Mixer Mania #10 – Eye of the Beholder

In the TV series Seinfeld, there’s an infamous scene where George Costanza gets sprayed in the eye with juice from a grapefruit. This causes him to wink his eye at unfortunate times, resulting in typical episodic mayhem. Here are a few other items you wouldn’t want to get in your eyes:

Hot Sauce

Peppery flavour enhancers can burn the most hardened of mouths, so I can only imagine the excruciating pain a dollop to the eyes would cause. Somehow, this has become a viral dare for those brave stupid enough to try. It’s scary that millennials hold the future of our world in their hands and this is what they’re doing in their free time.

Spider Webs

Nothing causes some people to panic more than when they walk through a spider web. Typically formed inconveniently at face level, the victim begins flailing about and trying to get the sticky substance off their face. Then, those horrible thoughts creep in: Was it more than just a web? Could there be a spider on me? Commence full hysterical breakdown!

spider-web-dance

Shampoo

It amazes me that a substance that is used so close to the eyes has not been adapted to make it safer and painless. Sure, there Johnson & Johnson No Tears Shampoo for babies, but why hasn’t that secret ingredient been placed into the recipe of every other shampoo since!?

Finger

An errant finger to the eyes may have partly made the careers of the Three Stooges, but it’s not very fun if you’re on the receiving end of one of these attacks (accidental or not). The ol’ finger poke is still used by villainous professional wrestlers to this day and the tactic is as dastardly as ever.

Eyelash

While this is a natural occurrence, it’s one that drives the Sip Advisor absolutely insane. It is such a predicament that there are numerous step-by-step guides online with instructions on how to remove the troublemaker.

eyelashes

Tree Debris

When the Sip Advisor was still in his formative, chocolate milk days, he was once climbing tree and ended up with bristles directly in the eye. I was forced to wear an eyepatch for the next couple days, while my eye flushed the trespasser out. Still, I remember managing to still score a couple soccer goals at recess, despite the handicap.

Pepper Spray

I am loathe to put myself in any situation where one might be pepper sprayed, as the substance has been deadly or contributed to death in rare cases. Much like hot sauce, there are some idiots who view pepper spray as a challenge and I consider this a form of Darwinism.

chuck-norris-pepper-spray

Venom/Acid

The deadly spitting cobra, as well as some vipers, are known to first blind their prey by expelling venom into the victims eyes. There has also been documented stories of folks having acid thrown in their face, often by jilted lovers or competition for a companion.

Sand

It’s a widely known fact that the Sip Advisor hates sand and any place that is comprised of it: beaches, the desert, sandboxes! One of the reasons is I always seem to get some of the gritty stuff in my eye, thanks to a gust of wind. I’ll stick to my concrete jungle, thank you very much!

Mixer Mania #10: Panty Remover

Panty Remover

  • 2 oz Gin
  • 1 oz Vodka
  • Top with Grapefruit Soda
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Garnish with Grapefruit Wedge

After doing research for this article, there are some insane things people have got splashed or caught in their eyes. Stay safe out there, my little sippers!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.5 Sips out of 5):
Okay, so I wasn’t a big fan of this cocktail, but my faith in Grapefruit Soda was restored when I used the remainder of my can of Squirt to make a Paloma with Tanteo Jalapeno Tequila!

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Flavour Revolution – Cranberry

Thanks to Give

Cranberries play a large role in Thanksgiving feasts across Canada and the United States. In fact, 20% of the total annual harvest of the berries goes towards cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving. This tradition may date back to Algonquian tribes sharing the berries with English settlers who were desperately hungry after their voyage to the ‘New World’. Thus, the earliest Thanksgiving meals incorporated the fruit. Here are some other Thanksgiving facts:

TV dinners came into existence thanks to a colossal mistake by the Swanson food company. With 26 tons of extra turkey meat, following Thanksgiving 1953, it was decided to cut up the birds, add some sides and sell a miniaturized version of the traditional turkey dinner.

Ron Swanson Dinner

The busiest day of the year for plumbing services in the U.S. is Black Friday – otherwise known as the day after Thanksgiving. This is due to many systems being overwhelmed the night before. I don’t know what they’re serving across the border, but I can confirm that none of my Turkey Day feasts have resulted in a destroyed toilet or pipes.

