Mixer Mania #27 – The Right Mix

Just like how Sweet & Sour Mix works so well in many a cocktail, opposites attract and that can certainly be said for these couples. While one of the duo is a kinder, gentler soul, the other has no qualms about unleashing their fury:

Edith & Archie Bunker – All in the Family

How the sweet and naïve Edith ever ended up with gruff and narrow-minded Archie is one of life’s great mysteries. They made it work, though, as it took someone with Edith’s demeanor to love and balance the often insufferable Archie.

Lois & Hal – Malcolm in the Middle

Dealing with the stress of four (with a fifth coming later) challenging sons, would take its toll on any mother. When your husband also acts like a child, you just can’t get ahead. Or perhaps that husband is the glue that keeps the family working. I’ll credit Bryan Cranston with anything and everything.

Hal & Lois

Doug & Carrie Heffernan – King of Queens

Some of the things Carrie does to her family and friends is downright deplorable. Meanwhile, Doug is a happy-go-lucky type counterbalancing his wife. Maybe Carrie was just pissed she ended up with such an oaf… guess I better watch out for similar signs from Mrs. Sip.

April & Andy – Parks and Recreation

Super goof Andy Dwyer and snarky April Ludgate somehow combine to make an endearing couple. Once again, this is a balance thing; however, it helps that April isn’t all that mean behind her not-so-friendly outward façade.

Stan & Francine Smith – American Dad

You figure combinations like ultra conservative Stan Smith and fairly liberal wife Francine would be a recipe for disaster, but you’d be wrong. While Francine appears to be laid back, there’s a fierceness that only Stan can truly bring out of her and then lookout…

Stan & Francine

Kermit the Frog & Miss Piggy – The Muppets

For Kermit the Frog, it ain’t easy being green… and that isn’t helped by his on-again, off-again girlfriend Miss Piggy, who’s a diva if there ever was one. While Kermit can often find himself in the crosshairs of Miss Piggy’s ire, she still loves her ‘Kermy’ with all her heart.

Shrek & Princess Fiona – Shrek

When one member of a couple is a feared and reviled ogre, you’re already starting off on unequal footing. Enter Princess Fiona to soften Shrek’s anger and reintroduce him to civilization, following years of reclusiveness. Being a fellow ogre helps, too.

Cersei Lannister & Robert Baratheon – Game of Thrones

I just had to include uber bitch Cersei Lannister somewhere on this list. While Robert Baratheon may have his own demons, his jovial personality is a stark contrast to the scheming and cutthroat behaviour of his queen. A queen who eventually has him killed.

Mixer Mania #27: Black Widow

Black Widow.JPG

  • 1.5 oz Dark Rum
  • 1 oz Southern Comfort
  • Top with Sweet & Sour Mix
  • Garnish with a Lemon Twist

Of course, Disney seems to be all over the theory of sweet and sour opposites attracting, with other more recent examples including Belle and The Beast (Beauty and the Beast), Flynn Ryder and Rapunzel (Tangled), Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde (Zootopia), Fix-It Felix and Calhoun (Wreck-It Ralph) and even WALL-E and EVE (Wall-E).

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
I doubled each of the ingredients for this cocktail, as I live by the motto: “Drink big or don’t drink at all!” The martini was pretty good, if a little on the sweet side (where was the sour?). Of particular note was the Captain Morgan’s Black Spiced Rum, which had a root beer flavour to it.

Mixer Mania #21 – The Thirst Quencher

Today’s feature mixer is Gatorade, which may be best known for its use in pro sports. The drink isn’t only meant for consumption, though, and has become a part of team celebrations. Here are some interesting facts about the Gatorade Shower:

A Ritual is Born

This odd sports tradition was started innocently enough when Jim Burt of the New York Giants drenched head coach Bill Parcells with a cooler of the drink following the team’s victory over the Washington Redskins on October 28, 1984. Apparently, the shower was the result of Burt feeling he was mistreated by Parcells during the previous week. The following season, Parcells was cascaded with Gatorade 17 times, en route to the 1986 Super Bowl Championship.

