August 22 – Salty Chihuahua

Dog Gonnit

The Sip Advisor is a cat man and if I’m being completely honest, I’m not very comfortable around dogs. It is National Dog Day in the U.S., this Wednesday, though and that got me thinking about what I’d do in the future if my little sippers wanted a puppy. So, here are the Top 5 canine breeds the Sip Advisor would make an exception for… in the name of love!

#5: St. Bernard

I know what you’re thinking. The only reason the Sip Advisor wants a St. Bernard is so that he doesn’t have to retrieve liquor on his own accord. What you don’t realize is that these dogs also come in handy if I get buried under an avalanche of empty bottles and cans! The St. Bernard – famously portrayed in the Beethoven series of movies – is incredibly adept at rescuing folks trapped by snow. Legends also claim that a St. Bernard saved the Manchester United football club from bankruptcy in the early 1900’s, when J.H. Davis purchased the team after unsuccessfully trying to acquire captain Harry Stafford’s dog.

St. Bernard Drunk

#4: Collie

These regal, beautiful looking pups always put a smile on my face. I’m specifically thinking of the Shetland Sheepdog (or Sheltie), but other members of the breed are totally welcome in the Sip Advisor’s good books. Border Collies are also famous for their search and rescue work, so I’m beginning to see a bit of a trend here. I mean, how can you not like this type of dog? Hell, Lassie is even a Collie… and a Rough Collie at that! Shelties are highly intelligent and to be honest, would likely outwit me!

#3: Shar Pei

One of my favourite fictional dogs of all time is Satchel Pooch of the comic strip Get Fuzzy. The lovable oaf is a Shar Pei-Labrador Retriever cross, but we’ll forgive him for an ancestry he can’t control! My favourite aspect of Shar Peis is their rolly-polly body type and wrinkled fur, particularly as puppies. They look so adorable, especially when they snuggle up into a tight ball and almost disappear into themselves. As the name suggests, the breed comes from China and translates to “sand skin”.

Shar Pei Hasselhoff

#2: Jack Russell Terrier

Perhaps the most famous terrier was the ever-animated Eddie on the hit comedy Frasier. Played by a father and son duo for the duration of the show’s run, the dog was heavily featured on the sitcom. Eddie’s not alone, though, joined by other iconic Terriers, including Wishbone, Milo (The Mask), and Uggie (Nintendo spokesdog). One issue that could arise is that these dogs have a high energy level and are in constant need of exercise and stimulation, which may not jive with the Sip Advisor’s preferred lazy lifestyle!

#1: Golden Retriever

This is another breed of bigger dogs that I’d be cool with, given their awesome personalities and behaviour patterns. I’m also down with labs of all colours… no racism here! The Golden Retreiver seems to be the presidential dog of choice, as both Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan brought them to the White House. The pooches’ names were Liberty and Victory, respectively. Other popular media to feature Golden Retrievers, include Up, Homeward Bound, Full House, and the Air Bud franchise, of course.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Salty Chihuahua

  • Rim glass with Salt
  • 1 oz Tequila
  • 0.5 oz Grapefruit Juice

The noble German Shepherd narrowly missed making this list. I mean, you gotta love The Littlest Hobo, particularly the theme song, which is a treasured memory from many kids’ childhoods.” Maybe tomorrow, I’ll want to settle down. Until tomorrow, the whole world is my home!”

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February 14 – Love Bite

Lover’s Quarrel

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be a good opportunity to look at some of the classic “will they/won’t they” TV romances. Nearly every show has one, hoping to bring in the hopeless romantic as a regular viewer. My favourite story is from NewsRadio, where the network wanted this element for the show, much to the chagrin of producers. So, they had Dave and Lisa sleep together immediately, before then teasing their relationship from that point. Well, on with the list:

#5: Ben & Leslie – Parks and Recreation

The Parks and Rec crew are quite incestuous with numerous couplings coming out of the small department. Despite stiff competition (Andy and April, Chris and Ann, etc.), Ben and Leslie get the nod for best “will they/won’t they” storyline on the show, as it took the nerdy Ben to finally reel in the ambitious Leslie, who was more likely to be married to her job than a living person. Ben and Leslie’s wedding was especially touching, as the Parks and Rec crew had to stage the event on short notice.

Ben and Leslie

#4: Niles & Daphne – Frasier

Niles loved Daphne from the first moment he saw her… the problem was, he was in a loveless marriage with the never-seen Maris. By the time Niles got his side of things all sorted out, Daphne was due to be wed to Donny – ironically, Niles divorce attorney. Well, true love conquers all, and Niles and Daphne ended up together, marrying and having a baby boy. Poor Niles waited many years – and through many boyfriends – for his chance to be with Daphne, but fate works in mysterious ways.

