August 22 – Salty Chihuahua

Dog Gonnit

The Sip Advisor is a cat man and if I’m being completely honest, I’m not very comfortable around dogs. It is National Dog Day in the U.S., this Wednesday, though and that got me thinking about what I’d do in the future if my little sippers wanted a puppy. So, here are the Top 5 canine breeds the Sip Advisor would make an exception for… in the name of love!

#5: St. Bernard

I know what you’re thinking. The only reason the Sip Advisor wants a St. Bernard is so that he doesn’t have to retrieve liquor on his own accord. What you don’t realize is that these dogs also come in handy if I get buried under an avalanche of empty bottles and cans! The St. Bernard – famously portrayed in the Beethoven series of movies – is incredibly adept at rescuing folks trapped by snow. Legends also claim that a St. Bernard saved the Manchester United football club from bankruptcy in the early 1900’s, when J.H. Davis purchased the team after unsuccessfully trying to acquire captain Harry Stafford’s dog.

St. Bernard Drunk

#4: Collie

These regal, beautiful looking pups always put a smile on my face. I’m specifically thinking of the Shetland Sheepdog (or Sheltie), but other members of the breed are totally welcome in the Sip Advisor’s good books. Border Collies are also famous for their search and rescue work, so I’m beginning to see a bit of a trend here. I mean, how can you not like this type of dog? Hell, Lassie is even a Collie… and a Rough Collie at that! Shelties are highly intelligent and to be honest, would likely outwit me!

#3: Shar Pei

One of my favourite fictional dogs of all time is Satchel Pooch of the comic strip Get Fuzzy. The lovable oaf is a Shar Pei-Labrador Retriever cross, but we’ll forgive him for an ancestry he can’t control! My favourite aspect of Shar Peis is their rolly-polly body type and wrinkled fur, particularly as puppies. They look so adorable, especially when they snuggle up into a tight ball and almost disappear into themselves. As the name suggests, the breed comes from China and translates to “sand skin”.

Shar Pei Hasselhoff

#2: Jack Russell Terrier

Perhaps the most famous terrier was the ever-animated Eddie on the hit comedy Frasier. Played by a father and son duo for the duration of the show’s run, the dog was heavily featured on the sitcom. Eddie’s not alone, though, joined by other iconic Terriers, including Wishbone, Milo (The Mask), and Uggie (Nintendo spokesdog). One issue that could arise is that these dogs have a high energy level and are in constant need of exercise and stimulation, which may not jive with the Sip Advisor’s preferred lazy lifestyle!

#1: Golden Retriever

This is another breed of bigger dogs that I’d be cool with, given their awesome personalities and behaviour patterns. I’m also down with labs of all colours… no racism here! The Golden Retreiver seems to be the presidential dog of choice, as both Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan brought them to the White House. The pooches’ names were Liberty and Victory, respectively. Other popular media to feature Golden Retrievers, include Up, Homeward Bound, Full House, and the Air Bud franchise, of course.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Salty Chihuahua

  • Rim glass with Salt
  • 1 oz Tequila
  • 0.5 oz Grapefruit Juice

The noble German Shepherd narrowly missed making this list. I mean, you gotta love The Littlest Hobo, particularly the theme song, which is a treasured memory from many kids’ childhoods.” Maybe tomorrow, I’ll want to settle down. Until tomorrow, the whole world is my home!”

June 13 – PayDay

Extravagant Eccentricities

With great money comes great financial stupidity… or at least that’s how it seems for some celebrities and their spending habits. Here are some of the wildest purchases made by the stars, many of which later led to financial hardships:

#5: Kanye West – 10 Burger King Franchises ($7.5 million)

I think many people dream of owning their own fast food chain (unless they’re vegan or some other weird dietary thing), having the food at their disposal whenever they are in need of a quick snack. Hell, Richie Rich had a McDonald’s in his expansive mansion back in the 1994 feature film. Anyway, how have we not started calling Kanye ‘The Burger King’? Is it because he bought these joints for his wife, Kim Kardashian, as a wedding gift? At least, access to all those BK outlets, across Europe, will certainly help Kardashian keep up her ample assets.

