Flavour Revolution – Sriracha

Fierce Flames

Hailing from eastern Thailand, Sriracha has burst onto the world scene over the last few years, even being used by restaurant chains, such as Subway, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Jack in the Box, and many others.  Even McDonald’s has jumped on the Sriracha bandwagon. The hot sauce is made from chili pepper paste, vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt, and it will leave a sizzle on your taste buds. Let’s learn some more about the product that is sometimes referred to as “cock sauce”, thanks to the rooster adorned on the bottle:

Sriracha No Sauce

That cock symbolizes Huy Fong Foods and Sriracha founder David Tran, who was born in the year of the rooster, according to the Chinese zodiac. Huy Fong can push out 3000 bottles of Sriracha each hour, from their production plant in Irwindale, California. 100 million pounds of red jalapeno peppers are used each year to make the sauce and are all provided by Underwood Ranches in Amarillo, California.

Si Racha, where the sauce has been originally traced back to, is actually a seaside town in Thailand, with a population of almost 20,000 inhabitants. Sales of the Americanized version have topped 20 million bottles per year and that number just continues to rise.

On the Scoville scale, which measures how spicy different sauces, peppers, and other food items are, Sriracha gets a score of 2200 points, which is actually quite low, in the grand scheme of things. The hottest pepper currently listed on the scale is the Carolina Reaper (great name!) at 2,200,000 heat units. Your face would probably implode if you put that pepper in your mouth!

Sriracha Eye Drops

Sriracha has now been infused into everything from candy canes to potato chips. One of those sounds delicious and the other disgusting and I bet you know which way this potato chip monster is leaning. The spicy dip has also been added as an ingredient to lollipops, beef jerky, lip balm, and even cocktail bitters.

Portland’s Rogue beer and spirits company has produced a Sriracha Hot Stout Beer. I’ve had and enjoyed the company’s Chipotle Ale, so I’m curious to also try the Sriracha offering. Perhaps, the Sip Advisor will get his grubby hands on it during Easter weekend, when the Sip Family is planning a crawl of the Portland scene!

While Sriracha has made its way around the world, it has also left our atmosphere, aboard the international space station, demanded by astronauts, to be used on their dehydrated meals. Some folks are quick to put the sauce on anything and everything, but the most popular items include pizza, burgers, noodle dishes, eggs, and stir fry.

sriracha-food-pyramid

A 34-minute documentary on Sriracha was released in 2013, thanks to a Kickstarter campaign, which saw 1315 people donate $21,009 to the cause, in just 31 days. All this success – sales increases by about 20% each year – despite never advertising their product. Sriracha is also not trademarked, so that’s why imitators may be aplenty, including a version made by Tabasco.

The Sriracha story hasn’t been all sunshine and chili peppers, though. The Huy Fong company has been sued and shutdown over the smell omitted by their factory. Complaints from area residents included sore throats, burning eyes, and nosebleeds. That’s a small price to pay for convenient hot sauce!

The factory opened again, once the odor issues were dealt with and fans of the sauce can actually take a tour of the place, getting to see how peppers become paste and how Sriracha makes its way from harvest to bottles to consumer’s mouths. Occasionally, there’s also an ice cream truck on the site, offering Sriracha-infused ice cream!

Flavour Revolution: The Cocky Rooster

The Cocky Rooster Beer Cocktail

  • Rim glass with Salt
  • 1.5 oz UV Sriracha Vodka
  • Top with Beer
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Soy Sauce
  • Garnish with Lemon Wheel

In a not totally surprising note, I first experienced Sriracha in potato chip form and liked it enough that I want to give it more opportunities aboard Sip Advisor delicacies. I’ve heard of a Sriracha-mayonnaise mix, which has me very interested.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (1.5 Sips out of 5):
This drink is similar to a Michelada, but altogether different, at the same time. While I’m really getting into this Sriracha Vodka, I did not like this drink. I just felt that things didn’t work well together and the taste was off. The beer I chose to use was Red Truck Ale, as I wanted something that would allow the other flavours to take over and take over they did… just not with good results. Back to the Sriracha Vodka, my only qualm is that it’s not actually red, but clear. The bottle is red and I was hoping the alcohol would be too, adding a new element to my collection.

