Mixer Mania #22 – What’s In A Name?

When Mrs. Sip and I travelled to Egypt in 2008 – you know, before the country descended into total chaos – we found it funny that nearly every Egyptian would mention Canada Dry, the moment they discovered we were Canadian.

I mean, sure, they were likely just associating us with the one Canadian product they had come across in their lives (ironically manufactured by the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group in Texas), but should we take offence that they think we’re dry, packed with ginger and fizzy? At least we work well when healing an upset stomach or other ailment.

With Canada Dry in mind, here are a couple other nicknames for us Canadian folk:

Crazy Canucks

Canucks

I’ve never really liked this one, given that the Vancouver Canucks are my hometown hockey team and I don’t like the term being shared by the rest of the nation. The nickname dates back to being an Americanism, used to describe Dutch or French Canadians. We sure showed them, by creating the character of Johnny Canuck to combat their Uncle Sam.

At least the name has found its way into some good references, such as our national rugby team; the Crazy Canucks of ski racing; used at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics; and even Marvel Comics character Wolverine being dubbed “Ol’ Canucklehead” in some instances.

Canadian Animals.png

Hosers

Made famous by the duo of Bob and Doug McKenzie (played by Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas, respectively), these two hosts of the Great White North show were the original Wayne and Garth of Wayne’s World fame. The skits examined life in the Great White North that is Canada and the pair’s insult term of hosers kind of stuck.

While originally a disdainful term (along with the closely related ‘hosehead’), Canadians have grown fond of it over time, and have even embraced the nickname. Although it is rarely used anymore, for people of older generations, this is a handle we can all still appreciate with our trademark Canadian indifference.

The Coolest, Raddest, Baddest, Dudes and Dudettes on the Planet

Okay, I might have made that one up, but I think we could take this viral and, eventually, make it official!

Mixer Mania #22: The Grave Digger

The Grave Digger.JPG

  • 2 oz Hard Cider
  • 1 oz Whiskey
  • Top with Ginger Ale
  • Garnish with Licorice

I would have thought there’d be a lot more nicknames for Canadians, either created by us or by our American neighbours, but alas, there are only a few.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.5 Sips out of 5):
This drink was okay, but the Hard Cider overshadowed the Ginger Ale. I’m also not thrilled with any recipe that only has an ounce of liquor in it.

 

Mixer Mania #12 – Until We Meet Again

Today’s mixer of choice is the Mountain Berry Blast flavour of Powerade. Drinking the concoction brings back memories of a childhood treat, the similarly flavoured Screamin’ Saucers. While I’ve come to peace with this product no longer being available to the public, there are other items I still crave and will never be able to eat or drink again:

President’s Choice Mustard Mesquite Barbecue Peanuts

These peanuts were so tasty that I even got Ma and Pa Sip hooked on them. And then, without any warning, they were gone from store shelves. They are still listed on the President’s Choice website, but without any price and stating that “product availability may vary in store”. Other peanuts in the line remain, but for some reason this variety has disappeared.

President_s Choice Mustard Mesquite Barbecue Peanuts

Keg Prime Rib Burger

What happens when you take a delicious, succulent burger and replace it with a bland, uninspired counterpart? The Sip Advisor boycotts your chain, that’s what! I’ve even spoken to servers before about the change in quality from the Prime Rib Burger to the beef blend Keg Burger and you know things are bad when they agree with me.

Payday Avalanche

On a holiday trip to Leavenworth, Washington about a decade ago, Mrs. Sip and I stumbled upon this treat in our hotel vending machine. So rare was the chocolate bar that Mrs. Sip and I started to wonder if it ever existed at all… despite the fact we both remember enjoying it together. We can find pictures of it online, but have yet to come across it ever again.

McDonald’s Big X-tra/Tasty

Every list similar to this contains at least one McDonald’s item, so here’s my pick. When I learned that McDonald’s outlets inside Walmart locations still served the Big X-tra (Big Tasty in the U.S.), I went out of my way to get the burger of my desire, sometimes even passing a full scale McDonald’s in the process. Sadly, the Walmart McDonald’s soon followed suit and killed the Big X-tra for good.

McDonald's Big Xtra.png

Nesquik Cereal

Moving to the cereal aisle, I’m not alone in saying that one of my favourite beverages growing up was chocolate milk. Oddly, there was something very satisfying about mixing milk with Nesquik chocolate syrup. Even better, was being able to have your morning meal and then drink the remaining chocolate milk. Then Nestle had to go and ruin things by abruptly discontinuing the product.

Cookies &

I was recently reminded of these cookie bars and as a self-professed cookie aficionado, you can bet I was a fan of these. The bars, released by Mars Inc., combined a crisp cookie crunch with some of the company’s most famous chocolate bars as toppings. These included Twix, M&Ms, Snickers and Milky Way, but the line was discontinued due to poor sales.

