January 3 – Pink Starburst

It’s Gonna Be Great

Each new year, provides time for reflection and an opportunity to plan for the future. With that in mind, here are the Top 5 things the Sip Advisor is looking forward to in 2015:

#5: New Opportunities

I have a feeling that 2015 will bring about some new adventures in the Sip Advisor’s life… all for the better, of course. Then again, I feel that way every time the calendar turns and while some years don’t hold the developments that others do, I refuse to not look at things with a positive and hopeful outlook. Not to steal a line from the Christmas season, but I hope every little sipper out there gets everything they want out of 2015.

Optimism Glasses

#4: Movies

There are some great theatrical releases in the 2015 pipeline. Regardless of what you’re into, there seems to be something out there for everyone. The films the Sip Advisor is looking forward to most, include The Avengers: Age of Ultron; Minions; Ted 2; and Deadpool. While I have absolutely no interest in it, it should be noted that Fifty Shades of Grey will finally hit theatres, so one can expect a spike in vibrator sales across the globe, following its debut!

#3: TV Shows

Returning to the small screen early this year are a host of great comedies, including Archer; Parks and Recreation (for its seventh and final season); and Community, the show that keeps on kicking. It’s hard to pick one out of those three that I’m anticipating the most, but I think the edge would have to go to Archer. Better Call Saul will also debut in 2015, for those looking to fill their Breaking Bad void!

Archer Astronaut

#2: Vacations

Already on the travel calendar for 2015 are jaunts to Disneyland, perhaps twice (once for a Sip Alliance member’s birthday scavenger hunt and later for the resort’s 60th anniversary); Portland for the Spring Beer and Wine Festival; and a likely trip to Las Vegas sometime during the summer. Mrs. Sip also has the wild idea of us going to South Africa in September, where the Sip Advisor will have to deal with his fear of snakes, Ebola, and hostile tribes, all at once!

#1: Flavour Revolution

Of course, one of the most enjoyable elements of the upcoming year will be the Sip Advisor’s Flavour Revolution Project, which will be rocking the world throughout 2015. I’m also really excited about adding some more personal coverage to the site with the “Out and About with the Sip Advisor” feature… it’s about time I combine all the fun I’m having with this wonderful site!

Super Saturday Shot Day: Pink Starburst

Pink Starburst Shot

  • 0.5 oz Vanilla Vodka
  • 0.25 oz Watermelon Pucker
  • Splash of Sour Mix
  • Garnish with a Pink Starburst

We need to enjoy 2015 to the max because 2016 will be inundated with a nearly full year of political coverage in the U.S., as they approach their presidential election. That’s one thing the Sip Advisor certainly isn’t looking forward to in the future.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
The recipe for this shooter seems incredibly out of proportion, asking the maker to combine four ounces of liquid… that’s enough to fill at least three shot glasses. I’ve tried my best to bring the measurements down to an acceptable number, but that may throw the taste out of whack. In fact, the Vanilla Vodka provides a different aftertaste than you are used to from the actual candy, but it’s still relatively tasty.

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South Africa – Brown Elephant

Animal Crackers

Mrs. Sip and I hope to one day travel to South Africa and its neighbouring countries to enjoy a safari tour. I’ve always enjoyed the animatronic versions of the Jungle Cruise at the Disney Parks (even the corny jokes), so why not experience the real thing. I think my only issue with the entire trip would be encountering any snakes. The Black Mamba can kill 12 men within an hour it’s so venomous. While I hope to avoid the slithering folk as much as possible, here’s what I wouldn’t mind doing with some of the other inhabitants of the pride land!

Boxed Lunch

Nap with Lions

Lions sleep about 20 hours each day, which sounds pretty awesome. Think about it, the ‘King of the Jungle’ sits atop the animal food chain, usually has a harem of lady kitties to choose from, and doesn’t really have to do anything to earn that power… that’s a pretty sweet existence. The lions could even keep you warm with the fur and playful mauling… um, I mean cuddling!

