Bolivia – Manzana Smash

Drive with Destiny

North Yungas Road in Bolivia has been given the menacing title of ‘World’s Most Dangerous Road.’ The stretch of 60-plus kilometer highway, connecting the capital city of La Paz to Bolivia’s Amazon Rainforest, is estimated to kill between 200-300 travelers each year. Now, the Sip Advisor likes his occasional doses of danger, but this seems a little too treacherous. Buckle up tightly, cause here we go!

Bolivians refer to the road as El Camino de la Muerte, which translated means ‘Road of Death’. It has also acquired monikers like Grove’s Road, Coroico Road, Camino de las Yungas, Death Road, or Road of Fate (the name which I prefer the most). While a couple of those don’t sound so bad, the last two are particularly worrisome. Interestingly, the road was built in the 1930’s by Paraguayan prisoners, during the Chaco War. I wonder how many died during construction of the hazardous route.

Old-Yungas-Road-Bolivia

I know what you’re thinking: if the road is so dangerous, why would anyone in their right mind ever take it. Well, it is one of the only routes that will get you into the Amazon Rainforest. Personally, I think I’ll take my rainforest in the Rainforest Café style, where I can have a nice wrap, fries, and beverage in a collectible cup instead! There is also a South Yungas Road, connecting La Paz to the town of Chulumani, that is said to be just as dangerous and the northern route.

After leaving La Paz, drivers will ascend 15,000-feet, followed by a 4,000-feet descent into the town of Coroico. The road is often only one lane wide and if you expect to see many guardrails, best of luck to you. That’s one “I spy with my little eye” game that will not yield results. The road is marked with crosses in many spots where vehicles have gone off the pavement and fallen off the cliffs, so that might be a better “I spy” item. If you do go off the road, you’re looking at a potential 600-meter fall.

As if things weren’t challenging enough already, during Bolivia’s rainy season, from November to March, rain and fog can severely obstruct visibility, as well as affect the road, turning it into a muddy mess and causing loss of traction. Falling rocks and dust from other vehicles can also be issues drivers have to deal with. Lastly (perhaps literally), if you get too close to the edge, the roadway may slip out from under you.

Yungas Road Traffic

Rules of the road include the downhill driver giving the right of way to the uphill drive, to ensure the faster moving downhill vehicles slow down when coming upon a car going in the other direction and driver’s having to be on the left side of the road (a contrast to the rest of the country), so they can view their outside wheels and position against the cliff when making passes.

In 2006, a project to update the highway was completed. Added features included widening sections of the road to accommodate two lanes, updated paving, new bridges, drainage, and even an entirely original section between the towns of Chusquipata and Yolosa, bypassing one of the worst portions of the old road. The work took 20 years to complete and yes, they finally added some damn guardrails!

Yungas Road Crosses

While North Yungas Road has become a death trap to many motorists, thrill-seeking mountain bikers have come to love the route, which includes a massive downhill portion of about 64 kilometers. There’s even tour groups operating to suit the needs of daredevil cyclists. Since 1998, 18 cyclists (and perhaps more) have not survived the Road of Death. It has also become a popular destination for those who want to try their hand (ahem, luck) at the treacherous route.

North Yungas Road has been featured in TV shows such as Top Gear, Ice Road Truckers: Deadliest Roads, and World’s Most Dangerous Roads, as well as a Mitsubishi Outlander commercial – the first to ever be filmed on the death trap. We’ll depart (bad choice of word) with this chilling fact: the single worst accident to occur happened in 1983 when a bus left the road, rolling down into a canyon below and killing over 100 passengers.

Bolivia: Manzana Smash

Manzana Smash Cocktail

  • Muddle Lime and Apple Wedges
  • 1.5 oz Agwa
  • Splash of Apple Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Garnish with an Apple Wedge

While they weren’t killed by El Camino de la Muerte, this seems like as perfect a time as any to reveal that legendary outlaw duo of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid died in Bolivia, following a long shootout with Bolivian soldiers. It’s believed one of the bandits shot the other to put him out of his misery after a fatal wound and then turned the gun on himself.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
There’s a bunch of really good recipes (particularly shots) at the Agwa site and I only wish I had more than two mini bottles of the liquor to try them all. The best part about this cocktail is how nice the Apple and Lime mixes. No wonder there’s an Apple-Lime Juice, which has become one of my favourite non-soda mixers!

