South Africa – African Lullaby

His Excellency

Our voyage across the Atlantic Ocean ends with our arrival in South Africa. It’s pretty easy to pick out the country’s most notable citizen. Competing against the likes of wrestler Col. DeBeers (actually played by American Ed Wiskoski) and disgraced Olympian Oscar Pistorius, it’s a no-brainer that Nelson Mandela stands above the rest of the nation’s celebrities. Here are some facts about the man, the myth, the legend, that might not be very well known:

Mandela Quote

Mandela’s birth name “Rolihlahla” means troublemaker (or pulling the branch of a tree, but troublemaker is so much cooler, especially given the changes Mandela was responsible for). He was given the name Nelson by a teacher on his first day of school, as African children were given English names so colonial masters could pronounce them easier.

The man known as Madiba (a term of endearment and respect) was on the U.S. terror watch list until 2008 due to his militant fight against apartheid with members of the African National Congress. He was 89 years old when finally removed from the record.

Mandela was a boxing fan and found similarities in the sport to his struggle, according to his biography Long Walk to Freedom: “I did not like the violence of boxing. I was more interested in the science of it – how you move your body to protect yourself, how you use a plan to attack and retreat, and how you pace yourself through a fight.”

Outside the sports arena, Mandela was a big fan of the late 90’s pop group, the Spice Girls. He claimed upon meeting them in 1997, “These are my heroes.” Perhaps the leader should have parlayed some of his power into a ménage a cinq!

Original Spice Girls

Mandela opened the first black law firm in South Africa and provided free counsel to many blacks.

The prison cell Mandela occupied for 18 years on Robben Island is now a World Heritage Site. The cell measures 8-feet by 7-feet and contained a straw mat to sleep on. While incarcerated, Mandela was forced to work in a quarry and denied the use of sunglasses. The intense glare coming off the limestone permanently damaged his sight.

Towns, streets, squares, parks, buildings, schools, monuments, flowers (Madiba and Mandela’s Gold), a nuclear particle (Mandela particle), and even a woodpecker (australopicus nelsonmandelai) have been named after the former South African president.

Mandela was a noted ladies’ man in his youthful days, as documented in the book Young Mandela. It’s said he carried on numerous affairs at any given time proving just exactly how awesome he was.

Mandela Stud

Ladies man, indeed!

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Mandela’s second wife, was convicted of kidnapping, involving the abduction and murder of a 14-year-old suspected police informant. Mandela later divorced Madikizela after 38 years of marriage, including all of Mandela’s time while incarcerated. Other accusations made against Madikizela include ordering murders, violent interrogations, and supporting the use of “necklaces” (a death sentence of putting a burning tire around the head of an enemy).

Mandela’s film credits include Spike Lee’s Malcolm X, in which he plays a teacher reciting the activist’s famous speech. Mandela would not say the line “By any means necessary,” due to his pacifist beliefs, so the movie ends with footage of Malcolm X delivering the axiom.

Morgan Freeman played Mandela in the movie Invictus, about South Africa’s underdog victory at the 1995 Rugby World Cup, an event which has been credited for uniting the citizens of the country, regardless of colour or creed. The title of the movie is also the name of the William Ernest Henley poem Mandela drew strength from during his long imprisonment.

Other actors who have portrayed Mandela include: Idris Elba (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom), Danny Glover (Mandela), Terrence Howard (Winnie Mandela), and Dennis Haysbert (Goodbye Bafana).

South Africa: African Lullaby

African Lullaby Cocktail

  • 2 oz Amarula
  • Top with Milk
  • Splash of Coconut Milk/Rum
  • 2 Dashes of Nutmeg
  • Garnish with Coconut Shavings and Cinnamon

Lastly, it should be noted the Mandela deplored the vuvuzela horn… okay, I don’t know this for fact, but I have to assume that a dude as cool as Mandela would grow tired of the annoying horn eventually!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
I’ve always been curious about Amarula cream liqueur (amarula is an African fruit) and finally decided to grab a bottle for this Around the World project. It’s a very nice spirit on its own and made this cocktail unique and delicious. The recipe suggests to use Coconut Milk, but I went with Coconut Rum to change things up. After all, regular Milk is already part of the drink.

