Mixer Mania #36 – Risky Business

Taking a trip through your local grocery store, you may come across one of the oddest drink flavours: Dandelion and Burdock. That got me thinking about other weird or odd soda flavours and I found that some companies seem to specialize in this. Here are some of those companies and their eclectic lineups:

Jones Soda Company

Perhaps Jones Soda’s most bizarre release was Poutine. I mean, I love the Canadian cultural dish, but don’t think that drinking the essence of fries, gravy and cheese curds sounds very appealing. Other seasonal releases from the company target holidays, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas and include oddities like Turkey & Gravy, Mashed Potatoes & Butter, Brussels Sprouts with Prosciutto, Wild Herb Stuffing, Candy Cane, and Christmas Ham.

Jones Soda Holiday Packs

Lester’s Fixins

Bacon, Ranch Dressing, Buffalo Wings, and Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwiches. While these are some of my favourite things to have on my plate, I’m actually listing soda flavours from the Lester’s Fixins company. I’ve even used two of the products on previous Mixer Mania drink recipes this year. While the sodas weren’t bad, they are certainly novelty items and not repeat purchases. Perhaps they should have their soda making licence revoked.

Avery’s Beverages

In an divisive marketing ploy, Avery’s Beverages has released a line of sodas dubbed ‘Totally Gross Soda’ or ‘Sodasgusting’. While the intended flavours don’t sound too bad, the names alone will likely keep some customers from purchasing the drinks. Options include: Kitty Piddle (Orange-Pineapple), Dog Drool (Orange-Lemon), Bug Barf (Kiwi-Pineapple), Toxic Slime (Blue Raspberry-Orange), and Fungal Fruit (Passionfruit-Lime), among others.

Gross Gus’s

Again, we have some tantalizing flavours… if only you can get over the beverage’s name and imagery produced by it. Releases consist of Pimple Pop (Marshmallow), Dinosaur Dung (Chocolate), Bloody Nose (Cherry), Dragon Drool (Black Licorice), and Pirate Piss (Banana). Some have even recorded themselves trying to complete the Gross Gus’s challenge of drinking some of these products. All the power to them, if they succeeded.

Mixer Mania #36: Spiced Roots

Spiced Roots.JPG

  • ​2 oz Spiced Whiskey
  • Top with Dandelion & Burdock Soda
  • Garnish with a Cinnamon Stick

This list does not include Pepsi’s eye-popping limited edition releases in Japan, which include Salty Watermelon, Ice Cucumber, Pink (Strawberry Milk) and White (Yogurt). Only in Japan!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
There are actually a few cocktail recipes – although all are basic – offered by Fentiman’s, who produce the Dandelion and Burdock Soda. I settled with this drink, as I wanted to use my Spiced Whiskey. It was actually a pretty good combo with a unique flavour. I’d love to see some more complex recipes for the mixer.

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Mixer Mania #35 – Blood and Guts

It has become common practice in North America to turn Bloody Mary (or Caesar) drinks into entire meals. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most epic orders out there:

Home Cooking

Located a short jaunt from the Sip Advisor headquarters in Vancouver is Score on Davie, which boasts a Caesar Madness menu with garnished Caesars ranging from $12-$20. Their crowning achievement, however, is the Checkmate, including “roasted chicken, Score burger, pulled pork sriracha glazed slider, onion rings, chicken wings, a pulled pork mac & cheese hotdog and a brownie for dessert”. If you and a few others want to shell out $60, you have a complete feast here.

For Your Comedic Pleasure

While not available at a restaurant (yet!), comedian Randy Liedtke set out to construct the most insane Bloody Mary in existence and mission complete. The monstrosity includes a personal pizza, onion rings, fried chicken, a sub sandwich, French fries, cheeseburgers, garlic bread and traditional garnishes. There’s even a second Bloody Mary hidden in the concoction, which becomes a Where’s Waldo-like exercise. Liedtke then attempted to consume his creation, which I can only guess ended not-so-favourably.

