December 5 – Santa’s Coming

The Gift of Giving

All this month, for Super Saturday Shot Day, we’ll be looking at the best Christmas gifts exchanged in movies and on TV. To get everyone into the Christmas spirit, let’s start with the greatest gifts in movies:

#5: Red Ryder BB Gun – A Christmas Story

While I’m far from a gun guy and little Ralphie did end up injuring himself shooting the Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle (just as everyone told him he would), this gift makes the best list because every one of us, growing up, had that one dream item that we wanted more than anything else in the world. And when it showed up under the tree on Christmas morning, you truly believed in the spirit of the season.

A-Christmas-Story-bb gun

#4: Pool – Christmas Vacation

Having grown up with a pool, I can totally appreciate how awesome it would be to be told your dad was installing one. Of course, with Clark Griswold’s Christmas bonus waiting in the wings, he’s not even sure he’ll be able to deliver on his promise of scorching hot days spent poolside, refreshed and relaxed. Just as Clark makes his big announcement, he discover his bonus isn’t what he thought it would be, but I’ll  have more on that next week.

#3: Gizmo – Gremlins

Mogwai’s seem pretty cool. That is, until they get fed after midnight, come into contact with water, or are exposed to sunlight. At least Gizmo stays cute and cuddly throughout, despite the fact it is the reason for all the mayhem that ensues. When a mogwai goes bad, it turns into a gremlin and then you really have to be careful, as these deranged creatures have been known to kill. In the end, the town is saved and Gizmo can return to normal… until its next late night feeding.

gremlins nicki minaj

#2: Lady – Lady and the Tramp

Is there a better gift to have lying under your tree than a cute little puppy. I’d say a kitten, but I’ll give them a pass here! Lady comes into her family’s life as an energetic pup; a Christmas gift given from Jim Dear to his wife Darling. After growing up, getting into mishaps and adventures, and finding love, the story sticks with the Christmas theme to show that Tramp has joined the family fray as has a litter of pups, the next generation of the household.

#1: Invisibility Cloak – Harry Potter

Everyone out there has fantasized at some point or another about being invisible. Well, Harry Potter is the one who actually gets the chance and really, the poor guy deserves it after all the years he’s spent as a slave to his extended family and guardians. If the Sip Advisor had an invisibility cloak, I would get up to all kinds of mischief… some of which I probably shouldn’t even share. To give you a hint, there would be a lot of pranking on Mrs. Sip!

Super Saturday Shot Day: Santa’s Coming

  • 0.5 oz Coconut Rum
  • 0.5 oz Pineapple Juice
  • 0.5 oz Cranberry Juice
  • Garnish with a Cranberry

I also have to include the bell from The Polar Express here, as the tiny trinket (gifted by Santa, himself) provided years of joy for a young boy and his little sister, allowing them to enjoy the spirit of Christmas throughout the years, so long as they truly believed.

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!

Denmark – Cloudberry Dream

Playtime Pleasures

Mrs. Sip and I recently viewed The LEGO Movie, which the Sip Advisor believes is a must-see attraction for young and old alike. It was the final piece, if you will, that cemented LEGO being a topic discussed while we visit Denmark as part of the Around the World liquor showcase. This fascinating product has a rich history and one that should be shared with all you little sippers:

Humble Beginnings

Ole Kirk Christiansen started LEGO when his carpentry business was faltering in 1932. Christiansen chose the name by combining the Danish words LEG and GODT, which means “play well” together. In Latin, LEGO means “I put together”. He used the excess lumber he had to make wooden toys, which he sold locally. The LEGO blocks we know and love today were the result of Christiansen buying the rights to Kiddicraft blocks after the inventor committed suicide. A patent for LEGO’s ‘toy building brick’ came in 1961, which improved on the Kiddicraft design and the rest is history.

Backwards Compatible

Statistically Speaking

560 billion LEGO pieces have been manufactured as of 2013 and only 18 of every million bricks come out defective. Seven LEGO sets are sold every second around the world. LEGO produces more tires than companies like Goodyear and Bridgestone. In fact, they make 381 million each year… sure they’re miniature, but that’s a lot of rubber! If this ever helps a reader with a pub trivia night, you owe me a Coke.

Across the Universe

While you can build just about anything using your imagination (porn theatre, strip club, grow-op, meth lab, etc.), LEGO collections allow kids to travel anywhere from floating through space, to sailing the seas with pirates, to battling dragons and defending castles. 13 LEGO sets have actually been brought to the International Space Station to see how the pieces react in gravity.

