Cocktail Corner – Midnight Martini

Let the Good Times Roll

Last week, we looked at the Top 5 people and groups who had the worst 2015. This week, we look at those who enjoyed the year so much, they probably wish the calendar never turned over. Let’s get the party started!

#5: Donald Trump

Despite being a complete ass, Donald Trump is looking like the next Republican candidate for President of the United States. Some have joked that this is a blessing to Hilary Clinton or whoever holds the Democrat nomination, but the fact Trump has gained any hold over the race can be deemed a success for his camp (and all the fellow bigots who swallow his crap). As he leads the polls, I can’t help but hear the thundering hooves of the four horsemen of the apocalypse approach…

Donald Trump Bankrupt

#4: Justin Trudeau

After being elected Prime Minister of Canada, Trudeau became a media darling not only within his own country, but in many other parts of the world. He’s been viewed as the most attractive political leader in the universe and many have urged him to strike while the iron is hot. Having ousted former Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, who many viewed as a tyrant and bringer of doom, helped in his ascent and much is anticipated from the new head of state in 2016.

#3: Chinese Parents

I can’t imagine being limited to a set number of kids, should I choose to have any at all, but for 35 years, couples living in China were limited to having just one child. This had the adverse effect of dwindling the female population in the country, as parent’s preferred to sire a male heir to continue their bloodlines. That will all be no more, as the republic declared that the law would be repealed and that partners would now be able to have up to two children.

One Child Policy

#2: Disney and Star Wars

Notwithstanding a lackluster reception for episodes 1-3, faith was renewed in the Star Wars saga thanks to Episode 7: The Force Awakens. Hype for the film was palpable and as someone who is not a fan of the franchise, even I must admit that the new movie was quite good and I’m looking forward to its sequels. Disney, having bought the rights to the space opera, is now building Star Wars themed lands at many of its resorts and I’ll be the judge of whether that’s a good thing, in the future.

#1: Caitlyn Jenner

While there are mixed opinions on Caitlyn Jenner, one thing that can’t be denied is that she brought the issue of transgendered people to a height of public debate that it had never experienced before. Jenner’s choice to live her life as a female, while existing in the public eye, has led to numerous accolades, including being the recipient of the ESPY’s Arthur Ashe Courage Award and being named Barbara Walters’ Most Fascinating Person of 2015 and Glamour Magazine’s Woman of the Year.

Cocktail Corner: Midnight Martini

Jan 13

Honourable mentions include teams that brought home championships in their respective leagues, the LGBT community, potheads everywhere, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lawrence, and the Toronto Blue Jays, who after two decades of futility, finally gave their fans something to cheer about.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
I haven’t had the chance to use my Patron XO Café Tequila very often, but looked forward to applying it to this recipe. To accentuate the martini, I used Stoli Salted Karamel Vodka and the two mixed well together. Start with a drizzle of Caramel Sauce around the glass and you have the makings of a great cocktail!

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June 14 – Who’s Ya Daddy?

Father Knows Best

Much like we did for Mother’s Day last month, for Father’s Day, we’ll take a peek at some of the worst hombres out there, so we can truly appreciate the male role models in our life. Here are the Top 5 worst dads:

#5: George Bluth, Sr. – Arrested Development

The patriarch of the Bluth family is a prime culprit for why his children have turned out to be so rotten. Sure, mother Lucille isn’t that much better and is perhaps even worse, but George has played a significant role in ruining his kid’s lives. I mean, the series basically kicks off with his arrest for shady business practices and he spends most of the series behind bars or on the run. George’s son Gob could even make the list, although for a long time, Gob didn’t even know he was a father. The problem, is that when he learned of his son’s existence, he still didn’t do much to have a relationship with him and instead carried on in his normal selfish fashion.