Crazy Bloody Mary.jpg

Wild & Crazy

Imagine being so skilled at creating massive Bloody Mary beverages that you’re able to start your own company doing so. That is the reality for Sarah Jayne Pickart of Wisconsin, whose viral creations led to her establishing the catering company, Wild & Crazy Gourmet Bloody Marys. Among her most popular concepts is the Surf & Turf Supreme, including bacon-wrapped lobster, various sliders, pork loin lollipops, stuffed potatoes, Brussels sprouts, bacon, mussels, crab legs, calamari rings, shrimp, coleslaw, tuna salad, cheesecake, cheese curds, cheese whips, and veggies… something had to be healthy.

Beastly Dining

Staying in Wisconsin (where else would such gluttonous concoctions be dreamt up!?), we visit Sobelman’s Pub & Grill, which has five location throughout the state. The chain offers an entire Bloody Mary menu, highlighted by The Beast ($45), which contains Brussels sprouts, fruit and vegetables, shrimp, sausage, cheese, sliders, and the coup de grâce, bacon-wrapped cheese balls. Should that not be enough, you can get The Bloody Beast, complete with a whole fried chicken for only $5 more.

The Most Important Meal

At the Train Wreck Bar & Grill in Burlington, Washington, this is one Bloody Mary meal that the Sip Advisor (along with Ma Sip) has actually endured. Served atop of the Breakfast Bloody Mary is breakfast sandwiches, meatballs, bacon-wrapped potatoes, and typical trimmings, such as meats and vegetables. The restaurant is a favourite stop for Ma and Pa Sip whenever they are in the area and while I’ve only been this one time, it was a fantastic way to start the day.

Mixer Mania #35: Red Death

Red Death.JPG

  • 1.5 oz Scotch
  • Top with Tomato Juice
  • Dash of Worcestershire Sauce
  • Dash of Salt
  • Dash of Pepper
  • Dash of Salsa
  • Garnish with a Meat Spear

Writing this article now has me very hungry. I hope I haven’t caused the same pangs for all you little sippers out there!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
How can you do an entire article on Bloody Mary drinks and not feature one as your own cocktail, you ask? Well, I’ve already profiled the Bloody Mary long ago and I really don’t like the drink. I’m a Caesar man through and through. That said, this beverage does contain many elements of the Bloody Mary and was good. My garnish wasn’t as wacky as the beverages above, but still looked neat.

Mixer Mania #34 – Wondrous Watermelon

Up until recently, I didn’t realize Watermelon Soda was part of the Crush pop line or even existed. Given I love watermelon, this was a very happy discovery and I instantly grabbed a bottle. Much like this watermelon-based soft drink seemed mythical, let’s take a look at some legends meant to explain the existence of watermelons:

Making Papa Proud

Our first origin story comes from Vietnam, where a young prince angered his father, the king, and was banished to a deserted island. There, he found a fruit that he feared was poisonous and only consumed when all other options were gone. The fruit was tasty and extinguished his thirst. The prince then cultivated the fruit, which spread across the island. He also sent some of the fruit drifting into the sea, with his name and the island’s name carved into them. This brought others to the island, in search of the fruit. The king learned of his son’s achievements and invited him home, crowning him the next king.

Cat Watermelon

Slithering Save

Moving on to Armenia, this tale begins with a king’s servants cutting a snake’s horns off, in order to save it. As a thank you, the snake left a seed at the palace. From the seed, grew a new fruit, which was offered to an ailing old man, saving his life. The king tried the fruit next and felt invigorated. Thus, Armenians called watermelon “Not-Die”, once upon a time. I’m conflicted on this legend. On one hand, I don’t think I would ever be inclined to save a snake, but would rather chop its head off. On the other hand, the servants heroic efforts resulted in the creation of watermelon, so can I really fault them?

Passion of the Priest

We’ll wrap things up with a journey to the Philippines, where a Spanish priest was working hard to convert folks to Catholicism. One particular area was resistant to the priest’s teachings about Christ and his sacrifices. The ruler of this region eventually detained the priest and punished him according to his lessons, crucifying him on a cross. The priest succumbed to this treatment and his blood flowed into the ground below. When the ruler later returned to the cross, the priest had disappeared and in his place, a fruit had grown, its innards resembling the blood of the priest. And that’s how people get converted!

