Flavour Revolution – Maraschino Cherry

Spit Take

Maraschino Cherries lack a pit, which is a bit of a shame. As a youngster, I loved spitting cherry pits out the car window on road trips and that thrill would simply be missing with the Maraschino variety. While my spitting was pure pleasure, these incidents led to much harm for all involved:

Roberto Alomar – Baltimore Orioles

When Alomar was up for election into the Baseball Hall of Fame, the only real knock against him was the spitting incident that had long-tarnished his reputation. At the end of the 1996 season, Alomar was arguing with umpire John Hirschbeck, when he spit in the official’s face. Alomar claimed Hirschbeck had used a racial slur against him and went so far as to say the umpire was bitter over the death of one of his kids. The two eventually made peace, with Alomar doing charity work for ALD research, the illness that claimed Hirschbeck’s child and Hirschbeck fully endorsing Alomar’s Hall of Fame appointment.

Invisible Spitters

Keith Hernandez – Seinfeld

In one of the greatest scenes ever from the popular “show about nothing,” Kramer and Newman take the audience through their experience after a Mets baseball game, where they claim they were spit on by star player Keith Hernandez. Using visuals that resemble the famous Zapruder footage from the JFK assassination, it is deduced by Jerry that there must have been a second spitter, a la the second shooter conspiracy theory, which is part of the JFK murder folklore. Interestingly, actor Wayne Knight, who played Newman, appeared in a similar scene in the 1991 movie JFK.

Roger Waters – Pink Floyd

During a concert in Montreal (us Canadians cause all the world’s problems!) on July 6, 1977, in front of about 80,000 fans, Waters spit in the face of one audience member. What spurned the Pink Floyd frontman to do this, you ask? Well, concert goers were lighting firecrackers, throughout the band’s performance, particularly during quiet sections of the show. It has long been thought that the events of this concert inspired Waters to create his concept for The Wall, which brought the band a whole new level of fame. So, at least they turned a negative into a positive!

Llama-Selfie

Bret Hart – World Wrestling Entertainment

When Hart’s more than a decade long relationship with the then World Wrestling Federation and its owner Vince McMahon went sour in 1997, one of the lasting images from the acrimonious split – in which McMahon and other officials changed the planned ending of Hart’s championship title defense against challenger Shawn Michaels – was Hart launching a loogie at the face of McMahon and scoring a direct hit. The entire incident was dubbed the Montreal Screw Job (wow, a lot of spitting happens in Montreal) and it took many years before fences were mended between both sides.

Frank Rijkaard – Holland

There seems to be a lot of spitting in the football world. So much so, in fact, that there are Top 10 lists on the subject. The most infamous, likely due to happening at the 1990 World Cup (the sport’s biggest tournament and event) involved Frank Rijkaard of Holland spitting in the hair of Rudi Voller of West Germany, not once, but twice. Rijkaard also twisted the ear of Voller and stomped on his foot. That is one pissed off Dutch dude. Somehow, the result was both men getting ejected from the game. Rijkaard later apologized, but the German press had already given him the nickname ‘Llama’!

Flavour Revolution: Vida Verde

Vida Verde

  • Muddle Cucumber and Mint
  • 1.5 oz Tequila
  • 1 oz Maraschino Liqueur
  • Splash of Sweet & Sour Mix
  • Garnish with a Cucumber Slice

Maraschino Cherries are the perfect topping on cocktails to ice cream sundaes and everything in between (even baked hams). In fact, these fruits are so good as the final touch, that if you have a few good things happen to you, a smaller, nicer occurrence, might be called the “cherry on top”! Just like when you’re having a decent day and you wrap things up by reading The Sip Advisor…

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
There’s a lot going on with this cocktail and it’s all good! The drink is very refreshing thanks to the Cucumber-Mint combo and there’s both sweet and sour to be had. A very enjoyable sipping experience!

June 14 – Who’s Ya Daddy?