Advertisements

Brazil – Caiparihna

With Arms Wide Open

Brazil is instantly recognizable thanks to the Christ the Redeemer (aka Cristo Redentor) statue that sits atop Corcovado Hill, in Rio de Janeiro. This modern wonder of the world is a highlight for any tourist, whether they’re a religious fanatic or a die-hard atheist… okay, it might not be for the atheists out there, but it’s still a cool site that must be seen. Let’s take some time to learn about the creation:

The mountain, Corcovado, means “hunchback” in Portuguese. It was once known as the ‘Mount of Temptation,’ in reference to the Bible, where Jesus was tempted by the devil. The statue and hill reside within the Tijuca Forest National Park. The top of Corcovado Hill can be reached via a number of different routes including climbing 220 steps or a system of escalators, built recently for the elderly and lazy alike. I think we all know which path the Sip Advisor would take! Pa Sip will be happy to know that there’s a railway, built all the way back in 1882, which is said to be the most unique way to traverse the mountain.

Jesus Wants a Hug

Because of its religious implications, the busiest times of the year for locals and tourists flocking to the site are Christmas and Easter. Visitors are advised to view the site in the evening so as to also enjoy the lights of Rio below.

The statue, which stands over 30 meters tall (the second highest religious bust in the world, behind Poland’s Christ the King), was built in France and shipped to Brazil piece by piece (the head alone is comprise of 50 separate parts). It was built using funds donated by the Catholic community of Brazil and was opened to the public in 1932 by Brazilian president Getulio Vargas. The effigy is estimated to have cost $250,000 US.

Built between 1922 and 1931, more than a thousand tons of concrete were used to mold the statue, which was constructed from head to toe. Original plans had Christ holding a cross and a globe, but the wide spread arms look was chosen instead. While most claim this is a symbol of peace, the Sip Advisor sees it as a boastful challenge and it is so on, Jesus. Now I just need to put together a bunch of carpenter jokes and book my trip to Brazil.

Come At Me Bro

Rumours persist that the builder of the statue’s head converted from Judaism to Christianity after working on the sculpture and wrote the names of his family members above the heart of Christ, on the inside and outside of the piece.

Over time, weather has eroded the statue’s fingers, lips and eyebrows with lightning strikes even taking their toll on the figure. It has been struck twice in recent years, leading to restoration projects to repair the damage. When the statue is updated due to erosion, a different colour of stone is needed due to the lack of quantity of the original material. Newer pieces can be identified by their darker tint.

In 2006, while Christ the Redeemer celebrated its 75th birthday, a small chapel was opened at the foot of the iconic statue, to be used for baptisms and weddings. I only wonder how much it costs to get hitched there and how long the waiting list must be.

God High Five

In 2010, the statue was vandalized with graffiti painted on the head and right arm. This act was called “a crime against the nation” by Mayor Eduardo Paes. A $10,000 reward was offered for information leading to an arrest and Military Police later apprehended 28-year-old wall painter Paulo Souza dos Santos for committing the offense. Was it really worth it, just to scrawl things like “When the cat’s away, the rats will play” on the sculpture? I guess he was really broken up about his missing kitty.

Christ the Redeemer has been featured in countless works, including movies, TV series, music, and video games. While it’s usually simply used to establish the setting as Brazil or more specifically, Rio de Janeiro, it has played a more integral role in some plots. In the disaster film, 2012, the statue even crumbles to bits as the result of an earthquake.

Leap of Faith

In games, famous plumber Luigi must track down one of the spotlights that illuminates the statue in the 1992 Super Nintendo game Mario is Missing. It was stolen by Koopa Troopers, but you have to wonder why the shit disturbers didn’t just steal the actual statue since the spotlight is said to be 35 meters tall, while the statue stands about 38 meters, including base. Personally, if I received the ransom note, I’d be like: “Eh, don’t worry about… we’ll just buy ourselves a new spotlight or close the attraction down at night.” Stupid Koopa Troopers!

Finally, there are copycat statues around the world, inspired by Christ the Redeemer, including versions in Guanajuato, Mexico; Arkansas, United States; Havana, Cuba; Ibiza, Spain; and Almada, Portugal. Before you know it, they’ll be everywhere!

