Ukraine – Fireball Martini

Brotherly Brawlers

It’s not often that a country can lay claim to one heavyweight title fighter, but a pair of brothers that are equally adept in the ring is a truly rare feat. Ukraine’s Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko are both champions and give the Ukraine an image to be feared. Let’s take a look at the brothers and their rise to international stardom:

Vitali (born July 19, 1971) is nearly five years older than his brother Wladimir (born March 25, 1976). Both men made their debut on the same night (November, 6, 1996) in Hamburg, Germany. Not surprisingly, each brother was victorious, with Vitali KO’ing Tony Bradham at 1:14 of the second round. He was bested by Wladimir, who beat Fabian Meza by knockout at 1:35 of the first round.

Klitschko Jab

Prior to entering the professional ranks, Wladimir competed at the 1996 Olympics, winning gold in the Super Heavyweight division. Vitali was a member of the same team, but was booted off for testing positive for a banned substance. This opened the door for Wladimir, who was intended to compete in the Heavyweight Division and was struggling to make the weight limit, thus bumping up to Super Heavyweight, taking Vitali’s spot.

Vitali was also quite successful before his pro boxing career began, but in the discipline of kickboxing, where he was a six-time World Champion (twice as an amateur and four times professionally) with a record of 34-1, including 22 knockouts.

Vitali took four years off from the sport from 2004 to 2008. When he returned, he defeated Samuel Peter to win back the WBC World Heavyweight Championship. At the same time, Wladimir was in possession of the WBO, IBF, and IBO heavyweight titles (the longest reigning champion for each of those belts), marking the first time two brothers held world championships at the same time.

Klitschko Belts

When Wladimir added the WBA World Heavyweight Championship to his collection in 2011, the broskis held every world title (and continued to do so for the next 2 years, 5 months, and 13 days). Vitali forfeited his title in 2013, in order to enter the political realm in the Ukraine.

Vitali is extremely well-educated, having earned a master’s degree in social development and a doctorate in sport science, which netted him the nickname Dr. Ironfist. He was chosen as the leader of the Ukrainian Democratic Allice for Reform Party and has twice sought to be elected as the mayor of Kiev. Vitali has been awarded Germany’s highest civilian honour, the Federal Cross of Merit for his achievements. Not to be unmatched, Wladimir also garnered a doctorate in sport science, changing his nickname from The Steel Hammer to Dr. Steel Hammer.

Outside of the ring, the Klitschko’s operate K2 Promotions and K2 East Promotions. They are also active in the philanthropy world with their Klitschko Brothers Fund, which works to help children around the world. The brothers have agreed to work with UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), as of 2002.

Klitschko Fight Mode

Wladimir auctioned off his 1996 gold medal at an event in 2012, hoping to raise money to help Ukrainian children. The winning bid came in at $1 million, with the buyer immediately returning the medal to the boxer, not out of fear, but because he believed the treasure should remain with Wladimir and his family. Really gives you the warm fuzzies!

Wladimir appeared in the movie Ocean’s 11, fighting Lennox Lewis during the great heist and starred in the music video for ‘Part of Me,’ by Chris Cornell of Soundgarden and Audioslave fame. Regardless of all the bragging rights that come with being a boxing champion, Wladimir can also claim to be engaged to actress Hayden Penettiere from the TV shows Heroes and Nashville. The couple announced in 2014 that they are expecting their first child.

Combined, the sibling’s all-time record is 107 wins and 5 losses, with 93 knockouts. Vitali is 45-2-0 with 41 KOs, while Wladimir is 62-3-0 with 52 KOs. Vitali may not have as many knockouts as his little brother, but his KO percentage of 87% is the highest ever in the history of heavyweight champions. Despite his two losses, Vitali rarely lost a round and was never knocked down or out in competition. When he hasn’t come out as the winner, it’s because injuries suffered during a bout have caused him to concede defeat.

