June 27 – True Canadian

Canadian Content

Recently, we looked at some of the most notable Canadian patriots and icons, in RL (that means real life!). Today, we enter the fictional world and examine some of the greatest contributions to this country’s (and outside its borders) culture, from persons who have never actually existed:

#5: Northstar

While many have probably not heard of Northstar, he is an important figure in comic history and LGBT culture. A member of the Canadian Alpha Flight team (also featuring his sister Aurora and other members, such as Guardian, Sasquatch, Shaman, and Snowbird), Northstar gained notoriety for being the first openly gay major character created by Marvel Comics. Despite debuting in April 1979, Northstar didn’t officially come out until 1992. The superhero was finally allowed to marry his partner 20 years later, in 2012.

Northstar Marriage

#4: Bob and Doug McKenzie

These two hosers got their beginning on the SCTV sketch comedy show, leading to a feature film, Strange Brew, in which they are thrust into becoming unlikely heroes, trying to save their favourite brewery. If that’s not a definitive Canadian story, I don’t know what is! These roles launched the careers of both Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas. In a great casting choice, Disney reunited the McKenzie brothers to play a pair of comical moose, Rutt and Tuke, in the movie Brother Bear, also set in the Canadian wilderness.

#3: Ike Broflovski –South Park

Ike is the adopted brother of Kyle, born in Canada as Peter Gints. As the main characters have aged, so has Ike, who is now in kindergarten, despite being only three years old.  Any episode that revolves around Ike is usually pretty good, whether he’s entered into a relationship with his adult teacher, is going through early puberty, caused by steroid, or is saving the Canadian Princess (wait, we have one of those?).  Crude TV stars Terrence and Phillip are also Canadian, which is why the folks of South Park, Colorado aren’t too happy with their neighbours from the north!

ike broflovski

#2: Trailer Park Boys

Julian, Ricky, Bubbles, and the rest of the gang seem to always be getting themselves into trouble, as they move from one get-rich-quick scheme to another, trying to avoid the capture of police and Sunnyvale Trailer Park disciplinarian Mr. Lahey and his partner in crime (and other things) Randy. Set in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, this mockumentary shows the love that can develop between folks stuck in hard times, as they scratch and claw their way towards better lives, sometimes taking shortcuts, rather than conventional means.

#1: Wolverine

One of the most rugged, bad ass superheroes has Canadian blood running through his veins… well, that and adamantium bones! Wolverine debuted all the way back in 1974 and over the rest of the decade, grew in popularity, leading to his own four-part series in 1982. The character has proven to be so prevalent, that he has been the focal point of numerous movies for the franchise. Wolverine’s on-again, off-again enemy Sabretooth also hails from Canada, as does Deadpool, who has been previously played by Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds, and will be again in the 2016 eponymous feature film.

Super Saturday Shot Day: True Canadian

  • Rim glass with Bacon Bits
  • 0.75 oz Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Maple Syrup

In closing, I have to include an honourable mention for Anne Shirley (better known as Anne of Green Gables), or else Mrs. Sip might strip me (wait for it) of my Canadian citizenship! Next week, we get to look at the fictional patriots from south of the border… and there are a lot of them!

Denmark – Viking Blood

Something Rotten

Despite William Shakespeare being English, his tragic character Prince Hamlet (or Hammy, as I like to call him) is from Denmark, the setting for what is perhaps Shakespeare’s greatest work. Let’s take an in-depth look at the masterpiece, before poisoning ourselves with booze!:

Hamlet-shirt

The full title of the play is The Tragedy of Hamlet… they sure didn’t leave things to surprise the audience back then. It would be like me calling this site: The Tragedy of the Sip Advisor… I mean, Reading Useless Information and Getting Drunk.

Hamlet is Shakespeare’s longest play, consisting of 4,042 lines, 1,530 of them belonging to Hammy. Uncut, the play takes between four and five hours to perform and it’s estimated that at every moment of every day, Hamlet is being performed somewhere around the world.

The Disney animated film The Lion King is based off of the plot of Hamlet, complete with Scar (Claudius) causing the death of his brother Mufasa (King Hamlet) and stealing rule of the Pride Lands (Denmark) from its natural leader Simba (Prince Hamlet). The differences being that Simba’s lady friend Nala (Ophelia) doesn’t go crazy and off herself; Timon and Pumbaa (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern) don’t betray Simba and go off into the sunset singing Hakuna Matata instead of being killed; and Simba lives through the whole ordeal to claim his birthright.

Hamlet-Lion King

Similarly, the movie Strange Brew, borrows elements from Hamlet, particularly subbing the battle for the Danish throne with the Elsinore Brewery. There are also a number of similarities between Hamlet and Batman, particularly in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. As for TV, the biker gang drama Sons of Anarchy features many plot and character points found in Hamlet.

The Simpsons parodied Hamlet in their short story episode Tales from the Public Domain, with Bart playing Prince Hamlet. The segment features what has to be the first death by high-five, as everyone perishes. Homer then states that the Hamlet story was adapted to become the Ghostbusters script and the family dances to the greatest theme song in movie history!

Speaking of Ghostbusters, speculation exists that Shakespeare himself played the role of The Ghost, when Hamlet was being performed at The Globe in London. It’s too bad Slimer never got the chance to take on the character.

