Mixer Mania #31 – Hard as they Come

Don’t get me wrong… I’ve been a root beer fan for many years, but I still can’t fully fathom why hard root beer has taken North America by storm. I mean, if I have the choice between a hard root beer and any craft beer, I’m reaching for the craft suds. With the fad in mind, let’s look at some of the hardest things out there, some real and some fictional:

Samoan Wrestler’s Heads

It’s long been a running joke in professional wrestling that a Samoan grappler’s head is virtually indestructible. For example, when an opponent would attempt a head butt, they would be the one to experience injury, while the Samoan would feel no effect, often laughing off the feeble attack.

Diamonds

That pretty little thing you’ve placed on your partner’s hand is actually one of the hardest substances known to man. Doesn’t seem so elegant anymore, does it!? Mrs. Sip has advised me that I should be shopping for another… better get on that.

Jawbreaker

Sometimes I don’t understand why this candy exists, given its unpleasant nature of causing dental damage for little to no enjoyment. A Gobstopper is okay because they breakdown easily enough, but those massive jawbreakers are simply a dentist’s dream.

Adamantium

Thought to be virtually indestructible, Adamantium is the element that has been fused to mutant Logan’s skeletal structure, turning him into a super weapon, code name: Wolverine. The painful procedure also caused Logan to become amnesic and forget his past.

Adamantium

Feminum

Sticking with indestructible super hero alloys, we have Feminum, used to forge Wonder Woman’s bracelets. This material can only be found on Paradise Island, home to Wonder Woman (aka Princess Diana) and her fellow Amazonians.

Anvil

Is there a better weapon in animated comedy than the anvil? Whether dropped by one of the Animaniacs or in a botched fashion by the lovable Wile E. Coyote, it can do some serious damage. You know, the type that causes chirping birdies or flashing stars to circle your noggin’.

Mixer Mania #31: Amber’s Revenge

Amber's Revenge.JPG

  • 1 oz Scotch
  • 0.5 oz Rum
  • 0.5 oz Tequila
  • Top with Root Beer
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

The whole hard root beer craze reminds me of a story my dad has told of a German relative trying root beer while visiting Canada and practically spitting out the soda upon discovering his beverage was far from the ales he was accustomed to back in Germany.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I’m not sure who Amber is/was, but she must have been pretty pissed off, as I had to quarter each of the liquor ingredients to make the cocktail palatable. Not many drinks include Scotch, which is a slight shame because it works really well here and probably in other recipes.

Flavour Revolution – Root Beer

Safe Suds

The Sip Advisor began his wicked ways, many moons ago, with the enjoyment of root beer. It could be described as the gateway libation that led to this endeavor and made me the booze jockey I am today. Let’s dig a little deeper and take a look at some of the companies that brought this beautiful drink to our lips:

Hires

Created in 1876 by Charles Hires, a pharmacist from Philadelphia, Hires Root Beer has the longest history of all American soft drinks. That includes Coca-Cola! Hires’ root beer business began with selling 25-cent packets of powder that would produce five gallons of the drink. I wish that deal was still available to the Sip Advisor! Hires ran into some issues early on thanks to calling his soda “beer” (in order to entice blue collar folks). The Temperance Movement looked to eliminate the pop, but Hires proved there was little to no alcohol content and even went so far as to mock the movement, calling his root beer “The Temperance Drink”.

I`m a Dr. Pepper fan, but I would certainly never argue with the Caped Crusader!

I`m a Dr. Pepper fan, but I would certainly never argue with the Caped Crusader!

A&W

When Roy Allen joined forces with Frank Wright to open the A&W restaurant chain (one of the first dining chains in the U.S.) in 1922, they had no clue how successful their endeavour would prove to be. A feature of the fast food outlet was their root beer, which originally sold for 5-cents per serving. Allen had previously operated roadside root beer stands in parts of California. The Great Root Bear has been the company’s mascot since 1974 and was first used in Canada. Nicknamed Rooty, the bear has largely been replaced by the A&W Burger Family, but he still pops up from time to time, usually with a fresh mug of root beer close by.