Ukraine: Fireball Martini

Fireball Martini

Although an encounter between the two siblings would be highly marketable, Vitali and Wladimir have both insisted that they would never fight each other. The Sip Advisor and his broski didn’t follow this mantra and faced off on pay-per-view in what has been viewed as the least watched sporting exhibition in history!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
When I first heard of this Vodka, I knew it would be a perfect addition to the Sip Advisor collection. I’m a fan of drinks that offer a little burn and this was no different. I could have used a little more heat, but that’s just me. I dared Mrs. Sip to take a bite of the Hot Pepper garnish and when she turned it back on me, I was game… I took my bite and let the flames fly for the next few minutes!

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October 22 – Angry Dan

Festival Phooey

My little sippers, my thesis is simple: the price of some liquor events is insane!

Case in point, Mrs. Sip and I were looking forward to attending our first Vancouver Hopscotch event this November, even making peace with the $50 (plus tax and service charge) cost that came along with the whiskey and scotch lover’s dream experience. That is, until we began looking into just what exactly our near $60 entrance fee entailed.

All you get for your little nest egg of an investment is a souvenir glass and five drink tokens. FIVE tokens! That works out to more than $10 a pop for a little tiny sample. Sure, they bring in stuff from around the world (around 300 products), including some libations you may never have the chance to taste otherwise, but that’s ridiculous value for your hard-earned cash. It also sounded like some booths could charge you more than one token per sample. That could translate to paying $20 or more for a little sip of liquor that you might not even enjoy.

Similarly, I turned down invites this summer to go to the Vancouver Craft Beer Week Beer Festival, not because I had other plans, but because I didn’t agree with the perks of the event. For $35 (plus taxes and fees, of course), attendees received a miniscule three tokens and the typical commemorative taster glass. Why in the world would I pay $10-plus per beer sample, when I could go to many local bars and get the same brews in pint-size servings for the same price? Hell, why wouldn’t I invest that $10 towards an entire pack or case of beers, at any nearby liquor store?

expensive-taste-low-budget

Sure, it only cost $1.10 (they couldn’t just round it off at a buck!?) at Hopscotch and $1.25 at the VCBW Beer Festival, for additional tokens, but that’s just added charges on top of your already high dowry. And guess what, if you happen to get a little hungry, you still have to pay extra for any food that may or may not be available.

For events like these, I’d rather they nix the bands or other entertainment and souvenir glass (how many of these do I really need cluttering up my cupboards?) and give everyone 10 tokens… even then, you’re not getting good bang for your buck. I know many vendors don’t even ask for your ticket or token, but some people (ie. your faithful Sip Advisor) usually gives it up willingly, in order to avoid that awkward moment between server and drinker.

Liquor events aren’t all bad, though. Mrs. Sip and I, along with Ma and Pa Sip, attended the Portland Beer and Wine festival last Easter and what an amazing event that was. For only $20, we received a souvenir glass and a whopping 10 tokens that could be spent on beer, wine, spirits, food items, a used vehicle (okay, not that one), etc. And additional tokens were only $1! Not to mention the live entertainment and info sessions that were all part of the spectacle. We will be back, as info for the 2015 event is already online with deals such as $22 for entry, a glass (wine or beer), and 10 tokens. That’s on top of free entry to the first 500 visitors on the Friday.

bender beer festival

Even in Canada, you can come across great events. In August, to celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary, Mrs. Sip and I attended the Made with Love cocktail competition. We paid only $55 (the early bird price, but even full fare was only $65) and were treated to unlimited cocktail samples from 13 of the city’s top bartenders. On top of that, food was included and damnit, it was good. It still has me craving fried plantains!

Earlier the same summer, the Sip Alliance went to the annual Tip N’ Taste event in Langley, B.C. We had been a couple times many years before, but had lost interest when event organizers lost their way and dramatically raised prices to the event. This year, the price was back down to what it should be, $25. With that, attendees received five drink tokens and five food tokens with a great variety of vendors on both sides of the equation.

Well, now that I’ve cleared my conscious and had my little rant, let’s have a little drink together!