Mixer Mania #12: Flashback

Flashback

  • 2 oz Vodka
  • Top with Powerade
  • Splash of Ginger Ale
  • Garnish with an Orange Twist

What products do you miss and wish you could try once again? Everybody has items they miss from the past and it’s always fun discussing the nostalgia behind them.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.75 Sips out of 5):
The recipe I found for this cocktail said to fill the remainder of the glass with Ginger Ale, but I wanted to feature the Powerade, so only used a splash of the pop. The best part of this cocktail was the appropriate name, given this article’s topic. Unfortunately, the drink was light on flavour and not very notable.

Flavour Revolution – Peach

Pit Stop

Peaches are best defined by the massive pit at the center of the fruit. That got the Sip Advisor thinking about some of the most famous pits, found outside fruits. Here’s what this eccentric old mind was able to come up with:

La Brea Tar Pits

Located near Los Angeles, these pits of heavy crude oil have trapped a countless number of animals over the years, including mammoths, sabre-toothed cats, wolves, bison, horses, bears, sloths, turtles, and even lions. The La Brea Tar Pits official website advertises itself as “The World’s Most Famous Ice Age Fossil Excavation Site”. It’s certainly an area I wouldn’t want to disappear into.

la_brea_tar_pits

Brad Pitt

The two-time World’s Sexiest Man (at least according to People Magazine, which has elected to not include the Sip Advisor’s name on voter’s ballots) is a universally known star. I’d say my favourite Brad Pitt work is Fight Club, but I still have issues with the guy for leaving Jennifer Aniston, in favour of Angelina Jolie. That is a decision I’ll never be able to understand and just have to make peace with.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Home to the Steelers (NFL), Penguins (NHL), and Pirates (MLB) of the sports world, the city is also the birthplace of notable folks, such as Jeff Goldblum, Ken Griffey Jr., Zachary Quinto, George A. Romero, Julie Benz, Joe Manganiello, Kurt Angle, and Gillian Jacobs. Lastly, one of my favourite American craft breweries, Fat Head, originated in the ‘Burgh and for that, we thank them!

Pit Bulls

Among dog fans, these pups go by the shortened term ‘Pits’. While they are sometimes feared for the occasional horror story that hits the rounds regarding attacks by dogs, anyone who owns one swears by their loving nature. Some famous pit bulls include Petey (The Little Rascals), Chance (Homeward Bound) and Champion (Parks and Recreation). There’s also the rapper of the same name, but whateves.

pit bull cat

Piper’s Pit – WWE

This was the wrestling talk show to end all talk shows. A place where many of professional wrestling’s greatest storylines either began, progressed, or ended. Hosted by the wild, unpredictable ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper, the Pit was the setting for Andre the Giant turning on Hulk Hogan, leading to their epic WrestleMania III showdown, and Piper’s own feuds with Jimmy Snuka and Adrian Adonis, among others.

Armpits

Armpits get a bit of a bad rap, as they are one of the central sweat zones for both males and females, sometimes causing embarrassing body odors. For some though, this is an area of sexual attraction and fetishism (known as maschalagnia). While that’s not for the Sip Advisor, I’m not here to judge. The female armpit hair debate, however, has a simple answer: the less the best!

Flavour Revolution: Tickled Peach

Tickled Peach Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Peach Liqueur
  • 1 oz Gin
  • Top with Ginger Ale
  • Splash of Sour Mix
  • Dash of Grenadine
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

There are also a number of famous pits and sinkholes, found around the world. And how could we forget The Peach Pit from Beverly Hills 90210, where the coolest kids from the richest zip code hung out. Ah, the wonderful 90’s!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
I was hoping to use a Peach Moonshine, but went with Peach Liqueur instead. This made the drink sweeter than I would have wanted and it just wasn’t the best mix I’ve had before. I don’t know if Moonshine would have changed that at all, but I’ll have to try it out in the future.

Flavour Revolution – Lemon

When Life Gives You Lemons

I find stories of people turning their lives around to be quite fascinating and inspiring. Going through challenges makes for better people on the other end and some of the greatest things we know today were created by those who took risks, defied protocols, and pushed through adversity. Here are some fine examples of folks turning lemons into lemonade!

Walt Disney

Had Walt Disney been one to easily give up, we wouldn’t have an archive of wonderful characters, shows, movies, theme parks, and experiences. Countless times, it was speculated that Disney would destroy his own company with new ventures. This included the making of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves – dubbed Disney’s Folly by the media – and the construction of Disneyland, which many believed had no chance of success. Disney had so much trouble raising funds for the theme park that he made a deal with the ABC TV network, exchanging programming for help in financing his dream. Everything worked out in the end, thanks to Disney’s risks.

Walt Disney Legacy

Henry Ford

The man who eventually brought the world the automobile went through a number of struggles before finally reaching success. Ford came from a farming family and was expected to take over the homestead, although he hated the work and lifestyle. Ford wanted a better life for himself, but simply leaving the farm didn’t guarantee anything. In fact, Ford was forced to file for bankruptcy twice, but he learned from his mistakes and gained a net worth of $188 billion. Ford was also one to look after his employees, offering them an unheard of $5 per day wage, allowing them to buy the vehicles they were making.

