November 21 – Brain-Duster

Whiskey Truth

I normally don’t do the quote thing, but I found that whiskey and its close relatives have inspired many to wax philosophical about the liquor. Here are some of the great quotes I was able to find:

“Whiskey, like a beautiful woman, demands appreciation. You gaze first, then it’s time to drink.” ― Haruki Murakami

Yeah, beautiful woman may demand appreciation, but you have to make them work for it a little too! Perhaps throw in a little appreciative tease, making them think you’ve fallen hook, line and sinker. Then pull a complete 180, get off that hook and make them dangle some bait to bring you to the surface again!

appreciation-show-some

“Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.” ― Mark Twain

I’ve never agreed with the statement that too much of a good thing can be bad. I think we should be able to have as much good stuff going in our lives as constantly as possible. Why does our good mojo need to be broken up by some bad vibes? I think that’s bullshit. Whiskey, on the other hand, is always good, so let’s enjoy it for that.

“Love makes the world go round? Not at all. Whiskey makes it go round twice as fast.” ― Compton Mackenzie

I’m sure we’ve all been there (except for those straight edge types) when we find our world spinning a little (or a lot) thanks to a little liquid encouragement! Whenever I’m feeling like an internal merry-go-round, I just ride it out and enjoy all the sensations of utter inebriation. If you can’t handle the waves, you probably shouldn’t have hopped on the boat.

“There is no bad whiskey. There are only some whiskeys that aren’t as good as others.” ― Raymond Chandler

In my memory (as depleted as it may be) I can’t say that I’ve ever tasted a bad whiskey, so I can’t really challenge Mr. Chandler on his assertion. Sadly, Mrs. Sip is not a whiskey fan and this is one thing we can’t share together. It has led to some serious questions about our relationship longevity that I continue to quash with drinking more whiskey.

Carousel

“Sometimes life is sad. You can cry in your booze, if you want. I think that’s called a Whiskey Sour.” ― Jarod Kintz

I do enjoy Whiskey Sours, but I’ve never thought of creating one from human tears. This could open up a whole new field and craze in the mixology world! Remember, you heard it here first!

“I have never in my life seen a Kentuckian who didn’t have a gun, a pack of cards, and a jug of whiskey.” ― Andrew Jackson

Those Kentuckians sound like pretty great people… well, minus the gun part. I’m totally down with the whole jug of whiskey and pack of cards mentality, though. I think I should organize a little game of strip poker with some southern belles and see if this whole quote actually holds up!

Drink #325: Brain-Duster

Brain-Duster Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Absinthe
  • 0.5 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 0.5 oz Whiskey
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Garnish with an Orange Wheel

Got a whiskey quote you really like that I haven’t touched upon above? Or do you have an alternative interpretation to what I’ve deciphered here today? Let’s get philosophical together!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2 Sips out of 5):
Good lord this drink is strong. Mrs. Sip snagged a sip of the cocktail while I was prepping dinner (that’s right, the Sip Advisor does it all!) and nearly knocked herself loopy with one fell swoop… or sip. The Absinthe is just so potent and needs to be mixed with just the right ingredients or else it’s hard to make it palatable.

November 15 – The Soprano

Turn Down Service

For some actors, taking a TV role when you’re considered a movie star is a step down. That just provides an opportunity for another talent to step in, knock the performance out of the park and end up doing better in the long run than the one who originally turned his nose up at the project. Here are some examples of folks who passed up on TV glory (for whatever reason):

Ray Liotta as Tony Soprano (The Sopranos)

Ray Liotta, star of movies like Goodfellas, turned down the landmark role because he wanted to focus on movies. In the time he could have been playing the mobster, Liotta made numerous films, but nothing particularly memorable. Of course James Gandolfini took the role and ran with it… straight to three Emmy’s, which launched his own chance to enter the movie world before his untimely death earlier this year.

liotta-soprano

Tom Selleck as Mitch Buchannon (Baywatch)

Tom Selleck turned down the head lifeguard role, as he didn’t want to be a sex symbol… to which I’ve always said, “too late, Mr. Magnum!” Selleck’s role refusal did give David Hasselhoff and his German minions another chance to rejoice and without it, Hasselhoff’s infamous downward spiral might have gone unnoticed. Seriously, though, who hasn’t tried to eat a floor cheeseburger in a drunken stupor!?

