Baby Beverages #2 – Baby World Immersion

I’ve decided to make my Baby Beverages articles a monthly feature for the time being. As I take a look at all things going on in my and Mrs. Sip’s new life as parents, today we’ll tackle unsolicited advice, my balance of work and fatherhood with a newborn and some of the Sip Advisor’s favourite baby devices thus far. Let’s get things started:

When you’re a new parent, advice (good and bad) is coming at you from all angles. No amount of dodging, ducking, dipping, diving, and dodging will help you avoid all the voices. Not surprisingly, much of the information contradicts other tips and tricks you’ve been provided. My approach has been that while I will certainly make mistakes, that’s the only way to learn and become a better parent.

Baby Advice

Moving on, my work-life balance has been fairly good. Sure, my sleep per night (requiring my creation of the unit of measurement S/N) has been cut, but thanks to Mrs. Sip taking the bulk of overnight duties on work days, I’m still a functioning employee. Not fully-functioning, but I never really was to being with. I will say that sometimes it feels like I’m working two jobs: my typical work shift, followed by evenings with Baby Sip. Clocking in with Baby Sip is far more pleasurable, though.

Finally, we’ll wrap up with a look at some of the Sip Advisor’s favourite baby gadgets through the earliest stages. Since I’m on diaper duty whenever I’m home, I absolutely love our Diaper Genie. It was easy to set up and work with and gets my full seal of approval. I dare say diaper duty has been fun, minus the occasional mishap and mess. I also like the Graco Car Seat Adapter Mrs. Sip found on Amazon US. It was only $60 and has allowed us to move Baby Sip from vehicle to stroller and back with ease. The same product on Amazon Canada was a staggering $300-plus. Other items that have been essential to our child rearing so far are Baby Sip’s Fisher-Price Swing, Angelcare Bath Support, and various Sleep Sacks, among others.

Baby Beverages #2: Peer Pressure

Peer Pressure

  • 0.5 oz Triple Sec
  • 0.5 oz Kahlua
  • 0.5 oz Tequila
  • Beer (chase after shot, while people pressure you)

What will the next month of parenting bring me and Mrs. Sip? Only time will tell!

Advertisements

Mixer Mania #18 – Using and Abusing

For some time, commercials have aired hyping chocolate milk as the perfect post-workout beverage. Yes, better than protein shakes, regular milk, water, or sports drinks. Regardless of how legit this claim may be, it got the Sip Advisor thinking about fictional substances used by characters to enhance their physique:

Weight Gain 4000 – South Park

In Eric Cartman’s obsession to be a “beefcake” for his televised award ceremony, after winning his school’s Save Our Fragile Planet essay contest, he begins taking doses of Weight Gain 4000. Well, at least the product came as advertised. By the end of the episode, Cartman has swelled to a massive size and is barely moveable. In his mind, though, the added pounds are simply muscle mass. Cartman does get the fame he wanted, though, as his obesity lands him on talk show Geraldo.

Cartman Weight Gain 4000

Thump – Aqua Teen Hunger Force

After being hospitalized for high blood pressure, Master Shake decides to get into shape. His method of doing this is to drink copious amounts of an illegal fitness beverage called Thump. The product’s flavour options – Mango Bitch Slap, Coconut What Did You Say To Me, and Blueberry Butt Rape – would have most people reconsider, but this is Master Shake we’re talking about. Of course, the muscles gained come to life and start a murderous rampage… just another day in South Jersey!

Powersauce – The Simpsons

Looking to shed his trademark spare tire, Homer Simpson turns to the Rainier Wolfcastle endorsed Powersauce bars to help with his efforts in the gym. Homer’s dedication to only eating foods in bar form led to him becoming the next spokesperson for Powersauce bars and their representative to scale the ominous Murderhorn Mountain. Homer ends up being successful in reaching the Murderhorn peak, but it is also learned that Powersauce bars are merely made from apple cores and Chinese newspapers.

Homer Powersauce Bars

Spinach – Popeye

Popeye has been using this “performance-enhancing substance” throughout his career, with Olive Oyl his enabler. Popeye simply grabs a can of spinach, pops it open and consumes the vegetable, leading to bulging muscles that get him through a number of dire situations. In the real world, spinach sales increased as a result of the character’s association with it. Ironically, spinach was chosen as Popeye’s supplement of choice, due to its iron content, which was later determined to be a miscalculation.