Barq’s

Officially known as Barq’s Famous Olde Tyme Root Beer, up until 2012, Barq’s has existed since 1898. I remember the brand becoming quite famous in the 1990’s upon the release of their “Barq’s has bite!” ad campaign (featuring comedian Nick Swardson). Anything was better than the company’s original slogan of “Drink Barq’s. It’s Good.” The soda was created by the Barq’s brothers, Edward and Gaston, who began experimenting with beverages in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Barq’s is rare in the root beer world, in that it contains caffeine, while most similar products don’t. That means that it certainly does pack a bite.

Hold My Root Beer

Mug

Beginning as Belfast Root Beer, brewed out of San Francisco in the 1940s, the company eventually changed the product’s name to Mug Old Fashioned Root Beer. As is common with most root beer ventures, a Cream Soda variation was also released, but is less common to find. Mug was acquired by PepsiCo in 1986, joining their long lineup of beverage options. Mug’s mascot is a bulldog named Dog (how very creative!), whose adventures are featured in an online comic on the brand’s website. I don’t know about all you little sippers, but I don’t mind sharing my drinking experiences with a cute pooch!

Dad’s

The Dad’s brand name is derived in honour of all the fathers out there that used to brew their own root beer for their families, back in the day. Dad’s was an innovative line, being the first beverage to take advantage of the six pack format and half-gallon bottle options. Like A&W burgers, Dad’s Root Beer also follows a family-style orientation with ‘Papa’, ‘Mama’, and ‘Junior’ products. A popular marketing tactic used by the company in the 1940’s was to sell the quart-sized Mama for only 1-cent, with the purchase of a half-gallon Papa. Dad’s ads appeared in the 1946 movie The Stranger, directed by and starring Orson Welles.

Flavour Revolution: Root Canal

Jan 26

  • 2 oz Root Beer Schnapps
  • 0.25 oz Peppermint Schnapps
  • Top with Dr. Pepper
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

If I had to pick a favourite root beer, amongst the fine choices above, I think I’d have to go with A&W. They get the nod because I can easily combine their soda with delicious burgers and scrumptious fries. Plus, you can never take anything away from a frosted mug, which the restaurant is happy to fill for you!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I knew from the moment I found this recipe, that it would be a good one. Sure, Peppermint Schnapps is an odd addition to the mix of Root Beer Schnapps and Dr. Pepper, but it all came out okay in the wash. There was a brief hint of peppermint flavour, but it’s very light and doesn’t ruin the other soda tastes.

December 27 – Hammered Farmer

Experience Points

I got to thinking the other day about things that must be experienced as a drinker. The rites of passage as a boozehound, if you will. Here’s some of the items that crossed my mind and I believe made me the Sip Advisor I am today!

Drink from a Funnel – Friends of Mrs. Sip and myself had this funnel they called Skeletor (thanks to it being a skull), which was fun drinking out of and made for a good dare as part of drinking games.

Funnel Fail

Do a Keg Stand – As a kid, I was always standing on my head. It’s something I did well and I still do head stands on many objects I find. Combine that with chugging beer and you have the infamous keg stand. I think I did pretty well in my only attempt.

Use a Flask – I first bought a flask in my early 20’s and have since upgraded to a much nicer one, which I gave out to each of the groomsmen and ushers in my wedding. As I’ve written before, Fireball is my go-to flask filler and it has seen me through many wild nights.

Buy Booze as a Minor – While I didn’t frequently do this, it did happen from on a couple occasions and without incident. It truly shows your dedication to the sport.

Enjoy an Open Bar – I’ve been lucky enough to attend a few “open bar” functions in my time. Sometimes those bars haven’t been very lucky to have me as a guest!

Rent a Keg – This is something I have yet to do personally. Sure, I’ve been to the odd keg party, but I’ve never hosted one. We’ve often bandied about the idea of getting a keg for my annual beer pong tournament, but letting folks drink whatever they wish has always won out over the mass serving. I did have a mini keg that travelled through some of Europe with me, if that counts.

