Mixer Mania #2 – Orange Crush

As the Sip Advisor recently watched Rambo (aka First Blood Part II) the other day, I began thinking of other fictional Vietnam War veterans. Taking advantage of today’s feature mixer being orange juice and the involvement of Agent Orange in that war, here are some of the greatest fictional Vietnam vets:

John Rambo

Speaking of the former special forces soldier, Rambo was captured by North Vietnamese forces and held and tortured in a POW camp for months before escaping. The horrors of the war scarred Rambo and his return home didn’t go any better, given all the anti-war sentiment across the U.S. The second Rambo movie sees the character return to Vietnam to rescue some American prisoners of war and when things don’t go as planned, Rambo goes on a rampage until the mission is accomplished.

rambo-fly-in-room

Thomas Magnum

Flanked by his buddies and fellow veterans Rick and T.C. (both marines), Magnum fought in Vietnam as a Navy SEAL. After the war, Magnum gets hooked up with a pretty sweet gig, watching the Hawaiian home of wealthy friend/author Robin Masters. While situated there, Magnum takes a up a career as a private investigator, which placed him in a number of hairy situations (I intentionally use the word ‘hairy’ for all the shots we got of a shirtless Magnum, as he patrolled the beaches and waters of Hawaii).

Principal Skinner

Back when he was a punk teen, known as Armin Tamzarian, the future principal of Springfield Elementary was shipped off to Vietnam to fight as a Green Beret. There, he met Sgt. Seymour Skinner, who turned the angry orphan around. When the real Skinner was apparently killed in action, Tamzarian returned to Springfield to deliver the news to Skinner’s mother… only he couldn’t break her heart and ended up spending the rest of his life taking his mentor’s identity.

principal-skinner-no-future

The A-Team

Consisting of Col. John “Hannibal” Smith, Lt. Templeton “Face” Peck, Capt. H.M. “Howling Mad” Murdock, and muscle Sgt. B.A. “Bad Attitude” Baracus, this special forces team is court-martialed for a crime they are falsely accused of committing and are forced to escape military prison. On the run, they become mercenaries, travelling the world, helping those they meet along the way. The show was turned into a feature film in 2010 and a rebooted TV series is in development.

Forrest Gump

A fair portion of Forrest Gump’s story plays out in the jungles of Vietnam, where Gump meets fellow recruit Benjamin Buford “Bubba” Blue and Lt. Dan Taylor, both of whom have a profound impact on his life. Gump and Lt. Dan eventually team up and enter the shrimping game, in honour of Bubba, who never made it home from the war. Their success eventually leads to both men being financially set for life, thanks to Lt. Dan investing in Apple, a small, but rising company at the time.

Mixer Mania #2: Blood and Sand

blood-and-sand

  • 0.75 oz Blended Scotch
  • 0.75 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 0.75 oz Cherry Liqueur
  • Top with Orange Juice
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

Honourable mentions go to Travis Bickle (Taxi Driver), Angus MacGyver (MacGyver), Martin Riggs (Lethal Weapon), Tommy Vercetti (Grand Theft Auto: Vice City) and even Saved by the Bell’s Mr. Belding.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.25 Sips out of 5):
I thought I had created this classic cocktail some time ago, but a quick search revealed it was still on my liquor bucket list. I only wish I had made it earlier, as it’s a pretty good drink. I liked how there was some strength to the alcohol content, but not an overwhelming amount.

Croatia – Naked Lady

Spotty Reputation

Without Croatia, we might have never been introduced to 101 Dalmatians. These spotted dogs come from the Dalmatia region of the country (which has a coat of arms that features leopards, not Dalmatians) and were once used as carriage dogs many years ago. Because of this, they are typically very comfortable around horses and can keep up to them. Let’s learn a little more about the pooches:

One of the first uses of the breed was to guard the borders of Dalmatia. They have also found work as rescue dogs, hunting dogs, circus dogs, and watch dogs. Hey, it’s a living!

Dalmatian Spots

Dalmatians have gone by other names over time, including Carriage Dog, English Coach Dog, Plum Pudding Dog, and the Spotted Dick Dog. The British sure have a funky way of naming their pups and you really have to wonder which bloke came up with that last one, as accurate as it may be.

A fully grown Dalmatian can weigh anywhere between 35 and 70 pounds and their average lifespan is 10-13 years, although some have lived to the ripe old age of 16. Dalmatian litters range from 9-13 pups, although in rare occurrences, larger broods have been born in one go, with a reported 18-puppy birthing in 2009.

When a Dalmatian is born, it has an all-white coat and its trademark spots only appear at about three weeks. By the time they are one month old, they will have most of their spots, but other will appears throughout the dog’s life, just at a slower rate. The spots are usually black or brown, but some rarer colours do occur, such as bluish-grey, orange, yellow, and even tri-coloured.

