, I mean Bob Saget, the audience joins Ted Mosby’s two children as we learn the nine-season long story of how Ted met their mother. I can’t help but think that most story tellers would have cut straight to the chase, especially with the rash of ADD-afflicted teens known to exist nowadays. Through Saget, we join Ted and the gang for all of their triumphs, heartbreaks, and adventures in the Big Apple.

how-I-met-your-mother

#4: The Goldbergs

Mrs. Sip and I have just recently got into this show and are really enjoying it. One of the best elements is the narration provided by my boy Patton Oswalt, as a young Adam Goldberg traverses the awesome decade that was the 1980s! As a child of the 80’s, I can appreciate many elements of this show, including Adam’s passion for the Nintendo Entertainment System and Transformers. All along, we have Oswalt guiding us with the same childlike joy and enthusiasm as the boy he’s doing an adult version of.

#3: Dexter

Through Dexter’s narrations, we learn what’s going on in his troubled mind. We also get to see the side of Dexter he rarely reveals to the outside world. While he gives the impression that he’s kind of robotic, his inside voice tells us that he’s actually got a sense of humour and can even care for the people around him. Some of the best laughs from the series come straight from the mind of our serial killer of serial killers, as he makes quips about the victims he’s hunting and the authorities he’s eluding.

dexter

#2: Arrested Development

From the mind of Ron Howard (almost literally, as he delivers a perfect narration), comes the wacky antics of the Bluth family. With a growing number of characters, as the story progresses, Howard keeps us updated with each development and even manages to add in his own comedy from time to time. Howard even factors into the series, doing double duty, playing himself at some points. The former Opie of The Andy Griffith Show did well for himself and survived the transition from being a child actor.

#1: Wonder Years

Voiced by Daniel Stern of Wet Bandits (Home Alone) fame, this voice guided us through the turbulent 1960’s and 70’s, as Kevin Arnold came of age. From teenage love to surviving high school, we saw – and heard – it all. Although I haven’t seen it in years, I can still recall many of the bombs dropped in the final narration of the series, including the fact that Kevin and Winnie didn’t have a true happily ever after and that Jack Arnold, Kevin’s dad, only lived a couple more years, before passing away.

Super Saturday Shot Day: The Talking Cow

  • Rim glass with Coconut Shavings
  • 1 oz Coconut Rum
  • 0.5 oz Milk

If I could choose anyone to narrator my life’s story, it just might be the Dos Equis Man! Next week, we move to feature films, where narrators are essential to some stories. Which movies will crack the Top 5? You’ll just have to tune in to find out…

 

March 21 – The Punisher

Power to the People

Vigilantes fascinate me to a degree. People who are willing to take justice into their own hands and set the wrongs of the legal system right, taking up a cause and fighting for the people who have no voice. This list will not include super heroes who have special powers, but just ordinary folks, trying to make a difference:

#5: Casey Jones

While the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are vigilantes in their own right, it’s Casey Jones who goes out night after night with no special powers to protect him and takes care of business with an array of sports-themed weapons, highlighted by his protective mask and hockey stick armament. Jones is best remembered for his appearance in the original TMNT movie, where Michelangelo calls his “Wayne Gretzky on steroids!” and he joins the team and helps take down Shredder and the Foot Clan.

Casey Jones

#4: Dexter

The serial killer of serial killers, Dexter is there to pick up the scraps whenever the justice system fails. Operating under a code passed down to him by his father, police officer Harry Morgan, Dexter stalks his prey and once he has confirmed that they are indeed guilty as charged, he puts them in his kill room and under the knife… quite literally. It’s funny how much you can like someone that would normally be so reviled. Does the end justify his means? After all, Dexter is still a murderer.

#3: Machete

The former Mexican Federale (played by real-life ex-inmate Danny Trejo) is one badass you don’t want to mess with. Still, some idiot – drug kingpin Rogelio Torrez – decided to murder Machete’s wife and daughter, which sends Machete over the edge and seeking revenge. Machete’s kill count soars to astronomical numbers and the bloodshed is immense while his vengeance is being sought. Amusingly, Trejo’s own mother has likened calling her son by his killer character’s name.

Machete

#2: Kick-Ass

Before becoming a “superhero,” Dave Lizewski had hoped to make a difference in his crime-ridden city. He gets beat up pretty bad on his first attempt, but this results in severe nerve damage and numerous metal plates being surgically implanted in his body, thus making him somewhat impervious to pain. Along with fellow do-gooders like Hit-Girl, Colonel Stars and Stripes, Night Bitch, and Battle Guy, Kick-Ass takes to the streets to dole out some vigilante justice and keep would-be criminals in check.

