Sip Trips #104: Babymooning (Part 2)

Yesterday, we took a look at the first portion of our Rome to Dubai babymoon cruise, with stops in Rome, Naples, Athens, and Santorini. Today, we make our way through the Suez Canal to Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, with many ships hijinks in between:

While our ship was brand-spanking new with some great updates to behold, I missed some of the charms of the older vessels in the Princess Cruises line. For example, the Explorer’s Lounge has been replaced by the Princess Live Studio. This is where many trivia events take place, respectively, but the studio is lacking tables, so there’s no surface to write on. Even worse, there’s nowhere to rest a drink… heck, the place doesn’t even have a bar, which is practically criminal.

Also, the Skywalker’s Lounge – home to the Elite/Platinum Lounge – is gone from the newer ship design and so the lounge time for loyal guests now takes place in a windowless room of the ship, with servers having to travel some distance to hook passengers up with the daily drink special. As a result, one of my favourite parts of the day on most cruises, was only attended twice by me and Mrs. Sip. The experience just didn’t feel special at all.

Fix Your Own Drinks

Another missing piece from other ships we’ve sailed on was the line’s Crooner’s Martini Bar. Apparently, we weren’t the only guests to notice, as a few days into the cruise, the Juice Bar was turned into a pop-up Martini Bar each evening. On its opening night, we dropped by for their Tropitini (Bacardi Oakheart, Malibu, Creme de Banana), which was very tasty and far better than a health smoothie.

As we docked in Aqaba, Jordan, I tallied my 50th country visited. With a Rob Roy ordered in the Elite/Platinum Lounge, I was also able to cross off country number 50 that I’ve drank in. This is a feat I’m very proud of and just may make the cut to be immortalized on my headstone: Here lies the Sip Advisor… he drank EVERYWHERE!

That evening, as Mrs. Sip and I were checking out what the buffet had to offer, we were stopped by the team selling shots of Limoncello and souvenir shot glasses. Eventually, they coerced me into buying a glass and shot for $3. Then, the lead of the group offered to give me a second pour on the house, if I downed the concoction right there. That was an offer I couldn’t refuse. Before I knew it, I was four shots deep – one for me, one for Mrs. Sip, one for Baby Sip, and one just for the hell of it – and I had still only shelled out $3.

Shots You Take

The next day brought the British pub lunch that seems to occur at least once per cruise voyage. I paired my delicious fish and chips with a Blue Moon, which got the ball rolling on it being a beer day. Afterwards, while laying in the sun and watching Queensland vs. New South Wales (National Rugby League) on the pool deck with a horde of Aussie passengers, I delved into a bucket of Heineken beers, which all made for an entertaining and relaxing afternoon.

With my stock of mixers depleted at this point, I purchased cans of Tonic Water and Barq’s Root Beer. For whatever reason, I was really craving a Gin & Tonic (perhaps I needed to stave off scurvy) and after getting a couple lime wedges from the pool bar, I had all the ingredients needed to make some really good beverages for myself.

Nearing the end of our cruise, we attended the Captain’s Circle Party, which is hosted for Elite/Platinum passengers and provides free drinks. I had a few beverages here, but they weren’t of the best quality, as usual for this event. We did however win a bottle of champagne, amongst hundreds of entries. As soon as they said Mr. and Mrs. I knew they were going to announce our names, since Mrs. Sip isn’t drinking much at this point.

Champ in Champagne

We were also invited to a Farewell Cocktail Party, as the ship’s captain was also taking leave in Dubai. Hosted in the Hollywood Pool (an indoor, adult’s only area they unsuccessfully tried to turn into a night club setting in the evenings) this was an absolute drinkfest for the Sip Advisor. With Mrs. Sip’s help, I grabbed a few really good Cosmos and Gimlets, as well as some other treats.