Father Knows Best

Much like we did for Mother’s Day last month, for Father’s Day, we’ll take a peek at some of the worst hombres out there, so we can truly appreciate the male role models in our life. Here are the Top 5 worst dads:

#5: George Bluth, Sr. – Arrested Development

The patriarch of the Bluth family is a prime culprit for why his children have turned out to be so rotten. Sure, mother Lucille isn’t that much better and is perhaps even worse, but George has played a significant role in ruining his kid’s lives. I mean, the series basically kicks off with his arrest for shady business practices and he spends most of the series behind bars or on the run. George’s son Gob could even make the list, although for a long time, Gob didn’t even know he was a father. The problem, is that when he learned of his son’s existence, he still didn’t do much to have a relationship with him and instead carried on in his normal selfish fashion.

George Bluth

#4: Peter Griffin – Family Guy

Forget his complete stupidity and lack of compassion, Peter Griffin is a horrible father in every way possible. The way he treats his daughter Meg, in particular, is criminal (although admittedly, occasionally funny). Peter’s own dad – or at least who he thought was his biological father – was mean-spirited and neglectful to him and it seems Francis Griffin’s childrearing techniques have been passed down a generation. While he seems to mostly get along with his sons Chris and Stewie, they have also been at odds over various issues, as well. Somehow they still find a way to love the dope and thus we have the Family Guy.

#3: Darth Vader – Star Wars

So, first this guy slices off his son’s hand and then drops the bombshell on him that he’s his father! That’s some top-notch caretaking there. It should also be noted that all Darth Vader wants to do is swing Luke Skywalker over to the dark side. That’s like fathers in this day in age bringing their children along for drive-by shootings and bank robberies. Sure, he finally redeems himself a little before his death, but your general silence towards your children pushes them into an unwittingly incestuous moment. I never knew the Star Wars empire resembled that of the backwoods, but apparently it’s not that far off… just look at the Ewoks!

Darth Vader Father

#2: Tywin Lannister – Game of Thrones

There is some good competition for worst father on this show and an entire list could be compiled based on the father figures presented. Tywin Lannister tops them all, though, thanks to his range of bad deeds and prominence in the series. He is quick to pit his children against each other and disregards their feelings if they don’t jive with his aspirations of improving the family name and place in the realm. His abuse of his imp son Tyrion is particularly disturbing as he seems constantly ashamed of Tyrion because of his appearance (as if he can control how he was born) and how it might reflect on him and the family’s standing.

#1: Vince McMahon – World Wrestling Entertainment

While he could very well be the best father in the world off-camera, on screen, Vince McMahon (or Mr. McMahon as he prefers to be known) has been awful towards both his children, as well as his wife, feuding with each of them at one point or another. It’s no wonder that both of his kin have turned on him and even worked together to try and drive him out of business. Shane and Stephanie certainly have their own faults, but the lengths Vince has gone to in order to antagonize his enemies, at the expense of his children, has been psychopathic. He even had daughter Stephanie put up as a blood sacrifice to The Undertaker and fought Shane in a Street Fight.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Who’s Ya Daddy?

Who's Ya Daddy? Shot

  • Rim glass with Caramel Syrup
  • 0.75 oz Cognac
  • 0.75 oz Kahlua

I just want to wish Pa Sip a very happy Father’s Day and thank him for not using any of the men listed above as inspiration! To all the other prod papas out there, enjoy your day and make sure the next generation doesn’t drop the ball!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This shot was everything you would expect from mixing Cognac and Kahlua together. It was smooth and a little sweet. I used a simple Caramel Syrup rim because dad’s aren’t flashy and this classy shooter deserved an equally refined presentation.

May 31 – False Start

Legendary Leagues

Most leagues fail within their first year of operation. If they survive long enough to hand out their inaugural championship, then they usually face other elements of strife, such as low attendance, trouble landing a TV broadcasting deal, and teams folding or relocating. The waters are rough, but if a leagues treads long enough, it just may endure. Here are the top 5 defunct sports leagues and their intriguing stories:

#5: X Football League

Because the NFL just wasn’t fun enough, along came the XFL from World Wrestling Entertainment mogul Vince McMahon. Ironically, while most believe the ‘X’ stood for eXtreme, this is not actually the case and the ‘X’ was never defined. In partnership with NBC, the league only lasted one season. With a few rule changes that were meant to spice up pro football, the eight-team league was dogged by the stigma attached to professional wrestling and what many thought was an inferior quality of play. Ratings were initially strong, but dropped in half from week one to week two and continued to decline over the course of the year. The XFL fizzled out following the season-ending Million Dollar Game and closed up shop on May 10, 2001. Both McMahon and NBC reportedly lost $35 million each in the joint venture.

