Mixer Mania #8 – Family First

Fruit Punch is like the United Nations of juices, bringing crops of all walks of life together and trying to co-exist in harmony. That also sounds like the description for a blended family… therefore, here are some of the best fictional merged units to ever come together:

The Brady Bunch

The original blended TV family saw a mother and her three daughters join a father and his three sons. Of course, there was also maid Alice to play peacekeeper between the factions, so long as she wasn’t out with boyfriend, Sam the butcher (an awesome wrestling name!). Cousin Oliver later came along, although he basically signaled the end of the series and his name is now used to describe when a show adds a young character to avoid cancellation.

Step Brothers

It’s one thing to find common ground with young children that are suddenly asked to act like kin, but when you’re trying to find peace between two middle-aged slackers still living at home, it can be a total nightmare. Such was the case for Brennan Huff and Dale Doback, as their mother and father, respectively, decide to marry and bring their families together. They do become close, in the end, but the early stages included attempted murder.

step-brothers

Step by Step

An updated 90’s version of The Brady Bunch saw TV darlings Suzanne Somers and Patrick Duffy combine their offspring to make one massive family. Add in cousin Cody – who lives in a van on the Lambert-Foster property, despite their massive house – and you have a pretty large household. This was TGIF programming at its finest, my little sippers, and they even tried to shoehorn a new baby into the show, prior to advance-aging her.

Blended

You’d figure after starring together previously in The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates that Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore wouldn’t be strangers anymore, but here they were bringing their respective families together in Africa of all places. Sandler, a widower with three daughters is joined by Barrymore and her two sons from a previous marriage and hilarity ensues when they’re placed in a myriad of African mishaps, before falling in love.

X-Men

While not a typical blended family, the students of Charles Xavier’s School for the Gifted are like one big clan, with many of the mutants forced from their birth homes by parents who either can’t handle their child’s extraordinary powers or are too scared to. Sure, things get a little weird when you consider some of the romantic relationships sparked within the group and the jury is still out on whether Professor X is a good father or not.

wolverine-kid

Modern Family

When Jay Pritchett married Gloria Delgado, her son Manny was also part of the deal. Later on, Jay and Gloria have a child of their own to add to the mix. As the show’s name implies, the series includes a number of different family mixes, such as the Dunphy’s – your “typical” family of mom, dad, and three kids – and the Tucker-Pritchett clan, which is comprised of a gay couple and their adopted Vietnamese daughter.

The Cleveland Show

After reuniting with his high school crush, Cleveland Brown and son Cleveland Jr. end up shacking up with Donna Tubbs and her two children from her previous marriage, Roberta and Rallo. The move from Quahog, Rhode Island to Stoolbend, Virginia means a whole new set of family and friends for the Browns, who initially struggle to meld with the Tubbs unit. Eventually, they return to Quahog, as most blended families do when their spinoff is cancelled.

Once Upon A Time

A big theme in Disney animated movies (and the fairy tales that they’re based on) is that of the blended family. Therefore, it’s no surprise that these would be transferred over to the Once Upon A Time world, most notably with Evil Queen Regina becoming the stepmother of Snow White and later sharing mother duties of young Henry with Emma Swan, the boy’s biological mama. Regina also becomes a pseudo mother to Robin Hood’s son.

Mixer Mania #8: Alabama Riot

Alabama Riot.JPG

  • 2 oz Southern Comfort
  • 1 oz Peppermint Schnapps
  • 1 oz Vodka
  • Top with Fruit Punch
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with Strawberry Slices

I must ask, if the world drank more Fruit Punch, would we be more accepting of each other’s differences? Yeah, probably not, but it would be neat if the solution was that simple…

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
With this recipe, I was most curious with how the Peppermint Schnapps would work with the other ingredients. While it actually made a decent partnership with the Fruit Punch, it still remained a little too noticeable. I happy I tried the drink, though.

Flavour Revolution – Gingerbread

‘Tis the Season

Mrs. Sip and I picked up a bottle of Southern Comfort: Gingerbread last year in Hawaii and should play around with it more than we have to this point. Here are some other spirits perfect for the winter and holiday season:

Bailey’s Irish Crème

Bailey’s is a holiday staple, perfect for morning coffee (not for the Sip Advisor, though) or straight up as a night cap. Last Christmas, Sis-in-Law Sip gave me a bottle of Chocolate Cherry, which I only haven’t opened because I was going through another crème liqueur and don’t like having too many on the go. Other flavours perfect for the season (and year round), include Orange Truffle, Vanilla Cinnamon, Biscotti, Hazelnut, Salted Caramel, Mint Chocolate, and Crème Caramel.