Upon arriving in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, it was time for Mrs. Sip and I to sadly disembark the cruise. While Dubai was an absolutely fascinating place to visit, drinks are pretty difficult to find. I did manage to have one cocktail at our hotel’s bar, the Double Decker Pub. I ordered the Eldery Flower (Elderflower-infused Gin, topped with Lime, Apple and Cranberry Juices), which was very refreshing, but expensive (45 Dirham = approx. $16 CDN) . It was worth it, though, as consuming drinks in “dry” countries is a guilty pleasure of mine.

That wraps up our babymoon, our last big trip before we move from a family of two to three. I can promise all you little sippers, though, that the fun is far from over!

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Sip Trips #103: Babymooning (Part 1)

Back in 2012, Mrs. Sip and I celebrated our honeymoon with a cruise through the Panama Canal. Nearly five years later and with a little girl on the way, we decided to take our babymoon from Rome to Dubai – through the Suez Canal – aboard another luxury liner. Here’s part one of that expedition:

Our first stop of the journey was Rome, Italy, a favourite city for both Mrs. Sip and myself. Friends from London joined us for this portion of the vacation and after some sightseeing, we journeyed to the 404 Name Not Found bar, which one of our companions had researched. There, complex cocktails (and a mocktail for Mrs. Sip) awaited us. Always a fan of spicy drinks, I tried the 666, complete with Jalapeno-infused Tequila, Cointreau, Lime Juice and Honey.

The next morning, I was able to cross an item off my drinking bucket list, when I enjoyed my first ever McBeer (Beera Moretti Baffo D’oro) at the McDonald’s just outside the walls of the Vatican City. Despite beer being available at a McDonald’s stop or two prior, this was the first time I’ve imbibed in the option and it was a great experience with my set of famous hamburgers.

McBeers

Later that day, we were off to board our ship at the Civitavecchia Port, over an hour outside Rome. After checking in, we arrived at our room (which had been upgraded from a balcony to a mini suite) and were promptly given glasses of sail away bubbly. It was a very nice start to our two-week journey aboard the Majestic Princess.

Mrs. Sip surprised me with bottles of Bacardi Rum, Skyy Vodka and Gordon’s Gin to go along with the two bottles of wine I had just grabbed at the Termini train station. I also brought a handful of Grey Goose mini bottles, so giving I was drinking solo, I was quite set for the voyage. I never buy the all-inclusive pop package available on the cruise, so having mixers for my booze can be challenging, but I’ve picked up some tricks along the way. I did purchase a soda set, which provided me with six cans of pop, while also taking advantage of free orange juice for breakfast and lemonade throughout the day. This allowed me to create an array of drinks, enhanced by some clever fruit pick-ups at the buffet.

Our first stop of the cruise docked in Naples, Italy. Our excursion for the day would take us to the island of Capri, where I got to do a little Limoncello tasting, followed by lunch in Sorrento (where I chugged back close to a bottle of house wine) and finishing with a tour of the historic Pompeii.

Pompeii Stoned

Our next port of call was in Athens. Mrs. Sip and I elected to take a hop-on, hop-off bus into the city, where we visited the 360 Cocktail Bar. With views of the legendary Acropolis from the bar’s rooftop patio, I sat back and enjoyed servings of their Heat Wave (Russian Standard Vodka, Mezcal, Jalapeno Chillies, Oregano, Herbs, Agave, Lime) and The Journey of Chivalry (Chivas Regal 12-year, Noilly Prat Vermouth, Cashews, Smoked Salt, Coconut Water) cocktails. I had also tried to order the Summer Loading (Bacardi White Rum, Watermelon, Orgeat, Lime, Three Cents Agean Tonic), but sadly it was not available.

As we continued to explore the area, we popped into a store where I purchased a bomber-sized bottle of Alfa Weiss Beer and cans of Fanta Strawberry-Kiwi and Tuborg Orange-Cinnamon Soda to add to my mixer collection. The greatest treat came as we returned to the port. There was a duty-free shop in the terminal and after confirming purchases wouldn’t be taken away, as there was no security check to go through boarding the ship, I popped back into the store before we set sail to snag a half-liter bottle of Jim Beam Bourbon.