Morocco – Night in Casablanca

Lights, Camera, Action

If we’re being honest, for some people, the only exposure they have to Morocco is through the classic film Casablanca. Ironically, not a single scene of the movie was filmed on location in the city for which it’s named. Morocco, however, has become a popular destination for some of the world’s greatest directors and stars. These popular productions share Morocco as a location, despite rarely being set in the African country:

Game of Thrones

The immensely popular HBO TV series has filmed scenes around the world and that includes Morocco (Ait Benhaddou and Essaouira), which has provided the setting for the cities of Yunkai, Astapor, and Essos. This is where Daenerys Targaryen travels in season three to build her army. Morocco was also used in the pilot episode of the series and can perhaps take a little credit in the massive success of the show… but probably not the copious amount of sex, nudity, murder, and other misdeeds.

game-of-thrones-naked

Lawrence of Arabia

This cinematic gem was originally pegged to be filmed entirely in Jordan, but added other locales during production. Ouarzazate, Morocco doubled for the Syrian town of Tafas (site of the Tafas massacre), with Moroccan armed forces subbing in for the Turkish army. Apparently filming was problematic because of the unaccommodating soldiers. In the end, all Arab countries (except for Egypt) banned the movie due to its portrayal of Arabian culture.

The Mummy & The Mummy Returns

While four days was about all the Sip Advisor needed in Marrakesh, the first Mummy production stayed for 17 weeks. Kidnapping insurance was taken out on each of the movie’s stars, who weren’t told of this until shooting had wrapped. The sequel only used the Erg Chebbi Dunes as its “Egyptian” desert. For some reason, Morocco wasn’t used for The Scorpion King prequel to the franchise, nor the third film in the trilogy Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, although that story was based out of China.

Inception

The Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio thriller featured a couple scenes filmed in Morocco, most notably the exciting chase scene set in the narrow alleys of the Tangier, Morocco medina. It also served as the place where Dominick Cobb adds con artist Eames and chemist Yusef to his team, prior to the dash. Finally, it is the setting for the riot images, as Cobb infiltrates Japanese businessman Saito’s mind at the start of the film.

inception-explained

The Man Who Knew Too Much

Another Alfred Hitchcock-Jimmy Stewart collaboration which sees an innocent family become embroiled in an international assassination plot, with their son even being kidnapped. The opening scenes of the film, including the murder of a French intelligence operative, are all filmed in Marrakesh, where Stewart and family are vacationing. This movie (murder, kidnapping, and assassination plots, oh my) provided the basis of what I expected from Morocco!

Gladiator

While this Ridley Scott, Russell Crowe epic is set in the Roman Empire, a large chunk of the movie was actually filmed in Ouarzazate, Morocco (which Mrs. Sip and I visited). This Berber city provided the location for Maximus’ gladiator training, early slave life, and scenes traversing the desert. A mud brick stadium for the battle sequences was built using local techniques. I guess that’s all fair enough, given the Roman Empire did extend into Africa.

gladiator-like-life

Othello

One of the first foreign productions to capitalize on Morocco as a filming destination, this Orson Welles adaptation of William Shakespeare’s classic tragedy ran into a number of logistical issues, resulting in using some unique filming techniques. This included a battle sequence was first filmed in Morocco, but finished while on location in Rome a few months later. When the film won the Palme d’or at the 1952 Cannes Film Festival, it was recognized as a Moroccan creation.

Prince of Persia

While perhaps not on the same level as the other films listed in this article, I have to mention this one, because Mrs. Sip and I were inside one of the Berber homes used during a battle scene of the movie. In fact, the production spent eight weeks in Morocco, which isn’t a huge surprise given the movie largely takes place in the desert. Hell, the movie’s subtitle is The Sands of Time… Morocco was an obvious choice for filming.

Morocco: Night in Casablanca

Night in Casablanca Cocktail

  • 2 oz Mahia
  • 1 oz Dry Vermouth
  • 0.25 oz Bourbon
  • Dash of Peychauds Bitters
  • 1 Sugar Cube
  • Garnish with a Lemon Wheel

Of course, not every movie made in Morocco is a classic… after all, Sex and the City 2 filmed there. Given it was hard for our crew to find cocktails around the country, I wonder how easily the girls were able to locate their favoured Cosmopolitans!?

