December 31 – Bring in the New Year

Auld Lang Syne

That may look like gibberish above, but most little sippers would recognize it in a heartbeat as the popular song of choice after the clock rolls over to a New Year. I have many fond memories from New Year’s Eve nights past. Here’s a sample of how the Sip Advisor watches the calendar turn!

Big Announcement

After Mrs. Sip and I got engaged, we were hoping to announce it to as many friends as possible in one shot, so we offered to host a New Year’s party six days after our amazing morning. Unfortunately, on this night, we were the victims of some inclement weather and it also having been a work day for most, a lot of friends’ bailed last minute, not realizing we had an ulterior motive for the gathering. We still wound up with a nice little group that we were able to celebrate the New Year and our engagement with.

New Year's Party

Staying In

I’ve always been a house party guy as opposed to going out to bars and clubs. I want to be as comfortable as possible and that is certainly not found out and about for ol’ Mr. Sip. I prefer to be with close friends, playing drinking games and other such nonsense, while not having to shell out tons of cash for drinks and food. Things always get a little crazy as the booze adds up and midnight approaches… then the party truly begins!

On Location

Mrs. Sip and I have been lucky to spend New Year’s Eve in a couple different parts of the world from Las Vegas, where we celebrated with countless others and enjoyed the strip firework extravaganza, to Playa Del Carmen, where our group partied on the beach. Last year, we were in Whistler, enjoying a lavish meal out before watching fireworks in the heart of the Village.

Good New Year's Party

Silent Night

When I was just a little sipper at the age of only 14, the Sip Family spent a very secluded New Year’s in the tiny town of Vanderhoof, B.C. (population non-existent!). We were en route to a funeral service for Grandpa Sip and this just happened to be where we ended up for Dec. 31. Luckily, we were able to find a pizza joint that was open and delivered, as most else was shut down. It was a good chance to spend the holidays quietly with family and away from the usual hustle and bustle.

Full House

If the house is a rockin’ don’t come knockin’! Growing up, my parents hosted a number of New Year’s Eve parties. That meant, while the adults got blitzed upstairs, the young’uns were left to their own devices downstairs. Hand hockey was usually the activity of choice, although professional wrestling battle royals snuck into the evening’s agenda often, as well. Then came the years when we tried to sneak the odd beer into the festivities!

Drink #365: Bring in the New Year

Bring in the New Year Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Vodka (I used Bubble Gum)
  • Top with Champagne
  • Dash of Grenadine
  • Garnish with Lime Wedge

What are your New Year’s Eve memories? I’m a little surprised I still have some given the wear and tear this old mind has endured!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
Despite my aversion to bubbly, there is really only one way to celebrate a New Year in style. This drink was a pretty good offering. I only wish I could have garnished the cocktail with streamers and confetti… gotta save something for tonight!

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July 1 – Red Maple Sunset

Welcome to Canada

To celebrate Canada Day (my home and native land) I decided to take a look at the pros and cons of this country’s make-up. Why bother looking at what needs improvement, you ask? Well, I feel we should all be always striving to better ourselves and I expect no less from my country. That, and I’m a massive jerk, who likes to rant about things that displease me. On with the ranting!

Pro: Hockey

If you are ever in need of defining what an athlete should be, look no further than a hockey player, preferably of the Canadian variety. There, you will see true glimpses of sportsmanship, humbleness, work ethic, ruggedness, and manliocity. Think of icons like Steve Yzerman, Joe Sakic, Gordie Howe, and ‘The Great One’ Wayne Gretzky.

Hockey Players

Con: Expensive Alcohol

Do you know how much easier this 365-day liquor challenge would be if I lived in almost any other country, rather than Canada. Even Canadian manufactured products are ridiculously priced. Whenever Mrs. Sip and I travel south of the border, we make sure to grab a ton of booze because it is just so much more reasonably priced. Sadly, we have limits on what we can bring back and as a law-abiding citizen, I actually follow these allotments… for the most part!

Pro: Good People

Canada has a reputation for its citizens being overly nice and helpful population. This standing is well-earned and as a fictional leader of this great land, I must say that I’m proud of our people and the work we all do to not only make our home a better place, but to welcome strangers from foreign lands.

Con: No Dill Pickle Round Slices

There are a lot of products that I can’t find in Canada, that are available south of the border (in fact, I wrote an entire article about this phenomenon). But one that absolutely flummoxes me is the absence of dill pickles in round slices. If it can be done for sweet pickles, why not dill? Clearly dill pickles can be sliced, but all I ever see is the elongated variety. It has driven me to become an ex-pat of this great nation and must be rectified.

Pro: Beautiful Women

I can say with full conviction that Canada has to have the most beautiful women in the universe. A long walk on a glorious summer day – with dark shades fully ensconced on my noggin’ – is an absolute treat with all the eye candy available to every red-blooded male. Sadly, that beauty gets hidden away during the cold winter months, when everyone is bundling up in toques, scarfs, and jackets, but it’s all worth it again on that first patio-suitable day of spring.

Canada Women

Con: Inclement Weather

As mentioned above, it can get cold and nasty during the winter, up here in the Great White North. Even here in Vancouver, where we have much more mild temperatures, we live in an urban rainforest where we get drenched by buckets of cold  rain every year. I know we’re not alone in the not-so-nice weather department, but that doesn’t mean I can’t bitch about it. On the bright side, if you like to ski (or just enjoy watching snow bunnies), we’ve got you covered!

Pro: Strip Clubs with Alcohol

Imagine my shock when my crew saddled up to a strip club in Seattle, Washington for my stag last year and were told that we had a choice: either see naked ladies or keep drinking. Before my friends could answer, I’d already left the lobby, en route to the next liquor establishment. Truth be told, I’m not a strip club regular, but if I do go, I want to be able to have an overpriced brew or cocktail while a young lady makes love to a pole!

Con: No Singles ($1 bills)

How are you supposed to get your money’s worth at the strip club!? The smallest denomination you can tuck into a dancer’s G-string is a fiver. That means you can go through a lot of money in very little time. And don’t even think about making it rain. A small wad of fives, tens, and twenties will pale in comparison to a massive wad of American ones. I guess you could take a jar full of loonies and toonies and toss it into the air and do some serious damage!

Drink #182: Red Maple Sunset

Red Maple Sunset Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Campari
  • 1 oz Maple Syrup
  • Top with Lemon Juice
  • Splash of Egg Whites
  • Garnish with Canadian Flag

So, happy birthday Canada! I hope you get all the gifts you’ve wanted and that your next year is as fabulous as the last!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This was my first opportunity to play around with not only Campari, but also Maple Syrup. The drink was a nice mix of sweet and bitter, as the Campari has a fruity taste, with a bitter finish. The Maple Syrup actually worked well with the cocktail, which was a pleasant surprise given it’s a bit of an odd ingredient.