October 11 – Gummy Bear

Bear Naked

The majestic bear is one of Pa Sip’s favourite animals and I can’t really say I blame him. Bears are pretty damn cool and despite their mostly cute and cuddly depiction in media, you wouldn’t want to mess with one of these beasts. Here are the Top 5 bears:

#5: Yogi Bear

The picnic (or “pic-a-nic,” as the always hungry bear calls it) basket-obsessed Yogi has made a living out of terrorizing Jellystone Park and in particular, Ranger Smith. Along with his little buddy Boo Boo, visitors of the site can expect to have their meals interrupted and more headaches for the disgruntled ranger. Yogi was actually the first star character of Hanna-Barbera and without him, we might not have later enjoyed The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Wacky Racers, and numerous other memorable animated legends. Yogi Bear’s First Christmas is a favourite of Mrs. Sip and myself during the holidays.

Yogi Bear Professional Thief

#4: Baloo – The Jungle Book/TaleSpin

While Baloo was first introduced in The Jungle Book, he is even more fondly remembered for his turn in TaleSpin, as a transport pilot always on the search for adventure. Many moons before ‘Hakuna Matata,’ Baloo taught us that all we need to be happy is the ‘Bare Necessities.’ I’ll also give a tip of the hat to Baloo’s little sidekick, Kit Cloudkicker, a young cub who has basically been adopted by Baloo. Despite his aloof behaviour and disheveled appearance, Baloo is actually a member of the aristocracy (if bear’s have that) and his full name is Baloo von Bruinwald XIII.

#3: Ted

The stuffed bear come to life, Ted and his best buddy John Bennett and practically inseparable. Trouble comes in the form of a woman (it always does!) who wants John to grow up and for Ted to finally go out on his own. As a “grown up,” Ted is a foul-mouthed, hard drinking, womanizer… all the personality traits the Sip Advisor likes to employ. Created by Seth MacFarlane of Family Guy fame, Ted was originally intended to be an animated TV show rather than a live action film. A sequel to the movie will be out in summer 2015 and I simply can’t wait to get some more naughty stuffed animal action.

Ted-hangover

#2: Winnie the Pooh

This honey-loving, sometimes forgetful, but always generous and loving bear (and his friends Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, etc.) were originally based on the stuffed animals of writer A.A. Milne’s son, Christopher Robin. Simply, Pooh, as he’s affectionately known by the other residents of the 100 Acre Forest, the bear’s roots come from Canada, where Harry Colebourn, a Canadian Lieutenant, bought a real-life bear for $20 and named it Winnie after the city of Winnipeg. Winnie ended up at the London Zoo, where a young Christopher Robin spotted it and took the name for his toy.

#1: Fozzie Bear – The Muppets

The perpetual jokester, Fozzie is always looking to up his act and shine as one of the brightest stars among the Muppets roster. Kermit the Frog is a huge supporter of the bear, despite his corny routine of practical joke gags and word play. It’s a misconception that Fozzie got his name when his performer, Frank Oz’s names were combined. He’s actually named after Faz Fazakas, who designed the equipment that allowed Fozzie to wiggle his ears. The original Fozzie puppet resides in the Teddy Bear Museum in the United Kingdom.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Gummy Bear

Gummy Bear Shot

  • 0.5 oz Vodka (I used Grey Goose)
  • 0.5 oz Raspberry Liqueur
  • 0.5 oz Cranberry Juice
  • Garnish with Gummy Bears

A special shout out to the Berenstain Bears, who established a moral code in the Sip Advisor that exists to this day. Without them, I would probably be a drug-addled thug instead of an underachieving liquor jockey. Sliding doors, my little sippers!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
They didn’t make the list, but gummy bears are a pretty big deal, too… famous around the world, even! This shot tasted exactly like the candy and had a nice tang to it, thanks to the use of my Cranberry-Lemonade mix, a recently released product from Ocean Spray.

