November 7 – Shot of Love

Audial Bliss

The Sip Advisor is a five-sense kind of guy and over the next two weeks, we’re going to look at the sounds that make me smile, as well as the noises that make me cringe. Let’s get started with the satisfying side of the ledger:

#5: Breaking Glass

Of course, I’m not talking about the criminal variety, nor the type that might inflict any pain on someone. I’m talking about those rare times when you get to witness something being destroyed with good intent. I once worked on a garbage truck with Cousin Sip and we took great delight in whipping light tubes into the compactor. Or how about when an old car gets crushed? There’s also Stone Cold Steve Austin’s entrance theme, which brings fans to their feet with a shattered glass opening!

#4: Sizzling Food

Before the scent of the food can fill our nostrils, we hear that delightful sizzle that seems to beckon you, saying “come on, eat me!” Whether it’s chicken fajitas, barbecue burgers, bacon, or some other wonderful creation, we are drawn to this beautiful culinary melody. I wonder if vegetarians get the same thrill with their meals. Do vegetables crackle in the same manner as all things carnivorous? This is a mystery I may never solve, as healthy things don’t often touch the Sip Advisor’s plate!

#3: Golf Tee Shot

Even for folks that can’t hit the ball very well, if you get just the right shot, your reward is a delicious ping, as the (preferably) driver strikes the ball and sends in flying into space, off of the tee. This is why the Sip Advisor prefers to do his golfing at the driving range, rather than on the course. First, your time commitment is minimized, meaning you can hit the bar quicker. Second, your chances of spanking a couple good shots is increased. Best of all, you don’t have to worry about all those course hazards.

golf tee shot

#2: Pop of Cork or Bottle Cap/Crack of Can

It’s amazing how universally awesome it is to open any alcoholic beverage vessel. Perhaps we’re so desperate to taste what is hidden within that item, that the jingle becomes part of the experience. My phone notification sound is a bottle cap being popped and it has been for some time. The tone brings such pleasure to me, that even if bad news if coming, such as Mrs. Sip not having left work yet, although she said she’d be home hours ago, I can still smile.

#1: Someone Saying: “I Love You!”

Is there a sweeter thing in the world than having someone say, “I love you!”? It doesn’t matter if it’s coming from your partner, parents, buddy, or adoring fans… so long as it’s coming. During time’s when Mrs. Sip and I have been separated due to schooling, travelling, or some other hurdle, you don’t get as many of those “I love yous” as you’re accustomed to and that can hurt. When one scrolls across your screen from an e-mail or message, it’s just not the same.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Shot of Love

  • 0.5 oz Crown Royal Whisky
  • 0.5 oz Peach Schnapps
  • Splash of Sweet & Sour Mix
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

Some honourable mentions include skate blades cutting into ice, a purring cat, and the music of Justin Bieber. Okay, just kidding on that last one! Next week, we’ll look at the worst sounds known to man… or at least your faithful Sip Advisor.

Flavour Revolution – Peach

Pit Stop

Peaches are best defined by the massive pit at the center of the fruit. That got the Sip Advisor thinking about some of the most famous pits, found outside fruits. Here’s what this eccentric old mind was able to come up with:

La Brea Tar Pits

Located near Los Angeles, these pits of heavy crude oil have trapped a countless number of animals over the years, including mammoths, sabre-toothed cats, wolves, bison, horses, bears, sloths, turtles, and even lions. The La Brea Tar Pits official website advertises itself as “The World’s Most Famous Ice Age Fossil Excavation Site”. It’s certainly an area I wouldn’t want to disappear into.

la_brea_tar_pits

Brad Pitt

The two-time World’s Sexiest Man (at least according to People Magazine, which has elected to not include the Sip Advisor’s name on voter’s ballots) is a universally known star. I’d say my favourite Brad Pitt work is Fight Club, but I still have issues with the guy for leaving Jennifer Aniston, in favour of Angelina Jolie. That is a decision I’ll never be able to understand and just have to make peace with.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Home to the Steelers (NFL), Penguins (NHL), and Pirates (MLB) of the sports world, the city is also the birthplace of notable folks, such as Jeff Goldblum, Ken Griffey Jr., Zachary Quinto, George A. Romero, Julie Benz, Joe Manganiello, Kurt Angle, and Gillian Jacobs. Lastly, one of my favourite American craft breweries, Fat Head, originated in the ‘Burgh and for that, we thank them!

