October 18 – Ghostbuster

Specter Spooks

With the haunting season just getting underway (although Halloween candy was already on sale during the summer), the Sip Advisor figured it was as good a time as any to delve into the paranormal world. There are so many great ghosts out there that I decided to split the list between animated and humanoid (aka live action) ghouls. This week, we go cartoon ghost hunting. I hope you join me because I’m already a little scared!

#5: The Boo Brothers – Scooby Doo Meets the Boo Brothers

I love these three broskis, who are like the departed spirits of the Three Stooges. Instead of Larry, Curly, and Moe, you have Meako, Shreako, and Freako, a trio of ghost hunters, who just happen to be spirits themselves. The only thing bringing their rank down a little is the fact they only appear in one Scooby Doo movie, but it is my favourite of all Scooby adventures. This tale sees Shaggy, Scooby, and Scrappy Doo travel to the estate of Colonel Beauregard, Shaggy’s deceased uncle, who has left everything to his nephew. While there, the gang has to search for the family jewels while solving the mystery of who is haunting the home.

The Boo Brothers

#4: Boo – Super Mario Bros.

I always liked the creativity that went into the Super Mario Bros. ghost house levels. Avoiding the creepy little apparitions that only follow you when your back is turned added a whole new element of gameplay. There is also the massive King Boo, leader of all Boos, who you have to contend with from time to time. Boo became such a popular character that he joined the gang for their go-karting and board game adventures. His laugh when selected or after doing something naughty to another player is one of the best elements to choosing the spirited one.

#3: Slimer – Ghostbusters

This gelatinous blob is pretty disgusting when he makes his very first appearance in the halls of the Sedgewick Hotel, devouring a guest’s leftover room service, before sliming Ray Stantz and covering him with green goop (otherwise known as ectoplasm). Slimer really came into his own during the Ghostbusters cartoon, assisting the team in their escapades. Some quick trivia: Slimer was actually voiced by Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman in the movies, and Dan Aykroyd referred to Slimer as the ghost of his good friend John Belushi, who was slated to star in the film before his death. Slimer was so popular, he even had his own toothpaste product released.

Slimer

#2: Grimm Grinning Ghosts – Haunted Mansion

Delighting and spooking guests since 1969, the Grimm Grinning Ghosts of the Disney theme parks Haunted Mansion attractions are among numerous characters featured on the revolutionary ride. There is rumoured to be 999 happy haunts in each Haunted Mansion and they’re always looking for one more soul to join their party. Sometimes, a hitchhiking ghost may even hop into your doom buggy right before exiting the ride, so beware! Each park’s Haunted Mansion is themed differently and has its own unique storyline, with most characters seeming to have their own backstory. Guests are known to each have their own favourite.

#1: Casper – Casper the Friendly Ghost

He may be the ‘Friendly Ghost,’ but methinks there’s a dark side to the little guy. No one is “that” friendly without wanting something in return… just ask Mrs. Sip about my behaviour. Anyhoo, I love the parallel The Simpsons made comparing Casper to Richie Rich and wondering if the two were the same. That’s the kind of stuff that blows your mind and keeps you awake at night. Casper is sometimes tormented by his three uncles, the Ghostly Trio of Stretch, Stinky, and Fatso (although their names have varied over time), but Casper seems to have a good handle on things… until his much-rumoured inner darkness in unleashed!

Super Saturday Shot Day: Ghostbuster

Ghostbuster Shot

  • 0.5 oz Amarula Cream
  • 0.5 oz Kahlua
  • Dropped into glass of:
  • 1 oz Crown Royal Whiskey
  • Top with Cola

I have to say that I also love the use of ghosts in South Park, including Eric Cartman (thinking he had died from eating KFC and was stuck in limbo), Biggie Smalls, Edgar Allan Poe, and the host of recently deceased (at the time) personalities to appear in the episode Dead Celebrities. South Park… making death fun!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
It’s been a while since I did a drop shot drink and this one sounded pretty interesting. I envisioned an almost root beer float type effect occurring as everything mixed together, but that didn’t necessarily happen. The taste was decent, though and it looked cool watching everything meld.

December 18 – Holiday Hopper

Christmas Vacation

I prefer to spend Christmas at home with family and friends, but that’s not for everyone. Some like to get out and see the world, leaving the comforts of familiarity far behind. If that sounds like you, here are some of the best places to travel to for Christmas joy!

Leavenworth, Washington

This quaint little Bavarian-themed town is great to visit at all times of the year, but it particularly comes alive at Christmas, beginning with its annual lighting festival. The Family Sip spent a few Christmases in Leavenworth when the Sip Advisor was a wee little sipper. We enjoyed many hours playing in the snow, going cross country skiing, and causing a general ruckus in the hotel halls. It’s hard to not be in the full Christmas spirit when you’re so surrounded by it.

leavenworth-lighting

New York, New York

One would probably start by visiting Rockefeller Center for outdoor ice skating and ogling the giant Christmas tree placed in the center of the plaza, but I for one would try to relive Kevin McCallister’s adventures from Home Alone 2: Lost in New York… especially if I can convince a couple cons to provide me with willing Wet Bandits impersonators! For Pa Sip, there’s also the Holiday Train Show, featuring numerous model trains rumbling through an intricate New York landscape.

Lapland, Finland

Home to Santa Claus Village and Santa Park and located near the Arctic Circle, this area has long been considered Santa Claus’ base of operations, where reindeer and polar bears (of the Coca-Cola swilling variety) can be found inhabiting the region. It’s here that you can get a photo with one of the most legit looking Santa’s I’ve ever seen… perhaps he is the real thing. Whoa, mind blown, I’m off to Lapland!

