France – Between the Sheets

Sensational Skyline

The Eiffel Tower is an iconic symbol, regularly associated with not only Paris, but the entire country of France. The structure can be found in numerous forms of media representing the country and celebrated its 125th anniversary earlier this year. Let’s take a closer look at this mammoth structure:

The Eiffel Tower was opened to the public on March 31, 1889, taking two years, two months and five days to build by 300 workers. It was erected to serve as the entrance to the 1889 World Fair (or Exposition Universelle, since the French always have to put their own twist on titles). While it is an icon of the country today, its construction was protested by French artists and writers, who called it a “hateful column of bolted sheet metal!”

Frances-Thong

Writer Guy de Maupassant was one of the most vocal haters of the Eiffel Tower, yet was discovered eating lunch inside the setting on a daily basis. He claimed that it was because it was the only place in Paris that he didn’t have to look at the building. Other residents of the city initially viewed the construction as an eyesore.

Although the tower is named in honour of engineer Gustave Eiffel, he wasn’t initially interested in the project. Designed by his company’s engineers Maurice Koechlin and Émile Nouguier, Eiffel only really came on board when the design was tweaked by his head of architecture, Stephen Sauvestre. Then, Eiffel purchased the patent rights for the structure.

A symbol of modern science, for 41 years, the Eiffel Tower was the tallest man-made object (standing at 1,063 feet) in the world, but that reign came to an end in 1930 with the completion of New York’s Chrysler Building. I bet the French regretted giving New York the Statue of Liberty after they were trumped. The tower is comprised of 18,038 pieces linked by 2.5 million rivets.

Tower or Battleship

Today, the Eiffel isn’t even the tallest structure in France anymore. It has been surpassed by the Millau Viaduct, a cable-stayed bridge that connects parts of Millau-Creissels, France over the River Tarn. While it does provide a nice photo-op (if you’re into bridges and such), the Eiffel Tower is still the place tourists flock for their Parisian moment.

The tower was treated with 60 tons of paint to protect from the weather and has been repainted numerous times (about every seven years) since its original covering. It is painted lighter at the bottom of the structure and becomes gradually darker at the top so it looks like one uniform colour, despite atmospheric pressure. On warms days, the Eiffel tower can grow up to six inches, thanks to thermal expansion… does this mean that Mrs. Sip is also thermal expansion!?

The tower’s elevators weren’t running until almost two months after the building opened. Visitors could still enter the structure, but had to climb 1,710 steps to reach the summit. Still, more than 30,000 people were willing to traverse the many flights to get a view of the city. Mrs. Sip and I have talked about doing the stair thing sometime, but I think my laziness will always prevail.

Eiffel Lightning

The Eiffel Tower was supposed to be taken apart after 20 years, but it was later used as a radio communications tower, transitioning into telecommunications with the change in technology. The city chose to keep the structure after its permit expired in 1909. A post office, theatre, newspaper, science labs, and even an annual ice rink have also set up shop at the structure.

In the 1920s, con man Victor Lustig sold the Eiffel Tower twice for scrap metal. With forged government documents, Lustig invited six scrap metal dealers to a meeting where they discussed dismantling the run down and expensive-to-upkeep landmark. When the scam worked once without Lustig ending up in jail, he returned to try it again, but this time authorities were summoned. Lustig did get away this time, but eventually found himself in jail, where he died in 1947. His death certificate listed his occupation as ‘apprentice salesman!’

Eiffel For You

The tower sure is sturdy, surviving wars, fires, and countless visitors. One time when Mrs. Sip and I were visiting the landmark, we even saw some dude relieving himself against the iconic iron! Today, the Eiffel Tower is the most visited pay monument in the world, with over seven millions visitors annually, 75% of which are foreigners.

It may not be the copycat Eiffel Tower located at The Paris Hotel in Las Vegas, but Joe King, an engineering professor from California, constructed a toothpick replica of the famous structure in 1988, using 110,000 sticks. The tower stood 23 feet high. Other imitations include: Tokyo Tower in Japan, Torre del Reformador in Guatemala, Petřín Lookout Tower in the Czech Republic, AWA Tower in Australian, and many more.

