Baby Beverages #3: Future Fan

Last week, Mrs. Sip and I took Baby Sip to her first Vancouver Canucks NHL game. I went into the occasion with some apprehension, worried she would get fussy and cause a disturbance to the fans seated around us – and by she, I mean Mrs. Sip! *rimshot*

My biggest concern going in was that the goal horn would blast (unfortunately, a relative rarity during this Canucks season) and the little one would freak out and force an early end to the evening. I had seen this play out earlier in the team’s campaign, as a family sat in front of me. Before I could ask how old their baby was, a goal was scored; mom, dad and baby left their seats… and never returned.

Hockey Fans

We arrived a little late to the contest, thanks to a last minute poopy diaper and issues with our baby carrier, so as we checked in our stroller with guest services, the Canucks already tallied a goal. This was a good first test to see how Baby Sip would react and while she definitely noticed the horn and accompanying cheers, her little headphones helped in blocking out enough noise that she didn’t react much at all.

As we waited for a break in action to take our seats, the Canucks scored again. This time we were closer to the action and still, Baby Sip seemed mostly unfazed. Six minutes into the game, the team added yet another tally and this was the true test, as fans celebrated all around us. Well, Baby Sip is a cool cucumber and while her eyes lit up, she never fussed once over the volume. In fact, she seemed to be taking in the whole experience, dazzled by the lights and probably wondering why sounds were muffled.

Of course, we always had a bottle at the ready if she started to squirm. Mrs. Sip finished the bottle we brought with us during the first period and I took over with a new bottle in the second frame. Then, Baby Sip fell asleep and stayed that way on me for the final half of the game, including through the Canucks sixth goal and eventual victory. All in all, a pretty uneventful first visit to Rogers Arena, from a baby perspective.

Life Bottles.jpg

For others thinking of taking their baby to a Canucks game, there are a couple things you need to do: At any guest services kiosk, you can pick up a first game pin and certificate as keepsakes. I’m sure other teams have similar programs, so make sure you pick up whatever is available. It should also be noted that every staff member we encountered was very helpful and happy to see a baby attending their first event.

We have no concerns anymore with taking Baby Sip to future games. Of course, she could act completely different for round two, but as with the Canucks this season, we’ll take the wins when they come!

May 30 – Jet Fuel

Franchise Faces

With the recent controversy over the Washington Redskins team name, that got me thinking long and hard (heh, long and hard!) about franchise monikers and where they came from. Today, I want to look at teams that share a common name. In that process, we’ll decide which team lays claim to the name based on factors such as years in existence, success, superstars, etc. Of course, teams that leave one city and relocate to another, playing under the same nickname, don’t count. This also applies to minor league teams that share their affiliates handle. So, on with the list:

#5: Cardinals – St. Louis (MLB), Arizona (NFL)

Bird species are a popular name for teams in all the major sports, but Cardinals is the only one that is shared by two franchises and this duel isn’t too hard to sort out. The St. Louis club has existed for over 130 years, known as the Cardinals since 1900. In their long history, they have won 11 World Series Titles, 19 National League Pennants, and 20 MVP awards. They even have 17 Hall of Fame players to their legacy. Arizona, on the other hand, has enjoyed far less success, although they were also established over 100 years ago, even playing for a time in St. Louis. Their only championships came long before the modern day NFL, in 1925 and 1947. Winner: St. Louis

Cardinals

#4: Oilers – Edmonton (NHL), Houston/Tennessee (NFL)

Currently, both teams are trying to work their way out of the basement of their respective leagues, but this battle isn’t close. The Oilers success in Edmonton in the mid-80’s, led the town to call itself the ‘City of Champions’! Hell, they struck more riches than a prospector, with signing the legendary Wayne Gretzky and drafting future Hall of Famers like Mark Messier, Jari Kurri, Paul Coffey, Grant Fuhr, and Glenn Anderson. The NFL Oilers moved from Houston to Tennessee and don’t even exist anymore, dropping the moniker in favour of calling themselves the Titans. Winner: Edmonton

#3: Jets – Winnipeg (NHL), New York (NFL)

Both teams have tasted the heights of success, but have also suffered crushing defeats – let’s call them crash landings – during their existence. Heck, this is Winnipeg’s second go-around with an NHL franchise, the first time ending with the club’s departure to Phoenix, where they were renamed the Coyotes. But there were better times in the 1970’s, when Winnipeg dominated the World Hockey Association, winning three Avco Cups and showcasing ‘Mr. Hockey’ Gordie Howe. New York also enjoyed success in 1968-69, winning their lone Super Bowl and displaying their own superstar, quarterback Joe Namath. Winner: New York

