Flavour Revolution – Raspberry

Blowing a Raspberry

The Razzie Awards are like the anti-Oscars. They were invented by John J.B. Wilson in 1980, with the first ceremony being held in Wilson’s own living room. The trophy’s, which feature a golden raspberry on top of an 8mm film roll, have grown in popularity ever since. Here are some of the most-nominated Razzie Award contenders in Hollywood history:

Sylvester Stallone

It seems like everything Sly Stallone has ever done earned him some Razzie consideration, including his most famous characters in Rocky Balboa and John Rambo. Stallone even had the title “Worst Actor of the Decade” and later “Worst Actor of the Century” bestowed upon him, resulting from 32 nominations and 10 wins. “Yo Adrian, I did it!”

chiropractor-Stallone

Kevin Costner

Mr. Costner has survived a rollercoaster career, rife with many peaks and valleys. This has been highlighted by his two Oscars, three Golden Globes, and one Emmy, while contrasted by his many Razzie nominations and wins. We are talking about an actor who didn’t even bother trying to fake an English accent for his turn as the mythical Robin Hood.

Madonna

The Queen of Pop has earned the dubious distinction of being the Razzie’s All-Time Worst Actress, with 15 nominations and nine victories to her credit, thus far. At the top of that list, was the foundation’s “Worst Actress of the Century” prize. It should be noted however, that Madge has also picked up a Golden Globe for Evita. Maybe, for safety purposes, she should stick to music.

Eddie Murphy

The latter stages of Eddie Murphy’s career has not been nearly as kind to him, as the early triumphs he enjoyed. Films such as The Adventures of Pluto Nash, Norbit, Meet Dave, and A Thousand Words, cut into Murphy’s once immense popularity. At least he has a new Beverly Hills Cop sequel on the horizon. Perhaps that can put him back into the “Money in the Bank” classification.

eddie-murphy-prince

Sharon Stone

Clearly, sex doesn’t sell when it comes to the Razzie’s. For showing her most naughty bits in Basic Instinct, Stone received a nomination for “Worst New Star.” Most men appreciated her efforts, though. Perhaps worst of all, Stone was nominated, once again, a decade later for the same “Worst New Star” prize she had already won for the film Diabolique, as she tried to present a new side of her acting skills.

Adam Sandler

In one year alone (2011), Sandler accumulated 11 Razzie nominations, thanks to his work on Jack and Jill, Just Go With It, and Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star. Jack and Jill became the first movie to ever sweep the Razzie’s, winning 10 awards. Thanks to his dual role in the film, Sandler even picked up both the Worst Actor and Worst Actress honours, at the same time.

Flavour Revolution: Rose Royale

Rose Royale Martini

Some actors have even accepted their Razzie Award in person, beginning with Bill Cosby, for 1987’s Leonard, Part 6. Joining the controversial comedian in accepting this dubious honour are Tom Selleck, Tom Green, Ben Affleck, Halle Berry, and Sandra Bullock, among others.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
I’ve never been the biggest fan of cream-based drinks, but this one wasn’t too bad. The tartness of the Raspberry Cream Liqueur was kind of nice and I made sure to use a finer Tequila, so as not to ruin the martini.

August 23 – Death Shot

Get the Tissues

There are some incredibly sad scenes in movies meant for children. Many of these incidents stick with kids, as they did with myself, and require some serious psychological therapy in adulthood. This is going to be a tough article to get through, so make sure you have a drink in one hand and a box of tissues in the other. Here are the Top 5 saddest scenes in kid’s movies:

#5: Rufio – Hook

The leader of the Lost Boys in Peter Pan’s absence, Rufio takes the longest time to accept Peter back into fold, even while other members of the group welcome their long lost front man. Rufio’s death is so shocking because of his young age and childhood exuberance. Not to mention, he and Peter had finally become friends-on again and Rufio is shot point blank by Captain Hook during a climactic battle scene featuring a number of humorous Lost Boys tactics. In a realm where death doesn’t seem to occur, Rufio’s tragic killing snaps viewers back into the real world. We all hoped Rufio would be bangaranging forever, but sadly, that wasn’t meant to be.

#4: Ellie Fredricksen – Up

I’m a huge Disney backer (mainly for the theme parks, although the movies are a’ight too), but man do they love killing off women. Perhaps they are closet misogynists or something. Mrs. Sip and I recently attended an orchestral performance of Pixar film songs and they played the entire opening to Up, complete with video… I don’t think there was a dry eye in the audience. The one thing that cushions the death in this movie is that Ellie lived her adventure and despite her sad passing, wasn’t cut down in her prime like some of the others on this list. It would have been nice, though, if the Fredricksen’s had been able to take that trip to Paradise Falls together.

