December 21 – Santa Shot

Sweet Season

More candy goes through the Sip Advisor offices this time of the year than any other. It doesn’t help that I give Mrs. Sip an advent calendar treat every day leading up to Christmas and Ma and Pa Sip are quite generous with care packages and the like. While there may be too much to go around, it’s all appreciated and here are some of my favourites!

M&Ms

Whether the plain or peanut variety, it doesn’t take long for these Christmas candies to disappear from any bowl they’re poured into. What’s best about the M&Ms company is that they’re always experimenting with different adaptations of their popular product. This year, we’ve really enjoyed their Gingerbread limited release and they have also brought out Mint Chocolate and White Chocolate Peppermint varieties.

Peanut M&Ms

Yeah, fasting around Christmas is whack, yo!

Turtles

Mmmm, I love Turtles. While not being a fan of pecans on their own, there’s just something about these clustered treats that are so good. I blame the wonderfulness of caramel, which is such a delicious ingredient in any recipe it is featured. I’ve noticed this year that there are a couple new options in the Turtles line, including Pecan Praline and Pecan Fudge Brownie. Me thinks I should arrange a taste test with my fellow Turtles lovers!

Mini Eggs

While originally an Easter-only treat, Mini Eggs have migrated to the Christmas holiday, as well. Instead of coming in colours like yellow, blue, and pink, the palette has been changed to red and green, with both packs including white eggs. It’s extremely difficult to only pop one or two of these treats into your mouth. In the end, you’re more likely to have shoveled dozens of the eggs down your gullet like a slithering snake. At least us civilized folk don’t have to regurgitate the shells!

Candy Canes

How could one forget Candy Canes at this time of year? You don’t even have to settle for the mint-flavoured ones anymore, as the treats are available in nearly every flavour. I’m still waiting for Mrs. Sip to open the genital-shaped candy cane I bought her a couple Christmases ago as a gag gift (literally!?), although it has slowly disappeared in one of our cupboards, perhaps to never see the light of day ever again!

candycane

Chocolate Santa

For the homicidal maniac and cannibal in all of us, sometimes grabbing a massive chocolate Santa and taking his head off in one quick bite can be quite rewarding. I can’t decide if I prefer hollowed out Santa’s or the thicker full chocolate Santa’s which you can gnaw on for hours. The same principles apply to everything from chocolate snowmen to reindeer to trees and every other symbol of the holiday season.

Toblerone

A favourite of Pa Sip (and the Sip Advisor), I can still remember travelling through Switzerland and picking up Toblerone bars en masse whenever we had a chance over our two-day tour stop. Chocolate is something that actually helps you adjust to high altitudes, se we had a good excuse to indulge in the Swiss treat. I’ve always been curious about the massive Toblerone bars they sell at Christmas and how long it would take to vanquish it from existence!

Toblerone

Reese Products

The massive peanut butter cups that have been released the last couple years are crazy enormous. I like how the Reese company has partnered with the NHL to make their peanut butter cups resemble hockey pucks. If you’re looking for smaller doses of peanutty goodness, there are also peanut butter trees, bells, and even snowmen. With all those options, you’ll probably be sick of peanut butter by the end of the holidays!

Peppermint Bark

Mrs. Sip loves her Peppermint Bark. Myself, not as much as other options, but I do appreciate the stuff as a snacking option. Chocolate and mint make a pretty wicked pair and they seem to bring their collective A-game to the Christmas holidays. This is one of the few things on this list that you could actually make yourself, but why waste your time when there are so many quality products already out there and you don’t need to deal with all the fuss of doing it yourself.

Drink #355: Santa Shot

Santa Shot Shooter

  • Rim glass with Crushed Candy Canes
  • 0.5 oz Peppermint Schnapps
  • 0.5 oz Crème de Menthe
  • 0.5 oz Grenadine

What’s your favourite Christmas time candy? Make sure to send some my way, so we can experience all the joys of the holidays together… and then we can hit the gym in the New Year and work off all this treat goodness!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This shot can be found under other names (Candy Cane Shooter, etc.), but the recipe doesn’t change. It tells you to layer the ingredients in the following order: Grenadine, Crème de Menthe, Peppermint Schnapps for the desired layering effect. I found that the clear Peppermint Schnapps at the top of the shooter was too hard to really see, so I decided to blend the two mint ingredients for a better visual effect. The shot tastes pretty good, despite a fair dose of Grenadine.