Bailey's Straight

Kahlua

With flavours such as Hazelnut, Cinnamon Spice, Peppermint Mocha, and French Vanilla, Kahlua ranks right up there with Bailey’s as a textbook winter treat. New to their product line is a Salted Caramel version, which has the Sip Advisor quite intrigued. Kahlua – and other liqueurs – are basically the only way I will intake coffee and despite my complete disregard of the hot beverage, I do have a soft spot for it in booze form.

Peppermint Schnapps

I love putting a couple dashes of Peppermint Schnapps in my hot chocolate. The Sip Advisor is currently using Yukon Jack Permafrost as his go to winter warmer. This product is unique in that it combines the flavours of peppermint and cinnamon all in one bottle. There are also a few peppermint-flavoured vodkas on the market, including Smirnoff Peppermint Twist Vodka and Burnett’s Candy Cane Vodka. Earlier this month, I used the Candy Cane Vodka for another Flavour Revolution article.

 

Eggnog Liqueur

You can’t go through the Christmas season without eggnog. Even people who aren’t crazy about the beverage (such as myself), end up indulging in the nog at least once… for tradition’s sake. A number of companies have jumped on the eggnog bandwagon, releasing pre-mixed bottles of the festive drink. An interesting Peppermint Chocolate variation comes from the Evan Williams distillery, which turns the dial up on Christmas!

christmas cat_eggnog

Spicebox Gingerbread Whiskey

In a similar vein to the SoCo Gingerbread we’re working with today, comes Spicebox Gingerbread Whiskey. I’m going to start sounding like a broken record, but this is another spirit that I have had great interest in, but have yet to purchase and sample. Along with the cookies it is inspired by, gingerbread is perfect at this time of year, soothing eaters and drinkers with a spice and warmth that is unlike any other treat available.

Jack Daniels Winter Jack

Having been a Jack Daniels fan since before I even began drinking, I’ve always been curious of this winter release, which combines the famous Tennessee whiskey with apple cider to produce a ready-to-drink cocktail. Sis-in-Law Sip gifted me a bottle of this for Christmas this year, but as of press time, I’m still showing it off underneath our tree. It sounds like the perfect liqueur to bring in the New Year with, so perhaps I’ll have to report back to all you little sippers.

Flavour Revolution: Late Night Affair

  • Rim glass with Gingerbread Crumbs
  • 1.5 oz Southern Comfort Gingerbread
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • Top with Cranberry Juice
  • Splash of Club Soda
  • Dash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

There’s also a multitude of winter beers on the market, many of which I have covered in my recent Sip Trips articles, looking at the craft beer advent calendar Mrs. Sip compiled for me. Is there anything else out there I’ve neglected and should add to my shopping list?

December 26 – Christmas Cheer

Better to Give

Christmas may have passed, but to keep in the spirit, let’s have one more look at some great gifts given, this time in TV history:

#5: iPod – The Office

Looking to impress young intern Ryan, Michael Scott totally disregards the $20 limit on Secret Santa gifts and instead buys a $400 iPod, setting off a trading war for the music player. The real great gift was what Jim had put together for Pam: a tea pot filled with mementos and a private letter (which he later withdrew). Across the pond, the U.K. Office also had a memorable gift exchange, when Tim gave Dawn an art set, encouraging her to “Never give up” on her dreams.

the office christmas

#4: Blank Cheque – Mary Tyler Moore Show

While it was simply an oversight, Mary Richards’ Christmas turned interesting when she received a blank cheque from boss, Lou Grant, as a gift. What would you do? Personally, I would bilk TV station WJM of every dime they had and then vanish into the night, never to be seen again, as I live the rest of my days in some tropical paradise with Mrs. Sip and an endless supply of booze. Mary, on the other hand, had to go and inform the gruff managing editor of his error.

#3: Leonard Nimoy’s Autograph – Big Bang Theory

Christmas shopping can be an awkward exercise, especially when finding a gift for someone you don’t know so well. Part of the issue is you don’t know what they might be getting you in return. Sheldon Cooper seemed to have that all figured out by buying his neighbour Penny bath baskets in varying sizes. When she surprises him with a signed napkin from his hero Leonard Nimoy (Star Trek’s Spock), he rushes to his room and gathers every basket he had assembled.

