Mixer Mania #34 – Wondrous Watermelon

Up until recently, I didn’t realize Watermelon Soda was part of the Crush pop line or even existed. Given I love watermelon, this was a very happy discovery and I instantly grabbed a bottle. Much like this watermelon-based soft drink seemed mythical, let’s take a look at some legends meant to explain the existence of watermelons:

Making Papa Proud

Our first origin story comes from Vietnam, where a young prince angered his father, the king, and was banished to a deserted island. There, he found a fruit that he feared was poisonous and only consumed when all other options were gone. The fruit was tasty and extinguished his thirst. The prince then cultivated the fruit, which spread across the island. He also sent some of the fruit drifting into the sea, with his name and the island’s name carved into them. This brought others to the island, in search of the fruit. The king learned of his son’s achievements and invited him home, crowning him the next king.

Cat Watermelon

Slithering Save

Moving on to Armenia, this tale begins with a king’s servants cutting a snake’s horns off, in order to save it. As a thank you, the snake left a seed at the palace. From the seed, grew a new fruit, which was offered to an ailing old man, saving his life. The king tried the fruit next and felt invigorated. Thus, Armenians called watermelon “Not-Die”, once upon a time. I’m conflicted on this legend. On one hand, I don’t think I would ever be inclined to save a snake, but would rather chop its head off. On the other hand, the servants heroic efforts resulted in the creation of watermelon, so can I really fault them?

Passion of the Priest

We’ll wrap things up with a journey to the Philippines, where a Spanish priest was working hard to convert folks to Catholicism. One particular area was resistant to the priest’s teachings about Christ and his sacrifices. The ruler of this region eventually detained the priest and punished him according to his lessons, crucifying him on a cross. The priest succumbed to this treatment and his blood flowed into the ground below. When the ruler later returned to the cross, the priest had disappeared and in his place, a fruit had grown, its innards resembling the blood of the priest. And that’s how people get converted!

Mixer Mania #34: Nice Melons

Nice Melons.JPG

  • 2 oz Rum
  • Top with Watermelon Soda
  • Splash of Peach Juice
  • Dash of Lime/Lemon Juice
  • Garnish with Lime Wedge

There is also a legend of vampire watermelons (and pumpkins), but I’ll let you look into that yourselves…

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
For this recipe, I’ve subbed Watermelon Soda and Peach Juice in place of Watermelon and Peach Pieces, respectively. I also used the last of my Bear Hug Mango Rum to up the melon content and the result was very, very good. It may be a little sweet, but that can be evened out by Club Soda. The Watermelon Soda is nice on its own, reminding me of a 7-11 Slurpee.

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Mixer Mania #8 – Family First

Fruit Punch is like the United Nations of juices, bringing crops of all walks of life together and trying to co-exist in harmony. That also sounds like the description for a blended family… therefore, here are some of the best fictional merged units to ever come together:

The Brady Bunch

The original blended TV family saw a mother and her three daughters join a father and his three sons. Of course, there was also maid Alice to play peacekeeper between the factions, so long as she wasn’t out with boyfriend, Sam the butcher (an awesome wrestling name!). Cousin Oliver later came along, although he basically signaled the end of the series and his name is now used to describe when a show adds a young character to avoid cancellation.

Step Brothers

It’s one thing to find common ground with young children that are suddenly asked to act like kin, but when you’re trying to find peace between two middle-aged slackers still living at home, it can be a total nightmare. Such was the case for Brennan Huff and Dale Doback, as their mother and father, respectively, decide to marry and bring their families together. They do become close, in the end, but the early stages included attempted murder.

step-brothers

Step by Step

An updated 90’s version of The Brady Bunch saw TV darlings Suzanne Somers and Patrick Duffy combine their offspring to make one massive family. Add in cousin Cody – who lives in a van on the Lambert-Foster property, despite their massive house – and you have a pretty large household. This was TGIF programming at its finest, my little sippers, and they even tried to shoehorn a new baby into the show, prior to advance-aging her.

Blended

You’d figure after starring together previously in The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates that Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore wouldn’t be strangers anymore, but here they were bringing their respective families together in Africa of all places. Sandler, a widower with three daughters is joined by Barrymore and her two sons from a previous marriage and hilarity ensues when they’re placed in a myriad of African mishaps, before falling in love.