Mixer Mania #34: Nice Melons

Nice Melons.JPG

  • 2 oz Rum
  • Top with Watermelon Soda
  • Splash of Peach Juice
  • Dash of Lime/Lemon Juice
  • Garnish with Lime Wedge

There is also a legend of vampire watermelons (and pumpkins), but I’ll let you look into that yourselves…

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
For this recipe, I’ve subbed Watermelon Soda and Peach Juice in place of Watermelon and Peach Pieces, respectively. I also used the last of my Bear Hug Mango Rum to up the melon content and the result was very, very good. It may be a little sweet, but that can be evened out by Club Soda. The Watermelon Soda is nice on its own, reminding me of a 7-11 Slurpee.

Mixer Mania #32 – Site Songs

When working with strawberries, the Beatles tune Strawberry Fields Forever will often pop into my mind, earworm style. With this week’s feature mixer being Strawberry Juice, I thought it would be a perfect time to look at some songs about places (more specific than a city or state) you can actually visit:

Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields Forever – The Beatles

The world’s most famous band (my opinion, of course) had a couple of hits about real places around their hometown of Liverpool. These include Penny Lane and the aforementioned Strawberry Fields Forever. When the Sip Family visited Liverpool in 2007, we took a tour that stopped at these locations, as well as the grave of Eleanor Rigby, featured in the song A Day in the Life, and rumoured to be where John Lennon and Paul McCartney first met.

Strawberry Fields

Folsom Prison Blues – Johnny Cash

Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues made the Folsom State Prison a part of pop culture. Later, Cash would perform twice at the venue, calling the inmates who watched his shows, “the most enthusiastic audience I have ever played to.” Notable prisoners of the 137-year-old jail, include musician Rick James, actor Danny Trejo and notable psychopath Charles Manson. That said, I doubt the prison is any kind of attraction, unless you’re a serious Johnny Cash fan.

Electric Avenue – Eddy Grant

While sounding upbeat, this Eddy Grant song is actually about a riot that took place on the south London street in 1981. The riot started due to recession tensions, which were felt particularly by the area’s African-Caribbean community. When we first moved in together, Mrs. Sip and I almost rented an apartment in a building called Electric Avenue. You better believe this song would have been going through my head every time I walked through the front doors.

Electric Avenue

Portobello Road – Bedknobs and Broomsticks

Portabello Road, located in the Notting Hill area of London, was featured in song in this 1971 Disney musical film. The track highlights the road’s market and those who inhabit it. Mrs. Sip’s love of Disney resulted in us venturing to the area on one of our trips to London. Sadly, there wasn’t much of a market running when we visited, perhaps due to the inclement weather we had to contend with. Despite this, I still allow Mrs. Sip a lot of control over our touring plans.

Baker Street – Gerry Rafferty

This song is most memorable for the amazing saxophone pieces, which apparently increased sales in the instrument, following the track’s release. Baker Street, of course, refers to the London road, whose most famous resident is the fictional Sherlock Holmes. Rafferty’s song, however, was about feelings of alienation and isolation. On most of my visits to London, I’ve ended up in the area, for a quick picture or two outside 221B Baker Street.

Mixer Mania #32: Valentini Martini

Valentini Martini.JPG

  • Rim glass with Strawberry Jam
  • 2 oz Vodka
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • Top with Strawberry Juice

It’s amazing how most of these songs highlight areas of England and finding other such examples was very difficult to do. Oh well, time to rock down to Electric Avenue (you know, after the eight-plus hour flight to the UK and pain getting through immigration and all!).

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
I couldn’t find any straight up Strawberry Juices, so I went with Strawberry-Kiwi. To enhance the berry flavour, I used Raspberry Vodka and rimmed the glass with Strawberry Jam. The results were decent, but nothing spectacular.

Mixer Mania #31 – Hard as they Come

Don’t get me wrong… I’ve been a root beer fan for many years, but I still can’t fully fathom why hard root beer has taken North America by storm. I mean, if I have the choice between a hard root beer and any craft beer, I’m reaching for the craft suds. With the fad in mind, let’s look at some of the hardest things out there, some real and some fictional:

Samoan Wrestler’s Heads

It’s long been a running joke in professional wrestling that a Samoan grappler’s head is virtually indestructible. For example, when an opponent would attempt a head butt, they would be the one to experience injury, while the Samoan would feel no effect, often laughing off the feeble attack.

Diamonds

That pretty little thing you’ve placed on your partner’s hand is actually one of the hardest substances known to man. Doesn’t seem so elegant anymore, does it!? Mrs. Sip has advised me that I should be shopping for another… better get on that.

