October 3 – Waikiki Wave

Aloha

As many of you little sippers know, I recently celebrated my 30th birthday in Hawaii! While there, I did what the Sip Advisor does best: got smashed all around the island, leaving a path of destruction not seen since the attack on Pearl Harbor… too soon!? Here is an account of my misadventures and some great spots to hit if you are ever in Honolulu:

Birthday Crawl and 30-Drink Challenge

Mrs. Sip and I arrived on the beautiful island shortly before the clock turned over to my birthday. At exactly midnight, I sipped my first drink and was promptly challenged to down 30 libations before the day was done. I had six down the hatch before going to bed and awoke to a shot around 8am. After picking up friends at the airport, the birthday pub crawl was off and running. Over the rest of the day, we hit Jimmy Buffett’s, LuLu’s, Tiki’s, Rum Fire, and The Yardhouse, where I destroyed a half-yard of brew for my 30-in-30!

30th Birthday

Happy Hours and Mai-Tais

Hawaii, perhaps more so than any other place in the world, is famous for their midday and late night happy hours. You can bet that we took advantage of as many as possible, despite the collection of bottles we had waiting for us in our apartment. A must-have drink while vacationing on any of the Hawaiian Islands is the Mai-Tai. The Mai-Tai is among Mrs. Sip’s all-time favourite offerings, while I enjoyed a couple at Chuck’s Steak House (which is owned by Duke’s, another not to be missed dinner spot with a phenomenal salad bar located at the Outrigger hotel). They even came in tiki-head shaped glasses!

Yardhouse Options

While we enjoyed many locations, our group’s favourite hangout was probably The Yardhouse, which we visited nearly every day. Thankfully, I’ve learned this chain exists near enough to me that I will get to visit again soon. The food was great and the drinks even better. They have countless offerings on tap (definitely something for everyone) and I made sure to try nearly every wheat or white beer they had in stock. Food was also pretty good with boneless chicken wings and half priced happy hour pizzas!

Dave and Busters

In a previous article, I outlined some restaurants that I wanted to visit. One of those was Dave and Busters, which I learned only days before our vacation had a location in Hawaii. When Mrs. Sip and I stumbled upon the outlet, we made sure to enjoy some food (delicious pretzel dogs), copious amounts of beer (a shuttle of 100 ounces) and their midway games! We had a wonderful time, highlighted by a four-way air hockey contest, yours truly defeating Mrs. Sip on a massive Connect 4 game, and also scoring the only 5/5 on the trivia challenge!

Dave and Busters

Top of Waikiki

This top-rated bar was a wonderful retreat from Waikiki’s bustling streets. As we rotated around the bar, it was fun to check out the restaurant’s liquor collection and indulge in a few delicious cocktails. Our bartender, Kory, was second only to your very own Sip Advisor and catered to our every whim. It was here (as well as at Rum Fire) that I learned how much I enjoy and appreciate drinks with a little heat, whether through hot sauces or being mixed with peppers.  My favourite recipe was the Naughty or Nice, which combined rum, strawberry puree, mint, soda, and Serrano peppers.

Beach Time

While I’m not a huge fan of going to the beach (the poor man’s pool, as I call it), we did spend a number of afternoon hours soaking up the sun and getting filthy in the ocean and sand. A highlight, was making our own midnight pizza and taking it out onto one of the beach piers (along with some liquid sunshine) and enjoying the waves crashing against our bare feet as we ate, drank and pondered.

Boozy Ending

Mrs. Sip and I spent our last night in paradise kicking back and relaxing (not to mention polishing off every last bit of alcohol in our place). The only thing I like about coming home from vacation is introducing the liquor we purchase (our babies) to their new abode. On this trip, Mrs. Sip and I picked up bottles of Macadamia Nut Liqueur, Rock Coconut Rum, Apple Pie Moonshine, Malibu Red, and some mini bottles of various flavours to be featured soon!

Drink #276: Waikiki Wave (A Sip Advisor Original Recipe)

Waikiki Wave Drink Recipe

  • 1.5 oz Spiced Rum (I used Bacardi Oakheart)
  • Top with POG (Passion-Orange-Guava) Juice
  • Splash of Ginger Ale
  • Garnish with Hawaii Cookie and Macadamia Nuts

I’d say the only area that Hawaii drinking needs improvement is that you can’t drink on the street and beach. If the island could remedy this and become a little more like Las Vegas in their public alcohol consumption laws, that would be amazing. Especially with all the ABC stores, I just wanted to grab a beer, crack it and walk a block to the next outlet!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
This was an okay drink, but I think my Ginger Ale had gone a little flat and wasn’t the awesome ingredient it usually is. All the garnishes were certainly fun to eat after the drink was consumed and the munchies had truly kicked in!