Tap the Keg

Drunken Karaoke – Is there any other kind of karaoke!?

Buy a Round for a Group – It’s always important to take your rightful turn in buying drinks for the group. Just make sure you get yours back in due time.

Invent a Cocktail – Clearly this is no longer an outstanding issue for the Sip Advisor…

Buy a Woman a Drink – Does Mrs. Sip count? If so, then check!

Play Drinking Games – Whether it’s Beer Pong, Quarters, King’s Cup, Flippy Cup, or anything else, drinking games are an essential element of boozing fun. I’d say go easy on rookies, but they should know what they’re getting themselves into.

battle-shots

Go on a Beer/Wine Tour – In the course of this project, I’ve detailed the wine and beer tours I’ve been privileged to go on. Next up comes some visits to hard alcohol distilleries.

Do a Shot Challenge – Whether it’s one you create on your own or something hosted by a bar, these are always a fun way to get smashed and stretch your drinking limits. Mrs. Sip and I took part in one notable challenge in Nice, France, where we (along with three others) had to down all of our 10 shots in successive order. I was the only one ballsy enough to include a couple Flatliners in my set.

Visit a Beer Hall – Drinking around the world has become a huge part of travel for Mrs. Sip and I, whether it’s trying news beers, wines, and spirits, or visiting booze landmarks across the globe. The beer hall we enjoyed in Munich, Germany was among these great memories.

Do a Pub Crawl – Man are these fun… I’ve done crawls in a lot of parts of the world (Key West, Florida; Preston, England; Honolulu, Hawaii; etc.) and they’re always full of laughs, adventure, and of course alcohol. Map out a route and hit the town!

Bar Crawl

Survive a Hangover – Does it count if I’ve helped someone through their hangover? Remember, the Sip Advisor is immune from rough morning afters.

Be Known by Name at a Bar – While I have yet to find a place “where everybody knows my name”, the Sip Alliance was recognized at The Yard House in Hawaii as “Oh, you guys are back!”

Ride a Mechanical Bull – This should only be done while blitzed because it limbers you up for the eventual fall. I achieved this at the PBR Rock Bar in Las Vegas this year (twice!) and it was totally worth the resulting crotch bruising.

Hit Multiple Fast Food Joints on the Same NightGuilty as charged. Just the other day, Mrs. Sip and I grabbed some Mickie D’s takeout and while passing by a Mega Bite pizza shop, I joked we should grab some slices for the road as well. Before I knew it, Mrs. Sip was in there snatching some before we were on our way again!

Drink #361: Hammered Farmer

Hammered Farmer Drink Recipe

  • 1.5 oz Spiced Rum (I used New Orleans)
  • Top with Root Beer
  • Splash of Apple-Lime Juice
  • Garnish with a Lemon Wheel

What else do you think qualifies as a rite of passage for experienced drinkers? I wanted to include my feat of drinking a beer underwater, but Mrs. Sip insisted it was so rare and awesome that I was the only that would qualify. She’s always pumping my tires!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This is one of those bizarre recipes where they recommend way too much booze to make a decent drink. They say you should use 4 oz of Spiced Rum. While that will achieve the desired effect of being a Hammered Farmer, the cocktail’s taste will be way too strong. I dumbed the ingredients down to make a tasty drink where you can taste each element being presented. You’ll still get blasted, it just won’t be from one serving!

March 26 – The Crush

Sir Mix-A-Lot

I like to think of myself as an equal opportunity mixer and that is why I love playing with ingredients that don’t often get placed into cocktail recipes. Here are some of my favourites to work with and some I have yet to try, but am itching to crack open!:

Root Beer

My first favourite pop when I was a wee lad, I still enjoy root beer and now I can take that love to a whole ‘nutha level with my cocktail mixing. Root beer adds a different flavour to recipes, compared to other dark pops. The hint of vanilla can be a very nice touch and add a twist to any number of drinks. Barq’s, A&W, Mug… it don’t matter which one you’re using. They’re all good around these parts; just make sure to practice safe mixing.