X-Men

While not a typical blended family, the students of Charles Xavier’s School for the Gifted are like one big clan, with many of the mutants forced from their birth homes by parents who either can’t handle their child’s extraordinary powers or are too scared to. Sure, things get a little weird when you consider some of the romantic relationships sparked within the group and the jury is still out on whether Professor X is a good father or not.

wolverine-kid

Modern Family

When Jay Pritchett married Gloria Delgado, her son Manny was also part of the deal. Later on, Jay and Gloria have a child of their own to add to the mix. As the show’s name implies, the series includes a number of different family mixes, such as the Dunphy’s – your “typical” family of mom, dad, and three kids – and the Tucker-Pritchett clan, which is comprised of a gay couple and their adopted Vietnamese daughter.

The Cleveland Show

After reuniting with his high school crush, Cleveland Brown and son Cleveland Jr. end up shacking up with Donna Tubbs and her two children from her previous marriage, Roberta and Rallo. The move from Quahog, Rhode Island to Stoolbend, Virginia means a whole new set of family and friends for the Browns, who initially struggle to meld with the Tubbs unit. Eventually, they return to Quahog, as most blended families do when their spinoff is cancelled.

Once Upon A Time

A big theme in Disney animated movies (and the fairy tales that they’re based on) is that of the blended family. Therefore, it’s no surprise that these would be transferred over to the Once Upon A Time world, most notably with Evil Queen Regina becoming the stepmother of Snow White and later sharing mother duties of young Henry with Emma Swan, the boy’s biological mama. Regina also becomes a pseudo mother to Robin Hood’s son.

Mixer Mania #8: Alabama Riot

Alabama Riot.JPG

  • 2 oz Southern Comfort
  • 1 oz Peppermint Schnapps
  • 1 oz Vodka
  • Top with Fruit Punch
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with Strawberry Slices

I must ask, if the world drank more Fruit Punch, would we be more accepting of each other’s differences? Yeah, probably not, but it would be neat if the solution was that simple…

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
With this recipe, I was most curious with how the Peppermint Schnapps would work with the other ingredients. While it actually made a decent partnership with the Fruit Punch, it still remained a little too noticeable. I happy I tried the drink, though.

Mixer Mania #4 – Jack of All Trades

Upon further research, it seems that Club Soda is a pretty versatile product. Yes, it can be used for more than getting drunk, while limiting calorie intake! Here are some other uses for the drink:

Stain Remover – Unfortunately, it can’t remove some of the human stains that exist out there (your Donald Trump’s and the like), but perhaps if those folks drank enough of the pop, it might make them disappear.

Fluff Food – Sorry, I was laughing too hard when I thought of food needing to be fluffed, in the same manner that the term is used in the adult film industry.

Remove Rust – I wonder if it would also work on the Sip Advisor’s joints after winter hibernation. Those first few trips back to the gym are not very fun.

Water Plants – Hmmm, water is free and soda costs money… I think I’ll stick to the water. Better yet, just get rid of all your plants and eliminate the dilemma entirely.

watering-plants

Soothe Your Belly – Given the pop in mixed drinks often leads to “gut rot” for some, I’m skeptical about this solution.

Restore Hair Color – This tactic is to be used after swimming, but won’t you damage your hair to a similar degree if you first have to wash it with Club Soda and then wash it again to wash out the Club Soda? I mean, those dyes are only good for so many washes.

Shuck Oysters – I would still think this process would eliminate some of the natural flavours oysters are supposed to provide… you know, the aphrodisiac qualities.

Preserve Newspaper Clippings – What lunatic still does this!?

Clean Surfaces – If you ever spill some Club Soda, you can simply tell your wife/girlfriend/mother, etc. that you were simply trying to clean the place, like they’ve been asking you to do for weeks.

spring-cleaning-tip

Windshield Cleaning – I bet there are some car guys out there that have always dreamed of having a drink with their vehicle.

Clean Gems – Then have sticky fingers for the rest of your life.

