British Columbia – Vancouver Cocktail

Each month, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel Canada, discovering the best each province has to offer in a variety of subjects. We will also featuring a drink the area is known for. Today, we are in British Columbia, where the Sip Advisor resides. Although we lack large egos (in this humble writer’s opinion), the province once called itself “The Best Place on Earth”. Let’s see what life is like on the Left Coast:

Nicknames: ‘Beautiful British Columbia’ is the slogan that appears on licence plates in the province after being adopted as an official motto in 1964. Another common catchphrase used here, particularly by the local tourism industry, is ‘Super, Natural, British Columbia’. No matter what moniker folks want to tag onto the place, I prefer to simply call it home.

Motto: “Splendor without diminishment” – Ooh la la, tres fancy!

Food: The Nanaimo Bar – a sweet treat consisting of layers of a crumb base, icing middle and chocolate top – was invented in Nanaimo in the 1950’s. The bar’s popularity grew when it was featured at Expo 86 and efforts have been made to see the Nanaimo Bar named ‘Canada’s Favourite Confection’. The dessert even got the stamp treatment in 2019, but I’d rather lick the real thing.

Drink: British Columbia has amazing craft beer, wine and distillery industries, making the Sip Advisor a very happy man. A nostalgic entry here is Clearly Canadian, which was founded in B.C. in 1987. The flavoured sparkling waters grew wildly popular quickly, being featured in movies and TV shows such as Jerry Maguire, Seinfeld, Friends, and Sex and the City.

Nanaimo Bar

Site to See: Having travelled a fair bit of the province, there’s really not many bad choices to explore. If I had to pick a favourite place, it would probably be Whistler, which provides an amazing escape in both winter and summer. Situated in the mountains, Whistler offers picturesque landscapes, while the has village a number of great dining and entertainment options.

Street: The Downtown Vancouver portion of Granville Street is lined with much of the city’s entertainment district and can be a very interesting place to traverse at night. The street was once illuminated with numerous neon light signs, reminiscent to Las Vegas, but many have been removed. Granville Street is the second most expensive property in Canadian Monopoly.

TV Show: While B.C. is sometimes referred to as Hollywood North, thanks to the film and TV industries that do so much shooting here, not many project are actually set in the province. The most enduring series was The Beachcombers, running for 19 seasons and 387 episodes. The Sip Family recently stayed in Gibsons, where the show was set, seeing the boat (Persephone) and café (Molly’s Reach) used in the show.

Movie: No movie takes place entirely in B.C., but a couple films have the majority of their plots occur in the province. Of these, I really enjoyed The Hunted, starring Tommy Lee Jones and Benicio del Toro. del Toro plays a former armed forces operative, while Jones, his former mentor, is tasked with tracking his student down. The movie mostly uses hand-to-hand combat fight scenes.

Granville Street

Book/Author: Environmental activist David Suzuki was born in Vancouver in 1936. He has authored 52 books, including 19 for children, mostly on scientific topics. Suzuki is also known for his long-running TV series The Nature of Things and the David Suzuki Foundation, which is dedicated “to find ways for society to live in balance with the natural world that does sustain us”.

Fictional Character: Robin Scherbatsky from How I Met Your Mother, is played by Vancouverite Cobie Smulders. She is a true Canadian girl, best shown through her love of hockey and the Vancouver Canucks. Mrs. Sip and I enjoyed How I Met Your Mother even more with the touch of Canadiana and our hometown being involved. I’ll even forgive Scherbatsky for her time as teen pop idol Robin Sparkles.

Fictional City: Edgemont, a made up suburb of Vancouver, was the setting for a teen drama series of the same name. The show ran for five seasons and 70 episodes, centered on the young love and break ups of students at McKinley High School. A couple cast members went on to more recognized projects, such as Kristin Kreuk (Lana Lang on Smallville) and Grace Park (Kono Kalakaua on Hawaii Five-0).

