Sip Trips #103: Babymooning (Part 1)

Back in 2012, Mrs. Sip and I celebrated our honeymoon with a cruise through the Panama Canal. Nearly five years later and with a little girl on the way, we decided to take our babymoon from Rome to Dubai – through the Suez Canal – aboard another luxury liner. Here’s part one of that expedition:

Our first stop of the journey was Rome, Italy, a favourite city for both Mrs. Sip and myself. Friends from London joined us for this portion of the vacation and after some sightseeing, we journeyed to the 404 Name Not Found bar, which one of our companions had researched. There, complex cocktails (and a mocktail for Mrs. Sip) awaited us. Always a fan of spicy drinks, I tried the 666, complete with Jalapeno-infused Tequila, Cointreau, Lime Juice and Honey.

The next morning, I was able to cross an item off my drinking bucket list, when I enjoyed my first ever McBeer (Beera Moretti Baffo D’oro) at the McDonald’s just outside the walls of the Vatican City. Despite beer being available at a McDonald’s stop or two prior, this was the first time I’ve imbibed in the option and it was a great experience with my set of famous hamburgers.

McBeers

Later that day, we were off to board our ship at the Civitavecchia Port, over an hour outside Rome. After checking in, we arrived at our room (which had been upgraded from a balcony to a mini suite) and were promptly given glasses of sail away bubbly. It was a very nice start to our two-week journey aboard the Majestic Princess.

Mrs. Sip surprised me with bottles of Bacardi Rum, Skyy Vodka and Gordon’s Gin to go along with the two bottles of wine I had just grabbed at the Termini train station. I also brought a handful of Grey Goose mini bottles, so giving I was drinking solo, I was quite set for the voyage. I never buy the all-inclusive pop package available on the cruise, so having mixers for my booze can be challenging, but I’ve picked up some tricks along the way. I did purchase a soda set, which provided me with six cans of pop, while also taking advantage of free orange juice for breakfast and lemonade throughout the day. This allowed me to create an array of drinks, enhanced by some clever fruit pick-ups at the buffet.

Our first stop of the cruise docked in Naples, Italy. Our excursion for the day would take us to the island of Capri, where I got to do a little Limoncello tasting, followed by lunch in Sorrento (where I chugged back close to a bottle of house wine) and finishing with a tour of the historic Pompeii.

Pompeii Stoned

Our next port of call was in Athens. Mrs. Sip and I elected to take a hop-on, hop-off bus into the city, where we visited the 360 Cocktail Bar. With views of the legendary Acropolis from the bar’s rooftop patio, I sat back and enjoyed servings of their Heat Wave (Russian Standard Vodka, Mezcal, Jalapeno Chillies, Oregano, Herbs, Agave, Lime) and The Journey of Chivalry (Chivas Regal 12-year, Noilly Prat Vermouth, Cashews, Smoked Salt, Coconut Water) cocktails. I had also tried to order the Summer Loading (Bacardi White Rum, Watermelon, Orgeat, Lime, Three Cents Agean Tonic), but sadly it was not available.

As we continued to explore the area, we popped into a store where I purchased a bomber-sized bottle of Alfa Weiss Beer and cans of Fanta Strawberry-Kiwi and Tuborg Orange-Cinnamon Soda to add to my mixer collection. The greatest treat came as we returned to the port. There was a duty-free shop in the terminal and after confirming purchases wouldn’t be taken away, as there was no security check to go through boarding the ship, I popped back into the store before we set sail to snag a half-liter bottle of Jim Beam Bourbon.

Our stop the next day on the Greek island of Santorini was one I was greatly looking forward to. We had visited for a week 10 years prior and it became one of my favourite places I’ve ever been to. Sadly, this trip wasn’t nearly as good, as the tiny island was hosting three different ships and was overrun. To salvage the day, Mrs. Sip and I sat down in a tiny bar in the capital city of Fira, where I had an Alfa Beer and enjoyed the sights. Then we travelled down 700 steps to the port, dodging donkeys and their droppings along the way.

That wraps up part one of our expedition. Join us tomorrow for the second half of an amazing holiday.

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August 31 – Brain Freeze

Roasted

During Frozen Cocktail Week, I subbed Jell-O shots in as the Super Saturday Shot Day post, rather than create a frozen shot… for I believed a frozen shot to be an utterly insane and useless creation. Here we are two weeks later and I have in fact created a frozen shot, inside a frozen shot glass, no less. Mrs. Sip insisted it be done and here it is… now you all have her to blame for your ice cream headaches!

With that in mind, let’s take a few moments together to roast Mrs. Sip. She may be the best thing that ever happened to me, but that doesn’t mean she’s immune from a little Sip justice!