Sip Commentary #1: Angry Dan

Angry Dan Cocktail

  • 2 oz Southern Comfort
  • 2 oz Fireball Whiskey
  • Top with Cola
  • Garnish with a Lime Wheel

Want to get your own displeasure with liquor event pricing off your chest? Feel free to vent with a profanity-laced comment below!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
For this inaugural commentary (aka rant) post – more to come in the future – I wanted a drink that had the word “Angry” in it and coincidentally, this cocktail actually includes the Sip Advisor’s first name! The drink was quite nice with a soft burn at the end of each sip. The only downside is that it’s a typical liquor and mixer cocktail, lacking any real complexity.

November 23 – Oatmeal Cookie

Whiskey Laughs

Whiskey is such a good friend to all of Sip Nation that it doesn’t even mind us sharing a few laughs at its expense. Thank you for all the good times sir whiskey, the great!

Pure Kentucky Whiskey

I wholeheartedly agree that whiskey is a cure for all ailments. Look no further than my Whiskey Sick Day article from last April. It is no coincidence that just days after downing this cocktail (the things I do for all you little sippers) I was feeling better and over my illness. I’ve never really ended up on the bathroom floor for any reason, but I’ve seen friends end up there and it’s pretty hilarious!

Funeral Whiskey

I’m that guy that brings whiskey nearly everywhere I go: wedding, funeral, sporting event, bris, dentist appointment… you name it! Whiskey will get you through whatever situation is in front of you. That’s right, whatever your girlfriend, wife, parents, siblings, family are set to put you through, just keep your old pal whiskey close by and all will go well… trust me!

Fireball-Chocolates

For the record, I would love to get Fireball Whiskey as a Valentine’s Day gift. I hope Mrs. Sip is paying attention to this article. She usually gets me liquor as presents, but I just want her to know that those gifts are greatly appreciated. Sex is cool too, if you’re taking notes (wink)!

favorite-nusery-ryhme-freebird

Freebird is a pretty wicked song… perhaps one of the best southern anthems of all time! Although I know this can be an issue for some people, I’m okay with these posed photos with kids looking like they’re boozing or smoking or whatever. For the most part, I find them pretty innocent and funny. Every kid needs a photo of them when they were little ones holding a beer bottle or having a pack of smokes nearby. It’s a rite of passage!

soup-of-the-day

If I ever saw this sign outside a bar, I would drop everything I was doing and promptly enter said establishment! I’m not even a fan of soup and have never really understood the concept of people getting soup at restaurants when it’s pretty friggin’ easy to make a bowl of hot liquid on your own. A mystery I may never be able to solve!

Drink #327: Oatmeal Cookie

Oatmeal Cookie Shooter

  • 0.5 oz Butterscotch Schnapps
  • 0.5 oz Irish Crème
  • Splash of Jagermeister Spice
  • Splash of Goldschlager
  • Splash of Fireball Whiskey
  • Garnish with Oatmeal Cookie

If you know of any good whiskey memes out there in internet land, please send them along, care of The Sip Advisor, PO Box 71169, and I’ll be happy to enjoy a quick chuckle over the joke. Much love, little sippers!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
I’m not sure how much this shot tastes like an oatmeal cookie. There’s definitely a noticeable cinnamon flavour thanks to most of the spirits used, but I don’t think it exactly hits on the intended taste. That could be my fault, as I altered some of the recipe. It still tasted good and it was my first chance to use Jagermeister Spice, which I also tried on its own and it looks like we’ll become fast friends!

November 20 – Full Moon Lemonade

The Next Whiskey Bar

As with most things in life, a clever slogan can be the difference between a hit product and a discontinued failure. It’s no different in the whiskey and bourbon business, as companies look to gain slight advantages over competitors with cunning taglines. Here are some of the Sip Advisor’s favourites:

Wiser’s Whiskey – Welcome to the Society of Uncompromising Men. Welcome to the Wiserhood.

I really enjoy this series of ads, which features the Society of Uncompromising Men (I am a full ranking member) and their slow clap of new recruits. Our meetings consist of gathering around, discussing how to best be men amongst the feminist uprising and drinking. It’s kind of like Al Bundy’s No Ma’am group… no, it’s exactly like that!