Michael Richards as Adrian Monk (Monk)

Fresh off his stint as crazy neighbor Cosmo Kramer on Seinfeld, Michael Richards was offered the role of obsessive compulsive disorder suffering detective Adrian Monk, but he wasn’t interested in the role. ABC let the show slip away to the USA Network, which cast Tony Shalhoub , who played the intricately troubled ex-cop perfectly. Richards instead went on a racial slur-laced rant at a comedy club and would probably pay for work now.

Craig T. Nelson as Jay Pritchett (Modern Family)

Craig T. Nelson hasn’t evaded the question of why he turned down a role on the wildly popular Modern Family. He is quoted as saying the money just wasn’t good enough. The former Coach star did go on to snag up the next patriarchal role to come his way on Parenthood, leaving the living legend, Al Bundy himself, Ed O’Neill to step in a lead the 21st century family… as well as cuddle up to Sofia Vergara!

nelson-pritchett

Dana Delaney as Carrie Bradshaw (Sex and the City)

Ms. Delaney passed on the iconic role because she didn’t want to be in a show about sex… then why audition for a show called SEX and the City!? And really, what show doesn’t have some element of sex in it. Hell, even Sesame Street has toyed with the idea of Bert and Ernie being romantically involved! Sarah Jessica Parker took the part and became a cosmopolitan swigging female hero. Honestly, I don’t even know who Delaney is…

Thomas Jane as Don Draper (Mad Men)

I’ve already professed my hatred for Mad Men and apparently Thomas Jane, The Punisher, agrees with me! He didn’t think an intellectual show on a channel (AMC) known for movie reruns would work. You win some, you lose some. Jon Hamm stepped in and gets to drink tons of whiskey, while being lauded for an incredibly awful show. Some guys have all the luck.

Michael Keaton as Jack Shepard (Lost)

I’ve never watched Lost, but Ma and Pa Sip were die-hard fans. Apparently the character of Jack was supposed to not live past the pilot episode. When writers changed their plans, the former Batman backed out, thus avoiding the most confusing plot in television history and likely countless headaches from trying to get an understanding of what was going on!

Drink #319: The Soprano

The Soprano Drink Recipe

  • 1.5 oz Bourbon
  • 1.5 oz Amaretto (I used Disaronno)
  • 0.5 oz Southern Comfort
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Garnish with an Orange Wheel

Well, that wraps up our look at those that have turned down TV roles. I myself have turned down a couple characters in my childhood acting days: Bud Bundy on Married with Children; Zack Morris on Saved by the Bell, and Alf on, well Alf. Think of the money I’ve missed out on…

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
Early this year, I made The Godfather cocktail. This is the Americanized version of said drink, with the use of Bourbon and Southern Comfort. I liked the recipe, but those who aren’t fans of strong, liquor-heavy beverages might want to avoid it. It wasn’t overly heavy, but it was pretty potent.

September 23 – Boggle

Spin to Win

I love board and card games. Sitting around with friends and family, playing an old pastime provides a wonderful opportunity for the booze to start flowing and the laughs to pile up. I’m always open to trying newly discovered releases, but these are my all-time favourites:

Monopoly

Mrs. Sip is not a fan of the full-sized board game, preferring to play the faster-paced and quick playtime card versions (Monopoly: Deal and Monopoly: Millionaire) of the classic pastime. I always liked being the banker when I was young and perhaps I can credit Monopoly for my reasonably strong math skills. People often complain about the length of Monopoly games, but that’s just because they lack my style of endurance!

