Turkey – Siege of Constantinople

Morsels and Mouthfuls

It may be the ancestor to my beloved jelly beans and for that alone, one has to appreciate and give thanks to the sweet snack from Turkey. Turkish Delight has a rich history, dating back nearly 250 years. Today, the delicacy has been embraced around the world. Here are some notes of interest as we stop for a quick bite in our Around the World tour:

Natural Viagra

Natural Viagra??? Probably cheaper than the pills, too!

Some stories say that Turkish Delight was created by a powerful sultan for the purpose of enticing his many mistresses. After all, the way to a woman’s heart is through her stomach… come on fellas, we all know this to be true. Anyway, the sultan had his kitchen staff prepare the gelatinous dessert and the rest is history. Or is it? Another fable has the treat being created as royal chefs competed for the attention of the sultan, with one cook creating what is now known as Turkish Delight.

The more plausible tale involves a sweet maker named Bekir Efendi moving his operation to Istanbul in 1776 and capitalizing on the notorious sweet tooth of Turkish citizens. Efendi’s Turkish Delights became the hottest item to have, a symbol of wealth and upper class standing. The pleasures were even exchanged by couples as token of love.

Once Efendi’s confections hit the royal palace and the sultan’s mouth, the popularity of the item skyrocketed. Efendi’s store still exists, with new recipes being dreamt up all the time, some including pistachios, walnuts, chocolate, and oranges.

Turkish Delight

From the thriving businesses of Turkey, the Delights have gained a fan base around the world:

Known as lokma (morsel), lokum (mouthful), and rahat-ul hulkum (comfort of the throat) in Turkey, the origins of the name Turkish Delight are said to trace back to a British man, who fell in love with the dessert during visits to Istanbul and purchased cases of the product to be shipped back home under the label ‘Turkish Delight’. It spread throughout Europe’s upper class, being exchanged as presents wrapped in silk handkerchiefs. The treat has also been known as ‘Lumps of Delight,’ long before the Black Eyed Peas forever changed what we thought of when we heard the term lumps.

Across the commonwealth, in places like the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, folks can also get their sweet fix with Fry’s Turkish Delight by Cadbury, although the product varies from the traditional creation.

Turkish Delight is known as rahat in Romania, but because Turkish words were altered to be more harsh, if not entirely eliminated from Romanian language, the term translates to meaning “shit”. Just be cautious, if ever in the country, to not beg for a sweet mouthful of rahat, or else you may find yourself the literal butt of a joke.

Tim+Tam+Turkish+Delight

I want to try this product so bad… combines two things I really enjoy!

In the United States, two Armenian immigrants began manufacturing Aplets and Cotlets in 1930. The Turkish Delight used apples and apricots, respectively with walnuts. In 1984, their Liberty Orchards company based out of Cashmere, Washington added a Fruit Delights line, with strawberry, raspberry, orange, blueberry, peach, cranberry, and pineapple flavours. In recent years, Liberty Orchards has also released more traditional flavours, such as rose-pistachio, orange-blossom-walnut, and rose-lemon. Mrs. Sip and I have been to their factory, along with many trips as a wee little sipper with Ma and Pa Sip. It’s a quaint little place with so many free samples to gorge yourself on and a tour of the production line.

At home, here in Canada, you can get the Nestle chocolate bar Big Turk, which is a delicious blend of pink Turkish Delight and chocolate. Most Bridge Mix packs also contain red and green Turkish Delight balls, along with chocolate-covered peanuts, raisins, almonds, and the other usual suspects.

Turkish Delight is also popular in Greece and Brazil, stretching the treat’s influence around the world.

Its most recognized use in pop culture is in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which sees the character of Edmund Pevensie dying as a result of his addiction to the confection. Despite what some would view as a negative connotation, sales for the product went up after the 2005 film The Chronicles of Narnia was released. Clearly, people are stupid, so let’s have a drink in their honour and sample some Turkish Delight!

Turkey: Siege of Constantinople

Siege of Constantinople Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Raki
  • 0.5 oz Vodka
  • Top with Tonic Water
  • Splash of Chile Syrup
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Dash of Orange Bitters
  • Garnish with Orange Zest

In its native land, Turkish Delight is often served with the equally revered Turkish Coffee, but I don’t swing that way, so let’s booze it up instead and finish off an entire box of the dessert before we even realize what’s happening!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
I was very curious as to how the Raki and Tonic Water in particular would mix together. It wasn’t as bad as some may fear and when you add the other touches, such as the Chile Syrup and Orange Bitters, you have the making of a unique and interesting cocktail that may not be for everyone, but deserves a chance from those brave enough to experiment.

