Mixer Mania #44 – Power and Glory

One way for the world’s strongest folks to show off their power is to crush a watermelon, typically between their thighs. That sounds like an onerous way to extract watermelon juice, today’s feature mixer, but it did get the Sip Advisor thinking about other feats of strength. Let’s take a look at a few of those:

Ripping Phonebooks

Perhaps the only reason phonebooks still exist is for muscle-gifted to tear them to shreds. Want to give it a shot, yourself? There are even instructions and tips online to help those who may want to take a crack at ripping a phonebook in half.

Dogs Phonebook

Pulling Vehicles

Even the thought of pulling or pushing a vehicle on my own is incomprehensible. Therefore, I’m very impressed when strongmen are able to move cars, trucks, buses, boats, planes and more with sheer strength. They should work for transit authorities across the globe.

Lifting Vehicles

If not pulling a vehicle, a strongman can often be found lifting a vehicle off the ground to prove their mettle. The last vehicle I lifted was a Tonka Truck and I struggled mightily with that. Things are not looking good for Baby Sip’s playtime aspirations.

Lifting Vehicle.jpg

Bending Metal Bars

I can barely bend plastic cutlery, let alone thick metal bars. Once again, we can take to the world wide web for strategies on completing the feat, but I’d rather spend my time and effort finding videos of kitties and people falling and such.

Keg Toss (And Other Items Thrown)

While I’d rather be drinking from them, some strongmen throw kegs around to test their power. Hopefully these ale vessels are emptied, as I’m not sure I’d want to drink the shaken and damaged suds inside, after they’ve been thrown. Who am I kidding, I’d still give anything for a drink.

Mixer Mania #44: The Firecracker

The Firecracker.JPG

  • Rim glass with Salt/Sugar Mix
  • 2 oz Cucumber Vodka
  • Top with Watermelon Juice
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Garnish with a Lime Wheel

Of course, if you’re looking to test your own power, you can always celebrate Festivus, including the feats of strength portion. Events include wrestling the head of the household, with the holiday only ending once they are pinned.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
This drink is very nice, as I totally expected. The Salt/Sugar rim is interesting and add a nice complexity to the Watermelon Juice. You really can’t go wrong with this collection of ingredients.

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Mixer Mania #42 – Advent Amazement

Mrs. Sip has long been a tea drinker. The last couple years, she received tea advent calendars, which previously I didn’t know existed. With Christmas right around the corner, I thought it would be a good time to look at other advent calendars that differ from your typical chocolate ones:

Make-Up/Beauty

There are numerous cosmetic advent calendars on the market. Every company you can think of seems to have put a collection together, with varying prices. Some focus on nails, others on the face. Beauty has never really been a concern for the Sip Advisor, as you can’t improve on perfection.

Cheese

The world’s first cheese advent calendar hit store shelves this year, after a blogger created her own in 2016 and the concept went viral. For only 8-pounds, fromage-aholics can find this product at ASDA stores across the UK. Not sure if similar products can be found in other countries.

Cheese Emergency

Jewellery/Charm Bracelet

Ma Sip loves her charm bracelets. So, when I came across an advent calendar version, which gave you the bracelet and then 24 holiday-themed charms over the Christmas season, I was thrilled… and Ma Sip was even more so.

Fly Fishing

A tackle box already kind of looks like an advent calendar, so why not release one for the Christmas season, with a lure for each day. One issue here, is that you’re not likely to head out each day of the calendar for a fishing expedition and to try your new treat.

Cookbook

While I like the concept of this advent calendar, you’re basically saying to the person you give this to: “Hey, why don’t you make me something different every day, through on of the busiest times of the year?” I don’t see that flying at the Sip Advisor headquarters.

Toys

For kids and kidults alike, come advent calendars from Play-Doh, Lego and Playmobil. Parents will just have to be vigilant that the toys aren’t consumed like traditional chocolates.