Dalmatian Shadow

Dalmatians are high energy dogs and one negative effect of the popular book (written by Dodie Smith) and animated and live-action Disney movies was the increase of people adopting Dalmatian dogs for their children, only to realize they weren’t suitable animals for kids. Sadly, this resulted in many of the dogs being given up for adoption by underprepared owners, which was exacerbated by unethical breeders, who were already mass-producing poorly bred puppies to take advantage of the fad. Happily, a number of groups popped up to deal with the overwhelming number of Dalmatians looking for homes.

The dogs are often associated with fire departments, which began when Dalmatians transitioned from carriages to fire engines. Dalmatians today are used as mascots for firehouses and as ambassadors for fire safety education with the young and old alike. It’s not uncommon for a firefighter to own a Dalmatian as their pet, to honour their past heroics.

Dalmatians Coloring Book

According to the Dalmatian Club of America, 12% of the Dalmatian population is deaf, while other dogs of the breed can only hear in one ear. On the positive side, Dalmatians lack the typical “dog smell” and are fairly clean pets, thanks to a lack of oil in their fur.

The Dalmatian is also largely associated with Budweiser beer and the company’s Busch Gardens theme parks. Anytime you see the famous Budweiser Clydesdale horses, you can bet their Dalmatian carriage dog is close by. The brewing company has assembled a number of these teams and they tour around promoting the product. Dalmatians were even used to guard beer wagons, as the driver went about his business making deliveries. Let’s salute this proud, noble, beer protector!

Croatia: Naked Lady

Naked Lady Martini

  • 1 oz Rum
  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 0.5 oz Rakija
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Grenadine
  • Garnish with Lemon Zest

Aside from Dalmatians, the necktie also technically comes from Croatia, as it is a descendent of the cravat. If I had chosen to write about that, though, it would have largely been to take shots at all the schlubs who have to wear one every day to work!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
Wow, Rakija is strong, but I can’t say that I don’t like the liqueur. This martini was decent with some complex flavours going on. I’m curious to try Rakija in other recipes and see if I can find a grand slam recipe for the spirit!

Ireland – The Emerald

Pot of Gold

The leprechaun has long been associated with Ireland and is an important figure of Irish folklore. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will always be portrayed in the best of lights elsewhere. Here are some of the famous leprechauns we can learn from:

Lucky the Leprechaun – Lucky Charms

Also known as Sir Charms and L.C. Leprechaun (monikers he invented to avoid creditors who were after his Lucky Charms!), this imp was introduced in the 1960’s, shortly after the cereal hit store shelves. Originally, the breakfast option only contained four different marshmallow shapes, but over time that number grew to eight permanent charms. Lucky was briefly replaced by Waldo the Wizard in 1975, but it wasn’t long before the leprechaun was back with the brand. Some say he bought his way back into the picture with his pot o’ gold riches!

lucky-charms-marshmallows

O’Reilly – The Simpsons

This little hellraiser appears in a number of Simpsons episodes, most notably one of the Treehouse of Horror segments where Homer has drawn the ire of a gypsy and has been cursed. Looking to reverse his fortune, he traps a leprechaun (using Lucky Charms as bait), but O’Reilly just causes havoc in the Simpson home. When Homer takes the leprechaun to battle the gypsy, the two fall in love and are married in a ceremony performed by Yoda of Star Wars fame. O’Reilly is also an imaginary vision for Ralph Wiggum, telling the youngster to burn things.

Braun the Leprechaun – World Championship Wrestling

Leave it to professional wrestling to have a leprechaun running around the ring and causing havoc. Braun briefly appeared with the Dungeon of Doom stable, a group of dark and sometimes mythological characters, including The Yeti (although he was dressed like a mummy… no, seriously) and Loch Ness (a 600-plus pound monster of a man, billed from the Scottish Highlands). Portrayed by the grappler (real name DeWayne Bruce) that would eventually become perennial loser Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker, he is most recognized for his work training future stars, particularly Bill Goldberg.

Hornswoggle – World Wrestling Entertainment

Sticking with professional wrestling, years after Braun, another shot was taken at the character, this time using a little person. Originally named Little Bastard, the character soon evolved into Hornswoggle (which means to cheat, swindle, hoodwink, or hoax), helping Irish bruiser Finlay score a number of underhanded victories. Hornswoggle has gone on to become a fan favourite, while enjoying high-profile roles such as joining D-Generation X as their mascot, being the illegitimate son of WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, winning the Cruiserweight Title, and holding the position of anonymous General Manager of Monday Night Raw.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish/Boston Celtics Leprechauns

These famous logos and mascots have helped define both squads. For Notre Dame, the team had gone through a number of nicknames (Catholics, Hoosiers, Rockmen, Bulldogs) before settling on the Fighting Irish. This was done because a leprechaun joined the cheerleading squad and has remained on the team’s sideline ever since. As for the Celtics, their mascot Lucky was designed by the brother of legendary coach Red Auerbach. Complete with shillelagh and shamrock-adorned attire, it just doesn’t get much more Irish… although Lucky lacks the red locks we usually associate with leprechauns.

