Mixer Mania #42 – Advent Amazement

Mrs. Sip has long been a tea drinker. The last couple years, she received tea advent calendars, which previously I didn’t know existed. With Christmas right around the corner, I thought it would be a good time to look at other advent calendars that differ from your typical chocolate ones:

Make-Up/Beauty

There are numerous cosmetic advent calendars on the market. Every company you can think of seems to have put a collection together, with varying prices. Some focus on nails, others on the face. Beauty has never really been a concern for the Sip Advisor, as you can’t improve on perfection.

Cheese

The world’s first cheese advent calendar hit store shelves this year, after a blogger created her own in 2016 and the concept went viral. For only 8-pounds, fromage-aholics can find this product at ASDA stores across the UK. Not sure if similar products can be found in other countries.

Cheese Emergency

Jewellery/Charm Bracelet

Ma Sip loves her charm bracelets. So, when I came across an advent calendar version, which gave you the bracelet and then 24 holiday-themed charms over the Christmas season, I was thrilled… and Ma Sip was even more so.

Fly Fishing

A tackle box already kind of looks like an advent calendar, so why not release one for the Christmas season, with a lure for each day. One issue here, is that you’re not likely to head out each day of the calendar for a fishing expedition and to try your new treat.

Cookbook

While I like the concept of this advent calendar, you’re basically saying to the person you give this to: “Hey, why don’t you make me something different every day, through on of the busiest times of the year?” I don’t see that flying at the Sip Advisor headquarters.

Toys

For kids and kidults alike, come advent calendars from Play-Doh, Lego and Playmobil. Parents will just have to be vigilant that the toys aren’t consumed like traditional chocolates.

Eating Play-Doh

Craft Beer

While craft beer advent calendars can be found in most liquor stores, I’ll never forget Mrs. Sip personally making me one, comprised of 24 bomber bottles. Pulling it all together at the last minute – as she’s prone to do – the poor girl had to carry heavy boxes all around Vancouver. Her efforts paid off nicely, though!

Wine/Liquors

Similar to craft beer, there are wine, bubbly a liquor sets out there, typically featuring 24 mini bottles of the preferred subject matter. One particular Scotch advent calendar features rare whiskeys from around the world, setting buyers back 10,000-pounds.

Potato Chips

God bless Pringles. The potato chip company has released their own advent calendar, containing 12 tubes of various flavours. Apparently, the calendar is quite popular and has already sold out, with the products popping up on eBay for double the original retail price.

For Pets

Don’t have any kids or spouses you can spoil with an advent calendar? If you have pets, you can still get into the Christmas spirit with sets that provide toys and treats to your fur baby. The gift of giving is one of the best!

Mixer Mania #42: Irish Tea Party

Irish Tea Party.JPG

  • Absinthe Rinse
  • 1.5 oz Jameson Irish Whiskey
  • Top with Green Tea
  • Garnish with Lime Wheel

The lead up to Christmas is my favourite part of the season, so sometimes I think advent calendars should just replace Christmas gifts… but they’re probably in a good place as a holiday enhancer, rather than as a main event player.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (1 Sip out of 5):
I was totally disappointed by this drink. The ingredients intrigued me, but the end result was a watery, flavourless cocktail. Mrs. Sip wants me to try it again with a different Green Tea – and I will – but it must be pointed out that round one of the beverage was a dud.

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BC Beer Baron #91 – BrewHouse India Red Ale

It seemed like Whistler’s BrewHouse (High Mountain Brewing) didn’t get the memo prior to the Yaletown Brewery’s recent Irish Stouts and Porters Caskival, as they showed up with a beer that fit neither of those types (even more ironic given they are part of the same Mark James Group that operates the Caskival host). That said, having something completely different amongst all the stouts and porters was refreshing, so I won’t give them too much grief.

The India Red Ale was a welcome change to the lineup. A unique feature of this beer is that it was cask-conditioned using dates soaked in Jameson Irish Whiskey and thus fitting the Irish theme of the Caskival.

BrewHouse

The 6.5% ABV, 60 IBUs beverage was strong and hoppy, just the way the Sip Advisor likes his brews. I’ve really been getting into red ales lately and this serving was one of the beers that got me there.

Unfortunately, it has been some time since I was able to visit the BrewHouse, settled nicely in Whistler Village. They have some good beers and some great food dishes, particularly their poutine and pizza dishes.