Stuck in Rome

Mrs. Sip and I love Rome, particularly the Trevi Fountain, which we have visited multiple times during the day and at night. On our last trip there in 2007, we had already stopped by during the day with our tour group, before we went off on our own for a romantic dinner. When our meal was complete, night had fallen and Mrs. Sip insisted on returning to the fountain for a twilight viewing. Off we went, snapped a couple photos, watched a drunk guy jump in, and tossed a penny into the attraction (usually a penny for a wish to return to Rome, but since the drunk guy may have been collecting them, let’s just call it charity). When we made our way back to the subway, we were met by a locked gate. Keep in mind it was only 9 pm on a Friday night… there was no way the line could be closed.

Trevi Fountain

Frantically we searched for another entrance with no luck. The place our group was staying was 40 minutes outside the city by transport, so taking a cab was clearly not an option for us poor students. We tried figuring out a bus route that might get us to the train line we needed to take, but ultimately ended up stranded in the middle of nowhere in the middle of nowhere. Looking for a safe place to stay until the trains started running again at 5am, we ended up inside an American-themed hot dog and waffle joint that was open late. The Italian waitress, who spoke no English, and one beyond-drunk customer were our only company. As Mrs. Sip napped on our little table, the drunk dude tried in loud Italian, which I don’t speak, and violent hand gestures to communicate with me. When he noticed that I clearly didn’t understand he spoke even louder (because that does the trick, obviously) Finally I got across that he knew a guy who could rent us a room..by the hour…right.

Night turned into morning and we left our little slice of salvation en route back to the train station… with our still drunk, helpful, Italian associate in tow. Fear not, little sippers, he ended up coming in handy. When we reached the station we caught the first train of the day and were off. But our day pass transit tickets had now technically expired and we had spent the last of our cash on waffles on a stick. Enter our drunk Italian friend (yes, he was our friend now) who explained to the ticket collector our struggle and situation and the nice man allowed us to continue on our journey uninterrupted. We finally made it back to our campsite at 6:30am, with enough time for an hour-long nap, before we were back aboard the bus and onto our next destination.

Lost in Monaco

Here’s another tale from that same circuit tour of Europe… we had some sketchy luck during that vacation. Mrs. Sip and I had just spent an amazing evening in Monaco, walking to the city’s famous palace and enjoying the luxury casinos in the heart of the metropolis. As our tour group reconvened and headed back to the bus for the journey back to our humble (and I really mean that) abode. Along the way, Mrs. Sip stopped to take some photos and joined one of our fellow traveler in his. I kept with the group, theorizing that I could at least grab us some seats together on the bus.

Monaco

When I boarded the bus, I quickly grabbed us a spot and watched the rest of the group pour one-by-one back onto the coach. With each passing person, I grew more anxious. Then, the once steady stream stopped and nobody else seemed to be coming. I looked around the entire bus, thinking perhaps she had boarded and didn’t see me and vice versa… no such luck. I began to panic a little as our tour guide asked if anyone was missing. Mrs. Sip and one other passenger were not with the group. The minutes seemed like hours as I waited. The bus couldn’t wait around all night, as the drivers have very strict rules as to how long they can be driving and how much time off they need before journeys.

It was time to go and I had to hurriedly hustle off the coach, so as not to leave Mrs. Sip behind (wherever she might be). For some reason, I had Mrs. Sip’s passport, wallet, and credit card on me and Mrs. Sip had just our camera…and the only map of Monaco we had. Fantastic. Thankfully, I went no further than a few steps when I spotted Mrs. Sip hauling ass towards the bus. She and the other missing passenger had taken a wrong turn trying to catch up to the group after their photo and had run back and forth through an underground tunnel vainly trying to find us. We flagged down our bus, quickly boarded and were off again with only 90% of the bus giving the future Mrs. Sip disapproving looks.

Karate Kid

Mrs. Sip can be a funny specimen when she’s inebriated, although I guess we all can. During her university days, Mrs. Sip lived with a bunch of roommates who were very tight, being in the same sorority and some of them having been friends even before living together. After the girls went out for their end-of-the-year dinner, a bunch of their respective guys came up to join the party. When I arrived, Mrs. Sip and I went into her room so I could drop off my things and get settled in and she can change from her cocktail dress to something more comfy. As I sat in her computer chair, she started doing a karate-like interpretive dance and said that she could perform a roundhouse kick over my head.