Gatorade with Gators

Giving Credit

The practice of the Gatorade Shower is often mistakenly credited to Dan Hampton of the Chicago Bears, probably because he claims to have invented the exercise. Unfortunately for Hampton, his first recorded washing of coach Mike Ditka occurred about a month after the Burt-Parcells occasion.

Jumping Leagues

Doc Rivers of the Boston Celtics was reportedly the first NBA coach to receive a Gatorade shower, following the team’s 2008 NBA Championship. I can only imagine the hazard this created on the hardwood surface of the basketball court.

Odds Maker

One of the bets people can put their money on during the Super Bowl has to do with what colour the Gatorade will be when it’s splashed onto the winning coach. Even the curmudgeonly Bill Belichick has received colourful sports drink drenchings in the past.

Gatorade Commercial

Killer

Would you believe that the custom has actually contributed to a death? At the age of 68, Pro Football Hall of Fame coach George Allen was dunked by his Long Beach State players and weeks later died of pneumonia. Sure, there could have been other contributing factors, but one has to wonder if the icy beverage simply claimed its first victim.

Too Soon

In 2002, Kentucky coach Guy Morriss was doused by his team with mere seconds remaining on the score clock. Unfortunately, this occurred as their opponents, Louisiana State, threw a Hail Mary pass that after pinballing around a little, was hauled in for a touchdown and an LSU 33-30 victory. The incident is known as the Bluegrass Miracle.

Things to Come

One could argue that the Gatorade Shower was a precursor to the Ice Bucket Challenge, which had folks dousing themselves with buckets of icy water during the summer of 2014, hoping to raise money for ALS research. I still wish I’d had the chance to nominate Mrs. Sip for a dunking.

Mixer Mania #21: Southern Rain

Southern Rain.JPG

  • 1.5 oz Southern Comfort
  • Top with Gatorade
  • Garnish with a Strawberry

Despite the Sip Advisor’s massive popularity, it looks like my skills don’t translate to any team sports and therefore I’ll likely never be on the receiving end of a Gatorade Shower. I can still dream, though!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
I picked up this variation of Gatorade (Summit Storm) because the colour was so unique. Unfortunately, that didn’t translate to this cocktail and may work better with clear spirits. As for taste, the Gatorade is light, but works well with the Southern Comfort.

Mixer Mania #8 – Family First

Fruit Punch is like the United Nations of juices, bringing crops of all walks of life together and trying to co-exist in harmony. That also sounds like the description for a blended family… therefore, here are some of the best fictional merged units to ever come together:

The Brady Bunch

The original blended TV family saw a mother and her three daughters join a father and his three sons. Of course, there was also maid Alice to play peacekeeper between the factions, so long as she wasn’t out with boyfriend, Sam the butcher (an awesome wrestling name!). Cousin Oliver later came along, although he basically signaled the end of the series and his name is now used to describe when a show adds a young character to avoid cancellation.

Step Brothers

It’s one thing to find common ground with young children that are suddenly asked to act like kin, but when you’re trying to find peace between two middle-aged slackers still living at home, it can be a total nightmare. Such was the case for Brennan Huff and Dale Doback, as their mother and father, respectively, decide to marry and bring their families together. They do become close, in the end, but the early stages included attempted murder.

step-brothers

Step by Step

An updated 90’s version of The Brady Bunch saw TV darlings Suzanne Somers and Patrick Duffy combine their offspring to make one massive family. Add in cousin Cody – who lives in a van on the Lambert-Foster property, despite their massive house – and you have a pretty large household. This was TGIF programming at its finest, my little sippers, and they even tried to shoehorn a new baby into the show, prior to advance-aging her.

Blended

You’d figure after starring together previously in The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates that Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore wouldn’t be strangers anymore, but here they were bringing their respective families together in Africa of all places. Sandler, a widower with three daughters is joined by Barrymore and her two sons from a previous marriage and hilarity ensues when they’re placed in a myriad of African mishaps, before falling in love.