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.5 Sips out of 5):
This cocktail was pretty strong, but the ingredients come together well. The Sugar Cube really helps even out the drink. Mahia is an interesting spirit and I’m not quite sure how I feel about it yet. I’ll have to give it another shot and see how it works out with different bed fellows…

Korea – Lotus Flower

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

While a ‘Cult of Personality’ can be attached to many of the world’s leaders throughout history, it seems to be best attached to the Kim dynasty of North Korea. What exactly is a ‘Cult of Personality,’ you might be asking? Well, my little sippers, this takes place when a figure uses tools such as propaganda to fabricate a heroic image, worthy of worship… kind of like what the ol’ Sip Advisor does to be viewed as the coolest liquor baron on the internet… successfully, I might add! Let’s take a look at how each North Korean leader (ahem, dictator) since Kim Il-sung has accentuated their legacy:

Kim Il-sung

Viewed as a god and creator of the world, statues of Il-sung began going up around North Korea just one year into his reign, totaling over 40,000 at the time of his death. Attaching the terms ‘Great Leader’ and ‘Supreme Leader’ to Il-sung became regular practice in 1967, after his son Kim Jong-il began working with the state propaganda and information department.

Il-sung

Il-sung has been solely credited with defeating the Japanese and ending their occupation of Korea, despite aid from other forces. Among the accolades Il-sung received, was a ‘Double Hero Gold Medal,’ which obviously overshadows the Sip Advisor’s recent ‘Single Hero Gold Medal’ presentation. Any praise from fellow leaders was over-dramatized to make Il-sung look well-respected by the international community.

In many schools, a separate room – known as The Kim Il-sung Research Institute – was constructed specifically for lectures about Il-sung. Newspapers, textbooks and other periodicals included messages and instructions from Il-sung, while buildings were plastered with an image of Il-sung in proportion to the size of the structure. Il-Sung’s birthplace was viewed as a pilgrimage site and perhaps most diabolically, there is a flower named after the dictator. Yes, the Kimilsungia actually exists.

Upon Il-sung’s death, Jong-il set the mourning period for three whole years. This meant folks weren’t allowed to drink (among other requirements) and were punished if caught breaking the code of conduct. This would not have bode well for the Sip Advisor. Jong-il even moved the start of time up to his father’s birth on April 15, 1912. That means, according to the Kim dynasty, the existence of humans is only 103 years old (there is no zero year).

Kim Jong-il

If you thought Kim Il-sung was bad, just wait and see what his son got up to. While Jong-il was actually born in 1941 in the Soviet Union, history has been rewritten so that Jong-il’s birth took place in his father’s secret base on Mount Paektu in 1942 (because that extra year of youth made Jong-il that much more bad ass) and the whole event caused the seasons to change from winter to spring, a star to shine brightly in the sky and the fabled double rainbow to appear.

Jong-il

Following in the footsteps of his dear ol’ dad, Jong-il was viewed as the son of a god or ‘Sun of the Nation.’ Followers believed that Jong-il had the ability to control the weather based on his mood and since he always looked glum or angry, I guess Koreans were in for a routinely inclement climate. Like his father before him, Jong-il also had “research institutes” built at schools for teachings about himself. About 40,000 of these rooms exist across the country for the legacy of father and son. Jong-il also had a flower created in his name: the Kimjongilia.

Among the outlandish achievements attributed to Jong-il were that he could walk and talk before he was half a year old and that his fashion sense was sweeping across the globe, which would be pretty spectacular since I always saw the guy wearing military outfits. During Jong-il’s time at the helm, approximately 300 articles each month were written by the country’s two major newspapers, furthering the ‘Cult of Kim’… and we don’t mean Kardashian.

Showing Jong-il’s power, even in death, it was reported that masses of ice exploded on Mount Paektu and a snowstorm touched down in the area upon the leader’s passing. The typical 100 days of mourning followed and while many were spotted publicly grieving, those who failed to show sadness met with serious repercussions, including death.

Kim Jong-un

The current leader of North Korea came into the public eye in 2010, when he was referred to as the ‘Young General’ and later ‘Respected General,’ all achieved despite no military training whatsoever. Efforts to build the new dictator’s personality cult have included various forms of propaganda and his similar physical appearance to his grandfather has helped.