Jets

#2: Rangers – New York (NHL), Texas (MLB)

The New York squad is a member of the Original 6 NHL clubs and that holds a lot of weight in hockey circles. That said, the Rangers are the team I hate the most thanks to the childhood disappointment of watching them defeat my Vancouver Canucks in the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals. I have to be impartial, though, and acknowledge the storied history for New York, including four Stanley Cups. In Texas, the Rangers have existed since 1972, having moved from Washington. They have yet to win a World Series, losing back-to-back championship seasons in 2010 and 2011 (ironically, to the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants, also on this list). Winner: New York

#1: Giants – San Francisco (MLB), New York (NFL)

Both franchises have won championships in recent years, but San Francisco has strung together three World Series titles in the last five years, earning the distinction of being a dynasty team. On top of that, the baseball club has a long history that transferred over with them, following the team’s move from New York in 1957, where they were the original Giants of the Big Apple. That’s not to take anything away from the football squad and their own storied existence, winning eight league championships, including four in the modern era. This was a tough race to decide, but history always wins out. Winner: San Francisco

Super Saturday Shot Day: Jet Fuel

Honourable mentions include the Kings (Los Angeles (NHL) and Sacramento (NBA)); the Lions (Detroit (NFL), B.C. (CFL)); and the Panthers (Carolina (NFL), Florida (NHL)). Surprisingly, no NBA teams made this list and only the Sacramento Kings share a nickname with another pro squad. It’s also interesting that three different New York teams share their name with another franchise.

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.

April 18 – High Five

Playing Peeves

Earlier this season, the Toronto Maple Leafs got into trouble for not doing their typical salute to the crowd, following a win. They were accused of snubbing the audience that had recently gone so far as to throw jerseys on the ice, when disgusted with the team’s play. Really, it’s their fault for being Maple Leafs fans in the first place, but I digress. While I don’t have any issue with the salute, one way or the other, here are some other player traditions that should be outlawed:

#5: Staged Fights (NHL)

While this pet peeve bothers me less than others that did not make this list, I figured I’d be fair and try to include as many different sports as I could. I’m not the biggest advocate of fighting in hockey, but I do like the odd tilt, usually between two light/middleweights who are chucking knuckles for a reason. Staged fights between two super heavyweights, only fighting because that’s all they can provide to the game, is a waste of roster spots. With the demise of the hockey enforcer, this happens rarely in today’s NHL. You still see the occasional bout off the opening draw, but it’s usually based off of something that happened in the team’s last contest.

hockey fights

#4: Slapping Helmets (NFL)

Given all the concussion concerns and lawsuits being launched by former players, it blows my mind when I see entire football squads viciously slapping each other on the helmet, in order to CELEBRATE a play. Talk about friendly fire! It almost makes you wish they went back to the days of smacking each other on the ass, as all that might do, is produce a bruise. I think every football player loses credibility in the whole concussion argument, given they’re likely seeing stars after successful plays, with injuries caused by their own teammates. Hmmm, perhaps the NFL should hire me onto their legal team!

#3: High-Fives After Each Free Throw Attempt (NBA)

Okay, so the fouled basketball player steps up to the free throw line, which basically means a take-your-time, unobstructed shot from a mere 15 meters away from the hoop and if he makes the shot, everyone on his team must give him a high-five… hell, they even high-five for a missed shot! There is some debate whether the exchange of pleasantries after each shot helps keep a player loose, or disrupts their technique or needed alterations for the follow-up shot. I think the whole process is ridiculous and I think some players do as well; given there have been instances of hoop stars mocking it.

free throw high fives

#2: Elaborate High-Five Routines (MLB)

What do you do when you’re sport is slower than watching paint dry and you have to play 162 games each season? Develop an elaborate high-five routine, of course! I don’t understand why sports highlight shows are so enamored with this trend and feature the choreographed hand-slapping and fist-bumping performance in their replay packages. Sometimes the act goes on for minutes at a time and yes, I guess that does make it more exciting than the game itself. You would never see this ridiculousness in faster-paced sports, because if a hockey player, for example, tried it, they would be body checked through the boards before they could finish!