George Bluth

#4: Peter Griffin – Family Guy

Forget his complete stupidity and lack of compassion, Peter Griffin is a horrible father in every way possible. The way he treats his daughter Meg, in particular, is criminal (although admittedly, occasionally funny). Peter’s own dad – or at least who he thought was his biological father – was mean-spirited and neglectful to him and it seems Francis Griffin’s childrearing techniques have been passed down a generation. While he seems to mostly get along with his sons Chris and Stewie, they have also been at odds over various issues, as well. Somehow they still find a way to love the dope and thus we have the Family Guy.

#3: Darth Vader – Star Wars

So, first this guy slices off his son’s hand and then drops the bombshell on him that he’s his father! That’s some top-notch caretaking there. It should also be noted that all Darth Vader wants to do is swing Luke Skywalker over to the dark side. That’s like fathers in this day in age bringing their children along for drive-by shootings and bank robberies. Sure, he finally redeems himself a little before his death, but your general silence towards your children pushes them into an unwittingly incestuous moment. I never knew the Star Wars empire resembled that of the backwoods, but apparently it’s not that far off… just look at the Ewoks!

Darth Vader Father

#2: Tywin Lannister – Game of Thrones

There is some good competition for worst father on this show and an entire list could be compiled based on the father figures presented. Tywin Lannister tops them all, though, thanks to his range of bad deeds and prominence in the series. He is quick to pit his children against each other and disregards their feelings if they don’t jive with his aspirations of improving the family name and place in the realm. His abuse of his imp son Tyrion is particularly disturbing as he seems constantly ashamed of Tyrion because of his appearance (as if he can control how he was born) and how it might reflect on him and the family’s standing.

#1: Vince McMahon – World Wrestling Entertainment

While he could very well be the best father in the world off-camera, on screen, Vince McMahon (or Mr. McMahon as he prefers to be known) has been awful towards both his children, as well as his wife, feuding with each of them at one point or another. It’s no wonder that both of his kin have turned on him and even worked together to try and drive him out of business. Shane and Stephanie certainly have their own faults, but the lengths Vince has gone to in order to antagonize his enemies, at the expense of his children, has been psychopathic. He even had daughter Stephanie put up as a blood sacrifice to The Undertaker and fought Shane in a Street Fight.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Who’s Ya Daddy?

Who's Ya Daddy? Shot

  • Rim glass with Caramel Syrup
  • 0.75 oz Cognac
  • 0.75 oz Kahlua

I just want to wish Pa Sip a very happy Father’s Day and thank him for not using any of the men listed above as inspiration! To all the other prod papas out there, enjoy your day and make sure the next generation doesn’t drop the ball!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This shot was everything you would expect from mixing Cognac and Kahlua together. It was smooth and a little sweet. I used a simple Caramel Syrup rim because dad’s aren’t flashy and this classy shooter deserved an equally refined presentation.

Denmark – Cloudberry Dream

Playtime Pleasures

Mrs. Sip and I recently viewed The LEGO Movie, which the Sip Advisor believes is a must-see attraction for young and old alike. It was the final piece, if you will, that cemented LEGO being a topic discussed while we visit Denmark as part of the Around the World liquor showcase. This fascinating product has a rich history and one that should be shared with all you little sippers:

Humble Beginnings

Ole Kirk Christiansen started LEGO when his carpentry business was faltering in 1932. Christiansen chose the name by combining the Danish words LEG and GODT, which means “play well” together. In Latin, LEGO means “I put together”. He used the excess lumber he had to make wooden toys, which he sold locally. The LEGO blocks we know and love today were the result of Christiansen buying the rights to Kiddicraft blocks after the inventor committed suicide. A patent for LEGO’s ‘toy building brick’ came in 1961, which improved on the Kiddicraft design and the rest is history.

Backwards Compatible

Statistically Speaking

560 billion LEGO pieces have been manufactured as of 2013 and only 18 of every million bricks come out defective. Seven LEGO sets are sold every second around the world. LEGO produces more tires than companies like Goodyear and Bridgestone. In fact, they make 381 million each year… sure they’re miniature, but that’s a lot of rubber! If this ever helps a reader with a pub trivia night, you owe me a Coke.