Jong-un

A 560-meter long sign, visible from space, saying “Long Live General Kim Jong-un, the Shining Sun!” was built after Jong-un’s succession. In a scene right out of The Lion King, Jong-un even had his own uncle executed to help build up his own profile.

The Rest of the Clan

Kim Hyong-jik, the father of Kim Il-sung has been described by propagandists as the leader of the Korean independence and anti-Japanese movement in his time, while Il-sung’s mom, Kang Pan-sok, has been called the ‘Mother of Korea.’ Both claims are disputed by most historians.

Kim Jong-il’s mother, Kim Jong-suk has been memorialized in wax, as a figure of the International Friendship Exhibition (which also houses hundreds of thousands of gifts from foreign leaders, given to the Kims, showing their reverence outside the country’s borders). She is also promoted as a revolutionary, a war hero, and a leader in the emancipation of women in Korea. All this, despite being unnoticed prior to her death and Il’sung’s rise to power.

No Rights

Other Notes

By law, pictures of statues that feature any of the Kims must include the entire bust and cannot be cropped in anyway. It is also customary during certain holidays to bring flowers or other gifts when visiting the effigies and present them to the sculptures.

If you plan on living in North Korea, make sure you erect a photo of each of the deceased leaders, as it is a requirement of the law. Additionally, the wall you use for the portraits must otherwise remain bare and you will be required to clean the pictures daily with specialized wipes. The photos of the former dictators will follow you everywhere if you’re a citizen of the country, as you are required to wear a pin above you heart when out and about. Lastly, photos in newspapers of the Kim family are no to be thrown away, but instead they are to be collected and returned… probably so someone else can throw them away.

I suppose Valentine’s Day isn’t big in North Korea, as that’s the date they celebrate Kim Jong-il’s ascension to ‘Generalissimo of the Democratic Republic of Korea.’ Also unlike Valentine’s Day and other holidays, these events are mandatory to attend and include parades, sports, and dances. On the birthdays of Kim family members, the state media will show films about the respective figure and citizens are not allowed to talk during the broadcast or fall asleep until the airing is over.

Korea: Lotus Flower

Lotus Flower Martini

  • 1.5 oz of Soju
  • Top with Pineapple Juice
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Dash of Honey
  • Garnish with Lemon Wheel

Ironically, I unknowingly wrote this article on the 20th anniversary of Kim Il-sung’s death. I feel this is a fitting tribute to the entire dynasty’s legacy… otherwise known as: if anything bad happens to the Sip Advisor, the Koreans did it!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
This may be my favourite Pineapple Juice cocktail of all time. Despite the full shot of Soju, this martini was quite light and the Pineapple and Lemon Juices were allowed to flourish while you get your buzz on. You’re supposed to use Agave Nectar, but I chose to combine Simple Syrup and Honey instead and it was a great sweetener combo.

Scotland – Hole-in-One

Teeing Off

Golf was invented in Scotland in the 15th century and soon after came the legendary Old Course at St. Andrews. The Sip Advisor won’t bore all you little sippers with the details of how the game came to be, likely because there is way too much debate over those facts and laziness is a hell of a drug. Instead, let’s take a look at some of the wilder facts about the game:

Golf was actually banned in Scotland by the Scottish Parliament on three separate occasions, as the government believed the game was causing citizens to neglect their military training, particularly learning archery. These bans occurred in 1457, 1471, and 1491.

Golf Sport

A number of celebrities and sports stars are known for their golf game and this has bred the popularity of Pro-Am tournaments. Michael Jordan, Bill Murray, Samuel L. Jackson, Jack Nicholson, and Wayne Gretzky all have a penchant for the links. On the female side of the ledger, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Cameron Diaz are known to get their swing on. There are also a number of high-profile folk who have invested in golf course ownership. This list includes Clint Eastwood, Justin Timberlake, Willie Nelson, and Celine Dion.

Great golf movies to check out include: Caddyshack (plus its sequel), Happy Gilmore, Tin Cup, and The Legend of Bagger Vance. Bill Murray’s famous ‘Cinderella Story’ scene from Caddyshack was completely improvised and is perhaps the best part of the entire movie.

