Mixer Mania #25 – Tonic Treatment

Tonic water is a polarizing mixer, but I have come to appreciate it in some drinks, specifically the Gin & Tonic. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best fictional tonics to ever be imagined:

Simpson & Son’s Revitalizing Tonic – The Simpsons

Created by Grampa Simpson, this potion will turn a loser into a lothario with one quick swig. After successfully using it, Homer decides that he and his dad should go into business together and sell the aphrodisiac to other men desperate for a quick pick-me-up.

The Simpsons has also featured other fantastical solutions, such as Brain & Nerve Tonic, which caused baseball star Ken Griffey Jr. to become addicted and overdose on the substance, causing gigantism. Lastly, there’s Dimoxinil, a hair regrowth remedy, which Homer used to improve his looks and life, only for Bart to knock over the bottle and spill the remaining cure.

Simpson & Son_s Revitalizing Tonic

Vitameatavegamin – I Love Lucy

Containing vitamins, meat, vegetables, and minerals, this health product was meant to provide users with their daily doses of each element in a single serving. The invention also contained alcohol, causing Lucy to start feeling the effects as the takes for the commercial she was filming began to pile up, with typically hilarious results.

Dr. Terminus – Pete’s Dragon

Snake oil salesman Dr. Terminus plays a key role in the original Pete’s Dragon movie. While the potions he’s selling are fakes and he’s been chased out of every town he’s tried to sell his wares, the “doctor” actually believes in his creations. As he sings: “Bites and burns and blue abrasions, got a pill for all occasions!”

Dr. Flimflam’s Miracle Cream – Futurama

Purchased by Dr. Zoidberg for an exorbitant price, the cream does provide Leela and Fry with superpowers, a listed side effect for humans. They form the New Justice Team with robot Bender and provide heroics to the city of New New York… at least until the cream runs out.

Mixer Mania #25: Desperation

Desperation.JPG

  • 1 oz Vodka
  • 1 oz Triple Sec
  • 1 oz Midori
  • Top with Tonic Water
  • Garnish with a Lime Wheel

There is also a long list of fictional erectile-dysfunction remedies, usual coming from sketch comedy shows, such as Saturday Night Live and Mad TV, parodying the industry.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
There are some interesting Tonic Water cocktails out there and I look forward to experimenting more with the mixer in the future. As for this drink, it was pretty good with the bitter tonic followed closely by the sweet flavours of orange and melon, resulting in a balanced beverage.

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Flavour Revolution – Pomegranate

Seed Stories

Have you ever wondered why most of us go through six months of shitty(ier) weather (and I ain’t talking about scientific mumbo jumbo)? Well, it’s all because of the pomegranate… or its seeds to be exact. At least, that’s how the Greek myth goes. In fact, the pomegranate is viewed in a number of different ways by some of the world’s greatest civilizations. Let’s see how the fruit is depicted around the globe:

Ancient Greece

Let’s start with this sordid tale of unrequited love, kidnapping, and confinement. It all began when Hades, lord of the underworld, fell in love with Persephone (daughter of Demeter, the goddess of the harvest). Hades took Persephone against her will to the underworld to be his wife and kept her there by feeding her six pomegranate seeds. As a result, Persephone had to spend six months every year in the underworld (the winter months), thus giving pomegranates the title “fruit of the dead”.

Hades Greek Mythology

Ancient Egypt

Backtracking, the Ancient Egyptians viewed the pomegranate as a symbol of prosperity and ambition and they were required to be readily available to the pharaohs. Pomegranates were drawn on crypt walls, a figure for life after death, with the infamous King Tut being entombed with a pomegranate vase. The pomegranate’s juice was also used to treat various illnesses and infections, such as tapeworm, while the fruit’s flowers were turned into dye for leather products.

Ancient Israel

When Moses sent scouts to the ‘Promised Land,’ they returned with pomegranates to show the area’s fertility. Therefore, it is a common practice on the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashana to eat the fruit because it is a symbol of prosperity. The pomegranates 613 seeds are said to match the 613 commandments of the Torah. In my typical luck, my last pomegranate only had 612 seeds. I wonder which commandment doesn’t apply to the Sip Advisor?

