Flavour Revolution – Apricot

Cautious Cuisine

Despite the deliciousness, popularity, and versatility of apricots, it should be noted that the fruit’s pits (or kernels) are actually poisonous and can produce a form of cyanide. Here are some other foods that are alarmingly poisonous and potentially dangerous to your health:

Mushrooms

This one is too easy… I mean, come on, it’s defined as a fungus. That said, mushrooms can be many things, from delicious to deadly, healing to hallucinogenic. With regards to poisonous mushrooms, flat caps are a huge giveaway and toxic shrooms come with names such as death caps, destroying angels and dapperlings. Scarily, it is feared that many European mushrooms may be contaminated thanks to the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

chances-with-mushroom

Nuts – Almonds, Cashews, Peanuts

Sure, many folks out there have severe allergies to nuts, particularly peanuts, but other types, when eaten raw, can be dangerous. Raw almonds, also known as bitter almonds, contain cyanide and can be fatal when consumed in large doses. Regardless, they are still sold in some stores, with risk being handed over to the customer to decide how cautious they want to be. Other countries have outright banned the nuts from being available.

Fruit – Apples, Cherries, Tomatoes

The seeds in apples and pits in cherry, contain cyanide. Cherries have resulted in other deaths non-edible deaths. Lucullus, a Roman general, committed suicide in 56BC, upon learning that he was running out of cherries, a crop he had introduced to Europe years before. Tomatoes were once thought to be poisonous by Europeans who didn’t trust the delicious fruit. It took some time for those fears to dissipate and now there’s only the odd salmonella outbreak.

Tuna

The issue with tuna, other than the facts that it smells horrible and doesn’t taste that great either (yes, this is solely according to the Sip Advisor), is that levels of mercury absorbed by the fish before it is caught and killed can be passed on to the consumer. This has given me pause for thought about how much the Sip Family kitties love getting served tuna water. Man, they love that stuff and go nuts whenever the can opener is used!

just-add-tuna

Potatoes

Potatoes are such an integral part of people’s diets that it’s a little scary how dangerous, albeit rare, their consumption can be. My first thought was that someone from the popcorn lobby made this accusation up to spoil the potato chip industry, but I have since learned the charges are true. Basically, what you have to watch out for is when a potato turns green, which if eaten, can result in weakness, coma, and even death.

Blowfish

Consuming blowfish (fugu) can be like playing a round of Russian roulette.  Unless prepared to perfection, it can be very poisonous. As a result, the emperor of Japan is barred from eating the fish, despite it being a cultural delicacy. One famous incident involved kabuki actor Bandō Mitsugorō VIII, who believed he could tolerate the poison… he was wrong. There is also an episode of The Simpsons where Homer eats Fugu and is told he only has 24 hours to live.

Flavour Revolution: Virgin’s Kiss

  • 1.25 oz Dark Rum
  • 0.5 oz Apricot Brandy
  • 0.5 oz Galliano
  • Top with Pineapple Juice
  • Splash of Sour Mix
  • Garnish with an Apricot Slice

This list could also include rhubarb, elderberry, raw meat and eggs, and even underprepared honey. I’ll stick to my artery-clogging potato chips , thank you very much, which will only get me in the long run!

Flavour Revolution – Banana

Fave Foods

Bananas are making a huge comeback – in fact, they may have never been so popular – thanks to the Minions and their fondness for the tropical fruit… heck, “banana” is one of the few words that can be understood from the Minionese language. Despite all the wonderful food out there, some characters have favourites, preferring one item over anything else. Here are some of the finest examples:

Cookies – Cookie Monster

Thank the lord above that this character wasn’t created nowadays or he might have been Fruit-in-Yogurt Monster or something ridiculous like that. As a proud and certified member of the Cookie Monster club, I fully endorse the high pursuit of cookie happiness. While the Sip Advisor has his favourite cookie options, Cookie Monster is not picky in the slightest. Every treat is perfect for the occasion.

