Flavour Revolution – Maple

Canadian Chauvinism

Maple is a cultural icon of Canada, whether you’re talking about trees, syrup or anything else. We put it on everything, including in booze. Hell, the maple leaf is even featured on our country’s flag, giving us one of the most unique banners in the world. With national pride in mind, here are some of Canada’s greatest patriots and icons:

Don Cherry

Cherry has about as many detractors as he does fans, but one thing everyone agrees on is that ‘Grapes’ is a staunch supporter of Canada, its hockey players, its military troops, and its national sport. He may go about this the wrong way sometimes, such as questioning the heart of European players, for example, but his heart is usually in the right place. The guy practically bleeds red and white maple leafs, which is sometimes hard to detect given the distracting nature of his wardrobe!

don-cherry-back

Bret Hart

Wrestling is full of patriotic characters, but you don’t see too many Canadians waving the ol’ red and white maple leaf too wildly. Bret Hart, however, along with his Hart Foundation stable, ventured on a unique storyline in 1997, where he criticized the United States and the fans that called the country home. This made him wildly popular in Canada and vehemently hated south of the border. For the rest of his career, Hart always wore Canadian pride on his sleeve and cemented his legendary status.

Wayne Gretzky

Among many great athletes, ‘The Great One’ is Canada’s most iconic and not just because he played the country’s national sport. Gretzky’s influence spread throughout the world and he can be credited with the rise of hockey’s popularity as a sport, not only across the southern United States, but also in many other countries across the globe. Gretzky represented Canada on many occasions, perhaps most notably as part of the management team that brought Olympic hockey gold back to the country after 50 years.

The Beaver

Ah, the majestic beaver… and let’s be clear, the Sip Advisor is actually talking about the noble dam-building animal. The North American beaver has found its way to being featured on the nation’s five-cent piece, the country’s very first postage stamp, and beaver sculptures can also be found adorning the Canadian Parliament Building. Canada also has a number of other creatures that are culturally appreciated, including Canadian geese, loons, and Canadian horses.

gratuitous beaver shot

Molson Canadian Beer

The country’s national beer might not be much to brag about, in comparison to craft beer options across the nation, but it’s still something to be more proud of than Budweiser, Coors, and many of the other beverage options our continental neighbours seem to be so satisfied with. Molson Canadian has a brewing tradition that dates back to 1959 and for many young Canucks, is the first beer they ever enjoy. The Sip Advisor is one of these people and I am forever grateful for my earliest suds.

Tim Hortons

Nothing is more Canadian than donuts! Others would insist that the company’s coffee be included as part of the national identity combo, but not the Sip Advisor. Tim Hortons has grown across the country and even into other parts of the world. With products ranging from donuts to Timbits (donut holes), as well as sandwiches, soups, muffins, cookies, and everything else in between, Tim Hortons is one international contribution that can be enjoyed across the globe.

Poutine

Canada can’t be given much credit for creating items that have taken over the culinary scene, but poutine is one thing we devised and have shared – to great success – with the world over. You can’t go into a pub nowadays without the place having at least one poutine dish on their menu. Even most fast food chains, such as McDonald’s and Burger King, have made the creation available for eaters on the run. Add some bacon (preferably Canadian) onto the meal and you’re ready to gorge!

Flavour Revolution: Poor Sap

Poor Sap Martini

  • 2 oz Whiskey
  • 1 oz Maple Liqueur
  • Splash of Grenadine
  • Dash of Bitters
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

As a whole, Canada isn’t necessarily known for staunch patriotism… unless we’re talking about hockey and then it’s time to knuckle up. Many of our homegrown stars leave the country and never look back, trying to remove every hint of their Canadian ancestry. You will often hear debates over whether a celebrity is Canadian or not or the statement “I didn’t know he was from Canada.” The same can’t be said for the above entries.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
With three ounces of liquor, this is a strong martini, but the taste is pretty solid. Of course, I used a Canadian Whiskey (Crown Royal) for the cocktail. I might have slightly overdone it with the Bitters, but it all depends on your taste preferences. All in all, a good drink.

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October 4 – Girl Scout Cookie

Free Falling

While I think we’d all agree that the fall season lacks some of the flair and fun of summer, it’s not so bad. Here are the Top 5 things to look forward to now that the leaves are coming down and the temperatures are dropping:

#5: Fall Beers

It’s around this time of year that we see a lot of pumpkin-spiced and Oktoberfest offerings released. This also signifies the sad end to another wonderful summer of wheat beers, which breaks my heart annually. I’m not the biggest fan of pumpkin flavoured anything, but I still appreciate this change in the beverage calendar and trying some new brews. Also, on the alcohol front, I have new fall-themed spirit to play with in Maple Liqueur. Should be fun!

beer disaster

#4: Closed Windows

Mrs. Sip and I live in Vancouver’s downtown core and it’s a noisy, busy place. If it’s not drunk people loudly passing by in the wee hours of a new day, we are consistently woken up every morning by the sounds of slamming dumpster lids, garbage trucks, street cleaners, and just about every other horrific sound you can imagine that isn’t your alarm. With cooler temperatures, the windows can be shut, locking out a fair portion of the racket.

#3: Cookies

Along with the traditional Girl Scout/Guide releases that come out this time of year, it is also more likely that home-baked treats will be focused on, as folks abandon the outdoors and spend more time bulking up for winter hibernation. After all, now that the sun is going to hide itself away on the other side of the world, we don’t have to worry so much about our bodies not being 100% beach ready.

girlscoutcookies

#2: Hockey Season

I hate summer sports, when all you get crammed down your throat are endless baseball games. The fall signifies the startup of all the other major leagues (NFL, NHL, and NBA) and some diversity to sports highlight packages. Being Canadian, the Sip Advisor particularly looks forward to the puck drop of another NHL season and a fresh start for your favourite team. On a more intimate level, it’s time to return to the rink for beer league hockey and work off that summer rust!

#1: Vacation Time

Given we don’t have kids, Mrs. Sip and I often save most of our travelling for outside the summer months, when off-season rates can be had and places aren’t so crazy busy. Sure, we do a lot of trips around the calendar, but in the summer, it’s mostly kept to weekend away. The fall usually brings bigger vacations, such as this year’s jaunt to California (aboard a Princess Cruise) to celebrate the Sip Advisor’s birthday in grand style. Disneyland, here we come!

Super Saturday Shot Day: Girl Scout Cookie

Girl Scout Cookie Shot

  • 0.5 oz Kahlua
  • 0.5 oz Creme de Menthe
  • 0.5 oz Irish Crème
  • Garnish with a Cookie (or two!)

I also enjoyed playing in the leaves as a youngster and when I have my own little sippers, I’m sure they will enjoy an afternoon of raking foliage, only to mess up the entire pile with a few perfectly-timed jumps and splashes!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
While I prefer the classic chocolate and vanilla icing Girl Scout/Guide cookies, this shooter is meant to emulate the gal’s peppermint thins. On a side note, it pisses me off that the Girl Scouts of America have so many more cookie options than the Girl Guides of Canada. Back to the shot, this recipe gave me a great chance to use our new Mason Jar glasses for the first time, which is perfect given jarring preservatives for the winter is another fall favourite for some. The shooter should be layered as ordered in the recipe and you can expect a little bleeding together.