September 26 – Capital Punishment

Special Scribes

As we continue to celebrate the gloriousness that is the Sip Advisor (with my recent birthday and all), today we will look at the greatest writers out there in the land of fiction. Write-on my brothers and sisters!

#5: Jack Torrance – The Shining

It seemed like a good idea for writer Jack Torrance to take a job as a caretaker, looking after the massive Overlook Hotel estate in the Colorado mountains over the winter off-season… especially when he could use the solitude to get down to work. Only problem is the silence and seclusion turned an already damaged man into a complete psychopath, set on hunting down his own wife and son. Remember, “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!”

jack torrance

#4: Brian Griffin – Family Guy

This often pretentious dog considers himself a future legendary scribe, except for the fact that for the longest time, he only talked about writing the great American novel, never sitting down to actually pen it. When he finally does, Faster Than the Speed of Love, is shredded by critics. His follow-up self-help title Wish It, Want It, Do It becomes a best seller, but the fame and fortune for Brian is fleeting, as he lets it all go to his head and alienates those that love him.

#3: Paul Sheldon – Misery

I would never expect my work to get me into trouble (unless I give a liquor company a bad review and they boycott serving me!), but that’s exactly what happens to Paul Sheldon, after he decides to end his popular series of romance novels. He just so happens to also be in the custody of his ‘number one fan’ Annie Wilkes, when this conclusion is published and that leads to a whirlwind of pain, instead of being nursed back to health by the former medical professional.

misery hammer

#2: Jessica Fletcher – Murder, She Wrote

It’s pretty easy to get ideas for your best-selling mystery novels when real-life murders seem to follow you around like you’re death personified. Jessica Fletcher may reside in the sleepy, rural town of Cabot Cove (where there’s an out-of-proportion murder rate), but thanks to her success as an author, she often travels the world and… you guessed it, comes across even more brutality. At least she’s always able to solve the crime, outwitting bumbling police officers everywhere.

#1: Dr. Watson – Sherlock Holmes

Along with being a sidekick and companion, Dr. John Watson also took it upon himself to record the extensive case files of Sherlock Holmes. As a fan of a good mystery, I wonder where we would be without the writings of Dr. Watson (who was originally to be named ‘Ormond Sacker’). Dr. Watson becomes a biographer of sorts for Holmes, largely because he can’t stand others taking and receiving credit for the solving of high-profile crimes.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Capital Punishment

  • Rim glass with Crushed Nuts
  • 0.5 oz Bourbon
  • 0.5 oz Amaretto

Some honourable mentions go to poets Mikey Blumberg (Recess) and Diane Chambers (Cheers), journalists Paul Hennessy (8 Simple Rules) and Ray Barone (Everybody Loves Raymond), crime novelist Richard Castle (Castle), columnist Carrie Bradshaw (Sex and the City), and TV writer Rob Petrie (Dick Van Dyke Show). May the words flow freely from your minds!

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August 16 – Columbo

Private Dicks

I like a good mystery and these gumshoes have offered some of the greatest examples of sleuthing known to the world. They each employ their own tactics, but the end result is always the same: the bad guy is punished for their crime and the good guy feels some sort of redemption. Here are the Top 5 detectives:

#5: Rescue Rangers

Sometimes, some crimes go slipping through the cracks (did anyone out there sing that opening!?)… and that’s when you need the Rescue Rangers: Chip, Dale, Gadget, and Monterey Jack (plus his little buddy Zipper). This classic Disney Afternoon animation block cartoon sees the legendary Chip and Dale and company solve crimes, such as missing pets and all the other stuff the real police don’t feel like investigating. The gang also regularly battle such villains as Fat Cat and Professor Norton Nimnul. Interestingly, Chip and Dale weren’t even originally planned to be part of the show, but were used to add some established Disney characters to the series.