Venom – Batman

The supervillain Bane gains his massive physique by abusing this super steroid. The addictive formula must be constantly administered, directly to Bane’s brain, or else the user will suffer extreme withdrawal. The drug makes Bane so strong, that he is able to break Batman’s back and send him into temporary retirement. Of course, anytime his stream of Venom is disrupted, Bane becomes weak and easily defeated. After all, every antagonist has to have their Achilles’ heel.

Mixer Mania #18: Dirty Bastard

Dirty Bastard.JPG

  • 1 oz Tequila
  • 0.5 oz Irish Crème
  • 0.5 oz Kahlua
  • 0.5 oz Amaretto
  • Top with Chocolate Milk
  • Garnish with Maraschino Cherries

I don’t think I would take any of these enhancers. No, I’ll stick to the chocolate milk – preferably booze-fueled – thank you very much!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
The highlight of this martini might have been finally opening the bottle of Bailey’s Cherry Chocolate Irish Crème I’ve been holding onto for far too long. Despite all the booze that’s part of this recipe, the cocktail is fairly light and the flavours are quite cohesive.

Mixer Mania #14 – Apple Jacks

There are so many idioms that involve apples. No other fruit is used so frequently to convey completely unrelated ideas

An apple a day keeps the doctor away

I’d imagine this phrase was invented by the apple farmer’s industry, looking to boost sales and profit off of people’s anxiety.

Comparing apples and oranges

Have you ever seen an orange apple? For that matter, have you ever seen an orange that is anything but orange (provided it hasn’t gone rotten or moldy)?

Apples to Oranges

The apple of my eye

This is certainly how Mrs. Sip views me, as someone she cherishes above everyone else. Wishful thinking, perhaps!?

The Big Apple

Of all folks, it was a sports writer who first gave New York the nickname the Big Apple, when referring to the horse racing scene and all the money available from it in the city.

Good and bad apples/Rotten apple

I’d like to think that I’m a good apple among many bad/rotten apples in this world, but maybe there’s a little bruising on the ol’ Sip Advisor, too.

How do you like them apples?

Did you know that this expression has an abbreviation (HDYLTA), which is pronounced ‘huduyuluta’? I wish I could say that I made that up for this article. Anyhoo, the rhetorical phrase may come from the British use of ‘Toffee Apple’ trench mortars in World War I.

How Do You Like Them Apples

The apple never falls far from the tree

While using fruit to compare fathers/sons or mothers/daughters seems apropos, when you pick up said apple and throw it far away from the tree, that’s when you get estranged fruit/family.

As American as apple pie

Not to offend any of my American readers, but I always thought of the US as a state fair deep-fried dessert kind of country. Us Canadians call dibs on the majestic donut, though.

It takes one bad apple to spoil the whole bunch/barrel/bushel

Regardless of how the song goes, it’s been scientifically proven that one bad apple does in fact spoil a whole group of the fruit.

Upset the apple cart

Just like this site has been attempting to do since its launch, we aim to disturb the status quo and change the cocktail world… for the better, of course.

Mixer Mania #14: Dirty Apple

Dirty Apple

  • 1.5 oz Kahlua
  • Top with Apple Juice
  • Splash of Milk
  • Garnish with an Apple Slice

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.25 Sips out of 5):
I made this cocktail even dirtier, going with my Chili Chocolate version of Kahlua for an added touch of spice. I also subbed in Apple Lime Juice, which has been a trusted mixer for the Sip Advisor for years. The drink turned out pretty well.

Flavour Revolution – Gingerbread

‘Tis the Season

Mrs. Sip and I picked up a bottle of Southern Comfort: Gingerbread last year in Hawaii and should play around with it more than we have to this point. Here are some other spirits perfect for the winter and holiday season:

Bailey’s Irish Crème

Bailey’s is a holiday staple, perfect for morning coffee (not for the Sip Advisor, though) or straight up as a night cap. Last Christmas, Sis-in-Law Sip gave me a bottle of Chocolate Cherry, which I only haven’t opened because I was going through another crème liqueur and don’t like having too many on the go. Other flavours perfect for the season (and year round), include Orange Truffle, Vanilla Cinnamon, Biscotti, Hazelnut, Salted Caramel, Mint Chocolate, and Crème Caramel.

Bailey's Straight

Kahlua

With flavours such as Hazelnut, Cinnamon Spice, Peppermint Mocha, and French Vanilla, Kahlua ranks right up there with Bailey’s as a textbook winter treat. New to their product line is a Salted Caramel version, which has the Sip Advisor quite intrigued. Kahlua – and other liqueurs – are basically the only way I will intake coffee and despite my complete disregard of the hot beverage, I do have a soft spot for it in booze form.