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Jamaica – Neo-Tropical

Lightning Strikes

The fastest man on the planet in one Usain Bolt. This Jamaican worked his way up to become an icon of the running world and his country of Jamaica. Let’s take a closer look at the ‘Lightning Bolt’ (seriously, the dude’s name is perfect for the sport he excels at), while enjoying some fine Jamaican rum!:

Born in Trelawny, Jamaica on August 21, 1986, Bolt turned pro in 2004 after a successful youth and junior career. At his first Olympic Games in 2004, he was eliminated in the first round, while suffering through a leg injury. Four years later, the world would be formally introduced to the sprinter who runs at a whopping 23.7 mph.

Bolt Versus

Bolt holds the World Record in the 100m, 200m, and 4x100m relay, his three signature events. Combined, Bolt has taken home six Olympic gold medals as well as numerous other awards and accolades. His honours include IAAF World Athlete of the Year, Laureus World Sportsman of the Year, Track & Field Athlete of the Year, and BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

Despite his triple gold medal performance at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and leap into the world’s eye, Bolt had not been very successful in the 100m discipline up to that historic victory. It has been noted that Bolt’s finishing time could have been even better, given the runner slowed up at the end and began celebrating.

It’s hard to believe, but Bolt first aspired to be a professional cricketer. Can you imagine this energetic speed demon sitting idly and going through the long matches that make up the wicket sport? Instead, he takes care of business in under 10 seconds (20 for 200m races). Anyway, it was his cricket coach who steered him towards sprint running after noticing the athlete’s intense speed. Bolt is also an avid football fan (of the European variety, of course) and has dreamed of suiting up for Manchester United when he retires from sprinting.

Jamaican Zombies

Talk about an athlete you can love and respect: the man ate Chicken McNuggets throughout his time at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Apparently, Bolt was afraid to eat anything else while in China and estimates he consumed 1,000 McNuggets over his 10-day stay in the country. Somehow this didn’t lead to a McDonald’s sponsorship deal… perhaps it’s because his favoruite fast food restaurant has been noted as being KFC.

The Sip Advisor doesn’t like tying his shoe laces and apparently this is a trait shared with Bolt. The difference is, I’m an booze enthusiast who needs to be able to remove his shoes in the worst of stupors, while Bolt is a finely-tuned athlete who participates in a sport where equipment could make all the difference. Bolt even ran his record shattering 100m gold medal race with laces undone.

Bolt has his own mobile game app, Bolt!, which sees the track star running from pirates while trying to collect gold coins and avoid obstacles. Bolt is also a playable character in the wildly popular Temple Run video game series, which follows a very similar premise, just minus the pirates.

Conan on Bolt

The runner’s famous victory pose, dubbed ‘To Di World’, is more commonly known the world over as ‘Bolting.’ I’m still waiting for my ‘Sipping’ stance to take the universe by storm, but Mrs. Sip tells me I shouldn’t hold my breath. Then again, it’s not like I can really kill any MORE brain cells!

Bolt enjoys annual earnings of over $20 million, coming from prize money, appearances, endorsements, and even the Jamaican government. He has promotional deals with Puma, Visa, Nissan, Virgin Media, Gatorade, and many others, which account for all but approximately $300,000 of his net worth.

Bolt Sperm

The Jamaicans are a musical bunch (our next post will focus on reggae and the Rastafarian movement) and Bolt even has his own line of headphones. Soul Electronics signed a deal with the runner to be their global ambassador. He also has his own restaurant and sports bar in Jamaica, called Tracks & Records, as well as a clothing line.

An autobiography chronicling Bolt’s life was released in 2010. Titled ‘My Story: 9.58: Being the World’s Fastest Man,’ Bolt said of the book at a press conference before it hit store shelves: “It’s my life, and I’m a cool and exciting guy.” Sounds about right for a guy who in his free time enjoys dancing and DJ’ing and has been described as laid back… everything you might expect from a Jamaican appearing in a Red Stripe beer commercial!