Brazil: Caiparihna

Caipirinha Cocktail

  • Muddled Lime Wedges
  • 1.5 oz Cachaca
  • Pinch of Brown Sugar
  • Garnish with a Lime Wheel

I remember playing the Carmen Sandiego computer game way back when I was a little sipper and when you traveled to Brazil, the pixelated image that greeted you was the Christ the Redeemer statue. It’s funny what sticks with you (especially when you drink like the Sip Advisor does), but that was actually the inspiration for this post!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
The Caiparihna is a signature cocktail for the Cachaca spirit and therefore for the entire country of Brazil. There are other variations of the drink, but this is the traditional recipe. Despite the lack of mixing ingredients, I thought it was pretty good. The Brown Sugar is a nice touch and a must over White Sugar.

United States – Suffering Bastard

Sports Supporters

See what I did there… I made a jock joke! Anyhoo, there is some debate over which sport is the most popular in the United States. Is it their national pastime baseball or has it been surpassed by the football juggernaut? Also fighting for market share and expendable income is a host of other competitions. One thing is for certain, the US, compared with other countries, has a greater variety of sports options for its citizens. Why else do you think the country needs all those ESPN channels!? With all that athletic competition, there is sure to be some big time events. Here are some interesting facts on each of the country’s championship crowning spectacles:

Super Bowl – NFL

What can you say about the Super Bowl that hasn’t already been said. The event is so mammoth that it is second only to soccer’s Champions League final as the most viewed annual sporting event. We’ve all heard the astronomical amounts companies pay for commercial time during the Super Bowl, but did you know that non-sponsor advertisers can’t use the word Super Bowl in their spots? Instead, they’re forced to use more generic terms like “the big game”. In 2007, NFL commissioner Roger Goddell suggested a Super Bowl could be played at Wembley Stadium in London. This would mark the big game’s (I want to stay clear of trouble with the NFL… they could send a 400-pound lineman after me) first foray outside the United States, if it were to ever occur. College football also has a strong fan following and Bowl Games, such as the Rose Bowl are hugely successful events. The Army vs. Navy annual meeting is also a display of extreme fanaticism and patriotism.

Super Bowl

World Series – MLB

It’s kind of ironic that the World Series is contested by a league that contains one Canadian team among 29 American squads. Even the Little League World Series (hosted every year in Williamsport, Pennsylvania) is more world-inclusive than the big leagues. The Fall Classic has inspired a fair share of American history, from the fixed championship series of 1919 to the earthquake-interrupted contest in 1989. And then, there’s 1994. Despite playing close to a full regular season, the World Series wasn’t contested in 1994 due to the player’s strike. The Montreal Expos were the top team at the time of the labour dispute and could have continued Canada’s string of World Series wins (the Toronto Blue Jays having won in 1992 and 1993). After the 2004 season, the Expos were relocated to Washington, D.C. to become the Nationals. Coincidence or anti-Canadian conspiracy? Let the theories begin…

March Madness – NCAA

I don’t think any other country gets as pumped for collegiate sports than the US. This tournament makes stars out of teenagers and for some, is the only reason they still support their alma mater. The NCAA’s annual event to crown a national basketball champion is bigger than the professional level NBA Championship Finals. Fans pick their brackets and battle for bragging rights (and cash money, yo) as they watch their choices run through the gauntlet. Upsets are perhaps the most interesting aspect of the tournament. In 1985, Villanova went from #8 seed to National Champion, while Florida Gulf Coast was the lowest ranked team ever (#15) to advance to the Sweet 16. In fact, all four #1 seeds making the Final Four has only happened once, in 2008. Since 1947, the winning team has cut down and claimed the court nets as a trophy for their triumphant victory, with the head coach cutting the final strand.

The Masters/US Open/PGA Championship – PGA

Thanks in large part to Tiger Woods, golf has grown in popularity the last couple decades. Three of the four events that make up golf’s Grand Slam are contested in the United States (the other being the British Open, usually played in Scotland). Of them, The Masters is the most prolific of the bunch, played each season at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. Winners, along with receiving oodles of prize money, get the privilege of wearing the infamous green jacket that club members wear when on the course, as their win makes them an honourary member. The jacket is meant to remain at Augusta National, but when Gary Player won in 1961, amid all the celebrating, he took it home with him to South Africa. Masters winners earn a lifetime invitation to play in the tournament and an automatic inclusion into the three other majors, Players Championship, and PGA Tour for the next five years.