#2: Santa’s Little Helper – The Simpsons

Down on his luck after learning he will not receive a Christmas bonus and that his second job as a mall Santa didn’t pay out as he had hoped, Homer Simpson had no presents for his family. Fortune has a funny way of turning around at Christmas, though, and as Homer and Bart are picking through the discarded wagers outside the dog track, hoping to find a winning stub, out comes the dog they bet on, in need of a new family. This special was the start of The Simpsons long animated run.

#1: Lost Love Letters – A Garfield Christmas

There are some incredibly thoughtful gifts in this Christmas special. While Odie’s construction of a backscratcher for Garfield was incredibly cute, the lasagna-loving cat stole the holiday by unearthing lost love letters sent to Grandma Arbuckle by her late husband. The funny thing is that if this were ever to happen for Mrs. Sip in the very distant future, a tuna water-loving kitty would have to dig up all my old e-mails to her. Hopefully the cat has no issues remembering my password.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Christmas Cheer

Some might argue that the greatest gift from TV might be the now real holiday of Festivus, from the Seinfeld episode The Strike. If that’s how you prefer to celebrate, I hope your airing of grievances, feats of strength, and Festivus miracles are everything you ever wished for!

Flavour Revolution – Sloe Berries

Slowing Things Down

Today, we experiment with Sloe Gin – a first for the Sip Advisor. I know “sloe” in this case is not spelt like “slow”, but all I can think of is things moving at a lengthier pace. Therefore, I bring to you the greatest slow-motion scenes in cinema history:

The Untouchables – Union Station Gunfight

While I’m 100% anti-prohibition, I suppose I’m also anti-illegal activity. Things come to a head between these two forces when Elliot Ness and his Untouchables enter into a full-scale gunfight with mobster Al Capone and his cronies, inside Chicago’s Union Station. Members of both factions are blown away by various weapons and upping the tension factor is the fact that a mother and her young child (in stroller) are caught in the crossfire.

Inception – Dream Catchers

To bring the reverse heisters back to the real world, a serious jolt is needed… like the type you get when you feel you’re falling in a dream. To achieve this, the crew decides that their vehicle needs to fall from a bridge into the water below. Because time moves differently in the various levels of consciousness, this descent is painfully slow and also affects the members caught in the different dream levels, throwing them into the ceiling or other obstacles of the realm they are in.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High – Leisurely Swim

Let’s move on to a lighter scene. In this teen comedy, high school senior Brad Hamilton watches his sister’s friend swim in the family pool and fantasizes about her slowly emerging from the water and dropping her bikini top all for his pleasure. This causes Brad (played by Judge Reinhold) to need some “release”… thankfully not also done in slow-mo. As we’ll find with many of these scenes, music plays a large role in the full effect, this time with the Cars ‘Moving in Stereo’ providing the soundtrack.

X-Men: Days of Future Past – Quicksilver Antics

This scene instantly made the character of Quicksilver popular with fans who didn’t know he even existed and demand to have him included in future X-men installments was passionate. Watching the young mutant run around the vault as time crawled to a halt, messing with guards and repositioning bullets was very entertaining. Only slow time will tell what other adventures Quicksilver gets up to in the future… and past!

The Matrix – Fight Fury

While I’m not a fan of the Matrix franchise, I have to admit that there are many great slow-mo scenes throughout the trilogy. Bullet Time, for example, was a jaw-dropping and revolutionary filming technique and similar processes were used for other fight scenes, such as the lobby shootout in the first installment and Neo’s battle with an unlimited number of Mr. Smiths in the sequel. I still don’t understand the damn thing, though.

Zombieland – Amazing Opening

Perfectly combined with Metallica’s ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’, this may be one of cinema’s greatest opening montages. In just a few brief scenes, the audiences is caught up to speed with the horrors of the apocalyptic zombie outbreak that has forced our hero from his cozy, shut-in life into a world of fear, mistrust, and always being vigilant. We even see a bride attack her new husband, which would have to make their nuptials the wedding of the year!

Anchorman 2 – RV Flip

With the Channel 4 news crew reunited and en route to new jobs for the launch of a 24-hour channel, all the guys have to do is survive a cross-country road trip aboard an RV driven by Ron Burgundy… who doesn’t really understand the concept of cruise control. This results in their RV swerving off the road and injuries to each journalist, including deep fryer oil to the face, a bowling ball to the skull, an even a scorpion attack. Why these items were ever aboard the RV remains an unsolved mystery.