X-Men

While not a typical blended family, the students of Charles Xavier’s School for the Gifted are like one big clan, with many of the mutants forced from their birth homes by parents who either can’t handle their child’s extraordinary powers or are too scared to. Sure, things get a little weird when you consider some of the romantic relationships sparked within the group and the jury is still out on whether Professor X is a good father or not.

wolverine-kid

Modern Family

When Jay Pritchett married Gloria Delgado, her son Manny was also part of the deal. Later on, Jay and Gloria have a child of their own to add to the mix. As the show’s name implies, the series includes a number of different family mixes, such as the Dunphy’s – your “typical” family of mom, dad, and three kids – and the Tucker-Pritchett clan, which is comprised of a gay couple and their adopted Vietnamese daughter.

The Cleveland Show

After reuniting with his high school crush, Cleveland Brown and son Cleveland Jr. end up shacking up with Donna Tubbs and her two children from her previous marriage, Roberta and Rallo. The move from Quahog, Rhode Island to Stoolbend, Virginia means a whole new set of family and friends for the Browns, who initially struggle to meld with the Tubbs unit. Eventually, they return to Quahog, as most blended families do when their spinoff is cancelled.

Once Upon A Time

A big theme in Disney animated movies (and the fairy tales that they’re based on) is that of the blended family. Therefore, it’s no surprise that these would be transferred over to the Once Upon A Time world, most notably with Evil Queen Regina becoming the stepmother of Snow White and later sharing mother duties of young Henry with Emma Swan, the boy’s biological mama. Regina also becomes a pseudo mother to Robin Hood’s son.

Mixer Mania #8: Alabama Riot

Alabama Riot.JPG

  • 2 oz Southern Comfort
  • 1 oz Peppermint Schnapps
  • 1 oz Vodka
  • Top with Fruit Punch
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with Strawberry Slices

I must ask, if the world drank more Fruit Punch, would we be more accepting of each other’s differences? Yeah, probably not, but it would be neat if the solution was that simple…

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
With this recipe, I was most curious with how the Peppermint Schnapps would work with the other ingredients. While it actually made a decent partnership with the Fruit Punch, it still remained a little too noticeable. I happy I tried the drink, though.

November 14 – False Alarm

Audial Dismay

Last week, we looked at the heavenly sounds that bring a smile to my face. This week, we’re not so lucky. This article might as well be called: “The Sounds that Keep the Sip Advisor Up at Night, Living in a Downtown Condo.” That’s simply too long, though, so here we go with the aptly titled “Bad Sounds”:

#5: Crying Babies/Kids

While this causes a natural instinct to kick in among mothers, it’s annoying as hell to everyone else in the general vicinity. Don’t get me wrong, I feel for the parents of a wailing youngster, as I know I will likely be in that position one day. That doesn’t stop the clamor from waking the Sip Advisor as he’s trying to catch a little shuteye on flights or enjoy the typically pleasant sounds of Disneyland. The worst is when a kid can turn it off and on, in an attempt to get attention.

cry boobs appear

#4: Trucks Backing Up

Beep, beep, BEEEEEEP… you get the point. Mrs. Sip and I live near a few businesses and I am often disturbed from my slumber by this increasingly annoying sound. I get the safety reason behind larger vehicles being able to warn people and other cars that they’re reversing, but why do these cautions have to be so loud, especially in the middle of the night in residential areas. Can’t you see a psychopathic driver setting his truck in reverse and then abandoning it, revelling in the misery of those within earshot!?

