December 16 – Christmas Blizzard

We Wish You a Meme-y Christmas

Today marks the 350th drink the Sip Advisor has presented on this site and as it has been with every 50-mark, I present to you some of the funny memes I’ve found on the internet. Given it’s Christmas, it will have a decidedly yuletide theme!

Cat Christmas Party

Office Christmas parties are a weird beast. For most, it’s the one time of the year when you see your co-workers a little lit up and acting in ways they wouldn’t around the office. It seems this little kitty got a little cray cray and wound up passing out on the floor. I’ve been there! Thankfully, I’ve never been “that guy” or “that girl” who takes things to the extreme and ends up with a lampshade on their head… or even worse.

White Christmas

I’m pretty sure most female members of the Sip Family follow this line of thinking. I enjoy snow at Christmas, although given I live in a part of the world where we don’t see much of the white stuff, our beautiful city completes shuts down with even a light dusting. Plus, most of the population is not prepared for snow and can’t drive very well in the best of conditions. I think I’d rather stick to the wines than the snow.

Santa Judges

Now that’s a job everyone would be envious of. I work 365 days a year and my only solace is that I also get to judge all of you! I’m an equal opportunity kind of guy, however, and I appreciate any judgments that come my way. Ol’ Santy Claus here doesn’t like us taking pot shots at him… like calling him fat… or lazy… or a bad employer. He’s watching me right now (who wouldn’t!?), so I guess I’m not getting anything but a lump of coal for Christmas.

Cat Song

I’m surprised the kitty isn’t interested in the 8 Maids Milking so it has some drink to wash down all those birdies! I wish I could get a costume like this on one of Ma and Pa Sip’s cats. Problem is I’d shed more blood than a Dexter kill room sees and the outfit still wouldn’t be on the animal. I do agree with the fluff ball above that no one really needs pears (aka the forgotten for a reason fruit).

some-batteries

Now what could she be using those batteries for? Wait, I know! Her TV controller must be out. The obvious answer is always sitting there right in front of you. You know, in these times, when I’m not very hopeful for the generations that are coming after mine, I find it refreshing that this youngster, regardless of his motives, is thinking of his mother’s enjoyment and passing that along to Santa, who will surely fill her stocking with goodies!

Drink #350: Christmas Blizzard

Christmas Blizzard Drink Recipe

  • 1.5 oz Malibu Rum
  • Top with Cream Soda
  • Garnish with Coconut Shavings

Feel free to send any funny Christmas memes my way. It’s a busy time of the year, but that’s makes it especially important to take a step back and enjoy all the little things out there!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This cocktail is a little plain in taste. The Malibu Rum isn’t very noticeable. It’s still an above average drink, though, with Cream Soda being a pretty enjoyable mixer.

June 14 – Countdown Cocktail

3…2…1…

Life is full of countdowns of varying importance. Whether you’re waiting for your next vacation or the end of the world is rapidly approaching, we’re all watching time tick away to something. Here are some of the most infamous countdowns:

Y2K

Heading into the new millennium, concerns were raised over computer clocks rolling over to the new date, thus causing internal malfunctions. Some people feared that this would cause computer systems across the world to fail, with results being as catastrophic as nuclear missiles being launched and the planet destroying itself. In fact, in Onagawa, Japan, an alarm at a nuclear power plant sounded two minutes after midnight, but luckily it was a false alarm. Worst yet, 150 slot machines in Delaware stopped working, causing hardcore gamblers to declare martial law.

y2k

Year 10,000 Problem

If we even make it there, there are already fears that an issue similar to Y2K will haunt us again in the year 10,000. I’m not too concerned, as clearly they haven’t taken the time to come up with a clever name for the event like they did for Y2K, which shows they’re not all that worried about something that may occur 8,000 years from now. Besides, I don’t even know if my lineage will continue past myself, let alone eight millennia from now.

Popular Culture

Lists are used by everyone nowadays. Hell, it’s largely what I do here at The Sip Advisor, on a daily basis… but I’m one of the few who does it with class and dignity! While some lists are awesome (again, like the ones featured on this site), others are utterly useless. Don’t even get me started on music video countdowns. Those are so horrible it makes me want to throw a record player through my TV screen and eliminate all possible audible nightmares.

New Year’s Eve

Every year, people are given the chance to reboot, start fresh, and kiss some random stranger in the name of celebration! As the Times Square ball and other imitators drop on the beginning of a new year, we are all given a chance to reflect on where we’ve come from and where we’re going. For some this can be a good experience and for others it can disappoint. Remember though, New Year’s brought about The Sip Advisor, so we should all be thankful!

new-years

Olympics

It has become tradition that the next city to host the Olympics constructs a big clock in one of its popular centres and then ticks away the days, hours, minutes and seconds until its time to shine and host the world arrives. Legend has it, that if these clocks pause at any time prior to the Games, the Olympics will be cancelled by the International Olympic Committee… that’s only a Sip Legend though.