Rid Pots and Pans of Stuck-On Food – So much for leftovers.

Remove Bird Droppings – If only it could remove birds, as well.

Deodorize Pet Accident Areas – I wonder if it would also work to eliminate the odor of those who like to use alleys as toilets. If so, I think we’re going to need a lot more of it.

Mixer Mania #4: Gin Rickey

Gin Rickey.JPG

  • 1.5 oz Gin
  • Top with Club Soda
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

It seems Club Soda’s best attribute is being able to remove unsightly and gross things. And yet we’re throwing all caution to the wind and still drinking the stuff. Well, bottom’s up!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
Yet another classic cocktail that the Sip Advisor has yet to profile. This is the ultimate scurvy remedy, but I would have loved a little more complexity to the recipe.

Flavour Revolution – Gingerbread

‘Tis the Season

Mrs. Sip and I picked up a bottle of Southern Comfort: Gingerbread last year in Hawaii and should play around with it more than we have to this point. Here are some other spirits perfect for the winter and holiday season:

Bailey’s Irish Crème

Bailey’s is a holiday staple, perfect for morning coffee (not for the Sip Advisor, though) or straight up as a night cap. Last Christmas, Sis-in-Law Sip gave me a bottle of Chocolate Cherry, which I only haven’t opened because I was going through another crème liqueur and don’t like having too many on the go. Other flavours perfect for the season (and year round), include Orange Truffle, Vanilla Cinnamon, Biscotti, Hazelnut, Salted Caramel, Mint Chocolate, and Crème Caramel.

Bailey's Straight

Kahlua

With flavours such as Hazelnut, Cinnamon Spice, Peppermint Mocha, and French Vanilla, Kahlua ranks right up there with Bailey’s as a textbook winter treat. New to their product line is a Salted Caramel version, which has the Sip Advisor quite intrigued. Kahlua – and other liqueurs – are basically the only way I will intake coffee and despite my complete disregard of the hot beverage, I do have a soft spot for it in booze form.

Peppermint Schnapps

I love putting a couple dashes of Peppermint Schnapps in my hot chocolate. The Sip Advisor is currently using Yukon Jack Permafrost as his go to winter warmer. This product is unique in that it combines the flavours of peppermint and cinnamon all in one bottle. There are also a few peppermint-flavoured vodkas on the market, including Smirnoff Peppermint Twist Vodka and Burnett’s Candy Cane Vodka. Earlier this month, I used the Candy Cane Vodka for another Flavour Revolution article.

 

Eggnog Liqueur

You can’t go through the Christmas season without eggnog. Even people who aren’t crazy about the beverage (such as myself), end up indulging in the nog at least once… for tradition’s sake. A number of companies have jumped on the eggnog bandwagon, releasing pre-mixed bottles of the festive drink. An interesting Peppermint Chocolate variation comes from the Evan Williams distillery, which turns the dial up on Christmas!

christmas cat_eggnog

Spicebox Gingerbread Whiskey

In a similar vein to the SoCo Gingerbread we’re working with today, comes Spicebox Gingerbread Whiskey. I’m going to start sounding like a broken record, but this is another spirit that I have had great interest in, but have yet to purchase and sample. Along with the cookies it is inspired by, gingerbread is perfect at this time of year, soothing eaters and drinkers with a spice and warmth that is unlike any other treat available.

Jack Daniels Winter Jack

Having been a Jack Daniels fan since before I even began drinking, I’ve always been curious of this winter release, which combines the famous Tennessee whiskey with apple cider to produce a ready-to-drink cocktail. Sis-in-Law Sip gifted me a bottle of this for Christmas this year, but as of press time, I’m still showing it off underneath our tree. It sounds like the perfect liqueur to bring in the New Year with, so perhaps I’ll have to report back to all you little sippers.

Flavour Revolution: Late Night Affair

  • Rim glass with Gingerbread Crumbs
  • 1.5 oz Southern Comfort Gingerbread
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • Top with Cranberry Juice
  • Splash of Club Soda
  • Dash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

There’s also a multitude of winter beers on the market, many of which I have covered in my recent Sip Trips articles, looking at the craft beer advent calendar Mrs. Sip compiled for me. Is there anything else out there I’ve neglected and should add to my shopping list?