The Leprechaun – Leprechaun Movies

Played by little person Warwick Davis (of Willow and Harry Potter fame), The Leprechaun horror movie franchise has spawned six films and is due for a reboot with the aforementioned Hornswoggle (real name Dylan Postl) taking over the lead role. Falling in line with recent movie trends, the new film will be an origin story. Back to the original series, premises ranged from The Leprechaun tracking down his stolen gold, to searching for a bride, and even rampages through Las Vegas, space, and Compton, California (in the ghetto!). The first installment even featured a young and unknown Jennifer Aniston… she ended up doing pretty well for herself!

leprechaun-back2thahood

Seriously, they did not one, but two Leprechaun films set in “Tha Hood”!

Brian Connors – Darby O’Gill and the Little People

This Disney live action movie features a horde of leprechauns led by Brian Connors, the ‘King of the Leprechauns’. Connors and O’Gill are friendly adversaries, each trying to outsmart the other. O’Gill, an elderly groundskeeper is trying to capture Connors and be granted three wishes, hoping to set his daughter up for a happy life. Conners was played by Jimmy O’Dea, an Irish comedian and songwriter. Sean Connery is also in the film and he even sings! Legend has it that his role as Michael McBride, the daughter’s eventual love interest, led to him being cast as James Bond.

Shado – Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law

Known as Shado the Brain Thief because he possesses telepathic abilities, this leprechaun lawyer uses his powers to mess with opposing counsel and juries and manipulate them for his own gains. If Mrs. Sip (also a lawyer) was capable of telepathy, she’d be even more of a legend than she already is… which is due largely in part to her association with the Sip Advisor. Anyhoo, Shado is voiced by Toby Huss, who provided the dialogue for a number of characters on King of the Hill, including Cotton Hill, Kahn Souphanousinphone, Joe Jack, and M.F. Thatherton.

Ireland: The Emerald

Mar 20

  • 2 oz Irish Whiskey
  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • Dashes of Orange Bitters
  • Garnish with Orange Zest

I hope everyone finds their pot of gold at the end of the rainbow… that is, unless you have to battle a deranged leprechaun to get at your cash money. My advice is to wait until the little guys tucker themselves out before achieving your treasure. Kind of like I do with my desire to high-five monkeys!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
This is basically a Manhattan variation and it was decent. Whenever I make a drink with Orange Bitters, I go a little crazy with the dashes and that’s not a bad thing. I thought the Orange Zest bits looked pretty darn good, if I don’t say so myself. Party on!

England – London Cup

Riot Brigade

From South Africa, we head north to merry old England. While it may or may not have originated there, the country has long been known as a hotbed of football hooliganism. Here’s a look at some of the most notorious hooligan firms and the anarchy they have caused!

Hooliganism Industry

6.57 Crew – Portsmouth FC

Taking their name from the depature time of trains from Southsea Station in Portsmouth to London’s Waterloo Station, the 6.57 Crew has been subject of TV documentaries and books on their hooliganism. The club has even had a 10-year old member arrested and convicted of violent disorder. For the 2006 Football World Cup, 130 members of the 6.57 Crew were forced to hand over their passports, limiting their ability to travel to Germany for the tournament.

Chelsea Headhunters – Chelsea FC

This firm has been linked to white supremacist groups, such as Combat 18, a neo-Nazi organization. One member, Kevin Whitton, was sentenced to life in prison for assaulting a bar manager, in which Whitton held the arms of the victim while another Headhunter smashed a beer glass into his face. The Headhunters have long-standing rivalries with firms representing other London-based teams, including Arsenal, Tottenham, and Queens Park.

Millwall Bushwackers – Millwall FC

Any group who chants “No one likes us, we don’t care!” has members that are in need of a serious hug. Perhaps they weren’t given much attention and love as youngsters. Anyway, The Den, where Millwall FC played was closed on five separate occasions by the Football Association due to fan violence. Clearly, these Bushwackers aren’t the fun loving type like the Bushwackers of wrestling fame.

bushwackers

Red Army – Manchester United FC

Sometimes called the Men in Black (hunting aliens when not disrupting soccer matches), the Red Army’s most infamous year might have been 1974-75, while Man U was relegated to the Second Division of the English League. During that season, Red Army supporters often outnumbered home team fans, while United was on the road, causing havoc with each stop across the country. The firm is largely cited as a reason for crowd segregation and fencing at UK football stadiums.