Chip & Dale

#4: Ace Ventura

Of the Pet Detective variety, Ace is an unconventional investigator and devout animal lover. When hired to solve the case of missing Miami Dolphins mascot and real-life dolphin, Snowflake, he becomes embroiled in a complex mystery involving a disgruntled ex-player and Dolphins superstar quarterback Dan Marino. Can he crack the case before the Dolphins’ next big game and bring Snowflake home safely? This role launched the career of Jim Carrey and the surprise hit even produced a sequel, When Nature Calls, which sadly didn’t live up to the first film.

#3: Magnum P.I.

Thomas Magnum is a fine private detective. He’s willing to work on everything from cases involving cheating spouses to more serious stuff like drug rings and assassination plots. The former Vietnam veteran gets a ton of help from his buddies TC, Rick and even Higgins, all while living the good life in Robin Masters’ Hawaiian home. Played by the dreamy Tom Selleck, the iconic role had to be good, as he even gave up playing Indiana Jones thanks to the series’ shooting schedule. There has been talk of a movie or TV series remake, but I just don’t know if it could ever measure up to the original.

Magnum Man

#2: Sherlock Holmes

Along with his companion (and I don’t mean to make it sound like they are lovers… although I’m sure some have explored this premise), Dr. Watson, Sherlock Holmes is certainly London’s finest sleuth and is perhaps the world’s greatest. The creation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Holmes has appeared in countless forms of media. Some of my favourites include the recent movies with Robert Downey, Jr., the current BBC TV series starring Benedict Cumberbatch, and the animated Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century. With Holmes, you must always remember that the game is afoot!

#1: Lt. Columbo

I grew up on the disheveled detective and it’s probably because of him that I haven’t become a criminal mastermind… well, that and to be a mastermind, you need to have a fully-functioning brain. Peter Falk is a god damn legend in my books and all Mrs. Sip can do is roll her eyes when I stumble upon a Columbo mini-movie and have a brief celebration. Although she’s often mentioned, we never see Mrs. Columbo throughout the entirety of the series and we also never learn Lt. Columbo’s first name. Many have speculated that it’s Frank, as it appears when his LAPD ID badge is shown close up. Oh, one more thing, Columbo loves chili as much as he loves solving murders!

Super Saturday Shot Day: Columbo

Columbo Shot

  • 0.75 oz Campari
  • 0.25 oz Orange Juice
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Garnish with a Cigar

The Sip Advisor would make a horrible detective. Sure, I like solitude and spying on folks can be fun, but you can only get so drunk while on a stakeout and I would find the job cramping my current lifestyle. Plus, there’s the whole critical thinking aspect and all you little sippers know that isn’t in my wheelhouse!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
I’m not sure if this shot (or cocktail I’ve shrunken down to shooter form) was actually meant in homage of the greatest detective of all-time, but I’m using it in that way anyway… there is an Italian connection between the character and Campari, so maybe there’s a match there. And how about that garnish!? Columbo was often seen smoking a stogie, so why not include it with the shooter. It all goes down okay and that bitter Campari aftertaste doesn’t kill like it usually does.

Austria – The Courtesan

Music to My Ears

Crossing the English Channel, we find ourselves in mainland Europe and there’s this wonderful sound that keeps pulling us to further investigate. Finally, we stop in Austria, home to a period of music that is enjoyed the world over: Viennese Classicism. During this time, composers like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, and Joseph Haydn compiled a catalogue of work that is performed and held in high regard to this day. Here are some examples of how each artist is recognized in today’s popular culture:

classical music

Ludwig van Beethoven

I’m not sure there would be A Clockwork Orange without the compositions of Beethoven. Alex, the deranged punk anti-hero, seems obsessed with the musician’s ninth symphony and uses it as the soundtrack to many of his heinous crimes. This is far from Beethoven’s only foray into the movie world. Aside from projects based on his life and work, his legendary melodies are featured in countless productions. Beethoven also appears in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, helping the duo with their history presentation, and is the inspiration for naming the big St. Bernard in the Beethoven series of family films. Finally, the piano playing Schroeder from The Peanuts references Beethoven as his favourite musician.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Amadeus Revenge, a video game released in 1988 for the Commodore 64, features Mozart battling his rivals to keep his Piano Concerto No. 25 from being destroyed. It was a pitch-based music game that surely wasn’t as enjoyable as the Mozart chocolate liqueurs named after the composer. In other interesting naming decisions, two mountain peaks in Antarctica are dedicated to Mozart’s work. Giovanni Peak is named after his opera Don Giovanni and Figaro Nunatak comes from Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro. Mozart’s life story was turned into the feature movie Amadeus, and was also spoofed in The Simpsons episode ‘Margical History Tour,’ with Bart taking the role of Mozart, while Lisa subbed in for Antonio Salieri and Nelson Muntz became Beethoven.

classic pop

Franz Schubert

Franz Schubert may best be known for his ‘Unfinished Symphony’ and that has become the focal point of a few different cartoons. First, a Casper the Friednly Ghost short featured the titular ghost helping Schubert finish his composition. Similarly, a Fractured Fairytales segment also explored the subject with Peabody and Sherman going back in time to figure out why the symphony was never completed. Once again, on The Simpsons, when Homer attends Lisa’s band recital and hears they will be performing an ‘Unfinished Symphony,’ he believes the concert will be short. Perhaps most nefariously, Schubert’s work became the theme for Gargamel in The Smurfs cartoon.

Joseph Haydn

Called the ‘Father of the Symphony’ (so we all know who to blame when the ladies drag us out for a night of culture), Haydn composed the melodies to what is now Germany’s national anthem (Deutschlandlied), although it began as a nationalistic song in support of Roman Empire and later Austrian ruler Francis II. Haydn’s work has been featured in numerous media, most notably Sherlock Holmes, Catch Me If You Can, Minority Report, and Interview with the Vampire. Like many of his contemporaries, cartoons have capitalized on Haydn’s catalogue of music, with shows like Tiny Toon Adventures, Animaniacs, and even Ren & Stimpy featuring pieces constructed by the artist.

Austria: The Courtesan

The Courtesan Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Mata Hari Absinthe
  • 1 oz Southern Comfort
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with a Lime Wheel

It’s kind of fascinating to see how all of these composers and their music has been used since their deaths a very long time ago. When Mrs. Sip and I were in Vienna many moons ago, we attended a live classical music performance, featuring the works of the above artists. I remember having champagne and the rest of the night is a blur… must have been a good one!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (1.5 Sips out of 5):
Holy hell is this drink bitter. I hoped the Southern Comfort would add some sweetness to the recipe and the Lime Juice would provide some added flavour, but all that came through was the Absinthe. I’m not opposed to Absinthe in general, but you need other ingredients around it to soften the blow of the powerful booze.

England – Reichenbach Fall

Cultured Characters

England is a land of professed culture, what with all its museums, historical figures, and landmarks. Perhaps it can be noticed most in the country’s long history of fine literature. They call it English Lit for a reason! Always one for a good read (kidding, I’m the world’s most prolific non-reading writer), here are the greatest literary characters who call England home:

Sherlock Holmes

Along with his faithful sidekick Dr. Watson, this formidable duo have solved some of greatest mysteries to occur in and around London. Add in arch nemesis Dr. Moriarty, as well as other secondary characters like Mycroft Holmes, Irene Adler, and Inspector Lestrade and you have the makings of some great fiction. It was suggested that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle didn’t like the character he is most famous for, as evidenced by Holmes being killed off so the author could pursue other projects. Public outrage brought Holmes back to life years later and the character has enjoyed a long history of different treatments.

sherlock-early-years

James Bond

Agent 007 is the quintessential secret service member. Created by writer Ian Fleming, Bond is just as popular for his prowess in the field as he is for his conquests beneath the sheets. While Bond has been played by Irish and Scottish actors on the big screen (and that is probably where he’s most famous and recognized), his origins are purely English. There is virtually no way to put down the famous MI6 operative, so he’ll probably be around for a very long time.

