Flavour Revolution – Marula

Animal Crackers

Mrs. Sip and I recently returned from a month-long journey to southern Africa and were completely enamoured with the animals the continent is famous for. We also have a fondness for Amarula Cream, a liqueur from South Africa that takes Bailey’s and other Irish crème’s to task. Today, we enjoy Amarula Gold (the Cream’s golden cousin), while looking at the greatest pop culture examples of the creatures we enjoyed during our travels:

Lions:

One of the most famous lions is known simply for his iconic roar, seen at the start of MGM movies. Leo is still introducing viewers to films to this day. The lion has also been adopted as the logo for two different football teams, the Detroit Lions (NFL) and my hometown BC Lions (CFL). That’s interesting because while lions are fierce hunters, they’re also incredibly lazy. In the media world, there are notable lions in Simba, Mufasa, and Scar from The Lion King, as well as Aslan (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe) and the Cowardly Lion (The Wizard of Oz).

lion lesson

Buffalos:

There aren’t really any fictional buffalos to choose from, but there is the city of Buffalo, New York, which is home to such teams as the Sabres (NHL), and Bills (NFL). There’s also the Order of the Water Buffalo, with such dignified members as Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble. Lastly, one can also include Buffalo Bill, the deranged serial killer from Silence of the Lambs… on second thought, maybe he should be left off the list.

Rhinos:

The horned beasts seem to be the perfect animal for animated antagonists. This can be seen with one of Spiderman’s greatest foes, Rhino, as well as Rocksteady from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. If we are to use the characters as examples of how rhinos are viewed by animators, then they’re certainly not the brightest individuals. Lastly, pro wrestler Terry Gerin, adopted the name Rhino (later changed to Rhyno, because actual rhinos love suing over intellectual property rights!), when he debuted with Extreme Championship Wrestling in 1999. Sadly, rhinos are rapidly decreasing in population, with poachers seeking their valuable horns, to be used for sexual potency.

Elephants:

Like lions, elephants have factored into a lot of media. One of Disney’s most cherished characters is that of Dumbo, the flying elephant. There’s also Babar; Dr. Seuss’s Horton (who heard a Who); Bart Simpson’s brief pet, Stampy; and Big Bird’s imaginary friend Snuffleupagus. Another fan favourite is Elephant Ears donuts, because there’s never a bad donut and these cinnamon-sugar sprinkled gems are no exception.

elephant-dancing-snufflin

Leopards:

Famous leopards are about as rare as spotting the cat in the wild. The leopard is the only major African animal that we didn’t see on our recent vacation and our guide told us in all his years of taking tourists through Africa, he’s only seen a handful, himself. The only notable leopard that came to mind was Bagheera from The Jungle Book. His protective ways ensured young Mowgli’s survival in the wild.

Giraffes:

Youngsters today may not know about Geoffrey, the Toys R’ Us mascot, but he played a huge role in my childhood. He made many of the children from my generation want to be a Toys R’ Us kid! Originally named Dr. G. Raffe, the spokesanimal has been with the company since 1957.

Hippos:

The board game Hungry Hungry Hippos painted a lighter image on these dangerous beasts, who are known to charge at the boats of tourists for no other reason than because they feel like it. Despite their antagonistic nature, there is still the classic Christmas song “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas”. Perhaps the little girl making the request just didn’t know any better.

hungry-hippos-game

Crocodiles:

Perhaps the most famous crocodile is Tick-Tock, the tormentor of Capt. James Hook and the beast that took the pirate’s hand. Crocodiles are often depicted as bad guys. This includes Killer Croc, a frequent nemesis of Batman; King K. Rool, the thorn in the side of Donkey Kong and his extended family; and the Fraternity of Crocodiles, from the comic Pearls Before Swine, who are often in pursuit of zebras (or zeebas as the frat calls them), despite their minimal intelligence.