Kanye Burger King

#4: Mike Tyson – Bathtub ($2 million)

That bathtub, given to now ex-wife Robin Givens as a Christmas present, would have to be jewel-encrusted and include technology only seen on The Jetson’s to justify the exorbitant cost. For the Sip Advisor, it would also have to be outfitted with laser beams that caused Mrs. Sip to immediately shed her clothing, whenever activated (by remote control, of course!). I mean, I guess that’s what people generally do before getting into the tub, but it would be a required feature for me. Tyson’s money troubles have been well-documented, with the former Heavyweight Champ racking up millions in debt.

#3: Celine Dion – Humidifier ($2 million)

We get it, you use your voice (unfortunately) to make your oodles of money, but $2 million seems incredibly excessive for a device you can usually find for a few hundred dollars… and that’s if you want to splurge. For the amount of money Dion was willing to shell out, there better be guarantees that you will never suffer from deadly diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, and basically everything else that can be medically diagnosed. The air moisturizer was installed into her Las Vegas hotel room when she was performing nightly at the Caesar’s Palace Coliseum. Viva Las Vegas, I suppose.

Celine Dion Titanic

#2: Kim Basinger – City of Braselton, Georgia ($20 million)

Talk about getting bad advice from your entourage. In 1989, Basinger was encouraged by family members to buy the town of Braselton, Georgia, for $20 million. What association did Basinger and company have with the city of Braselton? Absolutely none. You’d think she was born there or at least had a wonderful family vacation there in her youth. Basinger tried to turn the town into a resort destination, which would host an annual film festival, along with other tourist attractions and movie studios. The whole ordeal caused Basinger to file for bankruptcy and have tension with her family.

#1: Nicholas Cage – Numerous (Millions and millions…)

No wonder the Oscar winner has had his fair share of financial difficulties, given the lavish spending habits he has exhibited, throughout his career. Cage can be credited with buying everything from a Bavarian castle, to a tropical island, to a dinosaur skull. He has also assembled one of the most impressive comic book collections, including Action Comics #1, featuring the debut of Superman. Thus, Cage has been forced to take a number of roles that he really should have avoided, simply to earn a paycheck. I gotta say, though, $3 million for an island in the Bahamas seems pretty reasonable!

Super Saturday Shot Day: PayDay

  • Rim the glass with Salt
  • 1 oz Butterscotch Schnapps
  • 1 oz Frangelico
  • Garnish with a PayDay Ball

There are so many other bizarre, expensive purchases made by celebrities, it’s hard to cram them all into one article. Suffice to say, if you have the money, why not enjoy it. Too often, though, these stars’ lifestyles often lead to trouble, when the cash coming in and going out doesn’t even out.

Flavour Revolution – Sriracha

Fierce Flames

Hailing from eastern Thailand, Sriracha has burst onto the world scene over the last few years, even being used by restaurant chains, such as Subway, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Jack in the Box, and many others.  Even McDonald’s has jumped on the Sriracha bandwagon. The hot sauce is made from chili pepper paste, vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt, and it will leave a sizzle on your taste buds. Let’s learn some more about the product that is sometimes referred to as “cock sauce”, thanks to the rooster adorned on the bottle:

Sriracha No Sauce

That cock symbolizes Huy Fong Foods and Sriracha founder David Tran, who was born in the year of the rooster, according to the Chinese zodiac. Huy Fong can push out 3000 bottles of Sriracha each hour, from their production plant in Irwindale, California. 100 million pounds of red jalapeno peppers are used each year to make the sauce and are all provided by Underwood Ranches in Amarillo, California.

Si Racha, where the sauce has been originally traced back to, is actually a seaside town in Thailand, with a population of almost 20,000 inhabitants. Sales of the Americanized version have topped 20 million bottles per year and that number just continues to rise.

On the Scoville scale, which measures how spicy different sauces, peppers, and other food items are, Sriracha gets a score of 2200 points, which is actually quite low, in the grand scheme of things. The hottest pepper currently listed on the scale is the Carolina Reaper (great name!) at 2,200,000 heat units. Your face would probably implode if you put that pepper in your mouth!

Sriracha Eye Drops

Sriracha has now been infused into everything from candy canes to potato chips. One of those sounds delicious and the other disgusting and I bet you know which way this potato chip monster is leaning. The spicy dip has also been added as an ingredient to lollipops, beef jerky, lip balm, and even cocktail bitters.