Peppermint Schnapps

I love putting a couple dashes of Peppermint Schnapps in my hot chocolate. The Sip Advisor is currently using Yukon Jack Permafrost as his go to winter warmer. This product is unique in that it combines the flavours of peppermint and cinnamon all in one bottle. There are also a few peppermint-flavoured vodkas on the market, including Smirnoff Peppermint Twist Vodka and Burnett’s Candy Cane Vodka. Earlier this month, I used the Candy Cane Vodka for another Flavour Revolution article.

 

Eggnog Liqueur

You can’t go through the Christmas season without eggnog. Even people who aren’t crazy about the beverage (such as myself), end up indulging in the nog at least once… for tradition’s sake. A number of companies have jumped on the eggnog bandwagon, releasing pre-mixed bottles of the festive drink. An interesting Peppermint Chocolate variation comes from the Evan Williams distillery, which turns the dial up on Christmas!

christmas cat_eggnog

Spicebox Gingerbread Whiskey

In a similar vein to the SoCo Gingerbread we’re working with today, comes Spicebox Gingerbread Whiskey. I’m going to start sounding like a broken record, but this is another spirit that I have had great interest in, but have yet to purchase and sample. Along with the cookies it is inspired by, gingerbread is perfect at this time of year, soothing eaters and drinkers with a spice and warmth that is unlike any other treat available.

Jack Daniels Winter Jack

Having been a Jack Daniels fan since before I even began drinking, I’ve always been curious of this winter release, which combines the famous Tennessee whiskey with apple cider to produce a ready-to-drink cocktail. Sis-in-Law Sip gifted me a bottle of this for Christmas this year, but as of press time, I’m still showing it off underneath our tree. It sounds like the perfect liqueur to bring in the New Year with, so perhaps I’ll have to report back to all you little sippers.

Flavour Revolution: Late Night Affair

  • Rim glass with Gingerbread Crumbs
  • 1.5 oz Southern Comfort Gingerbread
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • Top with Cranberry Juice
  • Splash of Club Soda
  • Dash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

There’s also a multitude of winter beers on the market, many of which I have covered in my recent Sip Trips articles, looking at the craft beer advent calendar Mrs. Sip compiled for me. Is there anything else out there I’ve neglected and should add to my shopping list?

December 20 – Jack Frost

Holiday Horrors

Christmas is supposed to be all about good tidings and joy, but some would have you think otherwise. The following entries are only interested in disrupting the holiday and even putting an end to Santa Claus and the whole spirit of Christmas. Let’s wade together into the darker side of the season!

#5: Xanta Klaus

Professional wrestling is the perfect breeding grounds for detestable anti-Christmas characters. Among those creations is Xanta Klaus, who arrived on the scene in 1995, under the guise of giving out gifts to children, only to turn on wrestler Savio Vega and beat him with his toy-filled sack. Unfortunately, Xanta Klaus was short-lived, with writers probably realizing he didn’t have a shelf life past December 25th. Even wrestling events in the month of December take on a not-so-friendly air, with names like Season’s Beatings, Massacre of 34th Street, Holiday Hell, and December to Dismember.

#4: Robot Santa

This mechanized version of Santa, as seen on Futurama, is hell bent on ruining every Christmas. He was originally created to decide whether a child was naughty or nice and then reward or punish the youngster accordingly. His programming goes all haywire, however, and he ends up believing everyone is bad, leading to the launch of aggressive assaults each Christmas Eve, with an array of seasonal weapons. If Robot Santa wasn’t bad enough on his own, he is occasionally joined by Kwanzaabot and the Chanukah Zombie, with the group being collectively known as The Trinity.

#3: Christmas Time in South Park

The brilliant minds behind South Park don’t mind turning the Christmas season into their own satirical playground, with heroic holiday characters that include Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo and even cult leader Charles Manson. If the bad guys are good, then the antagonists must be really evil. Episodes have seen Iraqi soldiers torture Santa Claus, only for Jesus to save the jolly fat man; Woodland Christmas critters giving birth to the antichrist; and heck, the animated short by Trey Parker and Matt Stone that largely led to South Park’s existence was titled Jesus vs. Santa, and included the two fighting, before coming to a truce over orange smoothies!

south_park_christmas

#2: Jack Frost

What happens when a serial killer en route to his execution dies in a horrific accident? Well, if his name is Jack Frost, he comes back as a deranged snowman, of course. Then, he terrorizes the lawman who apprehended him and the town of Snowmonton (yes, that was seriously the city’s name), including raping a woman in the shower with his carrot nose and murdering piles of people. Hell, Frost did call himself the “world’s most pissed off snow cone!” Ironically, only a year later, a family film with the same name was released and had a similar plot (man dies and turns into snowman), minus all the slaying and carrot-based sexual assault.