Quick Hits:

Zebras: Fruit Stripe Zebra – Given the gum’s appearance, it was natural that Fruit Stripe would adopt a Zebra as its mascot

Cheetahs: I’ve enjoyed the recent Cheetos commercials starring Chester Cheetah, as he helps snackers get their share of the cheese-flavoured grub

Meerkats: In the real world, there was the popular Meerkat Manor nature series… in animation, we of course had Timon from The Lion King

Warthog: Speaking of Timon, you can’t forget his buddy Pumbaa… and just like the previously mentioned Rocksteady took after a rhino, his thug pal Bebop was mutated from a warthog

Hyenas: One last time we go back to The Lion King, with this pack of cackling baddies: Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed

Flavour Revolution: Golden Apple

  • 1.5 oz Amarula Gold
  • Top with Apple Juice
  • Splash of Sour Apple Mixer
  • Garnish with an Apple Slice

Many of these animals comprise the Big 5 (lions, leopards, elephants, buffalos, and rhinos), placed in that group because of their difficulty in hunting. There are also a Small 5 (elephant shrew, buffalo weaver, leopard tortoise, ant lion, rhino beetle), based on miniature versions of the Big 5, as well as an Ugly 5 (warthog, hyena, marabou stork, vulture, and wildebeest), which is kind of self-explanatory.

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August 23 – Death Shot

Get the Tissues

There are some incredibly sad scenes in movies meant for children. Many of these incidents stick with kids, as they did with myself, and require some serious psychological therapy in adulthood. This is going to be a tough article to get through, so make sure you have a drink in one hand and a box of tissues in the other. Here are the Top 5 saddest scenes in kid’s movies:

#5: Rufio – Hook

The leader of the Lost Boys in Peter Pan’s absence, Rufio takes the longest time to accept Peter back into fold, even while other members of the group welcome their long lost front man. Rufio’s death is so shocking because of his young age and childhood exuberance. Not to mention, he and Peter had finally become friends-on again and Rufio is shot point blank by Captain Hook during a climactic battle scene featuring a number of humorous Lost Boys tactics. In a realm where death doesn’t seem to occur, Rufio’s tragic killing snaps viewers back into the real world. We all hoped Rufio would be bangaranging forever, but sadly, that wasn’t meant to be.

#4: Ellie Fredricksen – Up

I’m a huge Disney backer (mainly for the theme parks, although the movies are a’ight too), but man do they love killing off women. Perhaps they are closet misogynists or something. Mrs. Sip and I recently attended an orchestral performance of Pixar film songs and they played the entire opening to Up, complete with video… I don’t think there was a dry eye in the audience. The one thing that cushions the death in this movie is that Ellie lived her adventure and despite her sad passing, wasn’t cut down in her prime like some of the others on this list. It would have been nice, though, if the Fredricksen’s had been able to take that trip to Paradise Falls together.

#3: Optimus Prime – Transformers: The Movie

It’s hard to make a robot’s death matter, but they nailed it in this film. The saddest part about Optimus Prime’s passing is how his team of Autobots react, breaking down in grief from the crushing blow of their leader’s demise. Prime goes out with one of the greatest death bed speeches ever delivered, imploring his Autobots to continue fighting the good fight, while assuring Ultra Magnus that he can be the next leader of the crew. There are, in fact, a number of Transformer deaths in this movie and even more were supposed to occur, but were cut from the film. The losses largely took place to set up a new toy line for the franchise.

#2: Mufasa – Lion King

This is a rare case of Disney killing off a father instead of a mother. In Hamlet-esque style, Mufasa’s broski Scar engineers the death of the king and makes the young prince Simba believe he is to blame (and he kind of is). It’s heart wrenching to watch Simba nuzzle up to his dying dad before going on the run at Scar’s instruction. Simba, of course, grows into a fully-grown lion and with his father speaking to him from beyond the grave, returns to the Pridelands to battle his uncle for his rightful place on the throne… a game of thrones, if you will!

#1: Littlefoot’s Mom – Land Before Time

While the direct-to-video sequels took a much lighter tone, focusing on sing-a-long songs, the original film was gripping with its drama and tragedy. Littlefoot’s mom suffers mortal wounds at the hands and teeth of a ‘Sharptooth’ (aka the original King of the Jungle, the Tyrannosaurus Rex), while protecting her young son from harm. It’s so very sad seeing Littlefoot try to wake up his fallen mother, who can only muster some advice for her kin before dying. Littlefoot is now separated from his herd, as a result of the whole scene, and only the guidance of his mother’s voice can lead him back to safety with his clan.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Death Shot

Death Shot

  • 0.5 oz Tequila
  • 0.5 oz Sambuca
  • Garnish with a Raspberry

Honourable mentions to Old Yeller, Bambi’s mom, and Macaulay Culkin’s character in My Girl. Have I missed anything? What’s your pick for saddest scene in a children’s flick? After reliving all of these moments, it’s really no wonder that the Sip Advisor had anxiety issues regarding death as a little sipper. Perhaps a little more liquid therapy will be needed!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.5 Sips out of 5):
This shooter was exactly what I thought it would be: punishing. I can’t say it tasted bad, but it was strong and I wouldn’t recommend it for those faint of heart… just like these films. The crushed Raspberry was a nice touch for garnish, given the article’s theme and the potent libation. Despite the two clear liquors, I purposely edited the shot to look dark for the finishing touch on this post.