Portland’s Rogue beer and spirits company has produced a Sriracha Hot Stout Beer. I’ve had and enjoyed the company’s Chipotle Ale, so I’m curious to also try the Sriracha offering. Perhaps, the Sip Advisor will get his grubby hands on it during Easter weekend, when the Sip Family is planning a crawl of the Portland scene!

While Sriracha has made its way around the world, it has also left our atmosphere, aboard the international space station, demanded by astronauts, to be used on their dehydrated meals. Some folks are quick to put the sauce on anything and everything, but the most popular items include pizza, burgers, noodle dishes, eggs, and stir fry.

sriracha-food-pyramid

A 34-minute documentary on Sriracha was released in 2013, thanks to a Kickstarter campaign, which saw 1315 people donate $21,009 to the cause, in just 31 days. All this success – sales increases by about 20% each year – despite never advertising their product. Sriracha is also not trademarked, so that’s why imitators may be aplenty, including a version made by Tabasco.

The Sriracha story hasn’t been all sunshine and chili peppers, though. The Huy Fong company has been sued and shutdown over the smell omitted by their factory. Complaints from area residents included sore throats, burning eyes, and nosebleeds. That’s a small price to pay for convenient hot sauce!

The factory opened again, once the odor issues were dealt with and fans of the sauce can actually take a tour of the place, getting to see how peppers become paste and how Sriracha makes its way from harvest to bottles to consumer’s mouths. Occasionally, there’s also an ice cream truck on the site, offering Sriracha-infused ice cream!

Flavour Revolution: The Cocky Rooster

The Cocky Rooster Beer Cocktail

  • Rim glass with Salt
  • 1.5 oz UV Sriracha Vodka
  • Top with Beer
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Soy Sauce
  • Garnish with Lemon Wheel

In a not totally surprising note, I first experienced Sriracha in potato chip form and liked it enough that I want to give it more opportunities aboard Sip Advisor delicacies. I’ve heard of a Sriracha-mayonnaise mix, which has me very interested.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (1.5 Sips out of 5):
This drink is similar to a Michelada, but altogether different, at the same time. While I’m really getting into this Sriracha Vodka, I did not like this drink. I just felt that things didn’t work well together and the taste was off. The beer I chose to use was Red Truck Ale, as I wanted something that would allow the other flavours to take over and take over they did… just not with good results. Back to the Sriracha Vodka, my only qualm is that it’s not actually red, but clear. The bottle is red and I was hoping the alcohol would be too, adding a new element to my collection.

November 26 – Chocolate-Covered Pretzel

One Man Banned

Today’s drink aims to replicate a treat that should probably be banned in most households… because it’s so yummy and you end up shoveling so many in your mouth that you regret your binge later. While an actual prohibition on chocolate-covered pretzels would be heartbreaking, here are some items I would love to see disappear from this world!

Car Alarms

Hell, all alarms in general should be vanquished from the earth. The thing I can’t stand about car alarms is that owners don’t even respond to them. And in that case, why bother having one. I’m sure when one erupts and disturbs every single person in that vicinity; the person who owns the vehicle just assumes it belongs to someone else. Then, it goes on and on and on, until thoughts of hurling a large rock off your balcony and onto the offending vehicle cross your mind.

car-alarm

Leaf Blowers/Weed Wackers/Lawn Mowers

I have no qualms with all these devices meant to maintain a yard… providing they’re not used during ungodly hours. Mrs. Sip and I were recently awoken from our slumber at 7:15am by someone running a leaf blower outside our downtown apartment (everything involved with leafs seems to be horrible, including the hockey team!). And I can’t count the number of times a revved up lawn mowers has disturbed my sleep in the wee hours of the morning at Ma and Pa Sip’s home. Why can’t people wait until a decent hour to get out all the grooming toys?

Call Centre Menu Options

Let me start by retelling my most recent attempt at calling customer service. It seems every time I call, the option I want is the very last one you can choose out of 7-10 choices and what probably bugs me the most is when you enter in your account number (which is usually an unnecessary amount of digits) and then have to repeat it when you finally reach a live body. Isn’t that the whole reason I entered it in the first place!? By that point, you’re in no mood to speak to the representative and that’s a story unto itself.