Jamaica: Neo-Tropical

Neo-Tropical Cocktail

  • 2 oz Appleton Rum
  • 0.5 oz Coconut Rum
  • 0.25 oz Jagermeister
  • 0.25 oz Raspberry Liqueur
  • Splash of Pineapple Juice
  • Garnish with Raspberries

I can’t believe how many similarities the Sip Advisor shares with this world-class athlete. From the untied shoes to supporting Manchester United to our mutual love of chicken nuggets… look out, Mrs. Sip, I think I’m falling in love with the man!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This cocktail’s liquor mix was interesting with Jagermeister being invited to play with the rums. Once again, Pineapple Juice isn’t a favourite mixer of mine, but it was decent here. I’ve always loved Raspberries as a garnish and this rendition was no different.

March 29 – Mad Dog

Dog’s Breakfast

They are often called man’s best friend, but I’ll be the judge of that. While I’m not the most comfortable around dogs, especially bigger breeds, I do have a fondness for Golden Retrievers and a few other varieties. Well, this one’s for the dogs as here are the top five puppies in history:

#5: Wilfred – Wilfred

Wilfred is a marijuana-smoking, beer-drinking, potty-mouthed pup. To Ryan, his owner’s neighbour, Wilfred is a human in a dog costume. To everyone else he’s just a canine. Either way, Wilfred is as misbehaving as they come and often pushes Ryan to do things he normally never would. Wilfred’s best moments come when he’s trying to be like a true dog, like making friends with the popular pooches, destroying a house when kept inside, or sneaking treats from Ryan’s co-workers.

Wilfred Sandwich

#4: Snoopy – Peanuts

Whether as Charlie Brown’s not-so-faithful dog or battling the legendary Red Baron in the skies, Snoopy is certainly a force to be reckoned with. Lucy knows this first hand, as she has been victim to Snoopy’s wet dog kisses on a frequent basis. Let’s not forget Snoopy’s symbiotic relationship with Woodstock the bird, as well as the critically-acclaimed Snoopy Dance, which has swept the nation for many years.

#3: Satchel – Get Fuzzy

Poor Satchel Pooch, always having to deal with the megalomaniac stylings of Bucky Katt. Somehow, Satchel’s kind, gentle nature always shines through even in the face of cats being cats. Satchel has a bunch of friends, including other neighbourhood dogs who are part of his playgroup and ferret neighbour Fungo Squiggly. Best of all, Satchel is Canadian (all the good ones are!), his roots being traced back to Cheticamp, Nova Scotia.

Satchel

#2: Santa’s Little Helper – The Simpsons

This mutt has more lives than a cat. Many episodes have centered on SLH’s bad behaviour and he keeps being invited back into the Simpsons home with open arms. Through various misdeeds, SLH has been sent to obedience school, found himself in the possession of Mr. Burns as an attack dog, been sent to live with Officer Lou, and abandoned at an ostrich farm. Every time, though, the dog returns to his family and they are happy to have him back.

#1: Scooby Doo – Scooby Doo, Where Are You?

While few can stand his nephew Scrappy Doo, Scooby Doo is one of the most beloved hounds in history. The scaredy dog doesn’t want to deal with the mysteries his human friends stumble upon and would rather be in hot pursuit of Scooby Snacks. With his best pal Shaggy by his side, these two do everything they can to avoid being chased by a fiendish specter, but always seem to end up on the wrong end of that equation, leading to the capture of various spooks.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Mad Dog

Mad Dog Shot

  • Rim glass with Whip Cream
  • 0.75 oz Vodka
  • 0.25 oz Raspberry Liqueur
  • Drops of Hot Sauce

So, which dogs should have made this list? There were certainly many I had to cut from my preliminary research, so I’m sure to have missed something. Perhaps we’ll put Scooby Doo on the case of the upset reader!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I used the Whip Cream rim to give an impression of a rabid dog, foaming at the mouth. It also helped cool down some of the heat from the Hot Sauce in the shooter. Physically and visually pleasant… reminds me of myself. All in all, this was a pretty good shot and I’d suggest not going crazy with the Hot Sauce and using a Vodka that goes well with the Raspberry Liqueur.