JK Rowling

The Harry Potter author, now raking in cash from her books, movie deals, theme park lands, etc. was once living off welfare and trying to complete her novel by travelling to various coffee houses, while caring for her infant child. Even when interest began swelling for her manuscript, she was advised to seek a day job, as it was unlikely she would make enough money solely on writing children’s books. While speaking for a graduating Harvard class in 2008, Rowling said: “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”

Steve Jobs

Before he became the technological icon that we know him as today – creating devices such as the iMac, iPod, iPad, and iPhone – Jobs went through many hardships. Among them, he was an adopted child, struggled in school, dropped out of college course he could barely afford in the first place, and struggled to find his niche in the working world. Even running his own company would not provide smooth sailing. In fact, at one time, he was forced out of Apple, the company he created and would later bring back to prominence. Even in declining health due to cancer, Jobs never gave up hope or his dreams and kept working hard through it all.

Jobs Taking Over

Terry Fox

Fox was only 18 years old when he was forced to have his leg amputated due to cancer. The young man didn’t let that stop him, though, as he not only won national wheelchair basketball championships, but also embarked on a trip across Canada, running to raise money for cancer research. Fox’s Marathon of Hope lasted 143 days and 5,373 km, garnering $1.7 million in donations. Sadly, the journey had to be halted in Thunder Bay, Ontario, when Fox was too sick to continue, cancer returning to the athlete’s body. In honour of his campaign, the Terry Fox Run is done annually around the world and has raised over $650 million.

Rick Hansen

Sticking with Canadian content, the wheelchair-bound Hansen gave the opening address at one of my college convocations and his message really hit home with Mrs. Sip and myself. The crux of it was: “Failure is not having the courage to try.” Hansen is best known for his Man in Motion World Tour, an attempt to raise funds for spinal cord injury research by circumventing the globe in his wheelchair. Hansen had been crippled in an auto wreck at the age of 15, but that didn’t stop the man from raising $26 million over his 26 month journey. The song St. Elmo’s Fire was written for Hansen and his courageous expedition.

Oprah Winfrey

With a media empire that includes its own magazine, television network, and devoted fan base, one could certainly say that Oprah Winfrey did well for herself. When you learn of the broadcasting mogul’s humble and difficult beginnings, her success is all the more impressive. She had a strained relationship with her teenage mother, who was in and out of her life and was the victim of sexual abuse from family members. After running away from home, Winfrey herself became pregnant at age 14, although the baby died after premature birth. Once Winfrey entered the media world, it was a slow rise to the heights she currently enjoys.

Flavour Revolution: Floradora

Floradora Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Gilbey’s Lemon Gin
  • 0.5 oz Chambord
  • Top with Ginger Ale/Beer
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with a Lemon Wedge

The phrase “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” has been credited to two sources. First, Elbert Hubbard, a Christian anarchist writer, used it for the obituary of Marshall P. Wilder, a dwarf actor, who Hubbard wrote of: “He cashed in on his disabilities. He picked up the lemons that Fate had sent him and started a lemonade-stand.” Fellow writer Dale Carnegie has also been said to have invented the term, writing in his book ‘How to Stop Worrying and Start Living’: “If You Have a Lemon, Make a Lemonade.”

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This is an interesting drink. I used my Dark Ginger Ale, but kind of wished I’d used some Ginger Beer, perhaps Crabbie’s orange or raspberry flavour. There’s a lot of different tastes going on here, but the end result works. And if it hadn’t, I would have made lemonade from the lemon experience!

Flavour Revolution – Honey

Terms of Endearment

The term ‘honey’, given to a loved one, has been documented to have existed all the way back in the 14th century. It is something I have often called Mrs. Sip, who is as sweet as they come! Let’s take a look at some other terms, from around the world, that just don’t measure up:

Petit Chou – Little Cabbage (French)

Cabbage smells funny when cooked and is a food that many just can’t wrap their heads around taste wise. You would also never think that cabbage is cute or even remotely attractive in any way. I think if I ever handed this term out to Mrs. Sip, she would make a quick trip to the shower and I’d be setting up shop on the couch for an indeterminate stay…

Cabbages

Tamago Gata No Kao – Egg with Eyes (Japanese)

In all technicality, aren’t we all “eggs with eyes”!? The scary part is, for a culture that has such other oddities going on, as tentacle porn and panties in vending machines, things could have turned out worse, especially given what the Japanese are willing to eat, in the sushi realm. All I can envision when I see this term is some weird anime character with an oddly sweet voice.

Ma Puce – My Flea (French)

The French make this list a second time, which should be a solid indictment against their language, as a whole!  I’m sure your partner would love to hear that you think of them as a blood-sucking parasite that causes you to feel itchy and uncomfortable. I wouldn’t even use this term on a child. If animals hate fleas so much, why in the world would I like them!?