Bluetooth

I’ll never forget riding the Disneyland Railroad and seeing some jackass with a blue tooth hooked up to his ear beside me on the train. Really!? Your important business couldn’t wait for after your day in the park? It was no wonder he was completely ignoring his child. Joke’s on him though, as all his hard work and not leaving the office behind while on vacation will help pay his kid’s therapy and lawyer costs, as he strives for the attention he was not offered as a youngster.

bluetooth

Speaker Phone

Equally infuriating are these losers that walk around yelling into their phone as they hold it over their mouth. If you’re already holding it over your mouth, why not use it like a normal phone. Oh, wait, you want to have ear buds inserted instead. Well, all you little sippers already know of my disdain for ear buds, so let’s give this ass hat their second strike. Now they’re in public and sharing all their personal details with strangers around them… strike three and you are out of here!

Difficult Packaging

This can range from hard to open chip bags and candy packages (a huge no-no in the Sip Advisor world) to bigger items that necessitate freakin’ bolt cutters and the like to get into. I can’t count the number of times I’ve almost severed an appendage (not the most important one, mind you) while trying to get into one of those plastic packaging dealies (sometimes called clamshells or blister packs) that doesn’t just pop open with those button-like clasps. By the time you get to your product, you just don’t want it anymore.

Drink #330: Chocolate-Covered Pretzel

Chocolate-Covered Pretzel Cocktail

  • Rim glass with Salt
  • 1.5 oz Smores Vodka
  • 1.5 oz Frangelico
  • Garnish with Chocolate-Covered Pretzels

Which infernal items out there would you like to see become illegal to possess? Together, we can make a difference… a drunken difference, but a difference, no less!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
I think the more enjoyable part of this cocktail was eating the chocolate covered pretzels I used to garnish it, as well as the mass of the treats I butchered in an attempt to get two of them to be identical. The drink does taste slightly like a Chocolate-Covered Pretzel, despite me subbing out the suggested Whipped Cream Vodka for Smores Vodka.

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.

May 22 – Greyhound

The Great Debate

Gin and vodka have long waged a war over liquor supremacy. For example, many arguments have taken place over whether a true martini should be made with gin or vodka. Years ago, vodka surpassed gin and when it did so, a number of cocktails that used to feature the juniper tasting alcohol began a metamorphosis, which included a new name. Today we look at gin names vs. vodka names and I play god and decide which one is better.

gin_vodka_bottles

The battle often wages within the same company…

Salty Dog (Gin) vs. Greyhound (Vodka) – Winner: Greyhound

For some reason I’m perturbed by the name Salty Dog. I have no clue where this aversion lies within me, but I just don’t like the name. It’s a drink I was planning to make for Gin Week last month, but when I discovered that there was a vodka version with a more palatable name (to me at least… and I’m calling the shots), I made some edits to my calendar. And that brings us to today!

Martini (Gin) vs. Kangaroo (Vodka) – Winner: Martini

I do love me some barbecued kangaroo, but I’m afraid that’s not enough to sway this judge. I gotta go with the original Martini in this case. Many alcohol lovers will tell you that if it’s not made of gin and vermouth, it’s just not a Martini, no matter what kind of glass you serve it in. While I don’t completely agree with this line of logic, I do respect their opinion. After all, I already have enough enemies as it is.

Gins

The Gin Army

Ruddy Mary (Gin) vs. Bloody Mary (Vodka) – Winner: Bloody Mary

This one isn’t even close, as you have a classic cocktail matched up against a relatively unknown drink. That said, I would like to try the gin version of the libation and see how it compares to the vodka option. I wonder how it might have changed my perception of the Bakon Bloody Mary I made last month, although we would have tragically lost the bacon essence with the removal of Bakon Vodka.

Negroni (Gin) vs. Negroski (Vodka) – Winner: Draw

This one was tough to judge. On one hand, you have the famous drink, Negroni, but on the other hand, when vodka is substituted, you have a pretty cool name in Negroski. In a rare Sip Advisor move, I decided to call it a draw. I know, having no outcome is like kissing your sister – or at least that’s how the sports pundits always put it. Tell ya what, I’ll flip a coin… if only I could find one.