Point of Golf

US Open – PTA

I bet some reader’s don’t recognize the PTA other than standing for the Parent-Teacher Advisory. Well, in this case, we’re talking about the Professional Tennis Association. Played out of New York’s USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center (good lord that’s a mouthful) each summer since 1881, the US Open is one of four grand slams for the PTA (the others including the Australian Open, the French Open, and Wimbledon in London). In 1973, the US Open became the first of tennis’s grand slam events to award equal prize money to both the male and female champion. Keeping with the trend of innovation, the US Open was the first to host play at night with the use of floodlights in 1975. While the Serena Williams has enjoyed recent success at the tournament, winning each of the last two years, the last American to win on the men’s side was Andy Roddick in 2003.

Triple Crown – Horse Racing

A common trend that makes these events so epically huge is their gambling potential and that is perhaps most prevalent with the Triple Crown of horse racing. The Kentucky Derby (described as the most exciting two minutes in sports), the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes, make up this trio of popular sprints. Coming live from Louisville, Kentucky; Baltimore, Maryland, and Elmont, New York; respectively, the Triple Crown has existed since 1875, but there hasn’t been a Triple Crown winner since 1978, when Affirmed took the photo finish at each historic track. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas is the only person to win the Triple Crown with different horses, as Thunder Gulch won the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes, but in between, Timber Country won the Preakness Stakes. Many other countries also have their own version of the Triple Crown.

Sprint Cup Series – NASCAR

Racing around an oval for hundreds of laps is so huge in the US right now that some could argue it’s the most popular sport in the country. While some believe fans are simply waiting for a wreck to happen, true pundits point out that there is a beauty in the strategy of auto racing. Either way, this series of races comes with a strong viewing audience, as well as sold out attendance at the tracks. The pinnacle of the NASCAR season is the Daytona 500, which was first run in 1959 and has opened the Cup Series since 1982. Named because of its 500-mile length. The 2.5 mile track needs to be rounded 200 times to complete the race. Sadly, racing legend Dale Earnhardt died at the track on the final lap of the 2001 race. Only three years earlier, Earnhardt finally won the famous competition, after years of mechanical issues, crashes, and being passed for the lead late in races.

United States: Suffering Bastard

Suffering Bastard Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Jim Beam Bourbon
  • 1 oz Gin
  • Top with Ginger Ale
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Dash of Angostura Bitters
  • Garnish with Lime Wedges

I can’t help but notice the US has a bit of an obsessions with balls (base, foot, basket, etc.). Not to tease, but at least us Canadians are only preoccupied by pucks! A number of other events could have made this list, including the X-Games, WrestleMania, the Indianapolis 500, and even the All-American Soap Box Derby.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I enjoyed every element of this drink, even the Angostura Bitters, which I find often don’t factor in enough to register any opinion of them. I have to ask: Is there anything Ginger Ale can’t do? The answer is a simple no. I was really looking forward to pairing Bourbon with Gin and am ecstatic that it all worked out so well!

Estonia – Hammer & Sickle

Free as a Bird

Freedom… it’s something most of us take for granted. We wouldn’t do that, however, if we had been occupied by one empire after another for hundreds of years. Estonia (our next stop as we tour the liquor universe) has been listed as one of the freest countries in the world, following centuries of control by other countries. It’s a long and winding road, so buckle up and enjoy the ride to liberty.

meanwhile-in-estonia

If this doesn’t say freedom, I don’t know what does!

While Estonia was a long holdout in converting to Christianity during the Middle Ages, Pope Celestine III made sure that came to an end, calling for a crusade against the pagans of Northern Europe. In 1208, present-day Estonia was raided and despite resistance and fighting for many years, the country was finally conquered by Denmark in the north and Germany in the south. Around the same time, some Swedish people – including descendants of the legendary Swedish Chef – also settled into Estonian coastal land. The Germans became the ruling elite of Estonia by the end of the Middle Ages.

Fighting over Estonian land persisted for hundreds of years with Northern Estonia falling under Swedish control, while Southern Estonia briefly found itself under rule by the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (ah, the PLC… not a group to meddle with). In 1625 the Swedes captured much of mainland Estonia and absorbed it into their growing empire. Estonia accepted this occupation, in exchange for protection against Russia and Poland. Kind of like a smart, but small kid recruiting a tougher, cool kid (although Sweden’s cool factor can be debated for hours on end) for protection against bullies.

When Russia defeated Sweden in the Great Northern War of the early 1700’s, they gained control of Estonia, although the legal system, governments, and education was mostly German up until the late 1800’s and in some cases, the first World War. The Russian Revolution of 1905 changed the landscape of Estonian life, but also opened the door for the country to gain autonomy.

