Sip Trips #159: Free Bird Follies

As winter fades away and spring emerges from the darkness, the Sip Family has been busy. Mrs. Sip was recently in Las Vegas with her girlfriends, providing the Sip Advisor a little time to get reacquainted with loved ones. Those would include new purchases, such as Steel & Oak Talanoa Wheat Ale and Lamb’s Cherry Spiced Rum. The Talanoa (Fijian for sharing stories and ideas to build relationships and understanding) was brewed by the ladies of Steel & Oak Brewing as their second annual Women’s Charity Brew. Proceeds from the beer, made with black currant and rosemary, are going to The Kettle Society, which provides support for people living with mental illness. The Spiced Rum was an interesting find as I perused the aisles of a nearby liquor store. Thanks to an online suggestion, I’ve used the booze in a Mai Tai recipe and look forward to throwing it in a Dark N’ Stormy soon.

rum locations

As for events, Mrs. Sip and I attended the Lynyrd Skynyrd concert at the Abbotsford Centre last Friday. Prior to heading out to the valley, we had dinner at Milestones, capitalizing on their afternoon happy hour for servings of Phillip’s Electric Unicorn White IPA and Hoyne Dark Matter. The two Victoria-based brews paired nicely with my Crispy Sweet Chili Chicken Bowl, which I would definitely order again. Mrs. Sip had the Caprese Crispy Chicken Sandwich, which I snagged a bite of, and also enjoyed.

As for the concert, I think my hearing is still slowly coming back. The show was rocking all the way through the night and the band ending their appearance with an encore performance of Free Bird was everything a fan could have asked for. Arriving early, we took advantage of the Vancouver Island Brewing free tasting being offered and also grabbed cans of a couple Foamers’ Folly Brewing selections, including the Hot Box IPA for me and Raspberry Honey Hefeweizen for Mrs. Sip.

freebird nursery rhyme.jpg

After a day of “rest”, where we only had two commitments to make, we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day at Dead Frog Brewing. They turned their Steel Toe Lager green (with natural ingredients), so we crossed that tradition off the to-do list. Mrs. Sip also ordered a pint of the newly-released Pineapple Midnight Tropical Porter for us to share, which had an interesting blend of summer and winter flavours. For food, we imbibed with Pork Carnitas Street Tacos for moi and some Avocado Toast for the mademoiselle. Both were quite good and recommendable. The Dead Frog staff deserve major kudos for doing their best to make guests comfortable on a very busy day and for providing live music and cupcakes for children young and old at heart.

In the coming weeks, Mrs. Sip and I will celebrate 17 years of being in a relationship. I honestly can’t believe she’s put up with me this long!

Sip Trips #150: Return to Work

Now that Mrs. Sip and I (along with Baby Sip) are getting settled into our new home in New West, the exploring has begun again. This week’s wrap-up, features a number of new eateries we’ve enjoyed over recent times:

A couple weeks back, I joined Mrs. Sip following one of her theatre shows for a meal at Bin 4 Burger Lounge in Vancouver. I had heard great things about this restaurant and they did not disappoint. I had trouble choosing from their extensive lineup of burgers, finally settling on the Dirty Bourbon Burger, which was absolutely delicious. I love most places that offer potato chips as a side, but what made Bin 4 special was you also get one free dipping sauce to go with your meal. They also have some neat cocktails, which Mrs. Sip indulged in with the Harvey Specter. I had a quick sip and enjoyed the drink, as well.

Burger Salad

Back at home, I’ve had a huge craving for ginger beer drinks lately, so grabbed a two-litre bottle and decided to put together a Buck/Mule Family Tasting Experience, comprised of the Gin Buck, Moscow Mule, Dark N’ Stormy and Mayan Mule. Each drink is similar (ginger beer and lime juice), with only the spirit being different: gin, vodka, dark rum and tequila, respectively. While I liked each of the family members, my favourite was certainly the Dark N’ Stormy. Mrs. Sip picked the Moscow Mule as her top choice.

My last week of parental leave was quite fun, as Mrs. Sip joined me for it. Among taking Baby Sip to Queen’s Park and other walks, we travelled to our nearest pub, the Royal Crown Castle. This place is very recognizable as you drive down Columbia Street, as it looks like a castle, but is actually the former gatehouse for the BC Penitentiary, which used to be on the site. To go with a pair of Radeberger Pilsner pints, which were on special, I had the Classic Beef Burger, while Mrs. Sip went with one of their daily specials, a Grilled Ham & Cheese with Turkey Chowder Soup. Our meal was very good and we will certainly be back, traversing the city’s many hills to get there.

