January 31 – Hotel California

California Screamin’

Mrs. Sip and I are frequent visitors to California and I try to blast some California-set tunes every time we are approaching our destination. Let’s take a look at the Sip Advisor’s California playlist!

#5: Going to California – Led Zeppelin

I doubt Led Zeppelin wrote this song about the Sip Advisor, but the lyrics “Going to California with an aching in my heart” kind of told my story. I was once a naïve teen on my way to California with the opportunity to meet a pretty little lady. That lady ended up being the future Mrs. Sip, who I first met in Disneyland all the way back in 2002. “Someone told me there’s a girl out there with love in her eyes and flowers in her hair”… Mrs. Sip lacked both those things when we met, but I won her over!

#4: Californication/Dani California – Red Hot Chili Peppers

You knew at some point that the Red Hot Chili Peppers would appear on this list. The band has a long history of being influenced by California. Sadly, Mrs. Sip has made Californication her alarm music and therefore I have grown to have great disdain for the song I once thoroughly enjoyed. Coincidentally, Mrs. Sip and I actually met a girl named Dani in California… except she’s originally from Colorado and Dani’s just a shortened version of her middle name… I think it still counts!

#3: California Dreamin’ – The Mamas and the Papas

Given where the Sip Advisor and Mrs. Sip live (Vancouver, Canada), this song can really speak to us at times. You know, with all the leaves being brown and the sky turned gray and all. At that point, we’re desperate for the warmth and sunshine that California offers, leaving behind the “Wet Coast!” The Mamas and the Papas’ hit has been covered by so many artists, including high profile acts America, The Beach Boys, and R.E.M. Even Alvin and the Chipmunks have copied the song.

#2: Hotel California – The Eagles

“You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave…” If that was true about California, I’d be quite happy. This begs the question: Where exactly is the Hotel California? Well, some have said it’s an inn located in San Francisco that was turned into a Church of Satan, while others believe it to be a mental hospital. While the original song is amazing, I absolutely love the flamenco-inspired acoustic adaptation that was first played live during The Eagles 1994 Hell Freezes Over reunion tour.

#1: California Love – 2Pac feat. Dr. Dre

This is a true California anthem, mentioning numerous areas of the state. San Diego, the Bay Area (San Francisco and Oakland), Long Beach, Sacramento, Pasadena, Inglewood, Hollywood, Los Angeles, and Compton all get shout outs. Speaking of Compton, on one shuttle from LAX to Anaheim (where Mrs. Sip and I typically wind up on visits to California) we went through the notorious city to drop off a fellow passenger. Sadly, I was too afraid to play this song, for fear of getting a cap in my ass!

Super Saturday Shot Day: Hotel California

Hotel California Shot

Narrowly missing the cut for this list was California Girls by The Beach Boys. While babes from Cali are fun, they don’t necessarily have to be from there to get the Sip Advisor going. Now, I’m no music expert, but I’d venture a guess that California is the most sung about state in the U.S., with perhaps New York challenging that prediction. One song that definitely sucks is the theme to California Dreams… I hated that Saved by the Bell rip-off so very, very much!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This is actually a cocktail recipe, but I thought it sounded neat, wanted to give it a try, and thought it went good with the theme of this post. You got a problem with that!? The recipe calls for 0.5 oz of Blue Curacao, but I took the opportunity to use my Bols Blue Curacao Foam again and I think the visual results speak for themselves. All the flavours here are light and tasty, so it all came together pretty well.

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May 27 – Yellow Strawberry

Beatle Mania

If you combine The Beatles “Yellow Submarine” and “Strawberry Fields Forever”, you would get a Yellow Strawberry, the name of today’s cocktail. Call that a mash-up, if you will. Here are some other very interesting mash-ups using The Beatles extensive library:

Whole Lotta Helter Skelter – Led Zeppelin vs. The Beatles

I had to include a song that mashed my two favourite bands and this is a pretty good mix. The guitar work on Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love is some of the best you’ll ever hear and it nicely compliments The Beatles Helter Skelter.

The Beatles vs. MGMT

It’s always interesting to see how The Beatles classic rock songs mix with contemporary artists and different genres of music. The psychedelic rock band MGMT provides a nice background for The Beatles nostalgic “In My Life”.

Beatles Mashup Medley

While it’s kind of a clusterfuck of a song, it’s also neat how they put all the different combos together and if you watch the bottom right hand corner, they always update you as to what exactly is being mixed.

 Fat Bottomed Girls Come Together – Queen vs. The Beatles

Another pairing of two classic rock legendary bands. I found that these two songs went pretty seamlessly together. Who doesn’t want Fat Bottomed Girls to Come Together!?

Beatles vs. LCD Soundsystem vs. The Kinks

It’s a feat in and of itself to combine the works of two musicians into one song, but this track throws in an extra tune just for added difficulty points. I like the energy that’s maintained throughout this mash-up.