#3: Leonard & Penny – Big Bang Theory

For those who believe that opposites don’t attract, take for example the relationship between blonde bombshell Penny and her kind, but geeky neighbour Leonard. Despite taking a while to date and an extended break-up, the two have been together for a fair portion of the show’s run and at this point are even engaged. Rivaling Leonard and Penny is Sheldon and Amy, who most fans just want to see finally get into bed with one another!

The Gorilla Dissolution

#2: Jim & Pam – The Office (US)

Based off of the similar storyline of Tim and Dawn from the UK version of The Office, Jim and Pam go from co-workers with a mutual crush to lovers, having to evade obstacles such as Pam’s pending marriage to Roy, Jim’s transfer to another Dunder Mifflin branch, and Pam going back to school in New York. Once Jim and Pam were all securely married, Dwight and Angela moved into the spot of “will they/won’t they,” but their relationship was always a little odd and unusual.

#1: Ross & Rachel – Friends

These two went back and forth so many times, that it makes one’s head spin. In the end, they of course wound up with each other, following the typical last-minute ditch effort to save the relationship, with Ross rushing to the airport to stop Rachel from leaving the country for a job opportunity in Paris. Through the series, the two even produced a child, all the while teasing a reunion, but never really getting back together from the first time they became a couple and broke up.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Love Bite

Love Bite Shot

  • 0.5 oz Cherry Liqueur
  • 0.5 oz Orange Liqueur
  • 0.5 oz Milk
  • Garnish with Chocolate

Honourable mentions go to Kevin and Winnie (The Wonder Years), Zack and Kelly (Saved by the Bell), Eric and Donna (That 70’s Show), and Fry and Leela (Futurama); some of which ended happily and others, not so much. Thankfully, my will they/won’t they with Mrs. Sip worked out pretty well!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.5 Sips out of 5):
The Cherry and Orange Liqueurs mixed together really well, but the Milk didn’t play nicely with the spirits, nearly curdling the alcohol. Luckily it didn’t get that far and the flavours could still be enjoyed. At least I always had the Chocolate garnish to enjoy afterwards!

January 10 – Bad Apple

In the Shadows

A number of TV shows have utilized characters that are never seen by the audience. Some even become integral parts of storylines, despite never being visible. Here are the Top 5 most intriguing characters that are largely left to your own imagination:

#5: Dr. Claw – Inspector Gadget

While having a voice that is instantly recognizable, when it comes to making an appearance, we get to see more of Dr. Claw’s kitty, than we do of the M.A.D. leader, himself. For decades, I’ve pondered what Dr. Claw might have actually looked like. I was remarking to Mrs. Sip the other day about how much I wanted to see Dr. Claw finally win a round with the hapless detective… then, perhaps, we’d finally get the big reveal and find out that Dr. Claw is actually Chief Quimby, who’s sick and tired of being blown up by Inspector Gadget every time he delivers a new self-destruct mission.

Dr. Claw

#4: Robin Masters – Magnum P.I.

How kind is author Robin Masters to let both Thomas Magnum and Jonathan Higgins stay at his sprawling mansion (Robin’s Nest), despite the fact that he never resides there himself?  Due to all the trouble that results from Magnum and Higgins living at the estate. Masters “sort of” appeared in a few episodes as a narrator, voiced by Orson Welles. At one point, it was even speculated upon that Higgins was in fact Masters. However, although Masters confessed as much to Magnum during the series finale, he retracted his statement later.

#3: Maris – Frasier

A fair amount of humour in early seasons of the series was derived from comments about Maris’ appearance and behaviour, always adding to the character’s mystique. Despite all her quirks, she is said to be wealthy and that might be reason enough for Niles to stay with her… at least for a little while. For a character that was never seen, Maris factored into a number of storylines, one including her committing murder in self-defense and having to flee the country to avoid prosecution.

Maris Crane

#2: Mrs. Wolowitz – Big Bang Theory

We may never get to see her, but we certainly hear from her often enough. Mrs. Wolowitz’s shrill voice can often be heard yelling at Howard and treating him like a child. This often causes Howard, frustrated with his treatment, to shout in return, and ultimately end up sounding like a child. Although, for a time, Mrs. Sip and I thought that Bernadette (Howard’s wife, played by actress Melissa Rauch), also voiced Mrs. Wolowitz, the noise was actually supplied by Carol Ann Susi, who sadly passed away in November 2014.