Later in the week, we attended Harvest Glow in Langley. This is a fantastic place to bring young children, complete with a train ride, mini golf, playgrounds, pony rides, a corn maze, pumpkin patch, live music, and so much more. We marvelled at how much fun Baby Sip was having at only one-year-old. Best of all, you can enjoy your kid’s enjoyment with a drink in hand, as they offer beer, wine, and even cocktails. The set-up was different than last year’s Christmas Glow and I hope they are taking notes for this year’s yuletide version. We enjoyed the experience so much, we returned for another evening of entertainment.

Skittles Harvest

My final week on leave ended with a big bang, as we hosted a wine and cheese open house at our new place. With 40 guests expected, we stocked up on a dozen bottles of wine for guests to sample, along with copious amounts of cheese, meats and crackers. The event was a lot of fun and the culmination of all our hard work getting the home ready and liveable.

Now that I’m back to the daily grind of work, we’re still trying to mix in some fun here and there. On Tuesday, we picked up food from Big Star Sandwich in New West for the first time. It will certainly not be the last time, though, as we both thoroughly enjoyed our meals. As much as I like Subway sandwiches, this was like Subway on steroids! My favourite part of their menu is that you can put hickory sticks on any sandwich, adding a nice crunch to your hoagie.

The coming weekend is loaded with events, as the Halloween season picks up. Check back soon for another Sip Trips update on all our adventures!

January 24 – Pigskin Shot

Game within a Game

With the 2015 NFL Super Bowl just over a week away, I thought I’d help out all my little sippers out there, that might not be a fan of the sport, and perhaps find themselves invited to a big game party. Here’s some ways you can enjoy the game, while not exactly enjoying the game!

#5: Half-Time Show

The choice of entertainment for each year’s big game opens up great debate. Usually, in the end, whichever act has been invited to perform puts on a good show and everyone walks away happy. This year, viewers will be treated to the musical stylings of Katy Perry, who had a massive year in 2014 with hits like “Roar” and “Dark Horse”. Perry will be joined by Lenny Kravitz, which will at least add a rock element to the show. Let’s hope we get a repeat of 2004 and if you’re lucky, you might even get to see some boobies!

Barely Watch Super Bowl

#4: Betting

Whether you’ve got money on the line in Vegas, between friends, or in some kind of office pool, it seems that betting on the big game is as essential as which beer you’re going to bring to the affair. Prop bets have also become really big with each passing Super Bowl. These include wagers on everything surrounding the game, from the national anthem, to what coaches will wear, to what colour Gatorade will be dumped on the winning bench boss. If you play your cards right, you might bring home enough cash to cover your food and drink losses!

#3: Food

Speaking of edibles, the Super Bowl offers a myriad of snacking choices and it’s certainly a day you don’t want to be inhibited by any diets or cleanses. The dip options alone, are enough to make your head spin. And what goes best with most dips? Well, chips, naturally. We all know that the Sip Advisor is a chippy fiend and I’ll use any excuse to stock up on as many bags as I can fit into our cupboards. Hell, most years I don’t even watch the game, but make it a point to do a little shopping spree prior, and then I just let it ride until the stock has been depleted!

Super Bowl Food

#2: Drink

Food and drink go hand-in-hand, but the Sip Advisor has always leaned towards liquid nourishment. When hosting or attending a party, it’s tough choosing what to stock your or your buddy’s fridge with. While beer is a natural choice for watching sports, there are a number of other options available and the cocktail revolution has allowed for something to be available to everyone. As for brew options, treat yourself. Don’t settle for the easy choices, like Budweiser (or Canadian for us fans north of the border) and instead, grab a case of craft brew and be a true beer snob!

#1: Commercials

For some people, the only reason they tune into the game, is to watch the enormously expensive commercials that break the program up. Each year, there is a set of memorable ads that become an extension of the game. Did you know that the Wendy’s “Where’s the Beef” campaign started with a Super Bowl spot? Then there’s also perennial top contender Budweiser. The company has used both the Clydesdales and Wassup guys for a number of outstanding adverts, regardless of how you feel about the actual product or company.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Pigskin Shot

Pigskin Shot

  • 0.5 oz Midori
  • 0.5 oz Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Sour Mix
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

What other tactics can we share together to help anti-football fans make it through the Super Bowl? If it’s any consolation, at least it only occurs once each year, not like all these stupid awards shows that often have invites flying the other (female to male) direction. A dude may have to deal with the Oscar’s, Grammy’s, Golden Globes, Emmy’s, and others. One football game seems fair in comparison!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I was originally going to do a shot called Blitz, which combined Irish Crème, Kahlua and Pineapple Juice. I was curious about how that would all go together, but the result was mass curdling, which looked disgusting. Therefore, I found this recipe instead, which was much nicer. I even used my recently acquired Grey Goose Le Melon in the vodka slot and it worked perfectly with the Midori!

April 10 – Milestone

A Toast to Us!