Denmark – Viking Blood

Something Rotten

Despite William Shakespeare being English, his tragic character Prince Hamlet (or Hammy, as I like to call him) is from Denmark, the setting for what is perhaps Shakespeare’s greatest work. Let’s take an in-depth look at the masterpiece, before poisoning ourselves with booze!:

Hamlet-shirt

The full title of the play is The Tragedy of Hamlet… they sure didn’t leave things to surprise the audience back then. It would be like me calling this site: The Tragedy of the Sip Advisor… I mean, Reading Useless Information and Getting Drunk.

Hamlet is Shakespeare’s longest play, consisting of 4,042 lines, 1,530 of them belonging to Hammy. Uncut, the play takes between four and five hours to perform and it’s estimated that at every moment of every day, Hamlet is being performed somewhere around the world.

The Disney animated film The Lion King is based off of the plot of Hamlet, complete with Scar (Claudius) causing the death of his brother Mufasa (King Hamlet) and stealing rule of the Pride Lands (Denmark) from its natural leader Simba (Prince Hamlet). The differences being that Simba’s lady friend Nala (Ophelia) doesn’t go crazy and off herself; Timon and Pumbaa (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern) don’t betray Simba and go off into the sunset singing Hakuna Matata instead of being killed; and Simba lives through the whole ordeal to claim his birthright.

Hamlet-Lion King

Similarly, the movie Strange Brew, borrows elements from Hamlet, particularly subbing the battle for the Danish throne with the Elsinore Brewery. There are also a number of similarities between Hamlet and Batman, particularly in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. As for TV, the biker gang drama Sons of Anarchy features many plot and character points found in Hamlet.

The Simpsons parodied Hamlet in their short story episode Tales from the Public Domain, with Bart playing Prince Hamlet. The segment features what has to be the first death by high-five, as everyone perishes. Homer then states that the Hamlet story was adapted to become the Ghostbusters script and the family dances to the greatest theme song in movie history!

Speaking of Ghostbusters, speculation exists that Shakespeare himself played the role of The Ghost, when Hamlet was being performed at The Globe in London. It’s too bad Slimer never got the chance to take on the character.

Hamlet Everyone Dies

When the Royal Shakespeare Company performed Hamlet in 2009, actor David Tennant used the very real skull of composer André Tchaikowsky during the infamous gravedigger scene. Don’t worry folks, this wasn’t the result of murder most foul. Tchaikowsky donated his skull to the theatre upon his death in 1982, for theatrical use. Almost 30 years later, Tennant was the first actor to make use of Tchaikowsky’s cranium.

Prince Hamlet has been portrayed by everyone from Laurence Olivier to Mel Gibson (does he hate Claudius as much as Jews!?). Other actors to tackle to starring role include: Kenneth Branagh, Richard Burton, Christopher Walken (did cowbells exist during Hamlet’s time!?), Jude Law, and Kevin Kline.

Hamlet Skulls

Prince Hamlet’s “To be, or not to be” soliloquy is one of the most famous passages in all of the performing arts. It has been interpreted many different ways, with scholars debating its meaning to no end. Sounds like a riveting profession, said no one ever.

Tying everything back to Denmark, the castle that plays the setting of Hamlet actually exists. It is Kronborg Castle in the Danish port of Helsingør. Built in the 1420’s by Eric of Pomerania (the Danish King), this World Heritage Site actually houses the occasional performance of Hamlet, usually in the courtyard. Also, a statue of ol’ Hammy was erected in Elsinore to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the play being published. Hopefully the Sip Advisor doesn’t have to wait three centuries to get his due!