Harry Potter

For inspiring an entire generation of kids to pick up a book and read (or go to the theatre and watch!), Harry Potter and his pals are a must for this list. So famous is the franchise, that theme parks have set up lands to include Hogwarts Castle and the village of Hogsmeade. Quidich has also become a playable game, although it looks more ridiculous than polo and cricket combined. Wee little sippers want to grow up to become wizards and parents have J.K. Rowling to thank for the next wave of geeks!

Mr. Toad

Written by Scottish author Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows features the friendly and jovial, but selfish and reckless Mr. Toad, as well as his pals Mole, Ratty, and Badger. The stories were based on Grahame’s love of river life along the Thames. Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride was my favourite Disneyland attraction as a wee little sipper and I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Mr. Toad and careless ways.

Mr. Toad's Ride

Paddington Bear

From “Darkest Peru” (whatever that means… my theory is Paddington was sent to London by his Peruvian owner, who had awoken from a pisco haze and mistakenly shipped the bear away), Paddington Bear arrives in England and is promptly taken in by the Brown family. A Paddington film will be released in 2014, mixing live action and CGI animation. The bear will be voiced by Colin Firth, who ate endless marmalade sandwiches, while donning a duffle coat to get into character.

Robin Hood

Stealing from the rich, to give to the poor, Robin Hood may not have begun life as a literary figure and was more of a folk hero told about in ballads (aren’t those as good or even better than books?), but his legend has inspired countless appearances in media, especially the written word. My favourite adaptation of the vigilante is the 1973 Disney film with Robin Hood portrayed as a fox and opposing a cowardly lion in Prince John.

linkedin-robin-hood

Ebenezer Scrooge

Teaching civilization a lesson about how it behaves while using Christmas as a backdrop, Charles Dickens character Ebenezer Scrooge is one of the finest examples of turnaround redemption. He goes from a literal scrooge to becoming a man of love, friendship, heart, and caring. One of the greatest scenes ever is ol’ Ebenezer racing through the streets of London like a raving madman after discovering he still has time to change his ways.

Willy Wonka

Roald Dahl’s famous chocolatier and candy producer is about as eccentric as a person can possibly come. That aids him in all the wacky creations he’s able to dream up and put into research and development, but at the same time, makes him guarded and suspicious, staying reclusive in his precious factory. We still don’t know where the hell Oompa Loompas come from, but they aren’t among the world’s greatest literary characters, so it doesn’t really matter.

England: Reichenbach Fall

Reichenbach Fall Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Tanqueray Rangpur Gin
  • 2 oz Sherry
  • Dash of Orange Bitters
  • Top with Lemonade
  • Garnish with a Lemon Wedge

An honourable mention should go to English authors like William Shakespeare, Jane Austen (although I hate her so very much), J.R.R. Tolkien, and the many others that I just didn’t feel like shoehorning into this list. Their contributions to the literary world, although I’ve only heard of such through movies, TV, and other more visual media, should not go unnoticed!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
This recipe comes from my old friends at The Drunken Moogle, who nailed this cocktail inspired by the current Sherlock BBC Series, which is of course inspired by the original Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stories about the sleuth. I used regular Orange Bitters, rather than the Blood Orange variety the drink calls for because I had it on hand. I really enjoyed the flavours and blend provided by this cocktail and was pleasantly surprised by the use of Sherry.

August 7 – Undercover Squirrel

Dicks

I often try to match the subject matter of a post to the name of the featured cocktail… but with a drink called the Undercover Squirrel, what is a liquor deviant supposed to do? Therefore, I decided to write about a topic very close to my heart: the greatest detectives. I love me a good mystery and these sleuths are some of the best!