Jawbreaker

Sometimes I don’t understand why this candy exists, given its unpleasant nature of causing dental damage for little to no enjoyment. A Gobstopper is okay because they breakdown easily enough, but those massive jawbreakers are simply a dentist’s dream.

Adamantium

Thought to be virtually indestructible, Adamantium is the element that has been fused to mutant Logan’s skeletal structure, turning him into a super weapon, code name: Wolverine. The painful procedure also caused Logan to become amnesic and forget his past.

Adamantium

Feminum

Sticking with indestructible super hero alloys, we have Feminum, used to forge Wonder Woman’s bracelets. This material can only be found on Paradise Island, home to Wonder Woman (aka Princess Diana) and her fellow Amazonians.

Anvil

Is there a better weapon in animated comedy than the anvil? Whether dropped by one of the Animaniacs or in a botched fashion by the lovable Wile E. Coyote, it can do some serious damage. You know, the type that causes chirping birdies or flashing stars to circle your noggin’.

Mixer Mania #31: Amber’s Revenge

Amber's Revenge.JPG

  • 1 oz Scotch
  • 0.5 oz Rum
  • 0.5 oz Tequila
  • Top with Root Beer
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

The whole hard root beer craze reminds me of a story my dad has told of a German relative trying root beer while visiting Canada and practically spitting out the soda upon discovering his beverage was far from the ales he was accustomed to back in Germany.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I’m not sure who Amber is/was, but she must have been pretty pissed off, as I had to quarter each of the liquor ingredients to make the cocktail palatable. Not many drinks include Scotch, which is a slight shame because it works really well here and probably in other recipes.

Mixer Mania #30 – Blowing Bubbles

One of the things that pops into my mind when working with Bubble Gum Soda is the character of Bubbles from Trailer Park Boys. That got me thinking of other characters with similar monikers… and there’s more than you would think. Here are some of the more infamous ones:

Trailer Park Boys

The trio of Julian, Ricky and Bubbles is always on the prowl for a get-rich-quick scheme, with Julian the brain, Ricky the muscle and Bubbles the heart of any operation. Bubbles real name has never been divulged, while his nickname certainly stems from his large glasses. The kitty-loving resident of Sunnyvale Trailer Park splits his time between fixing shopping carts, wrestling as the Green Bastard and playing a mean guitar.

Bubbles Kitties

Bubble Bobble

One of my favourite video games as a youngster was Bubble Bobble, featuring the characters of Bub and Bob, two bubble dragons. This classic Taito platformer sees the twins attempt to rescue their girlfriends from the Cave of Monsters. Given the creatures are good at blowing bubbles, I wonder how Bub and Bob were rewarded for their heroic efforts!?

Bubbles the Chimpanzee

Michael Jackson bought this chimp from a Texas research facility in the 1980s and turned him into an international celebrity, with exploits including drinking tea with the mayor of Osaka, Japan. Hopefully this wasn’t an attempt by Jackson to seem more normal! Bubbles is actually still alive, aged 34, and has lived at a Florida-based sanctuary since 2005.

Little Britain

Bubbles DeVere is the worst nightmare of every health spa. She has racked up massive debts at the Hill Grange Health Spa, often roams the facility in the buff, acts like a member of the social elite, and worst of all, she refuses to ever leave the place. As you can imagine, this leads to numerous hilarious situations, which oddly make Ms. DeVere endearing.

Bubbles Little Britain

Lilo & Stitch

Former CIA agent Cobra Bubbles is the social worker overseeing Lilo and her being in the custody of her older sister Nani. Despite some initial problems, by the end of the film, Cobra is a friend to the family, knowing full well that Stitch is not the family dog, but is in fact an alien species. This is thanks to his CIA experience… the truth is out there.

Legend of Zelda

The names of enemies in video games are often quite interesting. Did you know that if you encounter a flying skull (sometimes on fire) in the Legend of Zelda franchise, that these are known as Bubble. When hero Link is hit by a Bubble, he will react in different ways, depending on the type of Bubble. Through the series, players have met Fire, Ice and Cursed Bubbles, thus far.