Our stop the next day on the Greek island of Santorini was one I was greatly looking forward to. We had visited for a week 10 years prior and it became one of my favourite places I’ve ever been to. Sadly, this trip wasn’t nearly as good, as the tiny island was hosting three different ships and was overrun. To salvage the day, Mrs. Sip and I sat down in a tiny bar in the capital city of Fira, where I had an Alfa Beer and enjoyed the sights. Then we travelled down 700 steps to the port, dodging donkeys and their droppings along the way.

That wraps up part one of our expedition. Join us tomorrow for the second half of an amazing holiday.

Flavour Revolution – Lime

The Great Debate

While both Limes and Lemons were used to fight scurvy, I’ve always been partial to the little green guys. Let’s debate the benefits and cultural impact of Limes vs. Lemons and see if the Sip Advisor is justified in his love!

Health Benefits

Limes have more than double the Vitamin A of a lemon, but lemons come in with close to double the Vitamin C of a lime. I guess that makes the whole thing a wash, but that’s okay, I don’t really like getting into the whole nutrient argument too much. Let’s just say that the two zesty fruits are actually both considered incredibly healthy. Winner: Draw

Vitamins

Pie

Frankly, I enjoy my pies in the form of fruits like cherry or blueberry, but we must debate the merits of Key Lime Pie vs. Lemon Meringue Pie, despite their many similarities. Key Lime Pie is the state pie (Seriously!? They have these!) of Florida and there was even legislation introduced in 1965 – although it did not pass – that would have seen a $100 fine levied against anyone that advertised Key Lime Pie, not made with Key limes. Lemon Meringue simply does not have the same backing. Winner: Limes

Non-Alcoholic Drink

This category is pretty easy to decide. While limeade/lime cordial goes good with some cocktails, I don’t think many people drink it on its own. The same can’t be said for lemonade which is universally enjoyed and is part of the way of life in places like the southern United States, where sitting on your back porch with glass of tall, ice cold lemonade on a hot summer’s day just seems so natural. Winner: Lemons

Cocktails

With an array of options that include the Margarita, Gin & Tonic, Gimlet, Rickey, and many others, Limes easily pull out to a quick lead. And you simply can’t drink a Corona without a lime wedge stuffed inside the bottle. Lemons do produce Limoncello, Lemon Drop Schnapps and a lemon wedge goes quite nicely with most wheat beers, but because an orange wedge always trumps that, I will instead deduct points. Winner: Limes

Songs & Groups

My favourite band of all-time, Led Zeppelin, has The Lemon Song and even the enigmatic Meatloaf had the track Life is a Lemon. There’s also a group called The Lemons, as well as Blind Lemon (a play on Blind Melon), which calls itself “the UK’s hardest hitting covers band”. All limes really bring to the table is, of all things, the Coconut song. You need to put the lime in the coconut or else you won’t feel better… what a silly woman! Winner: Lemons

Characters

This is another quick steal for lemons, who offer Tina Fey’s Liz Lemon, from 30 Rock, as well as Lemony Snicket and Honey Lemon from Big Hero 6. The limes counter with Harry Lime, a character played by Orson Welles, in the film noir The Third Man (which was the most popular movie at the British box office in 1949) and a Dragon Ball Z character simply known as Lime, whose Wikipedia entry even calls him a filler character. Winner: Lemons

Liz Lemon

Spirituality

In India, limes are used to remove evil spirits, as part of the Tantra ritual. They also play a role in repelling the dreaded evil eye and are often worn as charms. Lemons on the other hand, are offered to the goddesses of Hindu temples, to cool them down from their fierce fighting style, so that they may offer blessings. I feel that anything that protects you in India is a good thing, while lemons in this case, are simply a bribe. Winner: Limes

