Flavour Revolution – Grapefruit

Ruby Roundup

Last year, when rockin’ the Around the World project, I wrote about the grapefruit when stopping briefly in Barbados. With that in mind, this time around, we’ll be looking at the ruby red version of the fruit and so we might as well dig deeper into the jewel and some of its greatest examples:

The term ruby comes from the Latin ruber, which means red. That said, rubies can range in colour, including shades of pink, purple, orange, and brown. This depends on the chromium and iron components that make up the gem, as well as which wavelengths of light are absorbed by the stone.

rubies in drinks

Rubies are symbolic of devotion, integrity, courage, and happiness. If you or a loved one is lacking in any of these areas, go out and pick up a precious gem and turn your life around today. Also, rubies have a reputation of being the stone of love, passion, and vitality. That’s a lot of pressure to take on and I can understand why emeralds balked at the job offer.

Aside from being the birthstone of folks born in the Cancer zodiac sign (June 22-July 22), rubies are also perfect gifts for people celebrating their 15th or 40th wedding anniversary. Mrs. Sip and I have a more than a decade to go before we even hit the first of those milestones, but I might as well start saving now!

Placing just behind diamonds and drawing even with sapphires, rubies are one of the sturdiest gems in existence. Perhaps, this is why some members of the Hindu religion don the stone, in order to keep their enemies at bay. That’s a potentially expensive security system. Similarly, in Burma (one of the hottest ruby regions in the world), warriors believed rubies made them invincible in battle, even going so far as to embed them in their body.

cat security system

There are very few flawless rubies and you can bet you’ll have to fork over a ton of cash to get your hands on those rarities. A ruby without any blemishes can be more expensive than a diamond of the same weight and quality.

Here are some famous rubies from across the globe:

Sunrise Ruby

Purchased by an anonymous buyer at an auction in 2015 for $30.3 million, the Sunrise Ruby (aka Sunshine Ruby) is the world’s most expensive coloured gemstone. Not bad for a gem which has had its colour described as “pigeon blood” red. The Swiss Gemmological Society described the piece as “a unique treasure of nature”.

jewellery woman

Liberty Bell Ruby

This gem, the largest mined in the world, was subject to an elaborate heist in 2011. A few years later, and after a $10,000 reward was offered, four men were arrested in connection with the crime. Despite the arrests, police believe that the jewel will never be recovered. The ruby was originally found in East Africa in the 1950s and weighed four pounds. Sculpted in 1976, to imitate Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell, the jewel was joined by 50 diamonds (one for each U.S. state) and had a worth of $2 million.

Elizabeth Taylor Collection

One of Hollywood’s most proficient jewellery collectors – likely due in part to her eight marriages to seven different husbands – it took two full days to auction all of Elizabeth Taylor’s massive assembly of trinkets. This included many ruby pieces and among the top sellers were a $4.2 million ring set and a $3.7 million necklace.

Flavour Revolution: Love Machine

In some Asian countries, rubies are placed underneath the foundation of buildings to bring the development good luck. I wish I had enough of a fortune to use gems solely for blessings!

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Barbados – Sweet Heat

Grapefruits of Wrath

It took some serious digging to figure out a second post topic for Barbados. Pop star Rihanna was an obvious choice, but the country didn’t offer a whole lot of other in-your-face options… until I discovered this little nugget: grapefruits (a hybrid crop) were first produced in Barbados in the 18th century. Let’s take a look at this subtropical citrus fruit and its impact on the world:

Grapefruit was first known as “forbidden fruit” after its discovery by Rev. Griffith Hughes in Barbados, circa 1750. It has since earned status as one of the ‘7 Wonders of Barbados,’ which also include a cave, a tree, a mill, a synagogue, a cannon, and some mansions. Apparently an eight item (coral reefs) has recently been added to the list, as well.

grapefruit too much effort

The fruit comes in a few varieties, including white, ruby red, pink, golden, and star ruby (the darkest of the hues). Grapefruit even has its own special spoon, complete with serrated teeth at either the tip of the device or on the sides, used to cut the flesh from the rind.

