Jamaica – Au Pair

Dread Heads

Reggae music was born in Jamaica in the 1960’s and has since traversed the globe thanks to acts like Bob Marley and The Wailers. Let’s take a look at some of Jamaica’s greatest musicians from the genre:

Bob Marley

Marley’s influence spread well beyond his music, as he became a figure of the Rastafarian movement and even helped warring political parties come to agreements. “I Shot the Sheriff,” “No Woman, No Cry,” “Could You Be Loved,” and “Buffalo Soldier,” highlight the long list of hits Marley is credited with. Prior to the 1976 Smile Jamaica concert, an attempt on Marley’s life was made, but he only suffered minor injuries. Marley died of cancer on May 11, 1981, He was only 36 years old. There is a statue of Marley in Kingston, Jamaica and many of Marley’s children have entered the entertainment business, carrying on dear ol’ dad’s legacy.

Bit Da Sheriff

Jimmy Cliff

Born James Chambers, Jimmy Cliff acquired his recording name from the cliffs that surrounded his childhood village of Adelphi Land in St. James, Jamaica. Cliff’s first hit, “Hurricane Hattie” came at the age of only 14. Working with producer Leslie Kong, Cliff released one successful track after another until Kong passed away. Cliff also appeared in the movie The Harder They Come, which brought reggae to new audiences. He was the face of the genre until usurped by Bob Marley. Cliff was enshrined into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.

Toots Hibbert

Dubbed ‘The Skafather,’ Hibbert is the leader of the band Toots & The Maytals and he might as well be, given he can play every instrument that makes up the ensemble. In 1966, Hibbert found himself in prison thanks to a possession of marijuana conviction, but his experience inspired one of his best known songs “54-46 That’s My Number.” With The Maytals, Hibbert wrote the first song to actually use the word reggae with 1968’s “Do the Reggay.” Hibbert received the Order of Jamaica in 2012 and still performs to this day, at the age of 71.

Peter Tosh

Amazingly, Tosh was self-taught on the guitar and he even helped Bob Marley learn to play the instrument. Joined by Bunny Wailer, the three formed the Wailing Wailers. After Tosh split from The Wailers and began a solo career, he released “Legalize It,” his pro-marijuana anthem. This, and Tosh’s defiant personality, led to beatings from Jamaican police. Tosh was even signed to the Rolling Stones record label before returning to his own. On September 11, 1987, Tosh was shot and killed by a man who he had given money to, when that man and three accomplices went back to try and get more cash from the artist.

We Be Jammin

Bunny Wailer

The Wailer in The Wailers, Bunny Wailer has been described as the best singer among the band and equally talented with writing songs, yet failed to achieve the same level of international fame as his bandmates. This could be the result of Wailer disappearing from the world’s eye for approximately three years after the Wailers disbanded. When he reemerged, Wailer didn’t miss a beat, going on to win the Grammy for Best Reggae Album in 1991, 1995, and 1997. Newsweek named Wailer one of the three most important figures in world music, along with King Sunny Ade of Nigeria and Brazil’s Milton Nascimento.

Gregory Isaacs

Known as ‘The Cool Ruler’ (which the Sip Advisor has to admit is a pretty wicked nickname), Isaacs is credited with over 500 albums, including many compilation releases. In the 80’s, Isaacs fell into drug troubles (who didn’t during that decade!) and served a six-month sentence for possession of unlicensed firearms. The drugs took a toll on his smooth voice, but Isaacs kicked the habit and worked in the industry up to his death in 2010, at the age of 59, following a lengthy battle with lung cancer. Today, the Gregory Isaacs Foundation carries on the artist’s charitable work and legacy.

