November 5 – International Incident

Drink Nation

I recently stumbled upon a report about the 10 greatest drinking nations in the world. Sadly, Canada did not make that list, but neither did our neighbours to the south… or even their neighbours to the south. Here are my thoughts on those that did crack the top 10 and where I think Canadians need to improve to better our future ranking.

10. Australia

While Australia has wine and beer creations to its credit, I can’t think of any liquors they’ve introduced to the world. The article does point out that former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke made the Guinness Book of World Records for downing 2.5 pints of beer in 2.5 seconds. If that’s the effort your politicians are putting forward, I guess you deserve to be on this list.

Kangaroo Drinking

Wow, even the roos are getting in on the act!

9. Germany

The land of Oktoberfest; the event which has largely earned them this spot on the countdown. Germany is known for their beer making, beer serving (wenches impressively carrying eight beer steins at the same time), and beer consumption. Although the Czech citizens drink more beer than the Germans, that’s still not enough to topple this suds nation.

8. Uganda

How does an African nation make this list? Does professional wrestler Kamala (the Ugandan Giant) have something to do with this, forcing the country’s way onto the list through sheer intimidation tactics? Apparently residents will gather and sit around a pot of ajono (beer-like substance) and pass a long straw around. Not sure that earns their way onto this list.

7. South Korea

All this despite South Korea’s strict social guidelines. Apparently, it’s common practice in the country to get plastered on mixes of beer and whiskey and let loose, getting out all of your pent-up anger and frustration. So, basically what every drinker in the world does when they’re a few wobbly pops deep into the night!

Korean drinking

6. Moldova

According to the World Health Organization, Moldova is the most liquored up nation in the world. Stats say that per person, each resident drinks 18 litres of alcohol in a year. Does that include children? The former Soviet nation’s favourite hangover cure is pickle juice and I’m down with that. Perhaps we could share some Moldovian fruit brandies, followed by pickles for breakfast!

5. Ecuador

The local liquor in Ecuador, Zhumir, is affectionately known as “hangover in a bottle”… that’s a challenge the Sip Advisor would like to take, given my invincibility towards the morning after suffering. Etiquette in the country dictates that you cannot start drinking until someone has made a toast, so if you’re all alone, make sure there’s a mirror in your room to cheers yourself.

4. France

Home to the Champagne region and too-many-to-count wineries. Apparently the people of France turn their nose up to selling liquor from other countries. That’s not really surprising, but it means they’re really missing out, especially with Belgian beers, Spanish sangria and English gin offerings so close to their borders.

french-funny-flag

What does this have to do with drinking? Nothing, but I’m posting it anyway! Suck it, France!

3. Russia

Russians drink vodka at all times of the day. It’s just their way of life. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, bedtime snack… no time of day is enjoyed sans vodka. Russia is the all-important buckle of the Vodka Belt. I’m totally down with people that don’t drink in normal conventions. We’d get along real well.

2. China

Sadly, this site has never received a viewer from the massive country of China. Thanks to the nation’s censorship laws, citizens often have to tether on to other countries internet signals to access non-governmental approved sites. I guess the more citizens you have (and China of course has tons) the more liquor you need to keep the population docile and happy and therefore your portfolio in the alcohol world grows.

1. United Kingdom

While I’ve always had a good time drinking in the U.K., I’m not sure I agree with the country taking the top spot on this list. That said, the country is lined with bars that are often packed to the brim with people looking to get boozed up. They can also be credited with much of the world’s gin production and for that, we thank them. Party on Brits!

Drink #309: International Incident

International Incident Drink Recipe

  • 0.5 oz Irish Crème
  • 0.5 oz Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Amaretto
  • 0.5 oz Coffee Liqueur
  • 0.5 oz Macadamia Nut Liqueur
  • Splash of Milk
  • Garnish with Macadamia Nuts

If the fine folks in Mexico can’t even crack the list, despite their IP on tequila production, then us schlubs in Canada shouldn’t feel so bad. I also question nations like Ireland (although I guess it’s kind of part of the U.K.) and Belgium not cracking the top 10. I want answers, dammit!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
This recipe is intended to be a shot, but I increased the ingredient increments and turned it into a nightcap cocktail. The drink gave me my first chance to use our Macadamia Nut Liqueur, which I subbed for the originally scheduled Hazelnut Liqueur and it tasted great. A highlight of the cocktail was the hint of salt you got with each sip, thanks to the Macadamia Nuts garnish!

May 19 – Kamikaze

Voducation

It’s the start of Vodka Week here at The Sip and as we’ve done in the past, day one is all about educating ourselves. I will play the role of teacher and as per usual, you my little sippers will be my eager pupils, taking in the breadth of my knowledge (or at least what I could scour from the internet). There will be a test at the end, so please pay attention. Ah, what do I care, let’s go through the motions of the lesson plan and get drunk!

drinking-vodka-in-commercials-vs-real-life

Northern, Eastern and Central Europe – Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Scandinavian countries, Latvia, Lithuania, etc. – is known as the Vodka Belt because these countries are the historic home of the spirit as well as the area where it is most consumed worldwide.  Sure beats living in America’s Bible Belt! Imagine you could actually have a belt that was filled with vodka and had an extendable straw you could pull out to access the alcohol… I call dibs on the franchising rights. Lucky for me, I’m on my way to many of these countries at the moment during a Scandinavian cruise! (I see lots of vodka in my foreseeable future!)

Vodka gets its name from the Russian word ‘voda’, which translates to mean water. I have it on good authority that Russians actually drink vodka like IT IS water and are practically raised on the stuff. That’s pretty badass, as they’re running around with mickeys as bottles, while us North Americans are deciding how much Nesquik to put in our milk.

vodka_water

Vodka is considered to be the purest alcohol in the world thanks to its distillation process and lack of fusel oils.

While vodka can be blamed for too numerous injuries and deaths to count, the libation can also have many positive medical effects. It is known to keep arteries strong and clear, while also keeping drinkers cholesterol down. It can also be used to heal cold sores and fever and stave off strokes, heart attacks and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Before 1885, vodka was only sold in buckets of12.3 litres at a time. You could bathe in that much booze and apparently in Poland they did, as vodka was originally scented and used as after shave. Could this be why Mrs. Sip’s legs smell so good? She is part Polish, after all!

Super-Size-McVodka

Vodka has a ton of other uses, such as being a disinfectant that is strong enough to clean bathrooms. I find this to be a two-fold problem. First, who has the money to overpay on cleaning products and second, that’s just a lot of wasted liquor. In a pinch, though, if you have company coming over and have used your entire budget on entertainment goods, I guess you could pull off the clean sweep using vodka. As early as the 15th century, the liquor was even used in gunpowder manufacturing by Sweden.

There are actually Vodka museums in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Stockholm, and Amsterdam.

Today, nearly anything you can think of has been turned into a flavoured vodka. There’s bacon, smoked salmon, Froot Loop, cupcake, marshmallow, and the list is endless. Companies like Smirnoff, Absolut, Three Olives, and Pinnacle have the flavoured vodka market cornered, but even top shelf spirits like Grey Goose and Van Gogh have delved into the exotic vodka flavours.

Drink #139: Kamikaze

May 19

So, let’s get into our best Vodka Belt mood and party ‘til the sun comes up! And what if it’s that time of year where the sun never comes up, you ask? Then you better have some longevity when it comes to your boozing!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I like that this is a vodka version of a margarita. I took the shot recipe and turned it into a delicious, refreshing drink, perfect for summer. The Cherry Lemonade Vodka was a nice touch, with Cherry flavour coming through in the aftertaste.