#3: Honking Horns

The Sip Advisor really hates people that are horn happy (almost called them horny, but I don’t discriminate there). The type of people that tap their horn whenever they are frustrated, regardless of if it’s justified or not. Yes, traffic might be backed up, but laying on your horn isn’t going to help matters. The worst is when I’m walking along, lost in thought and I’m startled by some idiot blaring his horn. Usually, when I looked around to see what the commotion is about, there’s no issue at all.

horn gun shots

#2: Alarm Clock

No matter how nice the file you choose on your phone or whether it’s your favourite song of all-time, when this noise wakes you up, you’re not very happy. It can actually make you turn sour on a song you used to enjoy, as I went through when Mrs. Sip used Californication by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers for a couple years. Now she uses Coldplay’s Paradise, but I’m not sure I ever really liked that song in the first place. The only good alarm is waking up naturally, on your own schedule.

#1: Car Alarms

Worse than an alarm you’re expecting, is one you don’t, especially if it goes unclaimed, as it always does in the case of useless car alarms. With all the street parking downtown, Mrs. Sip and I are subjected to car alarms on a near regularly basis. Worst of all, is when the terrorizing sounds follow you while camping, of all places. You figure you’re getting away from all the disturbances of city life when you’re out in the wilderness, but that wasn’t the case recently for us. I exasperatedly looked at Mrs. Sip and said, “We just can’t get away from it!”

Super Saturday Shot Day: False Alarm

Some honourable mentions include dripping water, insects buzzing by your head, and emergency vehicle sirens, which narrowly misses making the list because of its necessity. Have I missed a sound that you find absolutely unnecessary and deplorable? Let me know!

September 12 – Life Flight

Frenzied Flights

As Mrs. Sip and I prepare for a 36-hour flight itinerary from Vancouver, Canada to Livingstone, Zambia, I am reminded of the many plane rides from hell that have entertained us over the years. Hopefully the two of us won’t have to deal with any convicts, terrorists, or venomous snakes, among other obstacles, and the journey is nothing but smooth sailings. These folks weren’t so lucky!

#5: Airplane!

Food on flights is pretty awful a majority of the time and mass food poisoning is only one of the many mishaps the passengers of Flight #209 had to deal with. Even their pilot was stricken by the illness. Personally, I’m still hesitant to touch airline meals after getting sick following our flight from Morocco to London last year and it’s not like I ever craved the barely-passable-as-food substances anyway.

airplane-boop

#4: Snakes on a Plane

While I’m fascinated by snakes, I’m also terrified of the creatures. If I was aboard a flight where dozens of the poisonous reptiles were unleashed (and stimulated to attack), the Sip Advisor would be hysterical and yes, there would be just as much cursing coming from my mouth as Samuel L. Jackson’s. You know, just minus the heroic courage and quotable punchlines!

#3: Con Air

As if snakes weren’t bad enough, imagine a plane full of violent criminals. That’s certainly not pleasant, but on the upside, you’re the one wrongly-convicted dude amongst them and you’ve served your time and just want to get home to your woman and baby girl. Of course, things don’t go according to plan and not even the worst southern accent in the history of film will help you!

first-class-passengers

#2: Air Force One

The concept of terrorists aboard an airliner became all too real, thanks to the 9/11 attacks. Back in 1997, though, it was largely Hollywood action fodder. So, Indiana Jones… er, I mean President James Marshall (played by Harrison Ford), finds himself aboard the Commander-in-Chief’s private plane, except he’s not alone. He’s joined by members of a Russian terrorist group and they’re looking for a bargaining chip.

#1: Twilight Zone

One of the worst aspects of air travel is your fellow passengers. They can be rude, smelly, anxious, obnoxious, and inconsiderate. I’ve even been on a few flights where passengers have nearly come to blows. What would be even worse, would be a passenger complaining about a monster being on the wing of your plane… especially if you’re trying to grab a little shuteye. The crazy part is the guy was actually right – dun dun dun!

Super Saturday Shot Day: Life Flight

It should also be noted that Launchpad McQuack of DuckTales and Darkwing Duck fame has one of the worst pilot records in history. Sure, once he’s up in the air, he’s a deft pilot. Problem is, he’s never met a landing that he liked, making for a white-knuckle ride every time!

October 22 – Angry Dan

Festival Phooey

My little sippers, my thesis is simple: the price of some liquor events is insane!