Western Europe

Here’s where the pomegranate takes on a bit of a morbid identity (I mean, aside from being known as the “fruit of the dead”), as it was often depicted in paintings as breaking open, to symbolize the suffering of Jesus and his later resurrection. Sometime in the distant future, the Sip Advisor’s suffering and resurrection will be portrayed by a bottle of liquor falling to the ground and smashing to pieces… however the liquor will still reach the lips of my many disciples.

Pomegranate Pain

Qur’an

In this ancient text, pomegranates are described as growing in the gardens of paradise and being an example of a positive thing that God creates. Nowadays, you’d have to cite items like the X-Box, Playstation, and Wii to get across to youngsters that God, in fact, creates good things… or at least robots do. And God created those robots, am I right!?

Armenia

Armenians believe that the pomegranate represents fertility, abundance, and marriage. One potentially messy Armenian tradition is to give a bride a pomegranate and let her throw it against the wall. Hopefully nobody gets in the way, or a game of dodge ball may ensue. Anyway, the scattered seeds of the smashed fruit are said to guarantee the bride’s – as well as the groom’s – fertility. Remember, it takes two to tango!

Fertility Drugs

Persia

Love and fertility is the name of the game for Persians. Also, the mythical character of Isfandiyar is said to have become invincible after eating a pomegranate. Clearly, I haven’t been enjoying my pomegranate liqueur enough to absorb such powers. If I consume a fair bit, I feel invincible, but have never disappeared. It would be fun to play ghost every once in a while and scare the bejesus out unsuspecting folk.

China

In China, the pomegranate symbolizes fertility and many children… too bad the Chinese are only allowed, by law, to have one child, thus negating and powerful vibes the pomegranate may send their way. Many homes were even adorned with pictures of ripe pomegranates, their seeds highlighted in the works, which was meant to bless the family with high numbers of offspring.

Flavour Revolution: Burning Duchess

Burning Duchess Cocktail

  • 2 oz Bourbon
  • 1 oz PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur
  • Dash of Agave Syrup
  • 1 Sliced Jalapeno
  • Top with Tonic Water
  • Garnish with a Jalapeno Slice

To sum up, here’s what we’ve learned about the pomegranate: they have a lot to do with how many children you have, how successful your marriage may be, and how much wealth you may acquire, but at the same time, may lead you to be destined to an eternity in the underworld. I guess that’s why the fruit is so expensive in grocery stores!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
Build the drink by combining the Bourbon, Pomegranate Liqueur, and Agave Syrup, stirring to blend ingredients, before adding the sliced Jalapeno and shaking the mix. Pour into a glass and top with Tonic Water, making it ready to serve. I enjoyed this cocktail, which wasn’t a huge surprise, as I like a bite to my drinks. The Tonic Water left a bit of an odd aftertaste, but not enough to diminish from the rest of the recipe.

Turkey – Siege of Constantinople

Morsels and Mouthfuls

It may be the ancestor to my beloved jelly beans and for that alone, one has to appreciate and give thanks to the sweet snack from Turkey. Turkish Delight has a rich history, dating back nearly 250 years. Today, the delicacy has been embraced around the world. Here are some notes of interest as we stop for a quick bite in our Around the World tour:

Natural Viagra

Natural Viagra??? Probably cheaper than the pills, too!

Some stories say that Turkish Delight was created by a powerful sultan for the purpose of enticing his many mistresses. After all, the way to a woman’s heart is through her stomach… come on fellas, we all know this to be true. Anyway, the sultan had his kitchen staff prepare the gelatinous dessert and the rest is history. Or is it? Another fable has the treat being created as royal chefs competed for the attention of the sultan, with one cook creating what is now known as Turkish Delight.

The more plausible tale involves a sweet maker named Bekir Efendi moving his operation to Istanbul in 1776 and capitalizing on the notorious sweet tooth of Turkish citizens. Efendi’s Turkish Delights became the hottest item to have, a symbol of wealth and upper class standing. The pleasures were even exchanged by couples as token of love.

