Flavour Revolution – Marula

Animal Crackers

Mrs. Sip and I recently returned from a month-long journey to southern Africa and were completely enamoured with the animals the continent is famous for. We also have a fondness for Amarula Cream, a liqueur from South Africa that takes Bailey’s and other Irish crème’s to task. Today, we enjoy Amarula Gold (the Cream’s golden cousin), while looking at the greatest pop culture examples of the creatures we enjoyed during our travels:

Lions:

One of the most famous lions is known simply for his iconic roar, seen at the start of MGM movies. Leo is still introducing viewers to films to this day. The lion has also been adopted as the logo for two different football teams, the Detroit Lions (NFL) and my hometown BC Lions (CFL). That’s interesting because while lions are fierce hunters, they’re also incredibly lazy. In the media world, there are notable lions in Simba, Mufasa, and Scar from The Lion King, as well as Aslan (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe) and the Cowardly Lion (The Wizard of Oz).

lion lesson

Buffalos:

There aren’t really any fictional buffalos to choose from, but there is the city of Buffalo, New York, which is home to such teams as the Sabres (NHL), and Bills (NFL). There’s also the Order of the Water Buffalo, with such dignified members as Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble. Lastly, one can also include Buffalo Bill, the deranged serial killer from Silence of the Lambs… on second thought, maybe he should be left off the list.

Rhinos:

The horned beasts seem to be the perfect animal for animated antagonists. This can be seen with one of Spiderman’s greatest foes, Rhino, as well as Rocksteady from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. If we are to use the characters as examples of how rhinos are viewed by animators, then they’re certainly not the brightest individuals. Lastly, pro wrestler Terry Gerin, adopted the name Rhino (later changed to Rhyno, because actual rhinos love suing over intellectual property rights!), when he debuted with Extreme Championship Wrestling in 1999. Sadly, rhinos are rapidly decreasing in population, with poachers seeking their valuable horns, to be used for sexual potency.

Elephants:

Like lions, elephants have factored into a lot of media. One of Disney’s most cherished characters is that of Dumbo, the flying elephant. There’s also Babar; Dr. Seuss’s Horton (who heard a Who); Bart Simpson’s brief pet, Stampy; and Big Bird’s imaginary friend Snuffleupagus. Another fan favourite is Elephant Ears donuts, because there’s never a bad donut and these cinnamon-sugar sprinkled gems are no exception.

elephant-dancing-snufflin

Leopards:

Famous leopards are about as rare as spotting the cat in the wild. The leopard is the only major African animal that we didn’t see on our recent vacation and our guide told us in all his years of taking tourists through Africa, he’s only seen a handful, himself. The only notable leopard that came to mind was Bagheera from The Jungle Book. His protective ways ensured young Mowgli’s survival in the wild.

Giraffes:

Youngsters today may not know about Geoffrey, the Toys R’ Us mascot, but he played a huge role in my childhood. He made many of the children from my generation want to be a Toys R’ Us kid! Originally named Dr. G. Raffe, the spokesanimal has been with the company since 1957.

Hippos:

The board game Hungry Hungry Hippos painted a lighter image on these dangerous beasts, who are known to charge at the boats of tourists for no other reason than because they feel like it. Despite their antagonistic nature, there is still the classic Christmas song “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas”. Perhaps the little girl making the request just didn’t know any better.

hungry-hippos-game

Crocodiles:

Perhaps the most famous crocodile is Tick-Tock, the tormentor of Capt. James Hook and the beast that took the pirate’s hand. Crocodiles are often depicted as bad guys. This includes Killer Croc, a frequent nemesis of Batman; King K. Rool, the thorn in the side of Donkey Kong and his extended family; and the Fraternity of Crocodiles, from the comic Pearls Before Swine, who are often in pursuit of zebras (or zeebas as the frat calls them), despite their minimal intelligence.

