December 27 – Ruby Slipper

Dizzying Drops

While most of the world knows of the big ball dropping in New York’s Times Square, every New Year’s Eve, other places have their own tradition… and some of them are quite wacky. Let’s take a look at the oddest items that are used to help ring in the New Year!

#5: Show Low, Arizona – 2 of Clubs

According to legend, the city of Show Low earned its name when two men who hated each other decided to draw cards to see who had to leave the town (not the most riveting loser leaves matches ever devised) with one stating “If you show low, you win!” The winner drew a 2 of Clubs, thus spawning a city’s moniker, as well as the object they drop December 31st at midnight.

marriage-cards

#4: Plymouth, Wisconsin – Cheese Wedge

It’s no surprise that the people of Wisconsin are big into cheese. Hell, they wear wedges on their heads to football games and take no offense in someone calling them “cheeseheads”. On New Year’s Eve, the fine folks of Plymouth take things to a whole new level (literally!) as they drop an 80-pound decorated cheese wedge from 100-feet in a salute to the dairy industry. Mrs. Sip will be there one year, with crackers and carving knife in hand!

#3: Lebanon, Pennsylvania – Bologna

Pennsylvania is home to the most item drops across the United States and this is the oddest item among them, a 12-foot long, 150-pound slab of bologna. It’s all for a good cause, however, as the bologna is given to local food banks and animal shelters, following the event. If you could somehow combine the cheese in Wisconsin with the bologna is Pennsylvania, you’d have a nice charcuterie plate in the making.

Balogna Cat

#2: Brasstown, North Carolina – Live Possum

This one doesn’t sound so crazy until you realize that they use a live possum, put inside a Plexiglas pyramid. Held at the Clay’s Corner convenience store, the possum is carefully lowered before being fed and released. The event has drawn the ire of PETA and other animal rights activists, but locals love it and the store owners get all the proper permits. A similar event takes place in Tallapoosa, Georgia, although using a stuffed possum. Or, perhaps, the possum has just been playing dead all along!

#1: Key West, Florida – Ruby Slipper

I know what you’re probably thinking: What’s so odd about a ruby slipper being dropped? Did I mention that there’s a drag queen named Sushi (played by Gary Marion) in that stiletto? This event takes place at the 801 Bourbon Street Pub, while other Key West bars have their own drops, including a conch shell and a pirate wench, which sounds a little more up the Sip Advisor’s alley!

Super Saturday Shot Day: Ruby Slipper

Ruby Slipper Shot

In addition to the weirder items, all sorts of fruits are dropped across the U.S., including oranges, apples, peaches, watermelon balls, cherries, strawberries, huckleberries, pears, and grapes. What will they think of next!?

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
Given our subject is about things dropping and it’s Super Saturday Shot Day, why not do a drop shot… and no, I’m not talking about the tennis variety! Coincidentally, there’s a drop shot called Ruby Slipper, going perfectly with this article’s chart topper. I’m okay with drop shots, but find them a little messy. This one tastes pretty good and the colours are neat, so it gets my recommendation.

January 18 – Lounge Lizard

Bar Hopping

While being privileged to travel the world, I’ve made numerous stops in bars and lounges, some good, some bad. Here are my favourites:

JT Schmids

JT Schmid’s  Anaheim, CA

There is nothing like seeing the sea of Vancouver Canucks fans invade this bar in Anaheim (conveniently across the street from the Honda Centre) after a Canucks-Ducks NHL game. Enjoying a hefeweizen beer in the outside patio with its fire pits and heaters: $10; a mass of Canucks fans booing the hometown Anaheim fans looking to enjoy a pint: priceless!

Jimmy’s Taphouse – Vancouver, B.C.

Jimmy’s is my hometown favourite to grab a pint. Reasonably priced drinks, excellent food and the best part is that the place is just a block walk away from my apartment and has a cool view of our city’s Colosseum-style library. It is also one of the few places downtown where I can find Red Truck Lager. They also have the occasional customer appreciation night where you, the valued customer, can score some free pints and food! Jimmy (whoever he is) is my man!

