Mixer Mania #31 – Hard as they Come

Don’t get me wrong… I’ve been a root beer fan for many years, but I still can’t fully fathom why hard root beer has taken North America by storm. I mean, if I have the choice between a hard root beer and any craft beer, I’m reaching for the craft suds. With the fad in mind, let’s look at some of the hardest things out there, some real and some fictional:

Samoan Wrestler’s Heads

It’s long been a running joke in professional wrestling that a Samoan grappler’s head is virtually indestructible. For example, when an opponent would attempt a head butt, they would be the one to experience injury, while the Samoan would feel no effect, often laughing off the feeble attack.

Diamonds

That pretty little thing you’ve placed on your partner’s hand is actually one of the hardest substances known to man. Doesn’t seem so elegant anymore, does it!? Mrs. Sip has advised me that I should be shopping for another… better get on that.

Jawbreaker

Sometimes I don’t understand why this candy exists, given its unpleasant nature of causing dental damage for little to no enjoyment. A Gobstopper is okay because they breakdown easily enough, but those massive jawbreakers are simply a dentist’s dream.

Adamantium

Thought to be virtually indestructible, Adamantium is the element that has been fused to mutant Logan’s skeletal structure, turning him into a super weapon, code name: Wolverine. The painful procedure also caused Logan to become amnesic and forget his past.

Adamantium

Feminum

Sticking with indestructible super hero alloys, we have Feminum, used to forge Wonder Woman’s bracelets. This material can only be found on Paradise Island, home to Wonder Woman (aka Princess Diana) and her fellow Amazonians.

Anvil

Is there a better weapon in animated comedy than the anvil? Whether dropped by one of the Animaniacs or in a botched fashion by the lovable Wile E. Coyote, it can do some serious damage. You know, the type that causes chirping birdies or flashing stars to circle your noggin’.

Mixer Mania #31: Amber’s Revenge

Amber's Revenge.JPG

  • 1 oz Scotch
  • 0.5 oz Rum
  • 0.5 oz Tequila
  • Top with Root Beer
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

The whole hard root beer craze reminds me of a story my dad has told of a German relative trying root beer while visiting Canada and practically spitting out the soda upon discovering his beverage was far from the ales he was accustomed to back in Germany.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I’m not sure who Amber is/was, but she must have been pretty pissed off, as I had to quarter each of the liquor ingredients to make the cocktail palatable. Not many drinks include Scotch, which is a slight shame because it works really well here and probably in other recipes.

Mixer Mania #20 – Measure of Success

Did you know that olives (the juice form being today’s feature mixer) were once used as a unit of measurement? A “k’zayit”, which translates to “like an olive” was used to estimate amounts of Jewish ceremonial foods, including challah, matzah and wine. Let’s take a look at some other odd units of measurement:

Wheaton

Based off of actor Wil Wheaton, this unit of measurement takes into account a person’s number of Twitter followers. A Wheaton is described as 500,000 followers, making a milliwheaton equivalent to 500 followers. Please take the time to follow the Sip Advisor on Twitter, so I can reach milliwheaton heights.

Sagan

As a tribute, scientist Carl Sagan’s catchphrase “billions and billions” was turned into a unit of measurement for quantity. A Sagan can now be used to describe a large quantity of anything. For example, the Sip Advisor has consumed a Sagan amount of potato chips in his lifetime.

carl-sagan

Warhol

Artist Andy Warhol once famously said (I’m paraphrasing here) that every person will famous for 15 minutes. As a result, his name has been associated with the measurement of fame. Some folks out there who have achieved kilowarhol and megawarhol status, still haven’t left the world with anything tangible… you know, your Kardashians, et al.

Waffle House Index

This measurement is used by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to calculate the effect of a storm and its following recovery efforts. It’s based on the Waffle House restaurant chain’s reputation of staying open during the worst of weather, serving up breakfast, while others are afraid to step outside.

