Cuba – Frizzante Mojito

Castro Calamity

From the Great White North of Canada, we jet set our way to the Republic of Cuba. We have to leave via Canada because no flights from the U.S. go to the communist country. Speaking of communism, it has been discovered that the government of the United States tried to assassinate Fidel Castro an estimated 638 times, as they opposed the dictator’s rule. Here are some of the craziest plans they drew up!

Cartoon Violence

We’ve all seen the famous exploding cigar cartoon gag and apparently the CIA thought it was a pretty good idea, too. Heck, if Bugs Bunny can make it work, why couldn’t they. Castro was known to have a love of cigars (Cuban, of course), so why not slip an explosive one into his collection and let him light his own ending. The CIA also had a plan for cigars contaminated with botulin to be given to Castro, showing smoking definitely can kill!

Castro Cheating Death

Shaken, Not Stirred

As much as Castro loved his stogies, he also had a penchant for milkshakes, particularly the ones made at the Havana Hilton. Therefore, the CIA tried to poison his frosted treat. Apparently, the plan went awry when the deadly pill froze to the surface of where it was being held and when the would-be assassin tried to pry it loose, the capsule split and the poison was lost. According to longtime Castro bodyguard Fabian Escalante, this was the closest Castro came to meeting his maker.

PADI Certified

The Cuban Prime Minister was also an avid scuba diver and this factored into two attempts on his life. First, plans were hatched to give Castro a scuba suit infected with spores of tubercle bacilli. When that fell through, discussion turned to rigging a conch shell with explosives and placing it in one of the areas Castro frequented and favoured when diving.

Womanizer

In their attempt to oust Castro from power, the CIA even turned to some of his many mistresses, hoping they would be vengeful enough to kill the Latin lover. One, Marita Lorenz, even smuggled poison capsules into Castro’s bedroom, but they dissolved in the jar of cold cream they had been stashed in. According to Lorenz, when Castro learned of the plot, he handed her his gun and challenged her to shoot him… she couldn’t even do that.

cubanmissle

Bond Gadgets

If only things worked as well for the CIA as they always seem to for James Bond, thanks to gadget wizard Q. The CIA brainstormed such spy contraptions as a hypodermic needle inside a pen, with the hopes someone could get close enough to prick Castro and inject him with deadly toxins and get away with it. Speaking of deadly bacteria, there were also plans to give Castro an infected handkerchief, more commonly known as a snot rag.

Discredited

If they couldn’t kill him, the American government figured they could at least take him down a couple pegs and taint his image with Cubans. First, they strategized destroying his trademark beard with thallium salt, hoping this would make him look weak to citizens of the republic. Plans were also concocted to fill a radio station he was appearing on with LSD through an aerosol spray, hoping he would embarrass himself to the audience and lose their trust.

Cuba: Frizzante Mojito

Frizzante Mojito Drink Recipe

  • Muddle Mint Leaves
  • 1.5 oz Havana Club Rum
  • Top with Champagne
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Dashes of Angostura Bitters
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

Castro once joked about the assassination attempts: “If surviving assassination attempts were an Olympic event, I would win the gold medal.” If you have a clever way you would have used to eliminate the former Cuba leader, share it below. It can’t be any worse than some of the stuff the CIA and others actually tried!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I have written before about my dislike of Champagne, but this recipe may change my wicked heart. I love Mojitos and it was fun to have the bubbles associated with Champagne as part of the traditional cocktail. The sweetness level can be changed with how much Simple Syrup you choose to add. The group I sampled this drink with preferred little to no sweetness and enjoyed the dryness of the cocktail.

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April 28 – Matador

Taking the Bull by the Horns

While I never intend to be a matador, I have done my fair share of crazy. Here are my experiences in the realm of extreme activities!

Zorbing

Rolling down a hill inside a giant rubber ball filled with water is something only the Kiwi’s could have invented. Mrs. Sip and I jumped into the ball together and tumbled our way to the bottom of the hill, giggling as we crashed around inside our vessel. As you exit the ball, you feel as if you’re being birthed. We also did solo runs down a zig-zag course, trying to stay upright as long as possible, but always ending up flipping our way down the track.

Zorbing

Commercial Luge

The more you speed, the more you bleed… I found this out the hard way. Again, while in New Zealand, Mrs. Sip and I took to a commercial street luge track. Mrs. Sip played it safe and did two runs on the beginner track before advancing to intermediate. I did one intermediate run before hitting the expert slope twice. On my last run, feeling ballsy, I tried to videotape my journey. This didn’t go well, as holding the camera, while trying to steer was nearly impossible. I crashed into the embankment, rolled a few times and walked away with a gnarly gash on my arm, a grass- and dirt-stained shirt and a camera that struggled to open and close. Eh, you win some, you luge some!

Bungee Jumping

I’ve bungeed a total of five times from three different locations, including one epic jump off the Auckland Harbour Bridge in New Zealand. Your mother always told you to never follow your friends and jump off bridges… that’s why I went solo and started the trend. Amazingly, Mrs. Sip has often accompanied me to view these jumps, despite her fear of heights. While I’m a fan of flipping through the air while bungeeing, I didn’t fully enjoy the backwards free-fall I once performed.

Bungee Jump

Ziplining

Despite what the creators of South Park might think about ziplining, I’ve always enjoyed flying through the air from platform to platform. Mrs. Sip and I have ziplined in Mexico, Costa Rica and into a cave in New Zealand (for a round of black water rafting). I like the lines where you can do some more elaborate tricks, like go upside down and pretend you’re a spider, hanging from your own webbing!

Scuba Diving

I know what you’re thinking (especially if you’ve never done it), how is scuba diving a danger sport? Well, just the concept of breathing deep underwater is something that can be difficult to wrap your head around. When Mrs. Sip (a certified diver) signed me up for an introductory scuba session, I was apprehensive to say the least. Once you get in the water, relax, and get used to the breathing and goggle techniques, the views are amazing and you can keep your fears subdued. I was privileged to do my dive at Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and I think I even found Nemo!

Drink #118: Matador

The Matador Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Tequila (I used 1800 Añejo)
  • Top with Pineapple Juice
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with Lime Wedge

In the future, I hope to do other crazy shit like run with the bulls, skydive, base jump and cliff dive. For those that are afraid to try any of these activities, just remember how dangerous normal everyday things can be like walking the streets of a downtown core and you should have no problem jumping out of a plane, off a cliff, or into a stampede!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
I liked this cocktail. It’s fun to put the odd non-bubbly-based drink into a champagne flute and I thought it worked really well for this recipe. All the ingredients mixed well together with many citrus notes shining through… plus you can never go wrong with Añejo Tequila!