May 2 – Fight Club

Technical Knockout

With tonight’s massive super fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, I thought we should have a little look into the world of boxing… or at least the fictional side of the sport. Here are some of the greatest characters to ever step into the ring:

#5: Rock’em Sock’em Robots

I never played Rock’em Sock’em Robots, but any game where the goal is to knock your opponents head off sounds like a lot of fun. The toy was so successful that it has become a pop culture icon and has been turned into video games and an action figure line. The robots even appeared as characters in the movie Toy Story 2, which is a crowning achievement for any game. I never knew that the robots had their own names, including Red Rocker and Blue Bomber (and at one time, Bolt Crusher Bob and Gear Grinder Greg).

rock'em sock'em

#4: Butch Coolidge – Pulp Fiction

Butch Coolidge’s tale in the serial Pulp Fiction begins with his change of heart about throwing a fight. Despite the consequences of disobeying mobster Marsellus Wallace, Coolidge not only doesn’t take a dive, but he knocks out the fighter he was supposed to lose to and even kills him. Things end up getting pretty weird for both Coolidge and Wallace, as they find themselves the prisoners of two sadistic serial killers, who are intent on raping and torturing the men, before putting them out of their misery. Coolidge escapes and saves Wallace, thus earning his freedom from the mob.

#3: Drederick Tatum – The Simpsons

Drederick Tatum is The Simpsons universe version of former Heavyweight Champion and ‘Baddest Man on the Planet’ Mike Tyson, right down to having a manager (Lucius Sweet) similar to Don King. Homer Simpson also took a turn at boxing, when it was learned he could take a massive beating and not get knocked out. Guided by boxer turned bartender turned manager Moe Szyzlak, Homer was even placed into a fight with Tatum, for the former champions return to the ring after a prison stint for pushing his mother down the stairs!

Drederick_Tatum

#2: Mickey O’Neil – Snatch

You might not understand a single word this bloke says, but the talking he does with his fists, you will certainly make sense of… unless you’re on the receiving end of his blows and then you might not even remember your own name! Much like Butch Coolidge, Mickey agrees to throw a fight, only to knock out his opponent… twice! Thanks to betting on himself, O’Neil makes quite the killing and at the same time, avoids becoming the victim of a horde of gangsters. Those gypsies are a tricky bunch and that’s before they even get into the ring.

#1: Rocky Balboa – Rocky

I’m not a fan of Sylvester Stallone – not many are – but I will give him credit for his work with the Rocky franchise. Through the films, the Italian Stallion goes from unknown, small-time fighter to Heavyweight Champion to American hero. Balboa’s battles with the likes of Apollo Creed, Clubber Lang, Ivan Drago, Tommy ‘The Machine’ Gunn, and Mason ‘The Line’ Dixon, are legendary.  The training montages alone in these films are iconic, from boxing in a meat locker, to running triumphantly up stairs, to trying to figure out how to defeat a machine-like Russian.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Fight Club

Fight Club Shot

  • Rim glass with Lime Powder
  • 1 oz Vodka
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Dash of Sugar

A special shout out has to go to the characters of the Punch-Out video game series, including Little Mac, King Hippo, Glass Joe, and Bear Hugger. Heck, even Donkey Kong found his way into the franchise and a pair of boxing gloves!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
My first inclination was to use a flavoured vodka to lessen any harshness in the shooter. But I reconsidered, wanting to let the lime flavour do as much as it could to influence the shot, rather than any other tastes. I settled for Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka to hit on both of my thoughts. The sugar added to the concoction solved any issues with it being too strong and it was much more pleasant than I ever thought it would be.

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Israel – Cabernet Cobbler

People & Products

It’s kind of crazy how many people and products most of us had no clue originate from Israel. From starlets and rockers to computer programs and board games, Israeli influences are more common that you would think. Let’s take a look at some of those that are changing the world from the Holy Land:

Natalie Portman

The beautiful actress who has stolen my heart time and time again was actually born in Israel as Natalie Hershlag and moved to the U.S. in 1984, at the age of three. After wowing audiences as a 13-year-old in the 1994 Film, The Professional, Portman has gone on to star in Star Wars prequels, V for Vendetta, Black Swan, and Thor.

