Mixer Mania #15 – Going Nutty

The Sip Advisor feels bad for folks with a peanut allergy. I don’t know how I’d cope with existence if I wasn’t able to enjoy the legume. Not to rub salt in the wound, but here are my favourite peanut-based products that they’re missing out on:

Peanut Butter

Of the crunchy variety, of course, this glorious spread is best enjoyed in making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I have also come to like using the substance on crackers, as well as mixing it with a handful of Honey Nut Cheerios.

Trail Mix

The Sip Advisor is a trail mix fiend, particularly of the variation that includes Smarties or some other chocolate treat to complete the experience of salty nuts (peanuts, cashews, almonds) and raisins. That sweet touch is just right to balance the blend.

Trail Mix

Chocolate Bars

Among the peanut-packed confections I enjoy are Reese Peanut Butter Cups, Pay Day, Take 5, Snickers, Oh Henry!, Peanut M&Ms (as well as other chocolate-covered peanuts), and Butterfinger. Did you know, the Reese behind Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups was Harry Burnett “H.B.” Reese, who invented the treat in 1928. Amazingly, he did this while raising 16 children!

Peanuts

Although I adore potato chips, during times while I’ve tried laying off the snack, I have often relied on peanuts to get my salt fix. Whether that be through barbecue, honey roasted, or mesquite mustard-flavoured releases, it gets the job done.

Cookies

There are few things as satisfying than a fresh-out-of-the-oven peanut butter cookie. If you add chocolate chips to the cookie, you’re in heaven. I have never tried to add jam, however, so this may be a future experiment.

Peanut Butter Cookies

Alcohol

Whether it be a Peanut Butter Stout or Van Gogh PB&J Vodka, I welcome peanuts in liquid form. One of my most favourite cocktails of all time used a peanut liqueur and it was to die for. As for nut-based brews, I’m always in for a pint… or pitcher… or keg!

Asian Dishes

I’m totally into menu items that incorporate peanuts into it for a little crunch or flavour. This includes Japanese Gomaae (spinach salad with peanut sauce) and Chinese Kung Pao Chicken. Most recently, the Sip Advisor has greatly enjoyed the Hunan Kung Pao meal at Earl’s Restaurants.

Mixer Mania #15: Peanutty Buddy

Peanutty Buddy.JPG

  • Rim glass with Peanut Butter & Jelly
  • 1.5 oz Frangelico
  • 1 oz Crème de Cacao
  • Top with Peanut Butter & Jelly Soda
  • Splash of Milk

In wrapping up, is there anything peanut-based that the Sip Advisor doesn’t like? Well, I’m not a fan of peanut brittle and I’d rather not have shelled peanuts because of the effort it takes just to get two little bits out, not to mention the resulting mess. That’s about it, I’d say.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.5 Sips out of 5):
I can’t believe how hard it is to find any cocktail recipes for the Lester’s Fixins Peanut Butter & Jelly Soda. I did find this concoction and altered it to suit my needs, removing the Lemon-Lime Soda and chunk of Peanut Butter in favour of the PB&J Soda, while also lowering the milk content. The drink wasn’t offensive in any way, but there just wasn’t much of a flavour profile at all.

December 21 – Santa Shot

Sweet Season

More candy goes through the Sip Advisor offices this time of the year than any other. It doesn’t help that I give Mrs. Sip an advent calendar treat every day leading up to Christmas and Ma and Pa Sip are quite generous with care packages and the like. While there may be too much to go around, it’s all appreciated and here are some of my favourites!

M&Ms

Whether the plain or peanut variety, it doesn’t take long for these Christmas candies to disappear from any bowl they’re poured into. What’s best about the M&Ms company is that they’re always experimenting with different adaptations of their popular product. This year, we’ve really enjoyed their Gingerbread limited release and they have also brought out Mint Chocolate and White Chocolate Peppermint varieties.

Peanut M&Ms

Yeah, fasting around Christmas is whack, yo!

Turtles

Mmmm, I love Turtles. While not being a fan of pecans on their own, there’s just something about these clustered treats that are so good. I blame the wonderfulness of caramel, which is such a delicious ingredient in any recipe it is featured. I’ve noticed this year that there are a couple new options in the Turtles line, including Pecan Praline and Pecan Fudge Brownie. Me thinks I should arrange a taste test with my fellow Turtles lovers!

Mini Eggs

While originally an Easter-only treat, Mini Eggs have migrated to the Christmas holiday, as well. Instead of coming in colours like yellow, blue, and pink, the palette has been changed to red and green, with both packs including white eggs. It’s extremely difficult to only pop one or two of these treats into your mouth. In the end, you’re more likely to have shoveled dozens of the eggs down your gullet like a slithering snake. At least us civilized folk don’t have to regurgitate the shells!