Lasagna – Garfield

While this kitty isn’t adverse to any food, lasagna is by far his favourite. This is based on the fact that creator Jim Davis is also a lasagna lover, saying fans come up to him often saying their cats eat the Italian dish. The thought of any cat I’ve ever had enjoying pasta noodles just doesn’t jive, but Garfield is in it for the meat and cheese (kind of sounds like Mrs. Sip!).

Pizza – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Mostly all teens love pizza and that’s no different with these heroes in a half shell, who manage to get their hands on the meal, despite living in the sewers beneath New York City. What took the Turtles enjoyment of pizza to a whole other level was the wacky combinations they ordered, such as granola and licorice, peanut butter and clams, and coconut and sweet pickle.

Donuts – Homer Simpson

If there’s one thing Homer Simpson loves more than beer and even pork chops, it’s donuts. So much so, that one element of currency in the game The Simpsons: Tapped Out, is the dessert treat. Donuts have played a role in many of Homer’s adventures, most notably, the selling of his soul for a tasty pastry… to a devil Ned Flanders, of all people!

Homer Donut

Honey – Winnie the Pooh

The lengths, to which Winnie the Pooh will go, in the pursuit of honey (or ‘hunny’ as it’s known in the Hundred Acre Wood), are pretty remarkable. This loveable, seemingly always hungry bear has a habit of getting his head caught in a honey pot, but it’s totally worth it for a smackeral of the good stuff. There’s even a song, penned by Pooh, which is basically all about honey love!

Tater Tots – Napoleon Dynamite

The only thing that gets Napoleon Dynamite through a tough day of school (or at his dysfunctional home, for that matter) is the promise of tater tots from the school cafeteria. The teen always seems to have the side dish on him, often stuffed in his pockets for later enjoyment. He also doesn’t hesitate to snatch his friend’s tater tots, if the opportunity arises.

Marmalade – Paddington Bear

Much like his carnivorous counterpart, Winnie the Pooh, Paddington Bear has a weakness for a toast accompaniment. In Paddington’s case, it is a fondness for marmalade. In 2007, Paddington tried “something different” with Marmite sandwiches, but he will always be a marmalade bear. If we’re talking preserves, the Sip Advisor is more of a raspberry jam fan, but whateves!

Flavour Revolution: Monkey Business

  • Muddle Cardamom Pods
  • 1.5 oz Bourbon
  • 1 oz Bols Banana Liqueur
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Garnish with Cardamom Pods

Some honourable mentions include Monterrey Jack (Rescue Rangers) and his crazed obsession with cheese; Bugs Bunny (Looney Tunes) and his penchant for chomping on a carrot every time he’s foiled an antagonist; and Popeye, who without spinach, would have absolutely no chance against the dastardly Bluto, in his pursuit of Olive Oil. I can’t help but notice that many of my favourite characters ever comprise this list. When you add the Sip Advisor as a bona fide potato chip connoisseur, the article is complete!

March 28 – DDT

Going to the Hall

Well, it’s WrestleMania season once again and that means a new induction class into the World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Fame. While the figurative “hall” has grown immensely over the last decade, there are some big time names that are shockingly still absent from what has been long-rumoured will someday be a physical structure. Here are the top five superstars that should be in the WWE Hall of Fame:

#5: John Bradshaw Layfield

Layfield worked his way up the roster from glorified jobber to tag team specialist to World Champion. When he first entered the company, he was saddled with the gimmick of a wild mountain man. From there, he became a rough and tumble cowboy, a brainwashed disciple of the Undertaker and a bar room brawler who could be hired for protection. Layfield was launched into the main event scene as JBL, a character similar to oil tycoon J.R. Ewing from the TV show Dallas. Under this persona, Layfield finally won a World Championship, a distinction even he thought was never going to happen in his career. Now a color commentator, Layfield has seamlessly transitioned from the ring to the announcer’s table and his time will certainly come for enshrinement.

JBL

#4: Chyna

The ‘9th Wonder of the World’ was an integral member of the Attitude Era and became a role model for women, as she was able to compete with the men, becoming the first female to hold an top-level championship when she won the Intercontinental Title and competed in numerous intergender bouts. Unfortunately, outside of the ring, Chyna (real name Joanie Laurer) split from her boyfriend Triple H (real name Paul Levesque) as the millennium changed and he went on to marry Stephanie McMahon, daughter of WWE Chairman Vince McMahon. She wasn’t part of the company much longer after that. Chyna has done some work in the adult industry and with WWE’s return to a PG-13 rating and kid friendly programming, those two worlds don’t gel too well together.

