February 7 – Saturday Night Fever

Live from New York

The iconic Saturday Night Live is celebrating its 40th season on the air this evening and in those 40 years, we’ve seen many classic characters hit our screens – both big and small. Here are the Top 5 Saturday Night Live characters, according to the Sip Advisor (a great character in his own right!):

#5: Irwin Mainway

Dan Aykroyd, the man behind Crystal Skull Vodka and so many great characters, can also list this shady salesman among his fine credits. Mainway appeared on the show Consumer Probe to defend his geared-towards-kids Halloween costumes and Christmas toys, such as ‘Bag O’ Glass,’ ‘Bag O’ Sulfuric Acid,’ ‘Teddy Chainsaw Bear,’ ‘Invisible Pedestrian,’ and ‘Johnny Switchblade Adventure Punk.’ I personally don’t see the issue with any of those products!

Mainway

#4: Celebrity Jeopardy

These are some of the best skits in the show’s history and while they may not be original characters, a couple of them were reoccurring, such as Will Ferrell’s Alex Trebek and Darrell Hammond’s Sean Connery. The Trebek-Connery rivalry was a great touch, as were many of the game categories, which Connery hilariously misconstrued, much to Trebek’s bewilderment. For example, “An Album Cover” somehow became “Anal Bum Cover” when Connery got ahold of it.

#3: Stefon

The New York club scene insider and Weekend Update guest, was responsible for introducing the world to some of the most bizarre underground hangouts, including Crease, Whimsy, and Kevin?… yes, that one has a question mark. Played by Bill Hader, fellow writers would change the cue cards for Stefon appearances between rehearsal and live run and then it would only be a matter of time before Hader would break character laughing and have to bury his face in his hands.

#2: Wayne Campbell & Garth Algar

“Party on, Wayne… party on, Garth! With those words, Wayne’s World took to the airwaves, although it’s a little known fact that Mike Myers first used the Wayne Campbell character on the Canadian show It’s Only Rock & Roll. Anyway, the Wayne’s World co-hosts took their skit success straight to feature films with two great movies, perfect for cameo appearances from musical acts, as well as actors. The characters have rarely been reprised, but they live on in the hearts of millions.

#1: Matt Foley

While Chris Farley made this character legendary, it was actually created by Bob Odenkirk, aka Saul Goodman from Breaking Bad. Matt Foley, with his unique way of motivating others, made us all fear an existence of living in a van down by the river. A highlight of each Foley sketch was the inevitable crash the inspirational speaker would take through a table or into a Christmas tree. The first table fall was actually accidental, but was the icing on the cake for the sketch and became tradition.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Saturday Night Fever

Saturday Night Fever Shot

  • 0.5 oz Sambuca
  • 0.5 oz Whiskey
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

Some honourable mentions go to Mr. Bill, the Festrunk Brothers, Toonces the Cat, the Ladies Man, the Butabi Brothers, and Mr. Robinson. While I’ve never been a big regular watcher of the show, I have many fond memories from it and have to thank the series for launching the careers of some of my favourite comedians!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
While this shot is certainly meant for the John Travolta disco dancing film from the 1970s, I believe it also works well for the theme of today’s post. The Sambuca and Lime Juice are to be shaken together first, with the Whiskey being floated on top afterwards, but I had forgotten this element and when the result was a wonderful tasting shot, I just went with it. This may be one of the best uses of Sambuca I have yet to find and I think things might have been helped by the Royal Challenge Whiskey from India.

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December 6 – Oil Spill

What a Year!

With the arrival of December, it’s time to reflect on the year that was. While most stories only hit the mainstream when they’re of the negative variety, there are some groups and people that had amazing calendar years. Here are the folks that had the best 2014:

#5: Hockey Canada

The Canadian Men’s Olympic hockey team has the utmost pressure on them each and every Winter Games. While Russia, as event hosts, would have loved to walk away with the gold, hockey is Canada’s game and anything but a tournament victory would not have sat well with the entire country. Therefore, it was much more palatable to watch the gold medal game, starting at 4am Vancouver time, when the boys easily defeated Sweden 3-0. It should also be noted that the Canadian Women’s Olympic hockey team took home gold, as well, thanks to some last minute heroics.

Gold In Here

#4: ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

It was the fad of the 2014 summer and it was about more than cooling off and finding relief from the heat. If you were nominated to participate, you typically had 24 hours to dump a bucket of water/ice on your melon, before challenging the next round of participants. Whether you completed the task or not, you were encouraged to donate to charity. While not everyone agreed with the movement – citing the lack of money that would actually go towards curing ALS, the waste of water, health issues the challenge could result in, etc. – the Ice Bucket Challenge certainly raised the profile of ALS around the world. Mission: Accomplished!

