June 15 – Carpet Licker

Regionals

The world is littered with wonderful wine regions, where fans of the grape can pilgrimage to and get blasted winery-hopping style. While wine is far from my favourite libation, I do like to get travel wasted and visiting a winery provides some of the greatest surroundings for doing so. Here are some of the best stops to hit if you’re a connoisseur of reds and whites (and pinks, I suppose!):

Barossa Valley – Australia

This was a fun little wine tour Mrs. Sip and I did while visiting Adelaide, Australia. As good as the wine and scenery was, what I will always remember most from the tour was our picnic-style lunch, where the main course was barbecued kangaroo, marinated in red wine. I never thought kangaroo meat could be so delicious. I gorged myself on the delicacy, as well as the rest of the lunch, probably facilitated by the copious wine samples we had already enjoyed up to that point.

barossa valley

Okanagan Valley – British Columbia

Mrs. Sip just got back from visiting the Okanagan wine region on a stagette and if the 13 new bottles taking up space in my liquor racks is any indication, she had a good time and found some wines she really enjoyed. Heck, rumour has it Cousin Sip brought back 30 bottles of grape goodness after this 2 day trip!

Champagne/Beaujolais – France

Champagne was another wine excursion enjoyed by Mrs. Sip, minus your faithful Sip Advisor. How do I let her get away with this desertion!? While there, she sampled the wines and champagnes the region is renowned for. We were together for a brief stop in Beaujolais, where we climbed to the “Top of the World” and had a wine and picnic lunch before staying the night at a Beaujolais winery property.

Hood River – Oregon

On a weekend away with family, we hit a number of stops criss-crossing the Washington-Oregon border. We had a convoy of vehicles stopping at each business and it was fun to roll through a tasting with such a large, increasingly boisterous group. Our favourite stop was probably the Maryhill Winery, home to a summer concert series, and where guest can even hop into a tub and stomp some grapes.

Maryhill Winery

Columbia Cascade – Washington

On yet another wine tour (damn, we go on a lot of these!), Mrs. Sip and I, along with Cousin Sip and her husband braved the oncoming winter to sample a number of wines in the Cascade area. The last stop of our tour was the Bavarian-themed town of Leavenworth, where the main drag houses many underground wine tasting options. Getting Mrs. Sip and Cousin Sip back on the bus was far from easy for us guys.

Napa Valley & Sonoma Valley – California

Over the years, I’ve enjoyed many California wines, but never had the chance to visit any of the winery regions the state is home to. While Mrs. Sip and I enjoyed a wonderful and quite memorable wine tasting in San Francisco (see Bay Breeze), we have never had the time to do a tour of the Napa or Sonoma Valleys. It is on our Bucket List to do together, we just need to be in the area for longing than a cruise port stop.

Bubbles over Napa

Santorini – Greece

The last stop as part of a tour exploring the island was visiting the Wine Museum of Santorini and Koutsoyannopoulos Winery. How do I remember such a crazy long Grecian name, you ask? Well, you see, Mrs. Sip has (or at least had) this little habit of “collecting” souvenirs from her travels. On this occasion, she wanted a glass from the little winery and to make a long story short, she got it!

Monticello – Virginia

While visiting Washington, D.C., our hosts took us out of the American capital to Virginia, specifically Monticello, where we had access to numerous wines and enjoyed a nice picnic lunch on the storied grounds of the winery surrounded by 19th century plantation ruins. Later, we ventured to the home of Thomas Jefferson, where unfortunately, no wine was served, which would have been a great tribute to the former president.

Drink #166: Carpet Licker

June 15

  • 1 oz White Wine
  • 0.5 oz Melon Liqueur (I used Watermelon Pucker)
  • 0.5 oz Southern Comfort
  • 0.5 oz Dr. Pepper
  • Top with Whipped Cream
  • Garnish with Sprinkles

I’m sure I’m missing some of the best wine regions, but I wanted to focus on areas we’ve actually visited or plan to visit in the very near future. Have any suggestions for a future getaway? Feel free to give us your best Lonely Planet review.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
I thought this shot tasted fantastic, especially with my substitution of Watermelon Pucker for Melon Liqueur… I just had a feeling. The presentation is spectacular which certainly justifies the high score. The shooter ingredients and measurements are enough for two servings, so share the love!

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January 29 – West Coast Paralyzer

The Best Coast

West Coast

West coast born, west coast bred… and when the time comes, west coast dead.

I love being from the west coast. We’re more laid back, have milder weather (in both summer and winter), and in my very unbiased opinion, are just generally more awesome. Here are some other things we do better than our eastern contemporaries:

The alcohol is better on our side of the continent, with awesome microbreweries (Granville Island, 21st Amendment) all along the coast and some undeniably fantastic wine regions (Napa Valley, Okanagan, Hood River).

The east may kick our ass when it comes to storms, but we definitely thump them in the natural disaster category with our epic earthquakes and just wait for the inevitable big one we’re always being warned about. The tsunami alone will blow your freakin’ mind (thank god that us Vancouverites will have Vancouver Island acting as a natural buffer during that one!).

west-coast-fault-lines

We also have grown-up Disneyland (aka Las Vegas) near enough to the West Coast (two-hour flight from Vancouver), which Trumps Atlantic City, beyond a shadow of a doubt. See what I did there… Donald Trump has largely developed Atlantic City… another thing west-coasters are better at: being clever… and not associating with Donald Trump.

Speaking of Disneyland, we have the better Disney theme park… Disneyland is much more manageable than Disneyworld and has less motorized scooters and 6-10 year olds in double-wide strollers (seriously, do NOT get me started on all the elementary school children in strollers I saw at Disneyworld, it’s like America officially said “Fuck it, we give up!”).

Disneyworld Scooters

We’re at the forefront of legalizing marijuana, with Washington State having already passed referendums to make it legal and places like B.C. having largely decriminalized the drug. It’s not my drug of choice (it’s pretty easy to guess what is), but I’m all for my little sippers having easier access to a little bit of Mary Jane.

People go west to become stars (porn or otherwise)… they go east to die.

Retired Squirrel

I have it on good authority, as my sources tell me, that we’re better at sex here on the left side of the map. I have statistical data on this fact… I’m just having trouble finding it at the moment.

We’re just made tougher on the west coast: Not that I’m condoning violence of any type, but it did take two attempts for 2Pac to be killed and only one for Notorious B.I.G. Just saying… (I hope I don’t resurrect the west vs. east rap wars with this post, as I do hold that much power).

And finally, my greatest pieces of evidence: Jersey Shore, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and Real Housewives of New Jersey, among other television shows that I would rather stick a fork in my eye than watch, all come from the east. ‘Nuff said! Case closed!

Drink #29: West Coast Paralyzer

West Coast Paralyzer Drink

  • 1 oz Tequila
  • 1 oz Kahlua
  • Top with Milk and Root Beer
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

This recipe differs from the normal Paralyzer in that vodka is removed and cola is replaced by root beer, completely changing the flavour of the drink… for the better, might I add. The cocktail tastes like a Root Beer Float, by and large and is very enjoyable, perhaps best served as an after dinner dessert.

Now that I’ve locked the east coast into my deadly finishing maneuver, all I have to wait for is the tap-out. There it is, ring the bell!

Sip Adviosr Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
While I could have tried the original version of this cocktail, the West Coast theme (ie. Removing Vodka and swapping Cola with Root Beer) appealed to me more. It’s virtually unnoticeable, but I sprinkled some vanilla powdering onto the drink to give it an added dimension.