Monopoly

Cards Against Humanity

I only recently played Cards Against Humanity a few times, but I have no doubt that with even more games it will continue to rise up my favourite list. Basically, you’re given a subject, often naughty in nature, and you have to match one of your cards to that subject, usually with hilarious results. Then, one player has to choose the best reply among them all and that person wins the round. It’s good time fun!

Rail Baron

This is a game I suspect few have ever heard of, but I wish everyone knew it. Rail Baron challenges players to build a railway empire, connecting their pieces of track across the United States. Similar to Monopoly, only you have to collect rail lines instead of properties, the game sees who can reach $200,000 first and then return to their home city (selected at the start of the game). Chooooo-woooooo!

Clue

Who doesn’t love a good mystery? Clue was awesome for the investigating aspect, trying to narrow down your list of suspects, weapons and kill rooms (this is starting to sound an awful lot like Dexter!). I always liked using Mr. Green because he looked like a hardened detective type, similar to Lt. Columbo. Ms. Scarlett was kind of sexy, too! Does anyone remember the Clue movie? No, didn’t think so!

Clue

Colors & Shapes

Colors & Shapes was a classic for Cousin Sip, Broski Sip, and myself when we were younger and it’s even better in modern times after a few cocktails! It’s a very simple game, showing our collective intellect. Each player gets a mat of six coloured shapes and you flip cards one-by-one until someone fills their sheet. Things can get pretty tense when someone only needs one more card. It’s like Bingo for the even lazier!

Chinese Checkers

The thing I like about checkers-themed games is that you always have to be thinking ahead, usually multiple moves. I like to fancy myself a Checkers all-star, given it’s one of the few games I win regularly, but in actuality, I’m probably not that great. At least I’m able to wallop Mrs. Sip every now and again and that makes y years of dedication to the sport totally worth it.

Snakes & Ladders

The funny thing about Snakes & Ladders is that it taught kids what to do and not to do, while also giving them some entertainment (ie. shutting them up for a few minutes of peace time). If your pawn misbehaves, down you go. If your pawn performs a feat of good, up you rise. I even had a pool towel with this game on the back and Mrs. Sip and I were sure to take advantage of that.

Snakes & Ladders

Scene-It

This series of games (Movies, TV, Disney, Sports, etc.) were the 21st century twist on the VCR-game, using DVD players instead. Even if you didn’t play using the actual board, it was fun to have competitions seeing who could guess the most mini-games right. Mrs. Sip was practically unbeatable at the Disney variety, where as I dominated the Sports edition. Movies and TV were more of a toss-up.

Cranium

This is a Sip Family tradition, as most gatherings included a rousing round of Cranium with teams that varied from kids vs. adults to battles of the sexes. No matter which way it was played, games were full of laughs and learning people had skills you never thought they had before. For example, the Sip Advisor was quite the putty sculptor… perhaps I missed out on my true calling!

Boggle

If you looked up the word dominance in the dictionary, there would be a picture of me standing over a crestfallen Mrs. Sip with a Boggle game in my hands and a maniacal laugh spread across my face. It took forever for the poor girl to finally defeat me, including a loss in the Amsterdam airport, where she challenged my word and we searched for a dictionary to prove me right… mission accomplished!

Drink #266: Boggle

Sept 23

  • 1 oz Vodka (I used Grey Goose Cherry Noir)
  • 0.5 oz Midori
  • 0.5 PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur
  • Top with Orange Juice
  • Dash of Grenadine
  • Garnish with Orange Wheel

Board game-themed cocktails seem to be in short supply, but someone has taken the time to create a drink recipe for each Clue character. That sounds like a challenge I’ll have to create sometime!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I didn’t know what to expect from this cocktail, but I was pleasantly surprised with the results. I used some higher end spirits, which probably helped with the overall taste. The Orange Juice provided the strongest flavour, but hints of cherry, melon, and pomegranate also came in thanks to the liquors.