#1: Mrs. Columbo – Columbo

Although mentioned in numerous episodes, often to advance Lt. Columbo’s relationship with the villain, we never get to meet the true Mrs. Columbo. Sure, there was a spinoff TV series titled Mrs. Columbo, but it starred a young actress that was better suited to playing Columbo’s daughter than wife. Some have speculated that in actuality, there is no Mrs. Columbo at all and she is only used by the lieutenant as an investigation technique. That would have made for quite a series twist ending.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Bad Apple

Bad Apple Shot

  • 0.75 oz Whiskey
  • 0.75 oz Sour Apple Mix

Honourable mentions go to Vera (Cheers), The Mother (How I Met Your Mother), Sheridan and Violet (Keeping Up Appearances), Bill (Kill Bill Vol. 1), and Charlie (Charlie’s Angels). Hell, the Sip Advisor could have also made this list. Will all you little sippers ever get to see the man behind the liquor magic? Only time will tell!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
I figured this would be a good shot for the article, as Dr. Claw and even some of the others on this list at, in fact, bad apples. I used my split shot glass and the results looked really neat. The taste was pretty good, with the Sour Apple Mix hitting first, before the stronger Whiskey overtook the whole experience.

November 22 – Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Reunification

Earlier this year, the online world became abuzz, when a poster was released, teasing a Friends reunion for this Thanksgiving. It turned out to all be a hoax, but that got me thinking of shows where I’d love to see a reunion episode or some other gathering of the cast/characters, injecting new life into the stories many of us grew up on. Here is the cream of the crop of those I’d love to see one more time!

#5: Recess

Perhaps in a similar vein to All Grown Up, the Rugrats re-launch, it would be great to find out whatever happened to the Recess kids – T.J. Detweiler, Vince LaSalle, Ashley Spinelli, Gretchen Grundler, Mikey Blumberg, and Gus Griswald – and where they lives led after their fourth grade adventures at Third Street Elementary School. Did any of the kids ever hook-up (my bet’s on Mikey and Gus!)? The new story could be set in any time period, whether it be high school, college, adulthood, old age, etc. If a more adult network took the reins of the show, instead of Disney, we might get some very interesting and scandalous (thank you The Ashley’s) stories!

Recess Grown Up

#4: That 70’s Show

When we last left Point Place, Wisconsin, the 1970’s rolled over into a new decade. Therefore, the most pressing question to be answered, is how did the gang find life in the 80’s? Hell, for that matter, how did their 90’s and 2000’s go? I guess you can’t go too far ahead or you might lose the participation of the parents, Red, Kitty, and Bob, which would be too bad. I’d love to find out if Eric and Donna finally managed to stay together. What about Hyde, Kelso, Fez, and Jackie? What became of Kelso’s child? Was he as dumb as dear ol’ dad!? These are the kinds of questions that keep the Sip Advisor up at night… it’s tough being me!

#3: Full House

The Tanner clan was sent off into the television abyss with the show’s typical nice, neat wrap up. Since then, a lot has changed for the cast and would make for some crazy storylines, should there ever be a reunion episode. Would they incorporate Jodie Sweeten’s real-life meth addiction into the storyline ala the classic “On a very special episode…” trope. How would they handle Bob Saget’s departure from the squeaky clean image that made him neat freak single father Danny Tanner, as well as host of America’s Funniest Home Videos. And you just know there’s some juicy yarns out there, should the Olsen twins elect to participate.

Full House Reunion

#2: Cheers

There was the odd mini-reunion on the Cheers spinoff, Frasier (which would also be a decent series for a reunion), but I’d love to see everyone all together again at the classic bar set, enjoying a mug of fine brew and reconnecting. With Cheers being such an ensemble cast, many of which have gone on to thriving careers, it may be hard to get them all back onto the same page, but at least you know Norm Peterson and Cliff Clavin would be present, as their butts have been stapled to those bar stools since the series finale in 1993. You’d have to imagine that at least one of the bar regulars would now be suffering from cirrhosis, but it should make for good viewing!