Beatles vs. Pink Floyd

One more for the road! I was surprised at how well these two songs mixed together, but I guess that’s the whole point of mashing songs together. Always remember: If you don’t eat your meat, you can’t have any pudding!

Drink #147: Yellow Strawberry

Yellow Strawberry Cocktail

  • Muddled Strawberries
  • 1 oz White Rum (I used Bacardi)
  • 0.75 oz Crème de Banane
  • Top with Sweet & Sour Mix
  • Garnish with Strawberry Wedge

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
While it looked cool, it disappointed the palate. Perhaps it was the way I made the cocktail with Muddled Strawberries, but something was off. The Crème de Banane was heavily noticeable, which is usually a good thing. I’m still trying to solve this mystery.

April 26 – Jet Black

Rule Britannia

I originally wanted to look at my favourite Britonians… until I realized how many of them I like. So not wanting to bog you, my little sippers, down in an essay of British love, I broke all my beloveds down into a few easy to discern categories. Now let’s do some light reading before some heavy drinking!

The Comedians – Benny Hill, Sacha Baron Cohen, Ricky Gervais, Little Britain Troupe

Benny Hill is a legend, while my other three selections are embarking on careers, hoping to reach the level of fame and success Hill was able to achieve. Thanks to all his wild characters and different accents, I didn’t even know Baron Cohen was British until researching for this post.

British Humour

The Characters – Sherlock Holmes, Mr. Bean, James Bond, Harry Potter

These are some of my favourites – minus Harry Potter, who I only threw in to appease all the readers. You have the intellect of Holmes, the debonair style of Bond, and the wackiness of Bean. That would make one interesting love child.

The Shows – Are You Being Served?, Keeping Up Appearances, Fawlty Towers, My Family

The British have a very unique style of humour. It’s dry and witty and not as in-your-face as  most North American fare. Some of England’s older shows are absolute classics. Although I didn’t include any in the above selections, the Brits also know how to make a great crime drama.

The Music – The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie

Wow, we might as well be discussing a ranking of my favourite bands. While it may kill Papa Sip for me to write this, on my list, the number one slot goes to Led Zeppelin, with The Beatles coming in at a very close second.

Led Zeppelin

The Actors – Hugh Laurie, Vinnie Jones, Michael Caine

Well, my three candidates may be quite the mish-mash of English nobility. My preferred role for each, you ask? Hugh Laurie has to be House, Michael Caine is good in so much, but I thought he made a terrific Alfred in the new Batman trilogy and Vinnie Jones was great as the marble-mouthed hooligan in Euro Trip!

The Actresses – Keira Knightley, Emma Watson

These are two delicious young ladies that are known to light up the screen. Knightley was a knockout in the Pirates of the Caribbean series and Watson, once she was of legal age, became a sexy starlet in her own right.

The Dames – Judi Dench, Helen Mirren, Dame Edna

The equivalent to being knighted for a man, these women (and dude in the case of Edna!) have great acting chops. I kind of wish I could be knighted, or that Mrs. Sip could be made a dame. We just don’t have cool things like that on this side of the pond.

Dame Edna

The Athletes – Wayne Rooney, David Beckham, The British Bulldog

As a Manchester United fan, I definitely have to give a nod to the likes of Rooney and Beckham, but The British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith also earns mention as one of my earliest favourite wrestlers. Smith was one of the most popular and accomplished English wrestlers, winning numerous championships around the world.

The Celebrities – The Royal Family (especially Kate and sister), Gordon Ramsay, Richard Branson

I’m almost certain the paparazzi phenomenon must have started in the U.K. with Royal Family gawkers. They’re alright, I guess, but give me a meal from Gordon Ramsay and an adventure with Richard Branson any day!

Drink #116: Jet Black

Jet Black Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Gin
  • 2 tsp Sweet Vermouth
  • 1 tsp Sambuca
  • Garnish with Lemon Twist

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
This drink was a little pedestrian. The ingredients mixed together well enough, but it wasn’t anything to write home about. And when you’re doing a blog about cocktails, that’s a major issue. I guess I just expected a little more from the drink and was let down.

February 14 – Raspberry Chocolate Love

Love Songs

It’s Valentine’s Day and you know what that means… there’s a 50% chance you’re going to get lucky… best odds of the year! Maybe you’ll want to have some tunes playing to set the mood. Here are my suggestions:

Pony – Ginuwine

This song is all about horseback riding. Wait, that’s not right… it’s all about humping. Seriously, every piece of furniture in your house should be rubbed up on prior to sex, during sex and after sex. Your possessions will thank you later. I also like how the artist was able to squeeze both ‘gin’ and ‘wine’ into his name.

I Hate Everything About You – Three Days Grace

This is Mr. and Mrs. Sip Advisor’s karaoke duet of choice. We’ve even been stopped by other patrons before, commending us for our performance. It’s because these lyrics really speak to us… from the heart, man.