Hobo Power

Coined by radio personality Adam Carolla, this unit can be used to describe an offending odor. It is based on a scale of 1-100, with 50 hobopower leading a person to become physically ill, while 100 hobopower results in death. Of course, this is all theoretical.

homeless

MegaFonzie

We can thank Futurama for this unit, which measures one’s coolness. Developed by Professor Farnsworth, and using Happy Days character Arthur ‘The Fonz’ Fonzarelli as a reference point, I once took the test and came away disappointed with a rare negative rating. Ay!

Helen

Unfortunately, this is another measurement where the Sip Advisor doesn’t show well. Mrs. Sip on the other hand ranks highly when associated with Helen of Troy, who is said to have had “the face that launched a thousand ships”. Therefore, a millihelen can be used to describe the beauty it takes to launch a single ship, while any negative helen (Sip Advisor territory) causes ships to be beached.

Mixer Mania #20: Crotch Kicker

Crotch Kicker.JPG

  • Rim glass with Salt
  • 1 oz Tequila
  • Top with Sweet and Sour Mix
  • Splash of Lemon-Lime Soda
  • Dash of Olive Juice
  • Garnish with Olives

There is also a Big Mac Index in existence, but it actually sounds kind of legitimate and recognized, so I’m not touching that one. My personal Big Mac Index is calculated as one sandwich per every second visit to the chain.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.25 Sips out of 5):
I haven’t done much experimenting with Olive Juice, aside from the Dirty Martini. I thought this cocktail was decent, with a fair mix of sweet and sour tastes. I didn’t notice the Olive Juice very much and that may have been all for the best.

Mixer Mania #18 – Using and Abusing

For some time, commercials have aired hyping chocolate milk as the perfect post-workout beverage. Yes, better than protein shakes, regular milk, water, or sports drinks. Regardless of how legit this claim may be, it got the Sip Advisor thinking about fictional substances used by characters to enhance their physique:

Weight Gain 4000 – South Park

In Eric Cartman’s obsession to be a “beefcake” for his televised award ceremony, after winning his school’s Save Our Fragile Planet essay contest, he begins taking doses of Weight Gain 4000. Well, at least the product came as advertised. By the end of the episode, Cartman has swelled to a massive size and is barely moveable. In his mind, though, the added pounds are simply muscle mass. Cartman does get the fame he wanted, though, as his obesity lands him on talk show Geraldo.

Cartman Weight Gain 4000

Thump – Aqua Teen Hunger Force

After being hospitalized for high blood pressure, Master Shake decides to get into shape. His method of doing this is to drink copious amounts of an illegal fitness beverage called Thump. The product’s flavour options – Mango Bitch Slap, Coconut What Did You Say To Me, and Blueberry Butt Rape – would have most people reconsider, but this is Master Shake we’re talking about. Of course, the muscles gained come to life and start a murderous rampage… just another day in South Jersey!

Powersauce – The Simpsons

Looking to shed his trademark spare tire, Homer Simpson turns to the Rainier Wolfcastle endorsed Powersauce bars to help with his efforts in the gym. Homer’s dedication to only eating foods in bar form led to him becoming the next spokesperson for Powersauce bars and their representative to scale the ominous Murderhorn Mountain. Homer ends up being successful in reaching the Murderhorn peak, but it is also learned that Powersauce bars are merely made from apple cores and Chinese newspapers.

Homer Powersauce Bars

Spinach – Popeye

Popeye has been using this “performance-enhancing substance” throughout his career, with Olive Oyl his enabler. Popeye simply grabs a can of spinach, pops it open and consumes the vegetable, leading to bulging muscles that get him through a number of dire situations. In the real world, spinach sales increased as a result of the character’s association with it. Ironically, spinach was chosen as Popeye’s supplement of choice, due to its iron content, which was later determined to be a miscalculation.

Venom – Batman

The supervillain Bane gains his massive physique by abusing this super steroid. The addictive formula must be constantly administered, directly to Bane’s brain, or else the user will suffer extreme withdrawal. The drug makes Bane so strong, that he is able to break Batman’s back and send him into temporary retirement. Of course, anytime his stream of Venom is disrupted, Bane becomes weak and easily defeated. After all, every antagonist has to have their Achilles’ heel.