Ireland – The Emerald

Pot of Gold

The leprechaun has long been associated with Ireland and is an important figure of Irish folklore. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will always be portrayed in the best of lights elsewhere. Here are some of the famous leprechauns we can learn from:

Lucky the Leprechaun – Lucky Charms

Also known as Sir Charms and L.C. Leprechaun (monikers he invented to avoid creditors who were after his Lucky Charms!), this imp was introduced in the 1960’s, shortly after the cereal hit store shelves. Originally, the breakfast option only contained four different marshmallow shapes, but over time that number grew to eight permanent charms. Lucky was briefly replaced by Waldo the Wizard in 1975, but it wasn’t long before the leprechaun was back with the brand. Some say he bought his way back into the picture with his pot o’ gold riches!

lucky-charms-marshmallows

O’Reilly – The Simpsons

This little hellraiser appears in a number of Simpsons episodes, most notably one of the Treehouse of Horror segments where Homer has drawn the ire of a gypsy and has been cursed. Looking to reverse his fortune, he traps a leprechaun (using Lucky Charms as bait), but O’Reilly just causes havoc in the Simpson home. When Homer takes the leprechaun to battle the gypsy, the two fall in love and are married in a ceremony performed by Yoda of Star Wars fame. O’Reilly is also an imaginary vision for Ralph Wiggum, telling the youngster to burn things.

Braun the Leprechaun – World Championship Wrestling

Leave it to professional wrestling to have a leprechaun running around the ring and causing havoc. Braun briefly appeared with the Dungeon of Doom stable, a group of dark and sometimes mythological characters, including The Yeti (although he was dressed like a mummy… no, seriously) and Loch Ness (a 600-plus pound monster of a man, billed from the Scottish Highlands). Portrayed by the grappler (real name DeWayne Bruce) that would eventually become perennial loser Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker, he is most recognized for his work training future stars, particularly Bill Goldberg.

Hornswoggle – World Wrestling Entertainment

Sticking with professional wrestling, years after Braun, another shot was taken at the character, this time using a little person. Originally named Little Bastard, the character soon evolved into Hornswoggle (which means to cheat, swindle, hoodwink, or hoax), helping Irish bruiser Finlay score a number of underhanded victories. Hornswoggle has gone on to become a fan favourite, while enjoying high-profile roles such as joining D-Generation X as their mascot, being the illegitimate son of WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, winning the Cruiserweight Title, and holding the position of anonymous General Manager of Monday Night Raw.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish/Boston Celtics Leprechauns

These famous logos and mascots have helped define both squads. For Notre Dame, the team had gone through a number of nicknames (Catholics, Hoosiers, Rockmen, Bulldogs) before settling on the Fighting Irish. This was done because a leprechaun joined the cheerleading squad and has remained on the team’s sideline ever since. As for the Celtics, their mascot Lucky was designed by the brother of legendary coach Red Auerbach. Complete with shillelagh and shamrock-adorned attire, it just doesn’t get much more Irish… although Lucky lacks the red locks we usually associate with leprechauns.

The Leprechaun – Leprechaun Movies

Played by little person Warwick Davis (of Willow and Harry Potter fame), The Leprechaun horror movie franchise has spawned six films and is due for a reboot with the aforementioned Hornswoggle (real name Dylan Postl) taking over the lead role. Falling in line with recent movie trends, the new film will be an origin story. Back to the original series, premises ranged from The Leprechaun tracking down his stolen gold, to searching for a bride, and even rampages through Las Vegas, space, and Compton, California (in the ghetto!). The first installment even featured a young and unknown Jennifer Aniston… she ended up doing pretty well for herself!

leprechaun-back2thahood

Seriously, they did not one, but two Leprechaun films set in “Tha Hood”!