Quick Hits:

Zebras: Fruit Stripe Zebra – Given the gum’s appearance, it was natural that Fruit Stripe would adopt a Zebra as its mascot

Cheetahs: I’ve enjoyed the recent Cheetos commercials starring Chester Cheetah, as he helps snackers get their share of the cheese-flavoured grub

Meerkats: In the real world, there was the popular Meerkat Manor nature series… in animation, we of course had Timon from The Lion King

Warthog: Speaking of Timon, you can’t forget his buddy Pumbaa… and just like the previously mentioned Rocksteady took after a rhino, his thug pal Bebop was mutated from a warthog

Hyenas: One last time we go back to The Lion King, with this pack of cackling baddies: Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed

Flavour Revolution: Golden Apple

  • 1.5 oz Amarula Gold
  • Top with Apple Juice
  • Splash of Sour Apple Mixer
  • Garnish with an Apple Slice

Many of these animals comprise the Big 5 (lions, leopards, elephants, buffalos, and rhinos), placed in that group because of their difficulty in hunting. There are also a Small 5 (elephant shrew, buffalo weaver, leopard tortoise, ant lion, rhino beetle), based on miniature versions of the Big 5, as well as an Ugly 5 (warthog, hyena, marabou stork, vulture, and wildebeest), which is kind of self-explanatory.

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May 30 – Jet Fuel

Franchise Faces

With the recent controversy over the Washington Redskins team name, that got me thinking long and hard (heh, long and hard!) about franchise monikers and where they came from. Today, I want to look at teams that share a common name. In that process, we’ll decide which team lays claim to the name based on factors such as years in existence, success, superstars, etc. Of course, teams that leave one city and relocate to another, playing under the same nickname, don’t count. This also applies to minor league teams that share their affiliates handle. So, on with the list:

#5: Cardinals – St. Louis (MLB), Arizona (NFL)

Bird species are a popular name for teams in all the major sports, but Cardinals is the only one that is shared by two franchises and this duel isn’t too hard to sort out. The St. Louis club has existed for over 130 years, known as the Cardinals since 1900. In their long history, they have won 11 World Series Titles, 19 National League Pennants, and 20 MVP awards. They even have 17 Hall of Fame players to their legacy. Arizona, on the other hand, has enjoyed far less success, although they were also established over 100 years ago, even playing for a time in St. Louis. Their only championships came long before the modern day NFL, in 1925 and 1947. Winner: St. Louis

Cardinals

#4: Oilers – Edmonton (NHL), Houston/Tennessee (NFL)

Currently, both teams are trying to work their way out of the basement of their respective leagues, but this battle isn’t close. The Oilers success in Edmonton in the mid-80’s, led the town to call itself the ‘City of Champions’! Hell, they struck more riches than a prospector, with signing the legendary Wayne Gretzky and drafting future Hall of Famers like Mark Messier, Jari Kurri, Paul Coffey, Grant Fuhr, and Glenn Anderson. The NFL Oilers moved from Houston to Tennessee and don’t even exist anymore, dropping the moniker in favour of calling themselves the Titans. Winner: Edmonton

#3: Jets – Winnipeg (NHL), New York (NFL)

Both teams have tasted the heights of success, but have also suffered crushing defeats – let’s call them crash landings – during their existence. Heck, this is Winnipeg’s second go-around with an NHL franchise, the first time ending with the club’s departure to Phoenix, where they were renamed the Coyotes. But there were better times in the 1970’s, when Winnipeg dominated the World Hockey Association, winning three Avco Cups and showcasing ‘Mr. Hockey’ Gordie Howe. New York also enjoyed success in 1968-69, winning their lone Super Bowl and displaying their own superstar, quarterback Joe Namath. Winner: New York

Jets

#2: Rangers – New York (NHL), Texas (MLB)

The New York squad is a member of the Original 6 NHL clubs and that holds a lot of weight in hockey circles. That said, the Rangers are the team I hate the most thanks to the childhood disappointment of watching them defeat my Vancouver Canucks in the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals. I have to be impartial, though, and acknowledge the storied history for New York, including four Stanley Cups. In Texas, the Rangers have existed since 1972, having moved from Washington. They have yet to win a World Series, losing back-to-back championship seasons in 2010 and 2011 (ironically, to the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants, also on this list). Winner: New York

#1: Giants – San Francisco (MLB), New York (NFL)

Both franchises have won championships in recent years, but San Francisco has strung together three World Series titles in the last five years, earning the distinction of being a dynasty team. On top of that, the baseball club has a long history that transferred over with them, following the team’s move from New York in 1957, where they were the original Giants of the Big Apple. That’s not to take anything away from the football squad and their own storied existence, winning eight league championships, including four in the modern era. This was a tough race to decide, but history always wins out. Winner: San Francisco

Super Saturday Shot Day: Jet Fuel

Honourable mentions include the Kings (Los Angeles (NHL) and Sacramento (NBA)); the Lions (Detroit (NFL), B.C. (CFL)); and the Panthers (Carolina (NFL), Florida (NHL)). Surprisingly, no NBA teams made this list and only the Sacramento Kings share a nickname with another pro squad. It’s also interesting that three different New York teams share their name with another franchise.