Good Company

While today, LEGO has licensing deals with a number of commodities (Batman, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, etc.), it all began in 1999 when the toy company partnered with Star Wars. Along with the previously mentioned sets, the likes of Santa Claus, Spider-Man, and even Steven Spielberg have been immortalized as LEGO mini figures.

lego-piece-missing

Home Sweet Home

A life-size LEGO house was built in 2009 by James May, for his Toy Stories TV series. With the help of 1,200 volunteers, the two-floor, four bedroom abode was constructed using 3.3 million bricks and also had a wooden support structure. May spent one night in the home, and ironically said he slept like a brick. The house was demolished after an agreement to have it sent to LEGOLAND fell through because of costs. The pieces were donated to charity, however.

Theme Party

Sticking with LEGOLAND, there are six LEGO theme parks around the globe, including resorts in Billund, Denmark (home of the first factory); Windsor, United Kingdom; Günzburg, Germany; San Diego, USA; Winter Haven, USA; and Nusajaya, Malaysia. There is also a chain of LEGOLAND Discovery Centres with five in the U.S., two in Germany, and one each in the U.K., Japan, and Canada (stupid Ontario gets all the cool attractions!).

Work of Art

Nathan Sawaya has gained a cult following as a block artist – wouldn’t it be considered an offshoot of cubism!? – using LEGO bricks to make renowned pieces of art. Sawaya quit his job as a lawyer (perhaps this is also in Mrs. Sip’s future!) in 2001 to dedicate his life to LEGO art and it’s worked out pretty well for him. His show ‘The Art of the Brick’ is touring museums across the United States. He’s even made a life-sized Stephen Colbert.

Stepping on Lego

Creation Theory

Speaking of using LEGO for art, starting in 2001 (that seems to be the year men around the world went nuts for the toy), Brendan Powell Smith began creating illustrations from the Bible, using LEGO. His website, The Brick Testament contains nearly 4,000 images telling more than 300 stories. Perhaps this will inspire the Sip Advisor to take up religion… no, I think I’ll pass.

Honourable Mention

LEGO was named Toy of the Century in 2000, narrowly beating out the Teddy Bear, Barbie Doll, and Action Man. The three runners up went on to form an alliance, looking to overthrow LEGO from its lofty perch through propaganda, a smear campaign, and other dirty tactics. Then, Barbie Doll and Action Man had an affair that upset Teddy Bear and caused a irreparable rift within the coalition!

Denmark: Cloudberry Dream

Cloudberry Dream Drink Recipe

  • 2 oz Cloudberry Liqueur
  • 1 oz Akvavit
  • Top with Lemon-Lime Soda
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with Cranberries

I was huge into LEGO as a youngster and one of the few things I’m looking forward to as a future father is bringing home my kid’s first LEGO set… then ignoring my duties as a dad and husband, playing with children’s toys for hours on end!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
An invention as great as LEGO deserves to be partnered with a drink this delicious! It has me looking forward to a long and prosperous relationship with Akvavit. The Cloudberry Liqueur was as wonderful as it has been in the past and throw in all the citrus elements and everything’s coming together perfectly!

March 8 – Pop Quiz

Learning Curve

While I’m happy to be done with school (although it may one day pull me back, kicking and screaming), there are a number of fictional institutes of learning that I haven’t minded attending on a weekly basis. Here are the top five schools of fine learning:

#5: Bayside High School – Saved by the Bell

It seems like the inmates run the asylum at Bayside. Mr. Belding can easily be wrapped around anyone’s finger and the collection of oddball teachers seem to have more fun making friends with their pupils than actually teaching them. Need a break from the stresses of teenage life? Why not hit up The Max for a bite to eat and a respite from the classroom. Upon graduation, you’d could even follow the gang to California University for some post-secondary tutelage.

SBTB

It truly was a perfect world!

#4: Acme Looniversity – Tiny Toon Adventures

I can only imagine the sheer joy (and pain) I’d experience while being taught by my idols; Wile E. Coyote, Sylvester J. Cat, and Yosemite Sam. The course catalogue would be interesting to scan through and might include classes like “Navigating Acme Products”, “Treating Exploding Cigar Injuries” and “Dressing in Drag to Confuse Enemies”. Remember, the teaching staff’s been getting laughs since 1933!

#3: Third Street School – Recess

This school will take you back to your earliest days of learning. To a time of first friends, crushes, and recesses. Recess depicted a time in life when kids don’t have many cares and can just be kids. The only thing to keep in mind is what you’re going to do at break time. Are you going to join an intense game of All the Balls? Perhaps you’ll hit Old Rusty, the jungle gym, for a few good slides. Just pray that you’re not stuck inside on a rain day or suffering through a dreaded detention sentence.