Jamaica: Au Pair

Au Pair Cocktail

  • Muddle Apple Slices
  • 1.5 oz Appleton Rum
  • 0.75 oz Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka
  • Top with Ginger Ale
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Dash of Orgeat Syrup
  • Garnish with a Lime Wheel

Reggae music has shared a long association with marijuana, so if drinking isn’t your cup of tea, you can celebrate the songs in your own way!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (5 Sips out of 5):
This cocktail was a knockout spectacular. The Appleton Rum is so nice, as you get a hint of it at the end of each sip. Despite more than two ounces of booze, you can barely taste any liquor, thus making for the perfect recipe. This was my first opportunity to use the Orgeat Syrup Mrs. Sip and I picked up recently and it was a very welcome touch to the drink. I can’t advocate for this cocktail enough!

Jamaica – Neo-Tropical

Lightning Strikes

The fastest man on the planet in one Usain Bolt. This Jamaican worked his way up to become an icon of the running world and his country of Jamaica. Let’s take a closer look at the ‘Lightning Bolt’ (seriously, the dude’s name is perfect for the sport he excels at), while enjoying some fine Jamaican rum!:

Born in Trelawny, Jamaica on August 21, 1986, Bolt turned pro in 2004 after a successful youth and junior career. At his first Olympic Games in 2004, he was eliminated in the first round, while suffering through a leg injury. Four years later, the world would be formally introduced to the sprinter who runs at a whopping 23.7 mph.

Bolt Versus

Bolt holds the World Record in the 100m, 200m, and 4x100m relay, his three signature events. Combined, Bolt has taken home six Olympic gold medals as well as numerous other awards and accolades. His honours include IAAF World Athlete of the Year, Laureus World Sportsman of the Year, Track & Field Athlete of the Year, and BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

Despite his triple gold medal performance at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and leap into the world’s eye, Bolt had not been very successful in the 100m discipline up to that historic victory. It has been noted that Bolt’s finishing time could have been even better, given the runner slowed up at the end and began celebrating.

It’s hard to believe, but Bolt first aspired to be a professional cricketer. Can you imagine this energetic speed demon sitting idly and going through the long matches that make up the wicket sport? Instead, he takes care of business in under 10 seconds (20 for 200m races). Anyway, it was his cricket coach who steered him towards sprint running after noticing the athlete’s intense speed. Bolt is also an avid football fan (of the European variety, of course) and has dreamed of suiting up for Manchester United when he retires from sprinting.

Jamaican Zombies

Talk about an athlete you can love and respect: the man ate Chicken McNuggets throughout his time at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Apparently, Bolt was afraid to eat anything else while in China and estimates he consumed 1,000 McNuggets over his 10-day stay in the country. Somehow this didn’t lead to a McDonald’s sponsorship deal… perhaps it’s because his favoruite fast food restaurant has been noted as being KFC.

The Sip Advisor doesn’t like tying his shoe laces and apparently this is a trait shared with Bolt. The difference is, I’m an booze enthusiast who needs to be able to remove his shoes in the worst of stupors, while Bolt is a finely-tuned athlete who participates in a sport where equipment could make all the difference. Bolt even ran his record shattering 100m gold medal race with laces undone.

Bolt has his own mobile game app, Bolt!, which sees the track star running from pirates while trying to collect gold coins and avoid obstacles. Bolt is also a playable character in the wildly popular Temple Run video game series, which follows a very similar premise, just minus the pirates.

Conan on Bolt

The runner’s famous victory pose, dubbed ‘To Di World’, is more commonly known the world over as ‘Bolting.’ I’m still waiting for my ‘Sipping’ stance to take the universe by storm, but Mrs. Sip tells me I shouldn’t hold my breath. Then again, it’s not like I can really kill any MORE brain cells!

Bolt enjoys annual earnings of over $20 million, coming from prize money, appearances, endorsements, and even the Jamaican government. He has promotional deals with Puma, Visa, Nissan, Virgin Media, Gatorade, and many others, which account for all but approximately $300,000 of his net worth.

Bolt Sperm

The Jamaicans are a musical bunch (our next post will focus on reggae and the Rastafarian movement) and Bolt even has his own line of headphones. Soul Electronics signed a deal with the runner to be their global ambassador. He also has his own restaurant and sports bar in Jamaica, called Tracks & Records, as well as a clothing line.

