January 31 – Hotel California

California Screamin’

Mrs. Sip and I are frequent visitors to California and I try to blast some California-set tunes every time we are approaching our destination. Let’s take a look at the Sip Advisor’s California playlist!

#5: Going to California – Led Zeppelin

I doubt Led Zeppelin wrote this song about the Sip Advisor, but the lyrics “Going to California with an aching in my heart” kind of told my story. I was once a naïve teen on my way to California with the opportunity to meet a pretty little lady. That lady ended up being the future Mrs. Sip, who I first met in Disneyland all the way back in 2002. “Someone told me there’s a girl out there with love in her eyes and flowers in her hair”… Mrs. Sip lacked both those things when we met, but I won her over!

#4: Californication/Dani California – Red Hot Chili Peppers

You knew at some point that the Red Hot Chili Peppers would appear on this list. The band has a long history of being influenced by California. Sadly, Mrs. Sip has made Californication her alarm music and therefore I have grown to have great disdain for the song I once thoroughly enjoyed. Coincidentally, Mrs. Sip and I actually met a girl named Dani in California… except she’s originally from Colorado and Dani’s just a shortened version of her middle name… I think it still counts!

#3: California Dreamin’ – The Mamas and the Papas

Given where the Sip Advisor and Mrs. Sip live (Vancouver, Canada), this song can really speak to us at times. You know, with all the leaves being brown and the sky turned gray and all. At that point, we’re desperate for the warmth and sunshine that California offers, leaving behind the “Wet Coast!” The Mamas and the Papas’ hit has been covered by so many artists, including high profile acts America, The Beach Boys, and R.E.M. Even Alvin and the Chipmunks have copied the song.

#2: Hotel California – The Eagles

“You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave…” If that was true about California, I’d be quite happy. This begs the question: Where exactly is the Hotel California? Well, some have said it’s an inn located in San Francisco that was turned into a Church of Satan, while others believe it to be a mental hospital. While the original song is amazing, I absolutely love the flamenco-inspired acoustic adaptation that was first played live during The Eagles 1994 Hell Freezes Over reunion tour.

#1: California Love – 2Pac feat. Dr. Dre

This is a true California anthem, mentioning numerous areas of the state. San Diego, the Bay Area (San Francisco and Oakland), Long Beach, Sacramento, Pasadena, Inglewood, Hollywood, Los Angeles, and Compton all get shout outs. Speaking of Compton, on one shuttle from LAX to Anaheim (where Mrs. Sip and I typically wind up on visits to California) we went through the notorious city to drop off a fellow passenger. Sadly, I was too afraid to play this song, for fear of getting a cap in my ass!

Super Saturday Shot Day: Hotel California

Hotel California Shot

Narrowly missing the cut for this list was California Girls by The Beach Boys. While babes from Cali are fun, they don’t necessarily have to be from there to get the Sip Advisor going. Now, I’m no music expert, but I’d venture a guess that California is the most sung about state in the U.S., with perhaps New York challenging that prediction. One song that definitely sucks is the theme to California Dreams… I hated that Saved by the Bell rip-off so very, very much!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This is actually a cocktail recipe, but I thought it sounded neat, wanted to give it a try, and thought it went good with the theme of this post. You got a problem with that!? The recipe calls for 0.5 oz of Blue Curacao, but I took the opportunity to use my Bols Blue Curacao Foam again and I think the visual results speak for themselves. All the flavours here are light and tasty, so it all came together pretty well.

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Israel – Cabernet Cobbler

People & Products

It’s kind of crazy how many people and products most of us had no clue originate from Israel. From starlets and rockers to computer programs and board games, Israeli influences are more common that you would think. Let’s take a look at some of those that are changing the world from the Holy Land:

Natalie Portman

The beautiful actress who has stolen my heart time and time again was actually born in Israel as Natalie Hershlag and moved to the U.S. in 1984, at the age of three. After wowing audiences as a 13-year-old in the 1994 Film, The Professional, Portman has gone on to star in Star Wars prequels, V for Vendetta, Black Swan, and Thor.

Natalie Portman Straw

Max Brenner Chocolates

The “chocolate by the bald man” has its headquarters based in Ra’anana, Israel. The company was actually founded by Max Fichtman and Oded Brenner (the chocolatier of the duo). My favourite cocktail of all-time (Satisfaction Guaranteed) came from the Max Brenner restaurant and store at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.

Cherry Tomatoes

No salad is truly complete without the addition of cherry tomatoes. These versatile little veggies were the product of a 12-year breeding program, overseen by labs in Israel. Highlights of the cherry tomato include an increased shelf life and optimal ripening cycle. Who would have thought it could take so long to make a baby tomato!

Gene Simmons

The KISS frontman and tongue wagging demon was born Chaim Witz in Haifa, Israel, in 1949. Along with his mother, Simmons came to the U.S. at the age of eight, speaking no English. He’s certainly come a long way, as the legendary rocker had his own reality show and even claims to have had sex with nearly 5,000 women.

Gene Simmons Doctor

SodaStream

Given my position as a top notch liquor slinger, I’ve often thought that one of these machines could come in handy, especially given I like fizz in nearly every drink I choose to make. SodaStream’s headquarters are located in Lod, Israel, which must make for some interesting flavour proposals, such as hummus and falafel!

USB Flash Drives

Where would many of us be without these pocket-sized tools? The flash drive virtually killed the floppy disk, which could only hold a fraction of the amount of information most USB’s are able to contain. The drives were developed by Israeli company M-Systems, who joined with tech giant IBM to release the product.

Haim Saban

One of the craziest phenomena of my childhood was the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, which was the work of Israeli Haim Saban (or at least his production company). The series is still alive and kicking to this day, having gone through countless iterations. Saban is worth an estimated $3 billion, according to Forbes.

Power Rangers Killers

ICQ

Standing for “I Seek You,” ICQ was developed by Mirabilis, an Israeli company since absorbed by America Online (AOL) for $407 million. It was the first one-on-one online conversation program that allowed users their own account. While I didn’t use the system much, ICQ was once the hottest instant messaging service available.

Hillel Slovak

An original member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Slovak (born in Haifa, Israel) was there for the bands earliest successes. Sadly, Slovak died from a heroin overdose, in 1988, at the young age of 26. An inspiration for the group, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012, with fellow members of the Chili Peppers.

Rummikub

This tile-based game was invented in Israel by Ephraim Hertzano and went on to be the best-selling game in the U.S. in 1977, as well as win Game of the Year awards in Germany (1980) and the Netherlands (1983). I’ve never actually played Rummikub before, but assume I’d be good, simply because the game has the word rum in it!

Israel: Cabernet Cobbler

Cabernet Cobbler Wine Cocktail

  • 4 oz Cabernet Sauvignon Wine
  • Top with Club Soda
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Pinch of Sugar
  • Garnish with an Orange Wedge

For whatever reason, Israel seems shrouded in mystery, but the Sip Advisor likes a good mystery. We also have Israelites to thank for Windows XP, the Amazon Kindle, and modern computer printing, among many other things. Heck, they even bred the golden hamster, which has my little kitty Furious B salivating!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
While I enjoyed this drink, it could basically be made by combining Cabernet Sauvignon Wine and Lemon-Lime Soda. It’s a pretty simple recipe, but one I felt I needed to do with the wine I selected for these articles.