Inter City Firm – West Ham United FC

The ICF has been the basis for one film (Green Street Hooligans) about hooliganism, while serving as consultants on another (The Firm). A movie was also made about former leader Cass Pennant, who despite being black during a time of heavy racism, rose to the top of the ICF and served four years in prison (the first to ever be given a long-term sentence) as a result of his hooligan actions.

Men Discussing

Leeds United Service Crew – Leeds United FC

The LUSC has even been known to beat up opposing fans in wheelchairs… now that’s hardcore. Leeds United has done much to distance itself from the firm, as the level of violence caused by the LUSC has nearly ruined the team. Leeds United was banned from European competition for four years in the late 70’s thanks to fans rioting and in Telford United refused to host the team at their own stadium in 1987, due to the LUSC’s reputation.

The Muckers – Blackpool FC

Colloquially, “mucker” means good friend, but these Blackpool supporters certainly weren’t amiable with fans from other squads. Despite Blackpool’s history of being a lower-tier team, The Muckers were a major league firm, making a 1985 BBC list of the six worst clubs, as far as fan violence was concerned. The Muckers have gone through a number of eras and leaders, seemingly resembling a gang, rather than fans, and participating in West Side Story type rumbles (minus the dancing and singing, of course!).

England: London Cup

London Cup Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Tanqueray Rangpur Gin
  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 0.5 oz Campari
  • Top with Grapefruit Juice and Lemonade
  • Garnish with Cucumber Slices

While the heyday of hooligan firms is long behind us, football fan violence still exists. I’m still thankful nothing broke out during the Man United game Mrs. Sip and I attended in 2007, although our street car did break down in the middle of the town, making for an interesting trip home!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
For my England posts, I wanted to pick up a new and unique Gin and I found exactly that with the Tanqueray Rangpur. I had never seen this product before and was happy to come across it in a duty free shop in the Dominican Republic. The spirit combines Gin with Rangpur Limes as well as some other spices and it is quite refreshing. The same can be said for today’s cocktail, which I enjoyed despite the presence of Campari.

November 22 – Churchill

Tennessee Whiskey vs. Kentucky Bourbon

A battle of the ages has long been brewing (literally!) between the states of Tennessee and Kentucky. In one corner, you have the maker of the finest American whiskeys, while in the other, you have the home of bourbon creations. Let’s take a look at each state’s role in the world around us and see which place should get the nod in this never-ending conflict.

Famous Citizens

Tennessee: Davy Crockett, Morgan Freeman, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Dolly Parton, Al Gore, Miley Cyrus – can you imagine Davy Crockett, Morgan Freeman and Al Gore twerking!?

twerking

Kentucky: Abraham Lincoln, Daniel Boone, Muhammad Ali, George Clooney, Johnny Depp, The Judds, Colonel Sanders – that’s a murderer’s row of famous folks who call Kentucky home!

Sports

Tennessee: Tennessee Titans (NFL), Memphis Grizzlies (NBA), Nashville Predators – Memphis stole Vancouver’s basketball franchise… you better believe that’s a paddlin’.

Kentucky: Kentucky Derby – I love watching the horsies race and apparently Kentuckians do too, as they don’t have any professional sports franchises within the state.

Food

Tennessee: I love southern barbecue foods (your pulled pork, brisket, chicken) and all the sides those meats come with (I gotta stop writing on an empty stomach!). In particular, we have a chain in western Canada called Memphis Blues that provides all these delicacies and there’s one wonderfully located a block up the street from Mrs. Sip and my chateau!

Kentucky: KFC, yo! Gotta give some points to the Colonel here, even if the company has rebranded itself to drop the Kentucky moniker! The state is also known for a dish called Hot Brown, which involves (layered in order) toasted bread, turkey, bacon, tomatoes, and mornay sauce.

KFC S&M

Arts (TV, Movies, Music, etc.)

Tennessee: Music City, USA; Memphis Wrestling – I’m a fan of one and not so much of the other… which is which!?

Kentucky: Recognizable Stars – Ah, hello, look no further than they provided the world with George Clooney and Johnny Depp, as well as vampire hunter Abraham Lincoln!

Landmarks

Tennessee: Graceland, Dollywood, Country Music Hall of Fame, Opryland USA – Did you know that Dollywood even has a water park!? For some reason, among all these great landmarks, that’s what sticks out to me the most!

Kentucky: Churchill Downs, Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, KFC Yum! Center, Abraham Lincoln Birthplace, Creation Museum, Fort Knox – The Creation Museum could, in fact, be the nation’s finest comedy club!