Office Space – Printer Destruction

Almost all of us have been there: frustrated with a printer or other office device. These three disgruntled employees decide to take their venom out on the machine that has caused them the most angst, bringing it out into a desolate field and destroying it. With the song ‘Still’ by the Geto Boys fueling their destructive intentions, the trio makes the device unrecognizable, even going so far as to wield a baseball bat in their attack. Every office worker has dreamed of doing the same ever since!

Zoolander – Gas Fight

To cheer up their buddy Derek Zoolander, the male models go out for some Orange Mocha Frappuccinos. As they stop to fill up their Jeep with some gas, they decide to have a playful fight with the fuel and all is well until one of the models lights a cigarette, causing the station to explode into a ball of fire. Once again, the music selection is key here, as the Wham! Classic ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go’ deceives the audience of the tragedy that is about to unfold.

Flavour Revolution: Hopeless Case

The Chariots of Fire scene should really be included, given how many times it’s been parodied. There’s also an amazing scene in Ace Ventura where Jim Carrey performs a football play in both slow-mo and rewind. Courtenay Cox can barely keep a straight face throughout!

Flavour Revolution – Root Beer

Safe Suds

The Sip Advisor began his wicked ways, many moons ago, with the enjoyment of root beer. It could be described as the gateway libation that led to this endeavor and made me the booze jockey I am today. Let’s dig a little deeper and take a look at some of the companies that brought this beautiful drink to our lips:

Hires

Created in 1876 by Charles Hires, a pharmacist from Philadelphia, Hires Root Beer has the longest history of all American soft drinks. That includes Coca-Cola! Hires’ root beer business began with selling 25-cent packets of powder that would produce five gallons of the drink. I wish that deal was still available to the Sip Advisor! Hires ran into some issues early on thanks to calling his soda “beer” (in order to entice blue collar folks). The Temperance Movement looked to eliminate the pop, but Hires proved there was little to no alcohol content and even went so far as to mock the movement, calling his root beer “The Temperance Drink”.

I`m a Dr. Pepper fan, but I would certainly never argue with the Caped Crusader!

I`m a Dr. Pepper fan, but I would certainly never argue with the Caped Crusader!

A&W

When Roy Allen joined forces with Frank Wright to open the A&W restaurant chain (one of the first dining chains in the U.S.) in 1922, they had no clue how successful their endeavour would prove to be. A feature of the fast food outlet was their root beer, which originally sold for 5-cents per serving. Allen had previously operated roadside root beer stands in parts of California. The Great Root Bear has been the company’s mascot since 1974 and was first used in Canada. Nicknamed Rooty, the bear has largely been replaced by the A&W Burger Family, but he still pops up from time to time, usually with a fresh mug of root beer close by.

Barq’s

Officially known as Barq’s Famous Olde Tyme Root Beer, up until 2012, Barq’s has existed since 1898. I remember the brand becoming quite famous in the 1990’s upon the release of their “Barq’s has bite!” ad campaign (featuring comedian Nick Swardson). Anything was better than the company’s original slogan of “Drink Barq’s. It’s Good.” The soda was created by the Barq’s brothers, Edward and Gaston, who began experimenting with beverages in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Barq’s is rare in the root beer world, in that it contains caffeine, while most similar products don’t. That means that it certainly does pack a bite.

Hold My Root Beer

Mug

Beginning as Belfast Root Beer, brewed out of San Francisco in the 1940s, the company eventually changed the product’s name to Mug Old Fashioned Root Beer. As is common with most root beer ventures, a Cream Soda variation was also released, but is less common to find. Mug was acquired by PepsiCo in 1986, joining their long lineup of beverage options. Mug’s mascot is a bulldog named Dog (how very creative!), whose adventures are featured in an online comic on the brand’s website. I don’t know about all you little sippers, but I don’t mind sharing my drinking experiences with a cute pooch!

Dad’s

The Dad’s brand name is derived in honour of all the fathers out there that used to brew their own root beer for their families, back in the day. Dad’s was an innovative line, being the first beverage to take advantage of the six pack format and half-gallon bottle options. Like A&W burgers, Dad’s Root Beer also follows a family-style orientation with ‘Papa’, ‘Mama’, and ‘Junior’ products. A popular marketing tactic used by the company in the 1940’s was to sell the quart-sized Mama for only 1-cent, with the purchase of a half-gallon Papa. Dad’s ads appeared in the 1946 movie The Stranger, directed by and starring Orson Welles.