Across the Universe

While you can build just about anything using your imagination (porn theatre, strip club, grow-op, meth lab, etc.), LEGO collections allow kids to travel anywhere from floating through space, to sailing the seas with pirates, to battling dragons and defending castles. 13 LEGO sets have actually been brought to the International Space Station to see how the pieces react in gravity.

Good Company

While today, LEGO has licensing deals with a number of commodities (Batman, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, etc.), it all began in 1999 when the toy company partnered with Star Wars. Along with the previously mentioned sets, the likes of Santa Claus, Spider-Man, and even Steven Spielberg have been immortalized as LEGO mini figures.

lego-piece-missing

Home Sweet Home

A life-size LEGO house was built in 2009 by James May, for his Toy Stories TV series. With the help of 1,200 volunteers, the two-floor, four bedroom abode was constructed using 3.3 million bricks and also had a wooden support structure. May spent one night in the home, and ironically said he slept like a brick. The house was demolished after an agreement to have it sent to LEGOLAND fell through because of costs. The pieces were donated to charity, however.

Theme Party

Sticking with LEGOLAND, there are six LEGO theme parks around the globe, including resorts in Billund, Denmark (home of the first factory); Windsor, United Kingdom; Günzburg, Germany; San Diego, USA; Winter Haven, USA; and Nusajaya, Malaysia. There is also a chain of LEGOLAND Discovery Centres with five in the U.S., two in Germany, and one each in the U.K., Japan, and Canada (stupid Ontario gets all the cool attractions!).

Work of Art

Nathan Sawaya has gained a cult following as a block artist – wouldn’t it be considered an offshoot of cubism!? – using LEGO bricks to make renowned pieces of art. Sawaya quit his job as a lawyer (perhaps this is also in Mrs. Sip’s future!) in 2001 to dedicate his life to LEGO art and it’s worked out pretty well for him. His show ‘The Art of the Brick’ is touring museums across the United States. He’s even made a life-sized Stephen Colbert.

Stepping on Lego

Creation Theory

Speaking of using LEGO for art, starting in 2001 (that seems to be the year men around the world went nuts for the toy), Brendan Powell Smith began creating illustrations from the Bible, using LEGO. His website, The Brick Testament contains nearly 4,000 images telling more than 300 stories. Perhaps this will inspire the Sip Advisor to take up religion… no, I think I’ll pass.

Honourable Mention

LEGO was named Toy of the Century in 2000, narrowly beating out the Teddy Bear, Barbie Doll, and Action Man. The three runners up went on to form an alliance, looking to overthrow LEGO from its lofty perch through propaganda, a smear campaign, and other dirty tactics. Then, Barbie Doll and Action Man had an affair that upset Teddy Bear and caused a irreparable rift within the coalition!

Denmark: Cloudberry Dream

Cloudberry Dream Drink Recipe

  • 2 oz Cloudberry Liqueur
  • 1 oz Akvavit
  • Top with Lemon-Lime Soda
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with Cranberries

I was huge into LEGO as a youngster and one of the few things I’m looking forward to as a future father is bringing home my kid’s first LEGO set… then ignoring my duties as a dad and husband, playing with children’s toys for hours on end!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
An invention as great as LEGO deserves to be partnered with a drink this delicious! It has me looking forward to a long and prosperous relationship with Akvavit. The Cloudberry Liqueur was as wonderful as it has been in the past and throw in all the citrus elements and everything’s coming together perfectly!

January 18 – Crouching Tiger

Counter Culture

I fell asleep during the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, despite the fact I thought I’d enjoy the fantastical martial arts film with a name that sounds like a wicked sex position. This is far from the first popular film (at least according to most of the world) that I have walked away from disliking. Here are the top five movies I refuse to watch, despite their large fan base:

#5: The Hunger Games

Okay, so I only saw the first entry of this series, but it will be hard for Mrs. Sip to get me to return for more. Sorry to drop a spoiler for those who haven’t seen the film, but I absolutely hated how they built up this entire competition for what seemed like forever, only to kill off half the competitors immediately. Then, the fact producers wanted the film to be PG-13 eliminated any chance of serious themes from the book being examined. And so, we slowly wound our way to the inevitable and predictable finish. The Japanese flick Battle Royal is a far better offering in the realm of kids being challenged to kill one another in the name of survival.