#1: Complaints About Running Up the Score

I’ve largely only seen accusations of this in football circles, but the other major leagues will take measures to quell landslide victories. In hockey, you might see the winning team rest its scoring lines, in favour of checking players, while in baseball, bunting and stealing bases may be discouraged. Basketball games are usually too close to call and in football, teams may run shorter plays and not go for big scores. The problem with this is if I paid my hard earned money to go to a contest and my team was obliterating the opposition, why would I want that experience to stop? All fans want to see the stars of the sport do what they are paid millions to do: perform at the highest level, not take a game off.

Super Saturday Shot Day: High Five

High Five Shot

  • 0.3 Grand Marnier
  • 0.3 oz Rum
  • 0.3 oz Passion Fruit Liqueur
  • 0.3 oz Orange Juice
  • 0.3 oz Pineapple Juice
  • Garnish with an Orange Wedge

I can’t believe how many of these items are based on high-fiving. Narrowly missing the list was female tennis players screaming and grunting their way through matches… although, it is kind of hot! Next up, the Sip Advisor should take a look at the greatest pet peeves I have towards sports fans. This would include such gems as dorks leaving a game before it’s over and the completely unnecessary wave.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This is actually a cocktail recipe, but was easy to convert to a shooter, since all the ingredients were in equal portions already. It’s an incredibly fruity shot, so you know the flavours are going to be nice. The booze quotient could be upped a little so you know you’re drinking a shooter, but the taste is quite enjoyable as it is.

Latvia – Siberian Sunset

Did You Know?

For a country of under two million people, Latvia has still managed to make some significant contributions to the world. Here is a collection of lesser known facts for the nation that has also gone by the names Livonia, Courland, and Lettland:

Birth of a Nation

A Latvian myth states that their national flag was created when a 13th century chief was wounded in battle and wrapped in a white sheet. Blood from his injuries made the two dark red stripes on either side of the sheet, while the middle remained clean. Another interpretation states that the flag depicts Latvians willingness to fight and lose blood for freedom and liberty. The Latvian flag is sometimes mistaken for Austria’s pennant, despite the difference in red hues.

Latvia Location

Freedom Fighters

In its entire history, Latvia has only enjoyed independence for a total of 44 years, over two stints (1920-40 and 1990-present). The country has been ruled and occupied by the Germans, Swedes, Russians, Nazis, and Soviets, to name a few. Their most recent run of autonomy began with the fall of communism. In 2004, Latvia achieved two of its greatest accomplishments as a sovereign nation, being accepted into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU).

Party Time

Latvians technically celebrate two independence days. The first, Proclamation of the Republic of Latvia, occurs every November 18th, while the second, on May 4th, is known as Restoration of Independence Day. That means double holidays! I’d be all for the Canadian government letting other nations take over for the day, if it meant a few extra days off each year!

Forever in Blue Jeans

One of Latvia’s greatest contributions to the world is something most of you might be wearing as you read this article: jeans. Latvian immigrant Jacob Youphes (known as Jacob Davis after moving to North America) created the first pair of denim workpants with his soon-t-be patented rivet, holding together Levi Strauss’ denim. The two went into business together and revolutionized the fashion industry. The orange stitching that appears on jeans is also the work of Davis.

Jeans Washed

Ice Capades

Hockey is the most popular sport in Latvia. Helmuts Balderis was the first Latvian to play in the NHL, when he was drafted by the Minnesota North Stars in 1989. Because this was the first year Soviet players were allowed to be drafted, Balderis earned the distinction of being the oldest player to ever be selected at age 36 and when he scored his first NHL goal, became the oldest player to score his first goal, at the age of 37.

Crocodile Hunter

It blew the Sip Advisor’s mind to learn that the character of Crocodile Dundee was actually inspired by a Latvian. Arvīds Blūmentāls made his way from Latvia to Australia in 1945. Once there, he hunted reptiles, studied Aboriginals and mined opals. Crocodile Dundee went on to become a smash hit film in 1986 and Blūmentāls’ home in Coober Perdy is a tourist attraction. Back in Latvia, a crocodile monument was constructed in Blūmentāls’ hometown of Dundaga.

Crocodile Dundee

Ring Bearer

Many Latvian men wear a Namejs Ring, which helps them identify each other around the world. The four braids of the ring’s design signifies the solidarity of Latvia and its citizens. The legend behind the ring is that it was worn by Namejs, leader of the Semigallian tribe, which was fighting off the German crusaders invasion of Latvia in the 13th century. He gave this ring to his son, hoping he would be recognized upon his return from battle. It is also a sign of friendship and trust.