France: Between the Sheets

Between the Sheets Cocktail

  • 1 oz Cognac
  • 1 oz Triple Sec
  • 1 oz Light Rum
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Garnish with a Lemon Wedge

Every time Mrs. Sip and I have been at the Eiffel Tower (with the intent of going up), the weather has been inclement. The first time we ever scaled the monument, the weather was near freezing and windy and even snowed a little. Other times, we have passed on going up because we know it isn’t as enjoyable when it’s wet and cold. On one visit, the weather was gorgeous as we were winding our way through the Louvre line-up early in the day. That afternoon was supposed to be Eiffel Tower time, but as we made our way to the attraction, the clouds burst open and we were thwarted once again. C’est la vie is all you can really say!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
Despite three ounces of alcohol, this drink was pretty damn good. I was worried about how harsh it might be, so instead of using plain Light Rum, I subbed in Torched Cherry Rum and the flavour went very well with the Triple Sec. Both tasted very nice with Cognac as part of the mix and while still potent, the drink was delicious.

Advertisements

September 20 – Blue Hawaiian

Mahalo

Mrs. Sip and I, along with members of the Sip Alliance are off to Hawaii in a couple days to celebrate my ‘Dirty 30’! I figured it would be a good time to look into things to do on the islands (I will focus on Oahu and the city of Honolulu, as that’s where we’re staying) and while the list could basically say “do absolutely nothing,” there are actually a few must-see and must-do attractions to be enjoyed!

Hike Diamond Head

While I’m vehemently opposed to any exercise while on vacation, the sights from atop Diamond Head are said to be spectacular, giving those brave enough to traverse the volcanic cone a view of the entire island paradise. I only wish it was like the 1975 game show The Diamond Head Game, where contestants stepped into a ‘money volcano’ and tried to grab flying cash!

Diamond-Head

Buy Something at the Aloha Stadium Market

When Mrs. Sip and I hit the market during our last visit, I grabbed a Hawaii 5-0 t-shirt that said “Book’em Danno” (my dad’s nickname for me when I was a wee little sipper), while Mrs. Sip grabbed a bottle of balsamic vinegar. There are so many other great items up for grabs here, but it doesn’t take too long before you tire of the search. Make sure to keep hydrated in the heat.

Pay Your Respects at Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial

The Ben Affleck flick just doesn’t do the story justice… in fact, it probably detracts from the history. The site was home to Japan’s attack on the United States on Dec. 7, 1941, pulling the country into World War II. Make sure to grab your ticket for the attraction early in the day, as the limited vouchers are sold before the morning turns into afternoon.

Learn at the Polynesian Cultural Center

Eight different villages are honoured at the Cultural Centre, including Tonga, Samoa, New Zealand, Fiji, Tahiti, and others. Here, you can get a henna tattoo, learn how to hula dance, participate in tribal games, or even sample the utterly disgusting poi. A true highlight is the Royal Feast, which will leave you completely stuffed, as you enjoy Polynesian dancing and other performing arts.

hawaii-oahu-polynesian

Do an Island Pub Crawl

In researching this article, I found out there is a Dave & Buster’s in Honolulu, so that is definitely going on the list. Sadly, though, Senor Frog’s closed down this year due to a rent disagreement. When Mrs. Sip and I were on the island in 2009, we travelled around and found some amazing spots and drink deals. Pitchers of beer for $5 and $2 Mai Tais… this isn’t brain science!

Eat, Eat, Eat

There are numerous locations you have to visit in Hawaii for their culinary delectables. From American cuisine favourites at The Cheesecake Factory to romantic seafood meals at Duke’s and everything in between, there’s something for every taste on the island. Mrs. Sip and I found this hidden Mexican joint the last time we were there and hopefully we can track it down again!

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Get Wet at Waikiki Beach

Whether you want to try your hand at surfing or snorkeling, play among the waves that crash against the shore, or just hang out on the sand and perfect your tan, hitting the beach offers all this and more. I like to grab a spot close enough to the bars on the other side of the street so that you’re primed for when hunger, thirst, or happy hour strikes.

Appreciate Wildlife at the Honolulu Zoo or Waikiki Aquarium

Perfect for kids and adults who still want to be young, both the zoo and aquarium are home to a number of amazing animal species. The zoo houses 1,230 animals that will keep you enthralled with their behaviour, while the aquarium is located right along the beach, the optimal setting for viewing creatures of the water. Must-see attractions for all ages.

Drink #263: Blue Hawaiian

Sept 20

  • 0.75 oz Light Rum (I used Bacardi)
  • 0.75 oz Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Blue Curacao
  • Top with Pineapple Juice
  • Splash of Sweet & Sour Mix
  • Garnish with Lemon and Lime Slices

Do you have any suggestions for our upcoming trip and birthday celebration? We’ll try to squeeze it in among all the drinking and relaxing!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.5 Sips out of 5):
There are other Blue Hawaii and Blue Hawaiian recipes, but I went with the traditional offering. It was a strong drink and needed a little dilution to taste decent. Perhaps using a Pineapple or Lemon-Lime Soda in the future would give it a little more zip.