Once Efendi’s confections hit the royal palace and the sultan’s mouth, the popularity of the item skyrocketed. Efendi’s store still exists, with new recipes being dreamt up all the time, some including pistachios, walnuts, chocolate, and oranges.

Turkish Delight

From the thriving businesses of Turkey, the Delights have gained a fan base around the world:

Known as lokma (morsel), lokum (mouthful), and rahat-ul hulkum (comfort of the throat) in Turkey, the origins of the name Turkish Delight are said to trace back to a British man, who fell in love with the dessert during visits to Istanbul and purchased cases of the product to be shipped back home under the label ‘Turkish Delight’. It spread throughout Europe’s upper class, being exchanged as presents wrapped in silk handkerchiefs. The treat has also been known as ‘Lumps of Delight,’ long before the Black Eyed Peas forever changed what we thought of when we heard the term lumps.

Across the commonwealth, in places like the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, folks can also get their sweet fix with Fry’s Turkish Delight by Cadbury, although the product varies from the traditional creation.

Turkish Delight is known as rahat in Romania, but because Turkish words were altered to be more harsh, if not entirely eliminated from Romanian language, the term translates to meaning “shit”. Just be cautious, if ever in the country, to not beg for a sweet mouthful of rahat, or else you may find yourself the literal butt of a joke.

Tim+Tam+Turkish+Delight

I want to try this product so bad… combines two things I really enjoy!

In the United States, two Armenian immigrants began manufacturing Aplets and Cotlets in 1930. The Turkish Delight used apples and apricots, respectively with walnuts. In 1984, their Liberty Orchards company based out of Cashmere, Washington added a Fruit Delights line, with strawberry, raspberry, orange, blueberry, peach, cranberry, and pineapple flavours. In recent years, Liberty Orchards has also released more traditional flavours, such as rose-pistachio, orange-blossom-walnut, and rose-lemon. Mrs. Sip and I have been to their factory, along with many trips as a wee little sipper with Ma and Pa Sip. It’s a quaint little place with so many free samples to gorge yourself on and a tour of the production line.

At home, here in Canada, you can get the Nestle chocolate bar Big Turk, which is a delicious blend of pink Turkish Delight and chocolate. Most Bridge Mix packs also contain red and green Turkish Delight balls, along with chocolate-covered peanuts, raisins, almonds, and the other usual suspects.

Turkish Delight is also popular in Greece and Brazil, stretching the treat’s influence around the world.

Its most recognized use in pop culture is in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which sees the character of Edmund Pevensie dying as a result of his addiction to the confection. Despite what some would view as a negative connotation, sales for the product went up after the 2005 film The Chronicles of Narnia was released. Clearly, people are stupid, so let’s have a drink in their honour and sample some Turkish Delight!

Turkey: Siege of Constantinople

Siege of Constantinople Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Raki
  • 0.5 oz Vodka
  • Top with Tonic Water
  • Splash of Chile Syrup
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Dash of Orange Bitters
  • Garnish with Orange Zest

In its native land, Turkish Delight is often served with the equally revered Turkish Coffee, but I don’t swing that way, so let’s booze it up instead and finish off an entire box of the dessert before we even realize what’s happening!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
I was very curious as to how the Raki and Tonic Water in particular would mix together. It wasn’t as bad as some may fear and when you add the other touches, such as the Chile Syrup and Orange Bitters, you have the making of a unique and interesting cocktail that may not be for everyone, but deserves a chance from those brave enough to experiment.

Spain – First Avenue

I’d Tap That

Without Spain, we wouldn’t have tapas… and without tapas, we would never eat. Okay, that might be a little bit of exaggeration, but we certainly appreciate the invention of the appetizer, for without it, monstrous starter platters could not be devoured! Let’s take a look at some common Spanish tapas (according to Wikipedia – the number one source for online legitimacy) and see whether they pass the Sip Advisor taste test:

Tapas or Tapass

Albóndigas: Meatballs with sauce

Okay, we’re off to a decent start. Who doesn’t like meatballs? Well, I guess vegetarians and vegans, but do they really count?

Tortillitas de Camarones: Battered prawn fritters

Anything described as “battered” can play on my team!