Eating Play-Doh

Craft Beer

While craft beer advent calendars can be found in most liquor stores, I’ll never forget Mrs. Sip personally making me one, comprised of 24 bomber bottles. Pulling it all together at the last minute – as she’s prone to do – the poor girl had to carry heavy boxes all around Vancouver. Her efforts paid off nicely, though!

Wine/Liquors

Similar to craft beer, there are wine, bubbly a liquor sets out there, typically featuring 24 mini bottles of the preferred subject matter. One particular Scotch advent calendar features rare whiskeys from around the world, setting buyers back 10,000-pounds.

Potato Chips

God bless Pringles. The potato chip company has released their own advent calendar, containing 12 tubes of various flavours. Apparently, the calendar is quite popular and has already sold out, with the products popping up on eBay for double the original retail price.

For Pets

Don’t have any kids or spouses you can spoil with an advent calendar? If you have pets, you can still get into the Christmas spirit with sets that provide toys and treats to your fur baby. The gift of giving is one of the best!

Mixer Mania #42: Irish Tea Party

Irish Tea Party.JPG

  • Absinthe Rinse
  • 1.5 oz Jameson Irish Whiskey
  • Top with Green Tea
  • Garnish with Lime Wheel

The lead up to Christmas is my favourite part of the season, so sometimes I think advent calendars should just replace Christmas gifts… but they’re probably in a good place as a holiday enhancer, rather than as a main event player.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (1 Sip out of 5):
I was totally disappointed by this drink. The ingredients intrigued me, but the end result was a watery, flavourless cocktail. Mrs. Sip wants me to try it again with a different Green Tea – and I will – but it must be pointed out that round one of the beverage was a dud.

Mixer Mania #37 – Notably Negligent

Did you know that we have Ginger Beer to thank for the legal term of negligence. It all stems from the English 1932 case of Donoghue v. Stevenson, which resulted when Mrs. Donoghue drank a Ginger Beer that had been manufactured by Mr. Stevenson’s company. There happened to (allegedly) be a snail in the bottle, which caused Mrs. Donoghue to become sick. Mr. Stevenson was guilty due to negligence, which had previously not been used in legal matters. Here are some other infamous cases of legal negligence:

McDonald’s Coffee

Almost everyone out there knows of this lawsuit, which most point to as being ridiculous. After hearing the circumstances, though, many change their minds and can understand why the restaurant chain was punished as harshly as they were. When 80-year-old Stella Liebeck spilled a cup of java on her lap, causing third-degree burns, she asked for $800 to cover the treatments for her injuries. When McDonald’s balked, Liebeck sued and was awarded $2.7 million by a jury. Apparently, the franchise had received hundreds of complaints about the temperature of their coffee which was served much higher than other restaurants.

Coffee Caution Hot.jpg

Google Maps

In 2009, Lauren Rosenberg used Google Maps for a walking journey she needed to take and ended up getting hit by a car. The map service advised her to walk on a freeway void of sidewalks as part of her trip, resulting in the accident. Rosenberg sued Google (and the driver who hit her) for $100,000 to cover her medical bills. The case was eventually dismissed, as Google does have warnings about the reliability of their directions.

Los Angeles Dodgers

After a San Francisco Giants fan, Bryan Stow, was viciously beaten by two men, causing brain damage, Stow sued the Dodgers, alleging his attack was to be blamed on a lack of security presence at the opening day contest between the two teams. Stow was awarded $18 million, of which the Dodgers were found to be 25 per cent responsible, but still have to fork over $13.9 million to cover all of Stow’s medical bills and loss of earnings. Hostilities between Giants and Dodgers fans have existed for decades, even resulting in a couple murders.

Wendy’s Chili

In 2005, Anna Ayala of California sat down to a meal at a Wendy’s restaurant in San Jose. While eating, she claimed to have discovered a severed fingertip in her bowl of chili. She sued Wendy’s, however, Ayala had a checkered history of lawsuits against companies and it didn’t take long for investigators to poke holes in her story. Ayala was later arrested and charged with attempted grand larceny for the incident, which she pled guilty to and was sentenced to nine years in prison, serving four years. The finger belonged to a co-worker of Ayala’s husband. Wendy’s estimated their loss of revenue from the incident to be $21 million.