August 5 – The Beauty Beneath

Beautiful British Columbia

Today is B.C. Day in my neck of the woods. It is a day to celebrate our fine province with outdoor activities, wonderful food and drink, and great family and friends. With that in mind, here are some of the top attractions in British Columbia. Come by and visit sometime, ya hear!

Whistler

Travelling along the Sea-to-Sky Highway, you will float up through the clouds to the mountain resort of Whistler, which is a top destination throughout the year. In the winter, it is a haven for skiers and snowboarders, who can take to the slopes and enjoy some of the finest white powder this side of Colombia! When summer rolls around, the village becomes a wonderful place for a scenic hike or bike ride, quickly followed by a cold pint amongst some of the finest nature you’ll ever find.

whistler

Grouse Grind

For the outdoor adventurer, the Grouse Grind is something that has to be done to see how you fare against travelers from around the world. The unofficial record stands at 23 minutes and 48 seconds, but most hikers will take about 90 to 120 minutes to complete the trek. You won’t get great views on the Grind, until you reach the top of Grouse Mountain, but it’s the challenge of the trail that keeps people coming back. At least there’s beer, food, and gondolas (for your return trip) at the top as your reward.

Downtown Vancouver

Home to the province’s most famous and desired citizen, yours truly (Mrs. Sip is a close second, however), my suggestion is to ride the hop-on, hop-off bus tour, which visits all the key areas of the core, including Gas Town, Granville Island, the West End, Chinatown, and everything in between. There are also some amazing dining options in the city, including Joe Fortes for seafood; Gotham Steakhouse for, you guessed it, steak; and Tojo’s for sushi.

Downtown_Vancouver_Sunset

Okanagan Valley Wine Country

While enjoying some of the province’s most gorgeous views, you can also visit a countless number of wineries and indulge in tastings that will have you wobbling through one vineyard after another. Over 60 grape varieties are grown in the Okanagan Valley, including a number of German styles, such as Riesling and Gewürztraminer. The region has some of B.C.’s warmest temperatures, to boot.

Stanley Park

This massive park is home to everything from an aquarium to a lagoon, statues to totem poles. It is a serious slice of Canadiana. From Stanley Park, visitors can walk, bike, or rollerblade the Sea Wall that encompasses Downtown Vancouver and enjoy all of the beaches that line the route. At Halloween and Christmas, the Stanley Park train takes thousands of guests through a themed ride that delights children and adults alike.

stanley-park

Sports

While we’ve lost some franchises over time (I never even got to a Grizzlies game in their short time here), the city still has a few offerings, including the beloved Vancouver Canucks (NHL), B.C. Lions (CFL), and Vancouver Whitecaps (MLS). We’re even getting a National Lacrosse League team back in 2014 and for fans of baseball, watching the Vancouver Canadians (an affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays) at Nat Bailey Stadium makes for a memorable evening out.

Victoria

Home to B.C.’s parliament buildings and the capital of the province, Victoria is a 90-minute ferry ride over from the mainland, but it is well worth it. Victoria is the closest you can come in Canada to feeling like you’re in the U.K. (after all, it was named after Queen Victoria), with its afternoon tea service at the Empress Hotel, cathedrals, castles, and gardens.

Drink #217: The Beauty Beneath

The Beauty Beneath Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Rum (I used Appleton)
  • 0.5 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 0.5 oz Campari
  • 0.5 oz Cointreau
  • Dash of Angostura Bitters
  • Garnish with Lemon, Lime and Orange Wedges

There are certainly other spots I’ve neglected and, of course, beauty can be found throughout the province. It’s all in the eye of the beholder. I tend to find beauty in the region’s best liquor stores, so to each their own!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.5 Sips out of 5):
This is a strong martini, but that wasn’t a complete surprise. Campari leaves a bitter, lasting aftertaste that takes a little while to get used to and some may never enjoy it. This cocktail earns a barely passing grade because I liked the sweet touch that came through after the strong Appleton Rum, thanks to the Sweet Vermouth and Cointreau.

