August 9 – Secret of the Ooze

Reptile Rebellion

I’m a huge Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan and have been since the cool dudes with attitudes hit the airwaves in 1987. With the movie reboot that came out last night, it’s time to dedicate some space to turtle power and discuss the greatest reptiles ever. Let the debate begin!

#5: The Fraternity of Crocodiles – Pearls Before Swine

Some of the funniest Pearls Before Swine comics involve the Fraternity of Crocodiles (under their official name of Da Brudderhood of Zeeba Zeeba Eata) trying to get their chompers wrapped around the animals of Albany, California. These crocs really aren’t very bright, but they’re enthusiasm for eating zebras is unrivaled. Their failed attempts at procuring dinner is akin to Wile E. Coyote’s efforts and you find yourself routing for the bad guy to pick up a win.

zeeba_zeeba_eata

#4: Geico Gecko

I love this little mascot, who despite his gentle nature, seems to have a bite to him, as well. He is, after all, the smartest man in the room at high-level Geico meetings and that might be saying something about the insurance industry in general. The Geico Gecko was born out of the 1999 Screen Actors Guild strike, which resulted in the company not being able to use live actors. Kelsey Grammar originally voiced the character, but he has evolved into more of an everyman gecko with a Cockney accent.

#3: Rango

Perfectly cast, with Johnny Depp providing the lizard’s voice, Rango is the tale of a fish-out-of-water chameleon, who becomes sheriff of the desert town of Dirt and uncovers a mystery involving the area’s drinking water. I also have to give Rango props for dealing with the dreaded Rattlesnake Jake, using his brains to defeat the brawny gunslinger. Anytime a slithering snake is defeated, the Sip Advisor is a happy man.

rango-fear-and-loathing

#2: Bowser – Nintendo

One of the greatest video game baddies of all-time, Bowser seems obsessed with Princess Peach to the point that he’s kidnapped her so many times she’s developed a severe case of Stockholm Syndrome and doesn’t mind playing board games and going go-kart racing with the evil lizard king. Bowser even has his family members getting in on the sinful acts and you may defeat them, but the princess will likely be in another castle!

#1: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

You had to know that these four heroes in a half shell would take the top spot. Of course, Michaelangelo is my favourite among the troupe, but each member of the team holds a special place in my heart and brings something different to the table. One of my favourite things about the TMNT franchise is all the different sidekicks and villains that were introduced, from Casey Jones to the Shredder, and all the Bebop’s and Rocksteady’s in between.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Secret of the Ooze (A Sip Advisor Original Recipe)

Aug 9

  • Rim glass with Candy Sugar
  • 0.5 oz Melon Liqueur
  • 0.5 oz Pisang Ambon
  • Splash of Sour Apple Mix
  • Dash of Lime Cordial

I have to throw some honourable mentions out to Dino (Flintstones), Godzilla, Tick-Tock (Peter Pan), Sir Hiss (Robin Hood), and Reptile (Mortal Kombat). One reptilian that is definitely on the hate list is Barney the Dinosaur… he gives all prehistoric beasts a bad name and should have been slaughtered by the Transformers Dinobots crew.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
I wasn’t really happy with the Mutagen and other Ninja Turtles-themed drinks that already existed (although Drunken Moogle has a neat cocktail that actually uses the toy mutagen canister for its glass), so I built my own shot version, using as many green-coloured products I had in my arsenal. The results were a fruit punch of sorts, including the Lime Cordial Mrs. Sip and I made ourselves. This shooter also provided my first chance to use my new tilted shot glass, which goes perfectly with the theme, in my honest opinion.

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November 22 – Churchill

Tennessee Whiskey vs. Kentucky Bourbon

A battle of the ages has long been brewing (literally!) between the states of Tennessee and Kentucky. In one corner, you have the maker of the finest American whiskeys, while in the other, you have the home of bourbon creations. Let’s take a look at each state’s role in the world around us and see which place should get the nod in this never-ending conflict.

Famous Citizens

Tennessee: Davy Crockett, Morgan Freeman, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Dolly Parton, Al Gore, Miley Cyrus – can you imagine Davy Crockett, Morgan Freeman and Al Gore twerking!?

twerking

Kentucky: Abraham Lincoln, Daniel Boone, Muhammad Ali, George Clooney, Johnny Depp, The Judds, Colonel Sanders – that’s a murderer’s row of famous folks who call Kentucky home!