Vodkas

The Vodka Troops

Tom Collins (Gin) vs. Vodka Collins (Vodka) – Winner: Tom Collins

Much like the Bloody vs. Ruddy Mary, this one took little time to make a decision. The Tom Collins is one of my favourite drinks and I can’t even fathom changing up the way I make them (see Cool Collins). Looking back, I guess I changed the name and recipe, too. Well, now my entire world is upside down. Thankfully, I’ve always been skilled at standing on my head. And we just keep on rolling.

Gin & Tonic (Gin) vs. Vodka Tonic (Vodka) – Winner: Neither

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: I don’t much care for Tonic Water. Therefore, both competitors have been disqualified and given lifetime bans from the sport.

Gin & Juice (Gin) vs. Screwdriver (Vodka) – Winner: Gin & Juice

While I’ve always been a fan of good drink names and the Screwdriver is among my favourites, I feel if I didn’t pick Gin & Juice, that Snoop Dogg would put a hit out on your national hero, the Sip Advisor. While I maintain that I ain’t ‘fraid of no ghosts, I am deathly scared of gats and I therefore settle the case in favour of Mr. Dogg. His drink also comes with a sweet song, so there’s that little caveat.

Drink #142: Greyhound

May 22

  • Rim glass with Salt
  • 1.5 oz Vodka (I used Pinnacle Citrus)
  • Top with Grapefruit Juice
  • Garnish with Lemon and Lime Wedges

It’s incredible that gin and vodka can be so interchangeable, despite their very different tastes. Perhaps we should all just call a truce between the two alcohols, drink a Vesper (which combines both gin and vodka) and declare this the best summer of love EVER! Then again, the Vesper features three parts gin to one part vodka… this feud will never be over…

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
I was looking forward to trying this drink, despite not being a fan of Grapefruit Juice. I’ve always liked salted rims, so that probably helped in my enjoyment of the cocktail and as I figured, all the ingredients came together to make a nice mix.

February 19 – Strawberry Sentiment

The Big 5-0

It’s milestone time here at The Sip as we hit the half-century mark on the 365-day drink challenge! It’s been a wilder ride than Mr. Toad’s, thus far, and to celebrate, here are some liquor-related memes to enjoy!:

Cosby

Bill Cosby rules and for a man who put Jell-O on the map, he must wonder what all these kids are doing nowadays tinkering with Jell-O innocence. Well, Bill, kids do say and do the darnedest things!

Motivation

This is about as bad as when you’re at Disneyland and someone uses their wheelchair to get to the front of the line-up only to then step out of it and able-bodily enter and exit the ride, while you’ve waited hours for the same attraction. You almost hope they slip and fall on some karma.

Distilled Spirits

This is a religion I can get behind. Gotta love that there is not one, but two bottles by this guy’s feet. However, I’m worried that his condition will no longer allow him to reach those bottles, which would be a shame. He’s got a rocking beard, though.

Bath

I don’t think this is what his AA sponsor meant by getting clean. Personally, I think this guy looks a little too happy given that he is surrounded by empties. Well, when you can’t get lucky, I guess the next best thing to do is take a bath with all your closest friends.

Sled

Yeah, salad sucks… unless it’s Caesar salad. This idea looks like an awesome good time. Hopefully the crash at the end of the stunt was worth it. It would be hard explaining to your wife the big hole in your wall afterwards, especially with a chalk outline that includes a beer can!

Molotov Cocktail

I absolutely love this guy. I wish I knew who he was. You can write anything around this picture and it’s hilarious. Mrs. Sip is often startled from her nap as I lose my shit viewing memes involving this happy ginger. Rock on, buddy… rock on!

Drink #50: Strawberry Sentiment (A Sip Advisor Original Recipe)

Strawberry Sentiment Drink

  • Rim glass with salt
  • 1.5 oz Tequila
  • 0.75 oz Cointreau
  • Top with half Ginger Ale, half Brisk Strawberry-Melon
  • Garnish with a Strawberry Heart

Cheers and here’s to the next 50 drinks here at The Sip Advisor!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
I really liked this margarita-esque recipe. From the salt rim to the Strawberry-Melon mixer, I enjoyed every ingredient. A great way to celebrate this Sip Advisor 50th post milestone!