There are a number of locations throughout the United States that owe their namesake to Thanksgiving. This includes Turkey Creek in Louisiana; Turkey Creek in Arizona; Turkey, Texas; Turkey, North Carolina; and Upper and Lower Turkeyfoot in Pennsylvania.

The same woman responsible for the nursery rhyme ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’ can also be credited with Thanksgiving becoming a national holiday in the U.S. Sarah Josepha Hale worked tirelessly for 40 years to have Thanksgiving put on a similar pedestal as the Fourth of July. Finally, in 1863, president Abraham Lincoln declared that the final Thursday of November would be a day of giving thanks, while the U.S. Congress made it all official in 1941.

Abraham Lincoln Beard

The Canadian version of the event dates back to 1578, when English explorer, Sir Martin Frobisher, celebrated his successful journey to discover the Northwest Passage. Thanksgiving was used again 1872, occurring on April 15 to commemorate the Prince of Wales recovery from illness. The national holiday came into existence in 1879, originally held on November 6, before being moved to the second Monday of October, each year.

Often served as part of Thanksgiving dessert, the largest pumpkin pie ever weighed 2,020 pounds and was more than 12 feet long. The creation used 900 pounds of pumpkin and 250 pounds of crust (the best part of the pie!). That sounds like a mass genocide of Jack-O-Lanterns!

Other highlights of the American Thanksgiving period include the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, which originated in 1924 and the annual Detroit Lions NFL matchup. The Lions have played on Thanksgiving Day every year (except during World War II) since 1934. That tradition beginner produced the first nationally broadcast football contest and 20 years later, in 1956, the first TV broadcast of the Thanksgiving game took place.

Flavour Revolution: Cranberry Crusher

  • 1 oz Cranberry Liqueur
  • 1 oz Vodka
  • Top with Grapefruit Soda
  • Garnish with Cranberries

Some of you little sippers reading this article might be thinking that its posting date is peculiar. Well, while our neighbours to the south celebrate Thanksgiving in late November, us Canadians party much earlier (and harder!) in mid-October. That said, I do envy the American’s four-day weekend version!

Flavour Revolution – Cucumber

Cold-Blooded

The term “cool as a cucumber” comes from the fact that cucumbers are known to actually cool the blood. Someone who shows a similar disposition to a cucumber, remaining cool under pressure, is usually given the nickname Iceman… and there are a lot of these folks. Let’s take a look at some of the dudes (there doesn’t seem to be any women on the list) who have ice in their veins:

Chuck Liddell

Liddell is a retired Mixed Martial Arts fighter and Ultimate Fighting Championship legend, holding the record for most knockouts in the company’s history at 13. Liddell has capitalized on his Iceman moniker, opening a memorabilia store called The Ultimate Iceman in 2010, as well as titling his autobiography Iceman: My Fighting Life. There is also Iceman Fight Gear, which is designed based on Liddell’s suggestions.

Chuck Liddell

Kimi Räikkönen

The Formula 1 driver was given the nickname Iceman for a number of reasons, including the frigid temperatures of his native Finland, his cool as a cucumber demeanor on the race track, and his often standoffish relationship with fellow racers, media, and even his own team. I’m not sure how much weight a nickname holds when you give it to yourself, but Räikkönen does have 20 wins under his belt.

Retief Goosen

The South African professional golfer is more likely to be called ‘Goose,’ but he’s also known by ‘Iceman’ for his calm, poised behaviour while on the links. Interestingly, both of Goosen’s nicknames also belong to characters from the movie Top Gun. Goosen’s mom credits her son’s conduct on him being struck by lightning at the age of 15, while golfing with a friend. That event would definitely change your perspective.

Richard Kuklinski

It’s not often that a contract killer gets lumped together with sports stars, but Kuklinski’s method of freezing his victims, to throw off their time of death for investigators, earned him this dubious handle. Kuklinski estimates that he murdered anywhere from 100 to 250 people, while working for the Five Families of New York’s Mafia. The Iceman, a film based on Kuklisnki’s double life, was released in 2012.

