Mixer Mania #45 – Use and Abuse

‘Tis the time of year that we bundle up indoors with a cup of hot chocolate and rewatch our favourite Christmas movies and TV specials. With that comes advertisements, where Santa has been used to sell everything from soda to snacks. Sure, we have Coca-Cola to thank for the modern image of jolly ol’ St. Nick, but other companies have done more to tarnish the legacy of Santa than build it up. Here are some of the most shameless uses of the yuletide icon:

Painkillers

Mrs. Sip and I just saw this Aleve ad the other day and while it seems harmless, the underlying message is concerning. To see Santa requiring medication to perform his annual duties should frighten every young tot in the world. It also takes away some of the big guy’s magic, thinking he suffers to bring joy to children all over the world. And what if Aleve is a gateway drug to more serious painkillers, causing Santa to have an opioid addiction and eventually need rehab to get his life and career back together.

Santa Aleve

Cigarettes

A number of companies have used Santa to market their smokes. I particularly like the one which shows Santa taking a break from his Christmas Eve activities to enjoy some smooth nicotine. This includes lighting up inside a family’s home, as he kicks back on a cozy chair, filling the dwelling with smoke. And here I thought he was more into milk and cookies… better leave a carton out for the gift-giver this year, ensuring years of good fortune and gifts.

Santa Smokes.jpg

Booze

Brands such as Crown Royal, Dewar’s, Martini, and Budweiser have all used Kris Kringle as a marketing figure to hawk their wares. The Byrrh company even released an ad in 1934 showing an very inebriated Santa – so drunk he can’t continue his epic yearly journey – taking five atop a home’s roof and drinking the wine-based aperitif. St. Nick is so blitzed that he even hallucinates an angel to share the liquor with, but she doesn’t look very impressed with Father Christmas. Maybe he’s sexually harassing her.

Santa Wine

Guns

With all the gun violence around the world, particularly in the U.S., why shouldn’t Santa also protect himself? That’s what one Californian gun range figured, when a billboard popped up in the state in 2014, featuring Santa (accessorized with dark sunglasses, of course) with a menacing glare and proudly holding an assault rifle. The owner of the range stated: “I got guns from Santa Claus when I was growing up. Some people get toys and some people get firearms. It’s kind of just where you’re from.” Indeed…

Santa Guns.png

Mixer Mania #45: All Warm And Fuzzy

All Warm And Fuzzy

  • 0.5 oz Kahlua
  • 0.5 oz Baileys Irish Cream
  • 0.5 oz Butterscotch Schnapps
  • 0.25 oz Cointreau
  • 0.25 oz Cognac
  • Top with Hot Chocolate
  • Garnish with a Marshmallow

What other examples of Santa Claus exploitation exist out there? Part of me wants to know and the other part would rather those examples stay hidden.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This drink is very tasty. It is certainly boozy and that was with me halving each liquor measurement. The recipe originally called for Grand Marnier, which I had to substitute with Cointreau and Cognac. There’s a lot of flavours going on, but the end result is warmth and a little decadence!

Mixer Mania #1 – The Good Doctor

One of my favourite pops – or sodas for the American audience – is Dr. Pepper. With that in mind, today, we look at those folks out there who are better known as doctors, despite having never earned a doctorate.

Doc Holliday

Although he left his career as a dentist for the wild, wild west, the nickname stuck and John Henry ‘Doc’ Holliday became a legend. Holliday is most famous for his role in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, where he joined with lawman Wyatt Earp and company to battle a group of outlaws in Tombstone, Arizona.

doc-holliday-wyatt-earp

Dr. Death

Professional wrestling is full of great nicknames and one of the best went to Steve Williams. The name came from William’s high school wrestling days, when he was forced to wrestle in a hockey goalie mask and his coach dubbed him with the moniker. Sadly, Williams died in 2009, following a battle with throat cancer.