XFL

#4: SlamBall

A sport with trampolines and full body contact… sounds like a recipe for success to the Sip Advisor and the one time in my life I was mildly interested in the sport of basketball. When TNN (now Spike TV) was making strides to change its image from a country music station to a network geared towards male viewers, one of their early experiments was SlamBall. Unfortunately, the league only ran seasons in 2002, 2003 and 2008, but did hold an international tournament in 2012, in China. Created by Mason Gordon, SlamBall grew from six to eight teams for the 2003 season, but a disagreement between Gordon and Warner Bros. ended with the league being dissolved. The 2008 season returned to a six-team format and the winning coach was Samuel L. Jackson… er, I mean Coach (Ken) Carter.

#3: Roller Hockey International

The early 90’s were a wonderful time and part of that amazing period was the advent and popularity of rollerblades. So, along comes the RHI, hoping to capitalize on that fad. Games were even broadcast on ESPN2 during the early years, showing the potential popularity the sport could have harnessed. The high-scoring (RHI averaged 16.7 goals per game, compared to the NHL’s seven at the time) league played from 1993-97 and also in 1999. Played 4-on-4, a number of NHL alum also strapped on the blades, including Hall of Famer Bryan Trottier. Unfortunately, a planned Super Nintendo video game never materialized, although that fact probably saved me hours in front of the TV and instead, I was outside playing roller hockey! RHI folded operations for good in 2001, despite some of the best team names ever seen in sport.

RHI SNES

Sadly, it never came to be!

#2: United States Football League

Looking to compete with the NFL and offer fans an alternative to fill their growing football needs, the USFL may not have succeeded, but many of the innovations they brought to the game, as well as markets they used for franchises, would eventually be adopted by the NFL juggernaut. Backed by Donald Trump and others with deep pockets, the league produced a number of stars who also enjoyed success in the NFL, as well as two future wrestling World Champions in Lex Luger and Ron Simmons. The crushing blow to the USFL came when they filed an antitrust lawsuit against the NFL, claiming it had established a monopoly. Despite expecting a substantial windfall, the USFL was awarded $1 (that’s not a typo). Heavily in debt, the league ceased operations. The ESPN’s 30-for-30 documentary Who Killed the USFL? examines the league’s brief existence.

#1: World Hockey Association

Launching in 1972 with 12 teams, the WHA made an immediate big splash with the signing of NHL star Bobby Hull to a 10-year, $2.7 million contract. In all, 67 players jumped ship from the NHL to the WHA for the inaugural season. Sadly, the league was plagued with difficulties, including financial struggles, arena issues, teams relocating, and franchises folding. Four WHA franchises still exist in today’s NHL: the Edmonton Oilers, Winnipeg Jets (moved to Phoenix), Quebec Nordiques (moved to Colorado), and Hartford Whalers (moved to Carolina). The league’s legacy also lives on via European stars coming to North America, higher salaries, and a lower draft age. For an in-depth look at the WHA’s seven tumultuous seasons, check out Ed Willes book, The Rebel League: The Short and Unruly Life of the World Hockey Association.

Super Saturday Shot Day: False Start

False Start Shot

  • 0.4 oz Cider
  • 0.4 oz Bourbon
  • 0.4 oz Brandy
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Garnish with an Apple Slice

Honourable mentions include the American Basketball Association, which was loosely spoofed in the Will Ferrell film Semi-Pro, and the Arena Football League, which cancelled their 2009 season, but has since been resurrected under new ownership. Which defunct sports league do you miss?

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This shooter went down very easy and was fun thanks to the bubbles of the Cider. The Bourbon and Brandy flavours do play a role, but not too aggressively. That makes for a couple good Cider recipes for me in the last little while and I might be experiencing a change of heart as far as the beverage goes!