Mixer Mania #37: Bermuda Black

Bermuda Black

  • 2 oz Rum
  • 1.75 oz Stout or Porter Beer
  • Top with Ginger Beer
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with a Lime Wheel

What are some other famous negligence lawsuits that have been filed in this crazy world? Whether legit or not, the subject matter is often quite interesting and often divisive.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
I was really looking forward to making this drink and it did not disappoint. If you try it and the Ginger Beer content is too high, you can even the drink out with more of the Stout/Porter Beer and the results will be absolutely delicious.

Mixer Mania #25 – Tonic Treatment

Tonic water is a polarizing mixer, but I have come to appreciate it in some drinks, specifically the Gin & Tonic. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best fictional tonics to ever be imagined:

Simpson & Son’s Revitalizing Tonic – The Simpsons

Created by Grampa Simpson, this potion will turn a loser into a lothario with one quick swig. After successfully using it, Homer decides that he and his dad should go into business together and sell the aphrodisiac to other men desperate for a quick pick-me-up.

The Simpsons has also featured other fantastical solutions, such as Brain & Nerve Tonic, which caused baseball star Ken Griffey Jr. to become addicted and overdose on the substance, causing gigantism. Lastly, there’s Dimoxinil, a hair regrowth remedy, which Homer used to improve his looks and life, only for Bart to knock over the bottle and spill the remaining cure.

Simpson & Son_s Revitalizing Tonic

Vitameatavegamin – I Love Lucy

Containing vitamins, meat, vegetables, and minerals, this health product was meant to provide users with their daily doses of each element in a single serving. The invention also contained alcohol, causing Lucy to start feeling the effects as the takes for the commercial she was filming began to pile up, with typically hilarious results.

Dr. Terminus – Pete’s Dragon

Snake oil salesman Dr. Terminus plays a key role in the original Pete’s Dragon movie. While the potions he’s selling are fakes and he’s been chased out of every town he’s tried to sell his wares, the “doctor” actually believes in his creations. As he sings: “Bites and burns and blue abrasions, got a pill for all occasions!”

Dr. Flimflam’s Miracle Cream – Futurama

Purchased by Dr. Zoidberg for an exorbitant price, the cream does provide Leela and Fry with superpowers, a listed side effect for humans. They form the New Justice Team with robot Bender and provide heroics to the city of New New York… at least until the cream runs out.

Mixer Mania #25: Desperation

Desperation.JPG

  • 1 oz Vodka
  • 1 oz Triple Sec
  • 1 oz Midori
  • Top with Tonic Water
  • Garnish with a Lime Wheel

There is also a long list of fictional erectile-dysfunction remedies, usual coming from sketch comedy shows, such as Saturday Night Live and Mad TV, parodying the industry.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
There are some interesting Tonic Water cocktails out there and I look forward to experimenting more with the mixer in the future. As for this drink, it was pretty good with the bitter tonic followed closely by the sweet flavours of orange and melon, resulting in a balanced beverage.

October 22 – Angry Dan

Festival Phooey

My little sippers, my thesis is simple: the price of some liquor events is insane!

Case in point, Mrs. Sip and I were looking forward to attending our first Vancouver Hopscotch event this November, even making peace with the $50 (plus tax and service charge) cost that came along with the whiskey and scotch lover’s dream experience. That is, until we began looking into just what exactly our near $60 entrance fee entailed.

All you get for your little nest egg of an investment is a souvenir glass and five drink tokens. FIVE tokens! That works out to more than $10 a pop for a little tiny sample. Sure, they bring in stuff from around the world (around 300 products), including some libations you may never have the chance to taste otherwise, but that’s ridiculous value for your hard-earned cash. It also sounded like some booths could charge you more than one token per sample. That could translate to paying $20 or more for a little sip of liquor that you might not even enjoy.