Other

Lime has its own stone, although I’m not sure that has even the slightest bit to do with the fruit and looking up something like that might make me sleepy. There’s also Lyme Disease, which probably has even less to do with the fruit, but just by association, it doesn’t sound very good. Lastly, Limey is a slang term for British folk, likely derived from navy sailors and the whole scurvy thing. The only questionable thing I can think of for lemons, is that ‘squeezing lemons’ is a term for peeing. With all these negative aspects, is there really a winner? Winner: Double Disqualification

Flavour Revolution: Bite My Beer

Bite My Beer Cocktail

I’m sticking with my original pick of limes, but lemons sure made the decision a tough one. One thing is certain, limes and lemons come together quite nicely in Sweet & Sour Mix and perhaps we should just leave it at that!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
This drink wasn’t bad, but it turned more into a sweet beer, with a little bite. Given the rum’s name, I guess that’s exactly what they were going for. I wonder if I would have felt any different if the Lemon-Lime Soda wasn’t involved, as I’m not sure mixing pop and beer is ever a good thing.

Italy – Sunday Confession

Goodfellas

The term “mafia” comes from Sicily, Italy, and let’s be honest, the most famous of mobsters all hail from the Italian line of organized crime, also known as Cosa Nostra, which translated means “Our Thing.” And, it certainly is THEIR thing. While the term ‘Omertà’ governs the mafia with a code of silence, the Sip Advisor is breaking all the rules with our own ‘Most Wanted’ list of infamous Italian gangsters:

Vito Cascioferro

Thought of as the ‘Boss of Bosses’ during his reign at the top, Cascioferro was arrested approximately 69 times during his career, but always acquitted. His luck ran out in June 1930, when Cascioferro was tried for numerous offences, including murder, attempted murder, robbery, extortion, and other offences. He was convicted and given a life sentence. He died in prison somewhere between 1943-45, with many inmates considering it an honour to now fill the same jail cell.

Mafia Cats

Calogero Vizzini

Dubbed the ‘King of the Black Market,’ Vizzini was even made mayor of Villalba, Italy (where his crime family was based), following World War II. Vizzini’s death was big news, even reported by the New York Times. Thousands turned out for the leader’s funeral, including other bosses, politicians, and priests. Vizzini predicted that the mafia would die with him and the old-school version did slowly dissolve, but was replaced by a more modern mob that we recognize today.

Michele Navarra

The boss of the famed Corleone family (also used for the Godfather movies) from 1944-58, Navarra was also a trained physician and perhaps this is why he was more likely to delegate murders than commit them himself. Navarra was killed on August 2, 1958 after feuding with former associate Luciano Leggio, whom Navarra tried to have ambushed by 15 gunmen, yet somehow Leggio survived with only minor injuries. I’d question his leadership, too!

Luciano Leggio

Speaking of Leggio, he became the Corleone boss following Navarra’s death and is credited with starting the Second Mafia War. After a string of acquittals on various charges, Leggio finally found himself sentenced to life imprisonment for Navarra’s slaying, but disappeared, running a successful kidnapping ring while on the run. He was finally caught in 1974, but continued to have influence over the syndicate from behind bars. He died in prison, of a heart attack in 1993.

Mafia Comic

Salvatore Riina

After Leggio was arrested in the 1970’s, Riina eventually took over control of the Corleone family, which was ironic because he was one of the suspects in the assassination of Navarra. Riina was considered the ‘Boss of Bosses’ following the Second Mafia War. Nicknamed ‘The Beast,’ by fellow mobsters, this 5’2” leader used a campaign of violence to achieve power, killing rivals, as well as prosecutors and other government officials. Riina was arrested in 1993, after 23 years as a fugitive.

Bernardo Provenzano

One of the most powerful Sicilian bosses of all-time, Provenzano followed Riina as leader of the Corleone family. Once at the helm, Provenzano worked to change the perception of the mafia to being less violent, more diplomatic and willing to work with established institutions. Under the new guidelines, violence was only to be used if absolutely necessary. Despite all that, Provenzano spent more than 40 years evading police capture, before authorities finally arrested him in April 2006.