#1: Krampus

This European legend is the anti-Santa, used to encourage kids to be good, or else! In some countries, the creature has somehow gained his own celebration night, Krampusnacht, on December 5th, the eve before St. Nicholas Day, which rewards good children. This has involved people dressing up as the man-beast and beating others up. Krampus was depicted on American Dad as actually being a good guy, only trying to correct bad behaviour in kids, while Santa is the true villain. There is also the similar Belsnickel, who has the split personality of both Krampus and St. Nicholas and was famously portrayed by Dwight Schrute on The Office.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Jack Frost

Dec 20

  • Rim glass with Candy Cane Bits
  • 0.5 oz Kahlua
  • 0.5 oz Bailey’s Irish Crème
  • 0.5 oz Peppermint Schnapps
  • Garnish with a Candy Cane

A couple honourable mentions that could have been included on this list, had they not had a change of heart and eventually embraced the season, include the Grinch and Jack Skellington. I hope all you little sippers have a wonderful Christmas and get lit up like the tree!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
I can’t believe how many shot recipes start with Kahlua and Irish Crème… too many. To change thing up a little, I used Yukon Jack Perma Frost, instead of Peppermint Schnapps. The Perma Frost adds cinnamon notes to the usual mint flavour and kind of completed this shooter.

November 29 – Three’s Company

Three of a Kind

With Horrible Bosses 2 arriving in theatres, I thought it was the perfect time to look back on some of my favourite comedic trios. They say that three is a crowd, but in these cases, it couldn’t be more comfortable:

#5: Nick, Dale & Kurt – Horrible Bosses

I really enjoyed this movie, which sees a trio of friends decide to kill their respective bosses. Of course, things don’t go as planned and they become embroiled in a web of infidelity, break and enter, and homicide. The sequel sees the cast reunite with Nick, Dale and Kurt starting their own business and having to take drastic measures when competition comes along, trying to crush their operation. Best of all, Jennifer Aniston is back for another spin as the nympho dentist!

Horrible-Bosses-Trio

#4: Aqua Teen Hunger Force

Made up of Frylock, Master Shake, and Meatwad, these three food items started life as crime fighters, but evolved into lazy degenerates. I’m particularly fond of Master Shake and Meatwad, who are complete polar opposites. Master Shake is always looking to con his way into money and babes, while Meatwad is a sweet and caring lad. The do share a low level of intelligence, but that makes things all the more interesting. One thing is for sure, I would hate to be their neighbour Carl.

#3: Yakko, Wakko & Dot – Animaniacs

This madcap trio of hellraisers were shut away in the Warner Bros. studio lot vault for decades and upon being released, unleashed their manic brand of humour on the world… whether the world was ready for it or not. Interestingly, the Warner siblings were intended to be ducks, but were changed to dog-like beings in early production. The Warner’s stuck around for 99 episodes of chaotic fun, before disappearing back into their water tower home and leaving the world at peace.

Animaniacs Trio

#2: Phil, Stu & Alan – The Hangover

Played by Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis, respectively, this movie franchise shows just what can happen when you have a crazy night out in Las Vegas, Bangkok, and just about anywhere in the world. I always felt bad for Doug that he never gets to be part of the adventure. In each of the three movies, he’s pushed to the sidelines… once, quite literally! In the end, these three guys, who were acquaintances before the franchise, became legit friends thanks to the whole experience.

#1: The Three Stooges

Comedy just wouldn’t be the same without Larry, Curly, and Moe. Sure, the recent reboot of this franchise might not be great, but the original troupe were legends and have been ripped off and spoofed for decades. The Three Stooges began their iconic career in 1925 as a vaudeville act, before moving onto feature films. Since appearing on TV for the first time in 1958, their shorts have remained a staple of the airwaves to this day, and will make audiences laugh for years to come.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Three’s Company

Three's Company Shot

  • 0.5 oz Cognac
  • 0.5 oz Grand Marnier
  • 0.5 oz Kahlua
  • Garnish with an Orange Slice

Myself and Mrs. Sip make up our own triple threat, using an interchangeable member that simply hangs on to the awesomeness of our coattails. Honourable mentions go to Alvin and The Chipmunks; Huey, Dewey, and Louie; the Workaholics; and many more. In researching this article, I had to be very careful not to use the search term “best threesomes”… but I used it anyway!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
This shot tasted pretty good, largely thanks to the Grand Marnier’s delicious orange flavour. I’ll even throw some credit towards the Kahlua. The score was lowered because of the strong taste, something the decent flavours couldn’t make up for.