Slogans

Tennessee: “America at its Best” – I like the confidence of that statement!

Tennessee Slogan

This seems like a pretty good slogan, too!

Kentucky: “It’s That Friendly”, “Unbridled Spirit” – Sorry, but I’m not a fan of either of these attempts.

Nickname

Tennessee: Volunteer State – I hate volunteering for things, so Tennessee is going to lose some points in this category.

Kentucky: Bluegrass State – Mmm, mmm, I love me some bluegrass music… not the actual type of grass, of course.

State Symbols (last chance to get in the good graces of the Sip Advisor)

Tennessee: Their state wild animal (seriously, why do they have these things) is the raccoon… total props for that pick!

Kentucky: Their state dance is clogging… I’m not entirely sure what this is (no need for research here), but my mind tells me it’s like crunking, but more dangerous!

Drink #326: Churchill

Churchill Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Scotch Whiskey
  • 0.5 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 0.5 oz Cointreau
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with a Lime Wheel

So, in the end, who was the big winner between the two states? Tennessee takes Landmarks, Slogan, and State Symbols, while Famous Citizens, Arts, and Nickname go to Kentucky. Sports and Food are a toss-up, so I’m afraid we’re right where we started at the beginning of this whole debacle!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I’m not sure whether this cocktail is named for Winston Churchill or Churchill Downs, but I figured it was a fitting recipe either way. And it tastes pretty darn good to boot! It’s not too strong, which is always a risk when the recipe is so booze heavy and mixers are largely absent, but this one works, likely helped along by the Cointreau and Lime Juice, in particular.

November 21 – Brain-Duster

Whiskey Truth

I normally don’t do the quote thing, but I found that whiskey and its close relatives have inspired many to wax philosophical about the liquor. Here are some of the great quotes I was able to find:

“Whiskey, like a beautiful woman, demands appreciation. You gaze first, then it’s time to drink.” ― Haruki Murakami

Yeah, beautiful woman may demand appreciation, but you have to make them work for it a little too! Perhaps throw in a little appreciative tease, making them think you’ve fallen hook, line and sinker. Then pull a complete 180, get off that hook and make them dangle some bait to bring you to the surface again!

appreciation-show-some

“Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.” ― Mark Twain

I’ve never agreed with the statement that too much of a good thing can be bad. I think we should be able to have as much good stuff going in our lives as constantly as possible. Why does our good mojo need to be broken up by some bad vibes? I think that’s bullshit. Whiskey, on the other hand, is always good, so let’s enjoy it for that.

“Love makes the world go round? Not at all. Whiskey makes it go round twice as fast.” ― Compton Mackenzie

I’m sure we’ve all been there (except for those straight edge types) when we find our world spinning a little (or a lot) thanks to a little liquid encouragement! Whenever I’m feeling like an internal merry-go-round, I just ride it out and enjoy all the sensations of utter inebriation. If you can’t handle the waves, you probably shouldn’t have hopped on the boat.

“There is no bad whiskey. There are only some whiskeys that aren’t as good as others.” ― Raymond Chandler

In my memory (as depleted as it may be) I can’t say that I’ve ever tasted a bad whiskey, so I can’t really challenge Mr. Chandler on his assertion. Sadly, Mrs. Sip is not a whiskey fan and this is one thing we can’t share together. It has led to some serious questions about our relationship longevity that I continue to quash with drinking more whiskey.

Carousel

“Sometimes life is sad. You can cry in your booze, if you want. I think that’s called a Whiskey Sour.” ― Jarod Kintz

I do enjoy Whiskey Sours, but I’ve never thought of creating one from human tears. This could open up a whole new field and craze in the mixology world! Remember, you heard it here first!

“I have never in my life seen a Kentuckian who didn’t have a gun, a pack of cards, and a jug of whiskey.” ― Andrew Jackson

Those Kentuckians sound like pretty great people… well, minus the gun part. I’m totally down with the whole jug of whiskey and pack of cards mentality, though. I think I should organize a little game of strip poker with some southern belles and see if this whole quote actually holds up!

Drink #325: Brain-Duster

Brain-Duster Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Absinthe
  • 0.5 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 0.5 oz Whiskey
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Garnish with an Orange Wheel

Got a whiskey quote you really like that I haven’t touched upon above? Or do you have an alternative interpretation to what I’ve deciphered here today? Let’s get philosophical together!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2 Sips out of 5):
Good lord this drink is strong. Mrs. Sip snagged a sip of the cocktail while I was prepping dinner (that’s right, the Sip Advisor does it all!) and nearly knocked herself loopy with one fell swoop… or sip. The Absinthe is just so potent and needs to be mixed with just the right ingredients or else it’s hard to make it palatable.