#3: Optimus Prime – Transformers: The Movie

It’s hard to make a robot’s death matter, but they nailed it in this film. The saddest part about Optimus Prime’s passing is how his team of Autobots react, breaking down in grief from the crushing blow of their leader’s demise. Prime goes out with one of the greatest death bed speeches ever delivered, imploring his Autobots to continue fighting the good fight, while assuring Ultra Magnus that he can be the next leader of the crew. There are, in fact, a number of Transformer deaths in this movie and even more were supposed to occur, but were cut from the film. The losses largely took place to set up a new toy line for the franchise.

#2: Mufasa – Lion King

This is a rare case of Disney killing off a father instead of a mother. In Hamlet-esque style, Mufasa’s broski Scar engineers the death of the king and makes the young prince Simba believe he is to blame (and he kind of is). It’s heart wrenching to watch Simba nuzzle up to his dying dad before going on the run at Scar’s instruction. Simba, of course, grows into a fully-grown lion and with his father speaking to him from beyond the grave, returns to the Pridelands to battle his uncle for his rightful place on the throne… a game of thrones, if you will!

#1: Littlefoot’s Mom – Land Before Time

While the direct-to-video sequels took a much lighter tone, focusing on sing-a-long songs, the original film was gripping with its drama and tragedy. Littlefoot’s mom suffers mortal wounds at the hands and teeth of a ‘Sharptooth’ (aka the original King of the Jungle, the Tyrannosaurus Rex), while protecting her young son from harm. It’s so very sad seeing Littlefoot try to wake up his fallen mother, who can only muster some advice for her kin before dying. Littlefoot is now separated from his herd, as a result of the whole scene, and only the guidance of his mother’s voice can lead him back to safety with his clan.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Death Shot

Death Shot

  • 0.5 oz Tequila
  • 0.5 oz Sambuca
  • Garnish with a Raspberry

Honourable mentions to Old Yeller, Bambi’s mom, and Macaulay Culkin’s character in My Girl. Have I missed anything? What’s your pick for saddest scene in a children’s flick? After reliving all of these moments, it’s really no wonder that the Sip Advisor had anxiety issues regarding death as a little sipper. Perhaps a little more liquid therapy will be needed!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.5 Sips out of 5):
This shooter was exactly what I thought it would be: punishing. I can’t say it tasted bad, but it was strong and I wouldn’t recommend it for those faint of heart… just like these films. The crushed Raspberry was a nice touch for garnish, given the article’s theme and the potent libation. Despite the two clear liquors, I purposely edited the shot to look dark for the finishing touch on this post.

June 21 – Pearl Necklace

Grand Theft

There’s a lot of different ways this shot could be approached, but we here at the Sip Advisor always take the high road… BOOBIES!!! Okay, now that I have that out of my systems, here are the top five greatest heist movies (I bet you didn’t see that coming!):

#5: The Ladykillers

To clarify, I’m talking about the 1955 British black comedy and not the 2004 remake starring Tom Hanks. Sadly, that film has been looked upon with some contempt, but I don’t remember it being that bad. Anyhoo, this rendition stars some of Britain’s finest actors – Alec Guinness, Peter Sellers, Herbert Lom, etc. – as thieves who take advantage of a lonely, elderly woman to pull of an armoured car heist. As many real-life heists unravel, the thieves turn on one another and in the end, the one you’d least expect to walk away with the loot ends up holding the entire fortune.

#4: A Fish Called Wanda

Filled with numerous twists, double crosses, and a horde of oddball characters, this comedy shows just how greedy folks get when potential riches are at stake. The film was a success both critically and commercially, with Kevin Kline winning an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. John Cleese and Jamie Lee Curtis are also memorable in their roles. Unfortunately, when the stars reunited for a sequel to the surprise hit, they really dropped the ball. Fierce Creatures featured the same main cast, but playing different characters with some tie-ins to A Fish Called Wanda.

#3: Gone in 60 Seconds

I’m the furthest thing from a car guy and even I loved this movie. I have not seen the original, but the remake starring Nicholas Cage, Giovanni Ribisi, and some never-heard-from-again woman, is a high-octane thriller that you don’t have to know the make and model of each vehicle to enjoy. Cage plays Memphis Raines, a former car thief who has gone legit, but is dragged back into the seedy underbelly of Long Beach, California in order to save his brother Kip (Ribisi), who has botched a recent heist. To make amends, Memphis and team have to locate and steal 50 specific vehicles in a 72-hour period.

#2: Inception

Here’s a twist on the heist genre… breaking into someone’s psyche and planting an idea that will change their way of thinking going forward. Every scene of the film will keep you guessing as to what the results will be as they explore the human mind. You can’t go wrong with a cast that features Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, and other notable actors. The cliffhanger ending is also appropriate, leaving audiences wondering whether the mission was a success or if the mind thieves failed to make it out safely.