Brian Connors – Darby O’Gill and the Little People

This Disney live action movie features a horde of leprechauns led by Brian Connors, the ‘King of the Leprechauns’. Connors and O’Gill are friendly adversaries, each trying to outsmart the other. O’Gill, an elderly groundskeeper is trying to capture Connors and be granted three wishes, hoping to set his daughter up for a happy life. Conners was played by Jimmy O’Dea, an Irish comedian and songwriter. Sean Connery is also in the film and he even sings! Legend has it that his role as Michael McBride, the daughter’s eventual love interest, led to him being cast as James Bond.

Shado – Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law

Known as Shado the Brain Thief because he possesses telepathic abilities, this leprechaun lawyer uses his powers to mess with opposing counsel and juries and manipulate them for his own gains. If Mrs. Sip (also a lawyer) was capable of telepathy, she’d be even more of a legend than she already is… which is due largely in part to her association with the Sip Advisor. Anyhoo, Shado is voiced by Toby Huss, who provided the dialogue for a number of characters on King of the Hill, including Cotton Hill, Kahn Souphanousinphone, Joe Jack, and M.F. Thatherton.

Ireland: The Emerald

Mar 20

  • 2 oz Irish Whiskey
  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • Dashes of Orange Bitters
  • Garnish with Orange Zest

I hope everyone finds their pot of gold at the end of the rainbow… that is, unless you have to battle a deranged leprechaun to get at your cash money. My advice is to wait until the little guys tucker themselves out before achieving your treasure. Kind of like I do with my desire to high-five monkeys!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
This is basically a Manhattan variation and it was decent. Whenever I make a drink with Orange Bitters, I go a little crazy with the dashes and that’s not a bad thing. I thought the Orange Zest bits looked pretty darn good, if I don’t say so myself. Party on!

United States – The Revolver

Living Arrangements

It would be neat if we could find ourselves living in one of the fictional cities we read about or see in movies or on TV. Most of these fictional cities are located across the United States (our next stop on the worldwide liquor express) and here are the places I’d choose to reside if given the option:

South Park – South Park

There always seems to be crazy shit going down in South Park. It has been the epicenter for nearly all the world’s activity since 1997, including attacks by Mecha-Streisand (a mechanized Barbara Streisand), the initiation of same-sex marriage laws, and the battle ground for artists and consumers over illegal downloading, among so much else. Heck, both Jesus and Satan have resided in the small Colorado town, with Jesus even hosting a public access call-in TV show!

South_Park

Duckburg – DuckTales

Hopefully I’d be part of Scrooge McDuck’s inner circle and get to join him, Launchpad McQuack, and the gang on all their jet-setting adventures. If I wound up as one of the Beagle Boys, I don’t think I’d enjoy the experience nearly as much. Perhaps Scrooge and I could go for a dip in his vault and have a coin fight. We’d be the best of friends until I got greedy and stole his lucky dime. Then Flintheart Glomgold  and myself would go on the lam as filthy rich baddies.

Gotham City – Batman

The only thing to decide before settling in Gotham City is whether you’re going to be a hero or a villain. That’s actually a really difficult decision for me. I think I’ve spent too much of my life being a good guy and it might be time for a change… time to do something different and look after number one for a little while. Of course, that means I’ll have to battle Batman, rather than fight beside him, but I’m game. Hopefully I get some hot tail, too, like Harley Quinn, Catwoman, or Poison Ivy!

Springfield – The Simpsons

While there are actual Springfield’s across the United States, it still seems like this version is very much fictional. It probably helps that the state in which the Simpsons et al reside is never fully disclosed. It’s hinted at from time to time, but those hints often change and bury the mystery deeper and deeper. I think I’d be able to find a nice life in Springfield, hanging out at Moe’s Tavern and chowing down at Krusty Burger.

simpsons-springfield

Storybrooke – Once Upon a Time

I’ve actually been to Storybrooke… or at least the town (Steveston) where much of the show’s exterior shots are filmed. It’s only a half hour drive from Mrs. Sip’s and my home and we once upon a time went out that way for dinner and tracked down Mr. Gold’s pawn shop and other landmarks. Through Storybrooke, I could also visit places like Neverland, Wonderland, and the Enchanted Forest. That’s getting into a whole nother can of worms, dealing with fictional realms.