Richard Kuklinski

Dean Malenko

Also dubbed ‘The Man of 1,000 Holds,’ Malenko would often approach the ring with absolutely no emotion on his face and this continued throughout the duration of his matches. Unfortunately, when the strong technical wrestler arrived in the character driven WWE after stints in other promotions, he was saddled with the persona of a James Bond-esque ladies’ man, which just didn’t fit.

Adam Vinatieri

While there are some who devalue the role of a football placekicker, when compared to the rest of his teammates, Adam Vinatieri has earned the respect of fans, media, and his colleagues, thanks to completing some of the most essential field goals in the history of the sport. His resume includes two game-winning Super Bowl kicks, among his record four championships for a kicker.

Wim Hof

Of all the people listed in this article with the nickname Iceman, Hof is the only that can claim to actually have a close relationship with the cold stuff. Hof was once the world record holder for the longest ice bath at one hour and 44 minutes. He also excels at other cold weather challenges, including climbing the world’s most fearsome mountains in only shorts and completing marathons in polar temperatures, also scarcely clad.

George Woolf

How about a little Canadian content to wrap up? Woolf was one of the jockeys who rode the legendary Seabiscuit. His strategy of waiting for just the right moment to make his move in a race is what earned him the nickname Iceman. Sadly, Woolf died following a racing accident, in which he fell from his horse and suffered a head injury. An award for jockeys was named after Woolf and awarded annually since 1950.

Flavour Revolution: Crisp Twilight

Crisp Twilight Cocktail

  • Muddle Sage Leaves
  • 1.5 oz Effen Cucumber Vodka
  • Top with Grapefruit Soda
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Dash of Angostura Bitters
  • Garnish with a Cucumber Slice

Cucumbers are so awesome that they can even be used to cure hangovers… not that the Sip Advisor is ever afflicted by this dreaded condition. Thanks to their mix of vitamins, sugar, water, and other nutrients, a few slices of cucumber can be the difference between waking up normally, or wasting the day away in bed!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
This drink was okay, but given the combo of Angostura Bitters and Grapefruit Soda, the Simple Syrup and even Cucumber Vodka could only do so much to balance out the cocktail, with a kick of sweetness. The Sage Leaves didn’t do much at all for the drink, hidden behind other flavours.

Latvia – Siberian Sunset

Did You Know?

For a country of under two million people, Latvia has still managed to make some significant contributions to the world. Here is a collection of lesser known facts for the nation that has also gone by the names Livonia, Courland, and Lettland:

Birth of a Nation

A Latvian myth states that their national flag was created when a 13th century chief was wounded in battle and wrapped in a white sheet. Blood from his injuries made the two dark red stripes on either side of the sheet, while the middle remained clean. Another interpretation states that the flag depicts Latvians willingness to fight and lose blood for freedom and liberty. The Latvian flag is sometimes mistaken for Austria’s pennant, despite the difference in red hues.

Latvia Location

Freedom Fighters

In its entire history, Latvia has only enjoyed independence for a total of 44 years, over two stints (1920-40 and 1990-present). The country has been ruled and occupied by the Germans, Swedes, Russians, Nazis, and Soviets, to name a few. Their most recent run of autonomy began with the fall of communism. In 2004, Latvia achieved two of its greatest accomplishments as a sovereign nation, being accepted into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU).

Party Time

Latvians technically celebrate two independence days. The first, Proclamation of the Republic of Latvia, occurs every November 18th, while the second, on May 4th, is known as Restoration of Independence Day. That means double holidays! I’d be all for the Canadian government letting other nations take over for the day, if it meant a few extra days off each year!

Forever in Blue Jeans

One of Latvia’s greatest contributions to the world is something most of you might be wearing as you read this article: jeans. Latvian immigrant Jacob Youphes (known as Jacob Davis after moving to North America) created the first pair of denim workpants with his soon-t-be patented rivet, holding together Levi Strauss’ denim. The two went into business together and revolutionized the fashion industry. The orange stitching that appears on jeans is also the work of Davis.

Jeans Washed

Ice Capades

Hockey is the most popular sport in Latvia. Helmuts Balderis was the first Latvian to play in the NHL, when he was drafted by the Minnesota North Stars in 1989. Because this was the first year Soviet players were allowed to be drafted, Balderis earned the distinction of being the oldest player to ever be selected at age 36 and when he scored his first NHL goal, became the oldest player to score his first goal, at the age of 37.