October 30 – Corpse Reviver

Clever Costumes

There are some really funny costumes out there. Somehow, I’ve narrowed a limitless number of hilarious coverings down to a few favourites. There folks should be so proud of the honour I’m about to bestow upon them!

Facebook Post Costume

Just think about all the action this guy would get in a night, as every girl at the party would want to be the one featured in the Facebook post. Of course, he’d have to hold that sign up most of the time, but the benefits totally outweigh the effort. This is the kind of selfie I can get behind.

Lobster Kids Costume

Mrs. Sip loves lobster… but maybe not this much! When this kid is old enough to realize what happened to them at such a young age, do you think they’ll want justice. Perhaps they’ll be in therapy thanks to flashbacks of being stuffed in a pot and nightmares of being cooked. Good parenting!

breaking bad costumes

You would have to imagine that these two boys don’t even know what Breaking Bad is, but kudos to them for going along with a costume that is clearly the brainchild of their parents. Both boys nail the look of Jesse and Walter and you hope people handing out candy would appreciate the effort.

dog-poop factory-costume

Poor puppy doesn’t know that its owners and everyone it walks by is having a laugh at its expense. The payback will come when the dog chews up its owner stuff, slobbers throughout the house and perhaps even leaves a few ‘presents’ for its people to have to clean up. Sweet revenge!

rollercoaster-costumes

The problem with this costume is that it doesn’t work so well when any member separates from the group. Therefore, you have to choose the group members wisely because you’ll probably be spending the entire night with them or in a nearby proximity to them.

Drink #303: Corpse Reviver

Corpse Reviver Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Cognac (I used Courvoisier)
  • 0.5 oz Apple Rum
  • 0.5 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • Garnish with Body Part Gummies

If you think there are better costumes out there, let me know. I’m always looking for my next Halloween outfit and have no qualms about ripping someone else off!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.5 Sips out of 5):
There is also the more popular Corpse Reviver #2 recipe, but I wanted to give the original some air time. Today’s recipe calls for Apple Brandy, but not having any on hand, I resorted to an Apple Rum, which provided some of the required flavour, but lacked the sweetness the Brandy might have offered. That was left for the Sweet Vermouth to provide and it did so to a reasonable degree.

September 29 – Negroni

Bittersweet

There are some legendary roles that have been passed up by actors and actresses for various reasons. That probably made some of these folks pretty bitter… let’s take a look!:

Tom Selleck – Indiana Jones (Raiders of the Lost Ark)

The Magnum P.I. star and his moustache were slated to play the role of archeologist Indiana Jones, but Selleck wasn’t allowed to vacate his TV role long enough to film the movie. The role went to Harrison Ford instead and three sequels followed. Selleck has done okay since, but lost out on playing such a treasured character. At least Selleck didn’t have to suffer through the backlash The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull received.

tom-selleck-indiana-jones

Molly Ringwald – Vivian (Pretty Woman) / Molly (Ghost)

The 1980’s icon missed the boat on a couple big roles in 1990 including Vivian in Pretty Woman and Molly in Ghost, played by Julia Roberts and Demi Moore respectively. Instead, Ringwald was living and acting in France. When she returned stateside, she had parts in TV movies and series but hasn’t done anything of note since her heyday decades ago. Roberts and Moore on the other hand enjoyed strong careers after these movies.

Will Smith – Neo (The Matrix)

I am certainly not a fan of The Matrix trilogy of movies and apparently, neither was Smith. The Fresh Prince turned down the character of Neo, saying he found the script too hard to follow. Instead, Smith would go on to make Wild Wild West, a universally panned film, around the same time. Smith has also admitted that Keanu Reeves was perfect for the role, which I take to mean the character was always intended to be one-dimensional, monotone, and boring.

will smith as neo

Mel Gibson – Bruce Wayne/Batman (Batman)

With all the uproar over the selection of Ben Affleck to play Batman, it’s interesting to note actors who previously passed on the iconic role. Gibson turned down the offer for Tim Burton’s 1989 film, believing the movie would be a flop… and this is all before his high-profile meltdown. Michael Keaton, of course, stepped up to the plate and knocked it out of the park before the franchise took a downswing with Val Kilmer and George Clooney behind the mask.