Flavour Revolution: Root Canal

Jan 26

  • 2 oz Root Beer Schnapps
  • 0.25 oz Peppermint Schnapps
  • Top with Dr. Pepper
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

If I had to pick a favourite root beer, amongst the fine choices above, I think I’d have to go with A&W. They get the nod because I can easily combine their soda with delicious burgers and scrumptious fries. Plus, you can never take anything away from a frosted mug, which the restaurant is happy to fill for you!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I knew from the moment I found this recipe, that it would be a good one. Sure, Peppermint Schnapps is an odd addition to the mix of Root Beer Schnapps and Dr. Pepper, but it all came out okay in the wash. There was a brief hint of peppermint flavour, but it’s very light and doesn’t ruin the other soda tastes.

December 20 – Jack Frost

Holiday Horrors

Christmas is supposed to be all about good tidings and joy, but some would have you think otherwise. The following entries are only interested in disrupting the holiday and even putting an end to Santa Claus and the whole spirit of Christmas. Let’s wade together into the darker side of the season!

#5: Xanta Klaus

Professional wrestling is the perfect breeding grounds for detestable anti-Christmas characters. Among those creations is Xanta Klaus, who arrived on the scene in 1995, under the guise of giving out gifts to children, only to turn on wrestler Savio Vega and beat him with his toy-filled sack. Unfortunately, Xanta Klaus was short-lived, with writers probably realizing he didn’t have a shelf life past December 25th. Even wrestling events in the month of December take on a not-so-friendly air, with names like Season’s Beatings, Massacre of 34th Street, Holiday Hell, and December to Dismember.

#4: Robot Santa

This mechanized version of Santa, as seen on Futurama, is hell bent on ruining every Christmas. He was originally created to decide whether a child was naughty or nice and then reward or punish the youngster accordingly. His programming goes all haywire, however, and he ends up believing everyone is bad, leading to the launch of aggressive assaults each Christmas Eve, with an array of seasonal weapons. If Robot Santa wasn’t bad enough on his own, he is occasionally joined by Kwanzaabot and the Chanukah Zombie, with the group being collectively known as The Trinity.

#3: Christmas Time in South Park

The brilliant minds behind South Park don’t mind turning the Christmas season into their own satirical playground, with heroic holiday characters that include Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo and even cult leader Charles Manson. If the bad guys are good, then the antagonists must be really evil. Episodes have seen Iraqi soldiers torture Santa Claus, only for Jesus to save the jolly fat man; Woodland Christmas critters giving birth to the antichrist; and heck, the animated short by Trey Parker and Matt Stone that largely led to South Park’s existence was titled Jesus vs. Santa, and included the two fighting, before coming to a truce over orange smoothies!

south_park_christmas

#2: Jack Frost

What happens when a serial killer en route to his execution dies in a horrific accident? Well, if his name is Jack Frost, he comes back as a deranged snowman, of course. Then, he terrorizes the lawman who apprehended him and the town of Snowmonton (yes, that was seriously the city’s name), including raping a woman in the shower with his carrot nose and murdering piles of people. Hell, Frost did call himself the “world’s most pissed off snow cone!” Ironically, only a year later, a family film with the same name was released and had a similar plot (man dies and turns into snowman), minus all the slaying and carrot-based sexual assault.

#1: Krampus

This European legend is the anti-Santa, used to encourage kids to be good, or else! In some countries, the creature has somehow gained his own celebration night, Krampusnacht, on December 5th, the eve before St. Nicholas Day, which rewards good children. This has involved people dressing up as the man-beast and beating others up. Krampus was depicted on American Dad as actually being a good guy, only trying to correct bad behaviour in kids, while Santa is the true villain. There is also the similar Belsnickel, who has the split personality of both Krampus and St. Nicholas and was famously portrayed by Dwight Schrute on The Office.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Jack Frost

Dec 20

  • Rim glass with Candy Cane Bits
  • 0.5 oz Kahlua
  • 0.5 oz Bailey’s Irish Crème
  • 0.5 oz Peppermint Schnapps
  • Garnish with a Candy Cane

A couple honourable mentions that could have been included on this list, had they not had a change of heart and eventually embraced the season, include the Grinch and Jack Skellington. I hope all you little sippers have a wonderful Christmas and get lit up like the tree!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
I can’t believe how many shot recipes start with Kahlua and Irish Crème… too many. To change thing up a little, I used Yukon Jack Perma Frost, instead of Peppermint Schnapps. The Perma Frost adds cinnamon notes to the usual mint flavour and kind of completed this shooter.