Self Cleaning Cat

Chang Noi – Little Elephant (Thai)

The one saving grace here is that the term is “little elephant” and not a plain old elephant. That said, little elephants still weigh in at an average of 200 pounds at birth and grow steadily from that point. I can only imagine the thrashing any male Thai nationals received upon using this term in other locales, from women who had no interest in being compared to a baby pachyderm!

Chen Yu Luo Yan – Diving Fish Swooping Geese (Chinese)

I’m not even sure where to begin with this term and how to really break it down. Given the two terms that are being combined, I can only assume that this term of endearment would be handed out to someone who was skilled at oral sex. You know, with all the “going down” in dives and swoops. Of the five terms I’ve chosen to deride, this may be the most flattering.

Flavour Revolution: Tennessee Honey Hole

Tennessee Honey Hole Cocktail

Given I’ve taken a shot at some terms of endearment, I feel I should reveal a couple of mine, that little sippers can ridicule if they choose. I often call Mrs. Sip “Pookie,” based off of Garfield the Cat’s stuffed animal. Have at it, but I will never stop, as I’m sure anyone who uses the above terms has no intention of changing their game!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
Well, this cocktail sounds a little dirty, but I guess it kind of goes along with the subject matter of today’s article. The drink was pretty good, with peach pulp coming through the straw with every sip. The peaches I used weren’t as flavourful as I would have hoped for, but the Jack Daniel’s and Ginger Ale made up for it.

Greece – Greek Buck

Games We Play

Greece is the birthplace of the Olympic Games, which most of us love every time they roll around and dominate our conscious for two and a half weeks. You don’t even have to be a sports fan to enjoy the Olympics (it helps, but it’s not needed) which has grown to be the landmark athletic event across the globe. And we have the Greeks to thank for all this physical goodness!

The Olympics, held in honour of the god Zeus, were named as such because they took place in Olympia, dating back thousands of years ago. It wasn’t until 1896 that the modern version of the Games took place, hosted by Athens (featuring 43 events, being contested by 280 athletes from 13 countries). The term Olympiad refers to the four year period between Olympics and became a unit of time measurement for Greeks.

Olympics Relevance

From humble beginnings (the first recorded Olympics only included one event: the stade (where we now get the word stadium from), a 192-meter foot race based on the size of Zeus’ foot), the world’s biggest sporting event now showcases countless sports and within them, a number of different disciplines. The ancient games were said to have been started by Hercules (aka Heracles), who ran a race that he decided should be repeated every four years. I wonder if that story will make it into any of the Rock’s new movies based on the character.

It wasn’t until many years and Olympics later that other events were added to the slate. The diaulos, a 400-meter race and the dolichos, either 1,500 meters or 5,000 meters. Later additions included the petathalon (five events comprised of a foot race, long jump, discus, javelin, and wrestling), boxing, chariot racing, and pankration, a no-holds-barred wrestling and boxing hybrid that sounds like a precursor to mixed martial arts.

The last event added to the ancient Olympics was the hoplitodromos, a 400-800-meter race run wearing full armor, including shields, helmets, and all the other suit pieces. Competitors were likely to have fallen repeatedly thanks to their own outfits, as well as the discarded pieces of other racers. I’d love to see something like this run today, for sheer entertainment purposes. It would be like Wacky Racers for world-class athletes.

Olympic Event

Events were originally contested by only freeborn Greek males. Not only were women not allowed to participate in the sports, but married women couldn’t even attend the Olympics. Competition winners received an olive branch instead of a gold medal. I wonder if they still wore it around their neck and received endorsement deals based on their performance. Perhaps Coroebus, winner of the first recorded Olympics ended up hawking used chariots or something.

Prior to and during the Olympic Games, truces were arranged country-wide to let athletes and viewers pass through cities on their way to Olympia unscathed. Capital punishment and acts of war were banned, although there are accounts of these rules being broken, often resulting in the aggressing group’s exclusion from the Games, as well as a hefty fine.

What has now become a nearly three week long cultural event began as five days, with three being dedicated to sport and the other two to celebrations and rituals. The ancient version of the closing ceremony included a feast of 100 oxens… something I’d like to see return to the modern Games. In the years that the Olympics weren’t being held, there were similar competitions known as the Pythian, Nemean, and Isthmian Games. The Olympics remained the preeminent sporting event.

olympics nude

Athletes competed nude as a tribute to the gods and much like ESPN’s Body Issue magazine series, so people could appreciate the male body. We get the word gymnasium from the Greek word gymnos, which means naked. Kind of makes you never want to do physical education ever again. Some participants chose to wear a kynodesme, which sounds like a really uncomfortable penis cap. Can you imagine the TV ratings if Olympians still had to compete in the buff!?

After Greece was seized by the Roman Empire, Emperor Nero once entered the chariot race and declared himself the winner, despite falling off his chariot during the running. Later, Emperor Theodosius ended the Games, banning all pagan festivals. The Olympics wouldn’t return for 1,500 years, revived by Baron Pierre de Coubertin of France, who also established the International Olympic Committee.