#1: Ocean’s 11

Whether we’re talking about the Rat Pack original or the George Clooney-Brad Pitt remake, both films are cinematic gems and while they share the same name, their stories vary greatly. The basic plot sees Danny Ocean gather a group of fellow thieves to pull off a Las Vegas casino heist. The results are different in each film and thanks to the 41-year span between movies, the technology is so vastly different and changes the difficulty, particularly for the remake. Being a member of either of these casts would be an honour, so long as you dropped out before the remake’s sequels.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Pearl Necklace

Pearl Necklace Shot

  • 0.5 oz Raspberry Crème Liqueur
  • 0.5 oz Amarula Cream
  • 0.5 oz Tequila
  • Garnish with a Raspberry

I love me a good heist movie… the suspense, the scheming, the action. What’s your favourite? I need to go watch some of these films again and plan out my own multi-million dollar windfall!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
There are a couple variations of this recipe, but I went with what seems to be the most widely accepted version. Even then, I altered the shooter based on the ingredients I had on hand and wanted to play with… kind of like a real pearl necklace! I used Raspberry Crème Liqueur instead of Tequila Rose and Amarula Cream over Bailey’s Irish Crème. To keep the shot boozy, I added some straight Tequila. The results were good and as expected, this was a tasty dessert-style shooter.

Australia – Stormy Weather

Criminal Crunch

Not many countries start off as another nation’s penal colony. Australia is by far the most recognized of these lands and somehow, the British castoffs sent there turned Australia into one of the most wonderful places in the world to visit, live, and love. Let’s take a look at some of the more notable convicts to be shipped down under and how they helped build the great nation of Australia:

Australia Cell Blocks

William Bland

While I believe government to be largely useless, it is a necessary evil when building a new society. Bland was a former naval surgeon who found himself in Australia because he killed a man in a duel… seems like a fair and completely reasonable way to settle an argument. Bland eventually held a seat in Australia’s legislative assembly, an early example of government criminality.

William Henry Groom

Groom followed a path similar to Bland, going from prisoner to member of the inaugural Australian Parliament. I guess you can’t fault a penal colony for having members of its government being former convicts. Sadly, Groom died shortly after his appointment and never got to fully enjoy the perks of being an elected official (money, power, drugs… the Rob Ford special!).

James Squire

Now, here’s a guy who deserves massive recognition for his contributions to early Australia society. Squire was one of the original convicts to come over to Australia and being first was a recurrent theme for him. He later became the country’s first brewer and brands like Tooheys and Victoria Bitter have him to thank their legacy. Showing the importance of alcohol in any society, Squire’s death in 1822 spawned the biggest funeral held in the colony days.

VB Kangaroo

Jørgen Jørgensen

Not many folks can claim to be the ruler of Iceland, but Jørgensen was one of those peeps. He arrested the Danish Governor (almost as bad as The Walking Dead’s Governor), with intentions of giving Iceland their freedom, but that was squashed by Denmark. The eccentric adventurer, as Jørgensen’s been described, was a spy for a spell for the UK, translating documents and working throughout France and Germany. He wound up a convict in Australia and upon his release explored Tasmania.

William Chopin

This fella kind of went full circle, as he flourished working in a prison hospital and went into chemistry after receiving his ticket of leave. Unfotunately, his skills as a chemist landed him back in jail later, as he went into the illegal abortion business. He was the ‘chemist gone bad’ centuries before Breaking Bad ever aired.

John Kelly

Sometimes it takes a generation to make your mark on society, as is the case for John Kelly, whose son Ned gained notoriety as a Robin Hood-type folk hero, battling the establishment with his band of not-so-merry men (colloquially referred to as Kelly’s gang, but that’s such a harsh term) and becoming an outlaw in the process. Ned Kelly was later executed for his crimes, but his legend has grown thanks to movies starring Mick Jagger and Heath Ledger. He’s even featured on an Irish stamp.

Ned Kelly

John Davies

As a writer, I believe information (as well as entertainment) is essential in getting a nation rolling. After his release from prison, Davies co-founded The Mercury newspaper in 1854. The daily publication, servicing Hobart, Tasmania, still exists to this day. The company remained in the Davies family until 1988 when it was taken over by what is now News Corp Australia.

James Ruse

Without food, we’re all screwed… well, except perhaps Ghandi. Anyway, Ruse was responsible for the first successful wheat harvest in New South Wales (where the first convict ships landed to settle). Today, an Agricultural High School (the Aussies really push you to choose your career path early) is named after him and students spend their days riding tractors and shucking corn.

Henry Kable

While the world is always becoming more litigious, to have dropped the first lawsuit on a nation is quite the feat. Kable’s civil suit was over a parcel of goods to be given to he and his wife upon arrival at the Australian penal colony, but it was stolen en route. Kable successfully sued the ship’s captain for £15, even more impressive given prisoners were considered dead by law at the time and had no rights. It’s no surprise then, that Kable later became a wealthy businessman, probably turning his legal windfall into a fortune.