Italy: Sunday Confession

Sunday Confession Cocktail

  • 1 oz Limoncello
  • 1 oz Tequila
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Top with Ginger Ale
  • Garnish with a Cherry

This all has me wanting to go back and watch some of the best mafia media. Take your pick, but my favourites include The Godfather franchise, Goodfellas, The Sopranos, and Donnie Brasco. Perhaps I’ll have to do a future article on fictional mobsters… so long as they make me an offer I can’t refuse!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This cocktail has a perfect name for a mafia-related article, although confession would certainly go against the Omertà code of silence. I used Cranberry Ginger Ale instead of the recommended Ginger Beer because it seemed like a good idea and it worked out really well. Limoncello and Tequila was a decent mix, too.

Italy – The Winkle

Sicilian Slice

The modern pizza was invented in Naples, Italy and god bless them for doing so. Throughout the Sip Advisor’s life, pizza has always remained at or near the top of my favourite foods list. I don’t care that it’s not exactly a healthy choice and often falls under the junk food category… it’s god damn delicious!

The term ‘pizza’ can be traced all the way back to the year 997 AD in the city of Gaeta, Italy. Before that, flat breads called foccasia were garnished with a variety of toppings, but were usually sweet dishes, rather than savoury. In the 18th century, the people of Naples began adding tomatoes to the mix and thus the modern pizza was born, before spreading around the world thanks to Italian immigrants.

Pizza Gross

The thing I love about pizza is its versatility. It’s great upon first serving and a rare food item that can be better reheated later or even scarfed down cold, straight out of the fridge. It’s the perfect breakfast – especially after a night of hard drinking – as it doesn’t take much effort to prepare while you’re still a little fuzzy. Apparently, I’m not alone, as 36% of Americans think it makes the perfect morning meal.

As of 2012, there were 11,139 Pizza Hut outlets across 94 countries. Pizza Hut’s largest competitor, Domino’s Pizza, has more than 10,000 stores and is the world leader in delivery services. Along with these two giants are so many other companies hawking bread, cheese, sauce, and toppings, totaling more than five billion pizzas sold every year, with more than half of those sales occurring in the United States.

The largest pizza ever made weighed 12.9 tons and was created at the Norwood Pick ‘n Pay in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1990. The pie had a diameter of 37.4 meters (122 feet, 8 inches) and used 500kg of flour, 800kg of cheese, and 900kg of tomato sauce.

Pizza Win

The most expensive pizza ever made included ingredients such as sunblush-tomato sauce, Scottish smoked salmon, venison medallions, lobster marinated in gognac, champagne-soaked caviar, and even edible gold. Made by restaurant owner Domenico Crolla, the pizza was auctioned for charity and raised 2,150 pounds. The most expensive regularly sold pizza can be found at Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant Maze, in London. Each serving will set you back 100 pounds, not to mention the weight that will be added to your waistline.

If you’re having a massive party, you could consider hitting up Big Mama’s and Papa’s Pizzeria in California, where you can purchase a pizza that measures 4’6” x 4’6” and serves anywhere from 50-100 people. Just make sure that competitive food eater Joey Chestnut isn’t on the guest list, as the dude set the world record for most pizza slices eaten in 10 minutes when he polished off 40 ½ slices.

Brooklyn, New York’s Scott Wiener (heh, wiener!) owns the world’s largest pizza box collection. As of late 2013, he has amassed 595 pizza boxes from 45 different countries. He only began collecting in 2008 after grabbing some ‘za in Israel and admiring the box there. Wiener’s favourite piece in his collection is a box from the Netherlands which features characters similar to Homer and Bart Simpson. Not content to just receive a certificate from the Guinness Records folks, Wiener has even released a book, Viva La Pizza, chronicling some of the world’s most artistic pizza boxes.