The first Olympic marathon in 1896 was fittingly won by Greece’s Spyridon Louis. It followed the 25-mile path run by a Greek soldier from the city of Marathon to Athens to inform the masses of the Greeks victory over the Persians. Nearly 30 years later, the marathon’s distance was permanently set at 26 miles and 385 yards. No amount of Ouzo could help me through that epic event, but it will nicely wrap up this article!

Greece: Greek Buck

Greek Buck Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Brandy
  • Top with Ginger Ale
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Float Ouzo
  • Garnish with Lemon Wedge

One of my greatest pleasures was working for NBC during the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. I suppose I still owe the Greeks a debt of gratitude for that wonderful winter month!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
I never know how an Ouzo cocktail is going to turn out and this one was pretty damn good. Floating the Ouzo was a really nice touch as first of all, it looked good, like white frosting across the top of the cocktail. Next, getting a splash of Ouzo with each sip, followed by the Brandy, Ginger Ale, and Lemon Juice made each taste a new adventure!

Finland – Arctic Circle

Full of Hot Air

Hanging out at Ma and Pa Sip’s place can often feel like an all-inclusive resort vacation. Good food, great drinks, and there’s even a pool and sauna. I hesitantly include that last item, as it may cause a wave of Finnish backpackers to show up at Ma and Pa Sip’s front door. Apparently, Finnish people are big into saunas and there’s even a culture around the hot houses that is unique to the country. Let’s learn a little more about that… NOW!:

With a population of only five million people, it’s staggering to learn that there are more than two million saunas in Finland. That’s an average of one per household. Many Finnish websites state that the sauna can only be truly enjoyed in Finland, its birthplace. In fact, “sauna” is a Finnish word and one of the few that has spread into other languages.

Finnish Saunas

Speaking of birthplaces, long ago, most Finnish mothers gave birth to their babies in saunas. Can you imagine taking a girl back to your sauna for the first time and being able to say: “And that’s where I was born…” Talk about a mood killer! The sauna’s versatility has largely led to its popularity. A sauna can provide everything from a roof over your head, to a stove to cook food on, to a place to keep warm during the long winter months.

Saturday is the traditional sauna day and most Finnish citizens try to get in a steam at least once each week. Saunas can be found outdoors along the country’s shoreline, in apartments, at corporate offices, and even in their Parliament and 1,400 meters deep at the Pyhäsalmi Mine.

While in the sauna, some users may beat themselves with a leafy branch of a birch tree, which is said to relax the muscles. When the temperature gets too uncomfortable, these crazy Finns will jump in a pool or other body of water to cool down. Even wilder, in the winter, they will roll around in the snow or cut a hole in the ice and jump into the frigid water below. Here’s where I’m down with these nutty folk, though, as following their steam, it is customary to enjoy some sausage with beer to finish the experience. Then you can lather, rinse and repeat as many times as you want!

Sauna Reality

The sauna is a sacred place to many Finns and so it is a huge party foul to swear while inside. Controversial topics are also avoided as arguments in the sauna are frowned upon and conversation is generally of the relaxed variety. It should be noted that in Finnish folklore, a sauna elf lives in the structure and is its spirit.

Men and women often sauna separately, although younger generations are more open to group sauna time (remember, everyone is supposed to be totally naked). Families use the sauna together, as well, but at a certain age, teenagers split from their parents. For Finnish business people, a sauna invitation is in the same vein as going to lunch or drinks. If a foreigner refuses an invite, this may be looked down on by the host. If staying with a Finn, the sauna might be warmed up in your honour, making it that much more difficult to pass up.

Sauna Funny

The World Sauna Championships were held from 1999-2010 in Heinola, Finland, despite the Finnish Sauna Society (yes, this organization actually exists) strongly opposing the event, due to the health risk of being enclosed amongst hot temperatures for long periods of time. The competitors basically tried to sit in the sauna the longest and be the last to leave the structure without assistance. Finnish athletes (no, that can’t be the right word for this) dominated the event, which ceased operations after the 2010 championship, due to a Russian competitor dying from third-degree burns and a former five-time Finnish champion needing to be rushed to the hospital where he was put into a medically-induced coma for six weeks.

There are different types of saunas commonly used throughout Finland, which differ depending on how it’s heated or the building it’s housed in. The heating options include: a smoke sauna, a wood stove sauna, and an electric stove sauna. Housing differences comprise everything from portable tents to saunas built into cars, buses, trailers, and even bicycles. There are companies that rent mobile saunas and there’s even an annual event for the phenomenon in Teuva, Finland. This must turn into the largest gathering of sweaty, naked people on earth, which has me thinking that it’s time for a refreshing drink.