Strapped In

Another popular piece of Latvian attire is the Lielvārdes Josta, a red and white woven belt, featuring 22 ancient symbols. The belt serves many purposes throughout the wearer’s life, including being used to hang a baby’s cradle, all the way to eventually carrying and lowering a casket at the end of life. The belt is said to have special protection powers and is worn during special festivities and family events. It can also be used to identify which region of Latvia a person may hail from.

Latvia: Siberian Sunset

Dec 25

  • 1.5 oz Stoli Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Triple Sec
  • Top with Grapefruit Soda
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

Supervillain Dr. Doom is the ruler of the fictional country, Latveria, which one would have to assume is partly based on Latvia, at least by name. Thankfully, the real Latvians don’t have to deal with an evil dictator like Dr. Doom anymore and can thrive in their freedom.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
The Stoli Vodka drinks go two-for-two with this nice entry. I used Grapefruit Soda instead of juice, as I`m prone to do. The Maraschino Cherry serves as the sun streaking across the sky and makes for a nice little bonus at the end of the cocktail!

April 12 – Canuck-tini

Rebuild Realization

As the NHL season winds to a close and the playoffs are set to begin, the Sip Advisor’s team, the Vancouver Canucks only have a spring of golf tee times to look forward to. This rare occurrence over the last decade is the culmination of the squad unraveling since their 2011 Stanley Cup Final appearance, thanks to a few highly-publicized misfires. Please forgive me a moment to regionalize my work for this site, as here are the top five reasons the Canucks are in need of a reboot:

#5: Trading for Derek Roy

While some trade deadline rental deals work out and the player sticks with the team for a few seasons (ie. Chris Higgins and Max Lapierre in 2011), trading for Derek Roy from the Dallas Stars in 2013 completely blew up in the Canucks collective face. Roy never seemed to click with his Vancouver teammates and signed with St. Louis in the off-season. Worst of all, the ‘Nucks gave up some of their future in the deal, trading away defensive prospect Kevin Connauton and a second round draft pick, which was used to select goaltender Philippe Desrosiers. Only time will tell if that comes back to bite Vancouver in the butt later.

Fun for Whole Family

#4: Trading for David Booth

A former 30-goal scorer with the Florida Panthers, Booth has scored a combined total of 26 tallies in his nearly three seasons with the Canucks. While Vancouver only gave up a couple of players (Mikael Samuelsson and Marco Sturm) who didn’t seem to fit with the club going forward, Booth has never been able to live up to the expectations fans first hoped for when he came to the Canucks and has found himself frequently on the injured reserve list. Booth is certainly a buyout candidate this summer, despite his strong play to end the campaign, with one season remaining on his six-year, $25.5 million contract.

#3: Trading for Keith Ballard

Looking to beef up their options on puck-moving defensemen, the Canucks traded for Keith Ballard, of the Florida Panthers, at the 2010 NHL Draft. To land the rearguard, Vancouver gave up former first round draft choice Michael Grabner, Steve Bernier, and their opening pick of that draft, which turned out to be Quinton Howden. Grabner flourished with the New York Islanders, scoring 34 goals in his rookie season after being waived by the Panthers. Bernier is a regular with the New Jersey Devils, while Howden is now cracking the Florida line-up. Ballard was bought out in the 2013 off-season after a couple seasons of ineffectiveness and time spent in the press box.

Canucks Riot

#2: Trading Cody Hodgson

Hodgson apparently wanted out of Vancouver, but trading him away depleted a strong center ice core. With Ryan Kesler likely on his way out of town, Hodgson could have seamlessly slotted into the second-line center role that would have opened up. Getting Zack Kassian in the deal was a decent return, but he has yet to realize his full potential. Some have argued, however, that he hasn’t been given a fair chance to succeed under the current coaching regime. Hodgson, meanwhile, has put up 85 points for the Buffalo Sabres since the swap, leaving Vancouver (Kassian has 41 points in the same time) without the greatest prospect they’ve had in years.

#1: Trading Cory Schneider/Roberto Luongo

This whole fiasco lost the Canucks not only their number one netminder, but also the goalie of their future. When the team moved on from Luongo during the 2012 playoffs, I knew he was done with the squad… yet the saga lasted until March 2014 and by that time, Schneider had already been dealt. Now, the Canucks are left with two young, inexperienced and unproven tenders in Eddie Lack and Jacob Markstrom, while their once solid tandem wins games for other franchises. That puts a lot of pressure on the shoulders of Bo Horvat (drafted with the pick exchanged for Schneider) and Shawn Matthias (the other part of the Luongo deal, along with Markstrom).