#3: Jim Johnston

Many of you reading this are probably asking: “Who the hell is Jim Johnston?” While he’s not a household name, he should be and anyone who has ever followed professional wrestling knows his work better than they think. Johnston has been creating the music that accompanies superstars to the ring for three decades. His most famous compositions include theme songs for ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, The Undertaker, The Rock, D-Generation X, the Ultimate Warrior, and so many others. Compilation records released of Johnston’s work have garnered huge sales, some of the 17 albums hitting gold and platinum levels. Johnston now works for WWE’s film division, putting together scores for the company’s movie releases.

#2: Paul Heyman

While his greatest contribution to the wrestling business was as a competitor to WWE, as owner of Extreme Championship Wrestling, he has also enjoyed a noteworthy career with his one-time adversary, in the roles of an on-screen character and off-screen member of the creative team. Heyman is one of the greatest minds in the wrestling business, as proven with the way he changed the landscape of the industry with his revolutionary ECW promotion. The man, once known as Paul E. Dangerously, is also one of the best talkers of all-time and any time he has a microphone in hand, people take notice. While Heyman’s career has not concluded, managers and behind-the-scenes folks are in a different category, compared to active wrestlers and it’s time to see Heyman get his due.

#1: Owen Hart

While professional wrestling is more performance than sport, grapplers still make huge sacrifices to their bodies in the name of entertainment. Hell, Owen Hart literally gave his life for wrestling, tragically dying in an entrance stunt gone wrong. The youngest of the legendary Hart family should be recognized for his stellar career, including multiple championship reigns, but litigation between Owen’s widow Martha and WWE will likely kibosh any chance that he makes it into the Hall of Fame. That’s incredibly sad, as Owen was a gifted entertainer who was able to shed the shadow of his renowned wrestling lineage and create a path for himself as a star technician, devoted family man, and infamous practical jokester.

Super Saturday Shot Day: DDT

DDT Shot

  • Rim glass with Honey and Cinnamon Sugar
  • 0.5 oz Honey Whiskey
  • 0.5 oz Cinnamon Whisky
  • Dash of Tabasco Sauce

I left off sure-fire Hall of Famers who are still semi-active with WWE, including the Undertaker, Kane, Triple H, Chris Jericho, and others. I also didn’t give much thought to those without padded WWE resumes. Although the company has inducted some with little association to the company, they just wouldn’t be able to crack the top five presented here. In closing, I have to say that it’s about damn time that ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage was enshrined in this year’s class.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
The DDT, of course, is the finishing move made popular by WWE Hall of Fame member, Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts… you know, as well as being the infamous insecticide chemical! This shot was kind of neat, with the sweet Honey Whiskey coming through first, followed by the warmth of the Cinnamon Whiskey, and finally the burn of the Tabasco Sauce. It all makes for a cool (or hot) little shooter!

Flavour Revolution – Honey

Terms of Endearment

The term ‘honey’, given to a loved one, has been documented to have existed all the way back in the 14th century. It is something I have often called Mrs. Sip, who is as sweet as they come! Let’s take a look at some other terms, from around the world, that just don’t measure up:

Petit Chou – Little Cabbage (French)

Cabbage smells funny when cooked and is a food that many just can’t wrap their heads around taste wise. You would also never think that cabbage is cute or even remotely attractive in any way. I think if I ever handed this term out to Mrs. Sip, she would make a quick trip to the shower and I’d be setting up shop on the couch for an indeterminate stay…

Cabbages

Tamago Gata No Kao – Egg with Eyes (Japanese)

In all technicality, aren’t we all “eggs with eyes”!? The scary part is, for a culture that has such other oddities going on, as tentacle porn and panties in vending machines, things could have turned out worse, especially given what the Japanese are willing to eat, in the sushi realm. All I can envision when I see this term is some weird anime character with an oddly sweet voice.