Sean Connery – Gandalf (Lord of the Rings)

The former James Bond legend passed on the role of Gandalf, reasoning that he didn’t “get” fantasy (because, you know, the James Bond plots are super realistic) and instead went on to make The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, a movie that involves superheroes and is based on comics. Yup, that seems much more grounded in reality. Connery was paid $17 million for his part in the League, but it also pushed him to retire from acting. Had he accepted the Gandalf role and the offered 15% of the box office, he could have made $400 million through the trilogy!

sean-connery-gandalf

Denzel Washington – Det. David Mills (Se7en)

Denzel reportedly turned down the role later played by Brad Pitt, saying the movie was too dark. Apparently, he later regretted passing on the part, but he did alright for himself eventually, with an Oscar win for Training Day. Se7en launched Pitt into superstardom and also paired him with director David Fincher. Over the years, the two would also combine their efforts for Fight Club and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Kevin Costner – Andy Dufresne (The Shawshank Redemption)

Costner was huge in the early 90’s and his acceptance of the Andy Dufresne role would have helped him avoid the total bomb that became his Waterworld passion project. After Waterworld, it took quite some time for Costner to rid himself of the stench of failure (must have been some stinky water on that set) and some could argue he’s never fully recovered. Tim Robbins took the Andy Dufresne part and went on to enjoy a renaissance of sorts.

Drink #272: Negroni

Negroni Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Campari
  • 1 oz Gin (I used Bombay Sapphire East)
  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • Garnish with an Orange Twist

I sincerely hope that every actor and actress whose career was launched by one of these roles originally turned down sends that person some kind of gift basket each year, thanking them for their poor judgment and decision making. Join us tomorrow for part two of this franchise!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (1.5 Sips out of 5):
I knew going into this cocktail that I wasn’t going to like it very much. I find Campari’s bitterness to be too harsh and the Sweet Vermouth wasn’t able to bring it back to a tolerable level. I’m unclear as to why this has become such a classic cocktail. I guess there are enough people out there that prefer bitter drinks.

August 5 – The Beauty Beneath

Beautiful British Columbia

Today is B.C. Day in my neck of the woods. It is a day to celebrate our fine province with outdoor activities, wonderful food and drink, and great family and friends. With that in mind, here are some of the top attractions in British Columbia. Come by and visit sometime, ya hear!

Whistler

Travelling along the Sea-to-Sky Highway, you will float up through the clouds to the mountain resort of Whistler, which is a top destination throughout the year. In the winter, it is a haven for skiers and snowboarders, who can take to the slopes and enjoy some of the finest white powder this side of Colombia! When summer rolls around, the village becomes a wonderful place for a scenic hike or bike ride, quickly followed by a cold pint amongst some of the finest nature you’ll ever find.

whistler

Grouse Grind

For the outdoor adventurer, the Grouse Grind is something that has to be done to see how you fare against travelers from around the world. The unofficial record stands at 23 minutes and 48 seconds, but most hikers will take about 90 to 120 minutes to complete the trek. You won’t get great views on the Grind, until you reach the top of Grouse Mountain, but it’s the challenge of the trail that keeps people coming back. At least there’s beer, food, and gondolas (for your return trip) at the top as your reward.

Downtown Vancouver

Home to the province’s most famous and desired citizen, yours truly (Mrs. Sip is a close second, however), my suggestion is to ride the hop-on, hop-off bus tour, which visits all the key areas of the core, including Gas Town, Granville Island, the West End, Chinatown, and everything in between. There are also some amazing dining options in the city, including Joe Fortes for seafood; Gotham Steakhouse for, you guessed it, steak; and Tojo’s for sushi.

Downtown_Vancouver_Sunset

Okanagan Valley Wine Country

While enjoying some of the province’s most gorgeous views, you can also visit a countless number of wineries and indulge in tastings that will have you wobbling through one vineyard after another. Over 60 grape varieties are grown in the Okanagan Valley, including a number of German styles, such as Riesling and Gewürztraminer. The region has some of B.C.’s warmest temperatures, to boot.

Stanley Park

This massive park is home to everything from an aquarium to a lagoon, statues to totem poles. It is a serious slice of Canadiana. From Stanley Park, visitors can walk, bike, or rollerblade the Sea Wall that encompasses Downtown Vancouver and enjoy all of the beaches that line the route. At Halloween and Christmas, the Stanley Park train takes thousands of guests through a themed ride that delights children and adults alike.

stanley-park

Sports

While we’ve lost some franchises over time (I never even got to a Grizzlies game in their short time here), the city still has a few offerings, including the beloved Vancouver Canucks (NHL), B.C. Lions (CFL), and Vancouver Whitecaps (MLS). We’re even getting a National Lacrosse League team back in 2014 and for fans of baseball, watching the Vancouver Canadians (an affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays) at Nat Bailey Stadium makes for a memorable evening out.

Victoria

Home to B.C.’s parliament buildings and the capital of the province, Victoria is a 90-minute ferry ride over from the mainland, but it is well worth it. Victoria is the closest you can come in Canada to feeling like you’re in the U.K. (after all, it was named after Queen Victoria), with its afternoon tea service at the Empress Hotel, cathedrals, castles, and gardens.