Mixer Mania #18: Dirty Bastard

Dirty Bastard.JPG

  • 1 oz Tequila
  • 0.5 oz Irish Crème
  • 0.5 oz Kahlua
  • 0.5 oz Amaretto
  • Top with Chocolate Milk
  • Garnish with Maraschino Cherries

I don’t think I would take any of these enhancers. No, I’ll stick to the chocolate milk – preferably booze-fueled – thank you very much!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
The highlight of this martini might have been finally opening the bottle of Bailey’s Cherry Chocolate Irish Crème I’ve been holding onto for far too long. Despite all the booze that’s part of this recipe, the cocktail is fairly light and the flavours are quite cohesive.

Mixer Mania #16 – Carmaggedon

As we feature orange soda, OJ Simpson (aka Juice) pops into my mind. I once did an article on famous vehicles from TV shows and movies. Today, we look at infamous real-life vehicles, including the controversial Hall-of-Fame member’s white Bronco ride.

1993 Ford Bronco

The earth seemingly stood still on June 17, 1994, as OJ Simpson (along with friend Al Cowlings) engaged the police in a chase, while inside the soon-to-be infamous white Bronco, with a gun to his head. Later, Simpson would incorporate a Bronco into his one-off prank show, Juiced, trying to sell the vehicle, signed bullet hole and all. The Bronco was recently rediscovered and is now house at the Pigeon Forge’s Alcatraz East Crime Museum in Tennessee.

Ford Bronco Escape

1934 Ford Fordor Deluxe Sedan

Bonnie and Clyde’s bullet-riddled death car became famous when the pair were stopped in Louisiana and a shootout ensued between the outlaws and a group of Texas officers tracking them. The vehicle now sits at Whiskey Pete’s Resort in Primm, Nevada (40 miles south of Las Vegas)… a perfect reminder of the consequences of gambling big and coming out on the losing end.

1911 Gräf & Stift Double Phaeton

There is only one vehicle in history that played a role in starting a World War. That dubious distinction belongs to this auto, which Archduke Franz Ferdinand was riding in when he was assassinated. The vehicle can be found today in Vienna’s Heeresgeschichtliches Museum, where it has remained for more than a century. The vehicle’s licence plate of AIII 118, has been said by some to mean Armistice 11/11/18, which is when World War I ended.

1955 Porsche 550 Spyder

Actor and pop culture icon James Dean’s final minutes were spent racing down the road in his Porsche, dubbed ‘Little Bastard’. Ironically, Dean had already been ticketed for speeding on the fateful day, as he was breaking in the car to return to his passion of motor racing. Sadly, that wasn’t enough to slow him down and he later slammed into a car that turned in front of him, killing the star almost instantly. Some believe the car carried a curse with it.

James Dean Porsche.jpg

1994 Mercedes-Benz S280

Much of the world mourned together when the news came in that Princess Diana had succumbed to her injuries following a high-speed crash inside a Paris tunnel. Sorrow turned to anger, when it was revealed Diana and her boyfriend Dodi Fayed were being pursued by the vulture-like paparazzi, leading to the catastrophe. The crumpled Mercedes was kept for investigations and inquests for more than a decade before finally being destroyed.

1961 Lincoln Continental X100

One moment, president John F. Kennedy was riding through the streets of Dallas, Texas, waving to onlookers and in the next moment, he was dead. JFK’s fateful ride took place sitting in a Lincoln Continental, which was used for another 15 years and now sits in the Henry Ford Museum in Michigan. Curiously, Ronald Reagan was also entering a Lincoln Continental when his attempted assassination occurred. This vehicle should be avoided at all costs.

Mixer Mania #16: Eliminator

Eliminator.JPG

  • 1.5 oz Whiskey
  • 1.5 oz Tequila
  • Top with Orange Soda
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

It’s sad that all of these vehicles are associated with death and tragedy. Are there any vehicles, which have earned our attention through positive history?

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
What an aptly named drink, given the subject of this article. There is actually a James Dean drink, which uses Orange Soda, but it is a punch. I went with unflavoured liquors, hoping to allow the Orange Soda to flourish, but it still ended up a little hidden.