#4: Moulin Rouge

Good lord, Mrs. Sip loves her musicals. The Sip Advisor, however, despises any media that is largely based around singing. Tragically, I’ve been dragged to a number of films or forced to watch movies where even the simplest dialogue is crooned. I’m not talking about Disney or other animated offerings, but live action movies where song and dance drives the entire production. Back to Moulin Rouge, I’ve actually been outside of the cabaret club in Paris, France and even without entering, cold chills were running through my system and I suffered flu-like symptoms just being in its presence.

#3: Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit

Middle Earth is simply a place I don’t want to visit… and I definitely don’t want to get stuck there for six movies and 525 hours (running time is purely an estimate of Peter Jackson’s need to have super extended versions of his films). For most of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Mrs. Sip and I watched the DVD’s and I made sure a clause was put in our contract that we’d halt the movie half way through to take a break playing pool or throwing darts or something else to get me through the second half of the film. The tactic was not very successful with regards to my overall enjoyment.

#2: The Matrix

I just don’t understand these films and the truth of the matter is, I don’t really want to. When I saw the first installment many moons ago, all I could think about was how hungry I was. Thankfully, my McDonald’s feast afterwards wasn’t as disappointing as my cinema choice. Sadly, Mrs. Sip loved that first movie, so when the sequels arrived and we were now dating, I was dragged to midnight openings like I was some nerd who enjoys standing in lines for his entertainment. I only do that at Disneyland, thank you very much!

#1: Star Wars

Mrs. Sip was absolutely shocked when we started dating and I told her I had never seen the original Star Wars trilogy. She had grown up on the films and in short order, made me watch all three of the original releases. I’ve never really been a huge fan of science fiction. I think some of the concepts are neat, but in general, the whole space setting isn’t my cup of tea and too much fantasy and made up stuff irritates me. I must say, this was one of the few new experiences we shared that summer that I didn’t enjoy!

Super Saturday Shot Day: Crouching Tiger

Crouching Tiger Shooter

  • 0.5 oz Tequila (I used Hornitos)
  • 0.5 oz Lychee Vodka/Liqueur
  • Splash of Lychee Juice
  • Garnish with Lemon Wedge

Looking back at my list, not only are most of my selections popular movies, they’re god damn franchises, meaning I’m usually forced to sit through multiple movies I’d rather not see. Movies like Twilight and Titanic should have made the list, but I’ve actually been able to avoid watching any of these, so I’ll just leave them off and pretend they don’t exist!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
This shot was pretty strong, thanks to the Tequila and my choice to go with Lychee Vodka rather than Lychee Liqueur. I added the splash of Lychee Juice to try and lighten the recipe and that helped in getting the flavour across. A decent shooter, but nothing to go out of your way for.

December 4 – Eggnog

Music to Your Ears

It seems that a lot of artist’s take the easy route and compile an album of Christmas covers at some point in their career. Here are some of the worst examples of that trend and offerings I suggest you avoid at all cost!

Bob Dylan – Christmas in the Heart

He may be one of the greatest song writers of all-time, but this Christmas offering was just weird. Pa Sip will often play it, but only for everyone to make fun of the legendary performer. This is one of those albums that seemed to simply fulfill a record deal. Dylan’s singing is unintelligible at some points, as if the dude had a mouth full of marbles when hitting the studio. At least all proceeds went to various charities, so credit is deserved there.