Pit Bulls

Among dog fans, these pups go by the shortened term ‘Pits’. While they are sometimes feared for the occasional horror story that hits the rounds regarding attacks by dogs, anyone who owns one swears by their loving nature. Some famous pit bulls include Petey (The Little Rascals), Chance (Homeward Bound) and Champion (Parks and Recreation). There’s also the rapper of the same name, but whateves.

pit bull cat

Piper’s Pit – WWE

This was the wrestling talk show to end all talk shows. A place where many of professional wrestling’s greatest storylines either began, progressed, or ended. Hosted by the wild, unpredictable ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper, the Pit was the setting for Andre the Giant turning on Hulk Hogan, leading to their epic WrestleMania III showdown, and Piper’s own feuds with Jimmy Snuka and Adrian Adonis, among others.

Armpits

Armpits get a bit of a bad rap, as they are one of the central sweat zones for both males and females, sometimes causing embarrassing body odors. For some though, this is an area of sexual attraction and fetishism (known as maschalagnia). While that’s not for the Sip Advisor, I’m not here to judge. The female armpit hair debate, however, has a simple answer: the less the best!

Flavour Revolution: Tickled Peach

Tickled Peach Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Peach Liqueur
  • 1 oz Gin
  • Top with Ginger Ale
  • Splash of Sour Mix
  • Dash of Grenadine
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

There are also a number of famous pits and sinkholes, found around the world. And how could we forget The Peach Pit from Beverly Hills 90210, where the coolest kids from the richest zip code hung out. Ah, the wonderful 90’s!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
I was hoping to use a Peach Moonshine, but went with Peach Liqueur instead. This made the drink sweeter than I would have wanted and it just wasn’t the best mix I’ve had before. I don’t know if Moonshine would have changed that at all, but I’ll have to try it out in the future.

July 4 – Stars and Stripes

American Made

While my neighbours to the south celebrate their Independence Day, I’d like to salute the most steadfast American patriots… well, at least of the fictional variety. And no, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter doesn’t count! On with the list:

#5: Sam the Eagle

This Muppet is a staunch advocate for the good ol’ U-S-of-A, while also being a straight-laced defender of decency and high culture. He certainly doesn’t fit in with many of his fellow Muppets, who rely on slapstick routines and lower-brow entertainment. Perhaps Sam’s biggest role was in the recent Muppets Most Wanted film, where he, as a CIA agent, teamed with an Interpol agent to clear the good name of Kermit the Frog and save the entire Muppets troupe, in the process.

Sam the Eagle

#4: Wrestling

The wrestling world is rife with American patriotism, featuring countless battles between red, white, and blue clad heroes versus villainous foreign foes. It’s hard to pinpoint one grappler in particular, but these are a few of the many who have fought in defense of Old Glory, capitalism, and the American way: Hulk Hogan, Lex Luger, Kurt Angle, The Patriot, Sgt. Slaughter, ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan, Jack Swagger, Dusty Rhodes, Corporal Kirchner, and the American Express. U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A!

#3: G.I. Joes

This line of Hasbro action figures was first released in 1964, representing four divisions of the United States’ armed forces: the army, navy, air force, and marines. In fact, the releases were the first to ever receive the designation “action figures”. A cartoon later came in 1985, which saw the Joes battle the evil terrorist group Cobra. Two films, in 2009 and 2013 (with one to come in 2016) have also been released for the franchise. Good will always triumph over evil!

GI Joes

#2: Uncle Sam

Used as a major symbol for propaganda, particularly during war times, Uncle Sam (who coincidentally has the initials, U.S.) has existed for approximately 200 years. Many believe that Uncle Sam was based on Samuel Wilson, a meat packer from Troy, New York, who helped provide soldiers with rations during the War of 1812. Regardless, if you see Uncle Sam, he probably wants you to fight for the country, joining one of the branches of U.S. armed forces.