September 19 – Daiquiri

Rum-stravaganza

There are a lot of rum memes out there and I’ve narrowed it down to the best of the lot. Once again, I do it for all you little sippers… free of charge!

Rum Before 10am

As I’ve written before, I often get an odd look when I’m pouring myself a drink in the early hours of the day. I personally see nothing wrong with a nip in the morning. Call it the breakfast of champions, if you will. At least now I know I’m not alone and I properly belong as an audio-animatronic on Pirates of the Caribbean!

Rum Gone

I’ve always felt akin to felines and now I know we share the same feelings on rum and the fear of discovering it’s all gone. Luckily, I always keep a thorough stock of the spirit, usually in a variety of styles and flavours. Relax little kitty, you’re always welcome to come party with the Sip Advisor!

oh-they-said-run

I hate running… but if I saw a group of people running with the thoughts that we were all chasing down some sweet liquor, I’d be right at the head of the group and doing everything I could, Wacky Races style, to finish first. Like this meme, though, the minute I learned everyone was just going for a jog, I’d quietly disappear!

Bacardio

Now this is my kind of exercise. Bringing your glass routinely to your lips is a form of bicep curls and if you’re constantly getting up and down to make a new beverage, that could be looked at as doing squats. Finally, drinking while also not dying can be thought of as breathing exercises, and now you’re getting a full body workout!

Disaster Rum

We can learn a lot from our elders, particularly this wise meme lady. I need to do a better job of having contingency liquor. Right now, I have everything in one basic spot and that’s not planning ahead properly. Most importantly, everyone should have one bottle stashed in their bedroom in case they don’t feel like getting out of bed!

Drink #262: Daiquiri

Daiquiri Drink Recipe

  • 1.5 oz Light Rum (I used Bacardi)
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Garnish with a Lime Wheel

Today we drink the daiquiri, one of the world’s most noble cocktails. Join me, won’t you!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
Last month, I included the Wildberry Daiquiri as part of Frozen Cocktail Week, but it’s such a classic cocktail, it had to be done for Rum Week, as well. This version isn’t too bad, but there’s not a whole lot going on and the Light Rum taste isn’t masked as well as most might hope for. I like my drinks to play on the strong side, so that’s okay with me, but other’s might want to hesitate.

September 18 – Mai-Tai

Rum Diary

There are some pretty good rum slogans out there, as companies try to capitalize on the liquor’s perception as a laid back spirit. Here are some of my favourites, as we sail through the Caribbean!:

Sailor Jerry’s – This is no girly rum.

One of my favourite libations of all time and a brand that could be the first inductee into my own personal liquor hall of fame (oh, that sounds like a good article idea!), I love Sailor Jerry’s. And yes, it is certainly not a girly rum… even though there’s a picture of a girl prominently on the bottle. I’ve probably gone through more bottles of Sailor Jerry’s than any other alcohol and that’s something to be proud of!

Sailor-Jerry's

Malibu – Malibu… seriously easy going.

With the company’s blend of light rum and fruit flavours, one could definitely conclude that Malibu is “seriously easy going”! Is there anything finer in life than relaxing on a sandy beach, the sun bronzing your skin, with a rum-based cocktail in your hand? The all-inclusive industry was based on this theory and now those companies thrive in having people get their R&R on, accompanied by the divine secrets of sweet lady liquor.

Appleton – Raise your rum!

And toast the liquor gods, while you’re at it. This slogan is two-fold. On one hand, they’re talking about raising the quality of the rum you drink when you choose Appleton. On the other hand, it can be viewed as a toast and celebration thanks to the fine folks at Appleton. I’m a big fan of Appleton, something I know I’m not alone on. So, raise your rum to the Sip Advisor and let’s get bombed!

Bacardi – Live like you mean it.

I grew up on Bacardi, as it was my parent’s rum of choice and as a result, I’ll always have a place in my heart for the spirit. I like to think I live most days to the fullest and Bacardi has often helped me with that quest. The Sip Advisor becomes a whole different being when the rum is flowing and good times are set to be had. Every day should be cherished in some way and Bacardi is always a good start!

Bacardi Rums

Captain Morgan – Got a little Captain in you?