David Hasselhoff – The Night Before Christmas

While he’s an icon in Germany, domestically, he’s more a laughingstock. I’d much rather see Hasselhoff barreling down the beach or behind the wheel of a speaking car than stepping up to a microphone… and I don’t even like him as an actor… or any of the shows he’s been on. Perhaps Hasselhoff should stick to bathroom floor cheeseburgers and Rob Ford-esque drunken stupors.

Rosanne Barr – Sings the Christmas Classics

If her infamous rendition of the American national anthem tells us anything, it’s that Roseanne Barr can’t sing worth a lick. I refuse to even sample any of the songs from this album. Just looking at the selections featured on the cover have me nervous. ‘Santa Baby’ should only be sung my sex bomb and *gulp* her ‘12 Days of Christmas’ is a freakin’ “extended version”!

Kickin’ Kazoos – Kazoo Christmas

I don’t know why everyone has such harsh critiques for the kazoo. Wrestler’s Edge and Christian use to play a mean kazoo… for humourous effect, at least. Granted, they only played for brief periods of time and never thought of compiling a 30-minute album devoted to Christmas tunes… if you could even call them that. I think kazoos can only be appreciated by the same people that weren’t annoyed by vuvuzelas during the 2010 World Cup.

Brady Bunch – Christmas with the Brady Bunch

The entire Brady Bunch has the accumulative musical talent of absolutely zero! I bet Marsha gets all the good lines in this release. Marsha, Marsha, Marsha! I hate all those kid sing-a-long albums. I even saw a commercial recently where youngsters were singing song like Macklemore’s ‘Thrift Shop’… what happens when they get to the “this is fuckin’ awesome lyric”!? Such a sad state this world is in.

Various Artists – Yuletide Disco

Disco and Christmas should always have a minimum of 500 meters between them. Mrs. Sip should work on that court order for me!

William Hung – Hung for the Holidays

While the album title is totally wicked, having a guy who can barely speak English (let alone sing it) perform Christmas classics was probably a bad idea from the start. Add the fact that Hung thinks he’s a legitimate talent, while everyone else views him as a total joke and you have a recipe for disaster. The entire entry is only 18 minutes long and ends with Hung belting out Queen’s ‘We Are the Champions’!

RuPaul – Ho Ho Ho

From one train wreck to another… how RuPaul had a career of any sorts, simply by being a drag queen is beyond my comprehension. Perhaps, she (or is it he?) was the beginning of the non-talented celebrity? This chart topper contains such classics as ‘I Saw Daddy Kissing Santa Claus’ and ‘RuPaul the Red-Nosed Drag Queen’. If I find this in my stocking I’ll cancel Christmas for good.

Various Artists – Christmas with Colonel Sanders

Sadly, we’re not just talking about feasting on the Colonel’s original recipe of 11 herbs and spices. Can you believe this is actually a sequel to the album Christmas Day with Colonel Sanders!? I’m not even sure why he gets top billing for both albums, as they seem to be made up of various artist tracks. I guess that’s just the pull the fried chicken magnate had!

Star Wars – Christmas in the Stars

And the songs are sung by the original movie cast? Shut the front door! Yeah, because I want to hear Harrison Ford’s monotone voice belt out the Christmas classics or have R2-D2 beep, bop, and boop his way through my cherished childhood memories. Do they even celebrate Christmas on Tatooine? I seriously doubt it, but don’t care enough about the series to know the answer.

Regis Philbin – The Regis Philbin Christmas Album

I don’t understand the thinking that goes into some of these albums: “Hey, I got a great idea. Let’s take a TV personality who has no musical talent and get them to record a Christmas album.” No matter how famous that person may be, that pile of trash won’t sell. Donald Trump even appears on the album for a rendition of ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ *shudder*.

Yoko Ono – An X-Mas Message from Yoko

I hate Yoko Ono with a passion… and I don’t even care that she’s blamed for breaking up The Beatles. I hate her for everything else she’s plagued upon the world. If I was ever sent a Christmas message from this ogre, I’d use it for its only practical application… as toilet paper. I mean, who the hell uses a pitch black background as cover art to market a Christmas album?