Columbo

I grew up watching Columbo and his inverted mystery adventures where you know who the killer is all along and the fun comes in how the good Lieutenant trips them up with his idiosyncrasies and constant hounding. The disheveled, but always polite homicide detective was known for his catchphrase “Just one more thing,” which usually signaled he had a prime suspect in mind and all he had to do was reel them in.

Columbo murderer

Sherlock Holmes

With Sherlock Holmes, the game is always afoot and the adventures for this crime solver are seemingly endless thanks to all the different incarnations of the character. Currently, there is a movie franchise and two TV series (starring Robert Downey, Jr., Benedict Cumberbatch, and Jonny Lee Miller, respectively) focused on Holmes. The legendary detective has provided inspiration to many of the other entries on this list.

Jessica Fletcher

I don’t think anyone has been surrounded by so much death and homicide than the Murder, She Wrote author, Jessie Fletcher. It seems everywhere she goes, from her sleepy hometown of Cabot Cove to travels around the world results in someone losing their life. I think a great finale to the show would have been revealing that Fletcher was in fact a Dexter-esque serial killer or perhaps she was Death itself!

Thomas Magnum

Private investigator Thomas Magnum may be the luckiest man alive. He gets to live in an expansive Hawaiian estate, free of cost; drive hot cars around the island, also free of cost; and meet a bevy of beautiful, tropical women… that might cost a little bit. All he has to do in his spare time is solve the odd theft, kidnapping, or murder and he gets to live in paradise. Plus, he has one of the best theme songs known to man!

Magnum PI Moustache

Inspector Jacques Clouseau

The bumbling imbecile and lead of the Pink Panther movies may have his heart in the right place as he tries valiantly to be a good officer of the law, but his ineptness always shines through. How much of a screw-up is Clouseau? He has even driven his superior into a state of madness, as the former Chief Inspector designed a doomsday device with the core intention to kill Clouseau.

Scooby Doo and the Gang

Travelling the country in the legendary Mystery Machine, Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy, and Scooby are often thrust into a mystery and have to solve it while being chased and spooked by any number of scary monsters, usually in rumoured-to-be-haunted settings. The crew always prevail in the end, unmasking some villainous individual who was looking to capitalize on some local urban legend. It should be noted that Scooby and company narrowly edged out the Rescue Rangers for the animated sleuth team entry.

scooby-doo

Adrian Monk

Adrian Monk is an ex-homicide detective, who was forced to leave the police after the murder of his wife, which triggered an extreme obsessive compulsive disorder and various phobias. He now works closely with the San Francisco Police Department as a consultant and usually outshines his fellow cops by solving every murder that the team is investigating.

Ace Ventura

The pet detective, Ace Ventura doesn’t play by the rules… in fact, he probably doesn’t even know what they are. Ventura is more than just a pet detective; he’s a lover of animals and is able to form a special bond with many of the creatures he is trying to rescue. This character launched the career of Jim Carrey and the first movie was a childhood favourite of mine. Never forget, friends: laces out…

Drink #219: Undercover Squirrel

Aug 7

  • Muddle Mint Leaves
  • 1.25 oz Pear Vodka (I used Absolut)
  • 0.5 oz Galliano
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Top with Cranberry Juice
  • Sprinkle of Cinnamon
  • Garnish with Mint Leaf

Damn, there were a lot of private detective type shows in the 80’s. Along with Magnum P.I., which I included above, I was forced to leave out such classics as Jim Rockford, A.J. and Rick Simon, and Remington Steele (with partner Laura Holt). A great movie to look out for if you can find it is Murder by Death, which spoofs many classic detectives including Sam Spade, Nick and Nora Charles, Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, and Charlie Chan.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
What a fantastic drink with a number or rarely used ingredients. I have to say that Mint may be my favourite item to use in cocktails, as it always provides a unique and wonderful taste. The Cinnamon worked really well with the Galliano to add a beautiful note of vanilla and spice.