#1: Saved by the Bell

As a child of the 80’s and early 90’s, you could never say that you didn’t have at least some fondness for this show. While we got a decent finale with the wedding in Vegas movie, a whole generation thirsts for more. Did Zack and Kelly survive to rigors of getting married young? How about the kids that surely came along (I mean, who wouldn’t want to tap the former Miss Kapowski!?). If they did relaunch this series, they could do something similar to what Boy Meets World did, where they brought back Cory and Topanga as parents to a teenage girl. Jimmy Fallon (among others) tried to get the whole crew back together, but all efforts have failed thus far.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Shot

  • 0.5 oz Vanilla Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Pineapple Juice
  • Splash of Grenadine
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

Sadly, the TV reunion just isn’t done as much anymore, compared to the past where shows like Gilligan’s Island, The Andy Griffith Show, and even Growing Pains all got together again to update viewers on the status of their favourite characters. And that’s all too bad, as there are so many series I’d love to see a follow-up from. Honourable mentions go to basically any TGIF show and let’s throw Beavis and Butt-head in there, as well, just to irritate Mrs. Sip!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.5 Sips out of 5):
I chose this shot to go with this article because it (the cake) seemed like the kind of thing that might be served at an actual family reunion. As you can see by the measurements, there’s very little booze in this shooter, so you’re basically just getting Pineapple Juice and Grenadine. My suggestion is to up the alcohol and have some real fun!

February 2 – Groundhog’s Shadow

My Nightmare

Nightmare

In the 1993 movie Groundhog Day, Bill Murray is forced to repeat the same day over and over again until he gets it right. Here’s a version of that same premise starring everybody’s favourite superhero, The Sip Advisor.

I’m awoken abruptly, voices coming through the thin walls of our resort hotel (I know, a resort hotel isn’t the best setting for a nightmare, but just wait, all will be explained). The clock reads 7:30am and I can never understand why people feel the need to have loud conversations that early in the morning. Seriously, when my wife and I wake up that early on the very rare occasion that we have to, it’s like we communicate in sign language. I motion that I’d like a little morning action, she shoots me down swiftly with a wave of her hand and I’m off to the bathroom to get ready for the day!

Next part of the nightmare: We get to the 24-hour buffet and every food item is out and the staff has no plans to replace them. There are rumours of a revolt, guests storming the kitchens to take whatever they can find. One basket of tortilla chips is brought out and the server is ambushed. I try to get my hands on at least one chip, but my efforts are fruitless. I walk away with multiple chips cuts and the salt stings my wounds. I suffer a black eye as well, as Mrs. Sip Advisor takes the opportunity to get a shot in, probably for all the attempts at morning fun over the years. She doesn’t understand that I would have shared the chip I was fighting for with her.

A news brief comes on the TV informing us that all kittens in the world have been eliminated, thanks to a new worldwide law passed by the pro-dog lobby (actually made up of famous dogs, including Lassie, the ghost of Old Yeller and Eddie from Frasier). I shed a tear, but the worst is yet to come. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: there could be something worse than no more kitties!?!?

Kitty

So, no sleeping in, no food, and no kitties, but I’m still not panicking yet. I head over to the bar and, you guessed it, they are all out of liquor!!! There’s not a drop in the house. My pupils dilate, blood pressure rises and I go into fight or flight mode. I’m throwing bartenders into the nearby pool, smashing bottles over my  head and squirting lemon and lime juice into guest’s eyes. It’s complete chaos as I go on my rampage.

Finally, I am subdued, thanks to a clubbing blow to the back of the head. When I wake up, it’s 7:30am again and the neighbours are yelling… or are they just having a normal conversation. It’s so hard to tell when you can’t understand what they’re saying.

I am released from the Groundhog Day cycle when I learn to embrace a world with no liquor, early wake-ups, a lack of buffet food and a kitten-less existence. That’s the real nightmare!

Drink #33: Groundhog’s Shadow Shot (a Sip Advisor original creation)

Groundhog's Shadow Shooter

  • Pour a dollop of chocolate syrup at the bottom of the glass
  • Stick gummy bear (acting as gummy groundhog) in syrup
  • 1.5 oz Galliano to fill glass

I tried finding a Groundhog Day-themed drink that already existed, but when none satisfied me, I made my own. Sounds like a euphemism for most people’s sex lives. The chocolate syrup is the earth, the groundhog’s home and the Galliano is the sun greeting the little critter, encouraging him to rise to the surface. The gummy bear is the tiny fella sticking his nose above ground to meet the brand new day.

Did he see his shadow, causing him to retreat to his underground dwelling and making humans believe they will have to suffer through six more weeks of winter? Or did he stay above the surface, signaling an early spring to come. With this shot, we’ll never really find out, so that means eternal winter… kind of like Game of Thrones! Awesome, drinking with Tyrion Lannister!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.5 Sips out of 5):
Where to begin with breaking down this drink? I tried a couple different mixes and ways to get that damn gummy bear to look decent and kept on getting tripped up by various issues. The Galliano make-up of the shooter might have completely saved it.