February 15 – Heart Warmer

Holiday Hell

Valentine’s Day is a funny beast to deal with. Among heightened expectations, shops and services everywhere jack up their prices and take advantage of the love frenzy (also the name of a sexual position I invented a few years back, but have yet to unleash on Mrs. Sip). After all, a sucker is born every minute and Valentine’s Day makes a fool out of us all. One of the best “Valentine’s Days” Mrs. Sip and I spent together was a couple days after the actual day, as Mrs. Sip had to travel for work and we weren’t able to be together. Here are the top five reasons to not celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 14th!

#5: Use Your Coupons

It sucks that most coupons (from sites like GrouponSocial Shopper, etc.) can’t be redeemed during the Valentine’s Day block of dates, usually Feb. 13-16, depending on where the holiday falls. And this is because the institutions using the coupon service know they have you hooked already for those dates. So, let’s get a little revenge on these establishments by redeeming for a romantic dinner on February 12th or 17th. Then, really rub it in their face by exchanging gifts, flowers, and the whole shebang!

Saint-Valentine

#4: Discounted Treats

Walk into any store after Valentine’s Day and you will find massive discounts on chocolates and other goodies, as the retailer is quickly trying to change their seasonal shelves over to anything from St. Patrick’s Day to Easter to even Christmas already (the holiday comes out earlier and earlier every year!). You can score some pretty wicked deals during this rush for savings, but be weary of fellow shoppers who will stop at nothing to deny you of you half-price stuffed bear.

#3: Easy-to-Get Reservations

If you don’t plan ahead and get onto making reservations as soon as the calendar rolls over to a new year, you may miss out on your preferred dining choice. Next you know, you’re chowing on McDonald’s takeout – actually not so bad, as Mrs. Sip and I did this last year when she wasn’t feeling well enough to fulfill our expensive seafood reservation… I saved a ton of cash! – and are decked out in sweatpants or pajamas, laying out on your couch… sounds pretty sweet, doesn’t it!?

I Tolerate You

#2: Cheaper Flowers

I’ll never understand how stores can get away with not only increasing their prices on flowers, but doubling them just because it’s Valentine’s Day. And yet they sell out every year and if you don’t grab a bouquet earlier in the day, you may be left with the scraps nobody else wants. Go any other day and your cost will be cut in half, you will have a ton of options to choose from and you risk getting into a skirmish with another dude over posies.

#1: What is So Important About February 14th?

Mrs. Sip and I make a point of having date nights on a frequent basis. Yes, it’s not always easy to accomplish with busy schedules that include work, social gatherings, sports, and other commitments, but if you only have time for each other on a capitalism-created holiday, then you have more issues to deal with than where to eat and what kind of flowers to buy. Treat each other like you actually love each other and the rest will fall into place easier than you ever thought!

Super Saturday Shot Day: Heart Warmer (A Sip Advisor Original Recipe)

Heart Warmer Shooter

  • 0.5 oz Chocolate Cream Liqueur
  • 0.5 oz Raspberry Cream Liqueur
  • Splash of Chile Chocolate Syrup
  • Garnish with Love Hearts

Valentine’s Day should be celebrated with the one you love, but perhaps not the way the restaurants and stores would have you spend it. Get together with your partner and have a quiet night in, snuggling up on the couch and watching zombie horror flicks… or whatever you two nutballs are into!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
I was originally going to complete skip any Valentine’s coverage this year, but decided that February 15th was the perfect day to drop some love wisdom on all y’all (and yes, I realize how that line could be interpreted!). Therefore, I needed a recipe and decided to go with an original I had been working on for a little while. Combining the Chocolate and Raspberry Cream Liqueurs was a great start, but the crowning touch was the Chile Chocolate Syrup. It left a wonderful light burn on the lips, tongue and made the whole experience a little more unique than your usual shooter!