Dr. J

Also known by his real name, Julius Erving, the Basketball Hall of Fame member was known for being a trailblazer in the art of slam dunks. The Doctor was a nickname given to Erving by a high school friend who he called The Professor. Other names, such as ‘The Claw’ and ‘Black Moses’ just didn’t stick as well as Dr. J.

julius-erving-doctor

Dr. Seuss

Born Theodor Geisel, he used the pen name Dr. Seuss, dating back to his college days. Among his most popular titles are How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, The Cat in the Hat, Horton Hears a Who!, and The Lorax, all of which have been adapted into films. Seuss won a special Pulitzer Prize in 1984 for his life’s work.

Dr. Dre

The rap icon, with hits like California Love, Still D.R.E., and Forgot About Dre to his credit, cut his first name, Andre, in half and added the Dr. portion at the front. Today, Dre is still kicking it, with his popular ‘Beats by Dr. Dre’ headphones. His son has followed in his footsteps, adopting the rap nickname Hood Surgeon.

Mixer Mania #1: The Mud Pie

the-mud-pie

  • 1.5 oz Root Beer Schnapps
  • 1 oz Dark Rum
  • 3 oz Hot Chocolate Mix
  • Top with Dr. Pepper
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

That wraps up the first Mixer Mania. Join us every Monday for 2017, as we delve into the mayhem of 52 different drink mixers. Should be a lot of fun!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
I was really curious to see how hot chocolate mix would pair with a fizzy drink. While the taste was good, mixing the hot chocolate powder and Dr. Pepper created a volcano effect that was hard to turn around and the only way to drink the cocktail was through a straw. Perhaps pre-mixing the hot chocolate, prior to adding the other ingredients would work better, but this looked cool.

Flavour Revolution – Coffee

Just Add Water

Let’s be straight: coffee is basically ground beans with the addition of water. Yup, that’s what you’re forking over good money to buy from places like Starbucks and their competitors. Admittedly, some things are just better with a splash of the wet stuff. Here are the best items where a little water goes a long way!

Tea/Coffee/Hot Chocolate

Of those three options, I’m more of a hot chocolate man, but I must admit that I don’t really like hot beverages much at all. I think one of the simplest pleasures in life is a cold drink… with lots of ice! It often blows my mind how expensive these drinks can be, given they’re usually comprised of something cheap (a tea bag or hot chocolate packet), simply joined by hot water.

hot drinks devil's temperature

Kool-Aid

I grew up on Kool-Aid, and the product really provided the first lessons in mixology that I ever learned. So much so, that I worked hard to perfect the right level of sugar to include in my pitchers of the juice. I had a few favourites over the years, including Blue Raspberry Lemonade, Strawberry Kiwi, and old-fashioned Lemon-Lime.

Ramen Noodles

Joining Kool-Aid, noodles were an essential part of my college diet. It’s amazing what one little flavour packet can do to improve your disposition in life! Okay, so the noodles probably aren’t that good for you, but they’re cheap and effective in quashing those hunger pains. Research has come along that says these noodles will lead to heart attacks and diabetes. It might be worth it!

Chicken Noodle Soup

It’s funny that a push was made through the new millennium to add more chicken, vegetables, and noodles to this classic soup, which works quite well as a cold and flu remedy. It has been my experience that people are mostly in it for the broth anyway, but if you prefer your soup to be loaded with other ingredients – let’s call them flavour enhancers – then that’s cool with the Sip Advisor.

chicken noodle soup

Pool/Hot Tub

Growing up with a backyard pool was amazing. I always wished I could have a hot tub, though, as that would be the best way to get Mrs. Sip in her bikini during the winter months! For other outdoor water fun, you could also throw together a classic Slip N’ Slide or load up a Super Soaker and get a little trigger happy!

Chia Pet

Cha-cha-cha Chia… with that innocent little jingle, the world was introduced to these potted plants. All you had to do was spread some seed (sounds dirty, eh) around the animal body, add water and before you knew it, you had a plant of your very own. Later, Chia Pets capitalized on popular characters, such as Scooby Doo and Garfield. There’s even a Barack Obama variation.