Lawsuit

Robert Sidaway

What is a society without entertainment? Sidaway opened Australia’s first theatre (and we’re not talking about one of those talking pictures types), in Sydney, in 1796. Back then, you could pay for seats using money, flour, meat, or alcohol. If alcohol was a currency nowadays, I’d be filthy rich (instead of just filthy!). The theatre featured performances of Shakespearean and other English works, but was shut down by authorities in 1800, as it was deemed a corrupting influence.

Mary Wade

Wade was the youngest female convict shipped away, leaving the UK for Australia at only 11 years old. By the time she passed away at age 82, she had 21 children and more than 300 descendants, leaving a family tree that now adds up to tens of thousands and includes former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Now that, my little sippers, is a legacy.

Australia: Stormy Weather

Stormy Weather Drink Recipe

  • 1.5 oz Shiraz/Syrah Wine
  • 1.5 oz Dark Rum
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Float Ginger Ale
  • Garnish with a Strawberry Slice and Raspberry

Coming from a lineage of scoundrels and miscreants, that explains the likes of Mel Gibson and Russell Crowe, but not Steve Irwin, Crocodile Dundee, and others of that ilk. Australia, forever mystifying outside observers with their citizen’s contrasting personality traits… I think I just came up with a new tagline for the country!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
Another good Shiraz/Syrah cocktail has me really enjoying the Little Penguin Wine. The Ginger Ale was solid, as usual, and of particular pleasure was the Appleton Rum I used. You could get a hint of it with each sip and it was an absolutely delicious touch to the rest of the recipe.

September 4 – Playmate Martini

Listless

As an internet entrepreneur, I’m always looking to raise my stock and evolve this brand. That can be helped greatly by making one of the popular vote lists that have run amok all over the world. These are the famous, world-recognized lists I hope to make:

Forbes 500

As I continue to grow this little congregating spot for alcoholics and the severely depressed alike, money will surely start rolling in (you know, once I design my line of Little Sipper Wear) and the empire of Sip will begin to take shape. I’d also settle for topping Forbes’ list of Richest Fictional Characters because when you live in a world of fantasy, such as I do, reality dissipates as quick as a frozen cocktail melts.

Scrooge McDuck

Top 30 Under 30

Sadly, I only have a month left to do this, but when there’s a will, there’s a way! I’m sure the maker’s of this list would make a special exemption for the Sip Advisor, should the deadline pass and I have not had the honour bestowed upon myself. I guess I can always regroup and shoot for 40 Under 40, but then things seem to get a little diluted as far as quality goes. Perhaps we should work on a Facebook/Twitter campaign in my honour!

Sexiest Man Alive

I know all you little sippers out there are shocked I haven’t already topped this list, but I’ve been practically black balled by the voters for fear that once I was selected, the list would lose all meaning. While I take issue with their stance, I do understand that chaos would result with my gracing the cover of this prestigious magazine and it wouldn’t be long before we heard the thundering patter of the Four Horsemen in the distance.

sexiest-man-alive

Oprah’s Book Club

It really doesn’t matter what I write, but if I can put together some piece of work that Oprah endorses, I’ll have millions of unhappy housewives around the world eating out of the palm of my hand. It could be a tell-all memoir detailing the sordid life I lead or perhaps I’ll simply compile all the awesome adventures we’ve shared thanks to this site. Either way, I thirst for that stamp of approval!

Playmate of the Month

This is one I’ve worked really hard for. Of course, I would be featured in Playgirl Magazine for all the lonely ladies out there to lust over. My greatest feature is probably my finely-manicured ears, which will surely stand out in any pictorial spread. I’m not even going to be greedy and ask for Playmate of the Year… just throw me a bone and give me one of the 12 months… is that too much to ask!?

Drink #247: Playmate Martini

Playmate Martini

  • 0.5 oz Courvoisier Cognac
  • 0.5 oz Grand Marnier
  • 0.5 oz Apricot Brandy
  • Top with Orange Juice
  • Dash of Egg Whites
  • Dash of Angostura Bitters
  • Garnish with Strawberry and Raspberry

Have I missed any lists that are a must to be on? Which lists do you long to be inducted onto? I’ll try my best to make all of our dreams come true!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
The Egg Whites add a nice foamy layer to the top of the cocktail, which enhances its look and taste. As usual, the Apricot Brandy is delicious and here it is boosted even further by top end liquors Grand Marnier and Courvoisier Cognac.