Iceland – Katla

Viking Power

I’ve always been fascinated by the World’s Strongest Man competitions. Iceland, is home to two of the sport’s greatest icons, Jón Páll Sigmarsson and Magnús Ver Magnússon, who combined won the event eight times (four each), ranking Iceland at the top of the powerlifting game. Let’s take a look at these two hulking men and their contributions to strongman lore:

Jón Páll Sigmarsson

Born in Hafnarfjörður (just don’t ask the Sip Advisor to try and pronounce the word), Sigmarsson was the first to win the World’s Strongest Man event four times, doing so in a seven year span. His lowest finish in the tournament was third place in 1989. From humble beginnings, Sigmarsson’s legend grew as he participated in events around the world, including Scotland’s Highland Games.

Sigmarsson was a showman and loved to put on a performance. His charisma came through the TV screen with roars, shouting, and celebrations. During one event of the 1985 World’s Strongest Man, an audience member made the mistake of calling Sigmarrson an Eskimo, to which the powerlifter replied, “I am not an Eskimo, I am a Viking!” before snatching and seemingly with ease, lifting a 495kg cart.

Sigmarsson

Sadly, Sigmarsson passed away at the young age of 32, from a heart attack. He died doing what he loved, lifting, in his own gym, Jakaból (which means Giant’s Nest). While steroid use played a role in his death, there was also a heart defect that others in his family had suffered from. Sigmarsson was survived by a son, Sigmar, and I wonder if he ever followed in the footsteps of his dear ol’ dad?

A fascinating documentary was made on the life of Sigmarsson, titled Larger than Life. The Sip Advisor actually watched it en route to Iceland and it gave me a different perspective going into the country. Sigmarsson was enshrined in the World’s Strongest Man Hall of Fame in 2012, one of only three competitors to be selected thus far into the hallowed halls.

PIPES_grande

Magnús Ver Magnússon

Hailing from Egilsstaðir (again, I don’t even know where to begin with the pronunciation of this place name) and already owning one of the greatest villainous names in entertainment history, Ver Magnússon seemed like the perfect fit to take the torch from Sigmarsson and become the next great Icelandic strongman. Like Sigmarsson, Ver Magnússon travelled the world in his early years of lifting, winning competitions across the globe.

Equaling Sigmarsson’s achievement of four World Strongest Man titles (between 1991 and 1996), it should be noted that Ver Magnússon also ranked as the event’s runner-up in 1992 and 1993. That’s domination if I’ve ever seen it. The two Icelandic warriors are only surpassed by Mariusz Pudzianowski of Poland, who has five wins to his name.

magnusson

Ver Magnússon reached mass American audiences, not only with his World’s Strongest Man accolades, but with an appearance in a Coors Light commercial, as well as an appearance on The Daily Show, in 2008, where he showed off his still formidable strongman skills. There are rumours that Ver Magnússon has been trying to raise funds to film a movie about his life, titled ‘My Way.’

In the meantime, Ver Magnússon has gone on to own the Jakaból gym, replacing Sigmarsson, and training the next generation of Icelandic Vikings. One of his protégés is Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, nicknamed ‘Thor.’ Bjornsson recently appeared on Game of Thrones as the fearful Gregor Clegane, aka The Mountain. Ver Magnússon also judges strongman and powerlifting competitions internationally and remains a face of the sport.

Iceland: Katla

Katla Cocktail

  • 1 oz Brennivin
  • 0.5 oz Kahlua
  • Top with Club Soda
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Garnish with a Lemon Slice

I can’t even imagine lifting some of the items these two behemoths tossed over their shoulder or hurled through the air. Simarsson even set a Guinness World Records by lifting the largest whiskey bottle… that’s a feat the Sip Advisor can truly appreciate!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
Brennivin is also known as Black Death, which I don’t fully understand, given the spirit is clear and doesn’t taste bad at all. Icelanders might disagree with me on the taste experience, but I think I know my liquors. This cocktail is named after an active volcano in Iceland, but it will certainly not cause you to erupt and is actually quite nice.