Although discovered in Barbados, the country doesn’t crack the Top 10 list for producers of the fruit. The United States grows over 1,500,000 metric tons of grapefruit each year, dwarfing their nearest competitors. Also cracking the list are China, South Africa, Mexico, Syria, Israel, Turkey, India, Argentina, and Cuba. Speaking of China, pomelos have been nicknamed Chinese Grapefruit and are very popular around Chinese New Year for their resemblance to the moon.

One of the leagues for Major League Baseball’s spring training has been dubbed the Grapefruit League and plays out of the Florida area, while the Cactus League takes place in Arizona. The Grapefruit League has existed since 1914.

grapefruit spoon

The consumption of grapefruit can play havoc with a number of medical drugs, either speeding up the effectiveness of the dose or even inhibiting some of the chemicals needed to be absorbed. The intensified potency of the medicine can be potentially life threatening. I’m no doctor, only playing one on TV, but I’d advise you little sippers to enjoy grapefruit cautiously if you are taking various meds and perhaps consult a physician to make sure it’s all good in the hood.

Even more negative publicity for the fruit came in a July 2007 study published in the British Journal of Cancer (I guess everything has an outlet for recording their own thoughts), which stated that eating grapefruit everyday increased the risk of breast cancer by almost a third. This of course was refuted by two subsequent studies proving once again that everything in existence both causes and reduces the threat of cancer.

Enough about the bad, let’s see some of grapefruit’s benefits. First, because it doesn’t mess with a person’s blood sugar, it’s a great snack for diabetics. The citrus treat can also help in burning fat and is perfect for those trying to drop some pounds. Grapefruit is also rich in fiber, which can leave the eater feeling fuller longer and help with cleaning out one’s system. Don’t forget about all the vitamins and minerals coursing through the grapefruit. They can help with your immune system and energy level.

grapefruit_evil orange

In the Seinfeld episode ‘The Wink,’ George Costanza takes a blast of grapefruit juice to the eye, which in usual Seinfeld style, sets off a series of unfortunate events for the people that surround the main characters of the show. First, Kramer misinterprets George’s winking for giving him permission to sell a signed birthday card from the New York Yankees, meant for a sick child. Later, George appears to be winking when questioned by his boss on the whereabouts of a co-worker. The boss assumes that George is covering for the co-worker, who is promptly fired with George getting the position, which means longer hours, more responsibility and not enough pay increase to make up for the changes.

Sticking with TV, in The Simpsons episode Das Bus (a parody of Lord of the Flies), the children become stranded on a deserted island after bus driver Otto gets grapefruit juice in his eyes and crashes, following an ill-advised bowling game by the kids, where Milhouse Van Houten rolls a grapefruit that gets stuck under the brake pedal. To this day, I still think Ralph Wiggum’s banana should have won the fruit race and I will be forever perplexed as to why he lost out.

Grapefruit Juice

Grapefruit is also used in the film The Public Enemy, when James Cagney’s character Tom Powers, smacks a grapefruit into the face of his girlfriend Kitty (played by Mae Clarke). Director William Wellman added the controversial scene to the 1931 crime drama because his wife always ate grapefruit for breakfast and whenever the couple would get into arguments, he fantasized about pushing the fruit into her face to get a reaction out of her. Cagney has said that Clarke’s ex-husband enjoyed the act so much that he would buy tickets to multiple showings of the movie, entering shortly before the scene and leaving after.

There are a number of grapefruit sodas available out there, although they may not expressly be called grapefruit sodas and are instead described as citrus drinks. Brands like Fresca, Squirt, Wink (funny name, given the Seinfeld episode mentioned above), Citrus Blast, and San Pellegrino will help give you some fizz if that’s what you prefer. I’ve recently come to enjoy grapefruit soda, especially over juices, and that reminds me… we have a drink to get to!

Barbados: Sweet Heat

Sweet Heat Martini

  • 2 oz Mango Rum
  • Top with Wildberry Juice
  • Garnish with Strawberry Slices

Well, I hope you enjoyed hanging out with the Sip Advisor and learning about a fruit you never thought could produce nearly 1,000 words on information for it. Now go out and grab yourself a nice ripe grapefruit… so long as you have the necessary utensils and aren’t on any meds that may result in your death when combined with consumption!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
I feel, given the subject, that I should have added some grapefruit juice or soda to the recipe, but that may be saved for another time behind the scenes. The recipe actually calls for Wild Berry Rum, but I went with Wildberry Juice to add a little mixer to the recipe. There is no heat to the drink, so I’m not sure where the name comes from, but it’s still a tasty martini.

