Sip Trips #63: Asian Antics (Part 1)

Mrs. Sip and I recently returned from a five-week vacation throughout Asia, which featured as much beer, wine and spirits as we could cram in. Here is part one of some of the notable experiences we enjoyed on our journey:

The fun all got started when we joined Mrs. Sip’s parents and sister in Singapore. Drinks in the city are very expensive and we had to work hard to find happy hour deals, where beverages could be had on a buy one-get one basis (or as they promoted it, one-for-one).

Happy Hour Savings

We also managed to track down some craft beer in Singapore, passing by the Red Dot Brewhouse, by chance. I ordered the Monster Green Lager, which was infused with spirulina and advertised as a must-try novelty beer, while Mrs. Sip asked for the Lime Wheat (brewed with local lime). The brewery’s name has an interesting story: the owner was touring South Africa in 1997 when he was first introduced to home brewing. When he visited a shop to bring some supplies back home, his options were for an ale or a lager… one marked with a red dot and the other not. The rest is history, as they say.

Our last night in Singapore was spent staying at the Marina Bay Sands. We splurged and booked one of their club rooms, which for the “low” price of $600, provided us with invitations to an afternoon tea, cocktail hour and breakfast. To justify the costly indulgence, Mrs. Sip and I made sure to drink $250-plus worth of booze during the cocktail hour! It was during this binge that I completed the four horseman challenge, consuming one beverage each featuring Jim Beam, Jack Daniels, Jose Cuervo, and Johnnie Walker (all doubles, of course)!

Next up was our 18-day cruise, with port stops throughout Asia. These stops included Bangkok, Thailand; Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang, Vietnam; Hong Kong and Shanghai, China; Taipei, Taiwan; Nagasaki, Japan; and Busan, South Korea.

Cruise Ship Pirate

I’ve written about our booze strategies on cruises before, but we learned some new things on this trip. One of our first tasks was to purchase a wine package. We went with the silver-level 12-bottle card, which meant our nightly bottle with dinner would cost as cheap as $20 each, as opposed to the $29 price point.

Another savings we regularly took advantage of was the ship’s BOGO hours, where two drinks could be purchased with the second only costing $1. We learned early on that this could also be applied to beers (which we would stock up on and save for days at sea as we relaxed poolside) and even wine bottles. Speaking of beers, Princess Cruises has introduced a third brew to their burgeoning Seawitch craft beer line-up, adding a Blonde Ale to their IPA and Red Ale (my personal fave).

My one not-so-good drinking experience on the ship was ordering a specialty margarita to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. I asked for the Chili and Chocolate (Don Julio Reposado, White Creme de Cacao, jalapenos) option and the bartender had to look up the recipe. Shouldn’t that be a prerequisite of working the Margarita Bar? The drink was passable, but not as good as the previous serving I’ve had of it. The bartender used chocolate sauce in the margarita which made it look dirty and threw the flavour off.

Cinco de Mayo

As far as drinking off the ship, one of my favourite stops of the cruise was our two-day layover in Hong Kong. This gave us a rare chance to experience the city’s night life, which cruises don’t often provide. With Mrs. Sip having a couple friends living in Hong Kong, we had an inside edge and ended up at the Happy Valley Racecourse, which had its own beer garden. There, with a pitcher of Kronenboug Blanc in hand, I enjoyed our groups’ only betting win of the evening!

With the cruise over, we flew to Japan where we would spend the next two weeks trekking across the country… but that’s a story for another Sip Trips!

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June 22 – Four Horsemen

Day/Dawn/Night of the Walking Resident Evil Dead

At some point in time, everyone likes to think about what they would do in the case of an apocalyptic world. Especially with all the media out today involving these situations and the huge obsession with zombie culture. Here’s how your faithful Sip Advisor would fare in a world without order…

First, let’s set the stage:

Pauly Shore has risen to President of the United States (can you imagine!), backed by all the burnouts of Generation X. He is, in fact, the Anti-Christ that Nostradamus warned us all about and he means business. After nuking half the planet, only the Western Hemisphere exists and we’re too busy partying to realize what’s going on until it’s too late.

pauly-shore-president

Here’s where the Sip Man comes into the picture!

While everyone is out getting their hands on any last food and supplies they can find, I’m out looting bars and liquor stores. This tactic has two-fold potential and benefits. First, if the world really has gone to shit, might as well be drunk and disorderly along with it. Second, when people are looking to get their fix, who do you think will wield all the power? That’s right, the boozers. I could charge ridiculously inflated prices (we’re talking stadium numbers) for my stock.

After I’ve begun to build my empire, people take notice and I gain a following. Too bad, I’m a lone wolf. I can barely take care of myself, let alone a mass of worshippers. I appreciate the sentiment, but it’s time to get outta dodge. President Shore wants Canada next.

Decked out in the best post-apocalyptic Road Warrior-style leather and spikes, I hit the road. There’s nothing left for me at home anymore. I work my way south – after all, we’ve always been led to believe that the south will rise again – and form an alliance with some of the best barbecue masters still remaining. Our strategy: bring the people in with barbecue and charge a king’s ransom for my booze. Plus we get all the pulled pork and beef brisket we could ever want to stuff our faces with.

Lord Humungous

I look so bad ass, I bet they’d take the time to make action figures of me!

We party for weeks on end, seemingly forgetting all our troubles, but eventually they catch up with us. Now it’s turned into one of those zombie apocalypse dealies. I’ve watched my fair share of undead horror movies and TV shows and here are my tips for staying safe:

  1. Zombies love cuddles… this has never been explored in zombie fiction, but in reality, if you hug a zombie, they will never kill you. If you’re willing to do even more with a zombie, then you might be able to lead an entire army of walkers.
  2. Don’t go outside. Why would you ever leave the safety of your home? You need food? Eat a couch cushion. You want some entertainment? I’m sure AMC will eventually put out an all-zombie network for us to enjoy. Then HBO will counter with their own zombie-demographic programming. We’ll be fine.
  3. If I’ve learned anything the past few years, it’s that zombies already exist. All we have to do is distract them with the same devices they are currently obsessed with. Put either a smart phone or Facebook in front of them, and they will be content for hours, just drooling all over the place, their faces aglow from high screen resolution.
  4. Really, your best advice in a zombie apocalypse is to never listen to me. I don’t have a grasp on reality, so how am I going to be any help with fictional worlds!?

zombie-apocalypse

Somehow, I’m able to survive and get to Mexico, where copious amounts of tequila convince people that I should be their leader and at the same time, I accept the position. Once again, we party like there’s no tomorrow… because there might not be one. I don’t treat my subjects very well, however, thanks to the summoning of my many spirit gods.

Then, in one of the saddest scenes you will ever witness, the ol’ Sip Advisor finally runs out of his nine lives. While reaching for a bottle of whiskey, I expose myself just a little too much and the coup trying to overthrow me is finally successful. Fade to black…

I bet you’re wondering where Mrs. Sip has been during this entire adventure. Well, she dumped my ass, got hitched to Pauly Shore and enjoyed the rest of her days in power and luxury. Buuuuuuddddyyyy!

Drink #173: Four Horsemen

June 22

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
On paper this looks like a pretty scary shot, but it went down very smooth and didn’t feel like I was being punished. Perhaps my choice of spirits helped, as I used Anejo Tequila, Honey Whiskey, Black Cherry Bourbon, and a nice Scotch. This shooter also provided me a perfect opportunity to bust out my new cowboy boot shot glasses, courtesy Ma and Pa Sip!