June 24 – Cold Lips

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

We continue our vacation exploits with stops in Estonia, Russia, Finland, and Sweden, along with more hijinks aboard the Emerald Princess!

Drinking on the Ship

One of my favoruite parts of a cruise vacation is, of course, the drinking. There are a number of bars around the ship and it’s fun to hit each one for at least one bevvy. Highlights of this voyage included cheaper cocktails in the Skywalker Lounge (with it’s beautiful views out the back of the ship), thanks to our new platinum status as cruise members and a visit to Vines Wine Bar, where tapas and sashimi sushi accompanied glasses of rose and pinot grigio wines.

cruise ship

I was drinking, but I wasn’t driving… I swear!

Liquor Finds & Dannebrog Café

Tallinn, Estonia was an amazing little stop that I hadn’t anticipated enjoying so much. And it came with a number of liquor moments. After touring the old, historic city, we popped into a souvenir store and found the aforementioned Cloudberry Liqueur. Imagine my surprise and excitement when Mrs. Sip pointed it out behind one of the cashiers. We also discovered the town’s most popular spirit Vana Tallinn and later found bottles of liqueur that included sugar crystals at the bottom to keep the libations sweet and delicious. Mrs. Sip selected a peach variety of this technique to bring home.

Our last stop of the port visit was to a little bar situated into the old town wall of the medieval city, called Dannebrog Café. You have to climb up narrow and steep stone stairs to enjoy your food and drink high up on a little wooden platform built from the wall (I think Mrs. Sip needed a drink or two just to get the courage to make the climb back down!). From our high perch, we were offered and amazing view of the city, while enjoying some local beers and wines, before making our way back to the ship and onward.

Vodka Tasting

On our honeymoon cruise, Mrs. Sip and I took part in a rum tasting aboard our ship, as we went through the Panama Canal route. This time, traversing through Northern Europe’s Vodka Belt, we of course had to sample some of the spirit and we were happily provided with a sampling of vodkas. We tried Russian Standard, Absolut and Matrioshka Lux, as we geared up for our two days in Russia. In Russia, we were advised by our guide to pick up a bottle of Beluga Vodka, said to be one of the finest sold in the country. That is precisely what we did and hopefully the old adage is true: Russians really know their vodka!

russian vodka

Beers in Finland

With only a short time in Finland, we had to rush around to get our sightseeing done, including taking a boat out to the famous world heritage site, the Suomenlinna sea fortress. When that was complete, it was time for a little rest and relaxation in a Helsinki pub, trying a couple local beers. Before we returned to the ship, we hit a convenience store and bought seven tall boys, each a different brand, to later have our own beer tasting to experience a greater selection of what the country had to offer on the brew front. My personal favourite was the Karhu selections.

Captain’s Circle

A highlight of our last two extended cruises has been invites to the Captain’s Circle celebration (for returning cruisers only). These are mini drinkfests, where servers bring you one cocktail after another for about half an hour, even if you’re already working on three drinks at once at your table. On our Panama honeymoon cruise, it’s where I discovered an appreciation for Cosmos and this time, I was able to enjoy a couple Gimlets, among other treats.

Finishing Cruise Alcohol

At the end of every cruise comes a brief moment of panic when you realize that you still have a fair bit of alcohol left to consume and so few hours to accomplish the feat. Never fear, however, as our troupe went through a quarter bottle of vodka, a dozen beers, some champagne and even hit a couple of the bars around the ship for afternoon cocktails! Damn, I love days at sea!!!

Drink #175: Cold Lips

Cold Lips Cocktail

  • Rim glass with Powder Candy
  • 1 oz Vana Tallinn
  • 1 oz White Rum
  • Top with Cranberry Juice
  • Garnish with Strawberry

So, as you can see, our little vacation was anything but, what with all the port stops and other activities. Still, any time away from work is good time!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
Like yesterday’s inaugural experiment with Crowberry Frost Liqueur, today’s drink provided us with our first opportunity to make a cocktail with Vana Tallinn, which tastes very nice in this mix. I used a Powder Candy Rim to visually show the ‘cold lips’ effect. The Cranberry Juice actually works well with the liquors and all ingredients come together nicely.

