January 31 – Hotel California

California Screamin’

Mrs. Sip and I are frequent visitors to California and I try to blast some California-set tunes every time we are approaching our destination. Let’s take a look at the Sip Advisor’s California playlist!

#5: Going to California – Led Zeppelin

I doubt Led Zeppelin wrote this song about the Sip Advisor, but the lyrics “Going to California with an aching in my heart” kind of told my story. I was once a naïve teen on my way to California with the opportunity to meet a pretty little lady. That lady ended up being the future Mrs. Sip, who I first met in Disneyland all the way back in 2002. “Someone told me there’s a girl out there with love in her eyes and flowers in her hair”… Mrs. Sip lacked both those things when we met, but I won her over!

#4: Californication/Dani California – Red Hot Chili Peppers

You knew at some point that the Red Hot Chili Peppers would appear on this list. The band has a long history of being influenced by California. Sadly, Mrs. Sip has made Californication her alarm music and therefore I have grown to have great disdain for the song I once thoroughly enjoyed. Coincidentally, Mrs. Sip and I actually met a girl named Dani in California… except she’s originally from Colorado and Dani’s just a shortened version of her middle name… I think it still counts!

#3: California Dreamin’ – The Mamas and the Papas

Given where the Sip Advisor and Mrs. Sip live (Vancouver, Canada), this song can really speak to us at times. You know, with all the leaves being brown and the sky turned gray and all. At that point, we’re desperate for the warmth and sunshine that California offers, leaving behind the “Wet Coast!” The Mamas and the Papas’ hit has been covered by so many artists, including high profile acts America, The Beach Boys, and R.E.M. Even Alvin and the Chipmunks have copied the song.

#2: Hotel California – The Eagles

“You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave…” If that was true about California, I’d be quite happy. This begs the question: Where exactly is the Hotel California? Well, some have said it’s an inn located in San Francisco that was turned into a Church of Satan, while others believe it to be a mental hospital. While the original song is amazing, I absolutely love the flamenco-inspired acoustic adaptation that was first played live during The Eagles 1994 Hell Freezes Over reunion tour.

#1: California Love – 2Pac feat. Dr. Dre

This is a true California anthem, mentioning numerous areas of the state. San Diego, the Bay Area (San Francisco and Oakland), Long Beach, Sacramento, Pasadena, Inglewood, Hollywood, Los Angeles, and Compton all get shout outs. Speaking of Compton, on one shuttle from LAX to Anaheim (where Mrs. Sip and I typically wind up on visits to California) we went through the notorious city to drop off a fellow passenger. Sadly, I was too afraid to play this song, for fear of getting a cap in my ass!

Super Saturday Shot Day: Hotel California

Hotel California Shot

Narrowly missing the cut for this list was California Girls by The Beach Boys. While babes from Cali are fun, they don’t necessarily have to be from there to get the Sip Advisor going. Now, I’m no music expert, but I’d venture a guess that California is the most sung about state in the U.S., with perhaps New York challenging that prediction. One song that definitely sucks is the theme to California Dreams… I hated that Saved by the Bell rip-off so very, very much!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This is actually a cocktail recipe, but I thought it sounded neat, wanted to give it a try, and thought it went good with the theme of this post. You got a problem with that!? The recipe calls for 0.5 oz of Blue Curacao, but I took the opportunity to use my Bols Blue Curacao Foam again and I think the visual results speak for themselves. All the flavours here are light and tasty, so it all came together pretty well.

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March 19 – PAMA-Jama

Thunder Shower

We ain’t talking about a weather system… when Mama and Papa Sip were getting hitched, their friends threw them a party where each guest brought a bottle of alcohol for the happy couple to set them up with a nice bar for the start of a new life together (marriage drives a person to alcoholism joke inserted here). Wanting to pass that tradition on, the Parents Sip planned the same party for Mrs. Sip and me, about a month prior to our wedding. This was our Thunder Shower!

Frankly, it was a wonderful break from the daily wedding planning and a chance to gauge where we were at with the guests who would soon be sharing our special day with us.

Wedding Planning

With the party being Mexican Fiesta-themed (the food included a make your own nachos, tacos and burritos bar – what can I say, Mama and Papa Sip know how to throw a good bash) we were given four bottles of tequila, as well as a couple bottles of margarita mix. Some favourites I’m known for knocking back like Fireball Whiskey, Bacardi Rum, and Smirnoff Vodka were also bequeathed to us.