For more BC Beer Baron articles, please visit our main page…

Sip Trips #11: Luck of the Irish

The greatest drinking holiday of the year has come and gone and you know the Sip Advisor celebrated in style! We started the weekend off by attending an early St. Patrick’s Day party at the Jericho Garrison. Both Monster Energy Drink and Red Truck Beer were at the event, along with live music and other entertainment. It didn’t take long for the beer pong to get started up and the Sip Advisor made his usual strong contributions to his teams.

Beer Pong Grandma

On Sunday, with a touch of bad weather hitting the ‘Wet Coast,’ we decided to make a jaunt across the border to Bellingham, Washington, for a little shopping and a visit to the Boundary Bay Brewery. Mrs. Sip and I shared a sampler of their beers, which included six varieties to try. Our consensus favourite among the collection was the Oatmeal Stout, further expanding my burgeoning love for darker beers. It also comes in at a whopping 9.6%, so you’ll feel it soon enough!

It was also at Boundary Bay Brewery that the Sip Advisor finally joined the Instagram world. Feel free to follow me and my adventures in boozing… so long as I can find a wireless signal to get attached to. No data plan for this guy, I’m a free internet man!

Tuesday, of course, was St. Patrick’s Day… a national holiday for some and what should be for others, such as the Sip Advisor! The occasion brings up a lot of the same questions you hear around New Year’s Eve: Who will you celebrate with? More importantly, where will you take your partying ways? We decided, in that case, to repeat our New Year’s Eve plans, by celebrating at Craft Beer Market.

St. Patrick's Day Next

Decked out in our best emerald ensembles – or for some of us, the only green clothing option we have hidden away – we did what the Irish do best and drank our faces off! Mrs. Sip tried the just tapped Stanley Park Brewery Irish Stout Cask, while we also ordered one rack of Craft’s Around the World Sampler, which featured a grouping of wheat beers, followed by the Local Sampler, comprised of stouts and porters.

The sampler menus don’t always hit home for me, but these two sets looked good, with the Around the World containing four of six beers that I’ve tried before and are among my favourites, while the Local had some dark beer options that go perfectly with St. Patrick’s Day. Us guys topped the evening off with a shot of chilled Jameson Irish Whiskey, which was the perfect nightcap!

The fun didn’t stop with St. Patrick’s Day ending, as Mrs. Sip and her ladies met at their usual Joey’s Restaurant stop prior to a theatre evening and somehow, the Sip Advisor got invited along for a drink and a snack. Joey’s has the best skinny fries this side of McDonald’s and a bunch of their other eats are pretty good. Their happy hour specials are a highlight, although we’ve found that the deals vary depending on which location you’re at.

Drinking Time Sun

In liquor news, a lot of hullabaloo was made recently about how much water craft breweries are using. This is an absolutely ridiculous attack on the industry. Does Starbucks get any guff for how much H2O they’re pilfering for their disgusting beverages? And what about macro breweries which, by the nature of their name, have to be using more water than smaller operations?

As Ma Sip pointed out, the craft breweries are responsible for creating a ton of new jobs (from brewery staff, to servers at their tasting rooms) and you also have to consider Mrs. Sip’s arguments about increased tourism and all the benefits that can have on an area. Just look at how well Portland is doing, as well as other communities that are growing the industry.

Lastly, there’s one local product the Sip Advisor was made aware of this week: a collaboration brew between Persephone Brewing and Yellow Dog Beer. This Lightly Smoked Pilsner has me salivating for a taste and I’ll have to be vigilant in tracking it down!

Sip Trips #4 – Wild Weekend

As we continued the celebration of Mrs. Sip’s birthday, the weekend got off on the right note with a fantastic meal at The Keg in Yaletown. We got a table on their beautiful rooftop patio, which even in January is the place to be for a fun night out.

As per usual, I ordered the Prime Rib Burger, which is routinely one of the finest meals I’ve ever enjoyed. It will forever perplex me that it’s also one of the cheapest items (only $12) on the restaurant’s menu, but let’s keep that our little secret!

Well-Rounded Diet

With the meal, I enjoyed a Kentucky Buck cocktail (Keg-Sized, of course!), which combines bourbon, muddled strawberries, lemon juice and ginger beer, followed by a Manhattan, complete with three ounces of booze! Both drinks were very good and I’d recommend them to anyone, but particularly fans of bourbon.