Ma Puce – My Flea (French)

The French make this list a second time, which should be a solid indictment against their language, as a whole!  I’m sure your partner would love to hear that you think of them as a blood-sucking parasite that causes you to feel itchy and uncomfortable. I wouldn’t even use this term on a child. If animals hate fleas so much, why in the world would I like them!?

Self Cleaning Cat

Chang Noi – Little Elephant (Thai)

The one saving grace here is that the term is “little elephant” and not a plain old elephant. That said, little elephants still weigh in at an average of 200 pounds at birth and grow steadily from that point. I can only imagine the thrashing any male Thai nationals received upon using this term in other locales, from women who had no interest in being compared to a baby pachyderm!

Chen Yu Luo Yan – Diving Fish Swooping Geese (Chinese)

I’m not even sure where to begin with this term and how to really break it down. Given the two terms that are being combined, I can only assume that this term of endearment would be handed out to someone who was skilled at oral sex. You know, with all the “going down” in dives and swoops. Of the five terms I’ve chosen to deride, this may be the most flattering.

Flavour Revolution: Tennessee Honey Hole

Tennessee Honey Hole Cocktail

Given I’ve taken a shot at some terms of endearment, I feel I should reveal a couple of mine, that little sippers can ridicule if they choose. I often call Mrs. Sip “Pookie,” based off of Garfield the Cat’s stuffed animal. Have at it, but I will never stop, as I’m sure anyone who uses the above terms has no intention of changing their game!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
Well, this cocktail sounds a little dirty, but I guess it kind of goes along with the subject matter of today’s article. The drink was pretty good, with peach pulp coming through the straw with every sip. The peaches I used weren’t as flavourful as I would have hoped for, but the Jack Daniel’s and Ginger Ale made up for it.

Guyana – Hart of Darkness

Cult Following

While we happily looked at the legendary city of El Dorado after arriving in Guyana on this worldwide tour, today we take a somber twist and discuss the Jonestown Massacre, an event which brought the most international attention to Guyana, following the mass suicide/murder of 909 Peoples Temple cult members:

First, let’s get some background on these folks. The Peoples Temple was founded in 1956 and led by reverend Jim Jones. First established in Indianapolis, Indiana, the church was moved to Redwood Valley, California in 1966. Seeking to build a communistic community, free from the U.S. government’s involvement, the Peoples Temple set up shop in Guyana after buying jungle land from that government in 1973.

jonestown_news

As an article about Jones was set to be printed, featuring quotes from ex-Peoples Temple members, the cult leader moved his operation to Guyana, dubbing the compound, Jonestown. Things got off to a rocky start in Jonestown, as there weren’t enough cabins, making those that existed overfilled. Followers were also split up according to gender, separating married couples and families.

The conditions were rough in the humid jungle, where members were required to work long days and rest wasn’t rewarded in the evening, as Jones broadcast his non-stop thoughts over a loudspeaker all through the night. Followers weren’t allowed to leave the armed-guarded compound and escape was futile, given the remote location deep in the bush.

On November 18, 1978, U.S. congressman Leo Ryan, who was visiting Jonestown (along with worried family members of Peoples Temple worshippers and various news crews, reporters, and photographers) after hearing stories about the situation, offered to bring anyone who wanted to leave the compound back with him to America. Only a few followers accepted the proposition, scared of Jones and his power.

Jonestown Airport

As the group was set to leave, a Peoples Temple member attempted to attack Ryan. This let the whole group know they were in danger and they made their way to the nearby airport, but tragically, the planes weren’t ready to take off yet. As the ensemble waited, cult followers opened fire on them, killing five, including Ryan. Ryan’s death made him the first congressman to perish during official government duty.

Jones gathered his worshippers, told them of the attack on Ryan and his group, and warned them of repercussions from the U.S. government. He advocated for a “revolutionary act” of mass suicide and quelled the one objection to the plan. Tubs of a grape-flavoured drink (I never was a fan of grape drink), mixed with cyanide, chloral hydrate, and Valium were brought out and distributed to members – women and children first – with armed guards enforcing everyone to drink the potion.