Disney Theme Parks

You never need a specific reason to go to a Disney park, but seeing the resorts at Christmas is a must at some point in every person’s life. I love how rides like the Haunted Mansion and It’s a Small World are updated for the holiday season and the park’s Christmas Parade and Christmas Fireworks Extravaganza are spectacles that should be witnessed. Add to that all the Christmas treats, merchandise, lights, costumes, and everything else and it’s a holiday overload… in a good way!

Christmas-at-Disney

Bethlehem, Israel

Birthplace of Jesus Christ and home to the nativity scene, thousands make pilgrimages to Bethlehem each year to celebrate the holiday where its roots stem from. The Church of the Nativity sits upon the spot where Jesus is said to have been born (a silver star within the church marks the exact location of Jesus’ birth) and empties out into Manger Square. Numerous religious events take place around the Christmas holiday and regardless of your denomination, you can celebrate at some point in the area.

Reykjavik, Iceland

With its proximity to the North Pole, this may be the closest you ever come to Santa’s workshop. In fact, just outside the Icelandic capital is The Christmas Village, which offers everything from live musical performances to shopping opportunities to the Yuletide Lads (not one or two, but 13 Santa’s). Apparently their ‘mother’ can also be found nearby, but can you imagine the hardships she’s gone through raising 13 boys who are all unemployed and want to hand around children all day?

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Dubbed ‘The Christmas City‘ this place has taken celebrating the holiday season to new heights. They even have a live advent calendar, where each day, a different shopkeeper comes out the Goundie House door with treats for those attending. Christkindlmarkt is molded after the traditional European winter market and offers visitors the chance to buy arts and crafts and food. It doesn’t say anything about booze, but you hope that’s there too. I mean, you really, really, really hope they have that, as well!

Drink #352: Holiday Hopper

Holiday Hopper Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Melon Liqueur
  • 0.5 oz Crème de Menthe
  • 0.5 oz Crème de Cacao
  • Top with Milk
  • Garnish with Mint Leaf and Chocolate

After researching for this list, it’s clear that there aren’t many places that would be bad to spend Christmas. Perhaps war-torn areas and such should be avoided, but so many cities have something to offer for those looking to get away for the holidays.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
This is one of those drinks that really surprises you. Given my aversion to Crème de Menthe, I can never really trust it, especially when it’s expected to play nice with other more normal ingredients like Melon Liqueur. Here, they all come together for a wonderful and enjoyable taste, perfect for a dessert beverage.

October 25 – Candy Corn

Rest in Peace

Most people aren’t very comfortable going through cemeteries and you can count the Sip Advisor as one of those folk. That said, there are some really beautiful and unique graveyards out there. Here are some from the around the world, that have to be seen to be believed:

Merry Cemetery – Sapanta, Romania

Each person’s tombstone is marked with art that depicts that person or a memorable scene from their life, with the images joined by poetry to tell the story of the piece. Elements of humour are often found in the prose, as the local culture believes that death is a moment of joy with a better life to come. The Merry Cemetery has become a national tourist attraction.

merry-cemetery

Cementerio General – Santiago, Chile

Over two millions people have been interred at the Cementerio General. Every day people neighbour the plot space taken up by former presidents and other nobles of the country. The largest cemetery in South America features tombs piled on top of each other in rows that seem to stretch forever. This final resting place is decorated extensively with flowers and other mementos.

Père-Lachaise – Paris, France

Home to the remains of musician Jim Morrison (which causes rock music to often bellow through the cemetery) and writer Oscar Wilde (fans leave lipstick kisses on his tomb), among others, Père-Lachaise features numerous statues and winding streets lined with crypts. Joggers even use the sight for their daily exercise routine.

Pere-Lachaise

Forest Lawn – Los Angeles, California

Resting place for some of the world’s greatest stars, this site is located on the Hollywood Hills and overlooks some of the city’s studios below. Before it was home to famous corpses, it was the setting for D.W. Griffith’s climactic battle scenes in ‘The Birth of a Nation’. The place has been described as a “theme-park necropolis” thanks to all the dignitaries laid to rest there.

Waverley Cemetery – Sydney, Australia

Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, this cemetery has a wonderful view for those visiting or even interred at the site. The graves of many of the folks who shaped the country of Australia are located in Waverley Cemetery, as well as over 200 sites for casualties of war.

Waverley-Cemetery

Lone Fir Cemetery – Portland, Oregon

This cemetery allows families to plant trees and flowers near the burial spots of their loved ones, causing Lone Fir to become a community garden of sorts as a result. Many of the Chinese immigrants who helped build the city of Portland are interred here. The Pioneer Rose Garden is also part of the property.

Haunted Mansion – Disney Parks

It’s always a treat to go through the cemetery area of the Haunted Mansion queues and read the clever passages on the tombstones. These markers are more than just entertainment for guests, though. They honour some of the notable members of the Disney organization. For example, Leota Tombs has a plot here. She was the inspiration for Madame Leota on the ride.

Drink #298: Candy Corn

Oct 25

  • Rim glass with Crushed Candy Corn
  • 1.5 oz Cupcake Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Amaretto
  • Top with half Orange Juice and half Milk
  • Splash of Club Soda

Perhaps after researching all these interesting graveyards, I won’t feel so apprehensive anymore while visiting or even seeing a cemetery… or perhaps everything will remain unchanged!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
Setting up the Candy Corn rim on this drink was a complete pain in the ass, as pieces kept on disintegrating and not behaving as I had hoped. That said, the cocktail actually tastes like Candy Corn… and I should know. I stupidly ate every single piece that fell apart, so now I’m an expert on what that particular treat tastes like. If I ever see a piece of Candy Corn again, it will be too soon!