Actor/Actress: This is a tough category. First, there’s universally-beloved movie star Ryan Reynolds. Then, there’s stoner comedy icon Seth Rogen. And, who could forget the legendary Michael J. Fox. A sentimental nod also has to go to Raymond Burr for his iconic role as lawyer Perry Mason. All are from Vancouver or its surrounding suburbs and have represented the province quite well.

Ryan Reynolds

Song: British Columbia is certainly not the easiest name to turn into lyrics, but on New Year’s Eve 1965, Jewel of the West (Beautiful B.C.) was made the official theme song of the province. It was composed by musician Machelle Shapira. Another song worthy of mention is Home for a Rest by Spirit of the West. That home the North Vancouver-based band is longing for is B.C.

Band/Musician: Bryan Adams is one of the most successful musicians of all-time, selling close to 100 million records and singles worldwide. He is best known for songs such as (Everything I Do) I Do It for You, Summer of ’69 and Heaven. Also deserving of mention is crooner Michael Bublé, who has had a number of chart-topping songs and albums, to go along with four Grammy Awards.

People: Terry Fox is a national hero. With one leg amputated due to cancer, Fox was only 21 when he embarked on a cross-country trek to raise awareness about the disease. Sadly, Fox didn’t achieve his goal of going coast-to-coast, as his deteriorating health forced him off the road. His legacy exists to this day thanks to all he inspired with his courage. Terry Fox Runs are done annually around the world, raising an estimated $800 million for cancer research.

Animal: The Great Bear Rainforest is home to the rare Kermode Bear (aka Spirit Bear), which is recognized as B.C.’s Provincial Animal. The bear was named after Frank Kermode, who helped discover the animal. Spotting a Spirit Bear is said to bring good luck. One bear, nicknamed Clover, is believed to be the first in captivity, after the cub was abandoned and not suitable for release into the wild.

Spirit Bear

Invention: In 1911, the modern Egg Carton was invented by Joseph Coyle, a newspaper editor and publisher in Smithers. Coyle developed the device to help settle a disagreement between a farmer and hotel owner over deliveries often resulting in numerous broken eggs. Eggs were previously transported in baskets. Coyle turned the creation into a successful business venture.

Crime: B.C. has a sordid history, with criminals such as Robert Pickton and Clifford Olsen part of our unfortunate past. Pickton confessed to 49 murders, following the discovery of various remains on his family pig farm in 2002. Olsen, known as the Beast of British Columbia, killed 11 kids and teens in the early 1980’s. There’s also the Highway of Tears in Northern B.C., where at least 80 women have gone missing or been murdered from.

Sports Team: The Vancouver sports scene features three teams, the Vancouver Canucks (NHL), B.C. Lions (CFL) and Vancouver Whitecaps (MLS). From 1995 to 2001, there used to also be the Vancouver Grizzlies (NBA), but after six dreadful seasons, the franchise relocated to Memphis. Despite their short existence, the Grizzlies still have a cult following in the province and outside it.

Athlete: Two Burnaby-born icons fill this category. Hockey star Joe Sakic (commonly referred to as ‘Burnaby Joe’) and Christine Sinclair, perhaps the greatest female soccer player of all-time, both come from the Vancouver suburb. In Burnaby, a street has been named after Sakic, while Sinclair’s name is attached to a community centre located near Joe Sakic Way.

Grizzlies

Famous Home: Because so much filming is done in B.C., many recognizable homes from TV and movies can be found. This includes Archie’s house from Riverdale, the home Happy Gilmore is trying to save for his grandma, and Jacob’s property from the Twilight franchise. For something a little more historical, there’s Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria. It was designated a National Historic Site in 1992.

Urban Legend: B.C. is home to some legendary mythical creatures, including the Sasquatch – was even used as one of the 2010 Olympics mascots, named Quatchi – and Ogopogo, a water monster said to inhabit Okanagan Lake. There have also been various sightings of mermaids, sometimes made along B.C. Ferry routes. It’s almost as if they want to be seen.

Museum: The Revelstoke Railway Museum is home to the Last Spike at Craigellachie, which completed the Canadian Pacific Railway’s cross-country expansion in 1885. This construction made the line the first transcontinental railway in Canada. The spike was driven into the ground by financier Donald Smith, then removed and turned into a souvenir for some of the wives of Craigellachie.