Pimientos de Padrón: Small green peppers fried in olive oil or served raw (most are mild, but a few in each batch are quite spicy)

Finding the spicy green peppers is like locating the toy in a box of cereal. At first, you’re really happy because you found the surprise before anyone else could get to it. Joy turns to disappointment quickly, however, when you realize the toy isn’t that great anyway, much like a spicy green pepper when you’re expecting mild!

Aceitunas: Olives, sometimes with a filling of anchovies or red bell pepper

To me, appies need to be something more than a condiment stuffed with another condiment, but I sadly don’t call the shots in the country of Spain.

fuck-you-tapas

Solomillo al Whisky: Fried pork scallops, marinated using whisky, brandy or white wine and olive oil

Put the pork scallops aside and give me a couple bottles of your best marinade!

Cojonuda (superb female): A slice of Spanish morcilla with a fried quail egg over bread – it can also be prepared with a little strip of red, spicy pepper

Looked up morcilla and it is actually blood sausage, so there’s strike one. Strike two is the fried quail egg although I’m sure somewhere in the world it is a delicacy. While I can’t find anything to call the cojonuda out, I’ve decided to change the rules of baseball to suit my purpose and now all you need is two strike to retire a batter.

Cojonudo (superb male): A slice of Spanish chorizo with a fried quail egg over a slice of bread

So, there are male and female versions of cojonudo… is your sexual orientation decided by which you prefer? What if you like to swing both ways?

Pincho Moruno: A stick with spicy meat, made of pork, lamb or chicken

Nothing beats meat on a stick unless it’s spicy meat!

Appetizers

Empanadillas: Turnovers filled with meats and vegetables

Any food pocket device stuffed with more food will always shoot to the top of my favourite list. The name would have you thinking you’re about to eat a small animal, however.

Gambas: Prawns sauteed in salsa negra (peppercorn sauce), al ajillo (with garlic), or pil-pil (with chopped chili peppers)

Poor prawns… such a small creature and still gets stuffed with any number of items.

Mejillones Rellenos: Stuffed mussels, sometimes called tigres (“tigers”) because of the spicy taste

Mrs. Sip would love her some tiger muscles, but I have to note that tiger ice cream isn’t spicy and I think this calls into the question the process of describing spice levels using animals. I feel calling them dragon muscles would be more apt.

Patatas Bravas or Papas Bravas: Fried potato dices served with salsa brava a spicy tomato sauce – sometimes served also with mayo or aioli

Are these like brave little potatoes… you know, in a similar vein to the Brave Little Toaster?

Tapas Bill

Chorizo a la Sidra: Chorizo sausage slowly cooked in cider

Cider, you say? Not my favourite, but it does have booze in it!

Chorizo al Vino: Chorizo sausage slowly cooked in wine

See above, but even better!

Calamares or Rabas: Rings of battered squid

I wonder if the Spanish can rival Greek calamari? Perhaps both countries should send me some of their finest product and I will, once and for all, get to the bottom of this ever-deepening mystery.

Zamburiñas: Renowned Galician scallops, often served in a marinera, tomato-based sauce

Renowned??? I’ll be the judge of that. Again, Spain, send some my way and we’ll send out the results as soon as our little feast has concluded!

Spain: First Avenue

First Avenue Martini

  • 1.5 oz Sherry
  • 0.5 oz Cointreau
  • Splash of Campari
  • Top with Club Soda
  • Garnish with an Orange Wedge

Sometimes I’m into the idea of tapas and other times, I loathe them. While they’re a treasure trove of variety and perfect portion size for the ladies, a dude sometimes wants something he can really sink his teeth into like a fat burger or other hearty meal. The worst is going out with a group and splitting a bunch of appies… you will not have a good time!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes: (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This drink was pretty good. Even when I subbed in Tonic Water for Club Soda, it wasn’t as bitter as I feared it would be, especially with the splash of Campari there to team up with the Tonic. I guess the Cointreau and Sherry balance out the sweet-bitter war and make for an interesting cocktail.

Austria – Green Tear

Not Just a Band

When Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated on June 28, 1914, he had absolutely no clue what his murder would instigate. Despite being the major catalyst for the first World War, this Austrian ruler is a largely forgotten footnote in history. Thankfully, the Sip Advisor is here to teach and while sipping a glass of the country’s fine schnaps, here is a little information on ol’ ‘Double F’ and the tragedy that would change the world!