#1: Captain America

Battling evil forces, the likes of which include the Red Skull, Barons Helmut and Heinrich Zero, Flag Smasher, and even Adolf Hitler, himself, Captain America is the ultimate defender and avenger (see what I did there!) of the United States against oppressors from other evil nations. With his trusty red, white, and blue shield, Captain America will be protecting the country (and world) for years to come. And to think, he was originally rejected as a member of the army, before going super soldier.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Stars and Stripes

I was surprised at how difficult this article was to put together. I figured there would be so many more glaring examples of fictional American patriots, but many weren’t so obvious. Perhaps I’ve just missed a number of folks that should have made this list. Let me know if I’m guilty of neglect!

Flavour Revolution – Pear

Shapely Figures

The term “gone pear-shaped” often refers to plans that have gone awry. This can include anything from an elaborate bank robbery to the simplest of tasks. Many theories exist as to why the pear was chosen, including the shape of deflated balloons, the distending of a failed gun barrel blast, the errors in forming pottery or blown glass, and even the construction of excrement. Here are some other popular metaphors using food and drink:

Carrot and Stick

Rewards and punishment… this is a theory the Sip Advisor can really get behind. There’s also the similar carrot on a stick idiom, but this lacks the fear of any punishment, so what’s the point of that! This term has even led to a portmanteau: throffer – threat + offer. The carrot and stick idea is best exemplified with acts of extortion, where protection is offered for a price, with harm being the only alternative.

carrot and stick

Apple of My Eye

If there is something or someone you treasure above all else, then that item is the “apple of your eye”. For me, this would probably include Mrs. Sip, my family, my wonderful liquor collection, my blog, and television. Are you allowed to have more than one “apple of your eye”? Is a bushel of apples okay? I’m just going to go ahead and approve that theory right here!

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade

I recently wrote an entire article based on this theory and I largely believe that you have to make the best of what you are given. It’s not the easiest thing to do and sometimes it takes some time to settle for what you have, but you’ll be happier if you make peace with your lemons. At this point of my life, I turn most lemons into cocktails, so I’m a very happy man!

Having Your Cake and Eating it Too

This term can basically be described as not being able to possess something and consume it as well. Once it’s been used or eaten, it’s gone. Again, this is something I can associate with my booze assortment, which is awesome to show off, but you always want to drink it too. When a bottle is gone, it’s a sad day, but I always reflect on all the awesome concoctions it went into.

having cake and eating it too

Chew the Fat

Making small talk can often be excruciating… especially if you have to come up with things to discuss with those you’d rather not be around. There was once an e-mail hoax that attempted to explain this phrase, describing that long ago in the past, people would bring out bacon when company came over, thus showing off their wealth. This bacon and its fat grew this false explanation.

Drinking the Kool-Aid

Growing up, I was a Kool-Aid kid, but I’d like to think I’ve never fallen for any of the bullshit that this figure of speech is usually applied to. The term was first used following the Jonestown Massacre, when more than 900 of Jim Jones’ followers blindly drank a cyanide-laced beverage, committing mass suicide. Ironically, the drink used was actually Flavor Aid, not Kool-Aid.

Heinz 57

Based off of an early Heinz company slogan, which advertised 57 varieties of products, it was eventually attributed to anything that contained a large number of parts. The idiom became so popular, it was used as the price point ($57 million) the Heinz company paid to the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers for the naming rights to Heinz field. I bet they wish the motto had been Heinz 4, or something like that.

Flavour Revolution: A Lovely Pear

  • 1.5 oz Pear Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Peach Schnapps
  • Splash of Grape Juice
  • Splash of  Lime Juice
  • Splash of Apple Juice
  • Dash of Apothecary Smokey Pear Bitters
  • Garnish with a Pear Slice

The pear is also a symbol of immortality to Chinese. How such a bland fruit gained this great association is beyond the Sip Advisor. The Chinese also thought sharing a pear was bad luck as it signifies the separation of friends or lovers. Thankfully, Mrs. Sip and I won’t be sharing pears anytime soon!