Pizza Simpsons

Pepperoni is the most popular topping worldwide, but so many specialty pizzas have popped up over the years thanks to this wonderful gastronomic invention. Let’s take a look at some of these “gourmet” options from around the globe:

Africa: The Africana pizza includes meat (ham/beef/chicken), peanuts, banana, pineapple, onion, and curry powder. I can’t say I’ve ever had a pizza with peanuts or banana, but it has me thinking about some of the combos the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles came up with back in the day.

Australia: Known as The Aussie, Australian, or Australiana, this pizza takes your traditional base of marinara sauce and cheese, but then puts bacon and eggs on top. That sounds like a hell of a way to get your breakfast in at all times of the day!

Canada: The Canadian pizza isn’t very elaborate, combining bacon, pepperoni, and mushrooms. I think if our country had a do-over, we’d come up with something involving poutine, maple syrup, and hockey tape to hold it all together!

Pizza Turtles

Caribbean: I’m not sure which exact country you can attach this recipe to, but mixing barbeque sauce, chicken, pineapple, onion, and green peppers sounds like something I’d want to lay claim to if I belonged to any of these island nations.

France: The French pizza has seemingly normal toppings (chicken, mushrooms, peppers, olives) until you get to its sauce: Dijon mustard. While this would be something I’d try, Mrs. Sip would not be happy to find the yellow stuff on her meal.

Greece: The Greek pizza usually features olives, feta cheese, green peppers, and tomatoes… all the ingredients that make up a Greek salad. In the best scenarios chicken souvlaki is also thrown into the mix and if the Sip Advisor was running the show, he’d drizzle some tzatziki sauce all over that bad boy!

Indonesia: The Balinese pizza comes with shredded pork, roasted red peppers, and garlic. At least they’re not using the monkeys found all over the island for toppings… those little buggers may have attacked Mrs. Sip and I, but I still love them.

Pizza Dogs

Jamaican: Jerk Chicken is at the heart of this pizza, which frankly is Jamaican me hungry!

Mexico: The Mexican or Mexicana pizza usually involves ingredients one would find on tacos and other Americanized fare from the country. This includes ground beef, jalapenos, onions, tomatoes, chili, avocado, peppers, etc. The cheese on the Mexican pizza is sometimes modified to be of the pepper jack variety to help add another dash of spice to the recipe.

Portugal: Portuguese pizzas include Portuguese sausage, onions, and bell peppers. This pie may not be for the weak of heart.

Pizza Cat

Thailand: Thai pizzas are highlighted by Thai chicken and also include peanut sauce, bean sprouts, and shaved carrots. Pizzas may not be the healthiest of food, but that mix doesn’t sound as artery clogging as others.

United States: The Hawaiian is probably the U.S.’s most recognized pizza, combining ham and pineapple, but there are other options, including Santa Fe, with spiced chicken and the Californian, featuring club sandwich ingredients, such as avocado and bacon. The U.S. is also famous for all the different style of pizza, such as Chicago deep dish, Detroit twice-baked, New York thin crust, St. Louis rectangle slices, and New Haven no cheese.

Italy: The Winkle

The Winkle Martini

  • Muddle Raspberries and Sage
  • 1.5 oz Gin
  • 1 oz Limoncello
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Garnish with a Sage Sprig

Pizza should be celebrated, so why not observe National Pizza Month, which occurs every October in the U.S. You could also attend the annual International Pizza Expo, which takes place in Las Vegas every March. Either way, make sure to enjoy as much pizza pie goodness as you can and thank those crazy Italians for coming up with this culinary gem!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
I absolutely loved this martini, although everyone I told to try a sip wasn’t in agreement with ol’ Mr. Sip. The Sage was a unique ingredient that I’ve never used before this. The Gin and Limoncello worked together in perfect harmony… kind of like cheese, bread, and tomato sauce!

December 13 – Tinsel Bellini

Christmas Blitzed

As the holiday season rapidly rushes by, it’s important to sit back and take in all that surrounds you. That can definitely include the many winter-themed alcohol options, most of which are only released at this time of year. Here are some to keep an eye out for!