Sip Trips #97: Baby on Board

Well, the cat’s finally out of the bag (that is such a weird saying… I mean, who puts a cat in a bag anyway): Mrs. Sip is pregnant! That has meant some great changes at the Sip Advisor offices, which I will delve into in future articles. Today’s post is about how we recently celebrated our big news, with the Great Cocktail Reveal party!

After taking a couple months to let our friends and family in on the secret, we were ready to reveal the gender of our little one in grand fashion. There was only one fitting way the Sip Advisor should learn of this detail and that was through either a pink or blue cocktail being poured by Mrs. Sip, who learned of the sex a couple weeks earlier.

Gender Reveal T-Shirt

Along with the cocktail being prepared for me, we also put together two pink and two blue recipes for our guests and let them make their wager through their beverage of choice. Each serving was garnished with either a pink or blue tuft of cotton candy, completing the presentation. Here are the tasty, yet simple cocktails I created for the event:

Blue Bubbles

  • Vodka
  • Bubble Gum Soda
  • Club Soda

Brilliant Blue

  • Tequila
  • Berry Blue Blast Juice
  • Lemon-Lime Soda

Pretty in Pink

  • Vodka
  • Pink Grapefruit Juice
  • Club Soda

Pink Danger

  • Tequila
  • Watermelon Juice
  • Lemon-Lime Soda

So, now that I’ve got your attention, I bet you’re wondering what the results were. Well, come late September (due date is estimated to be September 27th), Mrs. Sip and I will be the proud parents of a baby girl! While I’m still adjusting to writing lines like that, we are ecstatic with this development in our lives and can’t wait to meet the new addition to our family!

October 24 – Friendly Ghost

Happy Haunts

Some people are really into haunted houses, buildings, and areas, but the Sip Advisor would prefer to keep his distance from any ghostly dwelling that is not located at a Disney theme park. That said, these places can be incredibly fascinating and I don’t mind learning about them from a distance. Here are some of the most haunted places around the world:

#5: Poveglia Island – Venice, Italy

Can you imagine an island being so haunted that it has been abandoned? Such is the case for Poveglia Island, which sits near the maze-like port city of Venice. During the days of the Bubonic Plague and later the Black Death, Poveglia became a quarantine site, where countless numbers of sick folks were sent to die. These unfortunate souls are said to haunt the island, while there are also rumours of an asylum existing on Poveglia, during the 1800’s, where patients were treated horribly. Locals will not go to the island, believing that they will be cursed if they go ashore and fisherman will not work in the area, with fears that they will unearth dead bodies in their operations.

funny-haunted-house

#4: White House – Washington D.C., USA

Despite a history dating back more than 200 years, one wouldn’t naturally think of the American president’s residence as a site of ghostly activity, but it is in fact home to countless paranormal doings and is one of the country’s most haunted homes. Among some of the sights and sounds witnessed at the White House are Abraham Lincoln standing by the fire in the bedroom named after him; Andrew Jackson laughing or swearing up a storm in the Rose Room; and Abigail Adams floating through the East Room, where she hung the presidential laundry. And nothing is spookier than soiled undergarments!

#3: Banff Springs Hotel – Alberta, Canada

I always like to get some Canadian content into these articles and the Banff Springs Hotel seems like the perfect location to achieve that, thanks to tales of a family being murdered in room 873 (which has since been blocked off by bricks) and a tragic bride, who is often seen with flames coming from her wedding dress. Finally, there’s the ghost of Sam Macauley, the resort’s former bellman. Apparently, his spirit has remained on the job, helping guests to their rooms, while even unlocking doors and turning lights on. He only disappears when visitors try to tip him or make conversation with him. That’s my kind of bellman! While lacking the sex and murder of American Horror Story: Hotel, this site is still pretty damn spooky.