#3: Germany Football

Winners of the 2014 World Cup of Soccer (which I predicted from the start!), Germans will hold football bragging rights until at least the 2018 contest in Russia. Mario Götze, who scored the lone goal for Germany against Argentina, to clinch the title, will be a national icon for the country for the duration of his life, and likely, long after. Germany went undefeated through the World Cup, highlighted by a 7-1 drubbing of host county and competition favourites Brazil, in the semi-finals. At the same tournament, Costa Rica became underdog fan favourites with stunning defeats over Uruguay, Italy, and Greece, before bowing out to the Netherlands on penalty kicks.

meanwhile-in-germany

#2: John Oliver

Thanks to his HBO series, Last Week Tonight, John Oliver is quickly becoming the most trusted source in news. That’s pretty good standing, given he’s a comedian anchor and his show is largely centered on making fun of the news. Mrs. Sip and I have enjoyed Oliver’s segments on FIFA, Scottish independence, student debt, and Middle East translators, among others. Oliver’s HBO contract runs through 2015 with the option for more years. And to think, all of this largely came about because Oliver was the guest host of The Daily Show in the summer of 2013, leading to rave reviews and his own program.

#1: Chris Pratt

With two monster hit movies – The LEGO Movie and Guardians of the Galaxy (third and first, respectively, in highest grossing films of the year) – to go along with his role as goofy, loveable Andy Dwyer on Parks and Recreation, Chris Pratt is riding high in 2014 and the sky is the limits for this talented actor. Thanks to his success, Pratt was tapped to host the season premiere of Saturday Night Live, in September. 2015 could see his star continue to rise, as he will play the lead in Jurassic World, the next installment in the Jurassic Park franchise, as well as wrap up Parks and Recreation with a 13-episode seventh and final season.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Oil Spill

Oil Spill Shot

Of course, the Sip Advisor could have also topped this list after yet another rock n’ roll year, but I’ll let the others have the spotlight! Next week, we tackle those that had a horrendous time in 2014 and probably can’t wait to see the year come to an end.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
Simply layer the Jagermeister on top of the Goldschalger and you have an oil find that would make Jed Clampett blush! I think this shooter turned out pretty well image wise… the taste wasn’t bad, to boot!

December 28 – Broken Down Golf Cart

Surviving the Season

There are a number of things you just can’t do during the winter. Golf, for example, is pretty hard to play and enjoy if you live anywhere that experiences snow storms or other inclement weather. I’ve searched around for advice on how to beat the winter blues (not that I’m necessarily down myself) and while I agree with some suggestions, others have me perplexed and even angry. Here are some of those recommendations:

Relax/Catch up on Sleep

Mrs. Sip tends to burn the candle at both ends year round, but I feel run down the most at Christmas. With all the social gatherings on top of the usual pattern of work and activities, it can all be quite exhausting. Add to that the whole Christmas shopping mess and you’re in for a rough holiday ride. It’s also a time to be thoroughly enjoyed, so hibernating through the cold stretch isn’t desirable either. Find a perfect balance between rest and play and you’ll do fine.

Hibernation

Don’t Binge Drink

You little sippers know even before I launch into an obscenity-laced tirade that I’m not going to agree with this notion. I think the best part of trying to cope with winter is getting blitzed in your wonderfully warm abode while watching ancient episodes of Family Matters and Full House and longing for a simpler time in life. If you want to binge drink, by all means, go for it… and have a grand ol’ time while doing so.

Embrace the Season

I largely believe in celebrating whichever time of year you’re currently living through. Winter is no different. The season provides ample opportunity to do things you can’t most of the rest of the year, like ski, snowboard, ice skate, have snowball fights, build a snowman and so on. You should also treasure the time provided to be with family and friends over the holidays because you never really know how much of it you’ll have.

Treat Yourself

I love on Parks and Recreation how Tom and Donna celebrate ‘Treat Yo Self Day’ and apparently I’m not alone. The official day of this amazing holiday, as per its own Facebook page is Oct. 13. How you decide to Treat Yo Self is entirely up to you. It’s also a good idea to treat someone else really well and your efforts may come back as rewards in the future, doubling your positive results.

Exercise/Healthy Diet

I’m totally down with the exercise part, but the healthy diet doesn’t jive. Christmas is all about the cookies, chocolate, and other treats. I subscribe to the theory of the ‘Guy-et’ where as I work out for the sole purpose of balancing out all the bad habits I have. If you do it well enough, you’ll even begin seeing gains, but the point of the program is to at least hold off any losses.