Root Beer

Apple-Lime Juice

This has got to be one of my favourite grocery store finds in recent years. Every single drink I make with this juice turns out amazing. This all coming from a guy who used to be completely friends-off with apple juice after medicine I was once given to knock me out looked like apple juice, smelled like apple juice, but brother, it wasn’t apple juice. That reminds me, I need to grab another carton of this elixir!

Cream Soda

Imagine my surprise when I bought a can of Fanta cream soda recently and it came out clear. Thinking that my vision had finally quit on me after years of television and computer screens (plus the aforementioned drinking problem), I checked with Mrs. Sip to see if this was actually the case. I had expected the usual pink colour that accompanies cream soda, but this new clear look can be a good thing. It means that there is an option if you want the flavour, but not the colour. So, be careful if you want to make a pink-coloured drink to get cream soda that is actually dyed this hue.

My boys Ernie and Bert enjoy a cream soda... this could have been a telling sign, if you catch my drift...

My boys Ernie and Bert enjoy a cream soda… this could have been a telling sign, if you catch my drift…

Orange Crush

I’m shocked that orange-flavoured sodas don’t get used in more drinks. By comparison, one bartending website has 86 recipes for orange soda (and very few that actually interested this Sip Advisor), while there are a whopping 2,360 concoctions featuring orange juice. Today’s drink is an original recipe, which I hope you’ll all enjoy… I know I did.

Watermelon Juice

I have a can of Arizona watermelon juice that I’m just dying to experiment with. I love watermelon and cry on a daily basis when it’s out of season as I go through watermelon withdrawal. Sure you can still get your hands on the juicy fruit (not the gum), but you’ll probably pay an arm and a leg for it and good luck making drinks hopping around the bar with one hand to hold the shaker. What will I make with this juice… stay tuned to find out!

Drink #85: The Crush (An Original Sip Advisor Recipe)

Crush Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Wiser’s Spiced Whiskey
  • 0.5 oz Peach Schnapps
  • Top with Orange Crush (or other Orange Soda)
  • Garnish with Orange Slice

Perhaps we should hold a reader vote to find out which rare mixer I use next… I welcome your comments, although I’ll likely just go ahead and pick a winner on my own volition!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
Using Orange Crush for cocktails has rekindled my love for this type of soda. Here, it tasted well with the Peach Schnapps and Spiced Whiskey and I’m glad I thought of combining the three ingredients. Definitely one for fans of the hue.

January 29 – West Coast Paralyzer

The Best Coast

West Coast

West coast born, west coast bred… and when the time comes, west coast dead.

I love being from the west coast. We’re more laid back, have milder weather (in both summer and winter), and in my very unbiased opinion, are just generally more awesome. Here are some other things we do better than our eastern contemporaries:

The alcohol is better on our side of the continent, with awesome microbreweries (Granville Island, 21st Amendment) all along the coast and some undeniably fantastic wine regions (Napa Valley, Okanagan, Hood River).

The east may kick our ass when it comes to storms, but we definitely thump them in the natural disaster category with our epic earthquakes and just wait for the inevitable big one we’re always being warned about. The tsunami alone will blow your freakin’ mind (thank god that us Vancouverites will have Vancouver Island acting as a natural buffer during that one!).

west-coast-fault-lines

We also have grown-up Disneyland (aka Las Vegas) near enough to the West Coast (two-hour flight from Vancouver), which Trumps Atlantic City, beyond a shadow of a doubt. See what I did there… Donald Trump has largely developed Atlantic City… another thing west-coasters are better at: being clever… and not associating with Donald Trump.

Speaking of Disneyland, we have the better Disney theme park… Disneyland is much more manageable than Disneyworld and has less motorized scooters and 6-10 year olds in double-wide strollers (seriously, do NOT get me started on all the elementary school children in strollers I saw at Disneyworld, it’s like America officially said “Fuck it, we give up!”).