2012 Apocalypse

According to Mayan predictions, the world was supposed to end on Dec. 21, 2012. Well, it didn’t. All it provided was a chance for zealous nutcases to form cults and for comedy shows to spoof the so-called “end of days”. The best part about living on the west coast (although there are many reasons) is that in all these time-based doomsday theories, we’ll be the last to be hit and can enjoy what’s left of our time while others kick the bucket.

mayan_calendar_funny

Shuttle Launch

Space, the final frontier… The last thing astronauts hear before being launched into the wild abyss of space is the shuttle countdown that precipitates every launch. The rush that must go through these folk’s system would surely measure off the charts, as they experience something very few ever will. I hope affordable space travel eventually exists in my lifetime. I’d go searching for Alf, so we can chase cats together!

Final Countdown

The classic hit from the band Europe should definitely be mentioned in this post. Seriously, I challenge you to go have a listen and try not to get into it. This is a special favourite of all Arrested Development fans, thanks to the character J.O.B., who uses it as part of the magician routine.

Drink #165: Countdown Cocktail

Countdown Wine Cocktail

  • Muddle Mint Leaves
  • 2 oz Disaronno (or other Amaretto)
  • Splash of Red Wine
  • 2 Tsp Sugar
  • Garnish with Sugar-coated Mint Leaf

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
I like recipes that involve Mint, but I wasn’t sure about how that element would work with Red Wine. Mrs. Sip, not being a fan of Amaretto and preferring wine cocktails to heavily feature the Wine itself, was not a fan of this drink, but I thought it wasn’t half bad. It’s true that the Disaronno makes its presence felt in this recipe, but I thought the Wine played a role, as well. The cocktail was more sweet than I would like, hence the point deductions.

June 13 – Cactus Berry

Please Bring Me My Wine

A little quote from The Eagles hit “Hotel California” to get us diving head first into the wine week’s themed playlist. I never knew there were so many songs about chardonnays, merlots and pinot grigios. I should have known better!

Red, Red Wine – UB40

Goes to my head… by far, the best wine song in existence. The lyrics read like a true story, as we’ve all experienced the red wine buzz that makes the brain feel like it’s floating and only remains encased in our head by the strong structure of the skull. What a wonderful sensation indeed!

Spill the Wine – War

This song is pretty sweet and anytime the flute comes out, you know you’re in for a hell of an aural experience… I said aural, not the other one! The song has also been performed by The Isley Brothers, but I prefer the War version. It’s just a little more psychedelic, in my opinion.

Wine Take Me Away – Merle Haggard

Ol’ Merle takes us down a country road and into wine country. This dude sang a bunch of songs about the grapes, but this has to be one of his better tunes. Like many people, Merle considers wine a friend of his and I can’t really blame him.

Strawberry Wine – Deana Carter

In the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit that I muted this song shortly after it started and just watched the beautiful Miss Carter. Hey, I don’t get paid for this, so I have to enjoy the perks when they come my way! The song isn’t that bad, though, hitting number one on the country billboard charts in 1996. You have to love the title of her debut CD, “Did I Shave My Legs for This”!

Hey, Brother, Pour the Wine – Dean Martin

This Deano song is a pretty good tune. No surprise there, the Rat Pack members are total legends in the singing, entertaining and drinking communities. Marge Simpson also sings the song in one of the earliest episodes of the show after getting drunk at Homer’s company picnic.

Drink #164: Cactus Berry

Cactus Berry Cocktail

  • Rim glass with Salt
  • 1.25 oz Tequila (I used El Jimador)
  • 1.25 oz Red Wine
  • 1 oz Triple Sec
  • Top with Sweet & Sour Mix
  • Splash of Lemon-Lime Soda
  • Dash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with Lime Wheel

The one thing I don’t like about wine songs is that so many of them are slow and sad. I’m more of an upbeat and fast pace music fan, not wanting to get too moody or anything like that. Enjoy this selection of wine melodies the next time you crack a bottle or box open!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This is like a Wine-based margarita and it’s a fun cocktail. The Red Wine cooperates very well with the Tequila and Triple Sec (among other ingredients) to make a solid drink. Mrs. Sip has asked for it again since. As for me, put a salt rim on most things and I’m a pretty happy fella.