Theme Park Ride

Is there anything better than an amusement park ride that splashes down into a range of water… unless it’s the middle of winter and getting soaked is the last thing on your mind? During hot, humid days, though, these attractions can be a godsend. Some of my favourite water rides are Disney’s Splash Mountain and Grizzly River Rapids, Universal’s Jurassic Park, and Knott’s Perilous Plunge.

Flavour Revolution: Fall at Dusk

  • 1 oz Patron XO Café Liqueur
  • 1 oz Elderflower Liqueur
  • Splash of Pineapple Juice
  • Dash of Basil Syrup
  • Top with Soda Water
  • Garnish with a Pineapple Wedge

I have to disclose that I am in no way a fan of coffee, unless it comes in booze form. If you are, I forgive you for your sins. Testify, my little sippers!

Trinidad & Tobago – What’s Kraken?

Feel the Rhythm

Originating from the islands of Trinidad and Tobago, Calypso music enjoyed the height of its popularity in 1956, when Harry Belafonte released the “Banana Boat Song”, otherwise known as “Day-O”. The music style also produced other popular spinoffs, such as Soca, Reggae, Chutney, Rapso, and Ringbang. Let’s take a look at the history of this cultural music and get our groove on!

Calypso music, like many other genres, started with humble beginnings. During colonial slavery in the 17th century, slaves were not allowed to speak to each other while working long, exhausting days at sugar plantations, but were able to come together at night and play music. These songs helped form a bond among the slaves, as they mocked their masters and sung about the hardships of their existence in a French Creole language.

Day-O Spider

The music is based off of a call and response style, where the singer (dubbed the Calypsonian) engages his audience and involves them in the song. Instruments often associated with Calypso music include, steel drums, banjo, guitar, and other percussion devices. Calypso was played in tents made of palm trees and poles, which were constructed to keep rain away from performers and dance-goers alike.

Calypso music eventually became used to spread news around the islands and became a reliable source for current events. Songs battled political corruption, which sparked the British rulers to censor the songs and for officials to decide what could and couldn’t be heard by the public. This just pushed Calypsonians to use other tools to get their message across in song, such as double-entendres, satire, irony, and other elements of humour.

Long before rappers were taking aim at one another with thinly veiled criticisms and threats, Calypso musicians were insulting each other, while also making music based around sex, gossip, scandal, and innuendo. Like much of the music industry, there are some great artist names in the Calypso world, such as Lord Invader, Growling Tiger, Mighty Sparrow, King Fighter, Macbeth the Great, Sir Lancelot, and Duke of Iron.

Rapper Rapping

The first Calypso recording was made in New York City in 1912, by the visiting Lovey String Band. It’s thought that this was the first recording to ever take place of a musical style not to have originated in either North America or Europe. Not many other Calypso recordings were made until the late 1920’s and early 1930’s (given the title: the golden era of Calypso), perhaps due to the wartime economy and depression.

Attila the Hun (not the barbarian, but the musician) and Roaring Lion brought the music back to the United States in 1934, where they became regular recording artists and were later joined by other Calypsonians from Trinidad and Tobago. A tradition that ran up to the late 1970’s, with Mighty Sparrow being the last great Calypsonian abroad. The musical style then branched off into other genres.

prelude music

One of the first big Calypso hits, “Rum and Coca Cola”, by Lord Invader, was not about the fizzy beverage being mixed with alcohol, but the prostitution industry that popped up when American military bases began appearing in Trinidad during the 1940’s. Regardless, the Andrews Sisters turned this into a U.S. chart topper and were later sued by Lord Invader for copyright infringement, being awarded $150,000 in royalties after years of court battles.

Calypso music can be seen in popular works like the movie Beetlejuice, where Harry Belafonte’s “Day-O” plays during a very memorable scene. You can also hear “Day-O” at sporting events, often used to get fans pumped up as they echo the song’s title back to the singer. Interestingly, Eleanor Roosevelt dubbed Belafonte “The King of Calypso” after seeing him perform in 1958. Daylight come and me wan’ go home!