Bread Freedom

Following World War I and the fall of the Russian Empire, Estonia declared its independence on February 23, 1918. It wasn’t long before they were back fighting, however, as the Red Army invaded just days after a provisional Estonian government was in place and the Estonian War of Independence lasted the next couple years. On June 15, 1920, Estonia adopted their first constitution and even joined the League of Nations in 1921, but we all know how that ended!

There was more trouble brewing for Estonia, however, as en route to a presidential election in 1934, Konstantin Päts, the head of state, became the country’s authoritarian ruler. The next period of life in Estonia was known as the Era of Silence. I’m praying this term also one day describes the death of reality TV. Political parties were banned and the parliament did not hold session from 1934 to 1938. Instead, Päts ruled by decree, much like the Sip Advisor does around the company headquarters!

As if things couldn’t get any worse, the Soviet Union and Germany signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact on August 23, 1939. The deal saw the two countries split up the nations the lay between them (Estonia, Finland, Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia). Estonia went to the Soviet Union in the fantasy draft and it wasn’t long before the regime moved into its new territory.

Estonia Girls

The USSR occupied Estonia from 1940 to 1941 and during that time arrested over 8,000 citizens, executing more than a quarter of them. Next up, the German Nazi regime invaded. While originally welcomed, with hopes that Estonia could return to being an independent state, those wishes were quickly dashed by goose-stepping and swastikas.

World War II was not kind to Estonia and its people. The population decreased by about 200,000 people, with 80,000 fleeing West and 30,000 soldiers killed in action. Much of the land was destroyed, including ports, railways, and industrial and residential areas. As the Germans withdrew from the country, the USSR swooped in and put Soviet rule in place, arresting and executing those who opposed the takeover. Poor Estonia couldn’t buy a break.

Hidden behind the ‘red curtain,’ a movement known as the ‘Forest Brothers’ grew – similar to Robin Hood and his Merry Men, but minus the awesome songs of the Disney and Men in Tights offerings. They opposed the Soviet occupation and grew to approximately 30,000 members. Their resistance was ultimately unsuccessful and it wasn’t until the late 1980’s that the tide began to change and Estonia reached for sovereignty again. The 1990’s brought free elections, a new congress, and a referendum on independence.

Free Turtle

Estonia’s confirmation of independence occurred on August 20, 1991. The day has become a national holiday as a result and features Will Smith battling aliens to save the world. On June 28, 1992, Estonians approved a draft constitution and on September 20, 1992, Lennart Meri was elected president, choosing Mart Laar as prime minister.

Things continued to roll along for Estonia as the new millennium approached. The country joined the European Union in 2004 and adopted the Euro currency in 2011. In recent years, Estonia has found itself ranked first in Internet Freedom (so much porn!) and World Liberty. Congrats to everyone who made it all happen!

Estonia: Hammer & Sickle

Hammer & Sickle Drink Recipe

  • Muddle Mint and Lime Wedges
  • 1.5 oz Vana Tallinn
  • Dash of Brown Sugar
  • Top with Club Soda
  • Garnish with Mint Sprig

What’s next for the Baltic nation is unknown, but I sincerely hope things continue on an upswing. It’s a beautiful country and one I consider to be a hidden gem when touring Northern Europe.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
Being the King of Mojitos comes with great responsibility… it means that you always have to be on the lookout for new variations to master. I wanted to try this recipe because the Vana Tallinn and Brown Sugar change things up from your usual Mojito Recipe and this cocktail is a keeper. The Vana Tallinn, which carries a vanilla flavour, makes for a delicious Mojito ingredient, getting along very well with the Brown Sugar and even the Mint and Lime Wedges. I took the drink name from Vana Tallinn’s Wikipedia page and although it was meant for another concoction, because citation was needed, I decided to steal the moniker for myself!

December 23 – Silent Night

Family Photo Album

The Family Sip never really did the Christmas family photo thing, but for some, it’s an annual tradition. And it really shouldn’t be, given how awful most of them turn out. I ask that all you little sippers proceed with caution through this list. The ugly mugs are bad enough and now you also have to deal with some truly deranged people. Enjoy!

