Sip Trips #109: Marathon Man

This past week was extremely busy and that’s coming from someone who is booked up nearly every day to begin with. Let’s take a look at what the past seven days brought to the social calendar:

On Thursday, I decided to take my bike out for a ride of Vancouver’s sea wall, but only reached Sunset Beach when issues with my cycle made me have to abandon the ride. Just as I decided to turn around, a Kraken Rum rep approached and offered me a sample mini bottle of their Black Spice Rum. I believe this was a liquor karma reward, as had I not turned around there, the exchange would have never occurred.

Friday saw a more successful journey, as I joined a friend – on foot this time – in the Brewery Creek area of Vancouver, first stopping at Faculty Brewing. There, I had a 500ml serving of their IPA, before we ventured onwards. Looking to enjoy some drinks in the great outdoors, we stopped by R&B Brewing’s growler fill station, picking up a four-pack of Dude Chilling Pale Ale tall cans to be consumed in a nearby park. This was a nice, relaxing way to get the weekend started.

Dog Banned From Park.jpg

Following that, we were off to BierCraft Bistro on Cambie Street for dinner. I hadn’t been to the restaurant for a few years, so it was good to return. While waiting for our wives to show up, we delved into a couple pints of Dageraad De Witte. For my meal, I went with the French Onion Soup, being a big fan of the style and not always being able to find it when out. Our evening concluded with a show at Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club. While the show was far from the best thing I’ve seen there, we still had a decent time, helped along by a bucket of Red Truck Golden Ale bottles.

We spent some time on Sunday at Metrotown Mall, finishing our baby registry, doing some clothes shopping and grabbing some groceries. Our time there started with hitting the food court, which is one of the best I’ve ever dined in. There are so many options to choose from and I settled on Chronic Tacos, which I have only seen before as restaurant locations. My Al Pastor Burrito (made with spicy adoba pork) was spectacular and greatly satisfied my huge appetite at the time.

Looking to have a date night together, Mrs. Sip and I had dinner at St. Augustine’s prior to a movie at the Rio Theatre on Monday. I love St. Augustine’s live tap menu, which lets you know which beers are available and how much of each is left, but it can also be a tease, as you learn which brews you narrowly missed out on. Thankfully, I was able to try Storm Brewing’s Chicken Wing IPA (only that crazy crew could dream up such a flavour), with only 3% remaining and the keg being tapped out by the time we left the restaurant. Also among my flight was the Steamworks Killer Cucumber Ale and a pair of Old Yale Brewing options: the Cardamom Mango Wheat and Double Double Amber Ale.

Dinner and a Movie

As for the movie portion of the evening, we watched The Little Hours, which was very funny and I’m surprised it hasn’t received more mainstream attention. The Rio Theatre is licensed for alcohol sales, which means you can get a Big Kid Combo consisting of small popcorn, candy and a draft beer for $9. Not a bad deal, at all.

Tuesday was supposed to be a relaxing night at home, but late in the day, a friend advised he had a block of free tickets to see Bob Dylan and His Band (that’s literally the band’s name) at Roger’s Arena. So, we ended up out again. While the music was good and I’ll be able to say I saw a legendary performer, Mr. Dylan shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a microphone anymore as nearly his entire set was unintelligible.

The week that was wrapped up with a trivia night at Darby’s Gastown. It was my first time at any of the Darby’s locations and I really enjoyed my meal of their Pulled Pork Sandwich with Cajun Chips and their expansive beer menu. Best of all, we came in second place after losing a tie-breaker to the winning team, which meant each member of our crew was comped a free BC beer. This removed both of my servings (the Luppolo Double IPA and Twin Sails Hot Take IPA) from the tab, thanks to using Mrs. Sip’s credit, as well.

Did I mention I also squeezed games of golf and baseball, a Game of Thrones viewing and family dinner into the week. No wonder I’m ready for a little break!

Trinidad & Tobago – The Cephalopuch

How Low Can You Go?

We’ve all taken a crack at shuffling under the limbo bar. In fact, the Sip Advisor is quite adept at the limbo, thanks to flexibility and willingness to do stupid things. Well, we have Trinidad and Tobago to thank for this dance style. Let’s take a closer look at the popular contest:

Limbo goes all the way back to the mid-1800’s. Before its days as a party contest, it was used at funerals and wakes under a more somber tone. To signify death turning into life, the bar was set at its lowest point, rising in progression. I don’t think this would work for the Sip Advisor, as I’m planning on having my entire celebration of life centered on TV show theme songs: The Price is Right, Family Feud, etc.

Invisible Limbo

The general rules of limbo has each competitor shuffle under the bar with their backs to the floor. If the bar is touched or the dancer falls backwards to the ground, they are eliminated. Once everyone has gone, the survivors move on to the next round, with the bar lowered a little for the next challenge. The process repeats until there is a lone winner.

Today, you can often see the limbo being contested at Caribbean and Hawaiian (although used to celebrate luaus, the limbo was not created in Hawaii as some people have falsely theorized) resorts and aboard cruise ships, with travelers taking turns to see who is the most limber vacationer. Some daredevil limbo lovers will even take their dance moves to the extreme, such as lighting the limbo bar on fire. Next up, the Sip Advisor’s razor and barbed wire challenges!

Julia Edwards (born in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad) is known as the First Lady of Limbo. A celebrated limbo champion, her dance troupe helped spread the limbo across the globe, appearing in a number of films, as well as touring the world’s hotels, clubs, and restaurants, all for the expansion of the dance and its contests. After retiring from active dancing, Edwards stayed in the game as a choreographer. In 1991, she was awarded the Trinidad and Tobago Humming Bird Medal Gold for Culture.