Finland: Arctic Circle

Arctic Circle Cocktail

  • 1 oz Finlandia Vodka
  • Top with Ginger Ale
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with Mint Leaves

I don’t use Ma and Pa Sip’s sauna as often as I should. It helped in getting Mrs. Sip into the pool on cooler days, with the promise that she could retreat to the sauna when she got too cold. Manipulative, yes… but you would do it too if you ever saw Mrs. Sip in a bikini!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This was a very nice drink that is as easy on the eyes as it is on the palate. Ginger Ale has got to be one of the best mixers out there and it always works nicely with Lime Juice. I don’t think I’ve ever had it before with Vodka, usually putting it together with Rum or Whiskey. It works here just as well as with the other spirits!

Italy – Sunday Confession

Goodfellas

The term “mafia” comes from Sicily, Italy, and let’s be honest, the most famous of mobsters all hail from the Italian line of organized crime, also known as Cosa Nostra, which translated means “Our Thing.” And, it certainly is THEIR thing. While the term ‘Omertà’ governs the mafia with a code of silence, the Sip Advisor is breaking all the rules with our own ‘Most Wanted’ list of infamous Italian gangsters:

Vito Cascioferro

Thought of as the ‘Boss of Bosses’ during his reign at the top, Cascioferro was arrested approximately 69 times during his career, but always acquitted. His luck ran out in June 1930, when Cascioferro was tried for numerous offences, including murder, attempted murder, robbery, extortion, and other offences. He was convicted and given a life sentence. He died in prison somewhere between 1943-45, with many inmates considering it an honour to now fill the same jail cell.

Mafia Cats

Calogero Vizzini

Dubbed the ‘King of the Black Market,’ Vizzini was even made mayor of Villalba, Italy (where his crime family was based), following World War II. Vizzini’s death was big news, even reported by the New York Times. Thousands turned out for the leader’s funeral, including other bosses, politicians, and priests. Vizzini predicted that the mafia would die with him and the old-school version did slowly dissolve, but was replaced by a more modern mob that we recognize today.

Michele Navarra

The boss of the famed Corleone family (also used for the Godfather movies) from 1944-58, Navarra was also a trained physician and perhaps this is why he was more likely to delegate murders than commit them himself. Navarra was killed on August 2, 1958 after feuding with former associate Luciano Leggio, whom Navarra tried to have ambushed by 15 gunmen, yet somehow Leggio survived with only minor injuries. I’d question his leadership, too!

Luciano Leggio

Speaking of Leggio, he became the Corleone boss following Navarra’s death and is credited with starting the Second Mafia War. After a string of acquittals on various charges, Leggio finally found himself sentenced to life imprisonment for Navarra’s slaying, but disappeared, running a successful kidnapping ring while on the run. He was finally caught in 1974, but continued to have influence over the syndicate from behind bars. He died in prison, of a heart attack in 1993.

Mafia Comic

Salvatore Riina

After Leggio was arrested in the 1970’s, Riina eventually took over control of the Corleone family, which was ironic because he was one of the suspects in the assassination of Navarra. Riina was considered the ‘Boss of Bosses’ following the Second Mafia War. Nicknamed ‘The Beast,’ by fellow mobsters, this 5’2” leader used a campaign of violence to achieve power, killing rivals, as well as prosecutors and other government officials. Riina was arrested in 1993, after 23 years as a fugitive.

Bernardo Provenzano

One of the most powerful Sicilian bosses of all-time, Provenzano followed Riina as leader of the Corleone family. Once at the helm, Provenzano worked to change the perception of the mafia to being less violent, more diplomatic and willing to work with established institutions. Under the new guidelines, violence was only to be used if absolutely necessary. Despite all that, Provenzano spent more than 40 years evading police capture, before authorities finally arrested him in April 2006.

Italy: Sunday Confession

Sunday Confession Cocktail

  • 1 oz Limoncello
  • 1 oz Tequila
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Top with Ginger Ale
  • Garnish with a Cherry

This all has me wanting to go back and watch some of the best mafia media. Take your pick, but my favourites include The Godfather franchise, Goodfellas, The Sopranos, and Donnie Brasco. Perhaps I’ll have to do a future article on fictional mobsters… so long as they make me an offer I can’t refuse!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This cocktail has a perfect name for a mafia-related article, although confession would certainly go against the Omertà code of silence. I used Cranberry Ginger Ale instead of the recommended Ginger Beer because it seemed like a good idea and it worked out really well. Limoncello and Tequila was a decent mix, too.

Jamaica – Au Pair

Dread Heads

Reggae music was born in Jamaica in the 1960’s and has since traversed the globe thanks to acts like Bob Marley and The Wailers. Let’s take a look at some of Jamaica’s greatest musicians from the genre:

Bob Marley

Marley’s influence spread well beyond his music, as he became a figure of the Rastafarian movement and even helped warring political parties come to agreements. “I Shot the Sheriff,” “No Woman, No Cry,” “Could You Be Loved,” and “Buffalo Soldier,” highlight the long list of hits Marley is credited with. Prior to the 1976 Smile Jamaica concert, an attempt on Marley’s life was made, but he only suffered minor injuries. Marley died of cancer on May 11, 1981, He was only 36 years old. There is a statue of Marley in Kingston, Jamaica and many of Marley’s children have entered the entertainment business, carrying on dear ol’ dad’s legacy.