An autobiography chronicling Bolt’s life was released in 2010. Titled ‘My Story: 9.58: Being the World’s Fastest Man,’ Bolt said of the book at a press conference before it hit store shelves: “It’s my life, and I’m a cool and exciting guy.” Sounds about right for a guy who in his free time enjoys dancing and DJ’ing and has been described as laid back… everything you might expect from a Jamaican appearing in a Red Stripe beer commercial!

Jamaica: Neo-Tropical

Neo-Tropical Cocktail

  • 2 oz Appleton Rum
  • 0.5 oz Coconut Rum
  • 0.25 oz Jagermeister
  • 0.25 oz Raspberry Liqueur
  • Splash of Pineapple Juice
  • Garnish with Raspberries

I can’t believe how many similarities the Sip Advisor shares with this world-class athlete. From the untied shoes to supporting Manchester United to our mutual love of chicken nuggets… look out, Mrs. Sip, I think I’m falling in love with the man!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This cocktail’s liquor mix was interesting with Jagermeister being invited to play with the rums. Once again, Pineapple Juice isn’t a favourite mixer of mine, but it was decent here. I’ve always loved Raspberries as a garnish and this rendition was no different.

December 14 – Christmas Kiss

Tonight, We Feast

While most of us are accustomed to a Christmas feast of turkey or ham and all the fixings, around the world, the story may not be the same. Here are some of the most unique Christmas dinners in the universe!

KFC – Japan

While the Colonel’s 11 herbs and spices are famous around the world, only in Japan is fried chicken such an enormously popular Christmas dinner. This was a case where false advertising worked out pretty well. The company stated through ads in 1974 that KFC was the meal of choice in North America and Japanese folks looking to get onboard with western culture followed along. The “Kentucky For Christmas” campaign was so successful that people pre-order their buckets en masse two months ahead of time for their celebrations.

Kentucky-Christmas

Fish Soup – Serbia

I won’t knock it, since I haven’t tried it, but not being much of a soup fan, I feel like I wouldn’t enjoy Christmas in Serbia very much. Unless the fish soup was some sort of lobster bisque or something like that. The Serbs also bake bread called Cesnica, which includes a silver coin inside, bringing good luck to the one who finds it. This has disaster written all over it though, ranging from a choking hazard to extreme dental work if someone bites down on the cash too hard.

Foie Gras – France

If anyone needs lessons on how to live decadently, the French have the knowledge, but they’re too busy sipping wine to help out and teach the rest of the world. For a French Christmas meal, one might find themselves indulging in foie gras, oysters, smoked salmon, and crepes. For dessert? Not one snack, but 13. Called ‘13 Desserts’ and meant to symbolize Jesus and the 12 Apostles, the treats are set out on Christmas Eve and left out to entice for the next three days.

Weisswurst – Germany

Germany’s Christmas dinner seems more like a barbecue gathering and I mean that in a good way. Items include sausages and potato salad and you better believe there will be beer served at this holly jolly feast. For dessert, the Germans destroy a gingerbread house that is meant to emulate the one from the Hansel and Gretel fairy tale. I bet you even get to chow down on some festively plump children, as part of the whole exercise!

German Stollen

Curry Goat – Jamaica

Washed down with Red Stripe beer (or at least I hope), curry goat just doesn’t seem very appetizing. I’m a fan of curry, specifically of the Indian variety, but I usually have the spicy sauce atop chicken dishes. This brings a whole new meaning to those ads that want you to send a goat to an impoverished village in Africa. Not saying Jamaica is an impoverished African village (that would simply be foolish), but it gets the ol’ brain thinking and that’s never a good thing.

12-Dish Supper – Lithuania

Once again, representing the 12 Apostles (Jesus gets left out here), Lithuanians are served 12 separate dishes on Christmas Eve and no one can open their presents until every last apostle has been eaten. Okay, I added that last little bit, but for all we know, I could actually be right… I know it’s rare, but it has been known to happen. You know, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, nobody knows how to truly party like a Lithuanian!