England – London Cup

Riot Brigade

From South Africa, we head north to merry old England. While it may or may not have originated there, the country has long been known as a hotbed of football hooliganism. Here’s a look at some of the most notorious hooligan firms and the anarchy they have caused!

Hooliganism Industry

6.57 Crew – Portsmouth FC

Taking their name from the depature time of trains from Southsea Station in Portsmouth to London’s Waterloo Station, the 6.57 Crew has been subject of TV documentaries and books on their hooliganism. The club has even had a 10-year old member arrested and convicted of violent disorder. For the 2006 Football World Cup, 130 members of the 6.57 Crew were forced to hand over their passports, limiting their ability to travel to Germany for the tournament.

Chelsea Headhunters – Chelsea FC

This firm has been linked to white supremacist groups, such as Combat 18, a neo-Nazi organization. One member, Kevin Whitton, was sentenced to life in prison for assaulting a bar manager, in which Whitton held the arms of the victim while another Headhunter smashed a beer glass into his face. The Headhunters have long-standing rivalries with firms representing other London-based teams, including Arsenal, Tottenham, and Queens Park.

Millwall Bushwackers – Millwall FC

Any group who chants “No one likes us, we don’t care!” has members that are in need of a serious hug. Perhaps they weren’t given much attention and love as youngsters. Anyway, The Den, where Millwall FC played was closed on five separate occasions by the Football Association due to fan violence. Clearly, these Bushwackers aren’t the fun loving type like the Bushwackers of wrestling fame.

bushwackers

Red Army – Manchester United FC

Sometimes called the Men in Black (hunting aliens when not disrupting soccer matches), the Red Army’s most infamous year might have been 1974-75, while Man U was relegated to the Second Division of the English League. During that season, Red Army supporters often outnumbered home team fans, while United was on the road, causing havoc with each stop across the country. The firm is largely cited as a reason for crowd segregation and fencing at UK football stadiums.

Inter City Firm – West Ham United FC

The ICF has been the basis for one film (Green Street Hooligans) about hooliganism, while serving as consultants on another (The Firm). A movie was also made about former leader Cass Pennant, who despite being black during a time of heavy racism, rose to the top of the ICF and served four years in prison (the first to ever be given a long-term sentence) as a result of his hooligan actions.

Men Discussing

Leeds United Service Crew – Leeds United FC

The LUSC has even been known to beat up opposing fans in wheelchairs… now that’s hardcore. Leeds United has done much to distance itself from the firm, as the level of violence caused by the LUSC has nearly ruined the team. Leeds United was banned from European competition for four years in the late 70’s thanks to fans rioting and in Telford United refused to host the team at their own stadium in 1987, due to the LUSC’s reputation.

The Muckers – Blackpool FC

Colloquially, “mucker” means good friend, but these Blackpool supporters certainly weren’t amiable with fans from other squads. Despite Blackpool’s history of being a lower-tier team, The Muckers were a major league firm, making a 1985 BBC list of the six worst clubs, as far as fan violence was concerned. The Muckers have gone through a number of eras and leaders, seemingly resembling a gang, rather than fans, and participating in West Side Story type rumbles (minus the dancing and singing, of course!).

England: London Cup

London Cup Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Tanqueray Rangpur Gin
  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 0.5 oz Campari
  • Top with Grapefruit Juice and Lemonade
  • Garnish with Cucumber Slices

While the heyday of hooligan firms is long behind us, football fan violence still exists. I’m still thankful nothing broke out during the Man United game Mrs. Sip and I attended in 2007, although our street car did break down in the middle of the town, making for an interesting trip home!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
For my England posts, I wanted to pick up a new and unique Gin and I found exactly that with the Tanqueray Rangpur. I had never seen this product before and was happy to come across it in a duty free shop in the Dominican Republic. The spirit combines Gin with Rangpur Limes as well as some other spices and it is quite refreshing. The same can be said for today’s cocktail, which I enjoyed despite the presence of Campari.