Sip Trips #2 – Best of 2014

Well, Mrs. Sip and I didn’t get up to too much this last week in the booze realm, including a rare well-behaved weekend. We did make time to enjoy a couple craft beers, including Unibroue’s La Resolution and Wychwood’s Bah Humbug. This does give me the opportunity to finally publish my Best of 2014 Drinking Nights article. Some of the memories are fuzzy, but they made for an amazing year. Since all drinking days/nights are wonderful, I will not be ranking these… they will merely be listed in order of occurrence!

#1: Dominican Republic

Sadly, I got sick a couple days after arriving in the Dominican, but the first two nights of all-inclusive partying for Mrs. Sip’s 30th birthday were tropical bliss!

#2: New York

Bourbon followed by as true a cab ride as you can have in New York. Our buzz was killed a little by a snafu with picking up our City Pass tickets, but that was merely a bump in the road on an otherwise awesome first visit to the Big Apple.

#3: Portland Beer & Wine Fest

One of the best booze events I’ve ever attended and we were even the happy recipients of a pile of free tokens. When we returned to our hotel, I ended up triple fisting a few drinks to take advantage of the complimentary happy hour and the party just kept going. Late at night, I was the sole survivor, heading out to pick the family up some Voodoo Doughnuts for the morning!

Portland Guide

#4: Edmonton Airport

One would normally think that being stuck in Edmonton for six hours would be tragic. But the city’s airport – or at least their International Terminal – has one of best selection of bars I’ve ever seen. We made a point of turning our layover into a pub crawl, which certainly helped with falling asleep on the plane from Edmonton to Reykjavik, Iceland!

#5: Hamburg Garden Party

While visiting Hamburg, Germany, a garden party provided the setting for a family reunion. The craft beers Mrs. Sip and I brought with us from Vancouver helped loosen everybody up and the well-stocked party (highlighted by a bottle of Jack Daniels that I made sweet love to) kept the festivities rocking through the night. A torrential downpour of rain couldn’t stop our revelry!

#6: Self-Guided Vancouver Brewery Tour Weekend

Ever the adventurers, Mrs. Sip and I decided to take ourselves on a tour of Vancouver’s best bars and breweries, with stops at the Alibi Room, Postmark Brewery/Urban Winery, Brandywine Bartending School, 33 Acres Brewery, and Brassneck Brewery. Our typical good fortune was emphasized when we arrived at 33 Acres Brewery just in time for their first anniversary party!

#7: Made with Love

While I have some reservations about liquor events, I have nothing but love for Made with Love. Mrs. Sip and I bought tickets to this all-inclusive craft cocktail competition, in part because it fell on our 2nd wedding anniversary and seemed like a wonderful way to celebrate the occasion… oh, how right we were!

Bartender Juice

#8: Las Vegas Strip Drinking

Given that entire trips to Las Vegas are booze-fueled, it’s hard to narrow down any one day to highlight, but this one does stick out in my memory. It all started with an innocent game of Battle Shots at the PBR Rock Bar and then featured Hyde Lounge, gambling wins, Cirque du Soleil: Zumanity, dueling pianos at New York, New York, and a host of things I probably can’t remember.

#9: Surprise Birthday

Imagine my surprise when we showed up for what was supposed to be a friend’s birthday brunch and it turned out that the whole thing was meant for little ol’ me! I wish someone had captured the look on my face when the realization set in. Mrs. Sip always seems to find a way to outdo herself!

#10: Birthday Cruise Embarkation

Before the ship even set sail, we were all pretty loose (the bucket of beers, bottle of wine, and cocktails may have helped with that!), which made for a very fun muster drill. I can say with complete conviction that I’ve had worse! 😉

#11: Dave & Busters

I absolutely love this place, having visited three different locations (Honolulu, New York, Anaheim) in the last year and a half. It’s so much fun to play all the games while having a full-service bar at your disposal. Of course, the day started with Disneyland drinking, before we moved on to the fun and games at D&B’s.

GIFSec.com

#12: Bellingham Visit

All I can say is thank god we had a driver (Pa Sip), because I was pretty fuzzy after our tasting at Boundary Bay Brewery and it certainly made for some interesting shopping.

#13: Canucks game in Anaheim

When your day begins with an upscale bar (Disneyland’s Carthay Lounge) and ends with a fun sports bar in JT Schmid’s, everything else in the middle must be pretty good. In between, was a day of drinking at the “Happiest Place on Earth,” including California beers, wine tasting, thrill rides, and even animation tutorials!