June 21 – Raspberry Mojito

Summer Gift Guide

On this, the first glorious day of summer, I’ve compiled a gift guide inspired by products to keep you and your cocktails cool this season, along with other items that will surely keep the good times rolling until fall rolls around and sadly shuts down pool and barbecues once again. Don’t miss out on these wonderful items, as summer is only so long…

Margaritaville Blender – $199.99

Mrs. Sip and I received one of these as a wedding gift last year and we’ve since had a bunch of fun coming up with different iced concoctions to be enjoyed poolside and even by a roaring fire. It’s amazing how efficiently this machine crushes ice and then mixes it with whatever ingredients you’re throwing together. Be careful, though, because getting your measurements figured out can take a while and you may have to consume a number of strong drinks before you get it just right!

margaritaville-blender

Beer Pong Ice Rack – $29.99

Beer Pong is a summer favourite at the Sip Advisor offices and this creative item purports to help keep your cups and beer cool during those games played at the peak of sun and heat. The rack also helps keep your cups in place, stopping them from sliding around or being blown over by wind. Let the games begin!

Ice Balls – $9.99

Ice in ball form is said to melt at a slower pace, allowing you to enjoy your drink for longer periods of time before it becomes watered down. This item is near the top of my personal wish list (hint, hint, Mrs. Sip!).

Ice Balls

Corkcicle – $24.95 / Vinoice – $28.00

Put these freezable products into your wine bottle and let them do their work, quickly chilling your libation of choice to the perfect temperature.

Chillsner – $29.95

This is the beer version of the above products. Like the corkcicle, I think chillsner is an awesome name for a beer cooler and only wish I had come up with it, myself!

Chillsner

Wine Pearls $25.00

Similar to whiskey stones, these pearls can be dropped in a glass of wine to keep your vino cool. Just be careful not to swallow the gel pockets.

Deluxe Chill It Wine Cooler $12.95

We all care deeply for our alcohol and with this product you can nurse a warm bottle of wine to a chilled state and keep it at a perfect temperature for serving. Heck, even inanimate objects must like a good blanket every now and again!

chill-it wine cooler

Cool Breather – $50.00 / Instant Wine Chiller – $39.95

Both of these items are said to aerate and chill your wine at the same time. They may be a little more pricey than other items, but if they work as well as advertised, the money may be worth getting to your wine even quicker.

Molecular Mixology Kit: Mojito Set – $30.00

This set intrigues me. I love my Mojitos and am curious to experiment with them further. I still don’t fully understand what this set exactly entails, but I will summon my lawyers to read all the details. The reviews are very positive, so it might be worth the small investment, when the kit purports to allowing the making of 300 drinks with its enclosed ingredients.

Molecular Mixology Kit

Cool Shooters Ice Shot Glasses – $9.95

I was given molds to make frozen shot glasses a couple years ago by Mrs. Sip’s aunt. They’re easy to make and extract from their encasement and are a lot of fun for summer shooters. I particularly like using this technique for drop shots because you don’t risk breaking a glass within your drink and there’s no mess to clean up afterwards.

Beer Bell – $8.89

While I have rarely found myself in the position of being served cocktails, it would be nice if one day this summer Mrs. Sip puts on her best (and skimpiest) serving outfit and rushes around getting me drinks and snacks. This little bell will help do the trick as we celebrate Sip Advisor Appreciation Day!

beer-bell

Sunset Wine Tote – $33.99

Perfect for picnics and other outdoor activities, for efficient packing and enjoyment of wine and other libations. The set includes two glasses, a corkscrew/bottle opener, and checkered napkins. Sadly, the wine is sold separately!

Inflatable Pool Bar – $40.00

Perfect for the Sip Advisor summer retreat, just blow this bar up, fill with ice and drinks and let it float around the pool until empty… which knowing my crew, won’t take very long at all. The cup holders are a bonus addition to the whole set up, helping to keep your cocktail out of the water.

Inflatable Pool Bar

GoBar Portable High Top Bar – $99.99

Going on the road and want to bring your bar skills and collection with you? Pick up this gem and you can be a travelling libation slinger. You’ll be the talk of the town and a hit among all your friends, family and acquaintances. Best yet, you’ll get to live life as if you are the Sip Advisor, adored and beloved by legions of fans!

Remote Controlled Rolling Beverage Cooler – $79.95

The only thing stopping me from immediately picking up this item is that the chances of it being driven straight into Ma and Pa Sip’s pool are way too high (and tempting!). Still, it would be nice to not have to get off my ass to pass Mrs. Sip her drink or anything else. Then again, when I do get up, I usually multitask and get into some trouble, splashing her with water or stealing her book.

Drink #172: Raspberry Mojito

Raspberry Mojito

  • Muddled Mint, Raspberries and Lime Wedges
  • 1.5 oz White Rum (I used Bacardi)
  • Top with Club Soda or Lemon-Lime Soda
  • Garnish with a Lime Wheel and Raspberry

As we all know, it can get pretty hot during the summer and nothing beats the heat like a nice cold beer, glass of wine, or cocktail. I hope this gift guide will help all my little sippers keep things cool. If you enjoyed this gift guide, just wait until you see the Christmas version that will come out sometime in November. It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (5 Sips out of 5):
This is the cocktail that put the Sip Advisor on the map, so you better believe it was getting a 5-Sip rating long before the mint, lime and raspberries were even muddled. I don’t hesitate for a second to announce to anyone who will listen that I make the best Mojitos they will ever taste. What a brilliant way to kick off the summer months!