October 22 – Tootsie Pop

Candy Mascots

While every brand of cereal seems to have had a mascot for commercial purposes, finding mascots in the world of candy proved to be a little more difficult. Still, after diligent research, here are some of the best of the bunch:

Bart Simpson – Butterfinger

A lot of companies have capitalized on the enduring success of The Simpsons, highlighted by Bart Simpson becoming the mascot for Butterfinger chocolate bars. Most commercials would feature Homer trying to get his grubby paws on Bart’s chocolate, only to be thwarted by his rotten son. Then, Bart would deliver a catchphrase like “Nobody better lay a finger on my Butterfinger!” After 12 years of disassociation, Bart will return to the brand sometime in the very near future.

Butterfinger-Bart Simpson

Mr. Owl – Tootsie Pops

This pompous prick of a bird (aren’t they all horrible) took pride in stealing people’s Tootsie Pops, licking them twice and then chomping into the entire treat. Meanwhile dumb kids stood around seeing if the vermin would solve the age old question of how many licks it takes to get to the center of the lollipop. Thanks to Mr. Owl’s lack of cooperation, Universities have actually wasted time testing Tootsie Pops lickability with widely ranging results. Some studies say it only takes 150-350 licks, while others say it’s in the thousands.

Red and Yellow – M&Ms

Red and Yellow are a comedic pair with Red being a smart ass leader to Yellow’s less intelligent lackey persona. This usually means that Red gets the guys into some sort of trouble, despite Yellow’s warning of issues ahead. M&Ms have also added Green, Brown, Blue, and Orange characters over the years. Brown is probably the most recognizable as she’s a sassy female, spurning the advances of men who want to be with the candy-coated snack.

Yipes – Fruit Stripe Gum

Yipes the Fruit Stripe zebra has outlasted his entire family to remain as the sole mascot of the brand. He was originally introduced with Connor the Tiger, as well as an unnamed elephant and mouse. Yipes is known to be quite active, as tattoos packaged with the gum portray him rollerblading, snowboarding, playing sports, and, of course, eating grass. Using the zebra mascot, Fruit Stripe raised $100,000 for the preservation of endangered animals in 1996.

Fruit_Stripe

Bazooka Joe – Bazooka Joe Bubble Gum

Starting in 1954, Bazooka Joe appeared on comic strips wrapped around pieces of Bazooka Joe Bubble Gum, along with characters such as Pesty, Mort, Hungry Herman, Toughie, and Walkie Talkie. The comics were discontinued in 2012 thanks to a drop in bubble gum sales (a sad day, indeed!). Despite losing his comic strip gig, rumours have circulated that Bazooka Joe may have a future in the movie industry. Plans for a film adaptation of the comics were announced in 2009.

Floyd D. Duck – Bubble Yum

This water bird is one bad ass punk, complete with nose ring, frosted tip mohawk, spiked collar, and… ankle bracelet??? Isn’t an ankle bracelet something you’d expect a young, sexually-charged female ducky to be adorning? Anyway, Floyd D. Duck blows bubbles in the face of authority and won’t take any guff from pigs – both the animal kind and the police variety. Can ducks even blow bubbles? It seems like a beak of that size would prevent the lip formations necessary for bubble making.

Floyd D. Duck

Willy Wonka – Willy Wonka Candy Company

The candy company born from Roald Dahl’s classic children’s novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory came into being in 1971, the same time the first film based on the novel was released. With Willy Wonka, the new enterprise had a perfect mascot and spokesman already built in. Being portrayed by Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp doesn’t hurt, either. Today, the company sells products such as Nerds, Gobstoppers, Laffy Taffy, Pixy Stix, Runts, and Kazoozles… everything you’d expect from the eccentric candy mogul.

Freddo – Cadbury’s Freddo

Mrs. Sip and I first learned of Freddo the Frog when she was spending a semester in Australia. Apparently the frog-shaped chocolate bars are also sold in New Zealand, Ireland, the U.K., and Zimbabwe, of all places. Freddo has been featured in two online animated series, expanding his backstory, and was even part of Cadbury’s 2006 recall over a possible salmonella scare. That’s one crazy life for this amphibian.