September 17 – Bushwacker

Blendz

Rum has greatly benefitted from the explosion of flavoured spirits, with perhaps vodka being the only alcohol that has enjoyed the expansion more. There are certainly some interesting rum-based selections out there. Here are some worth looking out for:

Cajun-Spiced Rum

Mrs. Sip picked this up for me while she was recently in New Orleans and today’s drink has inspired me to finally crack the bottle open and give it a shot. The Cajun Spiced Rum hails from the Old New Orleans Rum Distillery, which Mrs. Sip got to enjoy a tour of. We’ve all heard of spiced rums, but Cajun-spiced? Well, that’s a whole different story. If the spices do for my drink what they do for chicken, seafood, and other eats, then I think we’re in for some fun!

cajun-spiced-rum

Captain Morgan: Tattoo/Bite

The Tattoo blend of blackberries, jalapenos, and black pepper is delicious and gets my endorsement for a cheaper but delicious rum. There are mixed reviews, but Mrs. Sip and I grabbed a bottle for our room in Las Vegas recently and made short work of the liquor. As for Bite, Ma and Pa Sip brought this back from one of their travels and put it out for a party shortly thereafter. It didn’t last very long once folks got a taste of the lime-infused spirit.

Bacardi Dragon Berry Rum

Recently, I picked up a bottle of Bacardi Torched Cherry Rum, which was quite delicious with its chocolate overtone. As a bonus, attached to the bottle was a sample size of Bacardi Dragonberry Rum (soon to be presented on The Sip Advisor). I can’t wait to try this spirit, which is said to be a mix of strawberry and dragon berry fruit. I’ll keep you little sippers updated!

Malibu Fresh/Red

I’m looking forward to trying both of these Malibu offerings. Fresh combines coconut rum with mint and I think this would be perfect for mojitos, while Red adds tequila to the coconut rum the company is best known for. I like how Malibu is working hard to try different flavours and I hope they continue to pursue this route in the future.

Malibu-Red

Ron Miel Honey Rum

As a fan of honey whiskey, I can only assume that honey rum would also fare well with my palate. That lingering sweetness that honey-flavoured alcohols offer is the perfect finish to a cocktail sip and works nicely to dull the sometimes harsher tones of the liquor (whiskey or rum) itself. The added essence also makes them fun to play with in the mixology world.

Whistling Andy Hibiscus-Coconut Rum

I’m not entirely sure who Whistling Andy is, but I like his gamble of putting hibiscus and coconut together. Mrs. Sip brought back with her some hibiscus leaves from Egypt a number of years back, which we used to make juice. Now I’m thinking we should use what’s still left of the shrubbery to blend our own infused rums! Things are about to get messy!

whistling_andy_rum

Anyone else notice the perfectly placed bikini butt in the background!

Redrum

This brand infuses the liquor with mango, pineapple, coconut, and berries, which must hit the tongue from a number of different directions. I’m very curious as to how it all comes together, so if anyone wants to send me a bottle for a through taste analysis, you know where to find me. Seriously, just because it’s murder spelled backwards doesn’t scare this hombre.

Sweet Georgia Belle

This product offers an interesting blend of peach and mango, as part of a rum liqueur. Perhaps it is meant to mimic the taste of a debutant, but that sounds like the company would be bordering on some serious legal implications. Let’s just assume they got wild and crazy and threw the two fruits together hoping for the best. I hope for that, too!

Drink #260: Bushwacker

Bushwacker Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Rum (I used Cajun Spiced)
  • 0.75 oz Kahlua
  • 0.75 oz Crème de Cacao
  • Top with half Coconut Cream and half Milk
  • Garnish with Coconut Shavings and Chocolate Sprinkles

What rum blends out there have you tried and thoroughly enjoyed or have come across and want to try, willing to give up your first born child to taste the beautiful elixir? Don’t worry, you’re far from alone!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
The Cajun Spiced Rum is quite tasty with a slight twist on the usual spiced rum concept. Between all the ingredients, you get hints of chocolate, coconut, coffee and spiced rum, all combining to make a very nice drink.

June 27 – Redneck Zombie

Dew-mocracy

We’re back to rocking and rolling with our Mountain Dew challenge and I’m having a lot of fun exploring and researching unique alcohols. I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride, thus far, as well!

Captain Morgan Tattoo

While I’m not exactly sure what “Caribbean heat” means, other than the pitch speed of Dominican baseball players, I am intrigued by the idea of a Spiced Rum that leaves a little tingle. According to ads, the liquor is infused with blackberries and dashes of jalapenos and black pepper.

Captain Morgan Tattoo

Malibu Red

This alcohol would be quite similar to the Captain Morgan Tattoo, with coconut rum subbed for spiced rum and with tequila advertised as the “heat” portion of the mix. No ambiguity here! I like the experimentation the Malibu folks are willing to do, never happy to just rest on their laurels.

G’Vine Gin

This would be France’s take on gin. I love it when different countries take a shot at alcohols that are generally associated with one location. England is known for their large collection of gin options, but why can’t France play too? This libation strays from the typical juniper gin and subs in the rare green grape flower. Rare doesn’t always means good but it always means expensive!