Crocodile Hunter

It blew the Sip Advisor’s mind to learn that the character of Crocodile Dundee was actually inspired by a Latvian. Arvīds Blūmentāls made his way from Latvia to Australia in 1945. Once there, he hunted reptiles, studied Aboriginals and mined opals. Crocodile Dundee went on to become a smash hit film in 1986 and Blūmentāls’ home in Coober Perdy is a tourist attraction. Back in Latvia, a crocodile monument was constructed in Blūmentāls’ hometown of Dundaga.

Crocodile Dundee

Ring Bearer

Many Latvian men wear a Namejs Ring, which helps them identify each other around the world. The four braids of the ring’s design signifies the solidarity of Latvia and its citizens. The legend behind the ring is that it was worn by Namejs, leader of the Semigallian tribe, which was fighting off the German crusaders invasion of Latvia in the 13th century. He gave this ring to his son, hoping he would be recognized upon his return from battle. It is also a sign of friendship and trust.

Strapped In

Another popular piece of Latvian attire is the Lielvārdes Josta, a red and white woven belt, featuring 22 ancient symbols. The belt serves many purposes throughout the wearer’s life, including being used to hang a baby’s cradle, all the way to eventually carrying and lowering a casket at the end of life. The belt is said to have special protection powers and is worn during special festivities and family events. It can also be used to identify which region of Latvia a person may hail from.

Latvia: Siberian Sunset

Dec 25

  • 1.5 oz Stoli Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Triple Sec
  • Top with Grapefruit Soda
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

Supervillain Dr. Doom is the ruler of the fictional country, Latveria, which one would have to assume is partly based on Latvia, at least by name. Thankfully, the real Latvians don’t have to deal with an evil dictator like Dr. Doom anymore and can thrive in their freedom.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
The Stoli Vodka drinks go two-for-two with this nice entry. I used Grapefruit Soda instead of juice, as I`m prone to do. The Maraschino Cherry serves as the sun streaking across the sky and makes for a nice little bonus at the end of the cocktail!

Iceland – Northern Lights

Around the Loop

Iceland is a fascinating place, full of so many interesting facts, sites, and experiences. If you visit the country, the best way to get around may be to travel the famous Ring Road. Here are some items of note about highway and a listing of some of the things you can see and do along the trek to get the full Icelandic experience:

Known as Route 1, this road circles the entire island of Iceland. Stretching 828 miles long, it was only completed in 1974, coincidentally while celebrations for the 1100th anniversary of the country’s settlement were ongoing. Most of the road is paved, but much like other parts of the country, there are stretches that are not. A number of bridges and tunnels link the route and the max speeds are 90 km/h on the paved sections and 80 km/h on the gravel portions.

icelanders_driving

If you’re expecting tons of ice (to live your fantasy of being an Ice Road Trucker), you will likely be disappointed. As the old joke goes, Iceland is green, while Greenland is ice. When Erik the Red set up shop in Greenland and colonized the island, he chose to call it something more appealing, hoping it would cause others to be more likely to settle there, as well.

With a couple drivers, you could take advantage of the near 24-hours a day of sunlight available during the summer months. That said, if travelling during the winter, you might get to enjoy the Northern Lights (not just the name of today’s cocktail and a wrestling suplex), more scientifically known as the Aurora Borealis. In winter, there is only four to five hours of sunlight and one portion of the Ring Road is closed, forcing drivers to take a detour along the coast.

Some parts of the road may wind in odd ways due to construction being done so as to not upset the elves of Icelandic folklore. Huldufólk, as they’re called, have been blamed for bulldozers malfunctioning when working in rock-filled areas, said to be inhabited by elves. The whole concept has created jobs for those claiming to have special powers in negotiating with elves. Sticking with the Huldufólk, you may often see doors painted on rocks or tiny churches, all meant for elves to live comfortably.

Elf in Iceland

Parts of the popular HBO series Game of Thrones have been filmed in Iceland, namely the scenes set at or past the ice wall, guarded by the Night’s Watch, that keeps the wildlings and white walkers from entering the Seven Kingdoms. There is a five day tour that specializes in bringing fans of the show to these areas and allows them to live out their fantasies of snuggling up with Jon Snow.