Sports

Tennessee: Tennessee Titans (NFL), Memphis Grizzlies (NBA), Nashville Predators – Memphis stole Vancouver’s basketball franchise… you better believe that’s a paddlin’.

Kentucky: Kentucky Derby – I love watching the horsies race and apparently Kentuckians do too, as they don’t have any professional sports franchises within the state.

Food

Tennessee: I love southern barbecue foods (your pulled pork, brisket, chicken) and all the sides those meats come with (I gotta stop writing on an empty stomach!). In particular, we have a chain in western Canada called Memphis Blues that provides all these delicacies and there’s one wonderfully located a block up the street from Mrs. Sip and my chateau!

Kentucky: KFC, yo! Gotta give some points to the Colonel here, even if the company has rebranded itself to drop the Kentucky moniker! The state is also known for a dish called Hot Brown, which involves (layered in order) toasted bread, turkey, bacon, tomatoes, and mornay sauce.

KFC S&M

Arts (TV, Movies, Music, etc.)

Tennessee: Music City, USA; Memphis Wrestling – I’m a fan of one and not so much of the other… which is which!?

Kentucky: Recognizable Stars – Ah, hello, look no further than they provided the world with George Clooney and Johnny Depp, as well as vampire hunter Abraham Lincoln!

Landmarks

Tennessee: Graceland, Dollywood, Country Music Hall of Fame, Opryland USA – Did you know that Dollywood even has a water park!? For some reason, among all these great landmarks, that’s what sticks out to me the most!

Kentucky: Churchill Downs, Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, KFC Yum! Center, Abraham Lincoln Birthplace, Creation Museum, Fort Knox – The Creation Museum could, in fact, be the nation’s finest comedy club!

Slogans

Tennessee: “America at its Best” – I like the confidence of that statement!

Tennessee Slogan

This seems like a pretty good slogan, too!

Kentucky: “It’s That Friendly”, “Unbridled Spirit” – Sorry, but I’m not a fan of either of these attempts.

Nickname

Tennessee: Volunteer State – I hate volunteering for things, so Tennessee is going to lose some points in this category.

Kentucky: Bluegrass State – Mmm, mmm, I love me some bluegrass music… not the actual type of grass, of course.

State Symbols (last chance to get in the good graces of the Sip Advisor)

Tennessee: Their state wild animal (seriously, why do they have these things) is the raccoon… total props for that pick!

Kentucky: Their state dance is clogging… I’m not entirely sure what this is (no need for research here), but my mind tells me it’s like crunking, but more dangerous!

Drink #326: Churchill

Churchill Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Scotch Whiskey
  • 0.5 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 0.5 oz Cointreau
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with a Lime Wheel

So, in the end, who was the big winner between the two states? Tennessee takes Landmarks, Slogan, and State Symbols, while Famous Citizens, Arts, and Nickname go to Kentucky. Sports and Food are a toss-up, so I’m afraid we’re right where we started at the beginning of this whole debacle!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I’m not sure whether this cocktail is named for Winston Churchill or Churchill Downs, but I figured it was a fitting recipe either way. And it tastes pretty darn good to boot! It’s not too strong, which is always a risk when the recipe is so booze heavy and mixers are largely absent, but this one works, likely helped along by the Cointreau and Lime Juice, in particular.

October 13 – Red Rum

Screen Spooks

Normally this time of the year, Mrs. Sip and I are getting into the Halloween spirit by watching scary movies and TV show episodes that highlight the pinnacle of October. With Mrs. Sip away in Europe, experiencing real-life haunts such as Dracula’s Castle, I’ve been left on my own to spook myself. Here are some of my favourite horror viewings:

Dead Snow (2009)

This movie is spectacular, focusing on the uprising of a horde of Nazi zombies. It begins with your usual group of young people heading out into the wilderness for a wild weekend at a remote lodge. Along the way, they awaken the Nazi zombies and the gruesome killings begin. Will anyone survive? Dead Snow is a Norwegian movie, so you have to be okay with subtitles, but I totally recommend sitting through the fun.