Natalie Portman Straw

Max Brenner Chocolates

The “chocolate by the bald man” has its headquarters based in Ra’anana, Israel. The company was actually founded by Max Fichtman and Oded Brenner (the chocolatier of the duo). My favourite cocktail of all-time (Satisfaction Guaranteed) came from the Max Brenner restaurant and store at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.

Cherry Tomatoes

No salad is truly complete without the addition of cherry tomatoes. These versatile little veggies were the product of a 12-year breeding program, overseen by labs in Israel. Highlights of the cherry tomato include an increased shelf life and optimal ripening cycle. Who would have thought it could take so long to make a baby tomato!

Gene Simmons

The KISS frontman and tongue wagging demon was born Chaim Witz in Haifa, Israel, in 1949. Along with his mother, Simmons came to the U.S. at the age of eight, speaking no English. He’s certainly come a long way, as the legendary rocker had his own reality show and even claims to have had sex with nearly 5,000 women.

Gene Simmons Doctor

SodaStream

Given my position as a top notch liquor slinger, I’ve often thought that one of these machines could come in handy, especially given I like fizz in nearly every drink I choose to make. SodaStream’s headquarters are located in Lod, Israel, which must make for some interesting flavour proposals, such as hummus and falafel!

USB Flash Drives

Where would many of us be without these pocket-sized tools? The flash drive virtually killed the floppy disk, which could only hold a fraction of the amount of information most USB’s are able to contain. The drives were developed by Israeli company M-Systems, who joined with tech giant IBM to release the product.

Haim Saban

One of the craziest phenomena of my childhood was the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, which was the work of Israeli Haim Saban (or at least his production company). The series is still alive and kicking to this day, having gone through countless iterations. Saban is worth an estimated $3 billion, according to Forbes.

Power Rangers Killers

ICQ

Standing for “I Seek You,” ICQ was developed by Mirabilis, an Israeli company since absorbed by America Online (AOL) for $407 million. It was the first one-on-one online conversation program that allowed users their own account. While I didn’t use the system much, ICQ was once the hottest instant messaging service available.

Hillel Slovak

An original member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Slovak (born in Haifa, Israel) was there for the bands earliest successes. Sadly, Slovak died from a heroin overdose, in 1988, at the young age of 26. An inspiration for the group, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012, with fellow members of the Chili Peppers.

Rummikub

This tile-based game was invented in Israel by Ephraim Hertzano and went on to be the best-selling game in the U.S. in 1977, as well as win Game of the Year awards in Germany (1980) and the Netherlands (1983). I’ve never actually played Rummikub before, but assume I’d be good, simply because the game has the word rum in it!

Israel: Cabernet Cobbler

Cabernet Cobbler Wine Cocktail

  • 4 oz Cabernet Sauvignon Wine
  • Top with Club Soda
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Pinch of Sugar
  • Garnish with an Orange Wedge

For whatever reason, Israel seems shrouded in mystery, but the Sip Advisor likes a good mystery. We also have Israelites to thank for Windows XP, the Amazon Kindle, and modern computer printing, among many other things. Heck, they even bred the golden hamster, which has my little kitty Furious B salivating!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
While I enjoyed this drink, it could basically be made by combining Cabernet Sauvignon Wine and Lemon-Lime Soda. It’s a pretty simple recipe, but one I felt I needed to do with the wine I selected for these articles.

Morocco – Black, White & Fig

Fun with Fezzes

While it may not be the most stylish headpiece ever adorned, the fez hat is a symbol of Moroccan nationalism, worn to protest French occupation. Hell, even the royal court of Morocco wears the fez, the only Arab nation to do so. Despite all that, today, the fez is seen by some as politically incorrect and viewed with negative connotations. Let’s take a closer look at this polarizing piece of headgear:

Originally called a ‘tarboosh,’ which roughly translated means head cover, this hat dates back to the time of the Ottoman Empire. It is typically made using red felt with a tassel attached to the top of the cap. When a number of Arab monarchies were overthrown following World War I, the fez was made illegal by the new rulers and those who dared to wear them had their asses tossed in jail.

Fez Cat

The city of Fes, Morocco was actually quite important to the hat’s existence, as it produced the colouring agent, using crimson berries, to turn the hat red. It was the only place that had access to this hue before artificial dyes were later manufactured. Today, the city is known as the ‘Mecca of the West’ and the ‘Athens of Africa’ and not much is mentioned about the hats any longer.

