France – Between the Sheets

Sensational Skyline

The Eiffel Tower is an iconic symbol, regularly associated with not only Paris, but the entire country of France. The structure can be found in numerous forms of media representing the country and celebrated its 125th anniversary earlier this year. Let’s take a closer look at this mammoth structure:

The Eiffel Tower was opened to the public on March 31, 1889, taking two years, two months and five days to build by 300 workers. It was erected to serve as the entrance to the 1889 World Fair (or Exposition Universelle, since the French always have to put their own twist on titles). While it is an icon of the country today, its construction was protested by French artists and writers, who called it a “hateful column of bolted sheet metal!”

Frances-Thong

Writer Guy de Maupassant was one of the most vocal haters of the Eiffel Tower, yet was discovered eating lunch inside the setting on a daily basis. He claimed that it was because it was the only place in Paris that he didn’t have to look at the building. Other residents of the city initially viewed the construction as an eyesore.

Although the tower is named in honour of engineer Gustave Eiffel, he wasn’t initially interested in the project. Designed by his company’s engineers Maurice Koechlin and Émile Nouguier, Eiffel only really came on board when the design was tweaked by his head of architecture, Stephen Sauvestre. Then, Eiffel purchased the patent rights for the structure.

A symbol of modern science, for 41 years, the Eiffel Tower was the tallest man-made object (standing at 1,063 feet) in the world, but that reign came to an end in 1930 with the completion of New York’s Chrysler Building. I bet the French regretted giving New York the Statue of Liberty after they were trumped. The tower is comprised of 18,038 pieces linked by 2.5 million rivets.

Tower or Battleship

Today, the Eiffel isn’t even the tallest structure in France anymore. It has been surpassed by the Millau Viaduct, a cable-stayed bridge that connects parts of Millau-Creissels, France over the River Tarn. While it does provide a nice photo-op (if you’re into bridges and such), the Eiffel Tower is still the place tourists flock for their Parisian moment.

The tower was treated with 60 tons of paint to protect from the weather and has been repainted numerous times (about every seven years) since its original covering. It is painted lighter at the bottom of the structure and becomes gradually darker at the top so it looks like one uniform colour, despite atmospheric pressure. On warms days, the Eiffel tower can grow up to six inches, thanks to thermal expansion… does this mean that Mrs. Sip is also thermal expansion!?

The tower’s elevators weren’t running until almost two months after the building opened. Visitors could still enter the structure, but had to climb 1,710 steps to reach the summit. Still, more than 30,000 people were willing to traverse the many flights to get a view of the city. Mrs. Sip and I have talked about doing the stair thing sometime, but I think my laziness will always prevail.

Eiffel Lightning

The Eiffel Tower was supposed to be taken apart after 20 years, but it was later used as a radio communications tower, transitioning into telecommunications with the change in technology. The city chose to keep the structure after its permit expired in 1909. A post office, theatre, newspaper, science labs, and even an annual ice rink have also set up shop at the structure.

In the 1920s, con man Victor Lustig sold the Eiffel Tower twice for scrap metal. With forged government documents, Lustig invited six scrap metal dealers to a meeting where they discussed dismantling the run down and expensive-to-upkeep landmark. When the scam worked once without Lustig ending up in jail, he returned to try it again, but this time authorities were summoned. Lustig did get away this time, but eventually found himself in jail, where he died in 1947. His death certificate listed his occupation as ‘apprentice salesman!’

Eiffel For You

The tower sure is sturdy, surviving wars, fires, and countless visitors. One time when Mrs. Sip and I were visiting the landmark, we even saw some dude relieving himself against the iconic iron! Today, the Eiffel Tower is the most visited pay monument in the world, with over seven millions visitors annually, 75% of which are foreigners.

It may not be the copycat Eiffel Tower located at The Paris Hotel in Las Vegas, but Joe King, an engineering professor from California, constructed a toothpick replica of the famous structure in 1988, using 110,000 sticks. The tower stood 23 feet high. Other imitations include: Tokyo Tower in Japan, Torre del Reformador in Guatemala, Petřín Lookout Tower in the Czech Republic, AWA Tower in Australian, and many more.

France: Between the Sheets

Between the Sheets Cocktail

  • 1 oz Cognac
  • 1 oz Triple Sec
  • 1 oz Light Rum
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Garnish with a Lemon Wedge

Every time Mrs. Sip and I have been at the Eiffel Tower (with the intent of going up), the weather has been inclement. The first time we ever scaled the monument, the weather was near freezing and windy and even snowed a little. Other times, we have passed on going up because we know it isn’t as enjoyable when it’s wet and cold. On one visit, the weather was gorgeous as we were winding our way through the Louvre line-up early in the day. That afternoon was supposed to be Eiffel Tower time, but as we made our way to the attraction, the clouds burst open and we were thwarted once again. C’est la vie is all you can really say!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
Despite three ounces of alcohol, this drink was pretty damn good. I was worried about how harsh it might be, so instead of using plain Light Rum, I subbed in Torched Cherry Rum and the flavour went very well with the Triple Sec. Both tasted very nice with Cognac as part of the mix and while still potent, the drink was delicious.