The next night, we hit one of Vancouver’s newest craft breweries, Steel Toad. The facility is one of the nicest in town, with a top-notch staff of bartenders and servers. While I haven’t found a beer on their menu that blows my mind, they have a growing repertoire of solid choices. The beers I did try this time around, included the Saison Sauvignon, Double Hop Pale Ale, and Berliner Weisse.

While the beer is coming along, I can say without any doubt that they’ve got their food menu nailed down. I really enjoyed the Hawaiian pizza I ordered, while Mrs. Sip swears by the cauliflower beignet, complete with curry mayonnaise that I swiped for my pizza! The hot sauce chicken wings were also pretty good, with the burn subdued by shots of Jameson Irish Whiskey, shaken with ice. One member of the Sip Syndicate is a major proponent of drinking Jameson shots this way and I think he might be onto something.

Whiskey Doctor

Mrs. Sip was working hard last week to provide content for the Out and About articles. She picked up the Steel & Oak/Four Winds collaboration brew, which I’m really looking forward to trying and I’m surprised it has survived this long in our fridge. I’ll have more on the Gratzer, when we finally crack it open.

She also booked us on the Vancouver Brewery Tours Beer, Chocolate and Spirits Tour for Valentine’s Day. With stops at a few places we’ve been meaning to visit, such as Strange Fellowes Brewing, Odd Society Spirits, and Storm Brewing, this excursion will provide a wonderful way to spend the big day with the one I love… oh, and Mrs. Sip will be there too!

In pseudo-alcohol news, it was recently reported that a high speed rail line connecting Vancouver and Portland may be in the works, proposed by Cascadia High Speed Rail company. The train would connect the two cities in under two hours and would be a craft beer lovers dream. It would cost billions of dollars to construct and is many years away from ever being realized, but we can hope, right!

Ireland – Blarney Stone

Luck of the Irish

Bouncing around Europe to make sure the Sip Advisor ended up in Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day was a must. Of course, the day celebrates the death of and feast for Saint Patrick. But what do we really know about this patron saint of boozing and his namesake holiday? Luckily for you, my little sippers, I’m here to educate!:

Don't Have to be Irish

Saint Patrick has become a symbol of national identity for the Irish, despite being born in England. He is credited with using the shamrock as a teaching tool and figure for the holy trinity (the father, the son, and the holy spirit… had he plucked a four-leaf varietal, would he have had to make up a fourth element for the concept?). Despite common belief, Ireland’s national symbol is actually the harp, not the shamrock. Mmmm, it gets me thinking of Harp Lager, which is my favourite Irish brewing import.

Patrick worked his way across Ireland setting up monasteries, churches, and schools to help with his converting and was arrested many times by the Celtic Druids (a wicked name for a rock band), managing to escape their capture every time. His inclusion of native Irish rituals helped in bringing people over to Christianity. Patrick is credited with creating the Celtic Cross, by adding an image of the sun (an important Irish symbol) to the Christian cross.

As with most saints, Patrick has been recognized for performing a number of miracles during his life. Those phenomenal feats include driving snakes out of the country, although most scientists believe there were never any serpents in Ireland to begin with. The term serpents could have had more to do with converting paganism followers to Christianity and exiling those who did not wish to jump ship. Legends also state that Patrick was able to raise the dead.

Ireland Snakes

While wearing green is a St. Patrick’s Day tradition, Saint Patrick’s garments were actually blue. I have so much more blue in my wardrobe (it accentuates my eyes!), so I kind of wish we would celebrate March 17 with some historical accuracy. Other traditions for the day include kissing the blarney stone, which for Mrs. Sip and I means going to the local pub of that name and getting drunk enough that your face meets the floor.

The leap year tradition of women proposing to men has also been attributed to Patrick. The account states that when Saint Bridget complained of women waiting too long for men to propose (hey, we’re just enjoying what’s left of our freedom!) Patrick made this little alteration to courtship guidelines. Bridget tried to propose to Patrick, but the wise missionary turned her down.