The decline of the fez put it amongst other headdresses that may only be worn for events such as weddings, funerals, or invitations to the royal palace. Many of the male employees at restaurants and hotels in Morocco don the cap to give tourists a little thrill and a trip back through history. You may even get the chance to wear one and snap a few photos, but it will likely set you back a little in the realm of tip money.

If you’d like to have your very own fez, they can be found online. Most sell for under $20 and come in a variety of colour schemes, but ones involving higher quality materials or with some historical value will set you back a little more, in the $100-$150 range. They can also be imported directly from Morocco, adding some legitimacy to the accessory.

Fez Pot

Today, the fez is most commonly recognized as being worn by members of the Shriners men’s fraternity. Despite wearing the fez, the group is not associated with Arabic or Islamic culture and is more in line with Masonry. The group can often be seen participating in parades, while driving around in miniature cars, and also advocating for their Shriners Hospitals for Children, across North America. Members have included presidents and other high-profile politicians, star athletes, musicians, and other notable celebrities.

Others who have worn the hat include: Aladdin and Abu; Moroccan Mole, sidekick to Secret Squirrel in the 1960’s Hanna-Barbera cartoon; Sallah, from the Indiana Jones films; Magician Tommy Cooper; one of the many Doctor Who incarnations; and a number of Disney Theme Parks characters, particularly at the Tokyo and Hong Kong sites. Steely Dan even recorded a song titled Fez for their 1976 The Royal Scam album.

The term FES has also gone on to stand for Foreign Exchange Student, most famously portrayed by the character of that name on That 70’s Show. We never learn Fez’s real name, as the other characters state it’s too hard to pronounce. All we learn is that the first five K’s are silent and his name is made up solely of vowels (which seems to contradict those silent K’s). We also never learn where exactly the character is from and both that mystery and his real name are running gags throughout the series.

Morocco: Black, White & Fig

Black, White & Fig Martini

  • Rim glass with Pepper and Sugar
  • Muddle Apple Slices and Pepper
  • 1 oz Mahia
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Splash of Grapefruit Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Garnish with an Apple and Lime Slice

I personally believe that I would look quite fetching in a fez hat. While it would be similar to a smoking cap, I’d use it solely for getting blitzed and dancing around , preferably with a monkey assistant. I know that sounds like a hundred bad stereotypes, but that’s just how we roll at the Sip Advisor offices!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
Mahia is an interesting spirit in that it’s Fig-based. It has a unique taste that I simply can’t place. Mrs. Sip and I both really enjoyed the Pepper & Sugar Rim and it added an different taste to the cocktail that didn’t overpower. For the citrus portion of the martini, you have the option of Lime Juice or Grapefruit Juice. I went with a splash of both because I like my sweet and sour.

France – French 75

Champagne Showers

While I’ve chosen cognac as the spirit of choice while visiting France, that doesn’t mean we can’t devote some time to another well-associated libation for the country: champagne. I’m not the biggest fan of the stuff, but Mrs. Sip loves her bubbles and therefore, this article is dedicated to her and her taste in finer things… like the Sip Advisor!

Champagne was discovered accidentally and through a process that makers in the region are still trying to correct. When the cold weather hits this northern area, the fermentation procedure is interrupted and only continues when warm temperatures return while the wine is already bottled. This creates the carbonation and pressure that champagne is known for.

champagne-christopher-walken

Dom Perignon is often credited with inventing champagne in 1662, but he had some serious help from a British scientist named Christopher Merret, who broke down the process for creating the libation. Also, British bottles were stronger than the French ones and helped eliminate the likelihood of bottles bursting from the intense pressure of the drink.

In fact, the real Dom Perignon (a Benedictine monk) was one of the many who worked hard to prevent the second fermentation that creates champagne. What Perignon can be recognized for is giving champagne its classic colour. Champagne used to have a pale pink hue before Perignon started the process of blending grapes before pressing them, which caused red grapes to produce a white wine.

In 1813, Madame Clicquot Ponsardin created the riddling machine, which greatly improved champagne production and the quality of the product being released. These machines allowed for bottles to be turned upside down in order to have sediment (dead yeast) removed, refining the second fermentation process. The Veuve Clicquot champagne house still exists today.