First World War Problems

Growing Up

Ferdinand and his family lived by the motto: “Good Habsburgs (his family lineage), Good Catholics, and Good Austrians”… that just doesn’t have the same ring to it as “A Lannister always pays their debts.”

At the age of 11, Ferdinand found himself one of the wealthiest men in Austria, after his cousin Duke Francis V died and named Franz his heir on the condition that he add the name Este to his own. Hell, to become one of the wealthiest men in Austria, I’d tattoo the name Este on my member! Rumour has it Ferdinand also had to spend one night in a haunted house, but many are skeptical of this account.

Ferdinand may have never found himself the heir to the Austria-Hungary throne had it not been for his cousin Prince Rudolf (aged 30) committing suicide with his 17-year-old mistress in 1889. Karl Ludwig, Ferdinand’s father, became second in line behind Franz Josef, but quickly renounced the position and passed the rights down to his son.

Throne of Games

As a youngster, Ferdinand spent very little time in Austria, often travelling the world searching for cures to his never-ending stream of illnesses.

Ferdinand’s relationship with the citizens of Austria was always strained due to his lack of time spent within the country’s borders and the feeling that he was an outsider. And not one of those cool greaser outsiders like Patrick Swayze, Emilio Estevez, or Matt Dillon. He still managed to somehow stay gold, though.

An avid hunter, Ferdinand always made sure to schedule at least one hunting trip as part of any official travel for the Empire. He kept a running tab of his hunting exploits and stories state that he killed 2140 birds in one day. My belief is that he wanted to assemble an army of undead animals to do his bidding.

Ferdinand was passionate about landscaping outdoors and interior design inside and was constantly on the lookout for a property in need of fixing up. He could be considered one of the world’s first home flippers. Ferdinand’s eclectic tastes also helped him build a great antique collection, which included 3750 pieces of St. George and the Dragon. Clearly, he had a thing for slaying mythical beasts.

slain da dragon

Finding Love

Women always have a way of muddling things up and that was no different for Ferdinand. His wife Sophie was from a lower social class and even though Franz Josef stated he would not consent to Franz and Sophie’s marriage, the two wed on June 28, 1900. The catch was that Sophie could never receive an official royal title and their children could not succeed Ferdinand as ruler. As a result, Sophie rarely appeared in public beside her husband.

Franz and Sophie had three children: Sophie (I guess you’d call her junior), Maximilian (a name which I hope to bring back to present day popularity), and Ernst (a name which I have no joke to deploy upon).

Sophie was finally allowed to accompany Franz on official business for the empire for his trip to Bosnia in June 1914. The end of the visit would also mark their 14th wedding anniversary. The couple arrived in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914, which is also St. Vitus Day, commemorating the Battle of Kosovo in 1389.

cat-battle

Surprise Attack

The Battle of Kosovo made a martyr out of Milos Obilic, who snuck into the Ottoman Sultan’s tent and killed him before receiving the same fate himself.

Serbians viewed the Austria-Hungary Empire as their new oppressors and there had been other attempted attacks on high-ranking Austria-Hungary members before Ferdinand’s death.

The Black Hand (must have caught a case of gangrene), which carried out the assassination of Franz and Sophie were also responsible for the murders of King Alexander and Queen Draga of Serbia. This act of treachery was committed while the two were together in bed… what a way to go!

Death Sting

First, a grenade was hurled at Ferdinand’s procession by Nedlejko Cabrinovic, but it detonated behind his vehicle and he was not harmed. While any normal person would halt their little parade there, Ferdinand was urged to continue by General Oskar Potiorek who asked, “What, do you think my city is full of assassins?”

Ferdinand insisted that if the trip continued, only major routes should be used and no side streets… unfortunately his own driver was never delivered this message. When the driver took the first schedule turn, there was assassin Gavrilo Princip, waiting for him. Princip had earlier tried to get a shot in at Ferdinand and when he couldn’t retreated to the side street in dejection.