Netherlands – Amsterdammertje

Red Light Diaries

No trip to the Netherlands would be truly complete without a stroll through Amsterdam’s infamous Red Light District. No matter how illicit you want to get, it is a cultural experience that must be enjoyed. Mrs. Sip and I imbibed a little too much while we were in the “Venice of the North” (seriously, every place is the Venice of something!), but I’m itching to go back and try my luck again!

Amsterdam actually has three Red Light Districts, but the most famous of them is the area also known as ‘De Wallen’ in Old Amsterdam. This Red Light Distrcit has existed for hundreds of years. Since the 14th century, brothels have called the region along the city’s numerous canals, home. Once banned, but tolerated if kept underground, houses of ill repute were first allowed in 1811 and were frequented by French soldiers.

Hot Chicks RLD

Prostitution is legal in the Netherlands and with any time spent in the Red Light District, you will be sure to see an array of women (and on some occasions, even men) advertising themselves through red-light lit windows for various services. If you agree upon a price with one of the workers, you will be ushered into their cabin. It is a big no-no to take any photos of the workers, some of whom are students making money for their studies.

De Wallen is also famous for their Coffee Shops, where locals and tourists alike can eat, smoke, or even drink any number of normally illegal substances. These shops are licensed by the Dutch government. It should be noted that these stores are prohibited from selling alcohol and cigarettes, so you’ll have to get your drink and normal smoking done elsewhere.

There are also live sex shows, sex museums, sex theatres, sex shops (sex, sex, sex, is that all you ever think about!), bars and clubs, museums, and even a department store. In fact, Amsterdam is home to 51 different museums, making it one of the most museum-populated cities in the world. You should enjoy the destination while it lasts, as there are fears it will eventually disappear, given most of the city is already below sea level.

What's a RLD

If you want to see the city, but aren’t so interested in the darker activities offered in the Red Light District, there are a number of other attractions definitely worth checking out. This includes: Canal Cruises, Walking Tours, the Heineken Experience, the Vodka Museum, the House of Bols, the Anne Frank House, the Van Gogh Museum, the Rembrandthouse, and the Rijksmuseum, which is described as the Louvre of the Netherlands.

Amsterdam is the bicycle capital of Europe, with one million bikes for a population of 700,000 people. Any travelers spending time around the city or going through the Red Light District, should always be vigilant and keep an eye out for bicyclists and whether or not they’ve accidentally entered onto a bike path. I suppose given all the libations available in the city, intoxicated biking is better than driving!

Some events to keep in mind if planning a trip to Amsterdam are King’s Day in April, providing the perfect excuse for crazy parties and the High Times Cannabis Cup, described as “five days of pure hedonism,” in late-November. Worldwide events, such as Pride and New Year’s Eve, when celebrated in Amsterdam sound quite interesting. For Pride, there’s a naughty boat parade through the canals, while at New Year’s, most bars don’t even open until midnight hits.

Netherlands: Amsterdammertje

Amsterdammertje Cocktail

  • 1.25 oz Jenever
  • 0.75 oz Peach Schnapps
  • Top with Cranberry Juice
  • Garnish with Cranberries

Talk about crazy folks: Adults in the Netherlands like to add sprinkles (like the ones used as an ice cream sundae topping) onto their toast. This is something the Sip Advisor will surely have to try in the future!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
Friends of Mrs. Sip and myself visited the House of Bols while they were in the Netherlands and were incredibly kind enough to pick us up a couple treats, while there. This included this wonderful bottle of Bols Jenever that I used for our Around the World stop here, as well as a cocktail recipe booklet, which is hilariously in Dutch (English version does not exist yet) and requires some Google translating! This is one of the drinks that looked fun to make and it certainly hit the spot on the taste scale.