December 20 – Kiss Me Santa

Customary Christmas

There are some very interesting Christmas rituals performed around the world. Some are truly baffling to me, but if I lived in the part of the planet where they occur, they might seem completely normal. I’m not here to judge… but I will anyway! Here are some of the most unique holidays customs:

Pickled Tree – North America

This is a tradition that Ma Sip picked up from when we were on holiday years ago in Leavenworth, Washington. How it works is that you bury a pickle ornament somewhere in your tree and the person who first finds it Christmas morning is rewarded with good luck (and sometimes gets to crack open the first present of the day!) for the following year. The custom has been attributed to Germany, but is actually unheard of to many Germans. In actuality, it’s said to have developed in the United States.

christmas pickle

Roller Derby – Caracas, Venzuela

I love skating and it doesn’t matter if it’s on ice or pavement, so this tradition is right up my alley. On the morning of Christmas Eve, the streets on Venezuela’s capital city are closed off, allowing citizens to skate to morning mass. There is, however, one snag in this ritual… you have to go to church, which I view as one of the most uncomfortable settings in the entire world. I suppose I could just join the mob for a little skate and then ditch them when it’s religion time!

Burning Goat – Gavle, Sweden

It’s tradition in this Swedish town to construct a massive straw goat at the start of the Christmas season… but it’s even more of a tradition for the townspeople to do everything they can to destroy the goat before Christmas Day. Since 1966, the goat hasn’t survived many times, despite it being protected by fences and guarded by security and even military. The goat has been destroyed through various acts (fire, sabotage, hit by car) and once only lasted six hours before two drunk teenagers torched it.

Spider Chronicles – Ukraine

So, apparently the Ukraine got Christmas and Halloween mixed up, because it is tradition for them to include a fake spider and webbing in their Christmas trees. Spiders are good luck, you see… shame on all of you out there that didn’t already know that. Think of all the arachnids you’ve killed over your lifetime. That’s like smashing a mirror to a Ukrainian folk. Mrs. Sip has some Ukrainian in her, but given her fear of spiders – even itty, bitty ones – I don’t think she’s going to adopt this custom.

Spiderman Ornament

Not that Spider…

Night of the Living Radishes – Oaxaca, Mexico

Well, this certainly wouldn’t qualify as organic. In Oaxaca, residents grow massive radishes by any means necessary, for the purpose of carving them up into sculptures depicting the nativity scene, parties, famous figures, building models, and saints. Not being a fan of radishes, I’m all for an event that doesn’t require their consumption. The Dec. 23 ‘Night of the Radishes‘ is attended by thousands of people. The winner of the competition gets their photo in the newspaper and a lifetime supply of radishes (okay, only the newspaper photo is true!).

Love, Japanese Style – Japan (obviously!)

While us westerners are opening presents and spending quality time with family, in Japan, the holiday is treated similar to our Valentine’s Day. A Christmas dessert of strawberry sponge cake is quite popular, except single women of 25 years or older are referred to as “unsold Christmas cake”. It should also be noted that red Christmas cards are a definite no-no in the Land of the Rising Sun, as funeral notices are printed in that hue and can be cause for bad luck and shows poor etiquette.

Letters to Santa – Worldwide

I’ve already touched on Santa’s Canadian address (postal code H0 H0 H0) in my look at Christmas urban legends, and apparently we’re not alone with giving St. Nick free housing. In New Zealand he can be found at ‘Santa’s Workshop, The North Pole 0001’, while Australian children can reach him at ‘North Pole 9999’. Lastly, the United kingdom has provided the jolly fat man with the post code ‘SAN TA1’. This brings much awesomeness to the commonwealth!

