Sip Trips #9 – Home Cooking

With Mrs. Sip out of town again this weekend – I know, I really have to rein that girl in! – the Sip Advisor spent his time out in the ‘burbs with the fam. While this article may not be as wild as a summary of Mrs. Sip’s trip to Las Vegas with the gals, I still made sure to get up to some fun!

It may not be booze related, per se, but I finally got around to trying the new McDonald’s CBO (Chicken, Bacon, Onion) on Friday and I have to say that I was impressed with the sandwich. I’ve really been into crispy onions – whether in ring or straw form – lately, and you can’t go wrong with bacon and chicken. I fully endorse the burger and advise anyone out there interested, to try this item before it’s gone.

McDonald's Classy

Saturday saw the Sip Advisor help Pa Sip with his construction of a new pool shed. My role was mixing the concrete and my experience behind the bar came in handy. We were basically throwing together one part concrete mix, with three parts navijack, topping with water, and garnishing with a trowel!

To reward me for my assistance, Ma Sip picked me up a pack of the Four Winds IPA, which was a nice treat for all my hard work. I also took the opportunity to open up my parent’s bottle of Rhubarb Tea Liqueur, for a future Flavour Revolution post.

On Sunday, we made our way to the Dublin Crossing Irish Pub in Cloverdale for a family event. Given the legend that I am, I decided to take advantage of their Sunday Caesar special (a double, of course!), as well as picking up a pint of their Hop City Barking Squirrel Lager. Dinner is always better with a few new friends!

Sober Decisions

Next up, Ma and Pa Sip decided to visit yours truly during the week, and we took our appetites to Jimmy’s Taphouse, which has long been one of the Sip Advisor’s favourite local watering holes. The poutine here is to die for and with great happy hour specials; it can be had for half price, every day of the week.

Over the course of dinner, I enjoyed both a pint of Phillip’s Blue Buck Ale and Hoyne’s Dark Matter. Talk about some serious great contributions from Victoria! Blue Buck is a solid beer, while the Dark Matter is a great starting point if you’re interested in getting into dark beers.

With Mrs. Sip’s return home, came the return of some duty free alcohol – like Christmas in… what month is it? Anyhoo, Mrs. Sip grabbed me bottles of Hendrick’s Gin and Appleton Rum, both of which are favourites in the Sip Advisor’s bar cabinet and were running low. Isn’t she so awesome!

December 3 – Chocolate Peppermintini

Christmas Classics

Especially given it’s the winter months and the weather outside is frightful, it’s nice to snuggle up and watch a bevy of classic Christmas films. What should you include in your movie marathon? Ask and you shall receive. Here are my favourite Christmas flicks!

It’s a Wonderful Life

I absolutely adore this classic. And when you think about it, many of us might have never viewed the tale that has been copied and parodied so many times. It was never intended to be a “Christmas movie”, but that’s what it became. Jimmy Stewart is amazing throughout the movie (no surprise there, as the dude is actually an American hero) and his portrayal of George Bailey, who is too often in the wrong place at the wrong time, is one of the most treasured characters in cinema history.

Elf

The story of Buddy the Elf (Will Ferrell at his usual level of crazy!) searching out his father and integrating into the fast-paced world of New York City is a fun movie to get into the swing of things during the holidays. Buddy has to work hard to get the hardened folks of New York City, as well as the rest of the world to find their Christmas spirit, which powers Santa’s sleigh, of course. The film, which has material both kids and parents alike can enjoy, has even led to a Broadway musical.

Bad Santa

If you’ve been following this site for any period of time, you knew that a raunchier film was going to come up at some point… here it is! Billy Bob Thornton plays Willie T. Stokes, an alcoholic womanizer who roams from town to town as a mall Santa, staking out his place of occupation in order to rob the store before moving on to the next score. Things are different this time when he falls for a woman and a loner kid and decides to eventually change his ways.

A Christmas Carol/Scrooge

It’s hard to pick a version that is best to view, but my favourites include The Muppet version (no surprise there) and probably the edition with Alastair Sim playing the cranky curmudgeon. Like It’s a Wonderful Life, this is another Christmas tale that has been parodied constantly, as Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future, warning him that if he doesn’t change his ways, many will be affected and no one will care when his time on the earth is done.

Scrooge

Home Alone

While I’d caution folks who wish to view any of the movies past Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, the first two entries are cinematic gems. As a kid, you only wanted to see the last segments of the films, where plucky Kevin McCallister sends burglars Harry and Marv (The Wet Bandits) through his nightmarish house of horrors, but with age and wisdom, I’ve come to realize the movies are much more than that. They include a lot of wonderful Christmas imagery and are perfect holiday romps.

A Christmas Story

This movie is a family favourite around the Sip Advisor offices. The story sees young Ralphie embark on a quest to receive a Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas. He runs into obstacles at every corner from his teacher giving him a poor grade on his essay on what he wants for Christmas to Santa Claus himself (a mall Santa that is) telling him he’ll shoot his eye out… and he nearly does in the end. TV network TBS has been known to broadcast the movie in a 24-hour cycle on Christmas day, so if you haven’t seen it yet, shame on you!

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

What a treasure this movie is. From Cousin Eddie’s antics to the misadventures of the hapless Clark Griswold, there are so many laughs in this film. Clark is looking to provide his family the perfect Christmas experience, much like the ones he enjoyed as a youngster. That all goes awry as the holiday becomes more of a nightmare with each incident, underscored by Clark’s uncertainty of whether his Christmas bonus will arrive and allow him to build a swimming pool for his clan.

shitter-was-full

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Some people crap on this flick, but I think it’s quite enjoyable. Thanks to the longer running time, not afforded to the cartoon special classic, we get a better understanding of why the Grinch hates Christmas and all the Who’s down in Whoville. Jim Carrey was the perfect choice to play the ‘mean one’ whose heart grew three times that day. This movie ushered in the chain of Dr. Suess stories to be adapted for feature films; some good, some bad… this is one of the good ones.

Die Hard & Die Hard 2: Die Harder

I’m a little disappointed that this series abandoned the Christmas time setting after the first two releases. This is for the action fan out there that wants only a sprinkle of the Christmas spirit in their movies. The first film begins with an office Christmas party that is invaded by terrorists while the sequel is set in an airport, as hero John McClane is waiting for his wife to arrive home for the holidays. Both movies are filled with shootouts, creative kills, and catchphrases galore!

Love, Actually

If you’re looking for a little more romance with your Christmas movie fare, give this film a try. It’s one of those “separate stories that all come together at the end” ensemble cast dealies, but it’s very good… even if Hugh Grant is a featured actor… a Prime Minister, no less. Set in Britain during the lead up to Christmas, the film sets out to prove that “Love, actually is all around us” and they hit the nail on the head through the interweaving narratives.

Drink #337: Chocolate Peppermintini

Chocolate Pepperminti Drink Recipe

  • Rim glass with Christmas Sprinkles
  • 1.5 oz Vodka (I used Smores)
  • 1 oz Peppermint Schnapps
  • 0.5 oz Crème de Cacao
  • 0.5 oz Chocolate Liqueur
  • Top with Milk

What are your favourite Christmas movie viewings? I’m always looking to add to my annual “To Watch” list, so send those ideas in!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
While not a bad drink, Mrs. Sip didn’t like how sweet it was. I enjoyed its booziness and flavours (I mean, who doesn’t like chocolate and mint together!), although using the Smores Vodka might have altered the taste and a plain Vodka may have been bettered suited for the recipe.