Recess

#2: Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters

Also known as Xavier Institute for Higher Learning, the only pre-requisite you’d have to figure out before attending would be finding your super power. I don’t think fending off hangovers is a talent suitable for a mutant academy, so I’m at a loss for what I could bring to the table. Still, a staff that includes a dude that shoots lasers from his eyes, a woman that can harness the power of weather, and a couple that can read your mind, would make classes very interesting.

#1: Greendale Community College – Community

This would be a truly epic school to attend, so long as every day featured one of the educational institute’s wacky competitions or other shenanigans. From paintball wars to the floor is lava games, each day would bring many unique opportunities. The faculty is a whole other level of insanity from Dean Craig Pelton to instructors such as Señor Ben Chang. Attending Greendale would certainly make your life more exciting, even if your degree wasn’t worth much in the real world.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Pop Quiz (A Sip Advisor Original Recipe)

Pop Quiz Shooter

  • Rim glass with Pop Rocks
  • 0.5 oz Root Beer Schnapps
  • 0.5 oz Bubble Gum Vodka
  • Splash of Lemonade

There are so many other institutions of learning that could have made this list, from Springfield Elementary (The Simpsons) to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (Harry Potter) and everything in between. Mrs. Sip would probably have loved to attend Breaker High, the school aboard a world-travelling cruise ship (not to mention Ryan Gosling would be a fellow student), while I could see myself excelling at Shiroiwa Junior High School, being shipped off to outlast my classmates Battle Royale style!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
I had higher hopes for this original recipe (seven herbs and spices, of course!). It wasn’t bad, but it could have been better. When I think about it, Root Beer Schnapps and Bubble Gum Vodka have similar aftertastes and perhaps the two got lost in each other. Maybe a Bubble Gum Liqueur would have worked better than the Vodka version, but I don’t think that product exists yet.

England – Reichenbach Fall

Cultured Characters

England is a land of professed culture, what with all its museums, historical figures, and landmarks. Perhaps it can be noticed most in the country’s long history of fine literature. They call it English Lit for a reason! Always one for a good read (kidding, I’m the world’s most prolific non-reading writer), here are the greatest literary characters who call England home:

Sherlock Holmes

Along with his faithful sidekick Dr. Watson, this formidable duo have solved some of greatest mysteries to occur in and around London. Add in arch nemesis Dr. Moriarty, as well as other secondary characters like Mycroft Holmes, Irene Adler, and Inspector Lestrade and you have the makings of some great fiction. It was suggested that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle didn’t like the character he is most famous for, as evidenced by Holmes being killed off so the author could pursue other projects. Public outrage brought Holmes back to life years later and the character has enjoyed a long history of different treatments.

sherlock-early-years

James Bond

Agent 007 is the quintessential secret service member. Created by writer Ian Fleming, Bond is just as popular for his prowess in the field as he is for his conquests beneath the sheets. While Bond has been played by Irish and Scottish actors on the big screen (and that is probably where he’s most famous and recognized), his origins are purely English. There is virtually no way to put down the famous MI6 operative, so he’ll probably be around for a very long time.

Harry Potter

For inspiring an entire generation of kids to pick up a book and read (or go to the theatre and watch!), Harry Potter and his pals are a must for this list. So famous is the franchise, that theme parks have set up lands to include Hogwarts Castle and the village of Hogsmeade. Quidich has also become a playable game, although it looks more ridiculous than polo and cricket combined. Wee little sippers want to grow up to become wizards and parents have J.K. Rowling to thank for the next wave of geeks!

Mr. Toad

Written by Scottish author Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows features the friendly and jovial, but selfish and reckless Mr. Toad, as well as his pals Mole, Ratty, and Badger. The stories were based on Grahame’s love of river life along the Thames. Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride was my favourite Disneyland attraction as a wee little sipper and I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Mr. Toad and careless ways.

Mr. Toad's Ride

Paddington Bear

From “Darkest Peru” (whatever that means… my theory is Paddington was sent to London by his Peruvian owner, who had awoken from a pisco haze and mistakenly shipped the bear away), Paddington Bear arrives in England and is promptly taken in by the Brown family. A Paddington film will be released in 2014, mixing live action and CGI animation. The bear will be voiced by Colin Firth, who ate endless marmalade sandwiches, while donning a duffle coat to get into character.