This is a big one; we’ve hit the 100th drink in Sip Advisor history. To celebrate this momentous occasion, I hereby introduce to you the first ever Sip Advisor awards!

Everyone is decked out in his and her best attire, the bubbly is flowing (literally!) and the paparazzo is snapping a ton of pictures… I think they just caught one of my infamous crotch shots. I smell another tabloid settlement! Let’s get on with the award ceremony:

Best Site Searches

It’s so funny seeing the various avenues people take to find this epic site. Some of the most bizarre crossovers seem to bring visitors here and I’m not sure whether I should be flattered or fearful. Nope, I know the answer to that… definitely fearful!

Nominees: babs bunny buster bunny bugs bunny toon sex; how do i get a blow job at new york new york las vegas; sexy frauline lederhosen photo; can get blood clots from getting a purple nurple; babysitteres gone bad; all dogs go to heaven porn

Winner: how do I get a blow job at new york new york las vegas – I knew the Vegas Blowjob shot would get us in trouble! I only hope this lad found his answer… I’m personally still searching!

Vegas Blowjob Shot

Best Garnish

In my opinion, garnishing a drink is what completes any recipe. It is only a good drink until you give it some companionship in the form of a wedge, chunk, slice, rim or other non-denominational comrade. As you will see by the nominees below, this award is rim dominated (how kinky!).

Nominees: Crushed Froot Loops, Raspberry Jam, Crème Egg/Sprinkles

Winner: Crème Egg/Sprinkles (used on Crème Egg) – this rim is so fun to lick off the glass afterwards… probably better than the drink itself!

Behind-the-Scenes Biggest Mistake

I’m not perfect (although the ladies beg to differ) and some things don’t go according to plan while I’m at the office trying to come up with wicked cocktails for you, my little sippers. Sure, the end product looks fantastic, but along the way, there has been a couple misses, en route to cocktail glory.

Nominees: Pineapple Juice gone bad, Key Lime Pie recipe missing Galliano, Flatliner foul-ups (I had to make and drink three!)

Winner: Key Lime Pie – Galliano isn’t an ingredient in any of the traditional recipes, but I chose to add it for a special flavour… then I forgot to add it entirely when I first made the drink!

Most Difficult Drink

Not every drink we’ve made for Sip Nation has been easy-peasy. Some have, in fact, been quite difficult and taken a couple attempts to master. Others have been a pain in the butt because of how messy the results were.

Nominees: Groundhog’s Shadow, Pretty Vegas, Flatliner

Winner: Groundhog’s Shadow – it took numerous versions to get one that looked even remotely like a groundhog and we suffered numerous defeats (layers that did not layer, groundhogs that did not stay in the ground or were too hard to see) before we found one that looked somewhat like what we were going for and tasted decent.

Best Photo

This award might as well be presented to Mrs. Sip, who has taken a majority of the pictures that have been nominated. Cheap plug: all you little sippers should check out our Gallery page to see all the good work done by our art department.

Nominees: CosmopolitanBreakfast of ChampionsCrème Egg

Winner: Cosmopolitan – I’m still not sure how this photo came together, but it’s pretty wicked and my personal favourite!

Cosmopolitan Martini

Top Shot

One of my favourite features of the 365-day drink challenge has been Super Saturday Shot Day. It’s been fun switching things up every weekend and putting together a usually delicious shooter to throw back.

Nominees: On the Cusp, Tootsie Roll, Windshield Wiper Fluid

Winner: On the Cusp – like I could pick anything else when this was the shot I, THE Sip Advisor, created for Mrs. Sip’s birthday! (and after all, I don’t want to end up sleeping on the couch!)

Best Drink

This is the big one of the night. Another category that was very hard to narrow down, but using a complex algorithm (just spelling that word seems like it needs its own complex algorithm), I’ve whittled down the choices. In actuality, I went on the basis that these were drinks I quickly made doubles of because I enjoyed them so much.

Nominees: Limestone Breeze, PAMA-Jama, Blue Razz Buzz

Winner: Pama-Jama – all good candidates, but this is a drink I now crave often! Disagree? Let me know!

Drink #100: Milestone (A Sip Advisor Original Recipe)

Milestone Drink Recipe

  • 0.5 oz PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur
  • 0.5 oz Cointreau
  • Dash of Lemon Juice
  • Top with Champagne
  • Garnish with Berries on a Spear

So, there you have it, the first Sip Advisor awards. I’d like to thank the viewers who have visited the site from 72 countries around the world. We will do this again at drink #200, so join us for all the fun and mayhem the next 100 drinks will surely hold!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This original recipe was pretty good. I enjoyed using PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur again even with the addition of champagne (not one of my favourite alcohols), the overall product was worthy of a milestone post.