Find Some Sun

Whether this is achieved through travel or something as simple as hitting the tanning salon, you have to find a way that works for you to warm up and get some vitamin-D coursing through your veins. Most years, Mrs. Sip and I seem to be able to get away to a warmer climate during the winter and I wholeheartedly advise others to do the same. It’s good to bring the swimsuit and sunglasses out in December and January.

Improve Yourself

Remember those resolutions you laid out at the start of the year? With only days or weeks left on the calendar, it might be time to finally cross off some of your tasks. While Mrs. Sip and I sit down each January 1st and discuss our goals for the year, the only one I maintain is the one Samuel L. Jackson once outlined as guest host of Saturday Night Live: “Continue to kick ass!”

Drink #362: Broken Down Golf Cart

Broken Down Golf Cart Shooter

  • 0.25 oz Vodka (I used Lychee)
  • 0.25 oz Melon Liqueur
  • 0.25 oz Amaretto
  • 0.25 oz Cranberry Juice
  • Garnish with Candies

Do you have any other suggestions for surviving winter? Please share for all the little sippers out there that might be struggling through the season!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
The Lychee Vodka made this shooter a little more interesting than it might have been normally. It worked well with all the other ingredients and I still can’t really describe the liquors complex taste. You can’t really go wrong with Melon Liqueur, Amaretto, and Cranberry Juice, so the Vodka was simply the icing on the cake!

 

July 2 – Journalist Cocktail

Journalistically Yours

Did you know that the Sip Advisor is actually a trained journalist, specializing in the field of sports writing? Well, today just happens to be World Sports Journalists Day. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best fictional anchors, correspondents, and news teams!

Ron Burgundy & Channel 4 News Team – Anchorman

Ron Burgundy and the gang are a ratings sensation, which doesn’t please their rivals at Channel 2, especially fellow anchor Wes Mantooth. Aside from competition, Burgundy and company also have trouble in the form of women entering the news game and wanting their fair share of screen time and top stories. I can’t wait for the Anchorman sequel to come out and for so many new catchphrases to become part of the pop culture lexicon.

Anchorman

Will McAvoy & News Night Staff – The Newsroom

Mrs. Sip and I have just started watching this series and while I find all the yelling at each other and “I love my job so much I’m going to cry” looks very tiring, it’s a great program with amazing writing and characters you can actually root for (unlike another show that shall not be named because I refuse to have it linked in any way to these awesome “journalists”). The second season begins in just a couple weeks and we find ourselves learning more about the world through fiction than we do through, well…the actual news!

Channel 5 News Team – Family Guy

Led by anchor Tom Tucker and his wonderful mustache, the newscast also featured co-anchor Diane Simmons (until she snapped and tried to kill half the town’s residents), angry weatherman Ollie Williams, and token Asian reporter Tricia Takanawa. Tucker is the heart and soul of this team, though, and it’s always fun seeing him report on the absurd news that occurs in Quahog.

Stephen Colbert – The Colbert Report

Yes, Stephen Colbert is a real person, but his persona while delivering the news is completely fabricated… or at least we all hope it is! The super conservative’s take on world events highlights how insane some people’s view of the world can actually be. While I don’t watch The Colbert Report or Daily Show much anymore, I respect both Colbert and Jon Stewart for their work in becoming more trusted than actual newsmen.

Colbert

FYI Team – Murphy Brown

Featuring hard-hitting reporter Murphy Brown, the FYI program, based in Washington, D.C., does a top job on covering the American capital. Brown is joined by anchor Jim Dial, investigative journalist Frank Fontana, media darling Corky Sherwood, and executive produced Miles Silverberg. The show was known for taking many of their storylines straight from the real headlines. When not on the set, the FYI crew could often be found at their local watering hole, Phil’s, and that I can get down with!

Kent Brockman & Channel 6 News Team – The Simpsons

Springfield’s resident journalist, Kent Brockman, is a trusted source within the community, even if he does have a spotty news record. His feud with traffic reporter Arnie Pye has led to on-air arguments between the two, which is about as professional as you’d expect a person from Springfield to be. Brockman also hosts other programs, such as Eye on Springfield, Smartline, and even game show Springfield Squares. His segment ‘My Two Cents’ is a highlight of most broadcasts.

kentbrockman

The Lone Gunmen – X-Files

This troupe of nerd conspiracy theorists and magazine publishers has investigated some of the world’s greatest mysteries. Because of the nature of their examinations, they choose to remain underground and out of the public eye. Sadly, their spinoff show lasted only 13 episodes. While I never really watched the X-Files, I was interested in The Lone Gunmen because conspiracy theories are interesting to consider, while aliens bore me. Stunningly, the show’s pilot episode featured an attack on the World Trade Centre by hijacked planes six months before the actual 9/11 tragedy.