Drink #254: Kiss Me Santa

Kiss Me Santa Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Raspberry Liqueur
  • 0.5 oz Vodka
  • Top with Rose Champagne
  • Garnish with a Candy Cane

In closing, here’s one last interest custom that varies throughout the world and that involves Santa’s mode of transportation. Us normal folk claim that he rides a sleigh from house to house on Christmas Eve, but that story is quite different in other locales, where he is believe to travel via kangaroo (Australia), canoe (Hawaii), horse (Netherlands), and finally and most awesomely, by zipline from heaven (Czech Republic)!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
For this recipe, you have your choice of using Strawberry or Raspberry Liqueur. The champagne cocktail came across much stronger than I expected. The flavour was decent, but I’m still not a huge bubbly fan and as a result, there just wasn’t enough to bump this drink’s score up higher.

August 9 – The Big Crush

Love Me Tender

We’ve all had crushes. Whether it’s on a TV character, a famous celebrity or a person who actually exists in our own life, everyone ends up pining for someone. Today, not only am I going to open up to the world and let them know about my childhood and teenage crushes, but I will also do it in chronological order, so we can all see the development of the Sip Advisor!

April O’Neil

As a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fan, I was completely smitten with one April O’Neil. I wonder if she influenced me to want to go into journalism given the characters career as a reporter. Anyway, my fondness for her was two-fold. First, she was attractive and had an energy that was striking. Second, she got to hang out with the turtles and what youngster wouldn’t kill for that opportunity?

april o'neil

It’s “tough” searching April O’Neil when the character apparently shares her name with a porn star…

Kelly Kapowski

My first real-life TV crush. I loved Saved by the Bell as a wee little sipper, particularly because of the stunning Kelly Kapowski (Tiffany Amber Thiessen). Even just the other day, I stumbled upon an episode of the show and Mrs. Sip was quick to remark at how deliciously gorgeous Thiessen was (I may have put those words in her mouth and paraphrased a little, but you get the gist). Sadly, Thiessen didn’t go on to appear in Showgirls like her co-star Elizabeth Berkley did!

Jennifer Aniston

When I was young and Friends became a hit show, I fell in love with the beautiful Jennifer Aniston (how could you not with the way her nipples seemed to be iced before every scene?). I’m still quite fond of her, even as she ages. Her role as a sex-crazed dentist in Horrible Bosses is a particular favourite of mine. How Brad Pitt could ever leave her for Angelina Jolie will puzzle me until memory loss finally takes its toll.

Sunny

As a teenage wrestling fan, full of hormones, basically any women that flashed across the screen could have been a crush in waiting, but Sunny had a wild side and spunk to her that others didn’t. The first “diva” of the ring is actually currently offering to take photos with fans in a bed. For $50 you get the normal lying in bed together pic, but for $75, you can spoon the former star or have her lie her head on your chest! Now all I need is for Mrs. Sip to lend me a little cash and we’ll get everything sorted out!!!

Sunny

Post-apocalyptic never looked so good!

Rebecca Romijn

Long before she was Mrs. John Stamos or Mrs. Jerry O’Connell, I spotted this beautiful model in a GQ magazine and found myself quickly enamored with her. Romijn went on to play Mystique in the X-Men trilogy of movies, among other acting roles. She now has twin daughters and a family, so I guess we were never meant to be. That’s okay, though, there were better things destined in my future…

Mrs. Sip

A little bit of trivia: Mrs. Sip and I actually met two years before we ever started dating. And a couple months before we were re-introduced to each other, I was shown a photo that involved the future Mrs. Sip, immediately targeting her as the one I wanted. Like Wayne Campbell in Wayne’s World, I recited the mantra, “She will be mine… oh yes, she will be mine!”

Drink #221: The Big Crush

Aug 9

  • 2 oz Raspberry Vodka (I used Absolut)
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • 0.5 oz Raspberry Liqueur
  • Top with Champagne
  • Dash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with Cherries

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
I liked this cocktail, as the Raspberry alcohols and Cointreau worked nice together. The Champagne didn’t detract from my enjoyment and going light on the Lime Juice was a good choice. I put a bunch of Cherries in the drink and it was fun to eat them at the end when they were drunken!