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!

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July 2 – Journalist Cocktail

Journalistically Yours

Did you know that the Sip Advisor is actually a trained journalist, specializing in the field of sports writing? Well, today just happens to be World Sports Journalists Day. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best fictional anchors, correspondents, and news teams!

Ron Burgundy & Channel 4 News Team – Anchorman

Ron Burgundy and the gang are a ratings sensation, which doesn’t please their rivals at Channel 2, especially fellow anchor Wes Mantooth. Aside from competition, Burgundy and company also have trouble in the form of women entering the news game and wanting their fair share of screen time and top stories. I can’t wait for the Anchorman sequel to come out and for so many new catchphrases to become part of the pop culture lexicon.

Anchorman

Will McAvoy & News Night Staff – The Newsroom

Mrs. Sip and I have just started watching this series and while I find all the yelling at each other and “I love my job so much I’m going to cry” looks very tiring, it’s a great program with amazing writing and characters you can actually root for (unlike another show that shall not be named because I refuse to have it linked in any way to these awesome “journalists”). The second season begins in just a couple weeks and we find ourselves learning more about the world through fiction than we do through, well…the actual news!

Channel 5 News Team – Family Guy

Led by anchor Tom Tucker and his wonderful mustache, the newscast also featured co-anchor Diane Simmons (until she snapped and tried to kill half the town’s residents), angry weatherman Ollie Williams, and token Asian reporter Tricia Takanawa. Tucker is the heart and soul of this team, though, and it’s always fun seeing him report on the absurd news that occurs in Quahog.

Stephen Colbert – The Colbert Report

Yes, Stephen Colbert is a real person, but his persona while delivering the news is completely fabricated… or at least we all hope it is! The super conservative’s take on world events highlights how insane some people’s view of the world can actually be. While I don’t watch The Colbert Report or Daily Show much anymore, I respect both Colbert and Jon Stewart for their work in becoming more trusted than actual newsmen.

Colbert

FYI Team – Murphy Brown

Featuring hard-hitting reporter Murphy Brown, the FYI program, based in Washington, D.C., does a top job on covering the American capital. Brown is joined by anchor Jim Dial, investigative journalist Frank Fontana, media darling Corky Sherwood, and executive produced Miles Silverberg. The show was known for taking many of their storylines straight from the real headlines. When not on the set, the FYI crew could often be found at their local watering hole, Phil’s, and that I can get down with!

Kent Brockman & Channel 6 News Team – The Simpsons

Springfield’s resident journalist, Kent Brockman, is a trusted source within the community, even if he does have a spotty news record. His feud with traffic reporter Arnie Pye has led to on-air arguments between the two, which is about as professional as you’d expect a person from Springfield to be. Brockman also hosts other programs, such as Eye on Springfield, Smartline, and even game show Springfield Squares. His segment ‘My Two Cents’ is a highlight of most broadcasts.

kentbrockman

The Lone Gunmen – X-Files

This troupe of nerd conspiracy theorists and magazine publishers has investigated some of the world’s greatest mysteries. Because of the nature of their examinations, they choose to remain underground and out of the public eye. Sadly, their spinoff show lasted only 13 episodes. While I never really watched the X-Files, I was interested in The Lone Gunmen because conspiracy theories are interesting to consider, while aliens bore me. Stunningly, the show’s pilot episode featured an attack on the World Trade Centre by hijacked planes six months before the actual 9/11 tragedy.

Weekend Update – Saturday Night Live

Whether you think of the original host, Chevy Chase, or the current presenter, Seth Meyers, Saturday Night Live has had a long run of comedians riffing on the news in what is often the show’s best segment. It’s hard to pick my favourite anchor or team among all the candidates, but I enjoyed Jane Curtain’s pairing with Dan Aykroyd, as well as the all-female duo of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

Drink #183: Journalist Cocktail

Journalist Drink Recipe

  • 1.5 oz Gin (I used Hendrick’s)
  • 0.5 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 0.5 oz Dry Vermouth
  • Splash of Triple Sec
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Orange Bitters
  • Garnish with Lemon Wheel and Pen

This was a hard list to narrow down, as it seems every show has a news element to help forward storyline and such. I even had to cut Sesame Street’s resident journalist, Kermit the Frog!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I like this cocktail, despite my sometimes negative feelings about Vermouths. All the ingredients went well together and none were overwhelming in the recipe. The Hendick’s Gin was a nice touch.