G'Vine Gin

Absolut Exposure

I found Absolut Exposure in the Copenhagen Duty Free (hands down the best Duty Free store I’ve ever been in), where it was listed as a “Traveler’s Exclusive”. Usually exposure would be a bad thing; either meaning you got caught naked or died from hypothermia or something. In this case, it means honey melon and lemon grass… sounds about as fun as the naked thing!

X-Rated Fusion Liqueur

I could take this conversation down so many dirty paths, but you know me, I like to keep things classy (don’t look above)! This alcohol combines vodka with exotic fruits like blood oranges, mangos and passion fruit. It comes in a hot pink colour and targets women, but I don’t mind girly drinks.

Drink #178: Redneck Zombie

Redneck Zombie Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Bacardi Limon
  • 1 oz Blue Curacao
  • Top with Mountain Dew: Voltage
  • Garnish with Pepperoni Stick and Pickle Slice

We’re close to the end of the Mountain Dew challenge and I’m still going strong. Perhaps it’s because I’m actually a redneck zombie. Or maybe I’m just having too much fun!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This drink was pretty good. It was perfect for a warm summer afternoon and looks neat with the Blue Curacao and the Mountain Dew I used is also blue. Given the name, I decided to get a little crazy with the garnishing, grabbing a Pepperoni Stick and Pickle Slice to literally spice things up. The Voltage Mountain Dew was tasty with a blueberry flavour that didn’t overwhelm, but was very refreshing.

January 14 – Spiced Sour

Evolution

Evolution-Alcohol

One of my favourite elements of mixology is trying new liquors and mixers and seeing how different things come together in look and taste. I love how innovative some companies are becoming, as they release different flavours and adaptations of their normal products.

There are a ton of flavoured vodkas and rums out there. Vodka companies like Van Gogh and Pinnacle seem to be bringing out new flavours on a regular basis, while Stoli and Smirnoff can be counted on for the more traditional tastes like various berry and citrus brands. Bacardi and Captain Morgan have this variety covered in the rum world. Whiskey and tequila companies seem to be getting on board with this concept as well and over the last few years, we’ve seen a number of innovative products hit the market.

Some of the more interesting flavours I’ve seen out there, that I’d like to try, include:

Three Olives Loopy (Froot Loops-flavoured vodka) – It’s very important to start your day off on the right note with a balanced breakfast. I bet Toucan Sam never smelled this one coming!

Loopy

Van Gogh Peanut Butter & Jelly Vodka – Why not drink my favourite sandwich (and I make a mean PB&J).

PB&J

Bakon Vodka – I’m a huge bacon fan and can’t wait to sample this sometime, although it’s a bit pricey. If they ever create a pulled pork vodka, I’ll be first in line!

bakon-vodka

360 Glazed Donut Vodka – With the Froot Loops, PB&J, bacon and now donut flavours, you have breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert, respectively, all covered.

360-Glazed-Donut-Vodka

Malibu Red (coconut rum mixed with tequila) – I’m really curious about this liquor. The coconut and tequila blend might be really nice and a unique twist for some new cocktails.

malibu-red

Malibu Fresh (coconut rum mixed with mint) – Like Malibu Red, I have to give this a try before judging, but at first glance, I just can’t see coconut and mint coming together well… or maybe I can.

CORBY DISTILLERIES LIMITED - Malibu® Coconut Rum

Crown Royal Maple – I fully intend to pour this on waffles and pancakes. I love Crown Royal and trust that they know what they’re doing.

crown-royal-maple

With all that said, I recently picked up a bottle of Wiser’s Spiced Whiskey. I was excited to try this because I love spiced rum (particularly Sailor Jerry’s) and I love whiskey. Put the two together and you should be on the right track. The Wiser’s did not disappoint and came with a little card advertising a few recipes to try with the new release. One of those was the Spiced Sour, an adaptation of the Whiskey Sour, one of my all-time faves.

Drink #14: Spiced Sour

Spiced Sour Cocktail

  • 2 oz Wiser’s Spiced Whiskey
  • 1.5 oz lemon juice
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • Dash of egg whites
  • Garnish with lemon wedge and Maraschino cherry

I have to admit that I didn’t even realize until this post was almost complete that I forgot the egg whites. Usually you shake all the ingredients together and strain. The egg whites leave a foamy layer at the top of the drink. All the recipes I was looking at skip this step of the process, but I’ve made enough whiskey sours in my time that I should know better. I apologize to all the little Sip-A-Maniacs out there. I am, of course, open to better names for fans of this blog…

Do you have other examples of liquor-flavour evolution that you’d like to pass on to me? That would be greatly appreciated. My thanks, in advance!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
I’m such a maroon. After making the drink, taking the required photos and downing that bad boy, I realized that I had neglected to include the frothy egg whites in the concoction. Well, dock the Sip Advisor a couple points on your score card. The drink is very heavy in lemon flavour, which sometimes I find to be too much. Otherwise, it’s a recommendable cocktail.