It only took approximately five minutes for the whole congregation to perish, 303 of which were kids. As for Jones, he died after being shot in the head, although it’s inconclusive if the bullet was self-inflicted or not. Only 33 people (some of them children) survived the whole ordeal, including members who hid within the compound, escaped into the jungle or were part of the group not killed at the airport.

Jonestown Tombstone

It was later discovered that Jones, referred to as ‘Dad’ by his followers, was addicted to various drugs, which didn’t bode well for his rampant paranoia. Jones had even been arrested in the men’s room of a Los Angeles movie theatre, five years before the tragedy, for soliciting sex from an undercover cop. Although sex was banned (LAME!) at Jonestown, Jones regularly participated in intimate acts with female and male worshippers, saying it was to bring them a closer connection to him.

While the massacre bred the term ‘Drink the Kool-Aid,’ Kool-Aid wasn’t even the refreshing beverage used at all, but a knockoff called Flavor-Aid. I hope the fine makers of Kool-Aid, represented legally by their mascot the Kool-Aid Man, took every person who used the line to court and if they didn’t change their ways, were the recipient of one of Kool-Aid Man’s classic wall crashing “Oh-Yeah’s.”

Today, what was once Jonestown has disappeared back into the jungle landscape, with the buildings destroyed and the plant life overgrowing and dominating the area again. The massacre was the greatest loss of U.S. civilian life (not including natural disasters) until the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Guyana: Hart of Darkness

Hart of Darkness Martini

  • 1.5 oz Lemon Hart Rum
  • Top with Club Soda
  • Splash of Sweet & Sour Mix
  • Dash of Passion Fruit Syrup
  • Dash of Honey
  • Garnish with a Peach Wedge

It’s crazy to think that anyone can be swayed so dramatically as to kill themselves and allow their families to suffer such a horrible fate. Tragically, cults have popped up from time to time across the globe, feasting on the minds of the weak and needy. At least in the Cult of Sip you get frequent doses of booze… join me, won’t you!?

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This was a very nice martini, but I wonder if I would have enjoyed it more had I subbed in Lemon-Lime Soda, rather than Club Soda to give it a little more flash and flair. The Lemon Hart Rum is quite nice and will make for many good cocktails in the future.

August 2 – Red Headed Princess

Ginger Snaps

Last week, we looked at the best male gingers. While I can’t say that redheads do much for me, I know they get the blood boiling for many men out there and I even I have to admit that some of them are on fire. This will basically be a list of the hottest gingers (save for the top pick, who makes the list because she’s an iconic personality), so if that’s your thing, you can thank me later!

#5: Mystique – X-Men

Particularly played by the vivacious Rebecca Romjin (although, I suppose Jennifer Lawrence holds her own, as well), Mystique is beautiful, despite her blue skin. In the X-Men world, there’s also Jean Grey if you’re into reds, but she’s too straight-laced. If you’re going to go ginger, you want one that has an edge and you’ll find that with Mystique. Not to mention, if you ever grew tired of the redhead look, the shape shifter could always turn into something new to spice up your love life!

Mystique Research

#4: Ariel – The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid still gets some guys all hot and bothered to this day… perhaps it’s that scene in the movie when she first washes ashore sans clothing. That, or it’s the fact that she can’t speak that may help some fellas along! I don’t know how things would really work (I’m not an anatomical expert, after all) given her half-fish lower end, but if there’s a will, there’s a way!

#3: Mary Jane Watson – Spiderman

MJ is the ultimate tease. Always calling Peter Parker “tiger” and shizzle like that. She does actually get together with the web slinger (and I don’t mean for that to sound as dirty as it does), although their relationship has its tragedies. Somehow, the new millennium movies failed to make MJ nearly as sexy as she is in the 90’s cartoon. It could have been the casting of Kirsten Dunst, but I think the writing played a large role in diminishing that charatcer’s sex appeal.

Mary Jane Spiderman

#2: Rogue – X-Men

Of course, I’m thinking of the cartoon version of the character (no knock to Miss Sookie Stackhouse), whom I’ve been a fan of for a very long time. The southern belle attitude, skin tight uniform, and passionate flair all total one sexy mutant. You’d certainly have to find a way to get over the whole not being able to touch her bare skin and her only being able to touch you with gloved hands, but relationship do require sacrifices!