Drink #348: Christmas Kiss

Christmas Kiss Shooter

  • 0.75 oz Chambord
  • 0.75 oz Kahlua
  • Garnish with a Candy Cane

Are there any meals that particularly stand out to you as a little bizarre? Everyone has their own way of celebrating, but that certainly doesn’t make it normal!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
I thought this shot would give me the chance to finally use the candy cane shot glass I picked up for Mrs. Sip a couple years ago (because that’s what I do: buy gifts for her that are really for me!). Then, tragedy struck when the shot glass immediately began to leak. I acted quickly, sucking the liquid through a hole in the bottom of the vessel and promptly tossed that waste of money into the sink, shattering it into pieces. Sweet revenge! The shot itself was pretty tasty, as I was expecting with the mix of two pleasant liqueurs.

March 5 – Caribbean Buck

Cocktail Party

Admittedly, prior to last night, I’ve never seen the 1988 Tom Cruise “classic”, Cocktail. However, as a harbinger of liquor knowledge, I pushed my way through this cinematic masterpiece, for you, my little sippers. A heads up from the start, this entire post will be a spoiler alert, so if you don’t want to know what happens, stop reading at the end of the post. Really!?!? Would you be that pissed at me if I detailed a movie released 25 years ago? It’s not like I spoiled the ending to Wreck-It Ralph for you by writing that King Candy is revealed to be rogue video game character Turbo… oops… now I’ve gone and done it.

Anyway, on with the review:

Things get off to a roaring start as the Touchstone Pictures logo scrolls across the screen, distributor of some of my favourite films (Ernest Goes to Camp top among them) followed by neon light-themed credits and a typically wicked 80’s soundtrack.

Ernest Goes to Camp

Wow, it was even a Super Nintendo game… scary stuff!

Brian Flanagan (Tom Cruise) is back from army service… lucky to still have his legs intact (see Cruise’s work in Born on the Fourth of July). Flanagan and what I can only assume is a group of fellow Scientologists steal a cop car and chase down a bus heading for New York City, in order to get Flanagan onboard. Nowadays, this would be viewed as a terrorist threat, but it’s the 80’s, so who cares. Most of the people on the bus were probably coked up anyway.

After meeting with his uncle and complaining about having to pay $1 for a beer (god damn entitled celebrities), Flanagan is on the job hunt and is getting turned down everywhere… very similar to what Cruise experienced later in his career after going off the deep end with his Scientology beliefs and couch jumping exploits.

Flanagan’s Uncle Pat makes a comment that “If you want fun, you go play at the beach!” Could this be a reference to the famous beach volleyball scene in Top Gun, released two years earlier?

Despite working at his uncle’s bar previously, Flanagan doesn’t know how to make a Cuba Libre or a Martini when he finally lands a gig at a New York pub. Seriously!?!? You can’t make a friggin’ Cuba Libre? So, the concept of mixing rum with coke is foreign to you… good luck surviving the bar scene.

I’m sure this movie is largely responsible for “flair bartending“, which makes me very angry. Oh, great, you can twirl a bottle and spill half of the contents nowhere near a glass. Remember, little sippers, no drops wasted. That is a cardinal sin among Sip Nation.

Flanagan’s boss/co-bartender Doug Coughlin (Bryan Brown) is full of great witticism, proving once again, that everything you ever need to know can be learned in a bar. He takes Flanagan under his wing and the two grow close over liquor and flairing and drunk poetry and such. Flanagan seems like a fun guy to be around when drunk… I wonder if Tom Cruise would be the same?… I wonder if Scientologists are allowed to drink? In one scene, Coughlin takes a tumble down some subway stairs, which will likely remain the highlight of the movie for me, long after it’s finished.

