August 23 – Mosquito Bite

Summertime Blues

Today, I’m going to go against typecast and play the role of Debbie Downer. Summer is an awesome time, but like most things in life, it isn’t perfect. Here are the things that sadly suck about the summer season:

Mosquito Bites

I came up with this list after awaking to some awful itches that are driving me insane as I type this article. The worst thing about mosquitos is that you know they’re around, buzzing by your ear and hunting you down. Sadly, they are good at what they do and if you’re not careful, you’ll wind up bitten to pieces. Poor Mrs. Sip is a mozzie magnet which is usually how I walk away unscathed.

mosquito-bites

Dehydration

I believe I was the victim of dehydration a couple weeks back, which is a little odd because I work diligently to keep myself and others hydrated with not only booze, but water, as well. I guess I just wasn’t on my game that day and a little too much time poolside was giving me flu-like feelings. A half-dozen glasses of cold water and I was feeling myself again… the club can’t handle me, yo!

Intolerable Night Heat

Nothing is more frustrating than trying to sleep during the heights of summer heat. I myself, like to be covered by a blanket when snoozing, but in the summer, I constantly have to throw my legs on top of our comforter or completely toss the covering off. Many sleepless nights are spent trying to acclimatize to the heat and get comfortable. Mrs. Sip encroaching on my side of the bed with her furnace-like temperature doesn’t help matters.

summer

Sun Burns

Speaking of Mrs. Sip, she’s currently nursing a pretty nasty burn thanks to a little too much time in the sun. There is an upside to all this though, because guess who works some pretty decent magic with a bottle of Aloe Vera… that’s right, the Sip Advisor! You have to be diligent with healing a sun burn, so as not to enter the peeling stage, which is beyond gross.

Forest Fires

While a sun burn is like a forest fire for a person’s body, these incidents are capable of leaving a scorched earth that takes years to recover. That’s not even factoring the loss of homes, wildlife, and in the most tragic cases, human life. We’ve had a pretty dry summer in these here parts, but I haven’t heard too much about forest fire issues. Perhaps the cigarette butt-tossing folk have finally learned their lesson.

Drink #235: Mosquito Bite (A Sip Advisor Original Recipe)

Mosquito  Bite Cocktail

  • 1 oz Vodka (I used Smirnoff)
  • 1 oz Fireball Whiskey
  • Top with Milk
  • Garnish with Cinnamon Powder and Stir

Upon making this list, one quickly realizes that these minor inconveniences of summer are totally worth it for such an amazing period of the year. I hope everyone out there enjoys what is left of their summertime fun!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.5 Sips out of 5):
This cocktail was a bit of a miss. It just didn’t come together as expected, but it wasn’t horrible either. I was disappointed not to find a drink called Mosquito Bite, but a couple simply called Mosquito… I refused to have any of that and changed the name to the way I liked it (renegade style!). The bites of Cinnamon are like the stings of a mosquito and the white Milky flesh provides a perfect canvas for the little buggers to do their damage, dotting the work with Cinnamon Powder.

August 16 – Mexican Bulldog

Freebie Frenzy

On my twice daily trips to the liquor store, I love seeing the little freebies that are often attached to a bottle of alcohol. They can sometimes provide the tipping point in what I choose to spend my allowance on. Here are some of the more unique items I’ve seen:

Glass Clip and Rimming Salt – Corona Beer

In homage of today’s frozen cocktail, Corona released a set that included a case of beers, a Margarita-style glass, rimming salt and a clipping device that would allow you to pop a beer bottle into your drink with little fuss or mess. Sadly, I didn’t pick up the set and am kicking myself over it ever since.

Bulldog Clip

Rimming Salt – Sauza Tequila

Much like the above entry, rimming salt and Tequila go hand-in-hand. Legend has it that they were separated at birth and have been destined to walk the earth searching for one another, reuniting solely in Margaritas, Palomas, and Tequila Shooters. It is a quest worth completing.

Playing Cards – Bacardi Rum

What does every boozehound need to have on their person at all times? A deck of playing cards, of course. When the Rum is flowing and fun is needed to be had, is there a better way to find it then shuffling up some cards? You can play a myriad of games, from Strip Poker to King’s Cup and everything in between.