June 9 – Sangria

Wine Time

Well, Wine Cocktail Week is finally here. I’m far from a wine connoisseur, but I’m willing to try some new recipes and see what the results are, which I’m pretty sure is how wine was invented in the first place. If I mess anything up in today’s lesson, don’t go all wine snobby on me. I accept you for your many faults, and you should forgive me for the one or two mistakes I make on a yearly basis. Capiche! On with the lesson:

wine-how-classy-people-get-wasted-funny-poster

There are thousands of different types of wine, made up of hundreds of different grape combos. Some of the most popular wine varieties include: Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris/Grigio, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Shiraz, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. My personal favourite wine is Francis Coppola’s Diamond Collection, Emerald Label Pinot Grigio. Damn, son, that’s a mouthful!

The Top 10 wine producing countries are: France, Italy, Spain, the United States, Argentina, China, Australia, South Africa, Germany, and Portugal. I have to say that I’m a little surprised Canada has yet to crack this list given we have a number of wonderful wine regions. Oh well, something to aim for in the future.

Despite tradition, the screw cap method of opening a bottle of vino is quickly replacing corked tops, thanks to the ease and simplicity of which a bottle can be opened. I can’t count how many times Mrs. Sip and I have been stuck on vacation without our trusty bottle opener, leaving us in a lurch when trying to crack open some wine. Perhaps Ma and Pa Sip have the right idea with boxed wine? Easy to open and a lot more alcohol to share!

funny-wine1

Wine is one of the healthier libation options, as it contains fewer calories than beer and is fat- and cholesterol-free. A glass a day (or more) will keep the doctor away… or at least we all hope!

Contrary to popular belief, many wines should be enjoyed within a year of being bottled and not left to “age”. If you are looking for a good wine to age, ask an expert. In an interesting contrast, as white wines sit, they gain colour, while their red counterparts lose colour the longer they wait to be served.

A number of celebrities have invested their money into the wine industry, including aforementioned film producer Francis Coppola; musicians Bob Dylan, Madonna, and Sting; hockey superstar Wayne Gretzky; race car driver Jeff Gordon; screen stars Raymond Burr, Dan Aykroyd, Emilio Estevez, Drew Barrymore, and Antonio Banderas; theme park heir Diane Disney; and golfers Arnold Palmer, Ernie Els, and Mike Weir.

Perhaps Zach Galifianakis will be the next celeb to invest in a winery!?

Perhaps comedian Zach Galifianakis will be the next celeb to invest in a winery!?

Now to the mathematics portion of the post… here are important grape-to-wine measurement ratios to remember: one grape cluster (75 grapes) equals one glass of wine. Four clusters equal one bottle of wine. 40 clusters of grapes equals one vine, which makes up 10 bottles. 1,200 clusters (30 vines) equals one barrel, which equals 60 gallons, which equals 25 cases of wine. 400 vines equals one acre of land, which equals five tons of grapes, resulting in 332 cases of sweet lady liquor. And you didn’t even need a calculator! If you find that math too confusing, just remember $10 equals one bottle of decent California or Okanagan wine, and what numbers do we really otherwise need?

When describing the smell of a wine, you have to be careful with which words to use, otherwise you could look like a buffoon. Bouquet refers to the total scent of the wine, while aroma is meant for the grapes. If you wish to combine both the bouquet and aroma, you would call that the nose. This is starting to make my head spin and we haven’t even begun to drink yet. Let’s get on with it then.

Drink #160: Sangria

Sangria

  • Sliced Strawberries, Orange, Lemon, Lime, and Raspberries
  • 1.5 Litres Red Wine (I used Peller Estates Merlot)
  • ½ Cup Triple Sec
  • Top each drink with Lemon-Lime or Club Soda
  • Garnish with Fruit from Pitcher and Wine Charm

Now you’re ready to open up your own winery. All you need is a cool name. I’d call my own winery Siparellio, giving it a hint of Italian heritage, while having absolutely none at all. Salute!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
I really enjoy my and Mrs. Sip’s homemade Sangria (no dirty thoughts, fellas)! I’m not even a big wine fan, but with all the fruit we put in and when we top it all off with some Lemon-Lime Soda, you can’t go wrong with this very refreshing, perfect for summer treat!

June 7 – Blue Angel

Blue Me Away

If I was forced to choose, I’d have to say that blue is one of my favourite colours. And why not? It’s the colour of my eyes, I look good in clothes of that hue, and some of my preferred things in existence match that shade. Speaking of which, here are some awesome matter that come in blue.