Super Saturday Shot Day: Canuck-tini

Apr 12

  • 0.5 oz Raspberry Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Blue Curacao
  • Dash of Honey
  • Garnish with Mint Leaves

Hopefully, the Canucks can clean things up a little at this year’s draft and through free agency. Picking up a free agent goalie and trading Ryan Kesler (I hate to see him go, but he clearly wants out) for a package of assets could get this reboot off the ground quickly. I can’t help but notice that the Florida Panthers have played a great role in Vancouver’s misery and demise. That said, Florida can also be credited with the Canucks’ last ascension, when Roberto Luongo was plucked from the Southeast Division in 2006.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
After a year like the one Canucks fans just endured, downing copious amounts of alcohol is in short order. Will this shot do the trick? Well, it can’t hurt! This martini recipe comes from the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel in Vancouver and I’ve taken the liberty of converting it into a shooter. It was okay and probably makes a better martini, to be honest. You mostly taste the Blue Curacao, with a hint of the Raspberry Vodka. Much like the Canucks 2013-14 season… it’s disappointing!

Slovakia – Royal Tatrateani

Roll Call

Admittedly, I don’t know much about our next stop, Slovakia. I know a few hockey players from the European country: Marian Hossa, Zdeno Chara, and the late Pavol Demitra, among others. Aside from that, there’s not much space in me ol’ noggin’ dedicated to Slovakian culture. That said, there are a number of Slovaks who are known the world over for varying achievements. Here is a small sample of those fine folks:

The Stastny Brothers

When Peter Stastny defected from Slovakia to Canada in 1980, he became the first red curtain star player to do so and ushered in an exodus of players leaving Soviet Europe for a better life in North America. Peter and his brother Anton joined the Quebec Nordiques and were later united with eldest brother Marian, becoming only the third trio of brothers to play for the same squad. All three enjoyed successful career, particularly Peter who was a scoring phenom, notching 1239 points in 977 games. He retired in 1995 and was selected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1998. The brother’s legacy continues with Peter’s sons Yan and Paul suiting up for the Edmonton Oilers and Colorado Avalanche (ironically, the relocated Quebec franchise his father starred for), respectively. The Stastny’s are the first hockey family to represent four different countries – Czechoslovakia, Canada, Slovakia, USA – in international play.

Stastny Brothers

Juraj Jánošík

Slovakia has its own version of the legendary Robin Hood and that is this man. Jánošík is said to have stolen from the rich to give to the poor… sound familiar? Jánošík even had his own collection of “Merry Men,” although I’m sure they were called something more badass than that. The vigilante met his end after being sentenced to death. Scholars have debated how he was executed with most believing he was impaled on a hook and left to die, while others theorize he could have been hanged. As it often is with legends, stories persist that he went out in grand style, ever thumbing his nose at the authorities, by jumping onto the hook, rather than accept the grace offered to him in exchange for enlisting soldiers from his able ranks. Jánošík’s fable can be found in numerous films, books and even the odd song or two.

Adriana Karembeu (nee Sklenaríková)

This one is for all my little sippers out there who love gorgeous women! “Miss Wonderbra” as the beautiful and busty blonde has been dubbed has also appeared for brands like Victoria’s Secret and Peroni Beer. The gal is smart, too. Karembeu won her first modelling contest while she was studying medicine in Prague. If the “Miss Wonderbra” moniker isn’t enough to sway you or you’re more of a legs man, it should be noted that Karembeu once held the Guinness world record for longest legs among female models at close to 50 inches. I made sure to arrange my article so that squeezing in a picture of Karembeu didn’t seem out of place!

Adriana-Karembeu

I’m not sure which structure is more impressive!

Martina Hingis

The former world top-ranked women’s tennis player entered her first tournament at the age of four. Along with her mother, the two defected to Switzerland when she was just six years old and a decade later, Hingis became the youngest Grand Slam champion of all-time, winning the 1996 Wimbledon women’s doubles tournament with Helena Sukova. Following that victory, Hingis won Grand Slam singles titles at Wimbledon and the Australian and U.S. Opens. The only major championship missing from her resume is the French Open, although she did win in doubles at the tournament in 1998 and 2000. Hingis retired from tennis in 2003, at the young age of 22. She returned to the sport in 2005 and left in 2007, being handed a two-year ban after testing positive for a minimal amount of an element in cocaine. She returned again in 2010 and still plays in the occasional doubles tournament to this day.