The buddies move on to work at another bar called Cell Block, which looks kind of neat and you pray that their top selling drink is toilet wine. It is here that Flanagan delivers a wonderful speech about liquor that should be recited before every epic night out (click here).

Flanagan meets some promiscuous woman and they do the sex thing. During their passion, Flanagan takes a break to down his beer, which has given me a George Costanza-esque challenge for the next time Mrs. Sip and I are getting amorous!

George Costanza

While Flanagan didn’t jump on a couch after nailing this chick, his celebration was pretty close… a haunting foreshadow of things to come said the ghost of Christmas future.

After a falling out with Coughlin, Flanagan takes off to Jamaica, providing audiences with scenes of Tom Cruise in tight white pants and fluffy shirts. One scene even has him running in this get-up and I nearly snotted all over the place.

Flanagan meets Jordan Mooney (Elisabeth Shue) after rescuing her friend who has passed out from drinking champagne… typical loser lightweight… no wonder Jordan ditches her for the rest of their vacation to hang out with Flanagan, who seems to have all the time-off in the world all of a sudden.

At this point, the movie becomes an advertisement for Jamaican travel, leading to Flanagan and Jordan having a tryst in a secluded watering hole, complete with waterfall. They get naked together and throw their suits away, which surely floated downstream, leaving the two with an embarrassing trip back to the resort. This scene has surely since caused many copycat incidents of indecent exposure beneath a waterfall. The two also have sex on the beach (not the cocktail… although they may have had that, too), which I’ve never understood. I don’t really like beaches because of all the sand and wouldn’t having sex on one result in sandblasting a lot of very intimate areas!?

Beach Sex

Anyway, as is usually the case in movies, Flanagan blows things with Jordan by sleeping with some rich woman to prove a point to Coughlin, who with his new rich wife, has somehow tracked down Flanagan in Jamaica, despite no communication between the two in years.

Everyone returns to New York where Flanagan is a kept man (living the dream!) by a jazzercising, relatively attractive, affluent lady, but he ruins this too. He tries to get back together with Jordan, who he learns actually comes from money (the total package, yo!) and is also pregnant with his baby. So, I guess the whole 80’s AIDS scare didn’t bug these kids enough to use protection when sleeping with a complete stranger in a foreign country (and a bar tender at that!). Perhaps they thought the sterile waters of Jamaica would wash away all those bodily fluids…

Flanagan and Coughlin make up, as Flanagan gives him a $500 bottle of cognac and finds out Coughlin isn’t doing well, having lost his lady’s fortune in the stock market. Coughlin later kills himself by slitting his throat with the bottle of cognac. A totally extreme way to go out, but I’m more saddened by the wasting of such high-end liquor. Despite drinking heavily and contemplating suicide, Coughlin still managed to write Flanagan a perfectly legible and coherent letter before offing himself. Nerves of steel, man.

The movie ends with Flanagan and Jordan getting back together, despite Jordan’s father’s disapproval. Flanagan then buys the bar he always dreamed of having and can now suddenly and somewhat inexplicably can afford, and is told that Jordan is pregnant with twins. Should a pregnant lady really be in a bar, anyway? Oh those 80s!

Drink #64: Caribbean Buck

Caribbean Buck Cocktail

  • Rim glass with Coconut Shavings
  • 1.5 oz Malibu Rum
  • Dash of Lime Juice
  • Top with Ginger Ale
  • Garnish with Coconut Shavings

I made sure to enjoy this drink (many times) while watching the movie. Let me tell you, it definitely helped. The end result is that Flanagan largely lived my dream in this movie. He even gets to trash a douchebag artist’s piece of work and smack him around. Myself and Mrs. Sip now have plans to move to Jamaica, where I’ll open up my own bar and under-the-table money laundering service, while she can parade around the island half naked!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
The Lime Juice and Ginger Ale added a really nice bite to this cocktail, to go with the subtle, but tasty Malibu Rum. Throw some Coconut Shavings on top and things are looking up for this drink!