On your journey, you may not come across many people. Two-thirds of the approximately 320,000 population living in Iceland, call the capital city Reykjavik home. If you travel to Iceland, you will enter in and out of Reykjavik, the world’s northernmost capital. You will more likely see vehicles, as the country has one of the highest per capita rates of car ownership across the globe. There is one car for every 1.5 people, necessary because there are no rail lines for transport.

When in search of eats along the Ring Road, you may not find traditional comforts. There are no, I repeat NO McDonalds in Iceland, with the last of three restaurants getting out of Dodge in 2009. Hopefully you’re not a picky eater, as your options may include whale, puffin, harkarl (fermented shark), and skyr (yogurt-like substance). Also, be reminded that things are incredibly expensive in Iceland: Mrs. Sip and I spent $50 on two beers and a small pizza.

mcdonalds-one job

Iceland is home to the youngest place on earth. Surtsey Island only appeared from the ocean in 1963, following volcanic eruptions. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Speaking of volcanos, Iceland is one of the most geologically active spots in the world, thanks to 130 volcanoes (although only 40 have erupted in the last 1,000 years), continental plate action, and almost daily mini-earthquakes.

As you travel along, you may want to blast some Björk tunes and if you happen to get pulled over by the fuzz, just remember that they are not allowed to carry guns and will only have a club and pepper spray with them. When stopping for a meal, make sure to enjoy an expensive beer and toast the fact the ban on brews was only lifted in 1989 (March 1 is Beer Day, celebrated across Iceland). You should note that strip clubs have been banned since 2010, so don’t expect to see any Icelandic skin!

Other attractions you may come across in your travels: glaciers, three of Iceland’s five are the largest in Europe; Icelandic horses, 80,000 of which roam the land and are so unique that other horses are banned from Iceland and once a horse leaves, it is not allowed to return; and geysers; Iceland invented the word when their Great Geysir was discovered in 1294.

Iceland: Northern Lights

Northern Lights Cocktail

  • 1 oz Brennivin
  • 0.5 oz Amaretto
  • Top with Grapefruit Soda
  • Garnish with an Orange Slice

In closing, I must point out that D2: The Mighty Ducks featured everyone’s favourite hockey squad, as Team USA, battling an evil and favoured Iceland unit. All this, despite not one single hockey star having ever come from the nation and the country playing their first international game ever five years after the movie’s release. What do you expect from a film that also included Trinidad and Tobago as a top hockey power!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
Brennivin is described as an unsweetened schnapps and is quite similar to Akvavit. This drink was pretty good, with the strong tastes of the Brennivin and Grapefruit Soda subdued by the always pleasant Amaretto.

Russia – Estate Cocktail

Pricey Souvenir

Anyone travelling in Russia has to pick up a Fabergé Egg (or at least a suitable knockoff), but what do we really know about these expensive and fragile relics? Luckily, the Sip Advisor is here for all your antiquity needs!

The famous jewel-covered eggs were created by artist Peter Carl Fabergé, starting in 1885. They were originally given by Tsar Alexander III to his wife as an Easter morning treat and continued by Alexander’s son Nicholas II (to his wife and mother), leading up to the Russian Revolution. Of the approximately 50 ‘Imperial’ eggs the House of Fabergé created, 43 still exist. Not that I’m complaining, but all I ever got for Easter was chocolate and candy!

Group Faberge eggs.

Fabergé’s first creation was dubbed the ‘Hen Egg,’ which featured a seemingly ordinary egg, but inside was gold yolk that contained a golden hen (with ruby eyes, no less) on a nest of gold. And the gifts kept coming. Inside the hen was a miniature diamond version of the royal crown, as well as a ruby egg pendant that could be worn as a necklace. While the Hen Egg is among those that have survived, the gifts inside have been lost to time (a sad, but common theme among the eggs).

Other famous eggs include the Diamond Trellis, Rosebud, Bouquet of Lilies Clock, Trans-Siberian Railway, Basket of Wild Flowers, Moscow Kremlin, Rose Trellis, Standart Yacht, Colonnade, Napoleonic, Winter, and the unfinished Constellation. Constellation was never completed and presented thanks to the Russian Revolution taking place and the royal family being executed.