Štefan Banič

After immigrating to the United States and witnessing a plane crash, Banič invented the first military parachute every deployed in action. The man had so much faith in his product (an umbrella like device attached to the jumpers body) that he tested it himself, first from the top of a 15-storey building and later from an actual airplane. Once successful (you know, meaning he didn’t plummet to the earth and burst into a million pieces), Banič then did something extraordinary… he donated his patent to the United States military. His invention saved the lives of countless soldiers during World War I, but the coal miner never received much money or fame for his creation.

Slovakia: Royal Tatrateani

Royal Tatrateani Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Gin
  • 0.5 oz Tatratea Citrus
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Agave Nectar
  • Garnish with a Lemon Slice

So, now you know a heck of a lot more about Slovakia than you did before… and really, that’s my only mission in life: to educate while getting people so blitzed they forget half the shit they knew. Full circle, my little sippers, full circle!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
Mrs. Sip was kind enough to pick these liqueurs up for me for Christmas, adding a country to my 52-week tour that I did not have on my radar. We have the Forest Fruit, Citrus, and Coconut flavours, but the company also sells Peach & White Tea, Original, Bohemian, and Outlaw varieties. This martini was really strong, but grew on me with each sip. To enhance the use of the Tatratea Citrus, I selected Tanqueray Rangpur as my Gin of choice.

December 30 – Iron Man Cocktail

We’re Going Streaking

As tomorrow marks the conclusion of the 365-day cocktail project, my efforts will be included with some of the greatest streaks known the world over. In fact, it’s probably the greatest compilation ever put together in human existence… and you little sippers were all a part of history. Here are some other notable runs.

Cal Ripken, Jr. – 2,632 Consecutive MLB games

While baseball lacks so many of the physical demands of other sports (hell, players spend more than half the game simply standing around and do so little that they can sometimes play two contests in one day), Cal Ripken, Jr.’s 2,632 straight games is still an amazing achievement. The streak started on May 30, 1982 and ended on Sept. 20, 1998, as the shortstop wanted to wrap it up on his own terms and avoid any controversy that may follow in the twilight of his career.

Cal-Ripken

Doug Jarvis – 964 Consecutive NHL games

To play that many successive games in one of the most physical sports on the planet is quite the impressive feat. When that streak spans your entire professional career (from 1975 to 1987), while winning four Stanley Cups, as well as the Selke Trophy (NHL’s top defensive forward) and Bill Masterton Trophy (awarded for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey) that makes the record that much sweeter.

Brett Favre – 297 Consecutive NFL Quarterback Starts

Given how rough and tumble professional football can be, it’s astonishing that Brett Favre was able to start 297 games in a row, all while sending pictures of his junk via cell phone to select female members of team staff. Okay, so some of Favre’s shine rubbed off (perhaps bad word choice) near the end of his career, but you can’t take away the guy’s grit and passion.

Joe Dimaggio – 56-Game Hit Streak

It has been written before that the hardest thing to do in professional sports is hit a fastball. While I vehemently disagree with that assertion, I do agree that there are unique skills required to be a pro ball player and Joe Dimaggio’s streak is pretty impressive because of this. Perhaps more notable, the dude married Marilyn Monroe… not too shabby!

Joe Dimaggio

Lance Armstrong – 7-Consecutive Tour de France Victories

While Lance Armstrong’s streak of victories has since been tainted by his steroid scandal, the man competed in a world rife with cheating and he still managed to win seven straight Tour de France titles. Armstrong’s celebrity also boosted funding for cancer treatments, so regardless of his name being sullied, he still did some great things for the world.

Wayne Gretzky – 51 Consecutive Game Point Streak

Wayne Gretzky is the most prolific scorer in NHL history, putting up so many records that will never be touched. Among those, is his 51-game point scoring streak in 1983-84. The Great One averaged 3 points per game during that run and had he sat out the rest of the season after the stretch was ended, he would have still won the scoring title by 27 points!

Byron Nelson – 11 Consecutive PGA Tour Wins

Today, you’re likely to see a different leader atop the PGA Tour each week. To win 11 straight in today’s golfing world is totally unfathomable. Not ever Tiger Woods in his prime came anywhere near touching that mark. Nelson won 18 of 30 tournaments in 1945 and 52 throughout his PGA career. He also added 12 wins on other professional circuits.