Diapers

Am I the only one a little horrified that this guy seems so delighted to be wearing a diaper!? I got a 20-spot on the dad wetting himself before the child… otherwise it’s a wasted diaper which are clogging up our landfills. The look on the kid’s face really tells the story here. I call it the ‘scarred for life’ pose and the youngster is pulling it off to perfection.

Human Centipede

It looks like they’re trying to recreate the Human Centipede movies and daddy is going to smack mommy’s backside red! You only hope this photo was later used in court documents… I just can’t decide which one of the family members would be first to sue for divorce, the kids or the mother. I hope Mrs. Sip is in for some reindeer games this holiday season!

Gun to Head

Someone really didn’t want to take part in the annual family photo and I don’t really blame him. No, it seems Eric Forman here wanted nothing to do with this photo shoot. He was probably pulling his ‘rebel with a Christmas cause’ act because his big bro is so into the project. That’s because he knew he was rockin’ his new goatee and he wanted to memorialize the look for prosperity.

Shirtless

It looks like dad didn’t get the memo on what to wear for the family Christmas photo. Perhaps he was just recently released from prison and didn’t have time to purchase a new wardrobe. The scary part is that if these girls are comfortable with how their father is portraying himself in this photo, that means he dresses this way around the house all the time… and that’s not cool.

Smokers

I’m surprised the setting for this isn’t a trailer. This seems like the wrong message to be sending to your kids… you should never have them suffer through family Christmas photos. Oh, and the smoking thing is pretty weird! I wonder if they also received an ashtray in each of their stockings? Then again, trailers don’t have chimneys for said stockings to be hung!

Drink #357: Silent Night

Silent Night Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Tequila (I used El Jimador)
  • 1 oz Blue Curacao
  • 1 oz Triple Sec
  • Top with Pineapple Juice
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with Lime Wedges

Do you have a favourite family Christmas photo that I haven’t covered or have a hilarious caption to one of these gems that you just must share. Let’s turn this Silent Night into an uproarious occasion of laughter and joy!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
A couple quick notes about alterations I made from the original recipe listed above. I completely removed the Triple Sec as Blue Curacao is basically the same ingredient, only blue and I swapped Pineapple Juice out for Pineapple Soda because I wanted some fizz with this drink and also wanted a clearer liquid than Pineapple Juice offers. The result wasn’t too bad, but I’m still not a huge Pineapple liquid fan, despite loving Hawaiian pizza.

November 19 – John Collins

Whiskey Business

That has to be one of the more clever headlines I’ve ever come up with (thanks, Tom Cruise)! Today, we explore advertising in the whiskey world and we don’t even have to be like the tools on Mad Men. Well, on with the show!

Knob Creek

Whiskey is definitely not a “training wheel” liquor. It’s for the stallions of this world and I’m thrilled to be among their leaders. The child in me always has a brief giggle over the company name Knob Creek. I’m sorry, but it’s just funny.

jim-beam-ad-1jim-beam-ad-2
jim-beam-ad-3jim-beam-ad-4

This series of Jim Beam ads further exemplifies that bourbon products are not for the tame of heart. I had to post all four of these ads, as they’re all pretty smart. I must point out that I appreciate each of the drinks that have been slammed in these photos, particularly the Mojito, which I love. That said, they must take their place in line in the pecking order.

No Other Whiskey

Clever use of word play by our friends at Jack Daniel’s. I’m on the fence about regular JD, but I love their honey whiskey varietal. I think Jack Daniel’s has a wonderful legacy in the liquor world and it’s well-earned. Jack Daniel is one dude I would have loved to share a drink with and we’d have some great laughs over his impending ironic death, which could have been prevented by his own product!

fireball_whiskey_ad

All you little sippers know of my affinity for Fireball Whiskey. I bring that shizzle everywhere and made it an inaugural class member of The Sip Advisor Hall of Fame. It’s hard to explain where my fire comes from. As far as I know, it’s always been there. It’s an inherent part of my awesomeness and I wouldn’t give it up for anything.

Shoot Blanks

There’s nothing like firing a shot at your competitors, straight across the bow, while also highlighting your offering to the world! And what better company to do so than Bulleit Bourbon. While I can’t say that I’ve ever owned a bottle of this brand, I have enjoyed the alcohol in a number of cocktails while travelling throughout the United States.

Crown Wishes

I’m a huge Crown Royal supporter, also nominating this liquor to The Sip Advisor Hall of Fame. If I was presented with the opportunity to make three wishes, one would certainly be to have unlimited liquor, while the other two would probably be a bottomless bag of potato chips and a forever un-clothable Mrs. Sip!