Jack Daniel’s Winter Jack

This spirit blends Jack Daniel’s famous Tennessee whiskey with Apple Cider liqueur and holiday spices. I’m not entirely sure what qualifies as a holiday spice, but I’m hoping the term somehow includes beautiful women bedecked in Christmas lingerie. Now fetch me some mistletoe and dangle that shrubbery from all the required erogenous zones!

Winter-Jack-Cider

Peppermint Schnapps

I’m not sure why, perhaps its candy canes, but the peppermint flavour has a rich history and association with the Christmas season. It could also be because I spike a lot of drinks with Peppermint Schnapps when I’m out and about town in the chilly temperatures. One particular fond memory I have is from sneaking in a bottle at Disneyland and getting torched before the spectacular Christmas fireworks show, which finishes with a smattering of fake snow to frolic in.

Burnett’s Candy Cane Vodka

I’ve been planning to use this liquor during the Christmas season, ever since Ma and Pa Sip picked it up last year. In fact, it was featured in my recent Snowflaketini and I’ll probably bring it back for an encore performance later this month, so stay tuned… Burnett’s also has a Suger Cookie Vodka, as well!

Pinnacle Cinnamon Roll Vodka

Sticking with flavoured vodkas, one of the newest releases is a crossover between Pinnacle Vodka and Cinnabon to bring the world a Cinnamon Roll-based alcohol. Cinnabon buns are a bit of a tradition for Christmas morning breakfast for myself. We don’t have them every year, but when we do, it’s a very merry Christmas!

cinnabon-vodka

Kahlua Gingerbread

While most Kahlua products can be enjoyed during the winter, thanks to their excellent mixability with hot beverages like coffee and hot chocolate, the Kahlua Gingerbread release is a particular stand out for the holiday season. If you get wrecked enough on the sauce, you might even enjoy making your gingerbread house… that or destroy the entire village in some sort of stupor!

Evan Williams Egg Nog

There seems to be a dispute as to what liquor should go into your Egg Nog. I was raised to believe that some sort of rum should be used, preferably a spiced rum, but other places lean toward a whiskey or bourbon, as is the case with this product. I suppose, in the end, as long as your getting your swerve (and your nog) on, the debate doesn’t really matter!

Malibu Winter/Snowcoco

What’s neat about this product is that instead of just being coconut flavoured, the company actually added bits of coconut to the spirit and offered a window on the bottle through the labelling, so you could see the chunks float around, much like the bits in a snow globe. I think it only comes out as a seasonal release, so pick it up while you can.

Malibu-Winter

Yukon Jack Perma Frost Liqueur

I grabbed this product last month and while I’ve always appreciated Peppermint Schnapps, the Perma Frost Liqueur takes that tradition to a whole ‘nutha level with the addition of cinnamon spice. Also, unlike Peppermint Schnapps, which usually comes in at about 20% alcohol content, Perma Frost packs a punch at a whopping 50%!

Sourz Spirited Winter

This limited edition release combines sour cranberry and sour apple, two of the holiday season’s most prolific fruits. I’m very curious to sample this libation, but I believe it may have only been released for a short time in 2010. Like Indiana Jones, I will find my treasure!

Vana Tallinn Winter Spice

Vana Tallinn is Estonia’s primary spirit and this is their winter adaptation. The liqueur is so good that it has been selected Best Estonian Food for 2013 in the alcohol category. It is enriched with holiday spices, such as cinnamon, cardamom, anise, and nutmeg. Mrs. Sip and I grabbed a bottle of Vana Tallinn last spring and now I wish I could have the Winter Spice, as well.

Drink #347: Tinsel Bellini

Tinsel Bellini Drink Recipe

  • Rim glass with Sugar
  • 2 oz Hpnotiq
  • 1 oz Limoncello
  • Top with Champagne
  • Splash of Lime Juice

Of course, there’s also a bunch of Christmas-themed beers and wines out there, but I figured I’d stick to the harder stuff… art, imitating life!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
It was a total pain in the ass to achieve the icicle look using Simple Syrup and Sugar, but I think in the end the visuals totally made the frustration worth it. Blending Limoncello and Hpnotiq together was an interesting combo that tasted pretty good.