Dead Snow

April Fool’s Day (1986)

Mrs. Sip and other members of the Sip Alliance are fans of murder mystery parties. As for myself, I enjoy the eating and especially the drinking, but the whole dressing up and getting into character I find to be a struggle. This film takes the classic murder mystery weekend that turns real route. I haven’t yet seen the 2008 remake, preferring the cheesiness of the 80’s flick, although the remake was direct to DVD, so it’s probably got its fair share of fromage, too!

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

I’ve always thought that Freddy Krueger is one of the best horror movie baddies. He can be so vile and repulsive… yet charming, as he was made in later installments, dropping classic catchphrases and killing his victims in a more cartoonish style. The original Nightmare is a great film, perhaps best remembered lately for Johnny Depp’s role. The Freddy character has gone on to star in numerous movies, returning to the cold-blooded killer he was meant to be in recent adaptations.

The Shining (1980)

Watching Jack Torrance’s (Jack Nicholson) descent into madness is a great feat of acting. If I was stuck in that massive resort all by myself for the winter, I’d probably go a little nuts, as well. Nearly as good as the movie, is The Simpsons spoof of The Shining, which features Homer losing his composure when he discovers that there will be no TV and no beer during the duration of their stay looking after Mr. Burns mountain home.

the-shining

Dawn of the Dead (2004)

I’m particularly fond of the remake of this film, which is largely set in a shopping mall and depicts a group of strangers having to band together to remain safe in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. Of course, some are able to do what’s best for the unit, while others are only capable of looking out for themselves. The resulting chaos is a thrilling ride as you hope that the good ones can make it out alive.

Saw (2004)

While I still haven’t completed my watching of the entire franchise, I give full marks to the first Saw movie, which has so many twists and turns and violent endings that you’ll be glued to your screen as you try to figure out, just as the victims do, why they’ve been chosen by Jigsaw to ‘play a game’. The film is not for the squeamish, as Jigsaw’s traps are quite horrifying and deadly, but the psychology behind Saw is what really makes the series work.

Drink #286: Red Rum

Red Rum Drink Recipe

  • 1.5 oz Spiced Rum (I used Sailor Jerry’s)
  • 1.5 oz Irish Crème
  • Top with Cream Soda
  • Garnish with Chocolate Cookie Stick

Do you have any suggestions for a lonely and easily frightened Sip Advisor? Feel free to pass them along my way!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.5 Sips out of 5):
It looks like Pepto Bismal… and that’s not necessarily a good thing. The drink doesn’t taste that bad, perhaps helped along a fair bit by the Sailor Jerry’s and even Cream Soda, but the Irish Creme causes some curdling, which takes a little while to get used to. This is one cocktail you’ll definitely want to ingest with caution.

September 30 – The Wink

Near Misses

Here is part two of my investigative series looking at roles actors and actresses passed on that cost them millions of box office dollars, increased fame, and iconic characters and franchises. Let’s get right on with it!:

Johnny Depp – Ferris Bueller (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off)

Depp’s career could have been launched years before he finally broke through, or perhaps it could have fizzled out much like Matthew Broderick’s has. We’ll never really know, as Depp passed on the role of Ferris Bueller and all of his ditching class hijinks. Had he taken the role, perhaps Depp would have never developed into the eclectic actor he is today and we would have missed out on characters like Edward Scissorhands and Capt. Jack Sparrow.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off Johnny Depp

Michelle Pfeiffer – Clarice Starling (Silence of the Lambs)

An Oscar could have been Pfeiffer’s prize if she had accepted the offer to play Clarice Starling in the wildly successful (both critically and financially) Silence of the Lambs. It’s not like Pfeiffer saw a drop in her career at that point, later playing Catwoman in Batman Returns, but she missed a rare chance to snatch up an elusive Oscar statue. It seems Pfeiffer made a career of turning down roles, including the female leads Pretty Woman, Basic Instinct, Thelma & Louise, and Evita, among others.

Jeremy Irons – Hannibal Lecter (Silence of the Lambs)

Sticking with Silence of the Lambs, Irons turned down the role of Hannibal Lecter because he found the script to be too violent. So, let me get this straight, it’s okay to voice an evil lion (Scar) who causes his own brother’s death and nearly his nephew’s, as well (in a kids movie, no less), but wearing the face of another human is not okay!? Irons missed out on a movie that swept the Oscars and is best remembered for being an animated kitty.