Czech Republic – Magic Eye

Castlevania

There are more castles per capita in the Czech Republic than any other place in the world. More than 2,000 structures exist in the country, which is fair given the Czechs are surrounded by a number of countries and have been invaded, conquered, divided, and annexed numerous times over their existence. Let’s take a look at some of these fortresses:

Prague Castle

The largest castle in the world is located in the Czech Republic capital of Prague, where the best view of the city can be found atop the main tower of the stronghold. A highlight of Prague Castle grounds is the St. Vitus Cathedral, which features beautiful stained-glass windows, as well as the burial plots of Czech saints and emperors. The whole site combines many different aspects of Czech architecture and design from across the centuries and is a feast for the eyes. A hidden room within the castle walls hides the Bohemian Crown Jewels and even Adolf Hitler spent a night in the structure, after the Nazis invaded and occupied Czechoslovakia.

Cat Castle

Karlštejn Castle

Thought of by many as the second most popular tourist attraction in the Czech Republic, Karlštejn Castle is a Gothic-style castle located 30km southwest of Prague. Built by King Charles IV, the fortress was needed to guard the crown jewels, holy relics, and other treasures belonging to the royal family. Unfortunately, many rooms at the landmark are hidden from tourists due to earlier robberies. Apparently, you can even drink water from a hand-powered well, although the Sip Advisor will take his bottled options (water, beer, etc.) over the natural stuff. If castles aren’t your thing, a golf course is located nearby and shares the same name.

Cesky Krumlov Castle

Not only does this landmark house an impressive main castle, but there are also a number of mini castles, making the town seem almost maze-like. In the castle moat, visitors can see a family of brown bears, the protectors of the site. Special to the Cesky Krumlov grounds is the Baroque Theatre, which is one of the world’s most preserved theatres, including stage, orchestra pit, machinery, costumes, stage curtains, and much more. The area was made a national monument in 1989 and a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1992.

Cesky Sternberk Castle

This stronghold is still owned by the same family that built it in the mid-13th century, after it was returned to the Sternberg’s in 1992, following the fall of communism and Velvet Revolution. The name of the castle, Sternberk, translates to Star Mountain, which kind of sounds like a world in a video game, such as Super Mario Bros. or The Legend of Zelda. The complex is one of the best preserved medieval castles and tours are highlighted by a visit to the Knight’s Hall, which holds a number of historic items. There are also 545 copper engravings on display, which detail the entirety of the Thirty Years’ War.

Darth Vader Castle

Cervena Lhota

This picturesque bright red castle was built in the middle of a lake, atop an island and connected to the mainland by a stone bridge. The castle’s gardens are a major attraction and the site is visited by over 120,000 tourists each year. Nearby, is a park that offers attractions such as the Renaissance Chapel of the Holy Trinity and a fish pond where boats can be rented for a trek across its waters. The castle’s name, meaning “Red Lhota” comes from the red tiles that make up its roof.

Zleby Castle

Originally built around 1289, the Zleby Caslte has changed its look many times over the centuries. Beginning as a Gothic style structure, it was rebuilt in Renaissance style, following the Hussite Wars in the 15th century. Later, it was changed again to a Baroque style and it has remained this way since. Tours at the castle take visitors in one of two directions: either to the kitchens or to the high tower and its dungeons. Travelers could ask for a nice meal before being ushered to the dungeon to meet their maker! Also in the area is a population of white deer, as well as various birds and other animals.

Hluboka Castle

One of the first Gothic style castle in the world, Hluboka was built in the mid-13th century and contains many expensive furniture pieces, particularly in the “Morning Guest Room,” which includes woven tapestries from Brussels, hand-painted Chinese vases, and other objects of art. The fortress was even featured in a scene from the Owen Wilson-Jackie Chan film, Shanghai Knights. The castle is close to the city of Budějovice (where the real Budweiser was created and is still made today – the next Czech article du jour), so tourists can always get smashed before or after their castle visit.

Czech Republic: Magic Eye

Magic Eye Beer Cocktail

Some people have it on their bucket list to stay overnight at a castle, but not the Sip Advisor. On my bucket list is “Own a Castle!” Can you imagine the parties I could throw if I had my own palace? The booze would be flowing like blood did during the Middle Ages and we would pour one out for all the homies that perished with the walls!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
Originally, I was going to pick up a bottle of Absinthe for our jaunt through the Czech Republic, but then I learned of the country’s long history with beer and decided to go that route, instead. While I can’t call this my favourite beer cocktail, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it could be. To get the whole drink effect to look its best, I put the shot glass already into the empty goblet and used a pourer to get the beer around the shooter, so as to mix it up as little as possible. It all led to a rare success in the Sip Advisor’s Creation Kitchen!