Drink #217: The Beauty Beneath

The Beauty Beneath Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Rum (I used Appleton)
  • 0.5 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 0.5 oz Campari
  • 0.5 oz Cointreau
  • Dash of Angostura Bitters
  • Garnish with Lemon, Lime and Orange Wedges

There are certainly other spots I’ve neglected and, of course, beauty can be found throughout the province. It’s all in the eye of the beholder. I tend to find beauty in the region’s best liquor stores, so to each their own!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.5 Sips out of 5):
This is a strong martini, but that wasn’t a complete surprise. Campari leaves a bitter, lasting aftertaste that takes a little while to get used to and some may never enjoy it. This cocktail earns a barely passing grade because I liked the sweet touch that came through after the strong Appleton Rum, thanks to the Sweet Vermouth and Cointreau.

July 31 – Bronx

Bronx Bombers

Alright, no time for chit-chat. We have a busy couple days as we tour New York City. So, throw on your iPod, kick start your Jay-Z playlist, and let’s run this town tonight!

Go to the Empire State Building

I’ve heard mixed reviews about this landmark, with most complaining that the multiple line-ups you have to stand in to get to the top are poorly planned, frustrating, and not worth it. Still, you may only be there once, so you might as well do all the tourist traps. Make sure to toss a penny from the top. It’s good luck, as long as you’re not down below!

king-kong-hugs-the-empire-state-building

Even King Kong loves the Empire State Building!

Watch a Yankees Game

While the team has moved into a new facility and I’ve missed a chance to see old Yankee Stadium, it would be a top priority to catch one of North America’s most storied franchises play. Of course, if you go as a Red Sox fan, you can also cross off your list “being yelled at by a New Yorker” and possibly “being beaten up by a New Yorker”!

See a Broadway Musical

Trivia: Which production revived New York’s Broadway scene in the 1990’s? Answer: The Lion King. Broadway is a street of dreams, where careers can be born, resurrected, and crushed. While I’m not sure which show I’d check out, it would be a must-do attraction, especially given Mrs. Sip’s penchant for the performing arts.

Get Stuck in Traffic

A movie set in New York always features a chaotic traffic scene, showing lines of cars backed-up for miles. We’ve all been in traffic jams in our hometowns, but New York is surely a different animal. If you don’t want to get into a cab, at least try crossing a multi-lane street, weaving through idle cars, with horns blaring and driver’s swearing.

newyorkpedestrians

Enjoy Rockefeller Center

If you visit in the winter, you have to take in the skating rink and perhaps giant Christmas tree (if it’s up). Within the area, the Rainbow Room is said to provide one of the best views of the city and even better, you get to drink while taking it all in… take that, Empire State Building!

Eat Street Meat

I’m not sure if New York gave birth to the food cart movement, but it definitely embraced the ideals of getting your meal on the go. It seems you can get nearly every food known to man around the city, but I’d stick to traditional fare, such as pizza and hot dogs. If you have a sensitive stomach, just be cautious while doing so!

Visit the NHL Head Office

As a long-time hockey fan (since I was a wee little sipper with my sippy cup), it would be great to go to the NHL offices… and yell at commissioner Gary Bettman, if only on behalf of Pa Sip! Perhaps they’d offer me a job or at least let me suspend a player or two. As long as I’m not presiding over another lockout, all will be well.

gary-bettman-blame

Reflect at the World Trade Center Site

I’ve been told that the memorial built on the site of the World Trade Center is quite remarkable, with its reflecting pools, waterfalls, and landscaping. While I have no personal ties to the tragedy, a visit would still provide a chance to think of the humanity shown through all the people that risked their lives to save others and how people can truly come together in the face of grief for a common good.

Throw Some Money Down on Wall Street

I don’t take many risks in life – unless they involve jumping off of high surfaces – but it would be neat to buy and sell some stock… that is, until you realized that your miniscule life savings were gone. Perhaps I’ll just go there when I’m taking this juggernaut of a site public. Buy in now and reap the rewards that are surely to come when we all cash out!

Drink #212: Bronx

Bronx Martini

  • 1.5 oz Gin (I used Tanqueray)
  • 0.75 Sweet Vermouth
  • 0.5 Dry Vermouth
  • Top with Orange Juice
  • Garnish with Orange Wheel

Join us tomorrow for more New York City sights, sounds and attractions. Perhaps, by then, we’ll be out of this traffic jam and onto our next destination!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
While I’m not much of a fan of cocktails with Orange Juice, this one wasn’t that bad. Gin and the Vermouths team up in their usual complimentary style and with the OJ, it’s a decent drink all around.