#1: The Punisher

After his family is killed by members of organized crime, Frank Castle has nothing left to lose and becomes The Punisher, a vigilante who is hell bent on extracting revenge for his fallen kin and ridding the world of evildoers. The Punisher has become more of an anti-hero thanks to his willingness to take on all contracts and for the ruthless nature in which he operates. The man gets the job done, though, unwilling to let anyone get in the way of his end goal: total villain annihilation.

Super Saturday Shot Day: The Punisher

The Punisher Shot

  • Rim glass with Chocolate Sprinkles
  • 0.5 oz Bourbon
  • 0.5 oz Jagermeister
  • Splash of Mudslide Mix

Honourable mentions go to the A-Team, the Boondock Saints, and Batman, who narrowly misses this list because of his immense wealth, unlike other less fortunate crime fighters. Now, I will surely have Batman haunting me and stalking the Sip Advisor like some easy-to-catch prey!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
There are other Punisher/Vigilante recipes out there that I considered, but I felt this one best represented the character. I was missing both Mudslide Mix and Whip Cream (which you’re supposed to garnish the drink with), but mixed my own Mudslide ingredients (Irish Creme, Kahlua, Vodka, Milk) and went with some Chocolate Sprinkles for presentation points. The best part of this shooter is that it couldn’t be further from a punishment and is actually quite delightful!

February 8 – Limestone Breeze

Cancelled

Cancelled

Yesterday we looked at some wonderful TV shows that were never given a fair chance to find an audience. Today, we discuss shows that were given more lives than they were ever entitled to and probably should have never seen the light of day. Enjoy!

Jenny

Apparently only “reality-based” shows with sexy people worked in the late 1990’s. This show starred Jenny McCarthy as a convenience store clerk who inherits a large fortune from the father she never knew, moves into his Hollywood mansion and pursues a career as a screen star. If only it was that easy for all us store clerks. Only 10 of the 17 episodes produced ever aired and you have to assume that there’s some serious TV gold on those last episodes. Spoiler alert: viewers would eventually find out that Jenny’s father wasn’t dead, only missing.

Stacked

Pamela Anderson as a breasty bookstore employee (as close to a librarian as you can get) seems like it should have pulled in the young male demographic, at the very least… providing they’ve received the proper hepatitis vaccinations. Christopher Lloyd was even a cast member. Maybe if the show had been about time travel and ol’ Doc Brown had travelled to 2005 to check out blonde bimbos, the program might have caught on.

Stacked

No Ordinary Family

Because who doesn’t like to see a family fighting crime together. Sadly Julie Benz left her role on Dexter to be part of this series, which lasted a mere 20 episodes. The super powers they doled out were a little ridiculous in this show. Dad gets super strength, mom gets super speed, daughter gets telepathy and son gets… intelligence!? That’s it? Seriously? And here I thought getting stuck with telepathy sucked.

Wheel of Fortune

How many times must we see that wheel spin and some moron guess a letter of the alphabet? Vanna White gets paid to do something any computer could do electronically nowadays. Used to be she was actually turning letters over. Now she just touches them. Seems like a job even I could do, with my fourth grade level of reading. I’d like to waste some of my winnings and buy a vowel, Pat… that cool with you? At least it provided us with this classic South Park moment [below]…

Emeril

I can just see how this pitch went to the studio: Producer – Okay, we want to take a chef, with no acting skills whatsoever and only a small following based on his catchphrase (BAM!) and give him his own half-hour comedy. Network Executive – “Fantastic idea, but I have one little tweak, let’s pay him tons of money for 11 episodes of work”. This series was such a disaster that it doesn’t even have a Wikipedia entry. I have to admit though, I did like Emeril as Marlon the Gator from Disney’s The Princess and the Frog!

Drink #39: Limestone Breeze

Limestone Breeze Drink Recipe

  • 1.25 oz Vodka
  • 0.75 oz Amaretto
  • Top with Apple-Lime Juice
  • Dash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with lime wedge

In doing some research for this post I saw that one person’s list of shows that should have been cancelled quickly included Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spinoff Angel. Had to chuckle as these are two of Mrs. Sips favourite all-time programs. (See, hon, I’m not the only one who thinks this!)

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (5 Sips out of 5):
What a fantastic drink! I went out on a limb and used my Apple-Lime Juice as the mixer and what a fantastic choice it was. This is an obvious 5-star drink and I urge all of Sip Nation to put together the ingredients needed to pull this off on your own. You will not be disappointed.