Coaster – Wiser’s Whiskey

The Wiser’s Whiskey advertising campaign celebrating the Society of Uncompromising Men is one of my favourites. Well, what better way to be a classy drinker than to have a travelling coaster with you at all times. The only thing that sucks about giveaways like this are you’d have to buy four bottles to have a complete set of coasters. I’m up for the challenge, though!

Wiser's Coasters

Phone Case – Bacardi Oakheart Spiced Rum

I’ve never actually had a phone skin or protective case. It’s called looking after your shit and not damaging it with reckless disregard. That said, if you want to sport the Bacardi Oakheart logo on your phone, all the power to you. It is a pretty wicked logo and at least now, you won’t be cracking your screen the next time you’re plastered!

Speaker – Smirnoff Vodka

I suppose the theory behind this pairing was that you could take your bottle of Vodka and speaker and create a one-man party! With no one else around, playing garbage music and ruining your funk, the good times would keep on rolling all through the night… until you blacked out in a glorious bender, that is.

Socks – Captain Morgan Spiced Rum

You may be thinking that socks are an odd item for a liquor company to be attaching to their product. And you might be right. It wasn’t even Christmas or anything. I do, however, believe there is a method to the madness here. The Captain Morgan company is simply making sure that their customers don’t get cold feet after passing out.

CMsocks1 CMsocks2 CMsocks3

Cocktail Shaker – Dr. McGillicuddy’s Peach Schnapps

The last time I bought a bottle of Peach Schnapps, it came with a miniature cocktail shaker, which allowed you to make one drink at a time. Sure, it’s not a full-sized shaker, but the intent is to get you interested in mixology and playing around with Peach Schnapps, in particular. That is exactly what I did!

Bottle Light – Absolut Vodka

It’s been a dream of mine for some time now to have a full-sized man cave bar, complete with backlit shelves to highlight all the wonderful liquor I’ve purchased over the years. This device allows you to at least light up one of your bottles, letting it gleam a mesmerizing glow throughout your life, surrounding you with liquid sunshine and warmth.

Drink #228: Mexican Bulldog

Mexican Bulldog Cocktail

  • Rim glass with Strawberry Sugar
  • 2 oz PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur
  • 2 oz Triple Sec
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Blend with Ice
  • 1 Bottle of Coronita Beer
  • Garnish with Lime Wheel

If you’re interested in checking out my previous post on the subject of liquor freebies, you’ll find that here. Do you have a suggestion for a third post on this topic? As always, I’m waiting with bated breath!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
It’s pretty awesome to combine a delicious Margarita (the PAMA Rita is perhaps one of the best I’ve ever had) with a fresh, crisp beer! Coronita Beers were made especially for building the Mexican Bulldogs and they’re a cute little bottle of beer to have around. You have to be cautious with dunking the beer into your drink. Once we had it nestled into the drink, there was no mess to worry about, but first getting the brew in there caused some issues, particularly overflowing.

May 25 – Banana Boomer

Attached at the Hip

I got the formula for today’s shot from one of those recipe cards attached to the bottle of Crème de Banane I bought a few months back. While it’s somewhat common nowadays to receive a few ideas on how to use the liquor you’re buying, companies have also come up with a number of creative freebies to entice customers to purchase their brand over another. Here are some of those items:

Beef Jerky – Alberta Premium Whiskey

Nothing beats buying a bottle of liquor and having a suggested snack right there waiting for your consumption. It’s one stop shopping, as now you don’t have to hit the convenience store on your way home and can get straight to the important part: the drinking! One little side note about Alberta Premium Whiskey: it was the favourite drink of one Jim Lahey on Trailer Park Boys, except the label was covered (for copyright reasons) with Jeddore Premium, a joke on the French J’adore, meaning “I love”!

beefjerky

Glasses – Various

As common as it is to get recipe cards with your booze, a glass to enjoy those recipes in is frequently thrown into the sale’s mix. My favourite glasses that I’ve been able to accumulate include the always classy Crown Royal, the fun-loving Bacardi, and delicious Jack Daniel’s Honey Whiskey shot glass. One day, this could be like a young kid’s baseball card collection… just a little more scrumptious.