Firsts: Kim Campbell, born in Port Alberni, became the first female Prime Minister of Canada in 1993. Although her term only lasted 132 days (the third shortest in the country’s history), it was still a gender barrier-breaking moment. Canadian women’s magazine Chatelaine named Campbell its Woman of the Year for 1993. To date, she is the only Prime Minister to come from B.C.

Mermaids

Company: A family-favourite dining spot for the Sip Family is White Spot, famous for their comfort food. The company, founded almost 100 years ago in 1928, has branched out to offering their wares in fast food settings, with those locations known as Triple-O’s (named after the restaurant’s popular burger sauce). Mrs. Sip and I had part of our first-ever date at a White Spot, so I will always be fond of the chain.

Events: Two events put the province on the world stage: Expo 86 and the 2010 Olympics. Expo 86 marked only the second time a Canadian city hosted a World’s Fair, with the theme being “Transportation and Communication: World in Motion – World in Touch”. At the 2010 Olympics, Canada set a new record for gold medals at an Olympics, capped by winning the hockey tournament on Sidney Crosby’s ‘Golden Goal’.

Miscellaneous: Ladysmith’s own Pamela Anderson, recognized for her role on TV show Baywatch and appearances in Playboy Magazine, was actually famous from the day she was born. Born on July 1, 1967, the 100th anniversary of Canada’s official founding, Anderson was Canada’s Centennial Baby… at least from British Columbia. It’s like she was destined to be a star.

Vancouver Cocktail

Vancouver Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Gin
  • 0.75 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 0.25 oz Benedictine
  • Dashes of Orange Bitters
  • Garnish with a Cucumber Slice

This drink was created in 1954 at the renowned Sylvia Hotel. Apparently, the recipe was lost until it was rediscovered by bartender and cocktail historian Steve Da Cruz in 2006. The beverage can now be found at various locations around Vancouver. I subbed my Jagermeister Spice for Benedictine, as I can’t justify buying a new bottle of something for a 0.25 oz serving.

June 27 – True Canadian

Canadian Content

Recently, we looked at some of the most notable Canadian patriots and icons, in RL (that means real life!). Today, we enter the fictional world and examine some of the greatest contributions to this country’s (and outside its borders) culture, from persons who have never actually existed:

#5: Northstar

While many have probably not heard of Northstar, he is an important figure in comic history and LGBT culture. A member of the Canadian Alpha Flight team (also featuring his sister Aurora and other members, such as Guardian, Sasquatch, Shaman, and Snowbird), Northstar gained notoriety for being the first openly gay major character created by Marvel Comics. Despite debuting in April 1979, Northstar didn’t officially come out until 1992. The superhero was finally allowed to marry his partner 20 years later, in 2012.

Northstar Marriage

#4: Bob and Doug McKenzie

These two hosers got their beginning on the SCTV sketch comedy show, leading to a feature film, Strange Brew, in which they are thrust into becoming unlikely heroes, trying to save their favourite brewery. If that’s not a definitive Canadian story, I don’t know what is! These roles launched the careers of both Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas. In a great casting choice, Disney reunited the McKenzie brothers to play a pair of comical moose, Rutt and Tuke, in the movie Brother Bear, also set in the Canadian wilderness.

#3: Ike Broflovski –South Park

Ike is the adopted brother of Kyle, born in Canada as Peter Gints. As the main characters have aged, so has Ike, who is now in kindergarten, despite being only three years old.  Any episode that revolves around Ike is usually pretty good, whether he’s entered into a relationship with his adult teacher, is going through early puberty, caused by steroid, or is saving the Canadian Princess (wait, we have one of those?).  Crude TV stars Terrence and Phillip are also Canadian, which is why the folks of South Park, Colorado aren’t too happy with their neighbours from the north!

ike broflovski

#2: Trailer Park Boys

Julian, Ricky, Bubbles, and the rest of the gang seem to always be getting themselves into trouble, as they move from one get-rich-quick scheme to another, trying to avoid the capture of police and Sunnyvale Trailer Park disciplinarian Mr. Lahey and his partner in crime (and other things) Randy. Set in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, this mockumentary shows the love that can develop between folks stuck in hard times, as they scratch and claw their way towards better lives, sometimes taking shortcuts, rather than conventional means.