Robin Hood

Stealing from the rich, to give to the poor, Robin Hood may not have begun life as a literary figure and was more of a folk hero told about in ballads (aren’t those as good or even better than books?), but his legend has inspired countless appearances in media, especially the written word. My favourite adaptation of the vigilante is the 1973 Disney film with Robin Hood portrayed as a fox and opposing a cowardly lion in Prince John.

linkedin-robin-hood

Ebenezer Scrooge

Teaching civilization a lesson about how it behaves while using Christmas as a backdrop, Charles Dickens character Ebenezer Scrooge is one of the finest examples of turnaround redemption. He goes from a literal scrooge to becoming a man of love, friendship, heart, and caring. One of the greatest scenes ever is ol’ Ebenezer racing through the streets of London like a raving madman after discovering he still has time to change his ways.

Willy Wonka

Roald Dahl’s famous chocolatier and candy producer is about as eccentric as a person can possibly come. That aids him in all the wacky creations he’s able to dream up and put into research and development, but at the same time, makes him guarded and suspicious, staying reclusive in his precious factory. We still don’t know where the hell Oompa Loompas come from, but they aren’t among the world’s greatest literary characters, so it doesn’t really matter.

England: Reichenbach Fall

Reichenbach Fall Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Tanqueray Rangpur Gin
  • 2 oz Sherry
  • Dash of Orange Bitters
  • Top with Lemonade
  • Garnish with a Lemon Wedge

An honourable mention should go to English authors like William Shakespeare, Jane Austen (although I hate her so very much), J.R.R. Tolkien, and the many others that I just didn’t feel like shoehorning into this list. Their contributions to the literary world, although I’ve only heard of such through movies, TV, and other more visual media, should not go unnoticed!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
This recipe comes from my old friends at The Drunken Moogle, who nailed this cocktail inspired by the current Sherlock BBC Series, which is of course inspired by the original Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stories about the sleuth. I used regular Orange Bitters, rather than the Blood Orange variety the drink calls for because I had it on hand. I really enjoyed the flavours and blend provided by this cocktail and was pleasantly surprised by the use of Sherry.

November 16 – Scooby Snack

Treat Time

Today, we take a look at fictional snacks in TV and movies… but not just any fictional snacks… no, fictional snacks that have since gone on to become real, buyable products. The world is truly a wonderful place!

Scooby Snacks – Scooby Doo

How someone turned a fictional puppy edible into fruit snacks and cookies geared towards kids is an act of pure genius. There are also dog treats that go by the same name, so be careful when buying the product for your young’uns. I have to say that I really hate the Scooby Snack song, as it plays in my head every time I think about Scooby Doo (which is far too often for a 30-year-old) and once again, the tune is stuck in my brain… must move on.

Scooby Snacks

Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans – Harry Potter

When this company says they have “every” flavour, they mean it. The line includes tastes of earwax, rotten egg, vomit, dirt, and sausage mixed in with your normal fare: watermelon, cherry, blueberry, banana, and green apple. This listing kind of sounds like a Survivor Series wrestling match, with the five dastardly baddies taking on the good and pure for taste supremacy. I think you’d have to be a Harry Potter super fan to pick up a pack of these jelly beans.

Stay Puft Marshmallows – Ghostbusters

Most people think fondly of the iconic scene in Ghostbusters where the team of Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz, Egon Spengler and Winston Zeddemore battle the mammoth Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Their reward for protoning the literal tub of goo was to be covered with the white sticky substance (don’t get any ideas) he was made of. It’s too bad they didn’t next face a chocolate-based monster and finally a graham-cracker encrusted foe to complete the smores trio!

Cheesy Poofs – South Park

Eric Cartman’s favourite snack treat is an actual product, released to tie-in with the series’ 15th anniversary. While I’m not a fan of eating cheese, I have on occasion enjoyed cheese-powdered snacks like Doritos and Cheetos. The product, which is thought to have originated in Canada (according to the show) is so beloved by Cartman that he even auditioned to be the face of the advertising campaign, but had his song largely cut from commercials.

Willy Wonka Products – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

This fine collection of Wonka products includes Gobstoppers, Nerds, Laffy Taffy, Pixy Stix, Fun Dip, Runts, Sweet Tarts, Shockers, and so much more. I keep hoping the company will eventually open a factory, complete with Oompa-Loompas, a chocolate river, and the chance to be taught a valuable lesson on how to behave! So long as they don’t include that trippy, psychedelic boat-trip tunnel scene that include some pretty haunting imagery.

Krusty-O’s – The Simpson

While this item could be considered part of a balanced breakfast, let’s be honest, it’s more frosted snack than healthy meal. Yes, the same cereal that gave away a jagged metal Krusty-O, which nearly killed Bart Simpson, was released to the public as part of a tie-in with The Simpsons Movie in 2007. 7-11 stores that were temporarily branded as Kwik-E-Marts to go along with the promotion were largely where the cereal could be located.