Princip fired only two shots, one into Franz’s neck, the other into Sophie’s stomach. Both proved to be fatal. Ferdinand’s final words to his wife were “’Don’t die! Stay alive for our children!”

Assassination

The Aftermath

Princip and his fellow assassins were rounded up and put on trial. Because he was under the age of 20, Princip did not receive the death penalty and was instead sentenced to 20 years imprisonment. Princip died in his jail cell on April 28, 1918 from tuberculosis. His illness was so bad that his right arm was amputated before his death.

Upon Franz’s assassination, the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, etc.) declared war on Serbia, drawing Serbia’s allies (the UK, Russia, France, etc.) into the fray and creating the first World War.

The 1911 Gräf & Stift Double Phaeton automobile, which carried Franz and Sophie during their fateful procession, is now displayed at the Museum of Military History in Vienna. It’s no Batmobile, but it has its own place in history. The pistol used by Princip, as well as the clothing Ferdinand died in are also displayed at the museum.

Future Museums

The bullet that killed Ferdinand, sometimes referred to as “the bullet that started World War I” is part of an exhibit at Konopiště Castle in the Czech Republic.

Franz and Sophie are buried at Arstetten Castle in Austria. In memoriam, Austria-Hungary released a commemorative stamp featuring the couple. One day there will be a Sip Advisor stamp tribute that will taste like schnaps with each lick!

Austria: Green Tear

Green Tear Cocktail

  • 1 oz Mata Hari Absinthe
  • Top with Cranberry Juice
  • Splash of Tonic Water
  • Garnish with a Lemon Slice

Well, that wraps up our stay here in Austria. It should be noted that the country can also claim to be home to famous world citizens like Sigmund Freud, Adolf Hitler, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. That would be an interesting table to sit at for a dinner party!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
Well, as you can see, the drink is certainly not green. On the plus side, this was a really decent Absinthe cocktail. I think the combo of Cranberry Juice and Tonic Water is perfect to go along with the very bitter Absinthe. If you’re weary of the hallucinogenic spirit, give this recipe a try and your mind may be changed for the long run!

October 28 – Witch’s Brew

Happy Hunting

Drawing from my years of experience as a world renowned candy hunter, I’ve come up with some great tips for all the little sippers out there that are looking forward to a wicked Halloween haul. Some of these tricks and tip may not be of the highest moral value, but they’ll fill your pillowcases quicker than a pillow (just made that up… probably needs a little tinkering)!

Tip #1: Candy Clusters

The best way to maximize your Trick or Treat time is to find areas where there are numerous doors to knock on in a tight space. Apartment and town house complexes or even neighbourhoods where houses don’t have much yard space between lots are perfect to rack up the goodies without tuckering yourself out too much.

Trick Fire

Tip #2: Return Trips

If a house is giving out something really awesome (full-sized bars, bags with multiple candies, etc.), there is nothing wrong with returning to that residence later in the evening. Don’t pester the poor people with repeated visits, but perhaps hit the place again on a second go-round of the neighbourhood.

Tip #3: No Pack Mentality

While you want to be with your friends and share this wonderful experience, don’t get bogged down by being in too big of a group. Let’s be honest, only a few of the people you’re usually with are actually your friends. Stick to smaller groups which makes it easier to travel and get your treat at each house before moving onto the next stop.

Childhood Obesity

Tip #4: Courtesy Counts

Be very thankful and energetic at each stop. You never know if your costume, behaviour or other intangible might earn you a bonus piece of candy. Also, if you drop by the home of someone you know, make sure to acknowledge them, as your relationship to them or their kin may benefit your treat haul.

Tip #5: Split Shift

It won’t be too long before you’re running out of room in your bag and are tired of lugging the heavy sack around. There’s no shame in planning a route that lets you stop off at home, dump out your candy, and hit the road again for round two. Or, if with friends, make sure one of your homes is along the route for a recharging point.

Trick or Treat

Tip #6: Home Collection

Each time you go in and out of your own house, make sure to grab a treat for yourself (and one for your imaginary friend!), courtesy of your own parents. The leftover will largely be yours anyway, so you’re just getting ahead of the game.