Denmark: Viking Blood

Viking Blood Drink Recipe

  • Rim glass with Strawberry Syrup
  • 1 oz Akvavit
  • 1 oz Kahlua
  • Top with Lemon-Lime Soda
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

I was once given the nickname Billy Shakes (a reference to one William Shakespeare), but I have to say that my writing is better… I don’t use silly words like hath and doth!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
So, this is what Viking Blood tastes like… and apparently it’s black. Well, the cocktail itself was decent. I was curious about mixing Kahlua with Lemon-Lime Soda and it worked. I tried to theme the drink with the Strawberry Syrup rim acting as blood and garnishing the cocktail with a Maraschino Cherry to act as a heart. I think it looked alright. Not great, but who said I was ever performing to epic heights!

September 1 – Kir Royale

Your Majesty

There have been many fictional monarchs over the course of history. Some rulers are worthy of mention, while others have had subpar reigns. Here are some of the most liked and most hated to take the throne:

Joffrey Baratheon

As I’ve written before, I can’t wait to see this little brat get his comeuppance. It will happen and the only question is who will deliver that sweet blow? Will it be Tyrion Lannister, who has struggled to rein in Joffrey’s psychopathic behavior? Will it be Daenerys Targaryen, who is building an army to reclaim her family’s rightful place of power? My money is on Arya Stark, who only has sweet revenge on her mind. It will probably be someone we never expected, however. And if you are one of those self righteous people who has some inside knowledge because you’ve “read the book” (cough, cough, Mrs. Sip), don’t tell me a damn thing!

Joffrey

Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler

Jerry Lawler earned his crown in the Memphis wrestling territory and went on to hold that region’s championship countless times… it probably helped that he was usually an owner of the promotion. World Wrestling Entertainment used to also host an annual King of the Ring tournament, which was won by such dignitaries as Randy Savage (with Queen Sherri Martel), Steve Austin, and Brock Lesnar.

Queen of Hearts

Off with their heads! Poor Alice, stuck in Wonderland and having the most bizarre time ever… she goes from a quiet game of croquet to running for her life, while some mad queen wants her head served up by the executioner. And they call croquet a gentleman’s game (I don’t know that for fact, if you haven’t already noticed by now I just make stuff up as I go along). Luckily, Alice escape with her skull still attached to her body, but will she ever be the same?

Kingdom of Eternia

Most people are probably asking: what the hell is this. Well friends, this kingdom would consist of King Randor, Queen Marlena, Prince Adam, and Princess Adora. The last two are otherwise known as He-Man and She-Ra. Together, they were part of one of the greatest marketing concepts ever: combining action figures with cartoons and comics. I only wish I had come up with this billion-dollar idea.

He-Man & She-Ra

Evil Queen

There are few queens that are as wicked as the Evil Queen. She actually enlisted a huntsman to track down Snow White, the fairest of them all, kill her and bring back her heart as proof of the assassination. Her maliciousness has only been heightened on Once Upon a Time where she continues her battles with Snow White, Prince Charming, and all the other characters of Disney fantasy.

Burger King

I wish that I was king of burgers… I’m sure this would come with an endless supply of the meals from all parts of the world. You could probably summon a burger whenever you wanted one. Then, all you’d have to do is become buddies with the Fry King and Milkshake King and you’d have the full meal deal! As long as I didn’t have to look as creepy as the Burger King mascot, I’d be fine with the challenges and responsibilities of such a title.

Simba

Of course I had to have a kitty entry into this category. King of the Pride Lands, Simba has a rough go of things when he is led to believe that his actions caused his father Mufasa’s death. Thankfully, he meets Timon and Pumbaa, who restore his confidence. He also bangs his childhood sweetie, Nala, and then returns home to battle his uncle Scar over his right to the throne. Upon victory, he literally becomes the Lion King, although I have a feeling other kitties would challenge his claims.

Drink #244: Kir Royale

Kir Royal Drink Recipe

I think I’d be a good king, similar to how I preside over all you little sippers. I would make sure that my constituents are provided for in all realms of the booze world, including liquor, mixers, garnishes, and even drunken snackies like chips and pulled pork. If we really want to make this happen, let’s start a revolution tomorrow. Are you in!?

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
Mrs. Sip really liked this mix and she seemed to stumble upon the perfect fix for wines and champagnes that are a little too sweet. As for myself, I enjoyed the cocktail. The Blackcurrant Liqueur is a unique spirit and the Cherry garnish looked awesome!