Trinidad & Tobago: What’s Kraken?

What's Kraken Cocktail

  • 1 oz Kraken Rum
  • 1 oz Butterscotch Schnapps
  • Top with Hot Chocolate
  • Garnish with Whipped Cream

That “Day-O” song sure can get stuck in your head easy. Belafonte even performed the hit on an episode of The Muppet Show, with Fozzie Bear interrupting the singer… and for that, we thank him!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I really enjoy Kraken Black Spice Rum, which gets its rum content (molasses) from Trinidad and Tobago. I made this cocktail for Pa Sip, also a fan of Rum, as well as Butterscotch Schnapps. It was a pretty good drink and perfect for this time of the year!

December 29 – Fireside Choco-Chat

Something to Talk About

I sometimes like to watch those year-in-review retrospectives you find on news and sports channels. It gives you a real picture of what happened the previous 365 days and an idea of what to expect when the calendar turns over. So, as we try to stay warm by the fire, here are the people and topics we most discussed in 2013:

Miley Cyrus

People have been shaking their groove things for many years, but it took a raunchy twerking performance by former child star Miley Cyrus at the MTV Music Video Awards to really help the pop singer burst on the scene. She followed that up with a string of other wild antics and her music video for Wrecking Ball, which features the artist (and all of her tan lines – you figure she would have got some colour before this production) swinging nude from the construction device and licking a filthy sledgehammer.

miley-cyrus

Prince George

Perhaps it’s the anti-parent in me or perhaps it’s the fact I couldn’t care less about celebrity offspring in general, but I don’t get the interest in the whole royal baby thing. Sadly, this kid is more famous that any of us will ever be and he still needs someone to wipe his own ass. I’d praise his genetic luck, but years of royal inbreeding have to catch up to reality eventually. At least he can claim things of Kate Middleton that most men would kill to also have rights to.

Concussion Awareness

This is the hottest topic in the sports world (even surpassing steroids) and it only seems to be getting more serious with each passing year. In 2013, the NFL reached a $765 million settlement with its former players for concussion treatment and earlier this month, news came out that a similar class action lawsuit was being filed against the NHL. While the players involved should be compensated, I feel we’re travelling down a slippery slope towards the elimination of contact sports entirely.

Rob Ford

The every-man mayor proved he was much more than your typical person and provided late night shows with copious amounts of material. Sure he continues to leave a black eye on the city of Toronto by refusing to step down and out of the public spotlight, but it’s no worse than their professional hockey team has been doing for years! Perhaps once he’s experienced close to 50 years of futility he’ll finally call it a day.

Kim Kardashian & Kanye West

Kim and Kanye, or Kim-ye as they have been unitedly known, are perhaps Hollywood’s hottest power couple right now. This is what you get when you combine the amazingly egotistical Kanye West (he is the voice of our generation, after all) and the talentless yet uber famous Kim Kardashian (sorry, what exactly has she done again?). Don’t forget about baby North West, who has the perfect name for a fragrance already lined up: North by North West!

Fifty Shades of Grey

The franchise should really be called Fifty Shades of Who Cares, although I know I’m waging a winless battle. I’m just so outnumbered by women in their middle ages who love their mommy porn. How powerful is this group, you ask? Well, they’ve already forced Charlie Hunnam to give up on his role as Christian Grey in the film just because many thought he didn’t fit the part and backlashed against the performer on social media. What’s next? Will they get me booted off my own site because I’m far too talented? They may have a case there!

Drink #363: Fireside Choco-Chat

Fireside Choco-Chat Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Marshmallow Vodka (I used Smirnoff Fluffed)
  • 1 oz Peppermint Schnapps
  • Top with Hot Chocolate
  • Garnish with Whip Cream and a Chocolate Spoon

Before we retire for the evening, we should pay tribute to those who passed on in 2013. May there be drinks waiting for you all wherever you may be!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.5 Sips out of 5):
I went with Candy Cane Vodka instead of Peppermint Schnapps and that might have changed the taste. While I had looked forward to mixing Fluffed and Candy Cane Vodka with Hot Chocolate, I wasn’t overly impressed with the final product. Mrs. Sip liked it better than I did, however.