Candy Canes

How could one forget Candy Canes at this time of year? You don’t even have to settle for the mint-flavoured ones anymore, as the treats are available in nearly every flavour. I’m still waiting for Mrs. Sip to open the genital-shaped candy cane I bought her a couple Christmases ago as a gag gift (literally!?), although it has slowly disappeared in one of our cupboards, perhaps to never see the light of day ever again!

candycane

Chocolate Santa

For the homicidal maniac and cannibal in all of us, sometimes grabbing a massive chocolate Santa and taking his head off in one quick bite can be quite rewarding. I can’t decide if I prefer hollowed out Santa’s or the thicker full chocolate Santa’s which you can gnaw on for hours. The same principles apply to everything from chocolate snowmen to reindeer to trees and every other symbol of the holiday season.

Toblerone

A favourite of Pa Sip (and the Sip Advisor), I can still remember travelling through Switzerland and picking up Toblerone bars en masse whenever we had a chance over our two-day tour stop. Chocolate is something that actually helps you adjust to high altitudes, se we had a good excuse to indulge in the Swiss treat. I’ve always been curious about the massive Toblerone bars they sell at Christmas and how long it would take to vanquish it from existence!

Toblerone

Reese Products

The massive peanut butter cups that have been released the last couple years are crazy enormous. I like how the Reese company has partnered with the NHL to make their peanut butter cups resemble hockey pucks. If you’re looking for smaller doses of peanutty goodness, there are also peanut butter trees, bells, and even snowmen. With all those options, you’ll probably be sick of peanut butter by the end of the holidays!

Peppermint Bark

Mrs. Sip loves her Peppermint Bark. Myself, not as much as other options, but I do appreciate the stuff as a snacking option. Chocolate and mint make a pretty wicked pair and they seem to bring their collective A-game to the Christmas holidays. This is one of the few things on this list that you could actually make yourself, but why waste your time when there are so many quality products already out there and you don’t need to deal with all the fuss of doing it yourself.

Drink #355: Santa Shot

Santa Shot Shooter

  • Rim glass with Crushed Candy Canes
  • 0.5 oz Peppermint Schnapps
  • 0.5 oz Crème de Menthe
  • 0.5 oz Grenadine

What’s your favourite Christmas time candy? Make sure to send some my way, so we can experience all the joys of the holidays together… and then we can hit the gym in the New Year and work off all this treat goodness!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This shot can be found under other names (Candy Cane Shooter, etc.), but the recipe doesn’t change. It tells you to layer the ingredients in the following order: Grenadine, Crème de Menthe, Peppermint Schnapps for the desired layering effect. I found that the clear Peppermint Schnapps at the top of the shooter was too hard to really see, so I decided to blend the two mint ingredients for a better visual effect. The shot tastes pretty good, despite a fair dose of Grenadine.

March 24 – Red Alert

Border Jumpers

About 75% of the Canadian population lives along the Canada-U.S. border. This is a tease for these Canadians, as the United States gets products that just can’t be found up here and what you CAN find in both countries usually comes in at a much lower price point south of the border.

For example, Cherry Dr. Pepper, used in today’s bevvy, has been available in the U.S. for a couple years now. In Canada, it is still advertised as a new product, having just hit store shelves in 2012. Cherry Coke, despite existing for decades has never popped across the border to say hi and same goes for Vanilla Coke (previously available in Canada), Mello Yellow, and unique spin-off flavours of Fanta, Mountain Dew, Snapple, etc.

If Gene Simmons is okay with it, why did Canada take so long?

If Gene Simmons is okay with Cherry Dr. Pepper, why did Canada take so long?

Pop (or soda as the Yanks prefer to call it) isn’t the only thing us Canadians have to chase down on trips to the States. There are a number of chocolate bars that can’t be picked up at the local Canadian convenient store. Pay Days (a Sip Advisor favourite), Coconut M&Ms, Butterfingers, and Heath Bars, form the bulk of this list. Although we do try to make up for Butterfingers by substituting Crispy Crunch and Heath by having Skor. And apparently, up north, we do have the market cornered on Coffee Crisp, Smarties, and Aero (all Nestle products)… even Kinder Surprise (eff the chocolate, I love getting little toys!). And I’ll never figure out why it’s two Reese Peanut Butter Cups in each American package and three in Canada… but I’m not complaining.

Recently I compiled a couple blogs about cereals and their slogans. For example, don’t bother looking for Trix in Canada… although perhaps the Trix Rabbit should take refuge in this country to avoid all the loser kids rubbing it in his face that the breakfast is not meant for him. I’m surprised the poor guy hasn’t gone on a breakfast-stealing rampage through an elementary school. Similarly, Apple Jacks cereal was once sold in Canada, but no longer share store shelf space. Cookie Crisp was apparently banned in Canada, which really pisses me off. How can a country ban Cookie Crisp, when its most famous culinary dish is the curd- and gravy-heavy poutine?