Stretch Out with Giraffes

I thoroughly enjoy a good stretch every now and again. When you’re as lazy as I claim to be (and I’m damn proud of it) you’ll find that stretching can be extremely rewarding and may even be the most exercise you experience is a week’s time. My favourite body part to stretch is my tongue. Keeping that organ limber has helped me be able to tie a cherry stem into a knot… yes, Mrs. Sip is a lucky lady!

Don’t Give a Shit with Honey Badgers

I have so much respect for these weasels. They are so bad ass that they can be bitten by a deadly snake, turn around and thrash that same serpent before eating it.  They’re incredibly aggressive and persistent, often winning a fight by simply tiring their opposition. And then they walk around like they just don’t care. Teach me, oh wise honey badger.

Play Hungry Hungry Hippos with… well, Hippopotami!

Hippos are vegetarians, which means we better be competing for two different food supplies. I don’t want any damn vegetables on the game board unless they’re side dishes for a main course of some kind of animal. I guess veggies are still better than those little balls they’re trying to chomp in the classic board game. I don’t think plastic is easily digested by either human or hippo.

Hungry Hippo

Stampede with Elephants

I certainly couldn’t retain water like elephants or go without drinking for long periods of time, but we could go for a run together and cause a little mayhem. I feel I’m far too mild-mannered in my life and perhaps there is much to learn from the elephants. They seem pretty docile until riled up and then watch out tree, you’re coming down.

Watch Stand-up Comedy with Hyenas

If you’re up for a good chuckle, why not enjoy some humour with a pack of hyenas. My only worry is that they won’t really get the jokes and will only cackle to not appear out of place. Don’t you hate those people? The ones who clearly don’t get it, but then over exaggerate their reaction just to be part of the moment. Typical hyenas…

Chew the Fat with Crocodiles

Sterling Archer’s second greatest fear is okay by me. That’s not to say I want to go for an underwater roll with it… I like my fresh air, thank you very much (although I can drink a beer underwater, so maybe I am part amphibious!?). I wish I had a set of chompers like a croc. That would make devouring everything from meat to caramels that much easier.

Croc Cannibalism

Gore Things with Rhinos

I think I’d be great at smashing into things with my head. I have been known to be stubborn and hard-headed and also have eradicated much of my brain cells, thereby making any concussion issues non-existent. I often get Mrs. Sip’s attention by butting my head into her shoulder. She doesn’t appreciate this very much, but it is a sincere sign of love on my part.

Evolve with Gorillas

I think it’s pretty amazing that us humans come from primates. Perhaps, and keep in mind I only play a scientist on TV, it’s the other way around and gorillas evolved from humans. If the Planet of the Apes franchise has taught me anything, it’s that gorillas probably wouldn’t take too kindly to me infiltrating their ranks and would outwit me with their vast intelligence and moxie.

Blend in with Zebras

These masters of disguises sure know how to disappear within their environment. As an introvert personality type, I sure could learn a lot by mimicking their blending techniques. That way, I could go to an unlimited number of parties and never be bugged by people trying to engage in small talk. I think people have grown tired of my shifty eyes and one word answers. I’m really only there to drink, anyway!

South Africa: Brown Elephant

Brown Elephant Drink Recipe

  • 2 oz Amarula
  • Top with Milk and Cola
  • Garnish with a Chocolate Stick

What would you like to do with the animals of the safari? One thing you probably want to avoid is spreading diseases with mosquitos… like a drug, it can be a hard world to extricate yourself from and you’ll probably have to go through a rehabilitation regime to get yourself back to normal.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
I decided to use Chocolate Milk with this recipe, harkening back to my early days as a wee little sipper when the first cocktail I ever created was called Zap and mixed Chocolate Milk with Cola. Add in that wonderful Amarula cream liqueur and you had one very happy Sip Advisor!