September 27 – Spinal Tap

I’m With the Band

For those about to rock… we salute you! And we also salute these fictional bands, some of which turned into real-life touring acts. Those which didn’t, should have. Hell, if the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had a music tour at the height of their popularity in the early 90s, why can’t we see Faith+1 or Fingerbang around the world!?

#5: The Blues Brothers – The Blues Brothers/Blues Brothers 2000

When Jim Belushi and Dan Aykroyd took to the Saturday Night Live stage to perform as Jake and Elwood Blues, nobody knew how musically-gifted the two actually were. The sketches were turned into a feature film and the SNL alum even toured together, performing live on stage. With the unfortunate death of Jim Belushi, his brother John has filled in at times (as Zee Blues), as well as John Goodman, who joined Aykroyd as ‘Mighty’ Mack McTeer for the sequel Blues Brothers 2000. Aykroyd’s love of blues music has even resulted in his owning a percentage of the House of Blues restaurant and live performance chain.

Blues Brothers

#4: The Dale Gribble Bluegrass Experience – King of the Hill

The Experience consisted of the back alley crew (Hank, Dale, Bill and Boomhauer) with young Connie Psupnesphone on her violin – or as it’s referred to in blue grass, a fiddle. Boomhauer’s unintelligible southern drawl speech is perfect for bluegrass and the troupe made it all the way to performing at the Bluegrass Festival in Branson, Missouri, before Connie’s overbearing father Con interfered. Their cover of ‘Blue Moon of Kentucky’ sounded pretty good and they even talked country legend Charlie Daniels into filling in on the fiddle when Connie disappeared. Despite all their efforts, though, they did not win the festival competition.

#3: Spinal Tap – This is Spinal Tap

The greatest fake rock band to become a real rock band EVER! Made up of David St. Hubbins (Michael McKean), Nigel Tufnel (Christopher Guest), and Derek Smalls (Harry Shearer) and filmed mockumentary style, this film covered Spinal Tap’s journey to the top of the music world. Spinal Tap later appeared on The Simpsons, thanks to Shearer’s voice work on the series, forever cementing their status as a great fictional band, although the group actually tours and performs. This is one act you wouldn’t want to be a drummer for, though, as each prospective percussionist has died from bizarre accidents and under mysterious circumstances.

Spinal Tap

#2: The Be-Sharps – The Simpsons

Homer, Principal Skinner, Apu, Chief Wiggum and later Barney Gumble (replacing Wiggum) made up this little quartet. With a Grammy Award winning and number one hit ‘Baby On Board,’ the group seemed destined for superstardom, but in a case eerily similar to The Beatles, creative differences and an Asian woman forced the band to split and remain a one-hit wonder. The Simpsons has also featured other fictional groups and musicians, including Bleeding Gums Murphy, Lurleen Lumpkin, the Party Posse, Captain Bart and the Tequila Mockingbirds, Sadgasm, and even Kirk Van Houten.

#1: Fingerbang & Faith+1 – South Park

Both of these bands are driven by the genius mind of Eric Cartman. First, he created Fingerbang, an attempt at capitalizing on the boy band craze. The death of Kenny – crushed by an elevator during a concert at the local mall – thwarted them in the end. They did gain one fan, but promptly split up, realizing that such fame doesn’t allow for a normal life. Years later, Cartman splits from the boys garage band Moop, to form the Christian Rock-based Faith+1 with Butters and Token. Faith+1 goes on to be a hit, receiving a Mir album distinction. Cartman, expecting a gold record to win a bet with Kyle, goes on a profanity-laced tirade, ruining the band’s innocent image.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Spinal Tap

Spinal Tap Shot

  • 0.5 oz Vodka (I used Finlandia)
  • 0.5 oz Peach Schnapps
  • 0.5 oz Crème de Cacao
  • Garnish with a Guitar Pick

As usual, this list was extremely difficult to pare down. I would have loved to include groups like Jesse and the Rippers (Full House), the Zack Attack (Saved by the Bell), and The Electric Mayhem (The Muppets), among others. I did manage to sneak a sixth band into the post by doubling up the South Park entry, so consider yourself extra special today!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
I’m unsure of if this shooter has anything to do with the mockumentary band or if it’s more to do with the medical procedure… either way, I’m using it! And it is delicious. You get varying notes of Peach Schnapps and Crème de Cacao and both taste so good. Had I used a flavoured Vodka, I wonder if things would have got better or worse. Would a whole new flavour emerge, or would there be too many competing notes? The questions that keep the Sip Advisor up at night!