Jameson Irish Whiskey – Not a Drop is Sold Till it’s Seven Years Old…

I feel like they should have adapted this slogan more and made it a complete Irish limerick. You know, one of those “There once was a man from Nantucket…” dealies. That said, the fine folks at Jameson make a good point here that rushing out a whiskey product isn’t always the best idea. Let it sit and acquire flavours… then flood the market!

Wild Turkey Bourbon – Too Good to Keep Cooped Up

I like this slogan a lot. It gives me this image of bourbon drinking turkeys running amuck, similar to a zombie apocalypse, as they peck at everything in sight. Then, the Sip Advisor comes in with impressive artillery, takes out all the disgusting fowl, then sits down to a meal that puts all Thanksgivings to shame and steals all the turkey bourbon. Pretty cool imagination, eh!?

Crown Royal Whiskey – For Every King, a Crown

We should all treat ourselves as if we’re royalty. You know, be good to ourselves and indulge in things like fine liquor (Crown Royal is a perfect example), delicious food, yummy treats, fun-filled vacations, and lavish accommodations. You never know when your time will run out, so enjoy everything while you can!

crown-royal-for-every-king-a-crown

Fireball Whiskey – Taste Like Heaven, Burns Like Hell

I couldn’t agree more, although I’ve never really found Fireball to burn that much. Then again, it seems I’m able to handle heat a little better than some of my counterparts. I love watching people’s reactions when they take a shot. I don’t even flinch when downing booze, but others put on quite a little show, especially if you give them something strong.

Canadian Club Whiskey – Canadian Club. Be a Part of It.

This is one organization I wouldn’t mind paying membership dues to! Wait, am I naturally a member of this group by the simple fact that I am, in fact, Canadian. Is it part of my birth rights, similar to citizenship? I hope I don’t have to get my lawyers involved, although Mrs. Sip in business attire sends me into frenzied fits!

Jack Daniel’s Whiskey – Whiskey Made as Our Fathers Made It

Jack Daniel’s is very big on their legacy and traditions and why shouldn’t they be? Just because Jack Daniel himself died from an infection caused by kicking his own safe after forgetting the combination to unlock it doesn’t mean their history shouldn’t be cherished. In fact, we could all learn a lesson from this: inanimate objects can kill.

Drink #324: Full Moon Lemonade

Full Moon Lemonade Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Moonshine (I used Apple Pie)
  • 1 oz Limoncello
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Splash of Lemonade
  • Garnish with Lemon Slices

If you had your own whiskey brand, what would you call it and what would your slogan be? Interesting questions to ponder, am I right? My product would be aptly titled Sip Advisor Spirit, with the jingle: “One day you’ll be an advisor, too!”

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
The recipe calls for using a pinch of Sugar, but I’m not a huge fan of adding the white stuff to cocktail and instead opted for a splash of Lemonade to sweeten the mix and also heighten the lemon flavour. Using the Apple Moonshine with the Limoncello was a great partnership for this all around delicious drink.

November 19 – John Collins

Whiskey Business

That has to be one of the more clever headlines I’ve ever come up with (thanks, Tom Cruise)! Today, we explore advertising in the whiskey world and we don’t even have to be like the tools on Mad Men. Well, on with the show!

Knob Creek

Whiskey is definitely not a “training wheel” liquor. It’s for the stallions of this world and I’m thrilled to be among their leaders. The child in me always has a brief giggle over the company name Knob Creek. I’m sorry, but it’s just funny.

jim-beam-ad-1jim-beam-ad-2
jim-beam-ad-3jim-beam-ad-4

This series of Jim Beam ads further exemplifies that bourbon products are not for the tame of heart. I had to post all four of these ads, as they’re all pretty smart. I must point out that I appreciate each of the drinks that have been slammed in these photos, particularly the Mojito, which I love. That said, they must take their place in line in the pecking order.

No Other Whiskey

Clever use of word play by our friends at Jack Daniel’s. I’m on the fence about regular JD, but I love their honey whiskey varietal. I think Jack Daniel’s has a wonderful legacy in the liquor world and it’s well-earned. Jack Daniel is one dude I would have loved to share a drink with and we’d have some great laughs over his impending ironic death, which could have been prevented by his own product!

fireball_whiskey_ad

All you little sippers know of my affinity for Fireball Whiskey. I bring that shizzle everywhere and made it an inaugural class member of The Sip Advisor Hall of Fame. It’s hard to explain where my fire comes from. As far as I know, it’s always been there. It’s an inherent part of my awesomeness and I wouldn’t give it up for anything.