Dom Perignon

Only the bottles produced in France’s Champagne region can be classified as champagne. It is known around the world by such other names as bubbly, Prosecco, brut, and sparkling wine. Today there are over 15,000 grape growers in Champagne, working with pinot noir, chardonnay, and pinot meunier grapes.

Although Double-O-7, James Bond, is best associated with the shaken, not stirred martini, in the films, he is most often seen downing champagne. In fact, the secret agent seems to like his bubbles so much, he has consumed close to 40 glasses. Perhaps Bond, the perpetual sex machine, was drawn to the classic champagne glass, which was designed from a wax mold of Marie Antoinette’s breast.

There are about 49 million bubbles in a typical bottle of champagne. Those suds can cause immense pressure in the bottle (90 pounds per square inch), which can launch a cork at 40 miles per hour. The world record for cork flight is 177 feet. Those same bubbles can cause a headache for drinkers, if consumed too quickly, as they cause the alcohol to enter your bloodstream quickly. Take your time with champagne and enjoy the taste of the wine and the cascade of the fizz.

Popped a Cap

Need more than a normal sized champagne bottle? How about a lot more? The Melchizedek serving provides 30 liters of the good stuff. That’s equivalent to 40 typical bottles. Despite the massive serving, these bottles pale in comparison to the price attached to some selections. The Shipwrecked 1907 Heidseick will set you back $275,000 per bottle. 200 bottles of the champagne were discovered in 1997, after sitting at the bottom of the ocean for 90 years, presumed to have fallen off the ship carrying it.

Champagne can be used for many other purposes. In the 1800s, English nobles used the drink to polish their boots. Many moons later, Marilyn Monroe is reported to have bathed in a tub filled with 350 bottles of champagne. Had they re-bottled the used bath water, they could have made millions. Instead, today we have a Marilyn Monroe-themed strawberries and cream vodka from Three Olives. I think some companies really missed the boat on this one.

France: French 75

French 75 Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Cognac
  • Top with Champagne
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Pinch of Sugar
  • Garnish with a Lemon Wedge

Although I don’t love champagne, it is perfect in helping celebrate milestones, triumphs, and even the passing of another day where you made it through alive. Drink up, my little sippers!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
Much like Italy, there are a number of liquor options available for France. I went with Cognac because it seemed like a nice way to change things up with this project. This is the Cognac version of the popular Gin-based cocktail that I found in my Mixology App. It tasted alright, but I’m still not a huge fan of Champagne in general.

Scotland – Macbeth’s Dream

Land of Make Believe

When picking what to write about for our visit to Scotland, golf was an obvious choice. And while there was an abundance of options for a second article, I kept being steered towards fictional characters. Rather than spend a fair bit of time on only one of these individuals, I’ve decided to split my time and cover the gamut of my favourite Scots. Hell, even some of Scotland’s most famous real-life citizens have been largely fictionalized in media portrayals following their deaths. So, let’s take a look at some of these fine fictional figures:

Scrooge McDuck

An all-time favourite character of the Sip Advisor, Scrooge McDuck can do no wrong. Do you know that he has even invited me over for a swim in his vault? Physics be damned, we had a hell of a time wading through all his gold and jewels. There’s a great DuckTales episode where Scrooge and family return to his native Scotland and Castle McDuck, which is being haunted by druids and a ghost hound. The fictional McDuck has actually been honoured in Glasgow as a famous citizen of the city.

Duck Dynasty

William Wallace

Braveheart is a wicked awesome movie and can be forgiven for all of the creative license the production took on the real-life version of Scotland’s fight for independence. Wallace (or at least his fictionalized version) is a born leader, who has been wronged too many times by the ruling English. In response, he pulls together an army of like-minded Scots to finally take arms against the English and win back their land. I won’t spoil the story, but let’s just say things could have turned out better.

Merida

Brave centers on this young Scottish princess, who isn’t ready to take on the role she is destined for. She wants to get dirty, ride horses, and shoot her bow and arrow. She certainly doesn’t want to be married off to a boy she’s never met or be responsible for ruling over her subjects. This difference of opinion causes a rift between Merida and her mother and an errant use of magic makes matter worse. Can the curse be reversed in time, restoring peace and order to the Scottish Highlands?