Drink #295: Tootsie Pop

Tootsie Pop Drink Recipe

  • 0.5 oz Chambord
  • 0.5 oz Amaretto
  • Splash of Vodka
  • Splash of Sweet & Sour Mix
  • Splash of Cola
  • Garnish with a Tootsie Pop

It seems like candy mascots got their greatest availability of work from bubble gum products. Remember that the next time you’re trying to scrape the stuff off of the bottom of your shoes or you touch a gob of gum left under a table or seat by some inconsiderate asshole!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This cocktail tasted like a Tootsie Pop and I loved eating the suckers I used for garnishing after the drink was done. It heightened the entire experience. Perhaps most enjoyable with the drink was how Chambord and Sweet & Sour Mix work together for a sour raspberry flavour.

October 20 – Jolly Rancher

Candy Class

Well friends, the week you’ve all been waiting for is finally here: Candy Cocktail Week! Today we take a crash course on the candy industry thanks to a wonderfully crafted infographic. This proves once again that the Sip Advisor is the only education you need!

How the Candy Industry Started #Candy #Industry #Started #Infographics

Drink #293: Jolly Rancher

Jolly Rancher Drink Recipe

  • 2 oz Vodka
  • 1 oz Midori
  • Top with Cranberry Juice
  • Garnish with Jolly Ranchers

When you go out and share your newfound knowledge with all you friends, just remember who made you the intelligent candy connoisseur you’ve now become… your welcome!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
Candy Cocktail Week got off to a great start with this drink that actually tastes like the candy. It was hard to get the usual sticky Jolly Ranchers to stay on the glass long enough to snap a couple photos, but I got it done. The Melon Liqueur was particularly nice in this recipe.

July 10 – Snickertini

Chocolate on My Mind

Chocolate bars are enticing enough on their own, but a good slogan can really grab your attention and steer you towards that product in particular. Here are some of the best chocolate bar catchphrases:

M&M’s – “Melts in your mouth, not in your hands!”

A great slogan that has also been lampooned in many sexual contexts, as civilization becomes filthier with each passing day. While I’m a Smarties man myself, when it comes to the milk chocolate varieties between the two companies I like that M&M’s has gone on to experiment and make a number of different flavour options. M&M Peanuts and M&M Pretzels have to be among my preferred chocolate adaptations.

M&Ms

Butterfinger – “Nobody better lay a finger on my Butterfinger!”

This catchphrase dates back to when Bart Simpson was the spokesperson for the treat. Commercials usually featured Homer trying to enjoy the chocolate bar, only for things to go tragically wrong for the poor lug. When the contract between the show and Butterfinger was terminated, The Simpsons writers took a few shots at the chocolate bar, including it not being flammable, with Chief Wiggum stating, “Even the fire doesn’t want them.”

Twix – “Two for me, none for you!”

Somehow, Mrs. Sip never got the memo Twix was sending out, as she always thinks the two bars are perfect to split. To that, I say “Only on date nights!” The other 364 days of the year, both bars better be going down my gullet. There’s just something about chocolate, caramel and cookie that work together so perfectly and keep me coming back for more.

Snickers – “Hungry? Why wait?” / “You’re not you when you’re hungry…”

Snickers is one of my favourite chocolate bars (hence the push for today’s martini) and the company has also put out some solid ads. I particularly like the “You’re not you when you’re hungry …” campaign, which has featured Joe Pesci, Bobcat Goldthwait and Robin Williams, among others. I’ve even eaten a Snickers bar with a fork and knife, first shown on Seinfeld… it’s the only way to truly enjoy it!

Snickers

Kit Kat – “Have a break, have a Kit Kat.” / “Gimme a break!”

According to Mrs. Sip, this is another treat that’s perfect for sharing… just like McDonalds fries, beer, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, etc. She’s a freakin’ mooch is what she is. I get my revenge, though, when I inform her that she is in fact perfect for sharing and if she wants anymore of my god damn Kit Kat, she better be willing to even things up on her end!

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups – “There’s no wrong way to eat a Reese’s!”

I’m pretty sure I could find a couple ways, actually! Did they consider things like eating while upside down, which would certainly a choking risk? How about while swimming, getting chocolate and peanut butter contamination in the pool? On the toilet doesn’t seem very hygienic, either. And I won’t even delve into the dirty part of my mind, which sadly takes up over 80% of me noggin’.

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

Mars – “A Mars a day helps you work, rest and play.”

It also helps diabetes come visit a little sooner than originally expected! I guess if you’re actually following the work, rest, and play mantra you might be okay with a chocolate bar each day, but wouldn’t you want some variety mixed in there? Granted, Mars is a pretty decent treat, but I wouldn’t want to commit all my resources to one basket. I’m a man of simple, but varied pleasures!