Bit Da Sheriff

Jimmy Cliff

Born James Chambers, Jimmy Cliff acquired his recording name from the cliffs that surrounded his childhood village of Adelphi Land in St. James, Jamaica. Cliff’s first hit, “Hurricane Hattie” came at the age of only 14. Working with producer Leslie Kong, Cliff released one successful track after another until Kong passed away. Cliff also appeared in the movie The Harder They Come, which brought reggae to new audiences. He was the face of the genre until usurped by Bob Marley. Cliff was enshrined into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.

Toots Hibbert

Dubbed ‘The Skafather,’ Hibbert is the leader of the band Toots & The Maytals and he might as well be, given he can play every instrument that makes up the ensemble. In 1966, Hibbert found himself in prison thanks to a possession of marijuana conviction, but his experience inspired one of his best known songs “54-46 That’s My Number.” With The Maytals, Hibbert wrote the first song to actually use the word reggae with 1968’s “Do the Reggay.” Hibbert received the Order of Jamaica in 2012 and still performs to this day, at the age of 71.

Peter Tosh

Amazingly, Tosh was self-taught on the guitar and he even helped Bob Marley learn to play the instrument. Joined by Bunny Wailer, the three formed the Wailing Wailers. After Tosh split from The Wailers and began a solo career, he released “Legalize It,” his pro-marijuana anthem. This, and Tosh’s defiant personality, led to beatings from Jamaican police. Tosh was even signed to the Rolling Stones record label before returning to his own. On September 11, 1987, Tosh was shot and killed by a man who he had given money to, when that man and three accomplices went back to try and get more cash from the artist.

We Be Jammin

Bunny Wailer

The Wailer in The Wailers, Bunny Wailer has been described as the best singer among the band and equally talented with writing songs, yet failed to achieve the same level of international fame as his bandmates. This could be the result of Wailer disappearing from the world’s eye for approximately three years after the Wailers disbanded. When he reemerged, Wailer didn’t miss a beat, going on to win the Grammy for Best Reggae Album in 1991, 1995, and 1997. Newsweek named Wailer one of the three most important figures in world music, along with King Sunny Ade of Nigeria and Brazil’s Milton Nascimento.

Gregory Isaacs

Known as ‘The Cool Ruler’ (which the Sip Advisor has to admit is a pretty wicked nickname), Isaacs is credited with over 500 albums, including many compilation releases. In the 80’s, Isaacs fell into drug troubles (who didn’t during that decade!) and served a six-month sentence for possession of unlicensed firearms. The drugs took a toll on his smooth voice, but Isaacs kicked the habit and worked in the industry up to his death in 2010, at the age of 59, following a lengthy battle with lung cancer. Today, the Gregory Isaacs Foundation carries on the artist’s charitable work and legacy.

Jamaica: Au Pair

Au Pair Cocktail

  • Muddle Apple Slices
  • 1.5 oz Appleton Rum
  • 0.75 oz Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka
  • Top with Ginger Ale
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Dash of Orgeat Syrup
  • Garnish with a Lime Wheel

Reggae music has shared a long association with marijuana, so if drinking isn’t your cup of tea, you can celebrate the songs in your own way!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (5 Sips out of 5):
This cocktail was a knockout spectacular. The Appleton Rum is so nice, as you get a hint of it at the end of each sip. Despite more than two ounces of booze, you can barely taste any liquor, thus making for the perfect recipe. This was my first opportunity to use the Orgeat Syrup Mrs. Sip and I picked up recently and it was a very welcome touch to the drink. I can’t advocate for this cocktail enough!

Mexico – El Diablo

Ancient Civilizations

While this may take on the look of a history class, we’ll try to liven things up with human sacrifices, monuments to the gods, the seven wonders of the world, and mystical mythology. All in a day’s work around the Sip Advisor offices! At recess we can even enjoy some tacos, burritos and enchiladas. So, take your Pepto or Tums, it’s time to get a little freaky with the various cultures that make up Mexico’s history:

Olmecs

These fine people worshipped a god that was half human and half jaguar. It had no name, so I’ve supplied my own: the humuar! You laugh now, but just wait and I bet those thieves writing modern Scooby Doo episodes will eventually steal this title. The Olmecs (now best known for the Olmeca Tequila brand… although I have no verification of this!) developed large parts of the eastern coast of Mexico and can be credited with sculpting the famed Colossal Heads.

The Olmecs have more origin stories than some comic book characters, including tales told in popular culture that they originated from Africa. Most researchers don’t find these accounts to be very credible, but the same could be said for many super heroes. The concept of zero is said to have been developed by the Olmecs, meaning we have them to blame every time we run out of money, food, lives, etc. Before this civilization came along, everything was infinite and unlimited and they went ahead and ruined all our fun in the name of mathematical accuracy.