Shoot Blanks

There’s nothing like firing a shot at your competitors, straight across the bow, while also highlighting your offering to the world! And what better company to do so than Bulleit Bourbon. While I can’t say that I’ve ever owned a bottle of this brand, I have enjoyed the alcohol in a number of cocktails while travelling throughout the United States.

Crown Wishes

I’m a huge Crown Royal supporter, also nominating this liquor to The Sip Advisor Hall of Fame. If I was presented with the opportunity to make three wishes, one would certainly be to have unlimited liquor, while the other two would probably be a bottomless bag of potato chips and a forever un-clothable Mrs. Sip!

Drink #323: John Collins

John Collins Drink Recipe

  • 1.5 oz Whiskey (I used Crown Royal)
  • Top with Lemon-Lime Soda
  • Garnish with Lemon and Lime Wedges

What’s your favourite whiskey ad? If it’s one I haven’t presented here, you’ll gain bonus points on your Sip Advisor rewards card!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I like drinks from the Collins family. They’re easy to make and fun to drink. This entry was no different. While the Tom Collins(gin-based) is the patriarch of this brood, I’d place the John Collins in the uncle spot on the family tree. It’s earned a decent ranking and some respect from all us sippers!

November 11 – Dirty Martini

Hall of Fame

Recently, I got the idea of building my own shrine to immortal alcohols. These spirits have meant a great deal to me and have made me the Sip Advisor I am today. So, without further ado, here is the inaugural Sip Advisor Liquor Hall of Fame Class!

Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum

I’ve always enjoyed spiced rums, but none more so than Sailor Jerry’s. A definite highlight in my relationship with the spirit was a booth along Las Vegas’ Fremont Street Experience, where free pour drinks that were upwards of 60% Sailor Jerry’s were enjoyed in copious amounts. Sadly, on my last visit, that booth was nowhere to be found… but they can’t take my memories!

sailor-jerry's collection

Crown Royal Whiskey

A true Canadian classic, akin to actor Leslie Nielsen, musician Neil Young, and the Tim Horton’s donut franchise! Crown Royal is a wonderful whiskey that has played a large role in the Sip Advisor’s life and career as a liquor jockey. When a recipe calls for whiskey, it’s hard for me to not instinctively go for the Crown Royal, sitting high and mighty in its top shelf perch.

Bacardi Light Rum

Bacardi Light Rum was training wheels for me, as I entered the booze world in my teenage years. Ma and Pa Sip were regular rum and coke drinkers and like parents like son, I took up the family business. I can’t remember how many times I filled up a flask of Bacardi before heading out to a party. A tradition I will one day pass down to my own little sippers!

Fireball Whiskey

This is my go-to flask filler, perfect for weddings, camping, and nights out on the town. If you’re ever in the need for a little nip of something to get the party started or warm up in inclement weather, Fireball is the perfect tonic to get your motor running. I’ve even converted little sippers to the joys of the whiskey thanks to my great reputation as a sharer.

Frieball Whiskey Heaven & Hell

1800 Añejo Tequila

Mrs. Sip and I were first introduced to 1800 on a group trip to Mexico for New Year’s 2012. In the land of tequila, one fine product emerged for us, combining a wonderful taste with a very reasonable price point. We have since returned to Mexico and tracked down the 1800 Añejo again and it won’t be long before we have to repeat the process a third time.

Granville Island Brewery

The beer wing’s first entrant has to be the offerings of the Granville Island Brewery. From their Raspberry and Wheat Ales to their Lager and Honey Lager entries, not much comes out of the GIB kitchen that doesn’t pass the Sip Advisor’s stringent testing methods. I look forward to many more years of brewing goodness from this micro-brewery.

Cola

We finish the evening with our first hall of fame inductee among the mixer category. It’s a pretty obvious choice. My first drinks all included cola (of the Pepsi variety, of course). Whether it was a straight up rum and coke or the adventurous Long Island Iced Tea, cola has always been there for me and I’ll never forget its friendship, love, and support.