May 3 – Sidecar

Sidekicking

The Sip Advisor has gone through numerous sidekicks over the years. I don’t have a good safety track-record with my associates and therefore find it hard to reel in replacements. Perhaps these guys and gals are looking for work. If so, please submit your resumes and head shots (females only) to Sip Advisor Headquarters, PO Box 84148. Best of luck to those applying!

Robin – Batman

Batman can get a lot of crazy stuff done on his own, but add in Robin and you have quite the dynamic duo. The ‘Boy Wonder’ is the quintessential sidekick. He knows his role as the number two and doesn’t overstep the boundaries of his part… except for his constant “holy, [insert something to do with their current predicament], Batman” musings.

batman-robin-cheap-budget

Dr. Watson – Sherlock Holmes

Without Dr. Watson around, surely Sherlock Holmes would go insane under the weight of his own superior intelligence. Watson is the calming force that helps Sherlock work his way through mysteries and there’s the odd time where the good doctor’s problem solving ability is crucial in cracking a case. Mmmm, cracking a case… right, we’re not talking about beer.

Barney Fife – Andy Taylor

While Sheriff Andy Taylor was the straight man and level-headed leader of the Mayberry Police Department, his counterpart, Deputy Barney Fife was his inept, hapless partner. Together, they made a good pairing that kept the town safe and orderly, although Fife usually needed Taylor’s help to keep him safe from himself.

barney-fife

Dale Gribble – Hank Hill

While Dale is the kind of sidekick that causes more issues than he solves, he certainly keeps things interesting for best friend Hank. Dale’s paranoia has frequently got the best of him and one has to wonder if his career as a pest removal specialist – and all those toxic chemicals – isn’t to blame for some of his delusions. Hank has to reel his friend in from time to time, which is easy for the serious leader.

Milhouse Van Houten – Bart Simpson

And everything’s coming up Milhouse! It’s hard to tell sometimes if Milhouse is friends with Bart because he likes Bart or if he just wants to remain closer to his crush and Bart’s sister, Lisa. If there isn’t some degree of friendship between the two boys, then Milhouse has gone through a lot just for his unrequited love. Bart has caused him to get into a great deal of trouble, and when pressed as to why he’s friends with Milhouse, Bart struggles to answer, saying it is largely due to “geographic convenience”.

Bart and Milhouse

Barney Rubble – Fred Flintstone

Fred’s little buddy Barney is always up for Fred’s shenanigans and despite warning him of what the end results could be, Barney often goes along with the scheme. The two pals are both members of the Loyal Order of Water Buffalos and even work together at the Slate Rock and Gravel Company quarry. That’s a lot of time to spend with one person, but if it works for them, who am I to judge?

Mini-Me – Dr. Evil

The pint-sized clone of Dr. Evil may be small in stature, but he’s just as wicked as his “daddy”. Mini-Me also has the advantage of being at a perfect level for biting adversaries in the shin or delivering a devastating low blow. You can never stay too mad at the little guy, though, because he has such a sweet grin… even if it is hiding his evil side.

kinopoisk.ru

Diddy Kong – Donkey Kong

These two primates play off of each other so well that they have been able to keep Donkey Kong Country safe from evil crocodiles and slithering snakes on multiple occasions. Donkey Kong played the role of mentor to his young protégé Diddy, as they bashed their way over all the baddies who meant them harm. Diddy (no relation to Puff Daddy) even branched out and took the lead in his own game, letting Donkey enjoy a comfortable retirement in his banana horde. He hasn’t been seen in years!

Dwight Schrute – Michael Scott

In his constant pursuit of a management position at the Dunder-Mifflin paper company, Dwight Schrute idolizes manager Michael Scott, even if his treatment at the hands of his boss isn’t always the kindest. Dwight is often placed into the role of Assistant to the Regional Manager, which he claims means Assistant Regional Manager. Meanwhile, he’s stuck doing Michael’s laundry and other menial tasks, while others are promoted ahead of him.