July 31 – Bronx

Bronx Bombers

Alright, no time for chit-chat. We have a busy couple days as we tour New York City. So, throw on your iPod, kick start your Jay-Z playlist, and let’s run this town tonight!

Go to the Empire State Building

I’ve heard mixed reviews about this landmark, with most complaining that the multiple line-ups you have to stand in to get to the top are poorly planned, frustrating, and not worth it. Still, you may only be there once, so you might as well do all the tourist traps. Make sure to toss a penny from the top. It’s good luck, as long as you’re not down below!

king-kong-hugs-the-empire-state-building

Even King Kong loves the Empire State Building!

Watch a Yankees Game

While the team has moved into a new facility and I’ve missed a chance to see old Yankee Stadium, it would be a top priority to catch one of North America’s most storied franchises play. Of course, if you go as a Red Sox fan, you can also cross off your list “being yelled at by a New Yorker” and possibly “being beaten up by a New Yorker”!

See a Broadway Musical

Trivia: Which production revived New York’s Broadway scene in the 1990’s? Answer: The Lion King. Broadway is a street of dreams, where careers can be born, resurrected, and crushed. While I’m not sure which show I’d check out, it would be a must-do attraction, especially given Mrs. Sip’s penchant for the performing arts.

Get Stuck in Traffic

A movie set in New York always features a chaotic traffic scene, showing lines of cars backed-up for miles. We’ve all been in traffic jams in our hometowns, but New York is surely a different animal. If you don’t want to get into a cab, at least try crossing a multi-lane street, weaving through idle cars, with horns blaring and driver’s swearing.

newyorkpedestrians

Enjoy Rockefeller Center

If you visit in the winter, you have to take in the skating rink and perhaps giant Christmas tree (if it’s up). Within the area, the Rainbow Room is said to provide one of the best views of the city and even better, you get to drink while taking it all in… take that, Empire State Building!

Eat Street Meat

I’m not sure if New York gave birth to the food cart movement, but it definitely embraced the ideals of getting your meal on the go. It seems you can get nearly every food known to man around the city, but I’d stick to traditional fare, such as pizza and hot dogs. If you have a sensitive stomach, just be cautious while doing so!

Visit the NHL Head Office

As a long-time hockey fan (since I was a wee little sipper with my sippy cup), it would be great to go to the NHL offices… and yell at commissioner Gary Bettman, if only on behalf of Pa Sip! Perhaps they’d offer me a job or at least let me suspend a player or two. As long as I’m not presiding over another lockout, all will be well.

gary-bettman-blame

Reflect at the World Trade Center Site

I’ve been told that the memorial built on the site of the World Trade Center is quite remarkable, with its reflecting pools, waterfalls, and landscaping. While I have no personal ties to the tragedy, a visit would still provide a chance to think of the humanity shown through all the people that risked their lives to save others and how people can truly come together in the face of grief for a common good.

Throw Some Money Down on Wall Street

I don’t take many risks in life – unless they involve jumping off of high surfaces – but it would be neat to buy and sell some stock… that is, until you realized that your miniscule life savings were gone. Perhaps I’ll just go there when I’m taking this juggernaut of a site public. Buy in now and reap the rewards that are surely to come when we all cash out!

Drink #212: Bronx

Bronx Martini

  • 1.5 oz Gin (I used Tanqueray)
  • 0.75 Sweet Vermouth
  • 0.5 Dry Vermouth
  • Top with Orange Juice
  • Garnish with Orange Wheel

Join us tomorrow for more New York City sights, sounds and attractions. Perhaps, by then, we’ll be out of this traffic jam and onto our next destination!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
While I’m not much of a fan of cocktails with Orange Juice, this one wasn’t that bad. Gin and the Vermouths team up in their usual complimentary style and with the OJ, it’s a decent drink all around.