Along with javelin (I can’t believe an astronaut actually packed a spear with him), golf is one of only two sports to be played on the moon. As part of the Apollo 14 space mission in 1971, astronaut Alan Shepard brought along a 6-iron and hit a one-handed shot (it was all he could manage given his bulky suit) which will eventually return to earth as an unstoppable meteor, causing mass chaos and human extinction.

Golf Club

Most are unclear as to where all the bird names (birdie, eagle, etc.) for golf shots came from, but the Sip Advisor is here to settle the matter, at least for birdies. In 1889, George Crump hit a bird with his first shot. On his second attempt, he hit the ball mere inches from the hole (a putt he easily made later, giving him a one-under par score for the hole). The Smith brothers, whom Crump was playing with called it “a bird of a shot” and that later became a birdie, as the term spread through their club and then across the country.

Sticking with the golfer’s glossary, a hole-in-one (known as an ace) is golf’s greatest shot, but it can be even better. If hit on a par four, the player has scored an albatross, while if the rare feat is achieved on a par five, it’s known as a condor. Only four condors have been recorded and verified in history.

One of the most unique golf courses in the world exists in Nunavit, Canada, where a nine-hole tournament is played each year for the Toonik Tyme Festival. Golfers battle freezing conditions, a course made up of sheets of ice and snow, and use fluorescent balls to get their round in. The highest golf course in the world is located in Morococha, Peru, where the Tactu Golf Club can be found 14,335 feet above sea level.

Monkey Golfing

Little guy probably plays better than the Sip Advisor!

If you want to play some of the best golf courses in the world, you better start saving now. Aside from the astonishing cost to become a member at some of these clubs – New Jersey’s Liberty National Golf Club (where Phil Mickelson and Eli Manning are members) has a membership price tag of $250,000, plus yearly dues of $25,000 – even many public courses will take a serious chunk out of your wallet. Shadow Creek Golf Course in Las Vegas is the most expensive at a whopping $500 per 18 holes.

There are some great pro golfer nicknames out there. Some of the best include: Wild Thing for John Daly, the beer-drinking, heavy-smoking, trailer-living, lovable star; Halimoney for Hal Sutton, who is thrice divorced; Aquaman for Woody Austin, who once fell into a lake following a shot at the 2007 President’s Cup; and Smiling Assassin for Shigeki Maruyama, a Japanese player, whose facial expression is locked on smile, regardless of his performance.

Golf Score

Before tees were invented, golfers would build mounds of sand to hit their shots off of. It’s amazing how the smallest piece of wood can make such a huge difference… like they say, it’s not the size of the tool, it’s how you use it!

One last little nugget of info to blow your mind: there are 336 dimples on a regulation golf ball. Can you imagine the insanity of the person who actually took the time to count these indentations? What if he lost count halfway through and had to start over again? That would drive someone to drink!

Scotland: Hole-in-One

Hole-In-One Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Scotch
  • Top with Iced Tea and Lemonade
  • Garnish with a Lemon Wheel

When I was 13, I became wildly interested in golf. While that passion petered out when I realized I wasn’t any good at the game, I did make one hole-in-one during my brief career. Hole #15 at the Sunshine Woods Golf Club will always be in my memories thanks to that great day. Amazingly, one of the guys in the pair my friend and I were playing with that day, scored an ace earlier in our round on hole #6.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I really liked this cocktail. I know Scotch isn’t traditionally meant to be mixed, but this was a good coming together of flavours. If you like your drinks strong, but easier to down than straight booze, then this is a recipe you should seriously consider.

China – China Blue

Great Walls of Fire

The Great Wall of China was erected (that word always makes me giggle) over a number of eras and decades and is one of the most impressive engineering feats in history. Since its construction, it has become a world famous monument and used for countless other achievements. Here are some of its notable uses and appearances:

Big Air

There have been a number of attempts by bikers, skateboarders, and the like to jump the Great Wall. Extreme athlete Travis Pistrana even tackled the challenge on a toy bike. Sadly, not every attempt has been successful. Two Chinese BMX riders were looking to fly over the wall to celebrate a national holiday. One landed safely in the area set up to catch the falling stuntmen, but the other flew right over it to his death. So much for home field advantage!