Pump – Big Bottles (Smirnoff Vodka, Jack Daniel’s Whiskey)

I’m not sure if anyone other than me has looked close enough, but you know those giant bottles of liquor… I’m talking about the ones that come in at a price of about $100 and are 3 litres… did you ever notice that they come with a giant pump, similar to ones that come on hand soap? I guess that’s not really a freebie and more of a necessary accessory, but it’s pretty cool nonetheless.

Mini Bottles – Various

Another fixture of the liquor freebie is the mini bottle of the same or another brand. If I have the choice between buying a bottle with no mini bottle attached and buying a bottle that comes with a mini bottle of another liqueur I’ve been wanting to try, of course I’m going to take the free mini. I’m smarter than the average alcoholic, after all!

minibottles

Muddler – Bacardi White

I’ve already recounted the tail about how I went out and bought a $40 bottle of rum a few years back, just because it came with a muddler. It was at a time when I was just getting into mixology and experimenting with different ingredients and techniques. While I could have just gone to a kitchen utensil store and picked up a muddler for $10, I figured it never hurts to have a giant bottle of rum accompany said muddler.

Luggage Tags – Fuzion Wines

This is just a neat little add on and a fantastic marketing ploy by Fuzion Wines. What a perfect way to spread word of their wines across the world than have customers (or as I like to affectionately call them, mules) do it for you, as they travel the globe. Not to mention, buyers will be more drawn to your wine among the thousands that exist if you are offering them a little something extra. It’s win-win-win!

Chocolates – Bailey’s Irish Crème, etc.

You might as well indulge your sweet tooth while grabbing some booze to go. These treats are often combined with Irish Crèmes and Chocolate Liqueurs, but can also be found with bottles of wine and even tequila brands. Usually the chocolates are long gone before the bottle of booze has even been tapped (especially with Mrs. Sip around), but it’s the thought that counts.

Drink #145: Banana Boomer

Banana Boomer Shooter

What was your favourite alcohol freebie? I’m sure there are many out there that I’ve missed, given that I largely have to do my liquor shopping in Canada and despite the fact we’re supposed to be some of the nicest, friendliest people in the world, we don’t seem to be extremely high on liquor swag. I guess you can only be so awesome!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This shot tastes very good, an obvious conclusion given the ingredients. You’ll want to be careful with any candy you put into the shot, as they could become a choking hazard (unless you’re into auto-erotic asphyxiation). The one downside of the drink is that it’s a little plain. Still, it’s a fun one to bust out around friends!

April 21 – Gin & Tonic

GIN-Trification

Throughout this 365 drink-per-day challenge, I’ve tried to avoid recipes that are simply [insert alcohol] and [insert mixer]. It pisses me off when liquor companies run ads promoting recipes for their drinks and they’re so basic. I get it; you don’t have time to list a never ending set of ingredients, but at least give me something a little more substantial. That all said, you simply can’t have Gin Week without making a good ol’ fashioned Gin & Tonic!

Now here are some facts about gin that will surely have you salivating for a cocktail:

Gin & Tonic Diet

The libation was actually created in Holland, not England, where it is often associated thanks to all of the London Dry Gin companies (Beefeater, Gordon’s, Plymouth, etc.). In fact, gin’s name comes from the Dutch word for juniper, jenever. Juniper is a key ingredient in gin production and gives it that pine needle taste.

Gin is meant to be mixed with other ingredients, which help the spirit come to life. I remember shooting gin when I was a lot younger and while it would get you drunk, it was not the tastiest of liquors.

The alcohol was once public enemy #1, as in its earlier years it was often a poisonous blend of ingredients made by cheap distillers. Many poor Londoners died from drinking gin and the death rate was higher than the birth rate in the slums of the city. And we all thought Jack the Ripper was evil.

Keeping gin consistently badass, it was a very popular liquor during Prohibition because it could be manufactured anywhere, like in a bathtub, and didn’t have to be stored or aged in barrels. I bet Ernie and his rubber ducky wouldn’t mind having a soak in a Gin-filled tub… at least I wouldn’t mind. I happen to think I would have done well during the Prohibition Era, whether as a gin joint operator, bootlegger, distiller, etc. Just give me one of those wicked tommy guns and let’s rock!

Gin Drinking

The Philippines is the world’s largest consumer of gin. The gin & tonic drink is popular in tropical regions because gin was traditionally used to mask the taste of quinine, which happens to be the cure for malaria and is now also the key ingredient in tonic water (get it? hence the name tonic water). Unfortunately, the amount of quinine in tonic water today is so minimal, you would have to drink about 67 G&Ts per day to get enough of the tonic in order to actually prevent malaria.

