Greece – Greek Buck

Games We Play

Greece is the birthplace of the Olympic Games, which most of us love every time they roll around and dominate our conscious for two and a half weeks. You don’t even have to be a sports fan to enjoy the Olympics (it helps, but it’s not needed) which has grown to be the landmark athletic event across the globe. And we have the Greeks to thank for all this physical goodness!

The Olympics, held in honour of the god Zeus, were named as such because they took place in Olympia, dating back thousands of years ago. It wasn’t until 1896 that the modern version of the Games took place, hosted by Athens (featuring 43 events, being contested by 280 athletes from 13 countries). The term Olympiad refers to the four year period between Olympics and became a unit of time measurement for Greeks.

Olympics Relevance

From humble beginnings (the first recorded Olympics only included one event: the stade (where we now get the word stadium from), a 192-meter foot race based on the size of Zeus’ foot), the world’s biggest sporting event now showcases countless sports and within them, a number of different disciplines. The ancient games were said to have been started by Hercules (aka Heracles), who ran a race that he decided should be repeated every four years. I wonder if that story will make it into any of the Rock’s new movies based on the character.

It wasn’t until many years and Olympics later that other events were added to the slate. The diaulos, a 400-meter race and the dolichos, either 1,500 meters or 5,000 meters. Later additions included the petathalon (five events comprised of a foot race, long jump, discus, javelin, and wrestling), boxing, chariot racing, and pankration, a no-holds-barred wrestling and boxing hybrid that sounds like a precursor to mixed martial arts.

The last event added to the ancient Olympics was the hoplitodromos, a 400-800-meter race run wearing full armor, including shields, helmets, and all the other suit pieces. Competitors were likely to have fallen repeatedly thanks to their own outfits, as well as the discarded pieces of other racers. I’d love to see something like this run today, for sheer entertainment purposes. It would be like Wacky Racers for world-class athletes.

Olympic Event

Events were originally contested by only freeborn Greek males. Not only were women not allowed to participate in the sports, but married women couldn’t even attend the Olympics. Competition winners received an olive branch instead of a gold medal. I wonder if they still wore it around their neck and received endorsement deals based on their performance. Perhaps Coroebus, winner of the first recorded Olympics ended up hawking used chariots or something.

Prior to and during the Olympic Games, truces were arranged country-wide to let athletes and viewers pass through cities on their way to Olympia unscathed. Capital punishment and acts of war were banned, although there are accounts of these rules being broken, often resulting in the aggressing group’s exclusion from the Games, as well as a hefty fine.

What has now become a nearly three week long cultural event began as five days, with three being dedicated to sport and the other two to celebrations and rituals. The ancient version of the closing ceremony included a feast of 100 oxens… something I’d like to see return to the modern Games. In the years that the Olympics weren’t being held, there were similar competitions known as the Pythian, Nemean, and Isthmian Games. The Olympics remained the preeminent sporting event.

olympics nude

Athletes competed nude as a tribute to the gods and much like ESPN’s Body Issue magazine series, so people could appreciate the male body. We get the word gymnasium from the Greek word gymnos, which means naked. Kind of makes you never want to do physical education ever again. Some participants chose to wear a kynodesme, which sounds like a really uncomfortable penis cap. Can you imagine the TV ratings if Olympians still had to compete in the buff!?

After Greece was seized by the Roman Empire, Emperor Nero once entered the chariot race and declared himself the winner, despite falling off his chariot during the running. Later, Emperor Theodosius ended the Games, banning all pagan festivals. The Olympics wouldn’t return for 1,500 years, revived by Baron Pierre de Coubertin of France, who also established the International Olympic Committee.

The first Olympic marathon in 1896 was fittingly won by Greece’s Spyridon Louis. It followed the 25-mile path run by a Greek soldier from the city of Marathon to Athens to inform the masses of the Greeks victory over the Persians. Nearly 30 years later, the marathon’s distance was permanently set at 26 miles and 385 yards. No amount of Ouzo could help me through that epic event, but it will nicely wrap up this article!

Greece: Greek Buck

Greek Buck Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Brandy
  • Top with Ginger Ale
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Float Ouzo
  • Garnish with Lemon Wedge

One of my greatest pleasures was working for NBC during the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. I suppose I still owe the Greeks a debt of gratitude for that wonderful winter month!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
I never know how an Ouzo cocktail is going to turn out and this one was pretty damn good. Floating the Ouzo was a really nice touch as first of all, it looked good, like white frosting across the top of the cocktail. Next, getting a splash of Ouzo with each sip, followed by the Brandy, Ginger Ale, and Lemon Juice made each taste a new adventure!