Similarly, I turned down invites this summer to go to the Vancouver Craft Beer Week Beer Festival, not because I had other plans, but because I didn’t agree with the perks of the event. For $35 (plus taxes and fees, of course), attendees received a miniscule three tokens and the typical commemorative taster glass. Why in the world would I pay $10-plus per beer sample, when I could go to many local bars and get the same brews in pint-size servings for the same price? Hell, why wouldn’t I invest that $10 towards an entire pack or case of beers, at any nearby liquor store?

expensive-taste-low-budget

Sure, it only cost $1.10 (they couldn’t just round it off at a buck!?) at Hopscotch and $1.25 at the VCBW Beer Festival, for additional tokens, but that’s just added charges on top of your already high dowry. And guess what, if you happen to get a little hungry, you still have to pay extra for any food that may or may not be available.

For events like these, I’d rather they nix the bands or other entertainment and souvenir glass (how many of these do I really need cluttering up my cupboards?) and give everyone 10 tokens… even then, you’re not getting good bang for your buck. I know many vendors don’t even ask for your ticket or token, but some people (ie. your faithful Sip Advisor) usually gives it up willingly, in order to avoid that awkward moment between server and drinker.

Liquor events aren’t all bad, though. Mrs. Sip and I, along with Ma and Pa Sip, attended the Portland Beer and Wine festival last Easter and what an amazing event that was. For only $20, we received a souvenir glass and a whopping 10 tokens that could be spent on beer, wine, spirits, food items, a used vehicle (okay, not that one), etc. And additional tokens were only $1! Not to mention the live entertainment and info sessions that were all part of the spectacle. We will be back, as info for the 2015 event is already online with deals such as $22 for entry, a glass (wine or beer), and 10 tokens. That’s on top of free entry to the first 500 visitors on the Friday.

bender beer festival

Even in Canada, you can come across great events. In August, to celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary, Mrs. Sip and I attended the Made with Love cocktail competition. We paid only $55 (the early bird price, but even full fare was only $65) and were treated to unlimited cocktail samples from 13 of the city’s top bartenders. On top of that, food was included and damnit, it was good. It still has me craving fried plantains!

Earlier the same summer, the Sip Alliance went to the annual Tip N’ Taste event in Langley, B.C. We had been a couple times many years before, but had lost interest when event organizers lost their way and dramatically raised prices to the event. This year, the price was back down to what it should be, $25. With that, attendees received five drink tokens and five food tokens with a great variety of vendors on both sides of the equation.

Well, now that I’ve cleared my conscious and had my little rant, let’s have a little drink together!

Sip Commentary #1: Angry Dan

Angry Dan Cocktail

  • 2 oz Southern Comfort
  • 2 oz Fireball Whiskey
  • Top with Cola
  • Garnish with a Lime Wheel

Want to get your own displeasure with liquor event pricing off your chest? Feel free to vent with a profanity-laced comment below!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
For this inaugural commentary (aka rant) post – more to come in the future – I wanted a drink that had the word “Angry” in it and coincidentally, this cocktail actually includes the Sip Advisor’s first name! The drink was quite nice with a soft burn at the end of each sip. The only downside is that it’s a typical liquor and mixer cocktail, lacking any real complexity.

Guyana – Gold Way Cocktail

Gold Digger

Guyana is said to be the location of the fabled El Dorado, or as it’s more popularly known, the Lost City of Gold. Like Scrooge McDuck and Flintheart Glomgold, I intend on finding this massive fortune, so join me if you dare, as we discover the truth about this lucrative legend!

The term El Dorado first referred to the king of the Muisca people, who were based in what is now Colombia. He would powder himself with gold dust and then jump into Lake Guatavitá as an offering to the creators of the universe. After learning of the legend, Spanish conquistadors swiftly conquered the Muisca folks, but when their findings of gold were so minimal, they refused to believe that they had actually located El Dorado and continued their fruitless search.