Drink #123: Sidecar

Sidecar Cocktail

When I was younger, Broski Sip was my sidekick and partner in crime. He’s since moved onto other endeavors, while I continue to pursue worldwide awesomeness. Mrs. Sip was offered his spot, but she declined, wanting to live a long life. So, I ask, who has the intestinal fortitude to join me in this pursuit? You will never regret it!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I’m learning quickly that I really enjoy Apricot Brandy. It very nicely accentuates the already delicious Triple Sec. The cocktail, as a whole, was good and an optional sugar rim could have been added for those who want an even sweeter taste.

April 26 – Jet Black

Rule Britannia

I originally wanted to look at my favourite Britonians… until I realized how many of them I like. So not wanting to bog you, my little sippers, down in an essay of British love, I broke all my beloveds down into a few easy to discern categories. Now let’s do some light reading before some heavy drinking!

The Comedians – Benny Hill, Sacha Baron Cohen, Ricky Gervais, Little Britain Troupe

Benny Hill is a legend, while my other three selections are embarking on careers, hoping to reach the level of fame and success Hill was able to achieve. Thanks to all his wild characters and different accents, I didn’t even know Baron Cohen was British until researching for this post.

British Humour

The Characters – Sherlock Holmes, Mr. Bean, James Bond, Harry Potter

These are some of my favourites – minus Harry Potter, who I only threw in to appease all the readers. You have the intellect of Holmes, the debonair style of Bond, and the wackiness of Bean. That would make one interesting love child.

The Shows – Are You Being Served?, Keeping Up Appearances, Fawlty Towers, My Family

The British have a very unique style of humour. It’s dry and witty and not as in-your-face as  most North American fare. Some of England’s older shows are absolute classics. Although I didn’t include any in the above selections, the Brits also know how to make a great crime drama.

The Music – The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie

Wow, we might as well be discussing a ranking of my favourite bands. While it may kill Papa Sip for me to write this, on my list, the number one slot goes to Led Zeppelin, with The Beatles coming in at a very close second.

Led Zeppelin

The Actors – Hugh Laurie, Vinnie Jones, Michael Caine

Well, my three candidates may be quite the mish-mash of English nobility. My preferred role for each, you ask? Hugh Laurie has to be House, Michael Caine is good in so much, but I thought he made a terrific Alfred in the new Batman trilogy and Vinnie Jones was great as the marble-mouthed hooligan in Euro Trip!

The Actresses – Keira Knightley, Emma Watson

These are two delicious young ladies that are known to light up the screen. Knightley was a knockout in the Pirates of the Caribbean series and Watson, once she was of legal age, became a sexy starlet in her own right.

The Dames – Judi Dench, Helen Mirren, Dame Edna

The equivalent to being knighted for a man, these women (and dude in the case of Edna!) have great acting chops. I kind of wish I could be knighted, or that Mrs. Sip could be made a dame. We just don’t have cool things like that on this side of the pond.

Dame Edna

The Athletes – Wayne Rooney, David Beckham, The British Bulldog

As a Manchester United fan, I definitely have to give a nod to the likes of Rooney and Beckham, but The British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith also earns mention as one of my earliest favourite wrestlers. Smith was one of the most popular and accomplished English wrestlers, winning numerous championships around the world.

The Celebrities – The Royal Family (especially Kate and sister), Gordon Ramsay, Richard Branson

I’m almost certain the paparazzi phenomenon must have started in the U.K. with Royal Family gawkers. They’re alright, I guess, but give me a meal from Gordon Ramsay and an adventure with Richard Branson any day!

Drink #116: Jet Black

Jet Black Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Gin
  • 2 tsp Sweet Vermouth
  • 1 tsp Sambuca
  • Garnish with Lemon Twist

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
This drink was a little pedestrian. The ingredients mixed together well enough, but it wasn’t anything to write home about. And when you’re doing a blog about cocktails, that’s a major issue. I guess I just expected a little more from the drink and was let down.