Cookie Monster

Readers should be quite familiar with my affinity for cookies and their patron saint, the Cookie Monster. I wish the Cookie Monster was a real being, who would hang out with me as we debated the facts of life over a plate of cookies and side glass of milk. We’d be the best of buds: me baling him out of jail after a cookie bender; he driving me to the hospital after a bout of alcohol poisoning. Ah, the memories.

Cookie-monster-bedtime

Bluegrass Music

I love this music, but I can’t put a finger on exactly why. Perhaps it gets to the core of the southern boy in me, happy to sip moonshine out of a jug, while Earl and Emmitt twang the strings on their banjos. Then we go swimming in the ol’ cement pond, farmer tans proudly exposed to the world as we swing from tires hung from trees. A simple existence, but an amazing one!

Blueberries

While they aren’t my favourite berry, they’re my favourite blue berry! *rimshot* Seriously, though, blueberries are pretty good and they’re full of healthy crap. They are said to lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels, aiding in combating the symptoms of heart disease and even depression. For this, we salute the little blueberry, especially the vodkas and other liqueurs that have been created from its flavouring.

Josh Blue

This comedian burst onto the scene, winning the 2006 edition of reality show Last Comic Standing, and later made recurring appearances on Mind of Mencia, hosted by fellow comic Carlos Mencia. Not only is Blue a top joker, making light of his cerebral palsy, but Blue was also a member of the 2004 US Paralympic Soccer Team.

The Sky

We’ve all been mesmerized by the sky at one point or another in our lives. Looking up and watching white, fluffy clouds float across the blue atmosphere. If not for blue sky, we wouldn’t have picturesque beautiful days to truly appreciate. When we’ve angered that blue sky, it turns grey and drops venomous precipitation upon us. The sky cries and we cry with it.

Blue Man Group

While I’ve never seen their show yet, I wish to one day catch it. With the frequency that Mrs. Sip and I are in Las Vegas, we’re bound to catch a performance eventually. One of the best ongoing gags in Arrested Development was Tobias working as an understudy of the Blue Man Group and constantly getting his blue paint all over the family home.

"I'm afraid I just blue myself!"

“I’m afraid I just blue myself!” – Tobias Funke

Blue Jeans

Perhaps my favourite article of clothing ever, jeans, is awesome because everyone can look good in a pair of them. Just find the right size and style and you’ll have more swagger than a college football quarterback. It’s always a sad day when a pair of blue jeans has run its course in the Sip wardrobe. On the plus side, that means a new pair is on the horizon, set for an unfathomable volume of adventures.

Blue Curacao

Of course something from the world of alcohol had to make this list. I like Blue Curacao, perhaps even more so, knowing that Mrs. Sip doesn’t like the spirit. Sometimes I try to slip it into her drinks just to later throw it in her face that she just drank the substance! I could have also mentioned Blue Agave, crucial to the production of tequila, but Blue Curacao factors into today’s drink!

Drink #158: Blue Angel

Blue Angel Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Blue Curacao
  • Top with Champagne
  • Garnish with Orange Wedge and Raspberry

While there is much to like about the colour blue, there are also some things to hate, that try to sneak into this awesome classification. Bleu cheese, for instance, is downright disgusting. Similarly, the Toronto Blue Jays are among my least favourite sports franchises thanks to the club being crammed down my throat as ‘Canada’s baseball team’. These true blues can burn in red hell, as far as I’m concerned!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.5 Sips out of 5):
The Blue Curacao does what it can, but I’m still not a fan of champagne-based drinks. If anyone out there has a never fail champagne cocktail recipe, please pass it along, so that I can finally enjoy the bubbly as it was meant to be appreciated.

March 22 – Southern Frost

Meteoro-losers

Straight up: I hate weathermen, weather reports, weather gossip, weather channels, weather balloons, weather vanes (also hilariously known as weather cocks), and generally anything else having to do with weather reporting or prediction.

Mrs. Sip, on the other hand, is always updating me on what the weather will be like where we live and most frustratingly, what it will be like during our next vacation destination a month before we’re set to be there (I think this trait is hereditary, so hopefully it’s not passed down to our children… *shudder* children). Weather guys and gals can’t even get their forecasts right the day of, so how the hell can they accurately predict what the weather will be like a month ahead of time?

Weathermen Wrong

In any other industry, if you were wrong more than half the time, you would be fired and never work in that field again. For some reason, meteorologists get a pass and I’m not cool with that. But what’s more bizarre is that WE KEEP LISTENING TO THEM! (And I obviously do not include myself in that “we” because I’m clearly in the small percentage of the population who has leveled up and evolved beyond weather reporting).

I say the only way to check the weather is to look out your own window and examine what the sky is doing at that present time. If you live in a stable environment, then this should be all you need to do for weeks at a time. I live in a volatile, urban, rainforest (kind of wish I lived in the Rainforest Cafe), where you can have multiple weather patterns in a single day. Still, the check-out-your-window process works fine for me.