Beware of Limbo Dancers

Limbo was actually popularized outside of the Caribbean by musician Chubby Checkers, thanks to his song, “Limbo Rock”, released in 1962. The track rose to #2 on the Billboard Top 100 chart and popularized the question: “How low can you go!?” Other popular songs made specifically for limbo, include “Limbo” by Lord Tickler and the Calypsonians, “Limbo Break” by Brigo, and “Limbo” by Denzil Laing and the Wrigglers. Even David Hasselhoff entered the fray with his “Do the Limbo Dance”.

The World Record for limbo is an astonishingly short six inches. That’s right, the average penis size can be limbo’d under! The man who achieved the feat was no spring chicken and was, in fact, 55 years old. The women’s record was set by Shemika Charles (aka Limbo Queen), who passed under a bar only 8.5 inches off the ground. There have also been records set for performing the limbo wearing roller skates, including rolling under as many as 39 vehicles.

In the sci-fi cartoon Futurama, in the year 2980, limbo has become an Olympic sport. Jamaican national Hermes Conrad is a limbo enthusiast and competes in the event, which resembles hurdles, but instead of going over the bar, athletes have to go under. Hermes also applies his skills in other areas, such as using the limbo to get under a door and other obstacles that only have clear space at the bottom.

Trinidad & Tobago: The Cephalopuch

Cephalopuch Cocktail

  • 1 oz Kraken Rum
  • 1 oz Coconut Rum
  • Top with Pineapple Juice
  • Splash of Grenadine
  • Garnish with Coconut Shavings

Some folks may debate which limbo is more painful… the one where you try to squeeze under a bar or the whole stuck between heaven and hell concept. To the Sip Advisor, this is a ‘pick your poison’ scenario and neither one is all that appealing!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
This drink wasn’t so bad. The flavours are all right, with Rum, Coconut, and Pineapple coming together. I still love garnishing a drink with Coconut Shavings because they look neat and are so fun to chew during the cocktail consumption.

Trinidad & Tobago – What’s Kraken?

Feel the Rhythm

Originating from the islands of Trinidad and Tobago, Calypso music enjoyed the height of its popularity in 1956, when Harry Belafonte released the “Banana Boat Song”, otherwise known as “Day-O”. The music style also produced other popular spinoffs, such as Soca, Reggae, Chutney, Rapso, and Ringbang. Let’s take a look at the history of this cultural music and get our groove on!

Calypso music, like many other genres, started with humble beginnings. During colonial slavery in the 17th century, slaves were not allowed to speak to each other while working long, exhausting days at sugar plantations, but were able to come together at night and play music. These songs helped form a bond among the slaves, as they mocked their masters and sung about the hardships of their existence in a French Creole language.

Day-O Spider

The music is based off of a call and response style, where the singer (dubbed the Calypsonian) engages his audience and involves them in the song. Instruments often associated with Calypso music include, steel drums, banjo, guitar, and other percussion devices. Calypso was played in tents made of palm trees and poles, which were constructed to keep rain away from performers and dance-goers alike.

Calypso music eventually became used to spread news around the islands and became a reliable source for current events. Songs battled political corruption, which sparked the British rulers to censor the songs and for officials to decide what could and couldn’t be heard by the public. This just pushed Calypsonians to use other tools to get their message across in song, such as double-entendres, satire, irony, and other elements of humour.

Long before rappers were taking aim at one another with thinly veiled criticisms and threats, Calypso musicians were insulting each other, while also making music based around sex, gossip, scandal, and innuendo. Like much of the music industry, there are some great artist names in the Calypso world, such as Lord Invader, Growling Tiger, Mighty Sparrow, King Fighter, Macbeth the Great, Sir Lancelot, and Duke of Iron.

Rapper Rapping

The first Calypso recording was made in New York City in 1912, by the visiting Lovey String Band. It’s thought that this was the first recording to ever take place of a musical style not to have originated in either North America or Europe. Not many other Calypso recordings were made until the late 1920’s and early 1930’s (given the title: the golden era of Calypso), perhaps due to the wartime economy and depression.

Attila the Hun (not the barbarian, but the musician) and Roaring Lion brought the music back to the United States in 1934, where they became regular recording artists and were later joined by other Calypsonians from Trinidad and Tobago. A tradition that ran up to the late 1970’s, with Mighty Sparrow being the last great Calypsonian abroad. The musical style then branched off into other genres.

prelude music

One of the first big Calypso hits, “Rum and Coca Cola”, by Lord Invader, was not about the fizzy beverage being mixed with alcohol, but the prostitution industry that popped up when American military bases began appearing in Trinidad during the 1940’s. Regardless, the Andrews Sisters turned this into a U.S. chart topper and were later sued by Lord Invader for copyright infringement, being awarded $150,000 in royalties after years of court battles.

Calypso music can be seen in popular works like the movie Beetlejuice, where Harry Belafonte’s “Day-O” plays during a very memorable scene. You can also hear “Day-O” at sporting events, often used to get fans pumped up as they echo the song’s title back to the singer. Interestingly, Eleanor Roosevelt dubbed Belafonte “The King of Calypso” after seeing him perform in 1958. Daylight come and me wan’ go home!

Trinidad & Tobago: What’s Kraken?

What's Kraken Cocktail

  • 1 oz Kraken Rum
  • 1 oz Butterscotch Schnapps
  • Top with Hot Chocolate
  • Garnish with Whipped Cream

That “Day-O” song sure can get stuck in your head easy. Belafonte even performed the hit on an episode of The Muppet Show, with Fozzie Bear interrupting the singer… and for that, we thank him!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I really enjoy Kraken Black Spice Rum, which gets its rum content (molasses) from Trinidad and Tobago. I made this cocktail for Pa Sip, also a fan of Rum, as well as Butterscotch Schnapps. It was a pretty good drink and perfect for this time of the year!