Next-time-youre-in-a-hotel

#2: Tower of London – London, England

Home to some of the most gruesome events in history, the Tower of London is a must-see attraction when visiting the metropolis… but you might get more than you bargained for (even with the pound’s exchange rate!). Some of the Tower’s ghostly inhabitants are quite infamous, including Anne Boleyn, who was beheaded in 1536 and has been seen roaming the site sans skull. Another area of serious paranormal activity is the attraction’s White Tower, where two small children have been spotted on numerous occasions. It’s rumoured that the apparitions are former princes that were deemed illegitimate and murdered, their skeletons found underneath a staircase.

#1: Sea of Trees – Aokigahara, Japan

Globally known as the Suicide Forest (as if that wasn’t enough to send chills down your spine), this woodland, located at the base of Mount Fuji is believed to be haunted by those that ended their lives amongst the overgrowth. The forest has become such a popular suicide spot – averaging 100 suicides each year – that signs can be found at entrances to the forest, pleading with distraught people, reading: “Your life is a precious gift to your parents” and “Please consult with the police before you decide to die”. A yearly body search is performed by police and volunteers, to clear the forest of remains.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Friendly Ghost

Writing this article confirms that the only spirits I want any experience with are of the alcohol variety! Have I missed a favourite haunted locale of yours? Let me know, although I may leave the ghostbusting to you!

Flavour Revolution – Chocolate

Running on Empty

Not to send anyone into a panic, but there are those out there (you know, scientific folks) who say that we are running short on chocolate. This is because of the costs involved and the commitment (up to five years) to grow cocoa beans. This may lead the treat to become quite costly in the future, which is why the Sip Advisor is downing chocolate bars like there’s no tomorrow… because there might not be. Here are some other commodities that are rapidly disappearing and may eventually cease to exist:

Wine

While there seems to be new wineries opening every day, across the globe, and demand for wine has increased greatly, production of the drink has fallen by 5%. Many smaller outlets just won’t be able to keep making whites and reds and people’s thirst for wine just won’t be satisfied. There are some that think the issue is more of an “Old World” wine problem and that “New World” countries such as the U.S., Australia, Argentina, Chile, South Africa, and New Zealand will close that gap.

wine-is-like-ductape

Tequila

Sticking with alcohols, fans of margaritas and general shot craziness should be concerned. Blue agave, the plant that is used to create tequila takes 12 years to reach maturity and worse, in 2007, disease struck Mexico’s agave crops, causing 20% to be destroyed. While there is a current stockpile of tequila, prices will certainly rise and with many farmers switching over to growing corn instead, who knows what the future holds for the taco and burrito accompaniment.

Coffee

While I’m not a coffee fan (in fact, I’m a member of the anti-coffee lobby), I can only imagine the horrors of a world where those that drink copious amounts of coffee each day just to function, don’t have access to their fix. We’re talking zombie apocalypse here, people! The issue stems from droughts, high temperatures, and diseases which have affected coffee bean crops. Much, if not all of Arabica beans could disappear by 2080, if these trends continue as predicted.

coffee-crack

Bacon

I may not care about coffee, but I certainly have a crispy spot in my heart for bacon. The salty pork product is a splendid addition to everything from sandwiches to salads and even works as a vodka flavour. Sadly, this king of all meats is seeing decreased production thanks to farmer’s cutting costs, a 2012 drought across the Midwest United States, and a little something called the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus. A worldwide shortage looms on the horizon and that is a world I don’t want to live in!

Water

When not drinking beer, wine, or a cocktail, the Sip Advisor can routinely be found with a glass of water nearby. I love the clear stuff and I think we can all agree that it’s pretty important to the survival of the world. As for the problem, I’ll put it this way: we don’t have enough water to turn it into wine and take care of that other item that is diminishing. The scary stat of the day is that by 2025, it’s estimated that two-thirds of the world may be forced to live with little to no water.

Flavour Revolution: Revolve

We have also exhausted the world’s gold supply, but that really only concerns Scrooge McDuck and his money bin swims. Over the years, the Sip Advisor has written a lot about chocolate, so finding the right subject for the Flavour Revolution project was a tough decision. I hope you enjoyed the article and didn’t scare you too much about the future.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (??? Sips out of 5):
For those curious, I found some good Chocolate Whiskey recipes at the Bird Dog Whiskey website