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December 4 – Eggnog

Music to Your Ears

It seems that a lot of artist’s take the easy route and compile an album of Christmas covers at some point in their career. Here are some of the worst examples of that trend and offerings I suggest you avoid at all cost!

Bob Dylan – Christmas in the Heart

He may be one of the greatest song writers of all-time, but this Christmas offering was just weird. Pa Sip will often play it, but only for everyone to make fun of the legendary performer. This is one of those albums that seemed to simply fulfill a record deal. Dylan’s singing is unintelligible at some points, as if the dude had a mouth full of marbles when hitting the studio. At least all proceeds went to various charities, so credit is deserved there.

David Hasselhoff – The Night Before Christmas

While he’s an icon in Germany, domestically, he’s more a laughingstock. I’d much rather see Hasselhoff barreling down the beach or behind the wheel of a speaking car than stepping up to a microphone… and I don’t even like him as an actor… or any of the shows he’s been on. Perhaps Hasselhoff should stick to bathroom floor cheeseburgers and Rob Ford-esque drunken stupors.

Rosanne Barr – Sings the Christmas Classics

If her infamous rendition of the American national anthem tells us anything, it’s that Roseanne Barr can’t sing worth a lick. I refuse to even sample any of the songs from this album. Just looking at the selections featured on the cover have me nervous. ‘Santa Baby’ should only be sung my sex bomb and *gulp* her ‘12 Days of Christmas’ is a freakin’ “extended version”!

Kickin’ Kazoos – Kazoo Christmas

I don’t know why everyone has such harsh critiques for the kazoo. Wrestler’s Edge and Christian use to play a mean kazoo… for humourous effect, at least. Granted, they only played for brief periods of time and never thought of compiling a 30-minute album devoted to Christmas tunes… if you could even call them that. I think kazoos can only be appreciated by the same people that weren’t annoyed by vuvuzelas during the 2010 World Cup.

Brady Bunch – Christmas with the Brady Bunch

The entire Brady Bunch has the accumulative musical talent of absolutely zero! I bet Marsha gets all the good lines in this release. Marsha, Marsha, Marsha! I hate all those kid sing-a-long albums. I even saw a commercial recently where youngsters were singing song like Macklemore’s ‘Thrift Shop’… what happens when they get to the “this is fuckin’ awesome lyric”!? Such a sad state this world is in.

Various Artists – Yuletide Disco

Disco and Christmas should always have a minimum of 500 meters between them. Mrs. Sip should work on that court order for me!

William Hung – Hung for the Holidays

While the album title is totally wicked, having a guy who can barely speak English (let alone sing it) perform Christmas classics was probably a bad idea from the start. Add the fact that Hung thinks he’s a legitimate talent, while everyone else views him as a total joke and you have a recipe for disaster. The entire entry is only 18 minutes long and ends with Hung belting out Queen’s ‘We Are the Champions’!

RuPaul – Ho Ho Ho

From one train wreck to another… how RuPaul had a career of any sorts, simply by being a drag queen is beyond my comprehension. Perhaps, she (or is it he?) was the beginning of the non-talented celebrity? This chart topper contains such classics as ‘I Saw Daddy Kissing Santa Claus’ and ‘RuPaul the Red-Nosed Drag Queen’. If I find this in my stocking I’ll cancel Christmas for good.

Various Artists – Christmas with Colonel Sanders

Sadly, we’re not just talking about feasting on the Colonel’s original recipe of 11 herbs and spices. Can you believe this is actually a sequel to the album Christmas Day with Colonel Sanders!? I’m not even sure why he gets top billing for both albums, as they seem to be made up of various artist tracks. I guess that’s just the pull the fried chicken magnate had!

Star Wars – Christmas in the Stars

And the songs are sung by the original movie cast? Shut the front door! Yeah, because I want to hear Harrison Ford’s monotone voice belt out the Christmas classics or have R2-D2 beep, bop, and boop his way through my cherished childhood memories. Do they even celebrate Christmas on Tatooine? I seriously doubt it, but don’t care enough about the series to know the answer.

Regis Philbin – The Regis Philbin Christmas Album

I don’t understand the thinking that goes into some of these albums: “Hey, I got a great idea. Let’s take a TV personality who has no musical talent and get them to record a Christmas album.” No matter how famous that person may be, that pile of trash won’t sell. Donald Trump even appears on the album for a rendition of ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ *shudder*.