November 20 – Full Moon Lemonade

The Next Whiskey Bar

As with most things in life, a clever slogan can be the difference between a hit product and a discontinued failure. It’s no different in the whiskey and bourbon business, as companies look to gain slight advantages over competitors with cunning taglines. Here are some of the Sip Advisor’s favourites:

Wiser’s Whiskey – Welcome to the Society of Uncompromising Men. Welcome to the Wiserhood.

I really enjoy this series of ads, which features the Society of Uncompromising Men (I am a full ranking member) and their slow clap of new recruits. Our meetings consist of gathering around, discussing how to best be men amongst the feminist uprising and drinking. It’s kind of like Al Bundy’s No Ma’am group… no, it’s exactly like that!

Jameson Irish Whiskey – Not a Drop is Sold Till it’s Seven Years Old…

I feel like they should have adapted this slogan more and made it a complete Irish limerick. You know, one of those “There once was a man from Nantucket…” dealies. That said, the fine folks at Jameson make a good point here that rushing out a whiskey product isn’t always the best idea. Let it sit and acquire flavours… then flood the market!

Wild Turkey Bourbon – Too Good to Keep Cooped Up

I like this slogan a lot. It gives me this image of bourbon drinking turkeys running amuck, similar to a zombie apocalypse, as they peck at everything in sight. Then, the Sip Advisor comes in with impressive artillery, takes out all the disgusting fowl, then sits down to a meal that puts all Thanksgivings to shame and steals all the turkey bourbon. Pretty cool imagination, eh!?

Crown Royal Whiskey – For Every King, a Crown

We should all treat ourselves as if we’re royalty. You know, be good to ourselves and indulge in things like fine liquor (Crown Royal is a perfect example), delicious food, yummy treats, fun-filled vacations, and lavish accommodations. You never know when your time will run out, so enjoy everything while you can!

crown-royal-for-every-king-a-crown

Fireball Whiskey – Taste Like Heaven, Burns Like Hell

I couldn’t agree more, although I’ve never really found Fireball to burn that much. Then again, it seems I’m able to handle heat a little better than some of my counterparts. I love watching people’s reactions when they take a shot. I don’t even flinch when downing booze, but others put on quite a little show, especially if you give them something strong.

Canadian Club Whiskey – Canadian Club. Be a Part of It.

This is one organization I wouldn’t mind paying membership dues to! Wait, am I naturally a member of this group by the simple fact that I am, in fact, Canadian. Is it part of my birth rights, similar to citizenship? I hope I don’t have to get my lawyers involved, although Mrs. Sip in business attire sends me into frenzied fits!

Jack Daniel’s Whiskey – Whiskey Made as Our Fathers Made It

Jack Daniel’s is very big on their legacy and traditions and why shouldn’t they be? Just because Jack Daniel himself died from an infection caused by kicking his own safe after forgetting the combination to unlock it doesn’t mean their history shouldn’t be cherished. In fact, we could all learn a lesson from this: inanimate objects can kill.

Drink #324: Full Moon Lemonade

Full Moon Lemonade Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Moonshine (I used Apple Pie)
  • 1 oz Limoncello
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Splash of Lemonade
  • Garnish with Lemon Slices

If you had your own whiskey brand, what would you call it and what would your slogan be? Interesting questions to ponder, am I right? My product would be aptly titled Sip Advisor Spirit, with the jingle: “One day you’ll be an advisor, too!”

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
The recipe calls for using a pinch of Sugar, but I’m not a huge fan of adding the white stuff to cocktail and instead opted for a splash of Lemonade to sweeten the mix and also heighten the lemon flavour. Using the Apple Moonshine with the Limoncello was a great partnership for this all around delicious drink.