Drink #320: Scooby Snack

Scooby Snack Shooter

  • 0.3 oz Coconut Rum
  • 0.3 oz Crème de Banane
  • 0.3 oz Midori
  • Splash of Pineapple Juice
  • Garnish with Whip Cream

Which fictional product would you love to be able to consume? For myself, I’d have to pick Sweetums NutriYums (Parks and Recreation), Smurfberries (The Smurfs), and Cornballs (Arrested Development). Put them together and you’ll have yourself one hell of a feast!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (5 Sips out of 5):
Wow… that’s all I can really say about this shot. It is the first shooter to receive a 5-Sip rating and it’s hard to really describe how good it is. First, you’re hit with the Whip Cream, before the Crème de Banane, Melon Liqueur, Coconut Rum, and Pineapple Juice come in the finish the flavour party. It all goes down so smooth and tastes so delicious. There are four variations of the Scooby Snack, but each follows a general pattern. I’ve provided the recipe for the original. Now I understand why Scooby was so willing to put himself in danger after a little treat!

April 26 – Jet Black

Rule Britannia

I originally wanted to look at my favourite Britonians… until I realized how many of them I like. So not wanting to bog you, my little sippers, down in an essay of British love, I broke all my beloveds down into a few easy to discern categories. Now let’s do some light reading before some heavy drinking!

The Comedians – Benny Hill, Sacha Baron Cohen, Ricky Gervais, Little Britain Troupe

Benny Hill is a legend, while my other three selections are embarking on careers, hoping to reach the level of fame and success Hill was able to achieve. Thanks to all his wild characters and different accents, I didn’t even know Baron Cohen was British until researching for this post.

British Humour

The Characters – Sherlock Holmes, Mr. Bean, James Bond, Harry Potter

These are some of my favourites – minus Harry Potter, who I only threw in to appease all the readers. You have the intellect of Holmes, the debonair style of Bond, and the wackiness of Bean. That would make one interesting love child.

The Shows – Are You Being Served?, Keeping Up Appearances, Fawlty Towers, My Family

The British have a very unique style of humour. It’s dry and witty and not as in-your-face as  most North American fare. Some of England’s older shows are absolute classics. Although I didn’t include any in the above selections, the Brits also know how to make a great crime drama.

The Music – The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie

Wow, we might as well be discussing a ranking of my favourite bands. While it may kill Papa Sip for me to write this, on my list, the number one slot goes to Led Zeppelin, with The Beatles coming in at a very close second.

Led Zeppelin

The Actors – Hugh Laurie, Vinnie Jones, Michael Caine

Well, my three candidates may be quite the mish-mash of English nobility. My preferred role for each, you ask? Hugh Laurie has to be House, Michael Caine is good in so much, but I thought he made a terrific Alfred in the new Batman trilogy and Vinnie Jones was great as the marble-mouthed hooligan in Euro Trip!

The Actresses – Keira Knightley, Emma Watson

These are two delicious young ladies that are known to light up the screen. Knightley was a knockout in the Pirates of the Caribbean series and Watson, once she was of legal age, became a sexy starlet in her own right.

The Dames – Judi Dench, Helen Mirren, Dame Edna

The equivalent to being knighted for a man, these women (and dude in the case of Edna!) have great acting chops. I kind of wish I could be knighted, or that Mrs. Sip could be made a dame. We just don’t have cool things like that on this side of the pond.

Dame Edna

The Athletes – Wayne Rooney, David Beckham, The British Bulldog

As a Manchester United fan, I definitely have to give a nod to the likes of Rooney and Beckham, but The British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith also earns mention as one of my earliest favourite wrestlers. Smith was one of the most popular and accomplished English wrestlers, winning numerous championships around the world.

The Celebrities – The Royal Family (especially Kate and sister), Gordon Ramsay, Richard Branson

I’m almost certain the paparazzi phenomenon must have started in the U.K. with Royal Family gawkers. They’re alright, I guess, but give me a meal from Gordon Ramsay and an adventure with Richard Branson any day!

Drink #116: Jet Black

Jet Black Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Gin
  • 2 tsp Sweet Vermouth
  • 1 tsp Sambuca
  • Garnish with Lemon Twist

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
This drink was a little pedestrian. The ingredients mixed together well enough, but it wasn’t anything to write home about. And when you’re doing a blog about cocktails, that’s a major issue. I guess I just expected a little more from the drink and was let down.