Oh Henry! – “Oh hungry? Oh Henry!”

Nobody knows exactly where the chocolate bar’s name came from, but it has featured in everything from the All in the Family TV series, to being thrown on the field every time slugger Henry Rodriguez hit a homerun. When I am hungry and craving a snack, Oh Henry is one of my desired chocolate bars, thanks to its blend of peanuts, caramel and nougat.

Drink #191: Snickertini

july 10

  • Decorate glass with Caramel Syrup
  • 1.5 oz Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Bailey’s Irish Crème
  • 0.5 oz Chocolate Liqueur
  • 0.5 oz Amaretto
  • Splash of Milk
  • Garnish with Snickers Stir Stick

As much as I enjoy chocolate bars, I have to say that drinking them also satisfies my sweet tooth. Give it a shot next time you’re craving a bar and see if it works in quelling the uprising in your stomach!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This martini is decent, but some sips can be strong. The full Snickers bar bumps it up the extra .5 point, even if Mrs. Sip didn’t want me to plunk it into the cocktail. If you’re going to try the Caramel Syrup spiral, make sure you have a bottle of the stuff that can actually get into the glass! Thanks to some improvisation we got something that looked photogenic enough, despite our bottle issue.

 

February 10 – Agave Kiss

School of Chocolate

Well, my little sippers, it’s the start of Chocolate Drink Week here at The Sip Advisor and as will become customary with these feature weeks, we shall begin with a little education on the subject. So, take your seats and have your duotangs (do you remember those old things?) at the ready. Class begins… NOW!

Women Love Chocolate

The only thing you really need to know about chocolate is that women crave it and will kill for it – seriously, you should see the scars I incurred from Mrs. Sip’s wrath, when I once withheld chocolate from her. It wasn’t even a bar she likes. I was in intensive care for two weeks and now have to wear an eye patch and walk with a noticeable limp. Still, I should have known better… at least that’s what she tells me.

Chocolate, of course, is made from the wonderful cocoa bean, which other purposes absolutely don’t matter. ‘God food’ as the Mayans called it can actually increase serotonin and endorphin levels, thereby acting as an anti-depressant. Chocolate is often referred to as an aphrodisiac, but I theorize that women just behave in ways that will get them more chocolate.

Chocolate Love

Here are some other random choco-tastic factoids:

For the 1982 film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, producers wanted the alien to follow a trail of M&M’s into Elliot’s home, but the Mars company found the E.T. puppet to be so unattractive and potentially frightening (he is an ugly mook, after all) that they refused to allow their candy to be part of the movie. Reese’s Pieces were used instead and it turned out to be one of the greatest examples of a missed product placement opportunity in a movie ever.

Speaking of M&M’s, on their touring rider, rock band Van Halen always requested that there be no brown M&M’s in their backstage area. Sounds like a petty request… perhaps even racist, but there is actually sound reasoning behind it. The band wanted to ensure that promoters actually took the time to read their lengthy rider (a type-written 53 pages) and if the organizers couldn’t even pay attention to that detail, then other much more important specifics would be overlooked as well. You know, ones that would actually affect their performance. Hopefully the group always got their demanded tube of KY Jelly, without issue.

brown_mms

My touring rider is pretty epic, too, for those looking to book me for personal appearances: I ask for a vat of jello to bathe in, a jar of the finest snorting caviar and a room full of purring kittens, among other desires.

Finally, the world’s largest chocolate bar was made in the United Kingdom in 2011 and weighed over 12,770 pounds, the size of an African elephant. Shhh, don’t tell Mrs. Sip. She’s been looking to plan our next vacation and has always wanted to do a safari tour. I guess you can do those in the U.K.!

Drink #41: Agave Kiss

Agave Kiss Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Tequila
  • 0.5 oz Crème de Cacao
  • 0.5 oz Chambord
  • Top with milk
  • Garnish with raspberries and white chocolate flakes

What would be on your rider, if you had one? How much chocolate do you think a woman could eat before she finally gave up on the delicious mess? I’m dying to know the answers to these questions!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
I thought this drink looked and tasted great. Those White Chocolate Shavings came personally from me… see how hard I work for you little sippers!? I knew Chambord and Crème de Cacao would complement each other, but Tequila did its part to behave and not overshadow the recipe.