August 8 – Cheesecake Shot

Old Country Buffet

As we are enjoy the summer season and all the food-based gatherings that come with it, I thought it was a great opportunity to look at the field of competitive eating. I’m surely not very good at packing away food (booze on the other hand!), but these folks excel at it:

#5: The Ladies

Competitive eating may be one of the most open “sports” to equality for both genders. There have a number of notable female champion consumers, including Sonya ‘The Black Widow’ Thomas, Molly Schuyler, and Miki Sudo. These gals specialize is foods that include hot dogs, Kimchi, chicken wings, chili cheese fries, crab cakes, hard-boiled eggs, oysters, and steaks. While Schuyler and Sudo are newer to the competitive eating circuit, Thomas has accumulated a small fortune thanks to her exploits, with an estimated $100,000 in career winnings. The native of South Korea is small in stature, weighing in at less than 100 pounds for some of her most memorable events.

Competitive Eating

#4: Jason Conti

Nicknamed ‘Crazy Legs’, Conti got into competitive eating kind of innocently. He started as a fan of the Nathan’s 4th of July Hot Dog Eating Competition, before winning an oyster eating contest (he ate 400 of the shellfish aphrodisiacs) in New Orleans, and then began a career in the discipline. Conti has held world records for eating green beans and sweet corn, so I guess that’s kind of healthy. A documentary on Conti, titled Crazy Legs Conti: Zen And The Art Of Competitive Eating, was released in 2004. According to the film, Conti has held numerous jobs, among them: a window washer, nude model, and sperm donor (the trifecta of awesome!).

#3: Adam Richman

The fun-loving host of Man vs. Food may not be your traditional competitive eater, but he’s game for food challenges across the United States. Each episode of the popular Travel Channel series, shows Richman in a different city, where he visits three different must-eat-at local favourite restaurants. At the final stop, Richman takes on the eatery’s menu challenge. These have included spice trials, as well as masses of food, with Richman owning a personal record of 37 victories to 27 losses. To train for his challenges, Richman would try not to eat the day before the big meal, while drinking large amounts of water of club soda. Upon retiring from the competitive eating game, Richman dropped more than 60 pounds.

Man vs. Food

#2: Joey Chestnut

Perhaps the most famous of all competitive eaters, thanks to his annual success at the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Contest (held each Fourth of July in Coney Island, New York), the man nicknamed Jaws, is proficient at gobbling hot dogs, chicken wings, pizza, and jalapeno poppers, holding International Federation of Competitive Eating (IFOCE) records in each discipline. Chestnut has even been featured on his own trading card, which would be a big enough honour. He has amassed a total of $200,000 in winnings, as well as two cars and a motorcycle. Not bad, for getting fed!

#1: Takeru Kobayashi

Speaking of guys that can destroy hot dogs, Takeru Kobayashi used to own the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Contest – winning six straight Independence Day classics – before Chestnut came along and won the next eight. The slender Japanese eater is known for his Kobayashi Shake, in which he wiggles his body around, forcing food to move through his body and settle across his stomach. On an episode of Man vs. Beast, Kobayashi came up on the losing end of a hot dog eating contest against a Kodiak bear, but he does hold Guinness Records in eating, include hot dogs, meatballs, Twinkies, hamburgers, pizza, and pasta.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Cheesecake Shot

  • Rim glass with Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • 1 oz Vanilla Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Cranberry Juice

I feel that I should give at least one eating challenge a shot at some point in my life. I won’t win, I know that, but then I could say that I was a competitive eater. You’re right, I’m not sure that’s something to be proud of!

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November 28 – Apple Pie Martini

Shopping Season

Nothing is more American than apple pie and that’s why it’s also the perfect drink to help celebrate American Thanksgiving. This day also truly marks the beginning of the Christmas season (despite retailers around North America stocking their shelves with Christmas items as early as the end of summer) and so with that in mind, I present to you the holiday gift guide for all the little sippers in your life!

Wine Aroma Tasting Set – $43.61

Have you ever wanted to identify all the notes going on in your glass of wine? That’s not for me, but there are certainly folks out there that would like to have a better idea of what they’re smelling and drinking. This set offers your bottles of six of the most popular scents in red and white vino, giving you a chance to better recognize what the nose knows!