No Rain Indoors

I think a fitting punishment for all weathermen would be for them to be sucked into their own green screens and be mauled by the various monsters that have come to life thanks to CGI special effects. The hotties that are put into the role of weatherwomen, regardless of education and training, can be spared, provided they perform their duties in the buff, going forward. Now there are some chances of precipitation I can get behind!

I can’t believe there’s a whole channel dedicated to weather. What do I care if it’s snowing in Eastern Canada or if there’s a heat wave in Dubai? The Weather Channel should be turned into another sports channel, giving airtime to games like Dodge Ball, Ultimate Frisbee, and Hackeysacking. It could be called ESPN Stoner and it would be a haven for advertisers like Doritos, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and Red Bull (I may have said too much now. I call dibs on the sports channel idea).

Back to weather reports, I think we can all agree that it only provides entertainment to seniors and for that reason alone, I suppose we can allow it to continually exist. I have great respect for our elders and I want them to enjoy a happy retirement and twilight years… they’ve earned it. *Sniff* Now I’m getting all emotional. Let’s get on with today’s drink.

Drink #81: Southern Frost

Southern Frost Drink Recipe

  • 1.5 oz Southern Comfort
  • Top with half Cranberry Juice and half Ginger Ale
  • Garnish with an Orange Slice and a Raspberry

Quite frankly, the only weather phenomena I want to hear about is one that I can drink. At least it will help me get through the daily weather report. God speed!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
While the drink tasted great, I was especially happy with the garnish job I put together. I’ve found Southern Comfort to be a really solid liquor contribution and the combo of Cranberry Juice and Ginger Ale works really well together.

February 15 – Banana Split Martini

Sip Harmony

Valentine’s Day 2013 has come and gone, which means you have 365 days to find a partner (or new partner, if you weren’t happy with your V-Day gift) for the 2014 edition. If you follow The Sip Advisor’s date night advice (yeah, I’m good at that, too) you’ll do just fine… only fine, not great (our legal counsel insisted I throw that line in to cover our asses).

Dinner Out

I like to take Mrs. Sip to the finest McDonalds, which in our neck of the woods, means homeless people outside, bathrooms you have to be buzzed into, watered down pop stations and receiving you order wrong two-out-of-every-three times. Remember to always keep your options open. If your date is being fussy and wants to try something new on this special occasion, make sure there’s a Burger King nearby as a back-up.

Dinner Date

Movie Time

The first obstacle with this option is agreeing on a movie. Unfortunately, as they don’t show pornography in megaplex cinemas, my second choice is usually a comedy. Problem is your date will likely want to see one of the romantic variety and now you’re really suffering. She better be worth it, friend. Sneaking in your own snacks is a must, or else you’ll be stuck putting a mortgage on your home to get a freakin’ drink (in a size that will burst your bladder and make you miss the climax of the film) and bag of popcorn.

Drinks on the Town

I’ve never been one to advocate drinking on a date…said the Sip Advisor never. I’ve had dates with drinks! The Cosmo and I once had a beautiful night out together, enjoying each other’s elixir. When it came time to seal the deal, though, I found out Cosmo saw me as more of a friend. We’re still close, but I’ll never forget how close I came to spending a night with sweet lady Cosmo.

Drinks Out

Do Something Crazy!

As fun as bowling, mini-golf and ice skating (for us Canadians) can be, there’s nothing like giving your heart to each other while it’s jumping out of your chest. Great advancements have been made in tandem daredevil activities and even if you only go on one date together, he or she will never forget you or their near-death experience (I personally recommend Zorbing… what says love more than be stuck in a giant plastic ball and being pushed down a hill with that special someone?). Then again, the way I bowl, that may be as near-death as most people are willing to go.

Staying In

Lock the door, throw away the key and stay home. Better clear it with your date first, or else she’ll think you’ve taken her prisoner… although some ladies and gents might like that. Whether it’s to relax and watch Hockey Night in Canada (or, fine, a movie) together; have a romantic, candlelit dinner; or push the twin beds together for a night of wild passion; sometimes staying in is the best course of action.

The most important thing to plan for when staying home, is every night in together should start with a couple of these!

Drink #46: Banana Split Martini

Banana Split Martini

  • 1.5 oz Chocolate Whipped Vodka
  • 1 oz Crème de Bananes (I used Bols)
  • 1 oz Crème de Cacao
  • Top with Whip Cream
  • Garnish with chocolate sprinkles, banana slice and raspberry

If any of these tricks of the trade work for you, you can pay homage to me by giving your future child the middle name “Sip Advisor”… kind of has a nice ring to it, don’t ya think!?

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This might have been my favourite of the Chocolate Week cocktails. It tasted very similar to the dessert of the same name and was just as fun to drink as it is to eat.