#14: Hawaii

To celebrate Ma Sip’s birthday, we began at the Kona Brewery for tour and tasters. Next up, was Huggo’s on the Beach, where happy hour was in full swing and we were only too happy to join!

Some honourable mentions include an earlier trip to Portland for some beer tourism; traversing the Hamburg Reeperbahn; and surviving the wild Marrakesh market square. After all, it’s always fun drinking in a country that discourages alcohol consumption and I make it a point of every voyage to foreign lands!

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October 8 – Mudslide

Ready-Made

Personally, I’m not a fan of ready-made booze products. But it’s a topic I feel should be discussed and what better time to do it than while we enjoy a fresh serving of one of the more popular bottled options, the Mudslide. Here are some other pre-mixed selections available on the market:

Mudslide – Packaged by the folks at Kahlua (among other companies), this is one concoction that I’ve actually tried and I remember (stop laughing… I do have some brain cells left) enjoying. Of course, this was years before I got into mixology and I don’t think I’d try this type of product nowadays.

Kahlua Mudslide

Caesar – There’s been quite the market the last few years for ready-made Caesars and while it’s nice to have such a complicated recipe simplified in bottle form, I think the Caesar truly shines when you put all those intricate ingredients together yourself.

Cola Mixes – This can be done with rum, whiskey, bourbon, etc. with companies such as Bacardi, Malibu, Bulleit, Jim Beam, and Jack Daniel’s flooding the market. Broski Sip and I did find ourselves enjoying Jack Daniel’s Hard Cola on one vacation, but that was many moons before I became the Sip Advisor you worship today… I’m a bit of a booze snob now. Most of these liquor companies also offer their spirit mixed with ginger ale for the anti-cola drinker.

Gin & Tonic – G&T’s are so easy to make, it amazes me that anyone would need it to be pre-mixed and bottled for them, but the world has become incredibly lazy. Gordon’s is one prominent company that has jumped aboard the ‘ready-to-drink’ train. Smirnoff also offers a vodka tonic mix.Gordon's G&T

Cosmopolitan – I guess you could still pour your Cosmo bottle into a martini glass, but I think all of the class and sophistication the drink is supposed to come with would be lost. The girls on Sex and the City would be so horrified!

Mojito – I strive to make a wicked Mojito and have received rave reviews. I just can’t fathom enjoying a pre-mixed version of the cocktail, so I’ll just move on.

Long Island Iced Tea – I am a fan of the pre-mixed Long Island Iced Tea spirit, combining vodka, gin, rum, and triple sec in one fell swoop, but I don’t think I’d like a pre-bottled version of the drink, eliminating the chance for me to play with different mixers.

Long Island Iced Tea Box

Long Island Iced Tea in a box!?!? Oh, shizzle, where do I sign up!

Dark N’ Stormy – Made by the Bundaberg Rum company, I only wonder if they got clearance from the Gosling’s folks to bottle this drink, since Gosling’s claims a copyright on the Dark N’ Stormy recipe and will fight bartenders who use it sans Gosling’s Rum.

Daiquiri/Margarita – I’ve seen these offerings in a wide array of flavours, from lime to strawberry to mango and everything in between. I’m a huge fan of the legitimate versions of these drinks and am curious to try the pre-mixed style, but also a little cautious, as well.

Pina Colada – We finish with the Pina Colada, which troubles me a little because I think the drink is best received in frozen form. I guess you could add it to shaved ice, much like a snow cone, but given we are mired in the onset of winter, I can’t even think about summer drinks at the moment.

Drink #281: Mudslide

Mudslide Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Tequila (I used Hornitos)
  • 0.5 oz Kahlua
  • 0.5 oz Chocolate Liqueur
  • 0.5 oz Irish Crème
  • Top with Chocolate Milk
  • Garnish with Peanut Butter Cup

It seems that all of your popular cocktails have been released in pre-mix form. That’s capitalism for you, I suppose. If this is how you prefer to get your swerve on, I don’t hate you… I just don’t like you very much!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
There are a variety of Mudslide recipes in existence. The ingredients I used are an amalgamation of those offerings. The Tequila stood out a little stronger than I would have liked, but otherwise, the cocktail was passable.