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May 31 – A Brisk Walk through the Red Light District

The Tales We’ll Tell

This drink has, by far, the longest name I’ve ever seen in my years of cocktail experiences. That makes it all the more intriguing to try. It also harkens back to memories of the Red Light Districts this Sip Advisor has traversed. Some of those remembrances are foggier than others, so let’s tip-toe our way together through the seedy underbelly of some of the world’s most famous cities!

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Okay, so this visit was a little messed up… and that’s probably putting it lightly. Amsterdam is home to many pot cafes and such and whether you’re a regular user of the drug or not, it’s all part of the experience. Our night started out innocently enough at one of the district’s classic sex shows, where we received a grab bag of little treats and watched performers do much more than bump and grind. The weirdest part, aside from the “smoking scene” was all the Asian business dudes sitting quietly in the back and taking the show quite seriously.

Next, we were off to the Sex Museum, free entry with our sex show ticket stub, with a quick stop to sample some of the city’s famous delicacies. Mrs. Sip and I agreed to split a “special” brownie and wait a little while before trying anything else (as suggested on a health advisory slip that came with the product we chose). After only waiting about 20 minutes, we threw caution to the wind and try something else because “we didn’t feel anything”. Famous last words…

HashBrownies

The brownie finally kicked in at the top floor of the Sex Museum, where you could sit on a giant toadstool (at least I hope they were toadstools) and watch an animated Snow White parody porno. Did I mention that there was a giant 7 foot phallus in the room, too… oh, and some creepy dude who seemed to be in there all by his lonesome watching the Snow White cartoon a tad to seriously.

Somehow, we made it back to our hostel that night, a little worse for wear. We returned to the district on our own the next night, still feeling a little foggy from the activities of the evening before, and hoping to experience the area in a different mood.

New Orleans, U.S.A.

Ah, sweet Bourbon Street. Home to Mardi Gras and by extension, beads and boobies. When I was just a little sipper, the Sip Family stopped in N’Orleans along our cross country train trip. Although myself and Broski Sip weren’t of legal age yet, we were allowed to walk the famous boulevard and get a glimpse of its partying ways. With jazz music bellowing out of many establishments and posters advertising strip shows at nearly every corner, I thought I’d found heaven. I have pledged to return to the area and do it properly, although Mrs. Sip might have to think twice about wearing those low-cut tops!

red-light-district-chicks

Paris, France

Home to the infamous Moulin Rouge cabaret, Mrs. Sip and I wandered the district briefly and waited for our tour bus to pick us up. Sadly, it never came and we had to figure out our own way back to our campsite far outside of town… stupid budget tours! We weren’t there for too long, but one of the highlights of being in the area was just watching all the different people and traffic, as it filled the streets. What an eclectic gathering of humanity!

Hamburg, Germany

While visiting family, we were treated to a tour of the world famous Reeperbahn (which sounds like the site of a serial killer’s stalking ground… and it probably was at some point). The area is full of history and not just of a sexual nature. Did you know The Beatles first gained fame outside of Liverpool there? It’s also where they met Ringo Starr, who would eventually replace Pete Best as the band’s drummer.

queen reeperbahn

Even the Queen goes to the Reeperbahn to get blitzed!

You might think it a little awkward to be exploring streets lined with sex shops, legal prostitution and other sinful recreational activities with your family, but it’s more funny than anything else. Pa Sip joined myself and Broski Sip for a walk down the alley where ladies try to sell their wares… and if you give them a tough time, legend has it you could be on the receiving end of a bucket of water… or, at least you hope it’s water.

During the evening, we stopped in this tiny little pizza joint for a quick bite. The place had the most disgusting bathrooms I’ve ever seen, but some of the most delicious pizza I’ve ever tried. The mathematical formula I’ve come up with is pizza > bathroom + drunk = who the hell cares!