Flavour Revolution – Jalapeno

High Flyers

Jalapenos may not get into many mouths, as there are those who try to avoid spicy food at all costs, but they have ventured into space. Taken aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1982 by astronaut William B. Lenoir, jalapenos are certainly not the craziest item to leave the earth’s atmosphere. Here are some of those items:

Ashes to Ashes

There are a number of folks out there that would probably like for their remains to be floated into space for eternity. For astronomer, Clyde Tombaugh, that exact wish was granted aboard the New Horizons mission in July 2015. What makes Mr. Tombaugh so special? Well, he discovered the planet Pluto and this journey was the closest man or machine had ever been to the celestial object. Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry also had his ashes shot into space in 1997, joining portions of scientist Krafft Ehricke.

laundry ashes

If You Build It…

While LEGO has marketed entire lines of space-themed sets, the company can also claim to have had some of their characters enter the vast universe outside of earth’s borders. These little yellow men weren’t just any person, though. Miniatures of philosopher and astronomer Galileo, as well as Roman gods Jupiter and Juno were created for to join the few humans who can say they’ve enjoyed interstellar travel. Other toys to reach space include a Buzz Lightyear action figure… to infinity and beyond, indeed!

Special Sounds

A number of recordings have been sent into space during humans exploration of it. This includes The Beatles song Across the Universe (with a special message from Paul McCartney: “Send my love to the aliens. All the best, Paul.”); Louis Armstrong performing his Melancholy Blues; a recording of a mother kissing her child; a sheepherder… well, herding sheep; a blacksmith at work (is this still a thing!?); the brainwaves of Ann Druyan; Morse Code; laughter; a heartbeat; a hyena; the sawing of wood; and a steam train; among many others.

The Force

Many youngsters have become enamoured with space thanks to the Star Wars franchise of movies, so it’s fitting that a lightsaber prop from 1983’s Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, would make its way out of earth’s atmosphere aboard the Discovery shuttle in 2007. On the flip side of that, is the fact that a poster from the 1984 “classic” Top Secret!, starring Val Kilmer, has also enjoyed a trip through the galaxies. Why this movie was selected amidst all the potential sci-fi classics is a question aliens couldn’t even probe.

owning a lightsaber

Sport Spectacle

Sports play a great role in human existence, so why not bring some of those items up into space. First, there’s the infamous golf shots that have taken place on the moon, including a 200-yard zero gravity bomb, hit by astronaut Alan Shepard. After that, things get a little weirder. In 2008, astronaut and New York Yankees enthusiast Garret Reisman decided to bring some dirt from the Yankee Stadium pitcher’s mound aboard his journey. Lastly, a set of NASCAR green flags were taken into orbit, but the shuttle did more than just loop a track repeatedly.

Reading Material

In 1967, a member of the Apollo 12 backup crew decided to bring a time killing slice of Americana with him. That ended up being a copy of Playboy magazine, which I’m sure was only aboard the spaceship for the articles! Many years later, 100,000 Craigslist advertisements were launched into space. At least the early days of flight have also been paid homage to during space missions: a piece of the Wright brothers first plane to leave the ground was taken into space, as was the watch and scarf worn by Amelia Earhart.

Flavour Revolution:  Pepino Diablo

  • Muddle Cucumbers
  • 2 oz Tanteo Jalapeño Tequila
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Dash of Agave Nectar
  • Garnish with a Cucumber Slice

Considering everything that we’ve sent into space, any life that does exist out there must certainly have formed some interesting opinions about us. Chief among those, must be how easily an invasion of earth would be to undertake. After all, just distract us with toys, music, sports, and Playboy magazines and it’s practically mission accomplished!

Flavour Revolution – Grape

Grumpy Grapes

I try to be as optimistic and happy as I can in life. Sure, not everything has gone the way I’d want it to, but that’s no reason to become a bitter, miserable person… a person who can be defined as a ‘sour grapes’ type. Love them, or typically hate them, here are some of those folks:

Ebenezer Scrooge – A Christmas Carol

Before having his personality and therefore future changed for the better by three visiting Christmas spirits, Ebenezer Scrooge was one of the most miserly men you could ever come across. His cruelty knew no limit, driving even his closest family members away. Scrooge’s misery can be traced back to neglect from his own father, who left the young boy all alone at boarding school during the holiday season. With his trademark “Bah, humbug!”, Scrooge makes his gruff opinion quite clear to anyone around him.