Tip #7: Longevity Wins

Make sure you’re up for a full night of candy hunting. At the end of the evening, some folks might be giving out more than the usual one piece in order to get through their stock and be able to shut their lights off. This is when you pounce and take advantage of the fact that you have better cardio and durability than all the others. Your training has paid off!

Drink #301: Witch’s Brew

Witch's Brew Drink Recipe

  • 1.5 oz Raspberry Vodka (I used Absolut)
  • Top with half Tonic Water and half Cranberry Juice
  • Splash of Blue Raspberry Mixer
  • Garnish with Berries

Anyone else out there have any suggestions for the wee little sippers who will be hitting the streets in just a few days’ time? Feel free to pass them along.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I was pleasantly surprised by this cocktail. While I’m not a big Tonic Water fan, it didn’t detract from this drink, perhaps because I covered it with the Berry garnishes and the Blue Raspberry Mixer. This is one case where I wish I had access to liquid nitrogen to create a fog effect.

April 23 – Highland Berry

London Calling

London is easily one of my favourite cities in the world. As we celebrate St. George’s Day (England’s National Day), let’s take a look at some of my favourite attractions in the kingdom’s capital.

Hop-On, Hop-Off Bus Tour

I’ve been on a few of these tours and London has, by far, the most intricate and expansive map. You can hop on/off anywhere across the city, including Buckingham Palace, the famous Harrod’s department store, or Piccadilly Square. There’s only so much you can fit into one day of running around London, so plan ahead and be sure to use their transfer system and get full use out of your bus pass.

London Eye/Thames River Cruise

Going for a circuit in the London Eye, which is located along the banks of the Thames River allows you to see the entire city in all of its glory. When your ride is over, why not hop aboard a boat and sail down river on the world famous Thames. You get to pass by London Bridge, which thankfully is no longer falling down.

West End Theatre

I’ve been privileged to see a number of productions during my stops in London, including the legendary Mouse Trap, Wicked, Avenue Q and The Hounds of Baskerville. On our upcoming visit to the city, Mrs. Sip and I will be seeing The Book of Mormon and Rock of Ages. Surely these shows will measure up to the high standards the theatre district is known for.

Sherlock Holmes Museum

Residing at 221B Baker Street, this is where the fictional Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson lived together, solving the various sundry tales that came to their attention. Today, a museum dedicated to the detective and his partner stands at the address. One of the newest incarnations (the BBC series) of Sherlock Holmes mysteries are a must-watch selection from this Sip Advisor.

Rock N’ Roll Tour

London is crammed full of Rock N’ Roll history. Just the number of musicians that died in the city reads like a who’s who of the industry. I’ll never forget being driven through London’s suburbs as our driver jammed out to Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven”. You can complete your tour with a meal at either the Hard Rock Café or Rolling Stones-inspired Sticky Fingers.

Jack the Ripper Tour

The case of Jack the Ripper is a fascinating one. He murdered at least five prostitutes and intrigue into the identity of the killer remains to this day. I have personally accused a number of individuals, with varying results. The tour The Family Sip took a few years back finished at the Sherlock Holmes Pub, where a round of pints were the next mystery to be solved.

Tower of London

Speaking of Jack the Ripper, had he ever been caught, this is likely where he would have been hanged. The Tower is now home to the crown jewels of the royal family. If I could just get my hands on a trinket or two on display here, I’d be set for life. Perhaps Kate Middleton would come hang out with me, too!

Drink #113: Highland Berry

April 23

  • 1.5 oz Hendricks Gin
  • 0.5 oz Raspberry Liqueur
  • Splash of Cranberry Juice
  • Top with Tonic Water
  • Garnish with Raspberries

Mrs. Sip insists I also mention the numerous free museums around London. These are wondrous places, but I’m just not a massive museum fan, myself. That said, here’s a drink to merry old England. Thanks for the memories. Cheers!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
Not a bad cocktail to salute England with, but the Tonic Water was once again a bit detestable. Thankfully the Hendrick’s Gin and Raspberry Liqueur were both delicious in their own right and the Cranberry Juice made its usual contribution of not hurting a recipe. I loved putting this drink in a goblet… it just felt right!