Hamlet Everyone Dies

When the Royal Shakespeare Company performed Hamlet in 2009, actor David Tennant used the very real skull of composer André Tchaikowsky during the infamous gravedigger scene. Don’t worry folks, this wasn’t the result of murder most foul. Tchaikowsky donated his skull to the theatre upon his death in 1982, for theatrical use. Almost 30 years later, Tennant was the first actor to make use of Tchaikowsky’s cranium.

Prince Hamlet has been portrayed by everyone from Laurence Olivier to Mel Gibson (does he hate Claudius as much as Jews!?). Other actors to tackle to starring role include: Kenneth Branagh, Richard Burton, Christopher Walken (did cowbells exist during Hamlet’s time!?), Jude Law, and Kevin Kline.

Hamlet Skulls

Prince Hamlet’s “To be, or not to be” soliloquy is one of the most famous passages in all of the performing arts. It has been interpreted many different ways, with scholars debating its meaning to no end. Sounds like a riveting profession, said no one ever.

Tying everything back to Denmark, the castle that plays the setting of Hamlet actually exists. It is Kronborg Castle in the Danish port of Helsingør. Built in the 1420’s by Eric of Pomerania (the Danish King), this World Heritage Site actually houses the occasional performance of Hamlet, usually in the courtyard. Also, a statue of ol’ Hammy was erected in Elsinore to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the play being published. Hopefully the Sip Advisor doesn’t have to wait three centuries to get his due!

Denmark: Viking Blood

Viking Blood Drink Recipe

  • Rim glass with Strawberry Syrup
  • 1 oz Akvavit
  • 1 oz Kahlua
  • Top with Lemon-Lime Soda
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

I was once given the nickname Billy Shakes (a reference to one William Shakespeare), but I have to say that my writing is better… I don’t use silly words like hath and doth!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
So, this is what Viking Blood tastes like… and apparently it’s black. Well, the cocktail itself was decent. I was curious about mixing Kahlua with Lemon-Lime Soda and it worked. I tried to theme the drink with the Strawberry Syrup rim acting as blood and garnishing the cocktail with a Maraschino Cherry to act as a heart. I think it looked alright. Not great, but who said I was ever performing to epic heights!

June 28 – Strange Brew

Morning Dew

Well, we’ve reached the end of our Mountain Dew experience. I think I’ve drank enough of the pop in the last few days that I should be signed to an endorsement deal. Seriously, Mountain Dew… come search me out and sign me up! You’ll learn quickly that I’ll do anything for some cash! Here are some more alcohols I’d love to spend that sweet money on:

Absolut Grapevine

Like I wrote yesterday about Absolut Exposure (found in the Copenhagen Duty Free), Absolut Grapevine is another “Traveler’s Exclusive”, forcing alcoholics like myself to constantly leave the country in search of booze. This liquor combines white grapes with sweet papaya and dragon fruit. Colour me interested!

ABSOLUT_GRAPEVINE

Cocoribe

This spirit, found in United States (although its name and ingredients make you think of the Caribbean), combines coconut milk with rum. I’m assuming it would be very similar in taste to Malibu Rum, but with the coconut milk, it might be thicker and, of course, the colour would be white instead of clear.

Smirnoff North

What do you get when you combine Russian vodka practices with Nordic berries? Well, Smirnoff North for one and probably some other crazy KGB type stuff. I definitely want to give this vodka a run for its money before going on a rampage destroying Fabergé eggs and Matryoshka dolls.

Smirnoff North

Forbidden Fruit Liqueur

Everyone wants to taste the forbidden fruit, which in this case, is made from a particular type of grapefruit called shaddock and mixed with honey and brandy. Apparently, the alcohol hasn’t been made for some time, so this one may be harder to track down than originally thought. *sad face*

Williams Chase Elegant Crisp Gin

This apple-flavoured gin comes highly recommend from a friend living in the U.K. Gin hasn’t seen the explosion of flavour options that other liquors like rum and vodka have and perhaps that’s because the juniper taste of gin is hard to alter or overcome. When a flavoured gin product does come out, like Hendricks cucumber-flavoured gin, it should be tried just for the sake of experimentation.

Drink #179: Strange Brew

Strange Brew Drink Recipe

  • Rim glass with Grape Fun Dip
  • 1.5 oz Vodka (I used Grey Goose Cherry Noir)
  • Top with Mountain Dew: Supernova
  • Splash of Orange Juice
  • Garnish with Red and Green Grapes

Well, that wraps up our four-day tour of liquors I want to taste. How desperate am I to have these substances meet my taste buds? Let’s just say that I’m working on plans of world dominance and ransom, in exchange for booze. It can’t fail!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
With every sip of this cocktail, I felt like I was drinking an energy drink. And that’s not necessarily a good thing. I don’t know if that was because I was using the Cherry Noir Vodka or if the Mountain Dew itself was to blame. A large portion of this drink’s points come from the wonderful job I feel I did with presentation. From the goblet glassware choice to garnishing the drink with Red and Green Grapes and Fun Dip, I feel it’s one of the most comprehensive cocktails I’ve put together! The Supernova flavour on its own isn’t that bad, with notes of berries and I really like the colour of the pop, a violet hue you don’t often see, which inspires me to experiment.