Drink #315: Dirty Martini

Dirty Martini Drink Recipe

  • 2 oz Gin (I used Bombay Sapphire East)
  • 0.25 oz Dry Vermouth
  • Splash of Olive Juice
  • Garnish with Olives

As with most hall of fames, a stringent voting process was needed to decide which drinking elements earned their way into these hallowed halls. Thankfully, an entire panel of top journalists and other prominent alcohol figures all reside in my head. Congrats to all the honourees.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
A star-studded event like saluting the 2013 hall of fame class needs a classy drink and so I went for the Dirty Martini. You can make this cocktail with either Gin or Vodka. I decided to go with the Gin variant, as that is the traditional method. One recipe noted to fill your martini glass with an ice cube and some water before placing in the fridge for a few minutes to let the chalice chill. This cocktail is certainly not for everyone. However, I like Olive Juice and I love Gin. Put the two together and the results are actually quite pleasant. I can see why this is such a popular martini to many people.

August 23 – Mosquito Bite

Summertime Blues

Today, I’m going to go against typecast and play the role of Debbie Downer. Summer is an awesome time, but like most things in life, it isn’t perfect. Here are the things that sadly suck about the summer season:

Mosquito Bites

I came up with this list after awaking to some awful itches that are driving me insane as I type this article. The worst thing about mosquitos is that you know they’re around, buzzing by your ear and hunting you down. Sadly, they are good at what they do and if you’re not careful, you’ll wind up bitten to pieces. Poor Mrs. Sip is a mozzie magnet which is usually how I walk away unscathed.

mosquito-bites

Dehydration

I believe I was the victim of dehydration a couple weeks back, which is a little odd because I work diligently to keep myself and others hydrated with not only booze, but water, as well. I guess I just wasn’t on my game that day and a little too much time poolside was giving me flu-like feelings. A half-dozen glasses of cold water and I was feeling myself again… the club can’t handle me, yo!

Intolerable Night Heat

Nothing is more frustrating than trying to sleep during the heights of summer heat. I myself, like to be covered by a blanket when snoozing, but in the summer, I constantly have to throw my legs on top of our comforter or completely toss the covering off. Many sleepless nights are spent trying to acclimatize to the heat and get comfortable. Mrs. Sip encroaching on my side of the bed with her furnace-like temperature doesn’t help matters.

summer

Sun Burns

Speaking of Mrs. Sip, she’s currently nursing a pretty nasty burn thanks to a little too much time in the sun. There is an upside to all this though, because guess who works some pretty decent magic with a bottle of Aloe Vera… that’s right, the Sip Advisor! You have to be diligent with healing a sun burn, so as not to enter the peeling stage, which is beyond gross.

Forest Fires

While a sun burn is like a forest fire for a person’s body, these incidents are capable of leaving a scorched earth that takes years to recover. That’s not even factoring the loss of homes, wildlife, and in the most tragic cases, human life. We’ve had a pretty dry summer in these here parts, but I haven’t heard too much about forest fire issues. Perhaps the cigarette butt-tossing folk have finally learned their lesson.

Drink #235: Mosquito Bite (A Sip Advisor Original Recipe)

Mosquito  Bite Cocktail

  • 1 oz Vodka (I used Smirnoff)
  • 1 oz Fireball Whiskey
  • Top with Milk
  • Garnish with Cinnamon Powder and Stir

Upon making this list, one quickly realizes that these minor inconveniences of summer are totally worth it for such an amazing period of the year. I hope everyone out there enjoys what is left of their summertime fun!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.5 Sips out of 5):
This cocktail was a bit of a miss. It just didn’t come together as expected, but it wasn’t horrible either. I was disappointed not to find a drink called Mosquito Bite, but a couple simply called Mosquito… I refused to have any of that and changed the name to the way I liked it (renegade style!). The bites of Cinnamon are like the stings of a mosquito and the white Milky flesh provides a perfect canvas for the little buggers to do their damage, dotting the work with Cinnamon Powder.