Pawnee – Parks and Recreation

The United States’ fourth most obese city, my svelte body may stick out like a sore thumb, but at least I could work with the Parks and Rec crew (perhaps the only time I’d ever be interested in government work). I’d make sure that Ron Swanson became my mentor and through his tutelage, I could amass a fortune of gold bars and an appreciation for outdoor life, woodwork, and simply being a man’s man.

Pawnee

Any Soap Opera Town – General Hospital, One Life to Live, Young and the Restless, etc.

Who wouldn’t want to live in a town where it seems nobody ever works and all they do is have romantic trysts and get into sticky situations!? Nobody is ever in need of money, unless you’re introduced as a homeless character and you don’t have to feel bad about committing evil acts because months later, you’ll likely redeem yourself and become a good guy, once again. Murderers, rapists, kidnappers, and the like have all become fan favourites in the Soaps.

Toontown – Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Living as a cartoon character would be pretty sweet. You can never die, no matter how many anvils or pianos are dropped on your head, and you spend most of your day scheming to catch a bird or mouse. If I had to pick the character that best matches my personality, it would probably be Wile E. Coyote, with a sprinkle of Taz. My plans – as elaborate as they may be – never really work out and that drives me to whirlwind fits of rage, despite my good heart!

United States: The Revolver

The Revolver Drink Recipe

  • 2 oz Jim Beam Bourbon
  • 0.5 oz Kahlua
  • Dashes of Orange Bitters
  • Garnish with Orange Zest

Honourable Mentions go to Mayberry (Andy Griffiths Show), Bedrock (The Flintstones), and Sunnydale (Buffy the Vampire Slayer). The last one makes the list only so I can be the one to slay the slayer!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.5 Sips out of 5):
I really thought I’d like this cocktail more. Perhaps I went too light on the Orange Bitters. It was a touch too strong on the Bourbon side and I even used Black Cherry and not straight up Jim Beam. I do love what I did with the Orange Zest, so pat on the back for me!

October 15 – Subway Rumbles

Transit Troubles

Recently, the Sip Advisor received a little promotion at work (mild-mannered desk jockey by day, notorious boozehound by night), which required the move to a new office. I went from a five-minute walk to work to a half hour transit trip and I consider myself one of the lucky ones. I hate taking public transit with all the other weirdoes (like Mrs. Sip!). These are the things I deplore most about commuting:

Public Transport Complaints

Well, SpongeBob, I’m going to try anyway!

People who don’t clear a path for exiting passengers

I won’t hesitate to throw a shoulder tackle or roaring elbow at anyone, male or female, who blocks my path from exiting a vehicle. I’ve always operated that when you are boarding a vessel, you stand to the side and let people exit before rushing on. That doesn’t seem to happen anymore and I sadly get off at a very busy station when people will feel my wrath.

Cars that fill up and you can’t get out at your stop

As if the tension of exiting a vehicle into a crowd wasn’t bad enough, some days it’s a struggle to even get to the exit at all. People don’t seem to respond to me saying excuse me, which I have to start to do before the train has even come to a full stop. Wading my way through the unintelligent humanity is often difficult and my reward is to be greeted by more as the doors open.

Metrosexual

People who have loud, annoying conversations

Young people today (now that I’ve hit 30 and ‘old age’, I can really bash the younger generations) don’t seem to have a buffer between their brains and their mouths. They’re sharing the intimate details of their life for the world to hear, as they yap loudly into phones and to their travelling buddies. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard a little too much information.

People who listen to their music at ear-blistering levels

I hate most people’s choice in music, but if they keep it to themselves, we have no issue. Unfortunately, there are those commuters that think their artist selection abilities are so epicly awesome they feel the need to share their tunes with every single person they encounter. The volume will only go up as they continue to erode their hearing with the horribly brash music.

Public Transport Spooning

People who smell awful

There are some funky-smelling people riding public transport! Luckily I only have to go two stops on my more constricted form of transportation. You can’t really blame someone who’s been out working all day for their body odor, but there are ways of masking that. If you don’t have time to put on some deodorant before rushing home, at least hang a couple air fresheners from yourself.

Delays due to incidents

I have my route to work perfectly timed. Unfortunately, all the nut cases out there in transit land seem to want to work against me and cause issues that delay my trips to the office. Unfortunately, you never really know the status of your commute until you board the system and then, you’re taking your life into your own hands with all the concerns I outlined above.