May 24 – Crackhouse

There Goes the Neighbourhood

Last week we took a look at some of the best neighbourly relationships ever, which means this week, it’s time to do an about face and examine the worst neighbours you could ever find yourself living next door to. Prepare to see the neighbourhood go down the tubes:

#5: Homer Simpson & Ned Flanders – The Simpsons

Ned is the consummate neighbour (or neighbourino as he would prefer to put it) and has an almost infinite well of patience for Homer. Despite that, Homer can’t stand stupid sexy Flanders and always seems to be at odds with the mustachioed one. With the way the two treat each other, you’d figure Ned would be the one to be short and rude with Homer and not the other way around. For example, half of Ned’s possessions have found their way into the Simpson home, as Homer seems to borrow items with no return date and Homer is jealous of the Flanders superior lifestyle.

homersimpsonzombie

#4: Jerry Seinfeld & Cosmo Kramer – Seinfeld

These two may actually be friends, but Kramer’s penchant for using Jerry’s apartment as an offsite location for himself would grate on any person. Kramer’s constant raiding of the fridge, use of the telephone, and occupation of Jerry’s couch would drive me crazy. Worst of all, Kramer is friends with Jerry’s sworn enemy, Newman, and often brings him around to the apartment. Add in Kramer’s string of bizarre adventures, get-rich-quick schemes, and other outlandish behaviour and you’re in for a bumpy ride, whether you like it or not.

#3: Winslow Family & Steve Urkel – Family Matters

Sure, by the end of each episode whoever Steve had upset within the Winslow family had made peace with the uber nerd, but that kid brought some serious tough times to the household. Steve’s clumsiness caused an untold number of repairs to be necessary to the home and because his own parents were so absent in his life, Steve practically lived with the Winslow’s. The threat of a surprise visit from the suspender-clad dork would cause great tension for myself, even though I love the guy. I just don’t think I could take the destruction that follows Steve like a cursed shadow.

Urkel Damage

#2: Bundy Family & D’Arcy Family – Married with Children

While most of them are reasonably amiable with one another, Al and Marcy have been feuding for years and things get even more tense when Marcy’s women’s group clashes with Al’s NO MA’AM organization. Admittedly, it would be tough existing next door to the Bundy clan and their unique way of living. From the always scheming Bud, to dim-witted Kelly, to parents Al and Peg, who are always taking advantage of the more well-off D’Arcy’s, it would be exhausting to come home. Then again, you can’t feel too bad, given they don’t seem to even like each other, let alone their neighbours.

#1: John Gustafson, Jr. & Max Goldman – Grumpy Old Men

The way these two curmudgeons prank each other comes from years of being rivals. John and Max have grown up together and even competed over girls during their younger days. That set off a lifelong animosity between the two neighbours, one that flares up when an attractive woman moves into the town and both grumps end up fawning over the lady. In the end, the joke is all on John and Max, though, as their kids end up married to one another, meaning the two will forever be linked. Something could also be said for the two old men needing each other, whether they realize it or not.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Crackhouse

May 24

  • 1 oz Blackcurrant Liqueur
  • 0.5 oz Peach Schnapps
  • Splash of Cranberry Juice
  • Garnish with Cranberries

All that’s left is to decide which one of you has to put up the ‘For Sale’ sign. Either that, or continue to battle forever, passing the torch on to future generations. Sometimes you just have to stand your ground and hope for the best!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I liked this shot. It could have been too sweet, but the Cranberry Juice neutralizes that. For some reason, I really love chewing on Cranberries when the shooter is done. Yeah, I’d probably be one of those neighbours you hate with vehement passion!