Wine Aroma Tasting Set

Molecular Mixology Cocktail Kit – $85.00

I’ve already written about this company’s Mojito Revolution Kit, so I figured I’d give some time to their newest products, as well: the Margarita and Cosmopolitan releases. Each set is $30.00, but buy all three and you save a little money. With these collections, little sippers can make different versions of the cocktails to share with friends throughout the next year.

Bar10der – $40.00

This is the Swiss-Army knife of the boozing world! Complete with a jigger, muddler, corkscrew, bottle opener, knives, stirrer, strainer, and so much more, this 10-tool piece will keep aspiring mixologists churning out drinks and never needed to jump between different utensils.

Bar10der

Subscription to Imbibe Magazine – $20 (One-Year), $32 (Two-Year)

For the cocktail connoisseur, this magazine offers all the best tips and tricks for what they call “liquid culture”! The magazine highlights drink and food recipes, new products, and other issues going on the world of booze. The price point is pretty reasonable, too.

Roulette Shot Wheel – $19.99

Mrs. Sip and I own one of these and it can make parties quite interesting. We fill each glass with random liquors and folks spin the wheel to figure out their fate. Sometimes you get lucky and get a sweet, tasty liqueur. Other times, you might have to step up to the plate and down the dreaded Absinthe offering. Either way, it’s a lot of fun!

Roulette Shot Wheel

Shots and Ladders Drinking Game – $12.99

I think it would be a total blast to play this adult-oriented version of the childhood classic game. Instead of falling into trouble and having to slide down a slippery reptile, in this case, you’ll be consuming shots for your gaming transgressions. A couple games of this and the party will really get started.

Cocktail Pop Charts – $43.61

This poster is perfect for bartenders who want to easily access drink recipes for 68 classic cocktails. Using 40 different alcohols, this chart will keep them busy for hours and your thirst quenched for the same amount of time. Lines leading from the spirits to the drinks they play a role in (as well as which glassware to use) will make little sippers cocktail gurus in no time!

Cocktail Pop Charts

Beer of the Month Club – $104.85 (3-Month), $139.80 (4-Month), $203.70 (6-Month), $395.40 (12-Month)

This is available in 3, 4 (seasonal releases), 6, and 12-month options and includes 12 bottles of various craft beers every month, shipped directly to your door. The delivery also comes with a newsletter and the company advertises free shipping, but that may only be to certain locations (US, Canada). It’s the gift that would keep on giving!

The Shot Flask – $24.99

This is a great little device that includes a collapsible shot glass that you pull out of your flask. My only critique is that the space needed to tuck away the shot glass takes up some precious space for booze, but the package deal is something that will go quite some way in the long run.

shot-flask

The Modern Drunkard – $11.07

I’d sum up this book myself, but the Amazon description is so well done, I’ll just quote it: “Attempting to deconstruct America’s joyless obsession with sobriety, The Modern Drunkard offers today’s befuddled drinkers a comprehensive and instructive manual on the delights of alcohol culture.” You can also check out the Modern Drunkard website and subscribe to their magazine (six issues for $24).

Final Notes:

If you choose to buy someone a bottle of booze, figure out what they like and get them a higher end product they might not pick up themselves. If they’re an experienced drinker, try to find them a unique product they might not even know exists. Smaller bottles are also fun for stocking stuffers. Mrs. Sip got me a bunch of these last year, providing me with a wide array of flavours to experiment with.

Of course, you can always pick up gift cards and coupons for your favourite drinking mate. Whether to their local liquor store or watering hole, they will be forever grateful. I’ve also seen sites like Groupon and Social Shopper have deals for winery and brewery tours. Send them on an adventure they’ll remember bits and pieces of!