Disneyworld Scooters

We’re at the forefront of legalizing marijuana, with Washington State having already passed referendums to make it legal and places like B.C. having largely decriminalized the drug. It’s not my drug of choice (it’s pretty easy to guess what is), but I’m all for my little sippers having easier access to a little bit of Mary Jane.

People go west to become stars (porn or otherwise)… they go east to die.

Retired Squirrel

I have it on good authority, as my sources tell me, that we’re better at sex here on the left side of the map. I have statistical data on this fact… I’m just having trouble finding it at the moment.

We’re just made tougher on the west coast: Not that I’m condoning violence of any type, but it did take two attempts for 2Pac to be killed and only one for Notorious B.I.G. Just saying… (I hope I don’t resurrect the west vs. east rap wars with this post, as I do hold that much power).

And finally, my greatest pieces of evidence: Jersey Shore, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and Real Housewives of New Jersey, among other television shows that I would rather stick a fork in my eye than watch, all come from the east. ‘Nuff said! Case closed!

Drink #29: West Coast Paralyzer

West Coast Paralyzer Drink

  • 1 oz Tequila
  • 1 oz Kahlua
  • Top with Milk and Root Beer
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

This recipe differs from the normal Paralyzer in that vodka is removed and cola is replaced by root beer, completely changing the flavour of the drink… for the better, might I add. The cocktail tastes like a Root Beer Float, by and large and is very enjoyable, perhaps best served as an after dinner dessert.

Now that I’ve locked the east coast into my deadly finishing maneuver, all I have to wait for is the tap-out. There it is, ring the bell!

Sip Adviosr Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
While I could have tried the original version of this cocktail, the West Coast theme (ie. Removing Vodka and swapping Cola with Root Beer) appealed to me more. It’s virtually unnoticeable, but I sprinkled some vanilla powdering onto the drink to give it an added dimension.

January 25 – Sarsaparilla Assassin

The Man with No Name

When I was a young warthog…

When he was a young warthooooooggggg!

As a younger lad, I loved sarsaparillas. I discovered it when my family was on a road trip through the southwestern United States, when I was only seven. In the same vein as ordering a root beer, a kid kind of felt like they were drinking with the big boys… all grown up. Especially on this road trip, it was fun to saddle up to a ghost town bar and ask the tender for a sarsaparilla. Take a big swig of it to show everyone in the joint that you’re a badass and then take your seat at a table for a round of poker.

ghost town bar

In reality, my parents probably ordered me the sarsaparilla, in a family establishment, and I likely had chicken fingers for dinner, while colouring one of those kid’s menus. Clint Eastwood I was not, but the imagination can run wild when you’re a little one.

Now, I am that legendary cowboy… well, more of a cow-tender: A slinger of libations sure to knock out my opponents better than any gunshot could. I’m three parts Rango, two parts John Wayne, with a dash of Woody from Toy Story. Damn, that would be one weird looking hombre.

rango John Wayne  Toy_Story_Woody

Speaking of root beer, though, I do have a funny story of a family member from Germany – the land of beer and chocolate – coming to visit Canada and when my dad and uncle took him to a local restaurant, he ordered a Root BEER, completely expecting to be on the receiving end of a brew. That must have been one dark looking beer. Still, the relative slammed back the pop and nearly choked on it. I’m pretty sure that’s the last time he ever came to holiday here!

Drink #25: Sarsaparilla Assassin

Sarsaparilla Assassin Drink

  • 1 oz Tequila (I used 1800 Reposado)
  • 1 oz Whiskey
  • 1 oz Peppermint Schnapps
  • Top with Root Beer
  • Garnish with lemon wheel

I was very curious to see how this mix would come together. I have to admit that it did quite nicely. The peppermint schnapps and root beer tag-team together for a different, but enjoyable taste. I can’t wait for my next trip to the saloon!

Sip Adviosr Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
Root Beer offers such a great flavour and I like how it worked with the Peppermint Schnapps and both kind of have a similar aftertaste bite. It’s a strong drink (nothing wrong with that!), so it may have to be enjoyed in moderation.