Great-wall-I-can-hold-it

Go Your Own Way

While jumping the Great Wall is a dream for some, that vision wasn’t held by cyclist Kevin Foster. Instead, Foster wanted to travel a fair chunk of the world heritage site. In 50 days, Foster trekked 1,174.8 miles of the wall, through sandstorms, hail, monsoons, high temperatures, and even a crash that sent him through a portion of the structure and caused three broken ribs. The journey was called “the last, greatest, cycling adventure on the face of the earth.”

Running with the Wall

Most little sippers, like the Sip Advisor, probably don’t follow the sport of free running. It’s basically akin to parkour, but involves more theatrics… wait, there can be even more acrobatics thrown in? World renowned free runner (you can be renowned in this field?), Ryan Doyle put the Great Wall in its place as part of his Red Bull World Wonders Tour. Remember, Red Bull: It gives you wings… and hopefully not because you’re dead and on your way to the afterlife.

Super Repairs

In perhaps one of the cheesiest special effects of all-time, Superman used laser vision to repair the Great Wall after it had been damaged by the equally cheesy villain, Nuclear Man (before The Simpsons Radioactive Man). This all came about in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, which effectively killed the movie franchise. I’ve never been a Superman fan, but I have to give him credit for fixing a landmark I have yet to see.

Building the Wall

In 2005, a number of acts gathered for a concert using the Great Wall setting as a backdrop. Headlined by Boyz II Men, other performers included Cyndi Lauper and Alicia Keys. The show was recorded for a DVD release, The Great Wall Concert (I’m blown away they couldn’t come up with a more glitzy name than that), and also included interviews with historians, visits to other Chinese landmarks, and comedy performances on the streets of Beijing.

Abracadabra

There has been some amazing feats performed in the world of magic and David Copperfield’s act of walking through the Great Wall has to be among them. What else would you expect from the same man who has levitated above the Grand Canyon, made the Statue of Liberty disappear, and wed Claudia Schiffer!? For this illusion, Copperfield used a sheet and his faithful assistant to appear to go through the legendary wall… his secret is safe with me!

Maid in China

Rope Tricks

Chinese acrobat Adili Wuxor (dubbed the ‘Prince of Tightrope Walking’) and his apprentice Yakup Jang performed a tightrope walk of 1,100 feet from one point of the Great Wall to another in 2013. It’s estimated that the duo was 328-feet above the ground at the highest point. If that wasn’t enough, the stuntmen performed some theatrics during the 40-minute crossing, including sitting on the rope, balancing on one foot, dancing, and even going blindfolded.

The Wall is Not Enough

While it has yet to happen in a Bond film, it has long been rumoured and researched to film a motorcycle chase scene at the Great Wall for the long running franchise. First dreamt up for the 1989 License to Kill, negotiations with the Chinese government hit a snag when the politicians asked for power over the script. The most recent 007 saga, Skyfall, was to include the fabled act, but plans changed and although Bond travels to China, the Great Wall was not used.

China: China Blue

Mar 31

  • 2 oz Chu Yeh Ching Chiew
  • 0.5 oz Blue Curacao
  • Top with Lychee Juice and Grapefruit Juice
  • Garnish with Lemon and Lime Wheels

I’m proud of all you little sippers for traversing the Great Wall with me and not needing to be carried by bodyguards like that twerp (nee douche bag) Justin Bieber. Now that was an amazing feat… of stupidity!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
Some say Chu Yeh Ching Chiew is similar to wine, others to gin, and some classify it as closer to vodka. One site calls it Chinese Bamboo Leaf Vodka and that’s good enough for me! What really matters is that it’s believed to cure hangovers… well, at least for you hangover prone little sippers out there. As for this cocktail, it’s not bad. The flavour is indescribable thanks to the mix of Chu Yeh Ching Chiew and Lychee Juice; two flavours I don’t know very well. It could use some fizz, however.

Canada – Unsuspecting Victim

Legend of Poutine

As we continue our trek across Canada’s often frozen tundra, we discover another of the country’s greatest products: poutine. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, it basically means fries with gravy and cheese curds, but it can also be so much more. Let’s take a look at Canada’s cultural cuisine.

Poutine Heart Attacks

As with most things that earn a cult status and become famous, there are many that claim to have created the dish. A number of French Canadian cities also assert that they are the home of poutine’s invention. Drummondville, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Victoriaville, and Warwick each have ponies in this race.