I certainly have a little Captain in me… just not in that way… not that there’s anything wrong with that! I have a sense of adventure and of boozing my way through those glorious good times. Pirating is surely in my blood, somewhere along the family lines because I love rum, the water, being aboard ships, and causing mayhem. For those of you that don’t like those things, you can apply to my school of rehabilitation and we’ll get that all sorted out.

Parrot Bay – The Parrot is calling.

If the Parrot is calling, I’m certainly listening! And that’s even though I absolutely hate birds. At least the parrot is a colourful species, which helps you ignore all the other annoying bird elements for a short time. Then, once you get to the rum drinking, you completely put aside all of your hatred towards the aviary animals. We can all get along thanks to a little shared enjoyment of the finer things in life.

Drink #261: Mai-Tai

Mai-Tai Drink Recipe

  • 0.75 oz Dark Rum (I used Captain Morgan)
  • 0.75 oz Light Rum
  • 0.5 oz Amaretto
  • 0.5 oz Triple Sec
  • Top with half Orange Juice and half Pineapple Juice
  • Float Grenadine
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry and Cocktail Umbrella

Which rum slogans are you particularly fond of? Has the Sip Advisor slipped up and left your favourite line off this list. Come on, give me hell!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
While I wasn’t able to pull of the traditional Mai-Tai recipe (not having access to Orgeat Syrup), Mrs. Sip and I found an adapted recipe that subs Amaretto in its place. The drink was good, surprising Mrs. Sip who has a dislike for Amaretto and a love for Mai-Tais. If it passes her taste test, it can’t be written off!

September 15 – Cuba Libre

Rum Runners

Today marks the start of Rum Week here at The Sip and by now, you surely know what that means… a small dose of rum education! So, put your thinking caps on (come on, I ask this of you so seldom), sharpen those pencils, and prepare to have your brains stuffed with useless knowledge. Only the best for my little sippers!

Caribbean: Putting The Punch In Rum

Drink #258: Cuba Libre

Cuba Libre Drink Recipe

  • 1.5 oz Gold Rum (I used Bacardi)
  • Top with Cola
  • Garnish with Lime Wedges

I love these infographics. They make my job so much easier. And don’t you think I deserve the odd day off, allowing me to kick back with a few Cuba Libres? You’re right, I’ve earned every bit of vacation time I have!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I used the original Cuba Libre recipe for today’s offering and, of course, it was delicious. I like to try all kinds of different Rums, looking for the right combo with Cola. I prefer Spiced Rums, but Gold Rum gets the job done in a pinch. Anytime you have a plain Rum and Coke, there must be an element of Lime added to the mix. Whether that be some fresh-squeezed Lime Juice, or at the very least, Lime Wedges as part of the recipe… that will combat the scurvy!

September 12 – Furry Purple Squirrel

Mascot Mess

Teams largely have mascots to engage young fans and as a merchandising opportunity. I don’t know why college teams have mascots, as well, but I guess alcohol and people dressed as animals is always a winning combination. Each major league (NHL, MLB, NBA, NFL) is guilty of poorly chosen characters. Here are some of the worst mascots in the wide world of sports:

Carlton the Bear – Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)

How in the hell is a bear the mascot for this team? Did they just want to be able to sell oodles of merchandise using a cute teddy bear? The team’s mascot should really be a dude dressed up in a leaf costume and they could do this performance introduction, where the leaf blows through the sky and lands flat on the ground, only to be crushed by passersby. Just like the team itself… symmetry, my friends, symmetry. Leafs suck, btw.

Carlton the Bear

Heh, golfing… just like the Maple Leafs every spring!

Raymond – Tampa Bay Rays (MLB)

There’s just no zip to this name and the character is even worse, described as a seadog and wearing large sneakers and a backwards ball cap. Raymond is really just a slacker, complete with unkempt facial hair. Why couldn’t the mascot be a sting ray, with the tag line “I killed Steve Irwin, so don’t mess with us!” Now that would be bad ass.

Bear – Utah Jazz (NBA)

They couldn’t even give their mascot a decent nickname? The marketing department sat around and just settled with Bear? I’d be more impressed with Bear if he occasionally picked up a musical instrument and belted out some jazz scat tunes. Then again, the Jazz name doesn’t even work in Utah and is only a carryover from the franchise’s New Orleans origins. Ridiculous all around.