Drink #323: John Collins

John Collins Drink Recipe

  • 1.5 oz Whiskey (I used Crown Royal)
  • Top with Lemon-Lime Soda
  • Garnish with Lemon and Lime Wedges

What’s your favourite whiskey ad? If it’s one I haven’t presented here, you’ll gain bonus points on your Sip Advisor rewards card!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I like drinks from the Collins family. They’re easy to make and fun to drink. This entry was no different. While the Tom Collins(gin-based) is the patriarch of this brood, I’d place the John Collins in the uncle spot on the family tree. It’s earned a decent ranking and some respect from all us sippers!

November 13 – Warp Pipe

Game Genie

Today we continue our look into the Sip Advisor’s favourite vidya games. This isn’t an article about the greatest games of all-time, just my top picks from childhood to adulthood, where that inner-child just never really went away. I’m not a massive video game guy, but I’ve always played this or that along the way!

Super Mario Bros.

This is one of the games that really boosted the video game industry and made Nintendo a household name. I’d say my favourite Mario game was Super Mario World (SNES), but I have also enjoyed all the original NES titles, as well as releases for Gameboy, N64, and Wii. The Wii version was great because you could play along with your friends all at the same time, although it usually ended up with us “accidentally” killing each other. One thing is certain: the games were far superior to the ill-advised movie!

money-power-woman

Wrestling Games

As I’ve admitted before, I was a huge wrestling fan in my pre-teen and teenage years. Some of the best wrestling classics came out during this period, especially the games made by THQ in the late 90’s/early 2000’s. The company had the WCW license first and then switched over to WWE, putting out one amazing offering after another. My friends and I spent countless hours fighting our issues out in battle royals. The best part was, if you were eliminated, you had another chance with the next entering character.

GoldenEye 007

Similar to the wrestling games, thousands of hours were wasted maiming each other in this N64 classic. Even those who weren’t gamers in the slightest knew about GoldenEye and had probably played at some point. While the single player missions were spectacular, the multiplayer killfests were even better. Our group would play where any damage killed you and would alternate between remote mines and rocket launchers being the feature weapon.

Plants vs. Zombies

While I’m not the biggest fan of tower defense games, this entry, which has you defending your home against an invading horde of zombies, using plants with their own special powers is a total delight. A sequel has been released, but as of yet, it’s only available to losers with iPhones (sorry, I’m a little bitter it’s not available on computers like the original or even for Android users… that misses a lot of the market). I’m sure it will eventually be in my possession, but the waiting is the hardest part (thanks, Tom Petty!).

plants-vs-zombies

Donkey Kong Country

Oh man, I love these games so much, particularly the Super Nintendo trilogy. The re-launch of the series on the Wii was also a spectacular offering for the eyes and the ears (the fingers not so much, as they had to do all the work!). The thing that’s so amazing about these games is that they’re so visually beautiful with rich colours and the music is fantastic. Combine that with smooth gameplay and wonderful level layouts and this is one of the best 2-D side-scrollers to ever exist.

Rollercoaster Tycoon

I love amusement parks and all the rides they contain. Therefore, when these games were released, I was an early adopter. It was so much fun to build your own parks and achieve whatever tasks were outlined. I didn’t play around too much with rollercoaster design except to launch unsuspecting riders off of a dangerously built ride and send them flying through the air to a fiery death!

Tetris

There’s just something about Tetris that is so addicting. I especially enjoyed the N64 edition (The New Tetris), which Broski Sip, Cousin Sip, and I used to play a lot, challenging each other to see who could last the longest without dying. The more lines you made, the faster you were able to build the world’s greatest landmarks. Much like Donkey Kong Country, the music in this franchise has always been top notch and keeps you wanting to play the game.

Drink #317: Warp Pipe

Warp Pipe Drink Recipe

That wraps up our look at my favourite video games of all-time. What are some of your favourite electronic pastimes? Perhaps you’ll steer me towards a new addiction, you pusher!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
Once again, we go to The Drunken Moogle for this recipe, as they seem to have the market cornered on awesome video game-themed drinks. I used the split-sized glasses to help accentuate that image of the pipes in Super Mario Bros. This backfired on me a little when I went to split them up for Mrs. Sip and myself and she decided to nap instead, leaving me with two cocktails to down. Luckily, they were pretty light and tasty and I enjoyed the double treat!