St. Patrick’s Day is known as one of the booziest days of the year and it was no different in Patrick’s time. He is said to have endorsed drinking on his feast day, stating that everyone should have “a drop of the hard stuff.” Along these lines, it is customary to drop the shamrock you’ve worn on St. Patrick’s Day in your last drink of the evening, thereby ‘drowning the shamrock’.

st-patricks-day-dd

Everyone seems to get in on the St. Patrick’s Day act from the Chicago River in the United States being died green (although that might just be all the people expelling their green beverages) to the Canadian province of Newfoundland celebrating a provincial holiday… I really wish that this would spread across the entire country, rather than the French language. The day is also celebrated in Argentina, Japan, Russia, South Korea, Switzerland, and other locales around the globe.

And earth’s atmosphere apparently can’t contain the festiveness. Astronauts aboard the International Space Station have been known to commemorate St. Patrick’s Day, including American Catherine Coleman playing instruments belonging to Irish musicians The Chieftains and Canadian Chris Hadfield taking photos of Ireland while in orbit and donning green for a rendition of Danny Boy.

File this under the ‘say it ain’t so’ category: From 1903 to 1970, St. Patrick’s Day was a religious observation, which equated to all pubs being shut down each year on March 17. When that law was overturned and the day was recognized as a national holiday, the booze was back. Thank god (or Saint Patrick) we remedied that!

Ireland: Blarney Stone

Blarney Stone Drink Recipe

  • 2 oz Irish Whiskey
  • Top with Ginger Ale
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

So, raise your glass (whatever it is, it better be green) and join me in reciting this great toast: “May your glass be ever full. May the roof over your head be always strong. And may you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead!”

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
This drink is great. It combines three of my favourite ingredients: Whiskey, Ginger Ale, and Lime Juice. The taste is light and refreshing and thanks to the two ounces of booze, you can get pretty trashed just like Saint Patrick would have wanted!

November 20 – Full Moon Lemonade

The Next Whiskey Bar

As with most things in life, a clever slogan can be the difference between a hit product and a discontinued failure. It’s no different in the whiskey and bourbon business, as companies look to gain slight advantages over competitors with cunning taglines. Here are some of the Sip Advisor’s favourites:

Wiser’s Whiskey – Welcome to the Society of Uncompromising Men. Welcome to the Wiserhood.

I really enjoy this series of ads, which features the Society of Uncompromising Men (I am a full ranking member) and their slow clap of new recruits. Our meetings consist of gathering around, discussing how to best be men amongst the feminist uprising and drinking. It’s kind of like Al Bundy’s No Ma’am group… no, it’s exactly like that!

Jameson Irish Whiskey – Not a Drop is Sold Till it’s Seven Years Old…

I feel like they should have adapted this slogan more and made it a complete Irish limerick. You know, one of those “There once was a man from Nantucket…” dealies. That said, the fine folks at Jameson make a good point here that rushing out a whiskey product isn’t always the best idea. Let it sit and acquire flavours… then flood the market!

Wild Turkey Bourbon – Too Good to Keep Cooped Up

I like this slogan a lot. It gives me this image of bourbon drinking turkeys running amuck, similar to a zombie apocalypse, as they peck at everything in sight. Then, the Sip Advisor comes in with impressive artillery, takes out all the disgusting fowl, then sits down to a meal that puts all Thanksgivings to shame and steals all the turkey bourbon. Pretty cool imagination, eh!?

Crown Royal Whiskey – For Every King, a Crown

We should all treat ourselves as if we’re royalty. You know, be good to ourselves and indulge in things like fine liquor (Crown Royal is a perfect example), delicious food, yummy treats, fun-filled vacations, and lavish accommodations. You never know when your time will run out, so enjoy everything while you can!

crown-royal-for-every-king-a-crown

Fireball Whiskey – Taste Like Heaven, Burns Like Hell

I couldn’t agree more, although I’ve never really found Fireball to burn that much. Then again, it seems I’m able to handle heat a little better than some of my counterparts. I love watching people’s reactions when they take a shot. I don’t even flinch when downing booze, but others put on quite a little show, especially if you give them something strong.

Canadian Club Whiskey – Canadian Club. Be a Part of It.

This is one organization I wouldn’t mind paying membership dues to! Wait, am I naturally a member of this group by the simple fact that I am, in fact, Canadian. Is it part of my birth rights, similar to citizenship? I hope I don’t have to get my lawyers involved, although Mrs. Sip in business attire sends me into frenzied fits!