Loch Ness Monster

Without the advent of ol’ Nessie, I don’t think many people would travel to Loch Ness. While the area looks beautiful, the real drawing power here is the legend of the monster. Similar legends of underwater creatures exist around the world (including the Ogopogo, just a few hours away from the Sip Advisor’s home base), but the Loch Ness version is by far the most famous. To be fair, she was discovered by Mr. Burns on an episode of The Simpsons, so perhaps all the sightings weren’t hoaxes.

Kitty Loch Ness

Groundskeeper Willie

Speaking of The Simpsons, one of the funniest secondary characters on the show has to be this cynical, downtrodden Scotsman. The often kilt-clad Willie hails from Kirkwall in Orkney, a dispute that had to be settled when both Glasgow and Aberdeen laid claim to the groundskeeper. Much humour is derived from other characters not being able to understand what Willie is saying and also his penchant for ripping his clothes off to reveal a ripped and toned body.

Shrek

Sticking with the animated world, Shrek may be based off other nationalities (thought to be a stereotype of medieval Hungarians), but his voice is 100% Scottish. The role was originally intended for Bill Murray and later Chris Farley, before Mike Myers joined the project. After watching a rough cut, Myers asked to re-voice the character with a Scottish accent (which he also used as Fat Bastard in the Austin Powers franchise) and the rest is fairytale history.

Hulk to Shrek

Macbeth

This Shakespearean play (one of the original game of thrones) is based off the real-life King Macbeth of Scotland, although ol’ Billy Shakes takes Macbeth and makes him a regicidal anti-hero, who kills for the role of ruler. Because of his actions, Macbeth’s conscience won’t let him enjoy his ascension and when his wife, Lady Macbeth, goes crazy from guilt – despite pushing her husband into the whole scheme – both are tragically dealt with in typical Shakespeare style.

Montgomery Scott

Whenever Captain Kirk demanded, “Beam me up, Scotty!” he was referring to Montgomery Scott, the engineer of the USS Enterprise. Scott, in the original Star Trek series, was actually played by Canadian, James Doohan, who auditioned for the role using a variety of accents. Creator Gene Roddenberry settled on the Scottish accent, when Doohan explained that the Scots had a storied history of nautical engineering. Ironically, the character was almost completely cut from the series.

Scotland: Macbeth’s Dream

Macbeth's Dream Martini

  • 2 oz Scotch
  • 0.25 oz Triple Sec
  • 0.25 oz Amaretto
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Orange Bitters
  • Pinch of Sugar
  • Garnish with an Orange Slice

In closing, it should be pointed out that the Sip Advisor is actually the greatest fictional character of Scottish descent. Hailing from the Clan Wilson, makers of fine scotch, bagpipes, and kilts, we also took the legend of Rob Roy and turned it into a cocktail!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
I think this recipe ended up being a little too sweet thanks to ingredients like Triple Sec, Amaretto, and the Sugar. That said, it went down easy enough and the Scotch had its typical smoky finish to boot.

May 10 – Blushing Lady

Motherly Love

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and every single little sipper out there in Sip Nation better be doing something special for their mom. I, personally know the way to Ma Sip’s heart is paved with wine… know your audience, am I right!? To show each and every one of you just how awesome your mom probably is, here are the top five worst mothers:

#5: Lois Wilkerson – Malcolm in the Middle

She’s driven one child to reform school and the three others that still live at home (with a fifth child eventually joining the fray) are wilder than a pack of hyenas. It’s a miracle that Malcolm emerged as a gifted student, although a couple of his other brothers are also intelligent, but use their smarts in other realms. It was rare to see Lois not shouting at the kids or disciplining them. An interesting tidbit about Malcolm in the Middle is that the writers worked very hard to conceal the family’s surname throughout the series, going so far as to have Francis drop his nametag at one point and for the audience to see it say “Nolastname.”

Lois Fate

#4: Cersei Lannister – Game of Thrones

Parents are often punished for the crimes of their children and anyone who can produce such an awful, sadomasochistic spawn, such as Joffrey Baratheon, has to have their own issues… like, I don’t know, being in an incestuous relationship with your brother. Oddly, her other son Tommen is the complete opposite to Joffrey, so perhaps he was just a bad apple (there’s one in every bunch). Cersei is certainly a wicked woman, not entirely surprising given her father’s actions and child rearing skills, which include demoralizing his brood every chance he gets and running their lives through power and intimidation.