Rowdy – Dallas Cowboys (NFL)

Rowdy looks like Fix-It Felix from Wreck-It Ralph… except he appears a little more Broke Back Mountain than the team would probably want. The Cowboys legacy as a rough and tumble team doesn’t hold up so well when Rowdy is paired with that lineage. He has to be the creepiest looking cowboy I’ve ever seen, making the blood of Clint Eastwood boil to extreme levels.

Rowdy Cowboy

Spartacat – Ottawa Senators (NHL)

I don’t get the orange hair. Doesn’t the Senators organization know that the world hates gingers!? Not myself, I find them to be loveable folks, but I am a rare breed. Readers know of my love for cats, but this one just doesn’t sit right. The name is okay too, but I just don’t see the necessity for that orange hippie hair. Call me crazy (and I’m sure you have), but I just can’t get past that.

Screech – Washington Nationals (MLB)

How awesome would it be if the Washington Nationals mascot wasn’t a anthropomorphic bald eagle, but was, in fact, Screech from Saved by the Bell!? Other than that minor note, I really don’t have any problem with Screech. He falls in line with the team name and the city the franchise plays out of. I probably should have left him off the list… but that Saved by the Bell thing still bugs me.

Hip Hop the Rabbit – Philadelphia 76ers (NBA)

Sure, basketball teams need to cater to the hip hop market and fans of the music genre, but this is really taking things a little too far. Hip Hop looks like a “gangsta” Trix Rabbit on roids, who instead of searching aimlessly for the beloved cereal, performs slam dunks off trampolines to pass the time. Let’s just hope Hip Hop doesn’t become a casualty of the East-West Rap Feud.

Hip Hop the Rabbit

Stinger – Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL)

How anyone could consider an insect cute and cuddly is a question I’ll never be able to answer. Still, this pest was able to find work with the Columbus Blue Jackets, despite being a yellow jacket bug. That mixed with the teams blue colours, has turned him green, just to confuse people even more. I foresee a large swatter and a satisfying splat in Stinger’s future!

Sparky the Dragon – New York Islanders (NHL)

Why a dragon is the mascot for this team is perplexing. Sure, the owner, Charles Wang (heh… wang) is of Asian descent, but is that enough to justify this move? Not to mention he simply transferred the character over from his former Arena Football League franchise and you have the makings of a mascot conspiracy. We must form a task force to get to the bottom of this!

Dinger – Colorado Rockies (MLB)

The Colorado Rockies entered Major League Baseball around the time that Barney the Dinosaur was huge for many youngsters. I guess they decided to capitalize on that marketing craze when conceptualizing Dinger. Apparently, making Dinger a Triceratops was based on reports of dinosaur fossils being discovered as the franchise built its Coors Field stadium. I have to say that I do like the name Dinger, though.

Dinger the Dinosaur

Bernie Brewer – Milwaukee Brewers (MLB)

This mascot has to be the closest thing to resemble a 1970’s porn star in the sporting world, complete with a full, bushy, handlebar moustache. I bet under that jersey is a chest full of wild, curly hair and if we keep travelling downwards, a Ron Jeremy-esque member. The Brewer probably drinks a ton, too, and may be the best candidate on this list to party with!

Youppi – Montreal Canadiens (NHL)

The only thing worse than a bad mascot is a bad mascot that was meant for another team. When the Montreal Expos were relocated to become the Washington Nationals, Youppi became a free agent, quickly snapped up by the Canadiens. I do have to give credit to Youppi for being the first mascot ever kicked out of a Major League Baseball game, which occurred in 1989 following LA Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda complaining to umps about the mascot’s behaviour.

Drink #255: Furry Purple Squirrel

Sept 12

  • Rim glass with Grape Candy Powder
  • 1 oz Blue Curacao
  • 1 oz Light Rum
  • 1 oz Coconut Rum (I used Malibu)
  • Top with Club Soda
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Dash of Grenadine
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

I must admit, I left off the many amateur sport mascots that could have filled three of these lists. Olympic mascots have always been ridiculous too. Just to keep things simple, I only focused on professional team mascots. Did I miss any? Leave a message after the beep. BEEEEEEEP!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
This is an interesting recipe that includes floating the Coconut Rum on top of the drink right before serving. I picked this cocktail because it somewhat went with the topic of today’s post and because the blend of ingredients intrigued me. My Grape Candy Powder rim worked out better than others. I still don’t understand why every drink that purports itself to be purple never turns out that way and remains blue. Maybe I’m not using enough Grenadine, but then again, I don’t want to use a ton of Grenadine.