#1: Lucy Ricardo – I Love Lucy

Lucy would likely drive any potential partner to an early grave given the misadventures she always seemed to become embroiled in. That said, Lucille Ball was a comedic genius and some of her bits from the venerable I Love Lucy show are still remembered today. Ball was also a shrewd business woman and established an empire and legacy that has kept her name out there long after she passed. Lucy was truly a national treasure and a legendary redhead.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Red Headed Princess

Red Headed Princess Shot

  • 0.5 oz Jagermeister
  • 0.5 oz Peach Schnapps
  • 0.5 oz Cranberry Juice
  • Garnish with a Watermelon Chunk

Some honourable mentions have to be handed out to Ygritte from Game of Thrones, Jessica Rabbit from Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Poison Ivy and Batgirl from Batman, and Black Widow from The Avengers. It’s funny how many of these hot reds come from the comic world, where I suppose they’re just more respected… that, or geeks are willing to drop their standards a little!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
Mrs. Sip and I both didn’t feel comfortable using the popular shooter Red Headed Slut, so we went with the Princess option… stay classy, right!? I found it interesting how the Peach Schnapps settled into a thin layer at the bottom of the shooter. It was a really good shot that mixed sweet and sour and went down incredibly smooth!

Korea – Lotus Flower

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

While a ‘Cult of Personality’ can be attached to many of the world’s leaders throughout history, it seems to be best attached to the Kim dynasty of North Korea. What exactly is a ‘Cult of Personality,’ you might be asking? Well, my little sippers, this takes place when a figure uses tools such as propaganda to fabricate a heroic image, worthy of worship… kind of like what the ol’ Sip Advisor does to be viewed as the coolest liquor baron on the internet… successfully, I might add! Let’s take a look at how each North Korean leader (ahem, dictator) since Kim Il-sung has accentuated their legacy:

Kim Il-sung

Viewed as a god and creator of the world, statues of Il-sung began going up around North Korea just one year into his reign, totaling over 40,000 at the time of his death. Attaching the terms ‘Great Leader’ and ‘Supreme Leader’ to Il-sung became regular practice in 1967, after his son Kim Jong-il began working with the state propaganda and information department.

Il-sung

Il-sung has been solely credited with defeating the Japanese and ending their occupation of Korea, despite aid from other forces. Among the accolades Il-sung received, was a ‘Double Hero Gold Medal,’ which obviously overshadows the Sip Advisor’s recent ‘Single Hero Gold Medal’ presentation. Any praise from fellow leaders was over-dramatized to make Il-sung look well-respected by the international community.

In many schools, a separate room – known as The Kim Il-sung Research Institute – was constructed specifically for lectures about Il-sung. Newspapers, textbooks and other periodicals included messages and instructions from Il-sung, while buildings were plastered with an image of Il-sung in proportion to the size of the structure. Il-Sung’s birthplace was viewed as a pilgrimage site and perhaps most diabolically, there is a flower named after the dictator. Yes, the Kimilsungia actually exists.

Upon Il-sung’s death, Jong-il set the mourning period for three whole years. This meant folks weren’t allowed to drink (among other requirements) and were punished if caught breaking the code of conduct. This would not have bode well for the Sip Advisor. Jong-il even moved the start of time up to his father’s birth on April 15, 1912. That means, according to the Kim dynasty, the existence of humans is only 103 years old (there is no zero year).

Kim Jong-il

If you thought Kim Il-sung was bad, just wait and see what his son got up to. While Jong-il was actually born in 1941 in the Soviet Union, history has been rewritten so that Jong-il’s birth took place in his father’s secret base on Mount Paektu in 1942 (because that extra year of youth made Jong-il that much more bad ass) and the whole event caused the seasons to change from winter to spring, a star to shine brightly in the sky and the fabled double rainbow to appear.