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Jamaica – Neo-Tropical

Lightning Strikes

The fastest man on the planet in one Usain Bolt. This Jamaican worked his way up to become an icon of the running world and his country of Jamaica. Let’s take a closer look at the ‘Lightning Bolt’ (seriously, the dude’s name is perfect for the sport he excels at), while enjoying some fine Jamaican rum!:

Born in Trelawny, Jamaica on August 21, 1986, Bolt turned pro in 2004 after a successful youth and junior career. At his first Olympic Games in 2004, he was eliminated in the first round, while suffering through a leg injury. Four years later, the world would be formally introduced to the sprinter who runs at a whopping 23.7 mph.

Bolt Versus

Bolt holds the World Record in the 100m, 200m, and 4x100m relay, his three signature events. Combined, Bolt has taken home six Olympic gold medals as well as numerous other awards and accolades. His honours include IAAF World Athlete of the Year, Laureus World Sportsman of the Year, Track & Field Athlete of the Year, and BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

Despite his triple gold medal performance at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and leap into the world’s eye, Bolt had not been very successful in the 100m discipline up to that historic victory. It has been noted that Bolt’s finishing time could have been even better, given the runner slowed up at the end and began celebrating.

It’s hard to believe, but Bolt first aspired to be a professional cricketer. Can you imagine this energetic speed demon sitting idly and going through the long matches that make up the wicket sport? Instead, he takes care of business in under 10 seconds (20 for 200m races). Anyway, it was his cricket coach who steered him towards sprint running after noticing the athlete’s intense speed. Bolt is also an avid football fan (of the European variety, of course) and has dreamed of suiting up for Manchester United when he retires from sprinting.

Jamaican Zombies

Talk about an athlete you can love and respect: the man ate Chicken McNuggets throughout his time at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Apparently, Bolt was afraid to eat anything else while in China and estimates he consumed 1,000 McNuggets over his 10-day stay in the country. Somehow this didn’t lead to a McDonald’s sponsorship deal… perhaps it’s because his favoruite fast food restaurant has been noted as being KFC.

The Sip Advisor doesn’t like tying his shoe laces and apparently this is a trait shared with Bolt. The difference is, I’m an booze enthusiast who needs to be able to remove his shoes in the worst of stupors, while Bolt is a finely-tuned athlete who participates in a sport where equipment could make all the difference. Bolt even ran his record shattering 100m gold medal race with laces undone.

Bolt has his own mobile game app, Bolt!, which sees the track star running from pirates while trying to collect gold coins and avoid obstacles. Bolt is also a playable character in the wildly popular Temple Run video game series, which follows a very similar premise, just minus the pirates.

Conan on Bolt

The runner’s famous victory pose, dubbed ‘To Di World’, is more commonly known the world over as ‘Bolting.’ I’m still waiting for my ‘Sipping’ stance to take the universe by storm, but Mrs. Sip tells me I shouldn’t hold my breath. Then again, it’s not like I can really kill any MORE brain cells!

Bolt enjoys annual earnings of over $20 million, coming from prize money, appearances, endorsements, and even the Jamaican government. He has promotional deals with Puma, Visa, Nissan, Virgin Media, Gatorade, and many others, which account for all but approximately $300,000 of his net worth.

Bolt Sperm

The Jamaicans are a musical bunch (our next post will focus on reggae and the Rastafarian movement) and Bolt even has his own line of headphones. Soul Electronics signed a deal with the runner to be their global ambassador. He also has his own restaurant and sports bar in Jamaica, called Tracks & Records, as well as a clothing line.

An autobiography chronicling Bolt’s life was released in 2010. Titled ‘My Story: 9.58: Being the World’s Fastest Man,’ Bolt said of the book at a press conference before it hit store shelves: “It’s my life, and I’m a cool and exciting guy.” Sounds about right for a guy who in his free time enjoys dancing and DJ’ing and has been described as laid back… everything you might expect from a Jamaican appearing in a Red Stripe beer commercial!