Drink #332: Apple Pie Martini

Apple Pie Martini Cocktail

  • Rim glass with Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • 1.5 oz Vodka
  • 0.75 oz Goldschlager
  • Top with half Apple Juice and half Cranberry Juice
  • Garnish with Apple Slice

If you would like even more gift ideas, you can go back to the summer gift guide I put together earlier this year. There, you will find everything you need to get ready for the 2014 summer of boozing. There’s nothing wrong with looking ahead, especially in the alcohol world!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This drink literally tasted like liquid apple pie. The best sips came when you got a fair amount of the Graham Cracker Rim with the cocktail and it had me longing for a warm slice of apple crumble. The Goldschlager and Apple Juice really do the heavy lifting here and make for a tasty martini.

March 2 – Key Lime Pie

Dessertification

Truth be told, I’m not much of a pie fan (dirty jokes aside). It’s not that I don’t like pie, but I’m more of a cookie and brownie man. I thought it might be best to list some of my favourite dessert treats, in case anyone out there is looking to butter me up like the living legend that I am.

Two-Bite Brownies

While they’re advertised as two-bite treats, it’s much more enjoyable to shove the entire brownie in your mouth and chomp on it noisily. If you’re looking for a fun evening in the future, try having a brownie bash. Each player brings a bag of two-bite brownies, which are emptied out into the centre of the playing surface. Then each competitor builds up a fortress for safe keeping of their treasures and you play Hungry Hungry Hippo’s style, running and retrieving one treat at a time until all the brownies have been claimed.

Sponge Bob Two Bite Brownie

Rainbow Chips Ahoy

Nothing beats ending a long hard day with a plate of cookies and a cold glass of milk… unless it’s a fat beefy burger and an ice cold cocktail. Hell, if your guy-et is going well, why not do both! Rainbow chips Ahoy (which are clearly superior to regular chocolate chips ahoy) are one of my favourite camping supplies and you truly haven’t experienced all the joys of life until you’ve made smores between of these two cookies. As a bonus, the rainbow chips take you back to fond childhood memories quicker than the sight of an ice cream truck.

Black Forest Cake

Mrs. Sip really stole a piece of my heart when we celebrated our first dating anniversary and she bought me an entire Black Forest Cake even though she isn’t besties with any cake other than Ice Cream Cake. Yes, that black forest beauty and I spent a bulk of the next week together, sharing tender glances, romantic embraces and nights of unbridled passion.

Chocolate Fondue

The fun part about fondue (maybe they should just call it FUNdue… great, now the lame police are after me… why do I always write the worst jokes?) is coming up with interesting things to dip in the chocolate. While pedestrian items like fruit, marshmallows and sponge cake are used by the masses, I am an extreme fondue-er, dunking sub sandwiches, turkey legs, and edible underwear into the melted goodness.

Chocolate Fondue

Minnie’s Bake Shop Cookies at Disney Parks

These cookies are amazing! Every time Mrs. Sip and I are in Disneyland or Disneyworld, a good portion of our snack budget (well, budget is a loose term, given it’s an infinite amount) is spent of these treats. We’ve come home with an entire suitcase filled with the delicacies before… and it’s not like we make them last for as long as possible. They are often demolished in a single serving, as we go into a trance-like orgy of cookie destruction. The next morning, we awake to smears of chocolate and peanut on our clothing (luckily we’re still in clothing); crumbs, like fallen snow, littering the floor; and splashes of milk dripping from the ceiling.

Black Magic Cupcakes

This is Mama Sip’s world famous recipe, which has caused her to be hounded over the years by family, friends, co-workers, even da freakin’ pope, to make them. Basically, they are a chocolate cupcake with chocolate chip cheesecake mixed in and are absolutely fabulous warmed up or even cold. Made from a secret family recipe that has been handed down for thousands of years, I may have said too much already. If you would like the recipe, please send $500 to Sip Advisor Enterprises and I’ll get back to you in due time.

Drink #61: Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie Shot

  • Rim glass with Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • 0.5 oz Galliano
  • 0.5 oz Fireball Whiskey
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Dash of Milk
  • Top with Whipped Cream

There are at least three variations of this shot and I kind of put pieces together from all three to make my version. Enjoy!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
Full disclosure: I left out an ingredient when making this shooter. Originally, I forgot to include Galliano, so I had to make it again. It worked out pretty well when done properly. The Graham Cracker Crumb rim was a key part of the recipe.