June 11 – Lolita

Banned Cinema

Movie history is littered with films that, for one reason or another, governments have banned its constituents from viewing or possessing. I’m a staunch supporter of anti-censorship. In my opinion, the discretion falls on the person themselves to decide what they do or don’t want to see, or, in the case of children, it is the responsibility of their parents to make these choices. That said, here are some notable movies that have been deemed forbidden:

Lolita

The name of today’s cocktail comes from the classic novel by Vladimir Nabokov (those crazy Russkies) that was later adapted into two movies. The story centers on an older man’s lust for a young girl, which brings about obvious concerns over subject matter. Lolita is one of the most controversial works of all time, but it’s also one of the most highly regarded, most likely due to the poetic language of its writing. I just hope the drink is decent!

Lolita

Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Leatherface is one badass dude, hacking his way through any unfortunate victim(s) who stumble upon his messed up backwoods family. One of the creepiest parts of this film is right at the start when the viewer is informed that what you’re about to see is based on a true story. Of course, it isn’t, but that thought sticks with you throughout. I don’t understand why this film was banned while other similar entries in the genre flew under the radar. Perhaps, it was just ahead of its time.

Monty Python Films

The movies, Life of Brian and Meaning of Life, from the comedy troupe were banned in a few countries, such as Ireland, because they were considered blasphemous. Of course, the clever team used the bans to their advantage, creating ads that said “So funny it was banned in Norway!”.

Barney’s Great Adventure

Personally I wonder why the entire world couldn’t ban the giant purple dino! Good on Malaysia for realizing that a figment of children’s imagination that tells kids to love and hug each other is sending bad messages to youth. The government found that the film was unacceptable for children and never provided any further details… and why should they?

Barney

Cannibal Holocaust

Where to begin with this film? Most countries banned it due to violence committed on animals, but there were also rumours that actors had legitimately died in the filming and the movie was therefore of the “snuff” variety. While the human deaths were disproven, the animal cruelty was in fact real, which is not cool. The Colombian natives were also treated poorly by director Ruggero Deodato. Credit does have to be given to the makers of this movie for being one of the first “found footage” stories, however.

Last Tango in Paris

Seriously!? A country like Italy banned a movie for strong sexual content??? Didn’t they invent the language of love and all that other junk? Sure there’s a scene that involves the use of butter as lubrication, but come on, who hasn’t reached for the dairy in a pinch?! Italy, I am so disappointed in you.

A Clockwork Orange

Let’s see, why would this movie ever be banned? Could it be the gratuitous violence perpetrated by Alex and company? Could it be the home invasion, crippling and rape of an innocent couple? Not bad enough for you yet? What about the murder of another woman with a giant penis statue? Yeah, that one did it for me, too. Regardless, this cult favourite is actually a intriguing watch. This is yet another adapted screenplay from a novel and perhaps we should just ban all books, so movies don’t have to suffer.

A-Clockwork-Orange

2012

Well, this has got to be one of the craziest bans of a movie I’ve ever seen. Apparently, in North Korea, it was made illegal to show the fictional Apocalypse tale because 2012 marks the 100th birthday of former leader, Kim Il Sung, and North Korean’s had dubbed the year “the year for opening the grand gates to becoming a rising superpower”. Thus, according to the country, a film that says the year 2012 will bring about the “end of days” was too negative a message. Citizens caught with a pirated copy of the film or even viewing the movie are arrested and charged with “grave provocation against the development of the state”.

Saw VI

Saw VI was banned for scenes of gory violence and torture… yeah, because it differs so drastically from movies I through V! I like the Saw series of movies, particularly the first two entries. While I can see why some would hesitate to watch this franchise (and the many that have followed in a similar fashion since), that is their decision to make and not the government’s.

saw

Goldfinger

The James Bond film was banned in Israel after a short run when it was revealed that Gert Fröbe, who played villain Auric Goldfinger, was once a member of Germany’s Nazi Party. The ban was lifted a few months later when a man came forward saying that he and his mother had been hidden and saved from the Nazi Gestapo by Fröbe. This was the planned sequel to Schindler’s List.

Hostel Movies

These horror flicks were banned for depicting the people of Eastern European countries as buyers of human slaves… which is incredibly accurate, but something the Ukrainian government took great offense to. It’s like if Canada took offense to a movie about hockey goons, who love their poutine.

Drink #162: Lolita

Lolita Cocktail

Of all these banned movies, I’ve only seen a handful of them. I’m intrigued to check out the one’s I have yet to view, with Barney’s Great Adventure topping my list. Perhaps I’ll even review it for all my little sippers!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
The simple recipe largely recreates a Sangria taste and that is totally welcome in my little world! I particularly like how this drink is garnished, especially when you think of the Lolita story.

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!