Case in point, Mrs. Sip and I were looking forward to attending our first Vancouver Hopscotch event this November, even making peace with the $50 (plus tax and service charge) cost that came along with the whiskey and scotch lover’s dream experience. That is, until we began looking into just what exactly our near $60 entrance fee entailed.

All you get for your little nest egg of an investment is a souvenir glass and five drink tokens. FIVE tokens! That works out to more than $10 a pop for a little tiny sample. Sure, they bring in stuff from around the world (around 300 products), including some libations you may never have the chance to taste otherwise, but that’s ridiculous value for your hard-earned cash. It also sounded like some booths could charge you more than one token per sample. That could translate to paying $20 or more for a little sip of liquor that you might not even enjoy.

Similarly, I turned down invites this summer to go to the Vancouver Craft Beer Week Beer Festival, not because I had other plans, but because I didn’t agree with the perks of the event. For $35 (plus taxes and fees, of course), attendees received a miniscule three tokens and the typical commemorative taster glass. Why in the world would I pay $10-plus per beer sample, when I could go to many local bars and get the same brews in pint-size servings for the same price? Hell, why wouldn’t I invest that $10 towards an entire pack or case of beers, at any nearby liquor store?

expensive-taste-low-budget

Sure, it only cost $1.10 (they couldn’t just round it off at a buck!?) at Hopscotch and $1.25 at the VCBW Beer Festival, for additional tokens, but that’s just added charges on top of your already high dowry. And guess what, if you happen to get a little hungry, you still have to pay extra for any food that may or may not be available.

For events like these, I’d rather they nix the bands or other entertainment and souvenir glass (how many of these do I really need cluttering up my cupboards?) and give everyone 10 tokens… even then, you’re not getting good bang for your buck. I know many vendors don’t even ask for your ticket or token, but some people (ie. your faithful Sip Advisor) usually gives it up willingly, in order to avoid that awkward moment between server and drinker.

Liquor events aren’t all bad, though. Mrs. Sip and I, along with Ma and Pa Sip, attended the Portland Beer and Wine festival last Easter and what an amazing event that was. For only $20, we received a souvenir glass and a whopping 10 tokens that could be spent on beer, wine, spirits, food items, a used vehicle (okay, not that one), etc. And additional tokens were only $1! Not to mention the live entertainment and info sessions that were all part of the spectacle. We will be back, as info for the 2015 event is already online with deals such as $22 for entry, a glass (wine or beer), and 10 tokens. That’s on top of free entry to the first 500 visitors on the Friday.

bender beer festival

Even in Canada, you can come across great events. In August, to celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary, Mrs. Sip and I attended the Made with Love cocktail competition. We paid only $55 (the early bird price, but even full fare was only $65) and were treated to unlimited cocktail samples from 13 of the city’s top bartenders. On top of that, food was included and damnit, it was good. It still has me craving fried plantains!

Earlier the same summer, the Sip Alliance went to the annual Tip N’ Taste event in Langley, B.C. We had been a couple times many years before, but had lost interest when event organizers lost their way and dramatically raised prices to the event. This year, the price was back down to what it should be, $25. With that, attendees received five drink tokens and five food tokens with a great variety of vendors on both sides of the equation.

Well, now that I’ve cleared my conscious and had my little rant, let’s have a little drink together!

Sip Commentary #1: Angry Dan

Angry Dan Cocktail

  • 2 oz Southern Comfort
  • 2 oz Fireball Whiskey
  • Top with Cola
  • Garnish with a Lime Wheel

Want to get your own displeasure with liquor event pricing off your chest? Feel free to vent with a profanity-laced comment below!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
For this inaugural commentary (aka rant) post – more to come in the future – I wanted a drink that had the word “Angry” in it and coincidentally, this cocktail actually includes the Sip Advisor’s first name! The drink was quite nice with a soft burn at the end of each sip. The only downside is that it’s a typical liquor and mixer cocktail, lacking any real complexity.

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.