F*ck You Tonight – Notorious B.I.G. (feat. R. Kelly)

Hmmm, featuring R. Kelly… didn’t know watersports was on Biggie’s menu. I bet if I played this to Mrs. Sip, things would not go very well for everybody’s favourite liquor blogger. Besides, she often treats me to dinner and drinks. Maybe she should play this for me… not that I ever take any convincing!

Jizz in My Pants – The Lonely Island

I think the meaning of this song is lost on most women. The guys are just saying they find the women so attractive that they can’t control themselves. How’s that for complimentary and moving feminism forward in leaps and bounds? Well played, boys… well played!

All My Love – Led Zeppelin

If my opinion counts for anything (and trust me, it does not) every musical list is lacking unless it contains some Zeppelin content. How many times do you think a groupie was told this song was specifically for them? Ha, classic!

Drink #45: Raspberry Chocolate Love

Raspberry Chocolate Love Cocktail

  • Put a layer of Chocolate Syrup at the bottom of your glass
  • 1.5 oz Chocolate Whipped Vodka (I used Pinnacle)
  • 1 oz Chambord
  • Dash of Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Garnish with a chocolate-filled raspberry

Alright, folks, it’s time to make whoopee (not Goldberg)! Have fun, stay safe, and remember who helped you get your groove on!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
It might be hard to tell in photos, but that’s a Chocolate-filled Raspberry garnishing the drink, which I thought to be a really neat idea. There’s also a layer of the syrup at the bottom of the glass. The Chambord, Lemon Juice and Chocolate Vodka are interesting flavours to be combining.

January 26 – Flatliner

Tequila Playlist

It’s Saturday night and it’s time to get your drink on! But what will you listen to? You could listen to the sweet stylings of Jim Hughson on Hockey Night in Canada, as most Canadians do while getting plastered each Saturday night. Or, because I do love me some Zeppelin, you could listen to When The Levee Breaks while drinking quadruple vodkas (hmmm…on the other hand, maybe that’s just insensitive). Fear not, my little sippers. I’ve put together an all-tequila playlist for your exploits tonight, as we wrap up Tequila Week, here at The Sip Advisor.

First Shot: Tequila by The Champs

The party is just getting started, so drink up and be merry. Maybe even dance a little. Don’t enjoy that sax solo too much… it’s going to be a long night (or short, if you’re a lightweight!).

Second Shot: Tequila by A.L.T. and the Lost Civilization

Keeping things upbeat with this jam that samples the original. You gotta check out this tune as they try to include as many drink references as possible. Actually quite clever. It’s fun to listen to the song and keep track of how many drinks they mention that you’ve tried.

Fourth Shot: Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off by Joe Nichols

Oh yeeeeaaaaah! Things are swinging and apparently the Kool-Aid Man and the spirit of ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage dropped by at the same time. It looks like things are about to get turned up a notch or two (even though we’re already at 11 on the dial) and the ladies are starting to get funky… if only I wasn’t drinking alone! According to this song, apparently the best place to find loose women is at the Holiday Inn (just a note to all the fellas wasting their time with the whole online dating game).

Eighth Shot: Margaritaville by Jimmy Buffett

You’re pretty smashed, but still feeling celebratory. It’s time to kick back and maybe even throw on a Hawaiian shirt. Groove to the tunes and enjoy your buzz, but be cautious… the liquor is planning a revolution.

Tenth Shot: On the Tequila by Alanis Morissette

How did an Alanis Morissette track slip by my mental censors… oh, that’s right, I drowned all those suckers a few drinks ago. It surely can’t get any better from this point on.

[I’ve lost count] Shot: Tequila Sunrise by The Eagles

Nice song to end the night, but things aren’t going so well internally. It might be time to put the bottle away? But it’s smiling at me and waving me over. Oh hell, what’s one more kiss?

Drink #26: Flatliner

Flatliner Shot

Because of the weights of the various alcohols, as well as the Tabasco Sauce, the two clear liquors should sit on top of each other, broken up by the red Tabasco flatline. It is important, of course, to use clear (blanco/silver) tequila for this to work. Special thanks to Mama and Papa Sip Advisor for lending me the tequila for today’s drink, as all I had available was gold, reposado and añejo varieties.

I should also advise that these bad boys burn on the way down. I made three, so we could photograph the Tabasco line at various levels and then had to down all of them when Mrs. Sip backed out of doing the one shot she had agreed to do. I refuse to let a single drop of liquor go to waste. Shame, Mrs. Sip… shame!

Sip Adviosr Bar Notes (2.5 Sips out of 5):
The Flatliner is an exhibition in punishment. And I had to drink three of these in a row. It may taste disgusting, but it gets a passing grade because that’s exactly how it’s supposed to taste. Nobody is trying to fool you with this shot. It’s supposed to burn going down and it does. Just hope that it stays down.