A.C. Green – 1,192 Consecutive NBA Games

I think I’m more impressed with the fact the deeply religious man waited until the age of 38 to finally lose his virginity. Now THAT’S an iron man streak! Green’s foundation promotes abstinence before marriage and he was finally wed in 2002, following his playing career, which lasted from 1985-2001, including three NBA Championships.

Drink #364: Iron Man Cocktail

Iron Man Cocktail Drink Recipe

  • 1.5 oz Amaretto (I used Disaronno)
  • 1 Shot of Orange Juice
  • Splash of Grenadine

So, what’s next for The Sip Advisor? You’ll have to stay tuned for a big announcement on New Year’s Day. The excitement is palpable, isn’t it!?

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
This recipe comes courtesy of The Drunken Moogle site and while it is meant for the comic and movie character Iron Man, I think it applies here, as well. Simply place the shot of Orange Juice into the Amaretto/Grenadine Mix and slam the whole concoction back. The drink is sweet, so if you have a tooth for that, you’re in luck. Most will want to have a more tart taste mixed in, so this cocktail doesn’t work for all.

September 12 – Furry Purple Squirrel

Mascot Mess

Teams largely have mascots to engage young fans and as a merchandising opportunity. I don’t know why college teams have mascots, as well, but I guess alcohol and people dressed as animals is always a winning combination. Each major league (NHL, MLB, NBA, NFL) is guilty of poorly chosen characters. Here are some of the worst mascots in the wide world of sports:

Carlton the Bear – Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)

How in the hell is a bear the mascot for this team? Did they just want to be able to sell oodles of merchandise using a cute teddy bear? The team’s mascot should really be a dude dressed up in a leaf costume and they could do this performance introduction, where the leaf blows through the sky and lands flat on the ground, only to be crushed by passersby. Just like the team itself… symmetry, my friends, symmetry. Leafs suck, btw.

Carlton the Bear

Heh, golfing… just like the Maple Leafs every spring!

Raymond – Tampa Bay Rays (MLB)

There’s just no zip to this name and the character is even worse, described as a seadog and wearing large sneakers and a backwards ball cap. Raymond is really just a slacker, complete with unkempt facial hair. Why couldn’t the mascot be a sting ray, with the tag line “I killed Steve Irwin, so don’t mess with us!” Now that would be bad ass.

Bear – Utah Jazz (NBA)

They couldn’t even give their mascot a decent nickname? The marketing department sat around and just settled with Bear? I’d be more impressed with Bear if he occasionally picked up a musical instrument and belted out some jazz scat tunes. Then again, the Jazz name doesn’t even work in Utah and is only a carryover from the franchise’s New Orleans origins. Ridiculous all around.

Rowdy – Dallas Cowboys (NFL)

Rowdy looks like Fix-It Felix from Wreck-It Ralph… except he appears a little more Broke Back Mountain than the team would probably want. The Cowboys legacy as a rough and tumble team doesn’t hold up so well when Rowdy is paired with that lineage. He has to be the creepiest looking cowboy I’ve ever seen, making the blood of Clint Eastwood boil to extreme levels.

Rowdy Cowboy

Spartacat – Ottawa Senators (NHL)

I don’t get the orange hair. Doesn’t the Senators organization know that the world hates gingers!? Not myself, I find them to be loveable folks, but I am a rare breed. Readers know of my love for cats, but this one just doesn’t sit right. The name is okay too, but I just don’t see the necessity for that orange hippie hair. Call me crazy (and I’m sure you have), but I just can’t get past that.

Screech – Washington Nationals (MLB)

How awesome would it be if the Washington Nationals mascot wasn’t a anthropomorphic bald eagle, but was, in fact, Screech from Saved by the Bell!? Other than that minor note, I really don’t have any problem with Screech. He falls in line with the team name and the city the franchise plays out of. I probably should have left him off the list… but that Saved by the Bell thing still bugs me.

Hip Hop the Rabbit – Philadelphia 76ers (NBA)

Sure, basketball teams need to cater to the hip hop market and fans of the music genre, but this is really taking things a little too far. Hip Hop looks like a “gangsta” Trix Rabbit on roids, who instead of searching aimlessly for the beloved cereal, performs slam dunks off trampolines to pass the time. Let’s just hope Hip Hop doesn’t become a casualty of the East-West Rap Feud.