April 5 – Body Slammer

Showcase of the Immortals

WWE WrestleMania has featured countless wrestlers, as well as a host of celebrities in its 30-year history. While the glitz and glamour make WrestleMania the company’s biggest show of the year, it’s the performances of the grapplers that are remembered the most by fans all around the world. Here are the top five performers in WrestleMania’s illustrious history:

#5: Triple H

Given his WrestleMania debut, it was hard to imagine that Triple H (or Hunter Hearst Helmsley as he was known back in 1996) would ever make a list of this type. Then, he was defeated in mere minutes by a returning Ultimate Warrior. Nearly two decades later, Triple H finds himself married to the boss’ daughter and holding an Executive Vice President role within WWE. Triple H became a top draw for the company in 1999 and rode his success to numerous WrestleMania main events, usually defending the World Championship. To this day, he stills appears on the annual card, in one of the prime spots, despite his semi-retirement.

#4: Bret Hart

If you wanted to throw out a lame analogy, you could say that ‘The Hitman’ was the Hart and soul of WrestleMania, especially in its second decade of existence. The Canadian grappler wrestled at each event from 1986-97 and also returned for a one-time battle against WWE owner Vince McMahon at WrestleMania XXVI. During his prime years, Hart’s performances often stole the show, including wrestling two matches at the 10th event, defending the World Title in a 60-minute Iron Man match at the 12th show, and his epic brawl with Steve Austin at the 13th rendition.

#3: Hulk Hogan

The Hulkster participated or played some role in the WrestleMania main event for the show’s first nine broadcasts. He returned to WWE in 2002 and battled The Rock at WrestleMania XVIII, in a confrontation between two of the sport’s greatest icons. The next year, Hogan gained some long-simmering revenge over boss Vince McMahon – the two men who can be most credited with the success of the WrestleMania concept. At six different WrestleMania events, Hogan either defended the World Title or challenged for it. For WrestleMania XXX, Hogan returned from five years away from WWE to host the spectacle.

#2: Shawn Michaels

Dubbed ‘Mr. WrestleMania’, Shawn Michaels always seems to shine the brightest come the big event. While Michaels first WrestleMania appearance was all the way back in 1989, it wasn’t until 1994 when he became a top-level player with his hightlight reel ladder match versus Razor Ramon. Despite losing the contest, the ‘Showstopper’s’ career was launched and two years later, he captured the World Championship at WrestleMania XII. After a four-year hiatus from the ring, Michaels returned to put on a number of classic, show-stealing performances, working with a new generation of stars, like Chris Jericho, Kurt Angle, and John Cena.

#1: The Undertaker

Riding a winning streak of 21-0 at the annual event, the Undertaker continues to thrill audiences nearly a quarter of a decade after he debuted. He has only missed two of the last 23 WrestleMania cards and during that time, has battled every monster possible at WWE’s biggest show of the year, including Giant Gonzales, King Kong Bundy, Sycho Sid, and Kane. He’s also defeated some of the industry’s top names as he’s piled up the wins. Legends like Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Kevin Nash, Jake Roberts, Jimmy Snuka, and others have all fallen to ‘The Deadman’. With each passing year, the streak has become a more integral part of the WrestleMania hype.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Body Slammer

Apr 5

The ‘Showcase of the Immortals’, as they call it, used to be a pretty big deal for the Sip Advisor. While I don’t follow wrestling as religiously as I once did, it is still on my bucket list to one day attend a WrestleMania show. Perhaps The Sip Advisor will grow to the point where I’m even offered a spot on the show and can get my greedy paws on a couple of the WWE Divas!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
This shot was really good and I certainly didn’t feel like I’d just been body slammed. I used Fireball Whiskey to go along with the Goldschlager and that just heightened the cinnamon flavour. I used my cowboy boot shot glass, as it closely resembled a wrestling boot. Thankfully, I still had some mini wrestling figures lying around at Ma and Pa Sip’s house to go along with my diorama and here we see ol’ Stone Cold Steve Austin delivering his trademark stunner to Kane, while The Undertaker prepares to chokeslam The Rock straight to hell!

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!