Drink #288: Subway Rumbles

Subway Rumbles Cocktail

  • 1 oz Scotch (I used Glenfiddich)
  • 1 oz Gin
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Splash of Grenadine
  • Dash of Egg Whites
  • Dash of Peychaud’s Bitters
  • Garnish with Orange Zest

October was a good month to do this post in because public transit can be more nightmarish than a haunted house. Tell me your worst commuter stories below… come on, vent a little!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I was surprised with how much I enjoyed this cocktail. The Scotch adds a strong finish to each sip, but not so strong that you don’t like the drink. The other flavours all come together quite nicely and the drink is neither too bitter nor too sweet. It falls right in the middle for a great recipe.

March 14 – Monkey Gland

Monkeying Around

You may not have noticed by now, but I kind of love monkeys. Along with kittens and potato chips, monkeys have made frequent guest appearances in blog posts. Even after a group of monkeys assaulted me and viciously violated me while on vacation in Indonesia, I still have a massive respect for the creatures. After all, I was guilty of holding a bag of peanuts that they wanted (that’s right elephants, peanuts are not just for you!). Thank god I had a little Indonesian woman to protect me by shooing them away with her sandal. I beg forgiveness my simian friends. Without further ado, are some of my favourite primates:

George – Curious George

You’d think with all the trouble George gets into that the Man in the Yellow Hat would send the little guy packing. And what was up with that Man in the Yellow Hat anyways? Doesn’t he realize how ridiculous he looks? Looks like a freakin’ banana if you ask me (and I know you do). No wonder Curious George was so troublesome, it was probably the result of slow psychotic breakdown from having to live with a giant talking banana. Curious George should just try to eat him sometime.

Curious George

Abu – Aladdin

I often dress my kitty sidekick, Furious B, in Abu’s trademark fez hat and vest. It may result in numerous scratches and one pissed off pussy, but it’s worth it for the half second I can see him clothed before he runs and hides behind the couch and pees on my DVDs.

Mr. Teeny – The Simpsons

The roller-skating, cigar-smoking chimp and sidekick to Krusty the Clown, has lived a life few monkeys have the opportunity to. It is one of celebrity, which comes with good and bad. Hell, I’d be Krusty’s subordinate if it meant an increase in pay and getting to wear a bowtie… even if Krusty has plans to take one of Teeny’s lungs should he ever need a replacement.

Evil Monkey – Family Guy

We later learn that this monkey isn’t so evil after all. He’s actually a nice, mild-mannered being who was just down on his luck (his monkey wife had cheated on him) and found a home in Chris Griffin’s closet. If my wife cheated on me with a monkey, I’d just be crossing my fingers that it turned into a threesome.

Donkey Kong

Originally a villain, Donkey Kong worked his way into the hearts of gamers by barrel blasting and enemy bopping his way through King K. Rool’s gang of baddies. It turns out he just wants his god damn bananas back. Poor guy has to deal with a serious potassium deficiency!

Donkey Kong

King Louie – Jungle Book and Tale Spin

This orangutan sure knows how to party. His joint is always swinging with song and merriment, especially when he and best friend Baloo were given new life in the 90’s cartoon Tale Spin. In that series, he became the owner of Louie’s Place, a tropical bar, which this Sip Advisor aspires to one day track down and go to work there.

Monkey Talents

Whether it’s the air duct-invading monkey (Community), the cigarette-smoking, drug-dealing monkey (The Hangover 2), the skeleton monkey (Pirates of the Caribbean) or any other simian performer, they’re all good in my books.

Phonics Monkey – South Park

Oh my god, he killed Kenny… you bastard!

Drink #73: Monkey Gland

Monkey Gland Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Gin (I used Beefeater)
  • 0.5 oz Absinthe
  • Top with Orange Juice
  • Dash of Grenadine
  • Garnish with Orange Zest

Monkeys and their distant relatives are awesome… there’s even a gorilla in San Francisco that has a thing for breasts. And yet some people still don’t believe in evolution! Let’s not forget the Ikea Monkey (now somehow available on Twitter), whose winter coat made us all melt.

Ikea Monkey

 

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
I’d love to know why this drink is called Monkey Gland. Regardless, the cocktail was decent and one in which I actually enjoyed Orange Juice. I like how the Orange Twist came across too, as it looks more like a Blood Orange, when it wasn’t.