Weekend Update – Saturday Night Live

Whether you think of the original host, Chevy Chase, or the current presenter, Seth Meyers, Saturday Night Live has had a long run of comedians riffing on the news in what is often the show’s best segment. It’s hard to pick my favourite anchor or team among all the candidates, but I enjoyed Jane Curtain’s pairing with Dan Aykroyd, as well as the all-female duo of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

Drink #183: Journalist Cocktail

Journalist Drink Recipe

  • 1.5 oz Gin (I used Hendrick’s)
  • 0.5 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 0.5 oz Dry Vermouth
  • Splash of Triple Sec
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Orange Bitters
  • Garnish with Lemon Wheel and Pen

This was a hard list to narrow down, as it seems every show has a news element to help forward storyline and such. I even had to cut Sesame Street’s resident journalist, Kermit the Frog!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I like this cocktail, despite my sometimes negative feelings about Vermouths. All the ingredients went well together and none were overwhelming in the recipe. The Hendick’s Gin was a nice touch.

February 3 – Bill Murray

On the Rocks

Groundhog

As a bit of a carryover from yesterday’s post, in the movie Groundhog Day, Phil Connors (Bill Murray) orders “sweet vermouth on the rocks, with a twist,” his producer Rita’s (Andie MacDowell) favourite drink, in a bid to get closer to her. He learns this on the first day of his Groundhog Day loop and tries to exploit it on subsequent repeated days. Apparently this is the actual favourite drink of director Harold Ramis’ wife. So, given that I’m doing this challenge and I’m always open to new recipes, I thought I’d give it a shot. First though, here are some other drinks that are enjoyed on the rocks:

Scotch

I’ve only got into Scotch over the last few years, but I really enjoy it. In that time, I’ve been lucky to sample some really good stuff (thanks to some very generous friends and family) and most recently I met the pinnacle of drinking when I was able to have a glass of Ron Swanson’s (Parks and Recreation) favourite libation Lagavulin 16 Year Old. Imagine me, a mild-mannered drink jockey getting to enjoy this fine substance… let the good times roll! (See January 8 – Scotch on the Rocks for further reading)

Disaronno (Amaretto)

This is one of my favourite end-of-night, unwinding drinks. A couple cubes and a splash of Disaronno is all I need before bedtime. Call it nappy time juice! It used to be that cookies and milk were all I needed but then I entered my 30’s! Okay, I’m not there yet, but cookies and milk have been pushed aside for liqueurs and whatever is lying around the house that resembles food. It doesn’t really matter, I’ll eat anything.

Southern Comfort

I first tried Southern Comfort on the rocks on my honeymoon cruise and enjoyed it enough to buy a bottle. I’m curious to try some of the other Southern Comfort flavours out there, such as Fiery Pepper, Bold Black Cherry, plus one mama Sip Advisor told me about (this drinking is a family thing, after all), Lime. So, I have the perfect evening planned: southern BBQ, washed down by SoCo!

Southern Comfort

Courvoisier (Cognac)

Now, I’ve only had this once before, but I enjoyed it thoroughly. Perhaps it holds a place in my heart because it helped me fall asleep on a flight, which I’m rarely able to do. I also love how it was regularly featured in the Ladies Man skits on Saturday Night Live. Great choice, Leon!

Ladies Man

Bailey’s Irish Crème

This last one is geared a little more towards the ladies, I suppose. I personally like drinks that have a little bit more of an edge, but I know there are a lot of folks out there that love their Irish Crèmes and anything that’s easier to down. It’s a smooth ride for these alcohols and there’s also an array of intriguing flavours (mint chocolate, crème caramel, hazelnut, biscotti) coming out from the Bailey’s people and other similar companies.

Drink #34: Bill Murray

Sweet Vermouth with Twist Drink

  • 2 oz Sweet Vermouth (I used Martini brand)
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Garnish with lemon twist

In honour of the legendary Bill Murray, I’ve gone ahead and named this concoction after him. I mean, Andie MacDowell is okay, but Bill Murray is Dr. Peter Venkman… groundskeeper Carl Spackler… hell, he’s even Garfield! This was the first time I ever had sweet vermouth on the rocks, as I usually only use it when making Manhattans. This is the type of experimenting I enjoy best and I thought the drink was great, especially with the addition of lemon.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
Shockingly, no one has ever given this drink a name before, which is a shame because I believe that we should salute Bill Murray whenever the opportunity arises. I thought Sweet Vermouth on the rocks was actually a tasty drink and something you might have when unwinding after dinner, as a dessert aperitif.