There were also some new tastes to try, which I’m always happy to oblige. Cousin Sip contributed a bottle of cucumber-infused Hendricks Gin, which I have taken a particular liking to. One set of friends passed along a bottle of Jim Beam Black Cherry Bourbon, as well as a bottle of Cointreau. Mama and Papa Sip gifted us a bottle of Chocolate Whipped Vodka, which quickly became a favourite of Mrs. Sip, whose wine and champagne collection was topped up, too.

All in all, it was a wonderful evening with great food and drinks, good fun with friends and family, and the beginning of our wedding celebration summer.

Marriage

Why do I bring this event up? Well, for a number of reasons. My forum provides me with another chance to thank all of our guests for their generosity and truly show them how much we appreciated and enjoyed their gifts. Next, because I think every couple should get to enjoy a similar event and finally, because today’s drink features PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur, a bottle we received at our Thunder Shower and although we only recently opened it, the results have been thoroughly enjoyable thus far.

Drink #78: PAMA-Jama

Pama-Jama Cocktail

  • 8 Muddled Mint Leaves
  • 1.5 oz PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur
  • Top with Ginger Ale
  • Dash of Lemon Juice
  • Garnish with Lemon Wedge

This has to be one of my favourite drinks of the project to date. I wasn’t sure how much I’d like the liqueur, as I don’t have any recollection of having actually ever eaten a real pomegranate, but once again life proves that as long as alcohol is inside something, it will be enjoyed (or at least consumed). How much did I like the drink? Well, given I’m making at least 365 drinks over the next calendar year, I try not to double up too often. I ended up making three of these for myself and just had to share the recipe with Mrs. Sip. Track it down and give it a shot (literally!). You won’t be disappointed.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (5 Sips out of 5):
A fantastic drink… I can’t say enough good things about this cocktail. It was the first time I busted out my PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur and what a wonderful mix I was treated with to begin my relationship with the spirit!

January 20 – Melon Margarita

Tequilas

Well friends and fellow sippers, I’m back from Mexico, with a ton of new booze, so that seems like the perfect opportunity to launch into Tequila Week. Each day I’ll feature a different tequila-based cocktail and together we’ll all get a little loco!

Also, before I left for our holiday I sent a kindly-worded letter to my liver advising it (I seem to do a lot of advising) of the upcoming situation. When I returned home, this was waiting for me. My liver must have mailed it or something (doesn’t your liver mail you stuff?):

Rebuttal from my Liver

Check Liver Light

Dear Sip Advisor,

So, let me get this straight… first you drag me to Mexico – kicking and screaming as only a poor liver can – for a tortuous week at an all-inclusive resort, and just when I think I’ll finally get some rest, you have the audacity to announce that today is the start of Tequila Week!

At the resort, you decided, in your infinite wisdom, to do your own all-inclusive challenge and try to have one of every single drink on their pool bar menus. There were 72 drink mixes on that menu, what the firetruck were you thinking!? The only thing that steered you away from this (after you were already halfway through the list, mind you) was when you grew tired of the sugary mixes the bartenders were using. But naturally that’s about the time when you discovered the anejo dark rum… thanks a lot buddy [sigh].

How did you like the 24-hour flu I e-mailed your way? That was supposed to stop you, or at the very least, slow you down. Instead you took one day off and then made up for the missed action when you’d recovered.

I would, hereby, like to announce my secession from your body… if only I could find a way out.

Your long-suffering frenemy,

Liver

Hmmm… tough love, but my liver does have a point. Sugary pre-made mixes are generally a big no-no for all my little sippers out there. When you can, try to make all or the majority of your drink from scratch, or at the very least, use higher quality fresh juices or mixer. Your liver (and your friends) will thank you for it!

Without further ado, here is the first tequila drink, starting with a slight spin on an old classic:

Drink #20: Melon Margarita

Melon Margarita

  • Rim glass with lemon or lime juice, followed by salt
  • 1.5 oz tequila
  • 1 oz Melon Liqueur
  • Top with Margarita Mix (optional)
  • Garnish with lime or watermelon wedge

I hope the rest of Tequila Week is as delicious as today was. Have a great tequila recipe that you’d like to see featured here on Sip Advisor? Just let my liver and me know!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
I’m a big Margarita fan (providing it’s on the rocks and not frozen) and I also have a massive appreciation for melon liqueur. Put the two together and you should have one fine cocktail and here, you do.