Jong-il

Following in the footsteps of his dear ol’ dad, Jong-il was viewed as the son of a god or ‘Sun of the Nation.’ Followers believed that Jong-il had the ability to control the weather based on his mood and since he always looked glum or angry, I guess Koreans were in for a routinely inclement climate. Like his father before him, Jong-il also had “research institutes” built at schools for teachings about himself. About 40,000 of these rooms exist across the country for the legacy of father and son. Jong-il also had a flower created in his name: the Kimjongilia.

Among the outlandish achievements attributed to Jong-il were that he could walk and talk before he was half a year old and that his fashion sense was sweeping across the globe, which would be pretty spectacular since I always saw the guy wearing military outfits. During Jong-il’s time at the helm, approximately 300 articles each month were written by the country’s two major newspapers, furthering the ‘Cult of Kim’… and we don’t mean Kardashian.

Showing Jong-il’s power, even in death, it was reported that masses of ice exploded on Mount Paektu and a snowstorm touched down in the area upon the leader’s passing. The typical 100 days of mourning followed and while many were spotted publicly grieving, those who failed to show sadness met with serious repercussions, including death.

Kim Jong-un

The current leader of North Korea came into the public eye in 2010, when he was referred to as the ‘Young General’ and later ‘Respected General,’ all achieved despite no military training whatsoever. Efforts to build the new dictator’s personality cult have included various forms of propaganda and his similar physical appearance to his grandfather has helped.

Jong-un

A 560-meter long sign, visible from space, saying “Long Live General Kim Jong-un, the Shining Sun!” was built after Jong-un’s succession. In a scene right out of The Lion King, Jong-un even had his own uncle executed to help build up his own profile.

The Rest of the Clan

Kim Hyong-jik, the father of Kim Il-sung has been described by propagandists as the leader of the Korean independence and anti-Japanese movement in his time, while Il-sung’s mom, Kang Pan-sok, has been called the ‘Mother of Korea.’ Both claims are disputed by most historians.

Kim Jong-il’s mother, Kim Jong-suk has been memorialized in wax, as a figure of the International Friendship Exhibition (which also houses hundreds of thousands of gifts from foreign leaders, given to the Kims, showing their reverence outside the country’s borders). She is also promoted as a revolutionary, a war hero, and a leader in the emancipation of women in Korea. All this, despite being unnoticed prior to her death and Il’sung’s rise to power.

No Rights

Other Notes

By law, pictures of statues that feature any of the Kims must include the entire bust and cannot be cropped in anyway. It is also customary during certain holidays to bring flowers or other gifts when visiting the effigies and present them to the sculptures.

If you plan on living in North Korea, make sure you erect a photo of each of the deceased leaders, as it is a requirement of the law. Additionally, the wall you use for the portraits must otherwise remain bare and you will be required to clean the pictures daily with specialized wipes. The photos of the former dictators will follow you everywhere if you’re a citizen of the country, as you are required to wear a pin above you heart when out and about. Lastly, photos in newspapers of the Kim family are no to be thrown away, but instead they are to be collected and returned… probably so someone else can throw them away.

I suppose Valentine’s Day isn’t big in North Korea, as that’s the date they celebrate Kim Jong-il’s ascension to ‘Generalissimo of the Democratic Republic of Korea.’ Also unlike Valentine’s Day and other holidays, these events are mandatory to attend and include parades, sports, and dances. On the birthdays of Kim family members, the state media will show films about the respective figure and citizens are not allowed to talk during the broadcast or fall asleep until the airing is over.

Korea: Lotus Flower

Lotus Flower Martini

  • 1.5 oz of Soju
  • Top with Pineapple Juice
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Dash of Honey
  • Garnish with Lemon Wheel

Ironically, I unknowingly wrote this article on the 20th anniversary of Kim Il-sung’s death. I feel this is a fitting tribute to the entire dynasty’s legacy… otherwise known as: if anything bad happens to the Sip Advisor, the Koreans did it!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
This may be my favourite Pineapple Juice cocktail of all time. Despite the full shot of Soju, this martini was quite light and the Pineapple and Lemon Juices were allowed to flourish while you get your buzz on. You’re supposed to use Agave Nectar, but I chose to combine Simple Syrup and Honey instead and it was a great sweetener combo.