Gin used to be the main ingredient in many popular cocktails, such as the martini, but thanks to Smirnoff Vodka’s very successful ad campaign “Vodka leaves you breathless”, vodka has often been substituted for gin. Further cocktails have also seen gin removed in favour of other spirits.

Finally, there is some controversy over the garnishing of gin-based drinks, particularly today’s recipe. While most mixologists insist that a lime be used to accentuate a G&T, in some places, such as the United Kingdom, lemon wedges are sometimes substituted. Some experts have attacked this substitution, calling it an “uncultured alternative”. Poor little lemons… what did they ever do to earn so much ire? (except give people canker sores).

Drink #111: Gin & Tonic

Gin and Tonic

  • Muddle three Lime Wedges
  • 1.5 oz Gin (I used Hendricks)
  • Top with Tonic Water
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

So, even with a very basic recipe, I found a way to spice it up a little with some muddled lime. I always forget how much I dislike Tonic Water until I make a G&T and then it all comes back to me. Once again, I have sacrificed myself for the good of all Sip Nation!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
This is a solid drink, but I’ve never been a huge fan of tonic water. What helped make the concoction a little more palatable was muddling the lime wedges and leaving them in the drink to counteract against the beyond bitter tonic.

March 19 – PAMA-Jama

Thunder Shower

We ain’t talking about a weather system… when Mama and Papa Sip were getting hitched, their friends threw them a party where each guest brought a bottle of alcohol for the happy couple to set them up with a nice bar for the start of a new life together (marriage drives a person to alcoholism joke inserted here). Wanting to pass that tradition on, the Parents Sip planned the same party for Mrs. Sip and me, about a month prior to our wedding. This was our Thunder Shower!

Frankly, it was a wonderful break from the daily wedding planning and a chance to gauge where we were at with the guests who would soon be sharing our special day with us.

Wedding Planning

With the party being Mexican Fiesta-themed (the food included a make your own nachos, tacos and burritos bar – what can I say, Mama and Papa Sip know how to throw a good bash) we were given four bottles of tequila, as well as a couple bottles of margarita mix. Some favourites I’m known for knocking back like Fireball Whiskey, Bacardi Rum, and Smirnoff Vodka were also bequeathed to us.

There were also some new tastes to try, which I’m always happy to oblige. Cousin Sip contributed a bottle of cucumber-infused Hendricks Gin, which I have taken a particular liking to. One set of friends passed along a bottle of Jim Beam Black Cherry Bourbon, as well as a bottle of Cointreau. Mama and Papa Sip gifted us a bottle of Chocolate Whipped Vodka, which quickly became a favourite of Mrs. Sip, whose wine and champagne collection was topped up, too.

All in all, it was a wonderful evening with great food and drinks, good fun with friends and family, and the beginning of our wedding celebration summer.

Marriage

Why do I bring this event up? Well, for a number of reasons. My forum provides me with another chance to thank all of our guests for their generosity and truly show them how much we appreciated and enjoyed their gifts. Next, because I think every couple should get to enjoy a similar event and finally, because today’s drink features PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur, a bottle we received at our Thunder Shower and although we only recently opened it, the results have been thoroughly enjoyable thus far.

Drink #78: PAMA-Jama

Pama-Jama Cocktail

  • 8 Muddled Mint Leaves
  • 1.5 oz PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur
  • Top with Ginger Ale
  • Dash of Lemon Juice
  • Garnish with Lemon Wedge

This has to be one of my favourite drinks of the project to date. I wasn’t sure how much I’d like the liqueur, as I don’t have any recollection of having actually ever eaten a real pomegranate, but once again life proves that as long as alcohol is inside something, it will be enjoyed (or at least consumed). How much did I like the drink? Well, given I’m making at least 365 drinks over the next calendar year, I try not to double up too often. I ended up making three of these for myself and just had to share the recipe with Mrs. Sip. Track it down and give it a shot (literally!). You won’t be disappointed.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (5 Sips out of 5):
A fantastic drink… I can’t say enough good things about this cocktail. It was the first time I busted out my PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur and what a wonderful mix I was treated with to begin my relationship with the spirit!