El Dorado

As with many legends, its stature grew with time and retellings, changing from being about a king to an entire city of gold. With occasional minor hauls of gold, inspiration continued to thrive, but the mother lode was never located. The Spanish weren’t alone in their pursuit of the wealthy empire and were joined by German explorers and even some English. Sadly, when Sir Walter Raleigh failed to find the city after two expeditions, he returned to England and was executed.

Another element that helped spread the myth was the various South American civilizations, who were getting slaughtered, realizing that the best way to get rid of the invading treasure seekers was to tell them that El Dorado was not where they currently were, but somewhere further on. This kept the search continuing and widening to the furthest reaches of the continent.

On the plus side, this all led to great advancements in exploring and mapping South America. Most notably, Francisco de Orellana discovered the Amazon River and traced it to the Atlantic Ocean. Maps in Europe during this time, even depicted the fabled golden city as existing in the mountains of Guyana. Of course, it was never actually found there, but like the Lost City of Atlantis, that doesn’t mean people have stopped searching for it.

Guyana Money

Maybe El Dorado is in Guyana, given they’re rocking $5,000 bank notes!

Lope de Aguirre became known as the ‘Madman of El Dorado’ when he usurped power over an expedition led by Pedro de Ursúa, murdered many in the party and went on to attack Spanish settlements, declaring his group independent from Spain. Aguirre was finally dealt with by the Spanish, but not before leading a brief reign of terror. Perhaps he went insane in his search for the lost city.

The El Dorado name has spread across the globe, often being used as a moniker for a mining town or other place that riches can be sought quickly. There’s El Dorado County in California and in contrast, Helldorado was a nickname earned by Tombstone, Arizona. Both the El Dorado and Helldorado tags have been used by beer brewing companies. Also, General Motors bestowed upon its most expensive model the name Cadillac Eldorado, in honour of the mythical city.

Cadillac-eldorado

DreamWorks animated film The Road to El Dorado may be the most recognized piece of popular culture referencing the myth. Starring the voice talent of Kevin Kline and Kenneth Branagh and having a stacked lineup for its soundtrack, the movie follows two Spanish explorers who discover the Lost City of Gold and are viewed as gods by the citizens of El Dorado. They try to con these fine El Doradians in the hope they can get away with all their loot and hijinks ensues.

The concept of El Dorado has been turned into metaphor, as it could involve anything a person longs for, whether that be wealth, love, happiness, etc. It can also be used to describe something unattainable. If you are said to be “looking for El Dorado,” you’re basically being told that your mission is hopeless and will result in nothing but misery. The Sip Advisor’s ‘El Dorado’ may be the success of this site and thankfully for all you little sippers, I’m just too dumb to give up!

Guyana: Gold Way Cocktail

Gold Way Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Lemon Hart Rum
  • 0.5 oz Galliano
  • Top with Club Soda
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with a Lime Wheel

I think it would have been fun to live in a time when all these mysteries weren’t disproved… when a sense of adventure and discovery existed and we couldn’t just Google everything to learn the answer. That said, I’m quite comfortable playing around on the internet, rather than going out to find answers on my own, so let’s just call the whole thing a wash!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
The recipe calls for Vanilla Syrup, but I subbed in Galliano instead and it was the highlight of the drink, coming in at the end on top of the Rum and Club Soda. I should also note that there is an El Dorado rum out there, that would be even more interesting if it included gold leaf!

Jamaica – Au Pair

Dread Heads

Reggae music was born in Jamaica in the 1960’s and has since traversed the globe thanks to acts like Bob Marley and The Wailers. Let’s take a look at some of Jamaica’s greatest musicians from the genre:

Bob Marley

Marley’s influence spread well beyond his music, as he became a figure of the Rastafarian movement and even helped warring political parties come to agreements. “I Shot the Sheriff,” “No Woman, No Cry,” “Could You Be Loved,” and “Buffalo Soldier,” highlight the long list of hits Marley is credited with. Prior to the 1976 Smile Jamaica concert, an attempt on Marley’s life was made, but he only suffered minor injuries. Marley died of cancer on May 11, 1981, He was only 36 years old. There is a statue of Marley in Kingston, Jamaica and many of Marley’s children have entered the entertainment business, carrying on dear ol’ dad’s legacy.