Drink #338: Eggnog

Eggnog Drink Recipe

  • 1.5 oz Rum (I used Malibu Sundae)
  • Top with Eggnog
  • Sprinkle with Nutmeg
  • Garnish with Gingerbread M&Ms

Okay, we spewed some serious venom in this post, so now it’s time to sit back and relax with my Eggnog… given I’m not a huge advocate of the ‘Nog, we could be in for a bumpy ride!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I’m not the type to make eggnog from scratch, so I mooched some of the pre-made stuff off Ma and Pa Sip and came up with this delicacy. It was pretty tasty, especially with Pa Sip’s idea of using Malibu Sundae for the Rum quotient of the recipe. The M&M’s added a nice sweet flavour to each sip, as they melted in the cocktail and not in my hands!

March 7 – Loopy Lemonade

Cereal Killer

Today is Cereal Day… which I guess really means that literally anything can have its own day of recognition. Therefore I am in discussions to make September 22nd, your Sip Advisor’s birthday, National Sip Appreciation Day. We’ll have carnival rides and balloons and all that other good shit. Will there be drinks, you ask? Oh, you better believe there will be drinks! We’re all going to get hooched and Cookie Monster crazy! Anyway, that’s months away. Today we look at my favourite cereals from past, present and future.

Cookie Crisp

Speaking of Cookie Monster, it has been well-documented that I too am a monster of cookies. So what better way to get one of my manly daily doses of cookies than as part of a not-so-balanced breakfast. This cereal was tits and although it could only be found across the border in the United States (no surprise there), Mama Sip grabbed it on a few shopping trips so us Canadian kids could enjoy the experience, too.

Cookie Crisp Offer

Reese Puffs

What could be better than a cookie-based cereal? Oh, I don’t know… how about a breakfast constructed from Reese Peanut Butter Cups!? Mmmm, Reese Witherspoon’s peanut butter cups… why does my mind always go there. Back to the cereal… great, now I’m drooling. Screw it, let’s move on to the next entry.

Trix

Trix are for kids… and me. Another cereal that was hard to find in Canada, but at hotels that offered continental breakfasts in the US, you could often find a mini box of this fruit-flavoured treat. Froot Loops were, of course, easier to find in these here parts, which while also being a solid cereal choice, just wasn’t exactly up to par with its rabbit-mascotted counterpart. Plus, I hate birds so much that Toucan Sam always pissed me off.

Trix Kid

Golden Grahams/Cinnamon Toast Crunch

On their own: reliable, hardworking, heart on their sleeves, character cereals (okay, so I described them like you would a fourth line hockey player, what of it?). Together, a magical union of honey and cinnamon sugar, graham crackers and toast. I have often experimented with other crossbreeds, but this is by far one of the best. Give it a try sometime and let me know how awesome it was!

Raisin Bran

I know what you’re thinking… Sip Advisor and Raisin Bran don’t seem to be a good fit. I assure you, my little sippers, that the pairing shocks me, as well. I have to say though, I love getting my two scoops of raisins on and I can’t really complain about the internal scrub brush that is fibre either.

Now let’s wash down this cereal with today’s cereal flavoured vodka cocktail!

Drink #66: Loopy Lemonade

Loopy Lemonade Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Three Olives Loopy Vodka
  • Muddle Blackberries and Mint Leaves
  • Top with Lemonade
  • Garnish with Blackberry and Froot Loops

You know, they just don’t make cereals like they used to. Back in the day, cereal was a major marketing item for kid’s shows and such. Everything from Star Wars (C-3PO’s) to Gremlins had its own brand of breakfast product. I guess all the crap about childhood obesity nowadays has limited these campaigns. Maybe if fatty got up off the couch and played outside a little, we could see the return of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cereal, among many other childhood memories (like the one below).

Screechios

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I liked the combination of muddled Blackberries and Mint. The Loopy Vodka is a great tasting libation that has many citrus notes and reminds me of Triple Secs and Curacaos.