Hip Hop the Rabbit

Stinger – Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL)

How anyone could consider an insect cute and cuddly is a question I’ll never be able to answer. Still, this pest was able to find work with the Columbus Blue Jackets, despite being a yellow jacket bug. That mixed with the teams blue colours, has turned him green, just to confuse people even more. I foresee a large swatter and a satisfying splat in Stinger’s future!

Sparky the Dragon – New York Islanders (NHL)

Why a dragon is the mascot for this team is perplexing. Sure, the owner, Charles Wang (heh… wang) is of Asian descent, but is that enough to justify this move? Not to mention he simply transferred the character over from his former Arena Football League franchise and you have the makings of a mascot conspiracy. We must form a task force to get to the bottom of this!

Dinger – Colorado Rockies (MLB)

The Colorado Rockies entered Major League Baseball around the time that Barney the Dinosaur was huge for many youngsters. I guess they decided to capitalize on that marketing craze when conceptualizing Dinger. Apparently, making Dinger a Triceratops was based on reports of dinosaur fossils being discovered as the franchise built its Coors Field stadium. I have to say that I do like the name Dinger, though.

Dinger the Dinosaur

Bernie Brewer – Milwaukee Brewers (MLB)

This mascot has to be the closest thing to resemble a 1970’s porn star in the sporting world, complete with a full, bushy, handlebar moustache. I bet under that jersey is a chest full of wild, curly hair and if we keep travelling downwards, a Ron Jeremy-esque member. The Brewer probably drinks a ton, too, and may be the best candidate on this list to party with!

Youppi – Montreal Canadiens (NHL)

The only thing worse than a bad mascot is a bad mascot that was meant for another team. When the Montreal Expos were relocated to become the Washington Nationals, Youppi became a free agent, quickly snapped up by the Canadiens. I do have to give credit to Youppi for being the first mascot ever kicked out of a Major League Baseball game, which occurred in 1989 following LA Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda complaining to umps about the mascot’s behaviour.

Drink #255: Furry Purple Squirrel

Sept 12

  • Rim glass with Grape Candy Powder
  • 1 oz Blue Curacao
  • 1 oz Light Rum
  • 1 oz Coconut Rum (I used Malibu)
  • Top with Club Soda
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Dash of Grenadine
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

I must admit, I left off the many amateur sport mascots that could have filled three of these lists. Olympic mascots have always been ridiculous too. Just to keep things simple, I only focused on professional team mascots. Did I miss any? Leave a message after the beep. BEEEEEEEP!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
This is an interesting recipe that includes floating the Coconut Rum on top of the drink right before serving. I picked this cocktail because it somewhat went with the topic of today’s post and because the blend of ingredients intrigued me. My Grape Candy Powder rim worked out better than others. I still don’t understand why every drink that purports itself to be purple never turns out that way and remains blue. Maybe I’m not using enough Grenadine, but then again, I don’t want to use a ton of Grenadine.

January 7 – Whipped White Russian

Just Pucking Around

I hear ya, boys!

I hear ya, boys!

With the NHL lockout coming to an end early yesterday, hockey has been on my mind. Coincidentally, I had the Whipped White Russian on my schedule for today, although given Russia’s recent victory over Canada at the World Junior Hockey Tournament – stopping Canada’s streak of bringing home a medal at the competition at 14 years in a row – perhaps it should be called a Whipped White Canadian! Wouldn’t that be Howie Mandel, though?

I’m pumped to have hockey coming back, even if I didn’t necessarily miss it while it was gone. There have been many nights where the inclusion of a hockey game (be it Hockey Night in Canada or another broadcast) would have been a stellar addition to my drinking exploits. Best of all, this saves me from having to find another sport to really get into, although I had hopes that roller derby would return to TV. No, really, the best thing about the lockout ending is that all the pundits will have to talk about something else and we can all finally move on from terms like HRR, decertification, disclaimers of interest and Gary Bettman.

I’m just happy to hear it will be returning to a rink near me very soon and now it’s onto the celebration. Cue up Kool and the Gang!

Drink #7: Whipped White Russian

Whipped White Russian Drink

  • Rim glass with chocolate sprinkles
  • 1 oz Chocolate Whipped Vodka or other vodka
  • 1 oz Kahlua
  • Top with milk

So, to all my friends out there that have a passion for puck – I said puck… and it wasn’t a typo – enjoy the season ahead and make sure to get cozy on the couch with one of these bad boys! GO CANUCKS GO!!!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I like White Russians, but this is the first time I ever used Chocolate Whipped Vodka in one and that made the experience that much better. A Chocolate Sprinkle rim and this dessert drink just got that much better!