Bit Da Sheriff

Jimmy Cliff

Born James Chambers, Jimmy Cliff acquired his recording name from the cliffs that surrounded his childhood village of Adelphi Land in St. James, Jamaica. Cliff’s first hit, “Hurricane Hattie” came at the age of only 14. Working with producer Leslie Kong, Cliff released one successful track after another until Kong passed away. Cliff also appeared in the movie The Harder They Come, which brought reggae to new audiences. He was the face of the genre until usurped by Bob Marley. Cliff was enshrined into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.

Toots Hibbert

Dubbed ‘The Skafather,’ Hibbert is the leader of the band Toots & The Maytals and he might as well be, given he can play every instrument that makes up the ensemble. In 1966, Hibbert found himself in prison thanks to a possession of marijuana conviction, but his experience inspired one of his best known songs “54-46 That’s My Number.” With The Maytals, Hibbert wrote the first song to actually use the word reggae with 1968’s “Do the Reggay.” Hibbert received the Order of Jamaica in 2012 and still performs to this day, at the age of 71.

Peter Tosh

Amazingly, Tosh was self-taught on the guitar and he even helped Bob Marley learn to play the instrument. Joined by Bunny Wailer, the three formed the Wailing Wailers. After Tosh split from The Wailers and began a solo career, he released “Legalize It,” his pro-marijuana anthem. This, and Tosh’s defiant personality, led to beatings from Jamaican police. Tosh was even signed to the Rolling Stones record label before returning to his own. On September 11, 1987, Tosh was shot and killed by a man who he had given money to, when that man and three accomplices went back to try and get more cash from the artist.

We Be Jammin

Bunny Wailer

The Wailer in The Wailers, Bunny Wailer has been described as the best singer among the band and equally talented with writing songs, yet failed to achieve the same level of international fame as his bandmates. This could be the result of Wailer disappearing from the world’s eye for approximately three years after the Wailers disbanded. When he reemerged, Wailer didn’t miss a beat, going on to win the Grammy for Best Reggae Album in 1991, 1995, and 1997. Newsweek named Wailer one of the three most important figures in world music, along with King Sunny Ade of Nigeria and Brazil’s Milton Nascimento.

Gregory Isaacs

Known as ‘The Cool Ruler’ (which the Sip Advisor has to admit is a pretty wicked nickname), Isaacs is credited with over 500 albums, including many compilation releases. In the 80’s, Isaacs fell into drug troubles (who didn’t during that decade!) and served a six-month sentence for possession of unlicensed firearms. The drugs took a toll on his smooth voice, but Isaacs kicked the habit and worked in the industry up to his death in 2010, at the age of 59, following a lengthy battle with lung cancer. Today, the Gregory Isaacs Foundation carries on the artist’s charitable work and legacy.

Jamaica: Au Pair

Au Pair Cocktail

  • Muddle Apple Slices
  • 1.5 oz Appleton Rum
  • 0.75 oz Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka
  • Top with Ginger Ale
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Dash of Orgeat Syrup
  • Garnish with a Lime Wheel

Reggae music has shared a long association with marijuana, so if drinking isn’t your cup of tea, you can celebrate the songs in your own way!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (5 Sips out of 5):
This cocktail was a knockout spectacular. The Appleton Rum is so nice, as you get a hint of it at the end of each sip. Despite more than two ounces of booze, you can barely taste any liquor, thus making for the perfect recipe. This was my first opportunity to use the Orgeat Syrup Mrs. Sip and I picked up recently and it was a very welcome touch to the drink. I can’t advocate for this cocktail enough!