Jack Daniel’s Whiskey – Whiskey Made as Our Fathers Made It

Jack Daniel’s is very big on their legacy and traditions and why shouldn’t they be? Just because Jack Daniel himself died from an infection caused by kicking his own safe after forgetting the combination to unlock it doesn’t mean their history shouldn’t be cherished. In fact, we could all learn a lesson from this: inanimate objects can kill.

Drink #324: Full Moon Lemonade

Full Moon Lemonade Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Moonshine (I used Apple Pie)
  • 1 oz Limoncello
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Splash of Lemonade
  • Garnish with Lemon Slices

If you had your own whiskey brand, what would you call it and what would your slogan be? Interesting questions to ponder, am I right? My product would be aptly titled Sip Advisor Spirit, with the jingle: “One day you’ll be an advisor, too!”

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
The recipe calls for using a pinch of Sugar, but I’m not a huge fan of adding the white stuff to cocktail and instead opted for a splash of Lemonade to sweeten the mix and also heighten the lemon flavour. Using the Apple Moonshine with the Limoncello was a great partnership for this all around delicious drink.

March 17 – Irish Car Bomb

Luck of the Irish

Today we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day here at Sip Advisor headquarters. What better way to do so than follow a little bit of Irish wisdom (aside from drinking a lot of Irish beer of course)?

The Irish are full of great sayings and that’s one of the many endearing qualities we love about them. Being drunken fighters is another high value trait for the Leprechaun people, as well. In fact, what I just said will probably get me into one of those drunken fights… BRING IT ON!

Irish Special Forces

“Who gossips with you will gossip of you.”

What a great piece of advice! I talk behind people’s backs all the time… but it’s only because I like to whisper in their ears and surprise them!

“Beware of people who dislike cats.”

Regular readers know that The Sip Advisor is a huge backer of felines. I’m also a staunch supporter of the Irish, so I’m very happy to see that they feel the same way I do about kitties. If only we could all share some drinks together without it being labeled animal abuse… and I’m talking about drinking with the Irish!

“A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures.”

And the third best cure is a thorough round of boozing…

Irish Drunk-O-Meter

“Better fifty enemies outside the house than one within.”

I’m not sure about this one. Simple arithmetic shows that one is much less than 50. Plus, if they’re already inside, then you know their whereabouts when you want to bash them with a shillelagh!

“Here’s to our wives and girlfriends. May they never meet.”

I don’t think I could ever lead a double life. I’m already such a burden in my original existence, two of me would just be torture.

“Don’t give cherries to pigs or advice to fools.”

I hate giving advice. I find, more often than not, that when someone solicits your guidance on a subject, they don’t even do what you tell them. I now charge for my counsel (much like a lawyer would) and that will hopefully result in good returns for me, regardless of how errant my advice turns out to be.

“God invented whiskey to keep the Irish from ruling the world.”

While this may be true, it assumes that the Irish have any interest in ruling the world.

Irish Flood Drinking

“It is often that a person’s mouth broke his nose.”

It is so nice to see mouthpieces get their comeuppance every now and again. You know, those loudmouths (blog writers!) who spout off to anyone in his proximity until finally someone takes issue with what he is saying and makes him eat some teeth. It’s especially memorable when it’s a little guy taking down a big dude.

“Dance as if no one’s watching, sing as if no one’s listening, and live everyday as if it were your last.”

Aside from the fact that this quote is most commonly quoted by high school girls, dancing and singing are two or The Sip Advisor’s worst performing arts. How about we play sports like there’s no one in the audience (my regular beer league hockey experience) and we drink like bottles are infinite. I know the Irish are down with that.

“A best friend is like a four leaf clover: hard to find and lucky to have.”

Amen to this statement. You only have so many good friends throughout your life. Now let’s all share a drink to commemorate how lucky we are that we found each other!

Drink #76: Irish Car Bomb

Irish Car Bomb

I’d like to close today’s post with my own Irish blessing: May your beers of green be wonderful on this holiest of days and may you wake up tomorrow ready to go again!

Happy St. Paddy’s Day!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
While slamming drinks down might not be for everyone, I do like the Irish Car Bomb. And really, you have to drink this one fast or else the Irish Crème will curdle and you won’t be having very much fun at all.