It is commonly believed that poutine earned its name (which is French slang for “a mess”) when a trucker asked cook Fernand Lachance to add cheese curds to his fries in the 1950’s.

You can really make anything with the poutine base of fries and curds. Butter chicken, ribs, ground beef, pulled pork, and most other meats can be used in recipes. There are also Greek and Italian poutines which include Greek salad and gyro meat and Bolognese sauce and Italian sausage, respectively.

Chef Chuck Hughes even won an episode of Iron Chef America with an offering of lobster poutine, which sounds so amazingly fantastic. Not so fantastic (to the Sip Advisor, at least) are recipes which include foie gras, caviar, and truffles. I’d still give them a shot, though and probably end up eating crow.

Despite its wonderful taste, one major downside of poutine is its high-caloric value. Servings can range from 750-1,500 calories depending on how many ingredients are thrown on top of the base.

calories-poutine

A number of fast food joints have also jumped aboard the literal gravy train. New York Fries, KFC, Burger King, Dairy Queen, A&W, Wendy’s, and even McDonald’s, known for their world famous skinny fries, have got in on the poutine act. A number of poutine specific restaurants have also began popping up across Canada. In a small area of downtown Vancouver, you can find La Belle Patate, Smoke’s Poutinerie, Mean Poutine, and others.

My favourite rendition of the meal is available at my local watering hole, Jimmy’s Taphouse. It’s not an elaborate serving of the delicacy, but what pushes it over the edge is the chipotle drizzle they put over the fries, giving it a bit of spice. The menu item is also on the bar’s half price happy hour menu, which makes it all the more amazing.

Jones Soda released a poutine-flavoured beverage for a limited time in 2013, which was met with mostly harsh reviews. Still, I wish I could track it down and use it in a drink recipe. If you have a bottle lying around, donations to The Sip Advisor are always accepted and like a church offering plate are strongly encouraged!

Some close family members of poutine include Disco Fries (using mozza cheese and served in New Jersey and New York since the 1970’s), Chili Cheese Fries, and In-N-Out Burger’s Animal Fries (with cheese, onions, and secret sauce).

All this talk of poutine has worked up quite an appetite for me, so we’ll close with a note on perhaps the most famous moment for the popular dish. For Rick Mercer’s satirical ‘Talking to Americans’ segment on This Hour Has 22 Minutes, during the 2000 U.S. election, Mercer told George W. Bush that Prime Minister Jean Poutine had endorsed him. The actual Canadian PM at the time was Jean Chretien, but not a single interviewee picked up on the discrepancy. When President Bush made his first trip to Canada, he joked that he wanted to thank Mr. Poutine for the endorsement, finally clued in to the gag.

Canada: Unsuspecting Victim

Unsuspecting Victim Drink Recipe

  • 0.75 oz Crown Royal Whiskey
  • 0.75 oz Chambord
  • 0.75 oz Amaretto
  • Top with Pineapple Juice and Sweet & Sour Mix
  • Splash of Lemon-Lime Soda
  • Garnish with Lemon and Lime Wheels

This is one of the few things we can thank the French for… that and an endless number of liquor options. Please share your favourite poutine recipe, fact, or story. Then go get yourself some of Canada’s finest gastronomic delight!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
Well, my little sippers, it happened again. I ended up with some Pineapple Juice that had gone bad and came out as clumpy as some poutine gravies. Luckily, I had some Pineapple Soda still lying around and it added a very nice touch to the drink. The always reliable (aren’t all Canadian items!) Crown Royal Whiskey tasted really good combined with the Chambord and Amaretto and everything mixed together made for an excellent cocktail.

December 27 – Hammered Farmer

Experience Points

I got to thinking the other day about things that must be experienced as a drinker. The rites of passage as a boozehound, if you will. Here’s some of the items that crossed my mind and I believe made me the Sip Advisor I am today!

Drink from a Funnel – Friends of Mrs. Sip and myself had this funnel they called Skeletor (thanks to it being a skull), which was fun drinking out of and made for a good dare as part of drinking games.

Funnel Fail

Do a Keg Stand – As a kid, I was always standing on my head. It’s something I did well and I still do head stands on many objects I find. Combine that with chugging beer and you have the infamous keg stand. I think I did pretty well in my only attempt.