Hugh Jackman – James Bond (Casino Royale)

On top of playing everyone’s favourite adamantium-infused mutant, Jackman was also offered the role of iconic spy James Bond. He passed on the part, saying he wasn’t ready to hold down two so very notable characters at the same time… then went on to play freakin’ Jean Valjean! Okay, the Les Miserables protagonist isn’t on the same level as the other two, but I have to get something for sitting through that drudgery. On a positive note, Daniel Craig has been perfect as Bond, thus far.

James Bond - Hugh Jackman

Jackman as Bond could have worked!

Russell Crowe – Wolverine (X-Men)

Speaking of Wolfy, Crowe was originally pegged to play the age-unknown Logan/Wolverine. Rumour has it (or at least the rumour I made up) that Crowe was unable to grow the sideburns necessary for the character and therefore abandoned the project, not wanting to lose any legitimacy if he had used make-up or special effects instead. Crowe and Jackman would later play bitter enemies in Les Mis, with Crowe using his turned down role as inspiration for his hatred towards Jackman’s character.

Dave Chappelle – Bubba (Forrest Gump)

While he has since gone on to have a highly acclaimed TV show (as well as his highly-publicized meltdown and leaving said show), Chappelle was originally offered the role of Bubba in Forrest Gump. Had he taken the part, Chappelle would now have numerous restaurants around the United States in his honour. Perhaps he passed on the character because the slim comedian just couldn’t put back enough shrimp to justify Bubba’s obsession with the seafood.

Jake Gyllenhaal – Jake Sully (Avatar)

Gyllenhaal did finally get to play a cripple (spoiler alert) in Source Code, but he missed out on the Avatar money train and getting to be a computer animated blue guy fighting a mechanized army to save FernGully, the last rainforest. Sam Worthington snatched up the role, which he will reprise for 2016’s Avatar 2 (which has the working subtitle ‘Blue Man Group Rides Again’). It should be noted that Matt Damon also rejected the offer for Avatar.

Drink #273: The Wink

The Wink Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Gin (I used Tanqueray)
  • 0.5 oz Triple Sec
  • 0.25 oz Absinthe
  • Splash of Simple Syrup
  • Dash of Peychaud Bitters
  • Garnish with Lemon Twist

With all the hype recently about who turned down the male lead in 50 Shades of Grey and who eventually accepted the role, it will be interesting to see if there are any regrets in the future. Menopausal women love this garbage, so I smell a big money franchise.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2 Sips out of 5):
This drink is pretty strong and bitter, with the Triple Sec and Simple Syrup only able to do so much to sweeten the mix. After some ice dilution, the cocktail tasted slightly better. It was nice to finally use the Peychaud Bitters Mrs. Sip picked up for me in New Orleans, but I hope to find better recipes to use it in, in the future.

March 13 – Sazerac

Macaroni Workshop

Today, we unveil the first ever Sip Advisor art gala… the results of an absinthe-induced buzz. I worked long and hard on this piece and I hope the results are worth my efforts!

Drum roll, please…

Macaroni Stick-man throws up

I tried to live up to the standards of the Macaroni Masters. I hope I have not let them down.

My inspiration for this piece included Tyrannosaurus Rex (note the short arms on Mr. Stick – a distant relative of Mr. Sip) and Johnny Depp (notice the resemblance!?).

Mrs. Sip said that my stickman was very well done and gave me a gold star, which I promptly put into my sticker book. If I earn five gold stars, apparently she’ll take me to Chuck E. Cheese’s, or at least that’s the rumour on the playground!

Oh and this is Mrs. Sip’s absinthe-induced art gala entry, which I guess warrants an honourable mention… clearly mine’s better!

Trippy Tree

Now let’s enjoy a drink that helped me get through this exhausting process.

Drink #72: Sazerac

Sazerac Cocktail

  • 1 oz Absinthe
  • 1 oz Whiskey (I used Crown Royal)
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Garnish with a Blackberry

What do you think? Should I take my piece on a worldwide tour? As crazy as it sounds, I feel there might actually be an audience for my “special” talents.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
My favourite cocktail of Absinthe Week. I think I have to give a nod to Crown Royal Whiskey as the ingredient that made this drink so enjoyable. The Lemon Juice and Simple Syrup also played important roles in making the Absinthe more agreeable.