Eggs were made each year, except for 1904 and 1905, when Russia was at war with Japan. As the legend of the eggs grew, Fabergé picked up more clients, including industrialist Alexander Kelch, the Duchess of Marlborough, and the Rothschild and Yusupov families. Each egg contained hidden gifts, usually trinkets such as pendants and other jewelry that could be worn by the recipient.

Dos Equis Faberge

Some of the eggs ended up in private collections, while others are on display in museums around the world. Most of the eggs that are missing are thought to still be out there somewhere, while a few have certainly been destroyed, with little reference to them following the Russian Revolution. Next time Easter rolls around, you better be careful about what you discard and what you examine a little closer.

One of the ‘Imperial’ eggs was almost sold as scrap metal. Although the unidentified owner was looking to take home $500 from melting down the piece, the egg was actually worth $33 million US. Thankfully, the owner didn’t get the money he was hoping to score and kept the item. Thought to be the ‘Holy Grail’ of the antique world, it was last listed in an auction book in 1964 before it was located earlier this year.

Cracked Faberge

Fabergé Eggs were Russia’s featured showcase for the 1900 World’s Fair in Paris. This earned Fabergé, his two sons, and his head workmaster awards from the French government, as well as boosted the company’s profile and client list. The main Fabergé outlet still exists in St. Petersburg. Although it has been renamed, it is still known as the Fabergé store.

As for the artist, Fabergé was forced to flee Russia during the October Revolution of 1917. His company was seized by the new Bolshevik government and broken up. Fabergé died in 1920 at the age of 74, after taking refuge in Switzerland (following stops in Latvia, Germany, and Finland). The Fabergé brand has never disappeared, first being operated by Fabergé’s children before being purchased by larger corporations, which use the name for colognes and perfumes.

Russia: Estate Cocktail

Estate Cocktail

  • Muddle Mint Leaves
  • 1.5 oz Beluga Vodka
  • Top with Grapefruit Soda
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Garnish with a Mint Leaf

Another Russian treasure is the Matryoshka Dolls (or Nesting Dolls) which feature progressively smaller figures as you open each doll. There are sets for Russian presidents, various holidays, and other famous figures. While in Russia, I picked up a Christmas set for Ma Sip and a Beatles set for Pa Sip. Both were really neat and a perfect memento to bring back as souvenirs.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
This cocktail comes from the Rum Howler, who has a great site reviewing a bunch of different spirits and including a recipe with each post. I used Squirt instead of Grapefruit Juice to add some fizz to the cocktail and it was a nice addition. It basically turned into a Vodka-based Mojito and with that beautiful Beluga Vodka, it was a knockout of a cocktail!

Mexico – Sea of Cortez

Lucha Libre Lunacy

Wrestling and especially masked wrestlers are a huge hit in Mexico… perhaps more so than anywhere else in the world. The mask adds a dash of mystery to each character and also provides them a colourful outfit and persona. The fast-paced, high-flying in-ring style of the luchadores is mesmerizing for fans and has been captivating spectators for close to a century. Let’s take a look at some of the personalities and history of the genre:

Mask Manufacturing

Don Antonio Martinez is credited with creating some of the earliest lucha libre masks, moving to the face veneers from a successful leather boot business. As the story goes, Martinez employed a set of 17 facial measurements (a trade secret to this day) to help make the masks feel snug for the grapplers using them. Some of Mexico’s greatest wrestling stars would go on to wear a Martinez mask, taking the sport to unimaginable heights.

Lucha_libre_máscaras

The Saint

It takes some dedication to wear your wrestling mask at all times, inside and outside the ring. El Santo became one of Mexico’s cultural icons, appearing in countless movies, comic books, and other media. He only revealed his face to the world late in his life. Appearing on a talk show more than a year after his final match (at the age of 65, no less!), without warning El Santo removed his mask. One week later, the star passed away after suffering a heart attack. The grappler was buried donning his trademark silver disguise. His funeral was one of the biggest in Mexico’s history.

Legendary Lineage

Another hugely popular lucha libre fixture was Mil Mascaras. Hell, the guy even appeared on three different Mexican stamps. Mascaras competed all around the world and is considered one of the most influential wrestlers of all-time. A ban on masked wrestlers appearing at Madison Square Gardens was even lifted specifically so Mascaras could work for the then World Wrestling Federation. His legend lives on today through his nephew and current WWE superstar Alberto Del Rio. While Mascaras has never been unmasked during his lengthy career, Del Rio wrestles sans cover.