December 11 – The Woolly Mitten

Home for the Holidays

One of the best things to do at Christmas is watch cherished holiday episodes of your favourite TV shows, while getting warm and toasty by the fire. Here are some of my favourite shows and episodes for Christmas spirit.

Married… with Children

In ‘It’s a Bundy-ful Life’, the always down on his luck, Al Bundy, is shown what his family’s life would be like if he wasn’t around. In a twist on It’s a Wonderful Life, Al decides that his family is too happy and has such a better life without him that that’s reason enough to continue living. This hour-long episode featured late comedian Sam Kinison in the guardian angel role.

its-a-bundyful-life

South Park

The animated sensation has a bunch holiday episodes under its belt (even having its own DVD release of the collection) and in true South Park style, they use such absurdities as Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo to get their message across. The boys have even travelled to the bizarre world of Canada for Christmas, with Cartman wanting desperately to get home to his presents.

Home Improvement

Tim ‘the Tool Man’ Taylor is a house’s worst nightmare. With all of his renovation schemes – most of which end in disaster – if a home had feelings, they would fear for their existence with Mr. Taylor around. Christmas time is no different, as Tim pulls out all the stops in his attempt to decorate his home and compete with neighbours over who has the best set-up.

Beavis and Butt-head Do Christmas

While their delinquent brand of humour might not be for everyone (it certainly isn’t for Mrs. Sip), this Christmas episode is incredibly funny. In the first segment, Beavis is head honcho at Burger World and is visited by three ghosts to learn the true meaning of Christmas. After a break for some Christmas music videos, the second installment follows Butt-head being shown that everyone’s lives would be better without him existing.

beavis_and_butt_head_do_christmas

The Simpsons

It’s no surprise that The Simpsons would land a spot on this list. While they haven’t offered a Christmas episode in each of their 25 seasons, the ones they have done are quite memorable. In the first Simpson’s Christmas airing (the first full-length episode actually!), the family found its dog, Santa’s Little Helper, a turned away ex-racing mutt. The family has also battled commercialism during the holidays with a war on the Funzo toy release.

Community

Each year, the Community folks have provided an interesting Christmas episode, similar to their efforts at Halloween. In the show’s second season, the holiday episode featured the cast turned into stop-motion animation, similar to the Rankin/Bass specials, as Abeb searches for the meaning of Christmas. I don’t think I’d do very well in a stop-motion animation world!

The Office

The annual office Christmas party provides ample opportunity for laughs. I only thank the heavens above that my company doesn’t really do the Christmas thing. Do you think I want to be around my colleagues any longer than I actually have to be? Anyway, the antics of this rag tag bunch always seem to ramp up around the holidays and each Christmas party has its own issues to be dealt with.

Drink #345: The Woolly Mitten

The Woolly Mitten Drink Recipe

  • 1.5 oz Southern Comfort
  • 1.5 oz Bailey’s Irish Crème
  • 1 oz Peppermint Schnapps
  • Top with Hot Chocolate
  • Garnish with Whipped Cream

There are far too many Christmas episodes out there in TV Land to get to them all, but if you have any specific suggestions for the Sip Advisor, I’m all ears!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
As I’ve written before, I’m not a huge fan of warm drinks, but I do make the occasional exception for Hot Chocolate. Where this drink was good is that all the liquors tasted good together and amongst the Hot Water and Cocoa Powder. Whip Cream is always fun to use and the Crushed Candy Canes sprinkled on top was one of my better ideas.

April 15 – Whiskey Sick Day

Under the Weather

Recently, your faithful Sip Advisor contracted a flu which knocked me for a loop and caused me to miss my very first days of work due to illness. During my three-day sabbatical, I worked diligently to document my ordeal and I hope to share those notes with you, my little sippers, today. Don’t worry, all the gross stuff has been removed unless you find under-garnished hamburgers as disgusting as I do!