Detroit Lions

For whatever reason, the NFL’s Detroit Lions logo, featured predominantly on the team’s helmets and various merchandise, is nicknamed Bubbles. This is apparently more of a fan nickname and not an official one, started by radio personality Art Regner, who once opined that the lion looked like he was “batting at bubbles”. Some would argue the Detroit franchise often plays that way, too.

Mixer Mania #30: Blue Bong

Blue Bong.JPG

  • 1 oz Vodka
  • 1 oz Gin
  • Top with Bubble Gum Soda
  • Splash of Blue Raspberry Mixer
  • Dash of Lemon Juice
  • Garnish with a Lollipop

While not a character, the importance of bubble wrap as a packing tool and an entertainment device cannot be underestimated… just wanted to get that out there!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 out of 5 Sips):
I did halve each of the alcohol ingredients to make the cocktail more palatable and it really worked. This beverage is quite tasty, with just the right amount of sweet and sour. I was forced to garnish to cocktail with a Lollipop, as Mrs. Sip recently got rid of all the candy garnishes – including bubble gum pieces – I had lying around. Such is married life!

Mixer Mania #29 – Shell Game

Over the years, the Sip Advisor has drank beverages from a wide array of chalices. As we feature Coconut Water this week, I thought it would be fun to look back at some of the devices used to serve me a drink:

Coconut

There’s nothing like drinking basically straight rum out of a coconut, as we did in Belize. We later saw the same vendor hurriedly approaching us with a large knife. Had we not paid the fair rate? Was he after more of our tourist dollars? Nah, he just wanted to cut the coconut up for us to eat the meat inside… crisis averted!

Beer Bong

While chugging a beer is not my favourite thing to do, in some party settings, it is the right thing to do! A friend of ours used to have a skeleton beer bong, nicknamed Skeletor, which always made things festive fast. All you need was someone tall enough to hold the pouring end.

Beer Bong Kid

Marshmallow

During the first year of this website’s existence, I was tasked with creating a different cocktail or shot, every day for the entire year. Getting created, I decided to serve one shooter from a hollowed marshmallow. The shot did have to be consumed quickly, though, as the marshmallow was quick to leak.

Strawberry

Another Sip Advisor project had me using a strawberry as a side shooter to the cocktail I had made. You had to be very careful to cut the piece of fruit just right, but it did hold its liquor better than the fibrous marshmallow.

Glass Boot

Swakopmund, Namibia is an area of Southwest Africa that was a former German colony and therefore has many features of a Bavarian town. Here, I ordered a boot of beer, which held more than two pints worth of ale. I didn’t think much of it, being the brew hound that I am, but the rest of the tour group all wanted photos holding the massive serving.

Boot of Beer

Plastic Football

Las Vegas is home to some of the most unusual souvenir glasses I’ve ever seen, from guitars to the Statue of Liberty. On one trip to Sin City, I picked up a plastic football sipper, which we were later able to use for a drunken pick-up game.

Fishbowl

Sticking with Las Vegas, when we were there to celebrate Broski Sip’s 21st birthday a decade ago, Mrs. Sip, Cousin Sip and I joined him in drinking a massive cocktail blend served in a large bowl. This took place at Kahunaville inside Treasure Island, which unfortunately doesn’t exist any longer.

Fishbowl Drinking

Watermelon

On a camping trip a few years ago, our group made holes in a watermelon and inserted bottles of vodka into those openings. The result was a heavily-boozed up melon. The fruit was so liquefied, in fact, that it was like eating a drinking a mushy soup.

Team Pitcher

During my days living in Toronto, our school crew would frequent the Fox & Fiddle Pub near campus, often on their karaoke nights. There, we would sit down to what they called Team Pitchers, which were the equivalent to at least two normal pitchers and even came with a contraption to keep the suds cool.

Mixer Mania #29: Blue on Blue

Blue on Blue.JPG

  • 1.5 oz Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Blue Curacao
  • Top with Coconut Water
  • Splash of Cranberry Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Garnish with Blueberries

If I had to add anything to my drinking bucket list, it would be to enjoy a beverage from the Stanley Cup. Now all I have to do is find a way to get my hands on the hardest trophy to win in sports!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
This recipe comes courtesy of the Absolut Vodka website, which has always maintained an eclectic cocktail collection. I’ve never been much of a fan of Coconut Water, but this drink is actually decent. I’ll give credit to the Cranberry Juice, of course!