Yoko Ono – An X-Mas Message from Yoko

I hate Yoko Ono with a passion… and I don’t even care that she’s blamed for breaking up The Beatles. I hate her for everything else she’s plagued upon the world. If I was ever sent a Christmas message from this ogre, I’d use it for its only practical application… as toilet paper. I mean, who the hell uses a pitch black background as cover art to market a Christmas album?

Drink #338: Eggnog

Eggnog Drink Recipe

  • 1.5 oz Rum (I used Malibu Sundae)
  • Top with Eggnog
  • Sprinkle with Nutmeg
  • Garnish with Gingerbread M&Ms

Okay, we spewed some serious venom in this post, so now it’s time to sit back and relax with my Eggnog… given I’m not a huge advocate of the ‘Nog, we could be in for a bumpy ride!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I’m not the type to make eggnog from scratch, so I mooched some of the pre-made stuff off Ma and Pa Sip and came up with this delicacy. It was pretty tasty, especially with Pa Sip’s idea of using Malibu Sundae for the Rum quotient of the recipe. The M&M’s added a nice sweet flavour to each sip, as they melted in the cocktail and not in my hands!

November 25 – Brandy Alexander

Night Moves

Nothing finishes off a good evening of boozing than a perfectly-timed night cap. But what to enjoy as your final drink of the evening is up for debate. Here are some ideas I’ve accumulated and, of course, would love to share with all you little sippers.

Evening Cocktail

Amaretto

A lot of night caps consist of straight alcohol, neat or on the rocks. Amaretto and its almond flavour can be a little sweet for some, but for the Sip Advisor, it’s pure heaven in a glass. I’m usually rounding out my buzz on Disaronno, while Mrs. Sip is rushing around prepping for a late night shower… and I’m pestering her the whole time!

Cognac

I haven’t really delved into the world of cognacs too much, but I do enjoy the Courvoisier offerings I’ve had to this point and Mrs. Sip picked up a bottle of Hennessy for me while she was recently in Europe. I find cognac to be comparable to scotch, but perhaps it doesn’t share the exact same level of manliness as scotch.

Spiked Coffee

This can be achieved with everything from Irish Crème to various liqueurs. Pa Sip likes to use Pinnacle Whipped Vodka in his late night coffee, while sitting around the fire pit and roasting marshmallows (or himself!). Now I know why that bottle is always depleted when I come home for visits!

Cat-spiked-his-coffee

Hot Toddy

The Hot Toddy can be made up of various recipes, depending on your locale. The traditional Scottish version mixes whiskey, hot water, sugar or honey, and lemon slices or cinnamon, depending on the desired flavour. In North America, you might be served a variation using ginger ale subbed in for the water.

Scotch on the Rocks

When Mrs. Sip and I were in Mexico last year, enjoying my first all-inclusive experience, I made sure to finish off every night with some scotch. It’s a wonderful sipping drink that calms the nerves and the powerful alcohol makes you rest peacefully when you decide to hit the hay.

Cat Scotch

Grand Marnier

With its sweet orange flavour, this liqueur is perfect for a little nip before bedtime. I remember when I was just a wee little sipper, enjoying the Grand Marnier liqueur chocolate bottles best, among options that included Kahlua, Irish Crème, and others. I had to get my Sip Advisor start somewhere!

Night Cap

Well, given its prominence in the drinking lexicon, you had to figure there would actually be a cocktail called Night Cap. The drink recipe consists of rum, warm milk, cinnamon, and sugar. It doesn’t sound like something I would particularly enjoy, as I don’t really like warm beverages, but it might be just right for others.

Drink #329: Brandy Alexander

Brandy Alexander Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Cognac (I used Hennessy)
  • 1 oz Crème de Cacao
  • Top with Milk
  • Garnish with Nutmeg

Now that you’re all cozy and tucked in for a long winter’s nap (wearing your warmest footy pajamas and all), remember to check out this wonderful site for your bedtime reading!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This was a pretty decent cocktail, but I feel like it’s too similar to other cocktails I’ve made over this project. Given this is a classic cocktail, it probably came well before the others I’ve sampled, but I could help but think of other recipes, like the International Incident when sipping this nightcap.