August 5 – The Beauty Beneath

Beautiful British Columbia

Today is B.C. Day in my neck of the woods. It is a day to celebrate our fine province with outdoor activities, wonderful food and drink, and great family and friends. With that in mind, here are some of the top attractions in British Columbia. Come by and visit sometime, ya hear!

Whistler

Travelling along the Sea-to-Sky Highway, you will float up through the clouds to the mountain resort of Whistler, which is a top destination throughout the year. In the winter, it is a haven for skiers and snowboarders, who can take to the slopes and enjoy some of the finest white powder this side of Colombia! When summer rolls around, the village becomes a wonderful place for a scenic hike or bike ride, quickly followed by a cold pint amongst some of the finest nature you’ll ever find.

whistler

Grouse Grind

For the outdoor adventurer, the Grouse Grind is something that has to be done to see how you fare against travelers from around the world. The unofficial record stands at 23 minutes and 48 seconds, but most hikers will take about 90 to 120 minutes to complete the trek. You won’t get great views on the Grind, until you reach the top of Grouse Mountain, but it’s the challenge of the trail that keeps people coming back. At least there’s beer, food, and gondolas (for your return trip) at the top as your reward.

Downtown Vancouver

Home to the province’s most famous and desired citizen, yours truly (Mrs. Sip is a close second, however), my suggestion is to ride the hop-on, hop-off bus tour, which visits all the key areas of the core, including Gas Town, Granville Island, the West End, Chinatown, and everything in between. There are also some amazing dining options in the city, including Joe Fortes for seafood; Gotham Steakhouse for, you guessed it, steak; and Tojo’s for sushi.

Downtown_Vancouver_Sunset

Okanagan Valley Wine Country

While enjoying some of the province’s most gorgeous views, you can also visit a countless number of wineries and indulge in tastings that will have you wobbling through one vineyard after another. Over 60 grape varieties are grown in the Okanagan Valley, including a number of German styles, such as Riesling and Gewürztraminer. The region has some of B.C.’s warmest temperatures, to boot.

Stanley Park

This massive park is home to everything from an aquarium to a lagoon, statues to totem poles. It is a serious slice of Canadiana. From Stanley Park, visitors can walk, bike, or rollerblade the Sea Wall that encompasses Downtown Vancouver and enjoy all of the beaches that line the route. At Halloween and Christmas, the Stanley Park train takes thousands of guests through a themed ride that delights children and adults alike.

stanley-park

Sports

While we’ve lost some franchises over time (I never even got to a Grizzlies game in their short time here), the city still has a few offerings, including the beloved Vancouver Canucks (NHL), B.C. Lions (CFL), and Vancouver Whitecaps (MLS). We’re even getting a National Lacrosse League team back in 2014 and for fans of baseball, watching the Vancouver Canadians (an affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays) at Nat Bailey Stadium makes for a memorable evening out.

Victoria

Home to B.C.’s parliament buildings and the capital of the province, Victoria is a 90-minute ferry ride over from the mainland, but it is well worth it. Victoria is the closest you can come in Canada to feeling like you’re in the U.K. (after all, it was named after Queen Victoria), with its afternoon tea service at the Empress Hotel, cathedrals, castles, and gardens.

Drink #217: The Beauty Beneath

The Beauty Beneath Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Rum (I used Appleton)
  • 0.5 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 0.5 oz Campari
  • 0.5 oz Cointreau
  • Dash of Angostura Bitters
  • Garnish with Lemon, Lime and Orange Wedges

There are certainly other spots I’ve neglected and, of course, beauty can be found throughout the province. It’s all in the eye of the beholder. I tend to find beauty in the region’s best liquor stores, so to each their own!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.5 Sips out of 5):
This is a strong martini, but that wasn’t a complete surprise. Campari leaves a bitter, lasting aftertaste that takes a little while to get used to and some may never enjoy it. This cocktail earns a barely passing grade because I liked the sweet touch that came through after the strong Appleton Rum, thanks to the Sweet Vermouth and Cointreau.