Dancing with the Demon

Blue Demon rounds out lucha libres first “Big Three” group of stars (also including El Santo and Mil Mascaras). Much like his fellow “Big Three” alums, Demon starred in numerous feature films, even leading a group of masked wrestlers on the big screen. Together they were dubbed The Champions of Justice and gave other legendary super groups such as the Justice League and Avengers a run for their money. Okay, I made that part up, but they were definitely more proficient when it came to cartwheels and somersaults!

misterioenlasbermudas

I guess the “big three” were kind of like the Rat Pack… yup, Frank, Dean and Sammy were replaced by El Santo, Mil Mascaras and Blue Demon!

For Sale

I nearly every market around Mexico, a traveler can find wrestling masks of varying quality to be purchased. The disguises include replicas for some of the biggest stars of Mexico, as well as those for competitors who have gained popularity abroad. You can even pick up the odd comic superhero façade, such as Spider-Man and Captain America.

Something to Lose

It is humiliating for a wrestler to be unmasked and therefore one of the most exciting and highly-anticipated contests in Mexico is the Mask Match (aka Luchas de Apuestas, which translates to “gambling fights”), where the loser has to reveal their face to the viewing audience. If the masked wrestler’s opponent doesn’t wear a mask, they often put their hair on the line in return. When a wrestler loses and is unmasked, it is common for his personal information to finally be recognized and published. That star is often no longer allowed to compete as that character, a further humiliation heaped on top of the original loss.

Big Time

In 1994, Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA) joined forces with World Championship Wrestling (WCW) to co-promote a pay-per-view event entitled When Worlds Collide. The show launched the careers of many Mexico-based stars, including Rey Mysterio, Jr., La Parka, Eddie Guerrero, and Konnan. Thanks to this platform, the grapplers started being signed to contracts with bigger American promotions like Extreme Championship Wrestling and the aforementioned WCW.

Mexico Wrestlers

No Respect

Throughout the mid to late 1990’s, more and more wrestlers from Mexico exploded onto the scene in the U.S., exciting fans with their speed, agility, and aerial offense. Things started off pretty well for the imports, but soon turned sour as the roster became flooded with foreign talent, most of whom weren’t featured much and found themselves buried underneath the bigger American grapplers. A number of stars were stripped of their mask in matches that had little to no meaning. Rey Mysterio, Juventud Guerra, and Psicosis all found themselves without their familiar covering and despite revealing themselves to fans, saw little improvement to their position in the pecking order.

Return to Glory

In 2002, pint-sized phenom Rey Mysterio (nee Jr.) debuted with the world’s largest wrestling company WWE, returning to wearing the mask that once brought him such great popularity. Bursting onto the scene by defeating some of WWE’s top stars, a renaissance of masked competitors seemed on the horizon. Sure enough, in 2006, Mysterio captured the World Heavyweight Title. No small feat (pun intended) for the 5’6” ultimate underdog!

Mexico: Sea of Cortez

Sea of Cortez Cocktail

 

  • Rim glass with Salt, Sugar and Chili Flakes
  • 1 oz Tequila
  • 0.5 oz Chipotle Spirit
  • 0.5 oz Triple Sec
  • Top with Grapefruit Soda
  • Splash of Sweet & Sour Mix
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

The luchadores comprise the Sip Advisor’s favourite style of wrestling. I just love seeing these smaller guys steal the show from the larger, hulking bodies with their crazy, high-risk action-packed contests. Perhaps it’s the cruiserweight in me or maybe it’s just the thrill of watching people fly through the air with complete disregard to their own safety. Either way, I thank them for their contributions to my entertainment.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (5 Sips out of 5):
This recipe provided one of my first chances to use the Chipotle Spirit I picked up a couple months back at Rogue Distillery in Portland, Oregon. On that trip, myself and Ma and Pa Sip ate at Gustav’s Pub, where I found this recipe. My favourite aspect is the rim, complete with Chili Flakes, which take a margarita recipe and make it that much better. I went with Grapefruit Soda instead of Juice and may have found a new mixer to advocate for. I love my drinks that have a bit of a bite to them and this was certainly no different!