South Africa – African Lullaby

His Excellency

Our voyage across the Atlantic Ocean ends with our arrival in South Africa. It’s pretty easy to pick out the country’s most notable citizen. Competing against the likes of wrestler Col. DeBeers (actually played by American Ed Wiskoski) and disgraced Olympian Oscar Pistorius, it’s a no-brainer that Nelson Mandela stands above the rest of the nation’s celebrities. Here are some facts about the man, the myth, the legend, that might not be very well known:

Mandela Quote

Mandela’s birth name “Rolihlahla” means troublemaker (or pulling the branch of a tree, but troublemaker is so much cooler, especially given the changes Mandela was responsible for). He was given the name Nelson by a teacher on his first day of school, as African children were given English names so colonial masters could pronounce them easier.

The man known as Madiba (a term of endearment and respect) was on the U.S. terror watch list until 2008 due to his militant fight against apartheid with members of the African National Congress. He was 89 years old when finally removed from the record.

Mandela was a boxing fan and found similarities in the sport to his struggle, according to his biography Long Walk to Freedom: “I did not like the violence of boxing. I was more interested in the science of it – how you move your body to protect yourself, how you use a plan to attack and retreat, and how you pace yourself through a fight.”

Outside the sports arena, Mandela was a big fan of the late 90’s pop group, the Spice Girls. He claimed upon meeting them in 1997, “These are my heroes.” Perhaps the leader should have parlayed some of his power into a ménage a cinq!

Original Spice Girls

Mandela opened the first black law firm in South Africa and provided free counsel to many blacks.

The prison cell Mandela occupied for 18 years on Robben Island is now a World Heritage Site. The cell measures 8-feet by 7-feet and contained a straw mat to sleep on. While incarcerated, Mandela was forced to work in a quarry and denied the use of sunglasses. The intense glare coming off the limestone permanently damaged his sight.

Towns, streets, squares, parks, buildings, schools, monuments, flowers (Madiba and Mandela’s Gold), a nuclear particle (Mandela particle), and even a woodpecker (australopicus nelsonmandelai) have been named after the former South African president.

Mandela was a noted ladies’ man in his youthful days, as documented in the book Young Mandela. It’s said he carried on numerous affairs at any given time proving just exactly how awesome he was.

Mandela Stud

Ladies man, indeed!

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Mandela’s second wife, was convicted of kidnapping, involving the abduction and murder of a 14-year-old suspected police informant. Mandela later divorced Madikizela after 38 years of marriage, including all of Mandela’s time while incarcerated. Other accusations made against Madikizela include ordering murders, violent interrogations, and supporting the use of “necklaces” (a death sentence of putting a burning tire around the head of an enemy).

Mandela’s film credits include Spike Lee’s Malcolm X, in which he plays a teacher reciting the activist’s famous speech. Mandela would not say the line “By any means necessary,” due to his pacifist beliefs, so the movie ends with footage of Malcolm X delivering the axiom.

Morgan Freeman played Mandela in the movie Invictus, about South Africa’s underdog victory at the 1995 Rugby World Cup, an event which has been credited for uniting the citizens of the country, regardless of colour or creed. The title of the movie is also the name of the William Ernest Henley poem Mandela drew strength from during his long imprisonment.

Other actors who have portrayed Mandela include: Idris Elba (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom), Danny Glover (Mandela), Terrence Howard (Winnie Mandela), and Dennis Haysbert (Goodbye Bafana).

South Africa: African Lullaby

African Lullaby Cocktail

  • 2 oz Amarula
  • Top with Milk
  • Splash of Coconut Milk/Rum
  • 2 Dashes of Nutmeg
  • Garnish with Coconut Shavings and Cinnamon

Lastly, it should be noted the Mandela deplored the vuvuzela horn… okay, I don’t know this for fact, but I have to assume that a dude as cool as Mandela would grow tired of the annoying horn eventually!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
I’ve always been curious about Amarula cream liqueur (amarula is an African fruit) and finally decided to grab a bottle for this Around the World project. It’s a very nice spirit on its own and made this cocktail unique and delicious. The recipe suggests to use Coconut Milk, but I went with Coconut Rum to change things up. After all, regular Milk is already part of the drink.