#1: Wolverine

One of the most rugged, bad ass superheroes has Canadian blood running through his veins… well, that and adamantium bones! Wolverine debuted all the way back in 1974 and over the rest of the decade, grew in popularity, leading to his own four-part series in 1982. The character has proven to be so prevalent, that he has been the focal point of numerous movies for the franchise. Wolverine’s on-again, off-again enemy Sabretooth also hails from Canada, as does Deadpool, who has been previously played by Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds, and will be again in the 2016 eponymous feature film.

Super Saturday Shot Day: True Canadian

  • Rim glass with Bacon Bits
  • 0.75 oz Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Maple Syrup

In closing, I have to include an honourable mention for Anne Shirley (better known as Anne of Green Gables), or else Mrs. Sip might strip me (wait for it) of my Canadian citizenship! Next week, we get to look at the fictional patriots from south of the border… and there are a lot of them!

November 14 – Breaking Bad

Regretful Decisions

Recently, I did a series of articles about actors that probably regretted movie roles they had turned down. Today, I embark on a similar series, but change the medium. We’re looking at TV characters that have been passed up on… usually for the better!

Paul Giamatti as Michael Scott (The Office)

The iconic role that made Steve Carell a household name and launched his movie career could have gone to someone else. Paul Giamatti turned down the U.S.-version of David Brent and focused on his movie career. A few others were reportedly considered for the role, including Hank Azaria, Martin Short, Bob Odenkirk, and even Rainn Wilson, who ended up as the best possible Dwight Schrute imaginable.

giamatti-scott

Pamela Anderson as Dana Scully (X-Files)

The show would have been much less sci-fi and a little more parody had this poor choice actually happened. I’m not a fan, but the X-Files staff made a great move by going in another direction. You can also bet that if Anderson had taken the roll, there would have been more slow-motion running scenes and the skimpiest outfits possible for a paranormal investigator!

John Cusack/Matthew Broderick as Walter White (Breaking Bad)

I’m a huge Bryan Cranston fan, long before he became a meth-making, cancer-surviving maniac. I even heard one joke that Walter White is Cranston’s character on Malcolm in the Middle after he goes into hiding! Getting back on track, apparently both Cusack and Broderick turned down the role, leaving the door wide open for Cranston. I can kind of see Cusack doing an okay job, but Broderick would have been a long shot to make this work.

Katie Holmes as Buffy Summers (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

Good lord I hate this show with a vehement passion. The story goes that Holmes passed on Buffy in order to finish high school (a commendable action), before she joined the cast of Dawson’s Creek the next year (an uncommendable action). Sarah Michelle Gellar had originally auditioned for the role on Cordelia, but thankfully the domino effect introduced the world to Charisma Carpenter, who later posed for Playboy and that’s all that really matters!

holmes-buffy

Ryan Reynolds and Xander Harris (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

Speaking of that which shall not be named, my alma mater homey (The Green Lantern and I attended the same college) saw the writing on the wall and passed on this nerd-captivating show. He has since gone on to become a Hollywood heartthrob, while Nicholas Brendon has gone on to do a variety of work, but nothing near the level of his Xander Harris (the one character I didn’t mind on the show) fame.

John Hawkes as The Governor (The Walking Dead)

I’m not familiar with who John Hawkes actually is (he actually played a few roles you know, you jackass), but I find his reasoning to be sound. He refused the role of The Governor, as he thought someone else could do the character better. Enter David Morrissey, who has provided the character a hauntingly authoritative aura in his battles with Rick Grimes and the other survivors.