#3: Peggy Bundy – Married with Children

Peggy’s greatest crime as a mother is that she just doesn’t care about her offspring and is too pre-occupied with spending all of the family’s money on treats for herself, rather than groceries, clothes, and the other needs of her husband and children. Her lack of a job throughout a vast majority of the show’s long run and preference for staying at home and watching Oprah while chowing down on bonbons shows just how lazy she is. Add in her disdain for cooking and cleaning and you have a mom who isn’t really paying her dues for the family.

Peg Bundy

#2: Malory Archer – Archer

Sterling Archer spent most of his life being raised by Woodhouse, his live-in caretaker, and being sent to boarding school, while his mother’s career as an international operative flourished. Malory even left Sterling stranded in a train station one Christmas Eve, as he was trying to make his way home from school for the holidays. In a case fit for the Maury Show, Malory is unsure of who Sterling’s father is and with a couple of options, made up a fictionalized dad, complete with backstory and naval honours. Despite her lack of affection for her son, Malory has made sure that Sterling has been dependent on her for most of his adult life.

#1: Lucille Bluth – Arrested Development

Lucille is really only loved by one of her children and even Buster has his moments where he can’t stand the nasty, alcoholic matriarch of the Bluth family. She is quick to criticize all of her kin (also including Gob, Lindsay, and Michael) and also has a habit of turning them against each other. Most of the messes the Bluth family wind up in is caused by Lucille, particularly her pilfering of the family company’s funds to support her lavish lifestyle. Played by Jessica Walters, who also provides the voice for Malory Archer, it would seem this lady has the market cornered on awful mother characters… bet she’s nice in real life, though.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Blushing Lady

Blushing Lady Shot

  • Rim glass with Sugar
  • 0.5 oz Vodka
  • 0.5 oz PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur
  • Splash of Grapefruit Juice
  • Garnish with a Strawberry Slice

Perhaps next year, we’ll take a look at the flip side of this coin, the warm and loving mothers (your Marge Simpson’s, Kitty Forman’s, etc. of the world) to further provide examples of how to be a great mom. Either that, or we’ll examine the reality TV “real life” moms out there that are cringe worthy with every act they commit. Happy Mother’s Day to all the lovely ladies out there that deserve the title!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
Yet another cocktail I’ve had to convert into a shot… clearly there are some noticeable voids in the mixology world that the Sip Advisor will have to fill! This shot was pretty good with a bitter aftertaste from the Grapefruit Juice. That’s what kind of takes the rating down a little.

Mexico – Sea of Cortez

Lucha Libre Lunacy

Wrestling and especially masked wrestlers are a huge hit in Mexico… perhaps more so than anywhere else in the world. The mask adds a dash of mystery to each character and also provides them a colourful outfit and persona. The fast-paced, high-flying in-ring style of the luchadores is mesmerizing for fans and has been captivating spectators for close to a century. Let’s take a look at some of the personalities and history of the genre:

Mask Manufacturing

Don Antonio Martinez is credited with creating some of the earliest lucha libre masks, moving to the face veneers from a successful leather boot business. As the story goes, Martinez employed a set of 17 facial measurements (a trade secret to this day) to help make the masks feel snug for the grapplers using them. Some of Mexico’s greatest wrestling stars would go on to wear a Martinez mask, taking the sport to unimaginable heights.

Lucha_libre_máscaras

The Saint

It takes some dedication to wear your wrestling mask at all times, inside and outside the ring. El Santo became one of Mexico’s cultural icons, appearing in countless movies, comic books, and other media. He only revealed his face to the world late in his life. Appearing on a talk show more than a year after his final match (at the age of 65, no less!), without warning El Santo removed his mask. One week later, the star passed away after suffering a heart attack. The grappler was buried donning his trademark silver disguise. His funeral was one of the biggest in Mexico’s history.

Legendary Lineage

Another hugely popular lucha libre fixture was Mil Mascaras. Hell, the guy even appeared on three different Mexican stamps. Mascaras competed all around the world and is considered one of the most influential wrestlers of all-time. A ban on masked wrestlers appearing at Madison Square Gardens was even lifted specifically so Mascaras could work for the then World Wrestling Federation. His legend lives on today through his nephew and current WWE superstar Alberto Del Rio. While Mascaras has never been unmasked during his lengthy career, Del Rio wrestles sans cover.