Poutine

Books, dairy (particularly cheese), meat, fruits and vegetables, cigarettes, gas, tires, and most junk food top the list of items that are way cheaper in the U.S. than Canada. Here are some other cross border notes:

  • Seagram’s Gin, despite once being a Canadian-owned company, is no longer sold in Canada
  • Canadian Netflix sucks compared to the U.S. version, causing many subscribers to manipulate their systems allowing access to the American subscription
  • Hulu and other TV and movie streaming services will not work in Canada, where we are told they are not available in our region… despite us sharing the same region as the U.S.
  • Stores you can’t find in Canada: Barnes & Nobles, Trader Joes, Victoria’s Secret, Macy’s, and Nordstrom’s (although rumour has it that at least one Nordstrom’s is crossing the border to downtown Vancouver and apparently the International terminal of Vancouver airport now hosts a Vicky’s)
  • Restaurants exclusively serving the U.S.: White Castle, Cheesecake Factory, In-N-Out Burgers, Carl’s Jr., Jack in the Box
victorias-secret-fashion-show

Yowza, we really need Victoria Secret in Canada!

Perhaps some of these items will finally be available in Canada with Target stores coming to the Great White North, but if not, I have no issues taking a trip down to the States to load up on Pay Days, Cookie Crisp, Victoria’s Secret lingerie (for Mrs. Sip, of course) and a meal or two at Jack in the Box.

At least we have Tim Horton’s, White Spot (in Western Canada), Ketchup Chips, Kraft Dinner, Swiss Chalet, and Hickory Sticks. I don’t really see Americans coming to our fair country for any of these items (although they should, especially for the White Spot Legendary Burger, Mmmmmm). Americans will probably just order most of these items online and have them shipped for free, while us suckers in Canada always have to pay extreme taxes and fees for the same service.

Drink #83: Red Alert

Red Alert Drink

  • 1.5 oz Whiskey (I used Crown Royal)
  • Top with half Orange Juice and half Cherry Dr. Pepper

To my Canadian brethren, I ask, what do you like to grab on trips to the States? To my friends from the south, is there anything you like in Canada that you can’t get from home? Do you even travel to our little country? Hit me back!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
I’m a big fan of the Cherry Dr. Pepper pop and it probably saved this cocktail It was neat to see the Orange Juice and Dr. Pepper mix together and luckily we were able to snap some good quick photos of the effect.

February 12 – Skor Bar

He Shoots, He Skors

There are a number of drinks named after popular chocolate bars. Today we enjoy the Skor Bar cocktail and we learn what some of The Sip Advisor’s favourite chocolate treats are:

Chocolate PayDay

The Chocolate PayDay bar has become a unicorn of sorts for myself and Mrs. Sip. We found it once, in a hotel vending machine. It was the last bar of its type in the machine and we’ve never seen it again. It took the classicly awesome PayDay bar – salted peanuts held together by chewy caramel – and covered it with chocolate. Had I not seen the bar with a witness, I’d begin to wonder if my years of drinking were taking a toll on the ol’ noggin.

Chocolate PayDay

Wunderbar

The Wunderbar is a favourite shareable for me and the little lady. Hell, she thinks every chocolate bar is a shareable… and don’t even get me started on our long standing McDonalds’ fries dispute (if I knew you were going to eat half of my fries, I would have ordered the larger size!!!). But I digress. I like to accuse her of eating more than her fair share of the chocolate bar and then she leaves me more the next time. It’s the ol’ bait and switch, executed to perfection!

Twix

Twix is another perfect “sharing” bar that brings out the Cookie Monster in me. I hate when chocolate bars are hard to share, like what do you do with the third peanut butter cup (note: in the United States, packages come with two cups, but in Canada, there’s three… yup, we’re better! …never mind the fact that you can probably buy two U.S. 2-packs for the price of one Canadian 3-pack). Obviously, you can break the third cup in half, but then your fingers get all chocolatey and delicious and such. Perfect for wiping on your loved one’s finest clothing.

Snickers

I like the new line of Snickers “you’re not you when you’re hungry” commercials, as it’s always nice to see Joe Pesci in front of the camera again. Mrs. Sip isn’t a fan of Snickers bars, so I get this one all to myself! She doesn’t like Oh Henry!, either, so I bet you can guess which treats are well-stocked at the Sip Advisor offices… that’s right, not these ones. These are the delicacies I hide around the house – toilet tank, recycle bin, among the DVD collection – for when I’m not acting myself.

Snickers

Toblerone

They were 3-D first and we have to thank them for that. While travelling through Switzerland a handful of years ago, it seemed we were buying Toblerone bars like they were going out of style. When we took the trip up Jungfrau Mountain, we made sure to have this wonderful chocolate on hand, as eating some can actually help you adjust to the altitude. Either that or you need to down some serious wobbly-pops.

Drink #43: Skor Bar Cocktail

Skor Bar Drink Recipe

  • Rim glass with Skor bits
  • 1 oz Irish Crème (I used Bailey’s)
  • 1 oz Kahlua (or Frangelico for a twist)
  • 1 oz Butterscotch Schnapps
  • 1 oz Crème de Cacao

Everybody has their favourite chocolate bar… what’s yours? I know it’s a hard choice to narrow down. Maybe it’s easier to pick one you hate. It is Fat Tuesday today, so make sure to enjoy as many bars (chocolate or otherwise), guilt-free, as possible!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This actually tasted like a Skor Bar. I know that’s how it’s advertised, but sometimes the results don’t match the name. Butterscotch Schnapps and Crème de Cacao make an amazing pair and the Skor Bit rim was a lot of fun, too.