90's Game Shows

Most importantly, Olmec culture was used for the 90’s Nickelodeon game show Legends of the Hidden Temple!

Aztecs

Usually nomadic, the Aztecs settled in Mexico after spotting an eagle standing on a cactus, clutching a snake in its talons. The image represents the sun, the heart, and the earth, respectively and is now depicted on the country’s flag. Like the Olmecs before them, the Aztecs were big into human sacrifices, believing that without blood, the sun would stop moving and the world would come to an end. During a sacrifice ceremony, the heart of the victim (although they’d have you believe there were volunteers) would be cut out and burned in the temple. The heart was known as “precious eagle cactus fruit,” which should be released as a liquor flavour.

The Aztecs were a bloodthirsty civilization, sacrificing anywhere from 10,000 to 50,000 people per year. Ruler Montezuma II even killed 12,000 of his own people in one day. Not content to just enjoy sacrifices as entertainment, the Aztecs played a ball game called tlachtli… although the losers were often killed off to appease the gods. Thankfully, this isn’t the same result after the Sip Advisor’s soccer matches (winless in 2014).

Mayans

The Mayans also played a ball game known as pitz, which is speculated to have featured decapitations, with those separated heads possibly used as balls in the sport. When in battle, the Mayans were known to throw hornet bombs at their enemies, which was an actual hornet’s nest. This is how Macaulay Culkin’s character in My Girl actually died, but the movie covers the fact the Mayans were responsible. Hey, if they used decapitated heads for sport, is a hornet bomb really unimaginable!? The Mayans can be credited with building the Chichen Itza city, now considered one of the seven wonders of the world.

Mayans were perhaps one of the first image-conscious civilizations, but they went about it in all the wrong ways. They would press boards against babies’ foreheads to given them a desired flat surface and cross a young child’s eyes by dangling an object on the bridge of their nose until the desired effect was achieved. Children were named according to the day they were born with a set list for boys and girls that was expected to be followed. Lastly, although they’re always credited with predicting the end of the world in 2012, this is complete hokum (to borrow a line from Sheldon Cooper). The Mayan’s calendar system merely meant that a new cycle would begin on Dec. 20, 2012 and mention of other occurrences past that date do exist in Mayan accounts.

Incans

The Incas recorded their history using a string and knot system, known as Quipu. The Sip Advisor does the same when tying his shoelaces every morning, although those entries are lost every afternoon when the laces are untied and I’ve forgotten to once again jot down the activities of my day. The Incas were prominent users of the coca plant for everything from pain relief to surgeries, energy boosts to appetite suppression. Modern day pop drinkers and cokeheads can thank them for their discovery.

ancient-Incas-2012

The Incan flag depicts two snakes eating opposite ends of a rainbow with a tassel in the middle. I’d give my best interpretation of what this could mean, but I would surely offend a number of groups and therefore, I’ll leave it be. European diseases such as smallpox greatly destroyed the Incan civilization. The disease was able to spread so quickly because of the empire’s own triumphs, such as their highly-developed road system.

Zapotec

This civilization built cities in the south of Mexico and believed that they came into existence after emerging from caves or transforming into human form from being trees and jaguars. Were the tree people more likely to be vegetarians, while the former jaguars were meat eaters? Ah, the experiments one would conduct if they had a time machine!

The Zapotec also developed the first writing system in the Americas, so we have them to thank for this wonderfully-crafted site, but also them to blame for tripe like the Twilight series. While at war (is that all people ever did back in the day!?) the Zapotecs used a cotton form of armour. I have continued on this tradition, as when I enter battle with Mrs. Sip, I adorn myself with Q-tips, cotton balls, and surgical wrappings. It doesn’t help much, but it has provided many amazing selfie photos!

Toltec

The time of the Toltecs was looked at as a “golden era” thanks to developments in writing and medicine, among other advancements. Both the Mayans and Aztecs highly respected the Toltecs and fashioned themselves after the civilization in many regards. To have a ‘Toltec heart’ was a compliment of the highest respect as it carried the weight of being worthy and excellent at all things. This is a commendation that I have received throughout my life, but only now realize that folks weren’t hurling insults in my direction.

Mexico: El Diablo

El Diablo Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Tequila
  • 0.5 oz Blackberry Liqueur
  • Top with Ginger Ale
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with Lime Wedge

So much blood has been spilt in Mexico and we haven’t even got to the drug cartels that run the country today. Oh well, some stories need to be saved for another time!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
I was really looking forward to trying out this recipe and it did not disappoint. I did sub Blueberry Liqueur for Blackberry Liqueur because I was curious about how that would work and it came together very well. The best part of the drink was the smoky tequila aftertaste that can only be enjoyed with an anejo version of the spirit. Given this cocktail and Monday’s 5 out of 5  Sea of Cortez drink, Mexico has the best numbers so far for the Around the World tour!