Use a Flask – I first bought a flask in my early 20’s and have since upgraded to a much nicer one, which I gave out to each of the groomsmen and ushers in my wedding. As I’ve written before, Fireball is my go-to flask filler and it has seen me through many wild nights.

Buy Booze as a Minor – While I didn’t frequently do this, it did happen from on a couple occasions and without incident. It truly shows your dedication to the sport.

Enjoy an Open Bar – I’ve been lucky enough to attend a few “open bar” functions in my time. Sometimes those bars haven’t been very lucky to have me as a guest!

Rent a Keg – This is something I have yet to do personally. Sure, I’ve been to the odd keg party, but I’ve never hosted one. We’ve often bandied about the idea of getting a keg for my annual beer pong tournament, but letting folks drink whatever they wish has always won out over the mass serving. I did have a mini keg that travelled through some of Europe with me, if that counts.

Tap the Keg

Drunken Karaoke – Is there any other kind of karaoke!?

Buy a Round for a Group – It’s always important to take your rightful turn in buying drinks for the group. Just make sure you get yours back in due time.

Invent a Cocktail – Clearly this is no longer an outstanding issue for the Sip Advisor…

Buy a Woman a Drink – Does Mrs. Sip count? If so, then check!

Play Drinking Games – Whether it’s Beer Pong, Quarters, King’s Cup, Flippy Cup, or anything else, drinking games are an essential element of boozing fun. I’d say go easy on rookies, but they should know what they’re getting themselves into.

battle-shots

Go on a Beer/Wine Tour – In the course of this project, I’ve detailed the wine and beer tours I’ve been privileged to go on. Next up comes some visits to hard alcohol distilleries.

Do a Shot Challenge – Whether it’s one you create on your own or something hosted by a bar, these are always a fun way to get smashed and stretch your drinking limits. Mrs. Sip and I took part in one notable challenge in Nice, France, where we (along with three others) had to down all of our 10 shots in successive order. I was the only one ballsy enough to include a couple Flatliners in my set.

Visit a Beer Hall – Drinking around the world has become a huge part of travel for Mrs. Sip and I, whether it’s trying news beers, wines, and spirits, or visiting booze landmarks across the globe. The beer hall we enjoyed in Munich, Germany was among these great memories.

Do a Pub Crawl – Man are these fun… I’ve done crawls in a lot of parts of the world (Key West, Florida; Preston, England; Honolulu, Hawaii; etc.) and they’re always full of laughs, adventure, and of course alcohol. Map out a route and hit the town!

Bar Crawl

Survive a Hangover – Does it count if I’ve helped someone through their hangover? Remember, the Sip Advisor is immune from rough morning afters.

Be Known by Name at a Bar – While I have yet to find a place “where everybody knows my name”, the Sip Alliance was recognized at The Yard House in Hawaii as “Oh, you guys are back!”

Ride a Mechanical Bull – This should only be done while blitzed because it limbers you up for the eventual fall. I achieved this at the PBR Rock Bar in Las Vegas this year (twice!) and it was totally worth the resulting crotch bruising.

Hit Multiple Fast Food Joints on the Same NightGuilty as charged. Just the other day, Mrs. Sip and I grabbed some Mickie D’s takeout and while passing by a Mega Bite pizza shop, I joked we should grab some slices for the road as well. Before I knew it, Mrs. Sip was in there snatching some before we were on our way again!

Drink #361: Hammered Farmer

Hammered Farmer Drink Recipe

  • 1.5 oz Spiced Rum (I used New Orleans)
  • Top with Root Beer
  • Splash of Apple-Lime Juice
  • Garnish with a Lemon Wheel

What else do you think qualifies as a rite of passage for experienced drinkers? I wanted to include my feat of drinking a beer underwater, but Mrs. Sip insisted it was so rare and awesome that I was the only that would qualify. She’s always pumping my tires!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This is one of those bizarre recipes where they recommend way too much booze to make a decent drink. They say you should use 4 oz of Spiced Rum. While that will achieve the desired effect of being a Hammered Farmer, the cocktail’s taste will be way too strong. I dumbed the ingredients down to make a tasty drink where you can taste each element being presented. You’ll still get blasted, it just won’t be from one serving!