Scrooge 1%

Gregory House – House

This incredibly talented doctor is a miserable prick with a bedside manner that leaves a lot to be desired… and that’s just the way he likes to be. Thanks to an aneurysm in his thigh, House loses the use of one of his legs and the operation that saved what is left of the limb, ruined his relationship with a long-time love. Add a drug addiction to deal with his chronic pain and you can kind of understand why the guy is so angry. Somehow, House has managed to maintain one friend, fellow doctor James Wilson, who manages to put up with the curmudgeonly diagnostic expert.

The Grinch – How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Much like Scrooge, the Grinch has no interest in his fellow man (or in this case, Whovillians). He’s content to live inside an isolated cave and never have any contact with the outside world. The extent of The Grinch’s bitterness leads him to want to ruin Christmas for the Whos down in Whoville and he sets upon a devious plan to steal the holiday. The Whos, however, aren’t phased by this, leading to the Grinch’s heart growing three sizes (really it was a massive coronary episode) and a complete change in character.

Grumpy Cat

The Sip Advisor is a big Grumpy Cat fan (and an admirer of all kitties in general). The memes created using Grumpy Cat – real name Tardar Sauce, although Grumpy Cat is much better – are some of the best on the internet. Many don’t know that Grumpy Cat actually looks the way she does because of an underbite and a form of feline dwarfism. I love how the owner of this feline turned a negative into a positive, creating joy for many, while also amassing a fortune that will help this kitty live comfortably for all of her nine lives!

grumpy-cat-disappoints

Mr. Potter – It’s a Wonderful Life

At every twist and turn, George Bailey’s life seems to always hit some sort of snag, but none of these are more crippling then when George’s uncle Billy absent-mindedly loses the money he meant to deposit for their Building & Loan business. Mr. Potter, an adversary and competitor to the Bailey’s happens to come across the money-filled envelope and takes it for his own gains. We learn, when George wishes he never existed, that without him, the town of Bedford Falls would be known as Pottersville and would be inhabited with all the grime a slumlord could ever dream of.

Grumpy – Snow White

Perhaps it’s the years of wear and tear on his body from working in the mines. Perhaps it’s having to live with seven dudes (total sausage fest!). Perhaps it’s simply the fact that he’s a dwarf. Regardless, Grumpy is not a happy person (that’s reserved for Happy!) and can’t even be cheered up by the musical stylings of Snow White and his fellow mining brethren. Despite not initially welcoming Snow White to the fold, Grumpy is the first to rush into battle with the Evil Queen, after she poisons the fair princess with that dastardly poison apple. Healthy food, my ass!

Inspector Javert – Les Miserables

As the title implies, every character in this musical is miserable (and each has their own good reason to be so), but Javert really takes the cake. He’s obsessed with ruining the life of Jean Valjean, a former prisoner who has escaped from parole and managed to elude capture. Even in the end, Javert just can’t let go of his fixation on Valjean and it ends up costing him his life. The dude commits suicide because he was shown mercy from the very man he has hunted for so many years. You’d think with all the wine the French have access to, they’d be a little more relaxed.

Flavour Revolution: Arctic Summer

Arctic Summer Cocktail

  • Muddle Raspberries
  • 1.5 oz Bacardi Arctic Grape Rum
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge and Raspberry

It’s amazing how many of these characters have a connection to Christmas media. It’s the best time of the year (or so the song implies) so why are miserable people an enhanced version of themselves around the holidays? Speaking of the holidays, if you’re ever in Spain for New Year’s Eve, tradition dictates that when the clock strikes midnight, you should eat 12 grapes, one to go with each chime of the New Year.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.5 Sips out of 5):
This is kind of a mint-less, soda-less version of a Raspberry Mojito, but what it lacked it could have used. I’m looking forward to trying more cocktails with the Arctic Grape Rum, as that was the best part of the drink.