Jamaica: Neo-Tropical

Neo-Tropical Cocktail

  • 2 oz Appleton Rum
  • 0.5 oz Coconut Rum
  • 0.25 oz Jagermeister
  • 0.25 oz Raspberry Liqueur
  • Splash of Pineapple Juice
  • Garnish with Raspberries

I can’t believe how many similarities the Sip Advisor shares with this world-class athlete. From the untied shoes to supporting Manchester United to our mutual love of chicken nuggets… look out, Mrs. Sip, I think I’m falling in love with the man!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This cocktail’s liquor mix was interesting with Jagermeister being invited to play with the rums. Once again, Pineapple Juice isn’t a favourite mixer of mine, but it was decent here. I’ve always loved Raspberries as a garnish and this rendition was no different.

December 12 – Candy Cane

12 Days of Christmas

While the Sip Advisor is doubling the efforts of everyone out there and offering 25 days of Christmas rather than a paltry 12, one would have to admit that the damn 12 Days of Christmas song can really get stuck in your head. Upon reviewing the lyrics, I’ve decided to give each item listed in the tune a patron saint. So, let’s warm up our vocal chords and run the gauntlet!

12 Drummers Drumming – Animal from The Muppets

One of my favourite percussion artists of all-time and star of The Electric Mayhem (perhaps the greatest band name in the history of music!), Animal knows how to work the skins and cymbals. His trademark wild behaviour makes him a perfect addition to this menagerie of fascinating characters.

animal drums

11 Pipers Piping – ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper

One of professional wrestling’s best bad guys, Roddy Piper knew how to ignite hatred within fans. He was the perfect mix of cocky, dastardly, and vicious, earning his way into the hearts of millions of fans worldwide.

10 Lords-a-Leaping – Michael Flatley

Whatever happened to this guy? He was the Lord of the Dance… and surely that included much leaping. Apaprently, Flatley is living the good life in Beverly Hills, probably creeping on all the 90210 teenagers and throwing around his millions of dollars.

9 Ladies Dancing – Jennifer Grey

You should never put Baby in a corner and I refuse to do so, as well. One would hope that if Jennifer Grey accepted this honourable position, that she’d bring the spirit of Patrick Swayze along with her and they could perform their hit numbers from Dirty Dancing.

dirty dancing

8 Maids-a-Milking – The Octomom

You’d have to assume that the poor woman went through sheer agony over having to breast feed all eight of her newborns. Let’s just hope her jugs didn’t end up looking as disgusting as her pregnant alien-like belly did.

7 Swans-a-Swimming – Michael Phelps

I briefly considered Natalie Portman for this position, based on her role in Black Swan, but there are other positions I’d rather have her fill! Instead, Michael Phelps gets the part thanks to being the greatest swimmer this world has ever seen. 22 Olympic medals don’t lie, folks.

6 Geese-a-Laying – Anthony Edwards

While I hope to never see Anthony Edwards actually lay an egg, he gets the nod in this category as a result of playing Nick “Goose” Bradshaw in the 1986 classic, Top Gun. He was Tom Cruise’s greatest inspiration before Scientology rolled around and brainwashed the star.

duck-duck-goose-topgun

5 Gold Rings – Mr. T

Thanks to all the jewelry Mr. T is usually rocking, he’d be perfect for this role. And why can Mr. T get away with wearing so many valuable? Because no one would ever mess with the guy. Even at the age of 61, I know for a fact that he would kick my ass… that’s not saying much, but you have to credit the guy for still being a BA badass.

4 Colly Birds – Paul McCartney

I didn’t even know what a colly bird was and apparently it’s nothing exciting. It’s a common blackbird (that’s what they’re actually called) and so I add sainthood to sir Paul McCartney’s long list of accolades. He wrote the Beatles classic Blackbird and seems to understand the fowl best.

3 French Hens – Brigitte Bardot

This broad was quite the looker in her younger days. At age 79, Bardot seems to have gone a little nutty, but it’s hard to tell as that seems to be a typical personality trait for the French. Still, anyone who posed for Playboy to celebrate their own 40th birthday is rockin’ it in my books.

brigitte_bardot

Where the hell is that phone hooked up???

2 Turtle Doves – Turtle from Entourage

Wait, a turtle dove is a bird… what the hell? Half of this song is about gifts of birds… I don’t want any damn birds. I’m trying to rid the world of these vermin. I still pick Turtle because he’ll at least bring a party atmosphere to the organization.

And a Partridge in a Pear Tree – Danny Bonaduce

Surely, with all the drugs and crazy antics Danny Bonaduce has gotten up to in his life, the former Partridge Family child star has awoken to find himself nestled in a pear tree on at least one occasion. Rock on, you crazy ginger!