April 8 – Grumpy Old Man

Oldies, but Goodies

We’re supposed to honour and respect our elders, but the funniest ones are incoherent, maniacal, and out of touch with today’s world. That’s just the way we like them, though. From animation, to live action, to even puppets, here are the best angry octogenarians:

Grandpa Simpson – The Simpsons

Grandpa “Abe” Simpson is senile and irritable, but always lovable. In flashbacks, we learn that Abe was never really in touch with the world around him. In his senior years and angry that his family never wants to visit him, he has been known to write ranting letters to any business with an address and even yell at a cloud. I can’t really blame him though as I hate clouds with a passion, too.

Grandpa Simpson

Statler & Waldorf – The Muppet Show

These two curmudgeons spend all their time attending shows they intend to pan. When they attack, they rip into their prey with such veteran venom that it’s a modern science miracle that said victim can walk away after the lashing he or she has received. An antidote has yet to be formulated, but using the DNA of one Fozzy Bear, we hope to have a vaccine ready for distribution by 2015.

Frank Costanza/Arthur Spooner – Seinfeld/King of Queens

Jerry Stiller has proven over the years that his old man act is pure comedy gold. From the cantankerous Frank Costanza, to the petulant ever-scheming Arthur Spooner, Stiller has thrived as an old age performer. Perhaps his greatest moments came in the episode of Seinfeld “The Strike”, where Frank Costanza brings back the holiday of Festivus; including the feats of strength, airing of grievances, and let’s not forget those Festivus miracles!

Grumpy Old Men2

Mayor Adam West – Family Guy

Mayor West is the perfect candidate to lead Quahog. He erected a statue of cereal mascot Dig Em’, sent the town’s police force across the world to search for a fictional character, and legalized then quickly illegalized marijuana, as his many works in office. Sounds like your typical politician to me.

Pierce Hawthorne & Leonard Briggs – Community

Pierce Hawthorne is a sexist, racist, homophobic psychopath – all the ingredients for a wonderful character! He spends most of his time disrupting the activities of his study group, who often want him gone from the gang. Leonard Briggs is a reoccurring character on the show, who heads up a crew of other oldies-but-baddies called The Hipsters (because each member has had hip replacement surgery). Briggs also ran for student body president, changing his last name to Rodriguez to capitalize on the Latino voters.

Leonard Rodriguez

Ken Titus – Titus

Ken Titus is as nasty as they come, with his penchant for alcohol, tobacco, women, gambling and mean-spirited fun. He’s the furthest from having a heart of gold – in fact he’s had numerous heart attacks and other health issues, thus making his core as black as his soul – but that doesn’t make him any less funny. In reality, Papa Titus was just trying to raise his kids right and hoping they didn’t turn out to be ‘wussies’, as he often called them when they weren’t living up to his expectations.

Professor Farnsworth – Futurama

Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth is as dementia-ridden as they come. The owner and operator of Planet Express, he sends his crew off on missions that are doomed to fail, while inventing the most insane and useless items known to future-kind. And you can’t really blame him for losing all his marbles. At the age of 29, I feel like I’m slowly starting to lose mine and Farnsworth is somewhere between 150 and 170 years old.

Professor-Farnsworth-Thug-Life

John Gustafson & Max Goldman – Grumpy/Grumpier Old Men

Jack Lemmon and Walter Mathau have appeared in numerous movies together, but nothing compares to their two entries as Grumpy Old Men. As they compete with one another and often prank each other, the laughs pile up. Along with Burgess Meredith (playing Grandpa Gustafson), the amount of old man comedy in these flicks is high and hilarious. The gag reel for these movies, shown at the end of the films are hysterical, particularly when Meredith tries a number of different lines to relay various sexual euphemisms.

Mr. Burns – The Simpsons

Monty Burns has done nearly every horrible act listed in the How to be Dastardly Handbook. He’s so evil, he even tried to block out the sun so the town would have to rely solely on his nuclear power. Nearly every person in Springfield has had a run-in with Mr. Burns, whose love of power and money come before any other feelings he may have. I still think there’s a softy buried underneath all that audacity though.

Drink #98: Grumpy Old Man

Grump Old Man Cocktail

The original recipe calls for plain Bourbon, but I used Black Cherry and must admit the result was quite fantastic (if I don’t say so myself). We must learn from those who have come before us. Unfortunately, these folks aren’t the best example of people you’d want to take notes on. Meh, we drink in their honour, anyway!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
A great drink that I wasn’t able to completely enjoy as I battled a bad flu. I ask the rhetorical question: Is there anything Black Cherry Bourbon can’t do? The combo of Ginger Ale and Sour Mix may quickly become a favourite of mine.