Flavour Revolution – Cinnamon

Challenge Him

For some reason, people are willing to do stupid challenges with food and drink, one of those being eating straight cinnamon for the amusement of others. Here are some food challenges that will leave you shaking your head in astonishment:

Cinnamon/Flour

Trying to consume a spoonful of cinnamon, without the use of any water, sounds like a sure-fire way to ruin your day. When you learn of the health risks associated with the stunt – burned/collapsed lungs, as well as the fact cinnamon is toxic to the liver and kidneys in large doses – it seems all the more stupid. Despite the warnings, the challenge has been popularized by shows such as Tosh.0 and even MythBusters. The flour version involves ingesting a whole ladle of the white stuff. Good luck with that!

cinnamon-challenge

Saltine Crackers

Mrs. Sip is a cracker fiend, but she likes to enjoy her crispy treats with wine and cheese. She would never attempt to eat seven soda crackers without the aid of a beverage. That’s because she’s quite intelligent and the average person attempting these challenges is… well, not. I have to ask: Why Saltines? What did this cracker do to draw the ire, ridicule, and persecution of the online world? Athletes such as Peyton Manning and Derek Jeter have been associated with this challenge and its competitive nature.

Ghost Pepper

It amazes me how willing people are to film themselves eating hot foods, despite the tears and tantrums – and sometimes much worse – that are surely to result, just for a few hits on YouTube. I’m equally amazed that people will actually watch these videos, wasting their precious free time. The Ghost Pepper is one of the hottest in the world, known to literally turn its victims into apparitions (there’s a long-standing rumour that this is how Casper the Friendly Ghost perished)… or viral fools.

Sprite-Bananas/Mentos-Diet Coke

Remember the vinegar and baking soda volcanos many of us made for grade school science fairs? These two food challenges are like that; only the volcano setting has been replaced by your stomach and esophagus. Aren’t unexpected chemical reactions neat… and gross!? If I was a higher-up at the Coca-Cola company, I’d be pissed that Pepsi and 7-Up haven’t been implicated in any of these witch hunts. A good PR team, though, would turn this into the discovery of new and alternative fuel sources!

coke-and-mentos

Milk

There was a great Mad TV sketch many moons ago, where musician and chicken restauranteur Kenny Rogers performs a number of Jackass stunts, including a ‘Dairy Challenge’. At the end, Kenny (played by Will Sasso) concludes that “Nobody wins in a dairy challenge!” I only have milk on cereal and sometimes with chocolate chip cookies. Why anyone would go about downing a gallon of the stuff, sans something edible, is insane. Now I just want that plate of cookies!

Raw Eggs

We have the Rocky movie franchise to thank for popularizing this food challenge and I don’t know what’s worse: Having to wake up crazy early in the morning to start training or drinking a cocktail of raw eggs prior to said workout. Rocky performs the task without fear (likely due to years of brain damage from his boxing), though. The practice is still debated to this day, as people try to balance the risk of salmonella poisoning against whatever positive effects the concoction may provide.

Peeps

The only way I like my marshmallows, is roasting over a fire, about to be merged with chocolate and Graham crackers in a S’more. Even then, I settle for one gooey treat and would never be caught stuffing two dozen (sometimes 100) yellow puff birds in my mouth over a short time span. If this challenge came about because someone hated birds, I would like to view their other brochures and promotional material. Otherwise, count me out.

Flavour Revolution: Hot Tamale

Hot Tamale Cocktail

  • Rim glass with Cinnamon-Sugar
  • 1.5 oz Jose Cuervo Cinge Tequila
  • 1 oz Triple Sec
  • 0.25 oz Campari
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

Despite the stupidity exhibited by all who try these challenges, we must remember that cinnamon plays a large role in many of the greatest desserts known to man. This includes cinnamon buns, Churros, and so many more. All would pair well with today’s cocktail!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This is basically a Margarita recipe with the only downside being the Campari. It’s not so bad, but I’ve grown to really detest the aperitif and anything it touches. The Cinge Tequila shouldn’t get the bad rap most are quick to give it. It’s a nice twist on the classic alcohol and perfect for playing around with.