Drink #346: Candy Cane

Candy Cane Drink Recipe

  • Rim glass with Crushed Peppermint
  • 0.75 Peppermint Schnapps
  • 0.75 Vodka
  • 0.75 Crème de Cacao
  • Dash of Grenadine
  • Top with Milk
  • Splash of Club Soda
  • Garnish with a Candy Cane

Do you have any issues with my patron saint selections? I’m willing to listen to ideas for other candidates and if you sway me with a sound argument, I just may give you some credit. Ready, set, go!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I liked this martini, despite how much of a pain it is to produce Crushed Candy Cane bits for the rim. I made quite the mess putting that element together. The drink completely tasted like a Candy Cane and was quite enjoyable.

June 14 – Countdown Cocktail

3…2…1…

Life is full of countdowns of varying importance. Whether you’re waiting for your next vacation or the end of the world is rapidly approaching, we’re all watching time tick away to something. Here are some of the most infamous countdowns:

Y2K

Heading into the new millennium, concerns were raised over computer clocks rolling over to the new date, thus causing internal malfunctions. Some people feared that this would cause computer systems across the world to fail, with results being as catastrophic as nuclear missiles being launched and the planet destroying itself. In fact, in Onagawa, Japan, an alarm at a nuclear power plant sounded two minutes after midnight, but luckily it was a false alarm. Worst yet, 150 slot machines in Delaware stopped working, causing hardcore gamblers to declare martial law.

y2k

Year 10,000 Problem

If we even make it there, there are already fears that an issue similar to Y2K will haunt us again in the year 10,000. I’m not too concerned, as clearly they haven’t taken the time to come up with a clever name for the event like they did for Y2K, which shows they’re not all that worried about something that may occur 8,000 years from now. Besides, I don’t even know if my lineage will continue past myself, let alone eight millennia from now.

Popular Culture

Lists are used by everyone nowadays. Hell, it’s largely what I do here at The Sip Advisor, on a daily basis… but I’m one of the few who does it with class and dignity! While some lists are awesome (again, like the ones featured on this site), others are utterly useless. Don’t even get me started on music video countdowns. Those are so horrible it makes me want to throw a record player through my TV screen and eliminate all possible audible nightmares.

New Year’s Eve

Every year, people are given the chance to reboot, start fresh, and kiss some random stranger in the name of celebration! As the Times Square ball and other imitators drop on the beginning of a new year, we are all given a chance to reflect on where we’ve come from and where we’re going. For some this can be a good experience and for others it can disappoint. Remember though, New Year’s brought about The Sip Advisor, so we should all be thankful!

new-years

Olympics

It has become tradition that the next city to host the Olympics constructs a big clock in one of its popular centres and then ticks away the days, hours, minutes and seconds until its time to shine and host the world arrives. Legend has it, that if these clocks pause at any time prior to the Games, the Olympics will be cancelled by the International Olympic Committee… that’s only a Sip Legend though.

2012 Apocalypse

According to Mayan predictions, the world was supposed to end on Dec. 21, 2012. Well, it didn’t. All it provided was a chance for zealous nutcases to form cults and for comedy shows to spoof the so-called “end of days”. The best part about living on the west coast (although there are many reasons) is that in all these time-based doomsday theories, we’ll be the last to be hit and can enjoy what’s left of our time while others kick the bucket.

mayan_calendar_funny

Shuttle Launch

Space, the final frontier… The last thing astronauts hear before being launched into the wild abyss of space is the shuttle countdown that precipitates every launch. The rush that must go through these folk’s system would surely measure off the charts, as they experience something very few ever will. I hope affordable space travel eventually exists in my lifetime. I’d go searching for Alf, so we can chase cats together!

Final Countdown

The classic hit from the band Europe should definitely be mentioned in this post. Seriously, I challenge you to go have a listen and try not to get into it. This is a special favourite of all Arrested Development fans, thanks to the character J.O.B., who uses it as part of the magician routine.

Drink #165: Countdown Cocktail

Countdown Wine Cocktail

  • Muddle Mint Leaves
  • 2 oz Disaronno (or other Amaretto)
  • Splash of Red Wine
  • 2 Tsp Sugar
  • Garnish with Sugar-coated Mint Leaf

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
I like recipes that involve Mint, but I wasn’t sure about how that element would work with Red Wine. Mrs. Sip, not being a fan of Amaretto and preferring wine cocktails to heavily feature the Wine itself, was not a fan of this drink, but I thought it wasn’t half bad. It’s true that the Disaronno makes its presence felt in this recipe, but I thought the Wine played a role, as well. The cocktail was more sweet than I would like, hence the point deductions.