Dancing with the Demon

Blue Demon rounds out lucha libres first “Big Three” group of stars (also including El Santo and Mil Mascaras). Much like his fellow “Big Three” alums, Demon starred in numerous feature films, even leading a group of masked wrestlers on the big screen. Together they were dubbed The Champions of Justice and gave other legendary super groups such as the Justice League and Avengers a run for their money. Okay, I made that part up, but they were definitely more proficient when it came to cartwheels and somersaults!

misterioenlasbermudas

I guess the “big three” were kind of like the Rat Pack… yup, Frank, Dean and Sammy were replaced by El Santo, Mil Mascaras and Blue Demon!

For Sale

I nearly every market around Mexico, a traveler can find wrestling masks of varying quality to be purchased. The disguises include replicas for some of the biggest stars of Mexico, as well as those for competitors who have gained popularity abroad. You can even pick up the odd comic superhero façade, such as Spider-Man and Captain America.

Something to Lose

It is humiliating for a wrestler to be unmasked and therefore one of the most exciting and highly-anticipated contests in Mexico is the Mask Match (aka Luchas de Apuestas, which translates to “gambling fights”), where the loser has to reveal their face to the viewing audience. If the masked wrestler’s opponent doesn’t wear a mask, they often put their hair on the line in return. When a wrestler loses and is unmasked, it is common for his personal information to finally be recognized and published. That star is often no longer allowed to compete as that character, a further humiliation heaped on top of the original loss.

Big Time

In 1994, Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA) joined forces with World Championship Wrestling (WCW) to co-promote a pay-per-view event entitled When Worlds Collide. The show launched the careers of many Mexico-based stars, including Rey Mysterio, Jr., La Parka, Eddie Guerrero, and Konnan. Thanks to this platform, the grapplers started being signed to contracts with bigger American promotions like Extreme Championship Wrestling and the aforementioned WCW.

Mexico Wrestlers

No Respect

Throughout the mid to late 1990’s, more and more wrestlers from Mexico exploded onto the scene in the U.S., exciting fans with their speed, agility, and aerial offense. Things started off pretty well for the imports, but soon turned sour as the roster became flooded with foreign talent, most of whom weren’t featured much and found themselves buried underneath the bigger American grapplers. A number of stars were stripped of their mask in matches that had little to no meaning. Rey Mysterio, Juventud Guerra, and Psicosis all found themselves without their familiar covering and despite revealing themselves to fans, saw little improvement to their position in the pecking order.

Return to Glory

In 2002, pint-sized phenom Rey Mysterio (nee Jr.) debuted with the world’s largest wrestling company WWE, returning to wearing the mask that once brought him such great popularity. Bursting onto the scene by defeating some of WWE’s top stars, a renaissance of masked competitors seemed on the horizon. Sure enough, in 2006, Mysterio captured the World Heavyweight Title. No small feat (pun intended) for the 5’6” ultimate underdog!

Mexico: Sea of Cortez

Sea of Cortez Cocktail

 

  • Rim glass with Salt, Sugar and Chili Flakes
  • 1 oz Tequila
  • 0.5 oz Chipotle Spirit
  • 0.5 oz Triple Sec
  • Top with Grapefruit Soda
  • Splash of Sweet & Sour Mix
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

The luchadores comprise the Sip Advisor’s favourite style of wrestling. I just love seeing these smaller guys steal the show from the larger, hulking bodies with their crazy, high-risk action-packed contests. Perhaps it’s the cruiserweight in me or maybe it’s just the thrill of watching people fly through the air with complete disregard to their own safety. Either way, I thank them for their contributions to my entertainment.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (5 Sips out of 5):
This recipe provided one of my first chances to use the Chipotle Spirit I picked up a couple months back at Rogue Distillery in Portland, Oregon. On that trip, myself and Ma and Pa Sip ate at Gustav’s Pub, where I found this recipe. My favourite aspect is the rim, complete with Chili Flakes, which take a margarita recipe and make it that much better. I went with Grapefruit Soda instead of Juice and may have found a new mixer to advocate for. I love my drinks that have a bit of a bite to them and this was certainly no different!