Drink #151: A Brisk Walk through the Red Light District

May 31

  • Rim glass with Lemon Sugar
  • 1.5 oz Whiskey (I used Crown Royal)
  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • Top with Iced Tea
  • Garnish with a Lemon Wedge

It’s funny how much these notorious Red Light Districts are now must-hit tourist attractions for all ages. If a city you’re travelling to has one, I’d say you have to visit it and take in all it has to offer (well, maybe not everything), for better or worse!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.5 Sips out of 5):
I didn’t really like the way this cocktail came together. The Sweet Vermouth, despite only being a splash dominated the drink when I wanted to taste the Iced Tea. Oh well…

April 1 – Pretty Vegas

Souvenir Sipping

Las Vegas is filled with special souvenir glasses. Each resort seems to have their own offering, thanks to the special theming that goes into each place. Here are some we’ve seen while out and about on the strip!

Eiffel Tower/Hot Air Balloon – Paris

Some of the most elaborate souvenir glasses are sold at The Paris hotel, where you can get your favourite iced drink inside either a replica of the Eiffel Tower (or as some jackass cabbie in France insisted, “Tour Eiffel”… seriously, we told the driver we wanted to go to the Eiffel Tower four times and he kept “misunderstanding” us until we said Tour Eiffel… and Parisians wonder why everyone hates them!) or a ceramic hot air balloon that mimics the outside of the resort.

Guitar – Rockhouse

If you ever wanted to play Guitar Hero and get blitzed without having to put your instrument down, here’s your chance. These bad boys hold a fair bit of liquor (80 oz), too, so be prepared to rock all night long!

80ozGuitar

Football – Fremont Experience

Fans and even non-fans of pigskin can’t turn down a beer-filled football. I know I couldn’t. When you’re done the drink, you now have something to play with back in your hotel room…  or you can turn Fremont Street into your own personal playing field. Touchdowns are scored by getting to the Golden Nugget end zone.

Tambourine – Rio

You can get either a Sex on the Beach or a Margarita in one of these glasses that also doubles as an instrument. Mrs. Sip, myself and Broski Sip grabbed a pair of these before hopping into a limo and cruising up and down the strip getting wasted. When our limo tour was finally over, we all had to hit the washroom so bad that taking a photo outside the vehicle shows a three-person pee-pee dance. Add to that, Mrs. Sip suffering food poisoning later that night (not to do with the drink) and now she can’t enjoy Margaritas in the same way.

Bong – Numb at Caesar’s Palace

I haven’t had a chance to see this glass in person, but I’ve seen pictures. Quite frankly, it looks like something Tommy Chong was arrested for selling. The curious cat in me wonders if it can actually be used as a smoking device afterwards. After all, can’t stoners turn absolutely anything into a bong?

Toilet – Rock & Rita’s at Circus Circus

Have you ever wanted to experience the joys of a dog’s life? Here’s your chance to do it in a mostly hygienic manner by drinking out of this toilet souvenir glass. This doesn’t mean you’ll gain the ability to lick yourself in the naughty region (well, give it a shot anyway), but you will suddenly gain an appreciation for having your ear scratched.

Rock & Rita's

Skull – Teasure Island

I used to have a skeleton mug that we’d leave out for Santa Claus every Christmas morning. It seems kind of morbid now, but when I was a kid, I insisted on it. Maybe jolly ol’ Saint Nick would prefer if that mug was filled with beer. I know I would and therefore I plan on tracking down this glass as a sacrifice for the ghost of Christmas future.

Big Kahuna Fish Bowl – Kahunaville at Treasure Island

Granted fish bowls aren’t really anything new to the drinking world, but combine the massive goblet you’re given here with the beakers of liquor that you can choose to add to the mix whenever you feel and you have quite the winning combo. You can even buy extra beakers and make the drink look like a test subject.

Boot – Coyote Ugly at New York, New York

We’ve all heard stories of the infamous German boot glass. Well, the Coyote Ugly Saloon has taken that success and created the cowboy boot glass. There’s actually a normal glass shape inside the boot, so drinkers won’t have to deal with the air pocket that sometimes accumulates when chugging from the German boot, although that’s all part of the fun. You know, I never understood the name of this bar… I think Wile E. Coyote is quite fetching!

Drink #91: Pretty Vegas

Pretty Vegas Drink Recipe

  • 0.5 oz Blue Curacao
  • 0.5 oz Melon Liqueur
  • 0.5 oz Peach Schnapps
  • Top with Cranberry Juice
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Garnish with a Cocktail Umbrella

Layer each of the ingredients in their order about on top of each other in an ice-filled glass. There are many other specialty glasses out there in Sin City (Pineapples at Cheeseburger in Paradise, Statue of Liberty at New York, New York, etc.)… if only you had the time, liver and the money to collect them all!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
Layering the ingredients of this drink actually worked out reasonably well. The only issue was the clear Peach Schnapps melding together with the light-coloured Lemon Juice. Other than that, all the ingredients behaved themselves and kept their distance. The overall taste was good, as well.