Paul Shaffer as George Costanza (Seinfeld)

I can’t imagine anyone other than Jason Alexander portraying Costanza: Lord of the Idiots. Shaffer, best known as David Letterman’s band leader, was left a message from Jerry Seinfled, offering him the role if he wanted it, but due to his other commitments, Shaffer never even returned the call. I just don’t think the show would have been very good without Alexander in the role of Jerry’s best friend.

Drink #318: Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad Drink Recipe

  • Rim glass with Blue Salt/Rock Candy
  • 2 oz Tequila (I used Hornitos)
  • Top with Lemonade
  • Garnish with Lemon Wedges

What will tomorrow’s sequel list hold? Wouldn’t you like to know? And for a small fee, I’ll tell you. Hey, gotta support this project somehow!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
I don’t have any major complaints about this cocktail, but it didn’t measure up to many of the drinks I’ve been making recently. I’m glad the Blue Candy Powder rim worked out as it helped with the Breaking Bad crystal meth theme. Tequila and Lemonade are a good combo, so give it a chance sometime.

January 6 – The Cosmopolitan

Cosmo’s Aren’t Just for the Ladies

Don't be so shocked, Skeletor, dudes be drinknig Cosmos, too!

Don’t be so shocked, Skeletor, dudes be drinking Cosmos too!

When I was 12 I had one of my kidneys removed, leaving me with a wicked scar that surprisingly worked well with the ladies. I like to think I know how studs like Ryan Reynolds and Matthew McConaughey feel with people everywhere ogling their midsection… only problem, I don’t have a ripped abdominal core… I’m on the freak side of the awe and attention. But that’s not the point of this story.

Prior to the operation I met with a dietary physician or something like that – basically someone who tells you what to eat and drink and what not to indulge in. I was told to reduce my salt intake (never really happened… seasoning salt, I put that shit on everything), drink alcohol in small doses when I became of legal age (you think I listened to that advice… I’m doing this blog, aren’t I) and to drink cranberry juice (lame… gross… hated the vile substance). That is, until recently, when I tried a Cosmo on my honeymoon cruise – hell, it was handed out to me for free – and found that cranberry juice wasn’t so bad after all… providing vodka, triple sec and lime juice are large portions of the mix.

Now, the Cosmo is likely one of the most ordered “Girls Night Out” drinks, but I’m going to team up with the drink and bring equality to the cocktail world. Together, we will change this perception that the Cosmo is only for the ladies. Like the You Can Play campaign in the hockey/sport universe, I vow that You Can Drink a Cosmo, or any other martini, and not feel ashamed to be doing so.

There’s nothing wrong with a man holding a pink drink. A few months back, I even had a Cotton Candy Collins at Society in Vancouver. The restaurant being empty that particular afternoon might have helped, but it was worth the risk to enjoy this creative cocktail, which, of course, came with a healthy dose of pink cotton candy on the top of the drink and has inspired me to do a future Candy Drink Week.

Back to the Cosmo… I began to make them more regularly and before I knew it, a bottle of juice that I thought would sit in my fridge untouched for years was nearly empty. As you’ve seen in previous entries, I often don’t play by the rules in my cocktail construction, and for the Cosmo, this is no different. I personally prefer to drink a Cosmo on ice and in a rocks glass (as I first enjoyed it on the cruise), but for the purposes of this entry, I’ve presented the drink in a martini glass, as that is the traditional method. Just put all the ingredients into a shaker and strain.

Drink #6: The Cosmo

Cosmopolitan Martini

  • 1.5 oz vodka (I used raspberry vodka just to girl it up a little more!)
  • 1 oz Cointreau or other triple sec
  • Top with cranberry juice
  • Splash of lime juice
  • Garnish with lime wedge

All that’s left is to get cozy in a fuzzy robe and slippers (picture coming soon), throw on your favourite chick flick (mine’s Debbie Does Dallas – that counts right?!) and sip the night away!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
It may be a girly drink, but it’s a good one. The Cosmo was one of the first drinks that allowed me to enjoy Cranberry Juice and for that, I have to thank it. I have to admit though, my favourite ingredient is the splash of Lime Juice.