Hyde-Lounge

Hyde Lounge – Las Vegas, NV

This is one of my favourite, surprisingly hidden, attractions in Sin City. Here, you can sip a wide array of martinis and other cocktails and although the drinks are a little pricey, it is well worth it for the front row view of the Bellagio’s water fountain show. I’d stay here all day if it wasn’t for the previously mentioned prices and after about 9pm, they start pumping club music into the place, rather than the music that goes so perfectly with the fountains. Therefore, after a few warm-up drinks at Hyde, and looking to stretch our money a little more, we’re off into the night, eventually ending up at…

The Pub – Las Vegas, NV

It may not have the cleverest title, but two words: dueling pianos… the greatest bar invention since the keg. This bar, located inside the Monte Carlo, is amazing. You can get a pint of beer or shot of Jameson Whiskey for $2… I am prone to doubling down and getting both. Mixing beer and liqour… it’s really the only gambling I do in Vegas. The dueling pianists – once again, that’s pianists – take requests from the audience all night long and because of the ample seating in the bar, we’ve never had an issue getting in. The food here is also decent and while there are other dueling piano locations on the strip, this is far and above, my favourite.

Willie T's

Willie T’s – Key West, FL

My wife and I did a self-guided pub crawl when our Western Caribbean cruise stopped in Key West, Florida. Pay $40 each for the cruise-sponsored excursion, only to be taken around and still have to pay for drinks on top of that??? Fuck that noise! They hit a trio of places, while we squeezed at least eight places into our crawl – best described as more of a stagger. I say at least eight because although we were trying to take a picture outside each place, well counting wasn’t our forte that day. Our preferred stop along the crawl route was Willie T’s, which is very recognizable thanks to the dollar bills stapled all around the joint. To top the story off, we paid a combined total of $50 on drinks and food!

The Fox & Fiddle – Toronto, ON

I spent a lot of good nights at The Fox & Fiddle during my year living in Toronto. Notable for its incredibly huge team pitchers (approx. two pitchers in one), it was here that I spent April Fool’s Day, Canada Day and my birthday that year, as well as my karaoke debut (probably due to the aforementioned team pitchers). Sadly, it was also the setting for my goodbye round of drinks with all the friends I made over my stay.

coco-bongo

Coco Bongo – Cancun, Mexico

I hate clubs. I mean absolutely downright hate them… except this little gem. A Mexican specialty  your cover charge is all-inclusive. They serve you tequila shots as you wait to enter the place, then once you’re inside, guess what, more tequila shots! The music is rocking, drinks are flowing freely, and just when you think it can’t get any better, the show element begins, as dancers, actors and stuntmen do takes on movies like Chicago, Spiderman and others. All of a sudden confetti and balloons are being shot around and it all gets pretty epic. What could be the cherry of this awesome sundae? Oh, I don’t know, how about a midget dressed as Beetlejuice pouring a shot into your mouth!

Drink #18: Lounge Lizard

Lounge Lizard Drink

  • 1.5 oz Dark Rum
  • 1 oz Disaronno
  • Top with Cola
  • Garnish with lemon wedge stand for umbrella (umbrella sold separately!)

It should be noted that I’ve found another variant to this drink, same name, but different ingredients, which completely change the look of the cocktail. The second Lounge Lizard combines melon liquer, blue Curacao, coconut rum and lemon-lime soda and you can bet your sweet bippy that I’ll be making it sometime in the future. So, continue checking back at the ol’ Sip Advisor and keep on keeping on!

Part 2 of my favourite bars will be posted in the future, along with another wonderful cocktail. Have a great weekend, all!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I really enjoyed this drink. It’s simple yet delicious. It makes me wonder if there’s anything Disaronno (Amaretto) can’t mix well with, as I’ve yet to find a concoction where it doesn’t hit the spot.