Karate

Amused and curious to see where this might lead, I allowed her to make her challenge. Then, without warning, she backed up and went to fire her leg over my head… only her leg never got anywhere near me and instead, all that I heard as I closed my eyes was a sickening thud of flesh against desk. She had slammed her poor little foot, full force, right into the side of her desk and was now hopping around, howling. I’ve rarely seen Mrs. Sip cry… she’s cold as ice… but she was mighty close this time. The moans she was making had everyone in the nearby kitchen and living room thinking that the Sip Advisor was getting his swerve on. The other guys were cheering me on and congratulated me when I popped out of the room until I told them that I think she had broken her foot. The next day when I took her for x-rays, doctor’s, and hospital we had to explain over and over again that she had “kicked a desk” while I endured sidelong dubious glances from medical professionals. Ah well, I guess even Mrs. Sip is allowed a drunk faux pas every once in a while! (yes french pun intended)

Marrying the Sip Advisor

Perhaps the biggest mistake she’ll ever make! *rimshot*

Drink #243: Brain Freeze (A Sip Advisor Original Recipe)

Brain Freeze Shot

  • 0.5 oz Kraken Black Spiced Rum
  • 0.5 oz 1800 Reposado Tequila
  • 0.5 oz Crowberry Frost Liqueur
  • Blend with Ice
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

Mrs. Sip knows the stress she often puts me through with her misadventures… at least we’ve earned some good stories out of our mistakes!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
This is the perfect dare shot. It is not the easiest to drink (brain freeze, sensitive teeth, stomach freeze, etc.), but it’s incredibly fun and unique. The Tequila taste came out the strongest with a lingering Spiced Rum finish. I liked adding some Maraschino Cherry Juice to make it look like the frozen brain was bleeding! Give it a try sometime!

May 13 – Lazy Afternoon

Late Adopters

I like to think that I’m pretty with it when it comes to good TV shows and I usually find series’ before the mass audience tunes in. Broski Sip and I watched Arrested Development from day one, years before most people realized it was the cleverest show on television. I was with Family Guy all the way through its cancellation and resurrection. Here are a few shows that slipped through the cracks of my amazing radar, but have since been picked up by Mrs. Sip and myself.

Archer

On a night staying over at Ma and Pa Sip’s place (they have more channels than I do), Mrs. Sip and I saw Archer for the first time and were immediately hooked. In only a few weeks we’ve gone through the first four seasons of the animated comedy and have loved every minute of it. The wacky ISIS spy agency and their adventures are full of so many goodies and I hope this show continues on for many years to come.

Archer Blimps

Firefly

Unfortunately, Mrs. Sip and I learned of this wonderful show well after it had already been cancelled. A western-space crossover initially just didn’t appeal in the slightest. We did get on board with it shortly after though, and well before its feature film Serenity was released. Ultimately, there’s just something about the sci-fi-western mix that works, the writing is fun, story lines witty, and all of the characters are likeable in their own special ways.

Community

We started watching Community when it had already finished its second season. I had seen brief commercials for the comedy, but for some reason never really felt the need to give it a chance. Finally, after hearing some buzz about it, Mrs. Sip and I checked it out and were far from disappointed. Sadly, the show seems to be coming to an end, as not enough viewers like me caught on to how original and creative it actually was until it was too late.

Parks and Recreation

I actually watched the premiere episode of this series and didn’t really enjoy it the first time around. Years later, I gave it another chance and after working through a decent first season, absolutely fell in love with the characters in its second campaign. You know you have a good show in front of you when you try to pick your favourite character and you keep wanting to change your selection

Parks and Rec Pissed

Rome

Rome was one of the first HBO series that Mrs. Sip and I ever watched and it hooked us to the channel and its programming for life. The show had already rushed its two season run to cram in as much Roman history as possible, but the epic was still masterfully done, with wonderful settings, and complex characters you could really appreciate.

Flight of the Conchords

Mrs. Sip and I started watching Flight of the Conchords after the show had already finished production and we quickly fell in love with the quirky New Zealanders. The songs the guys perform are actually pretty catchy – “Business Time” and “Too Many Dicks on the Dance Floor” being among my favourites – and while the humour is a little dry, it’s an acquired taste worth acquiring.

Oz

The jail house drama is quite the crazy series to undertake. I had watched the odd episode here and there many years before we finally started the show from the beginning. It’s funny to root for some real despicable characters, but you find yourself doing just that. I won’t spoil any plot points, but for the last couple years, Mrs. Sip and I have only had four episodes left to watch but can’t bring ourselves to finish the series, afraid of what might happen to one character in particular.

Drink #133: Lazy Afternoon

Lazy Afternoon Cocktail

  • 1 oz Whiskey
  • 1 oz Peach Schnapps
  • 0.5 oz Cherry Liqueur
  • Top with Pineapple Juice
  •  Garnish with Cherry Blaster Candies

Finding these gems of shows is like coming across found money in a seldom worn jacket. You usually end up with an already built library of great episodes to now go through and enjoy and you don’t have to wait each week for the next adventure.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
I changed the Cherry Brandy part of this recipe to Cherry Liqueur. The drink was decent, but not a grand slam hit. For such a great cocktail name, I was hoping for better results.