The first day I wasn’t feeling well I still dragged my butt to work and even played soccer, part of a rotating sports league I’m a member of. For some reason, I’ve always played well when ill. While this wasn’t the seven goals I sniped a few weeks back in ice hockey while playing with a cold, it was a half decent performance. Afterwards is when I really started feeling grungy, though.

Sickness

The next morning I woke up and decided to pull the plug on my iron-man streak. I grabbed a spot in front of the TV and searched for some suitable entertainment… quickly learning that there’s not much out there.

When I myself was just a little sipper and was home from school sick, The Price is Right was a favourite viewing pleasure of mine. Bob Barker and his crusade to get your pets spayed and neutered was something all viewers could get behind… plus Plinko was pretty awesome!

The first thing I noticed when watching the show last week is that it now employs a male prize model. The strapping young man is hard not to notice among the horde of attractive women. I wonder if Bob Barker’s sexual harassment allegations would have been any different with less of Barker’s Beauties around. Rod Roddy, on the other hand, would have certainly found himself in hot water with all the males running about.

Barkerfail

The funniest thing is seeing male contestants win a prize and go to hug all the ladies, only to double clutch when approaching the guy and go for the ol’ handshake-hug-reacharound.

My TV viewing pleasures didn’t stop there as I tuned into the Maury Show for some paternity results. Not the best idea to try and catch a nap while moms are screaming about babies having the same eyebrows as prospective daddies and these fine gents are denying they’re fathers with more passion than they’ve ever put into, well… anything!

One case in particular caught my attention as a guy, who was denying his daughter, kept bringing up that he had bought his girlfriend a $900 engagement ring. It was mentioned like 10 times, no exaggeration. Did he follow up the proposal by treating her a two-can-dine for $9.99 meal at Mickie D’s!?

Maury

Later on during my sickness, I had a massive craving for salt and grease. In my mind, I knew that a quick jaunt to McDonalds was the only way to appease these desires. Without Mrs. Sip around to take care of me and explain to me that McDonalds is not recovery food – she was off gallivanting around town, selling my secret recipes to unscrupulous barkeeps… or so my delirious mind told me – I had to venture out into the rain, umbrella-less and forage for food. While at the restaurant, and figuring I didn’t want to make the brief trip again, should the urge arise a second time, I ordered four hamburgers.

Sadly, I was only able to stomach one (and that was a challenge… damn, I hate it when Mrs. Sip is right!) before throwing the other three in the fridge for a later date with destiny. Those other meals were massive disappointments, with two of the three sandwiches only containing one pickle… and tiny slices at that. This has been a longstanding issue between myself and Ronald McDonalds’ peeps. I’ve complained before, something I’m rarely charged enough to do, but the results of my pleas have not been satisfactory.

Lastly, I largely stayed away from alcoholic bevvies during my recovery, save for my work on this site. However, I felt best – and this could be a disturbing sign – after I had a couple of drinks nearly a week after I was first sick. Alcohol: it cures what ails you!

Drink #105: Whiskey Sick Day

April 15

  • 0.75 oz Whiskey (I used Wiser’s Spiced)
  • 0.75 oz Bailey’s Irish Crème
  • Top with Hot Chocolate (I used Rolo Cocoa Powder)
  • Garnish with Whip Cream and Chocolate Sprinkles

My final observation of the week is that being sick absolutely sucks. You think it won’t be so bad being away from work and lazing around, but it’s horribly lonely, boring and tedious. At least I had sweet lady liquor and this little gem to keep me company!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
An impromptu drink to “celebrate” my recent illness, this was quite tasty, although totally messy… not that there’s anything wrong with that! The whip cream runneth over the glass, but it is forgiven because of how well it mixed with the hot chocolate based concoction on the inside of the glass. I never mind getting a little sticky for the sake of discovery!