Mixer Mania #32 – Site Songs

When working with strawberries, the Beatles tune Strawberry Fields Forever will often pop into my mind, earworm style. With this week’s feature mixer being Strawberry Juice, I thought it would be a perfect time to look at some songs about places (more specific than a city or state) you can actually visit:

Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields Forever – The Beatles

The world’s most famous band (my opinion, of course) had a couple of hits about real places around their hometown of Liverpool. These include Penny Lane and the aforementioned Strawberry Fields Forever. When the Sip Family visited Liverpool in 2007, we took a tour that stopped at these locations, as well as the grave of Eleanor Rigby, featured in the song A Day in the Life, and rumoured to be where John Lennon and Paul McCartney first met.

Strawberry Fields

Folsom Prison Blues – Johnny Cash

Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues made the Folsom State Prison a part of pop culture. Later, Cash would perform twice at the venue, calling the inmates who watched his shows, “the most enthusiastic audience I have ever played to.” Notable prisoners of the 137-year-old jail, include musician Rick James, actor Danny Trejo and notable psychopath Charles Manson. That said, I doubt the prison is any kind of attraction, unless you’re a serious Johnny Cash fan.

Electric Avenue – Eddy Grant

While sounding upbeat, this Eddy Grant song is actually about a riot that took place on the south London street in 1981. The riot started due to recession tensions, which were felt particularly by the area’s African-Caribbean community. When we first moved in together, Mrs. Sip and I almost rented an apartment in a building called Electric Avenue. You better believe this song would have been going through my head every time I walked through the front doors.

Electric Avenue

Portobello Road – Bedknobs and Broomsticks

Portabello Road, located in the Notting Hill area of London, was featured in song in this 1971 Disney musical film. The track highlights the road’s market and those who inhabit it. Mrs. Sip’s love of Disney resulted in us venturing to the area on one of our trips to London. Sadly, there wasn’t much of a market running when we visited, perhaps due to the inclement weather we had to contend with. Despite this, I still allow Mrs. Sip a lot of control over our touring plans.

Baker Street – Gerry Rafferty

This song is most memorable for the amazing saxophone pieces, which apparently increased sales in the instrument, following the track’s release. Baker Street, of course, refers to the London road, whose most famous resident is the fictional Sherlock Holmes. Rafferty’s song, however, was about feelings of alienation and isolation. On most of my visits to London, I’ve ended up in the area, for a quick picture or two outside 221B Baker Street.

Mixer Mania #32: Valentini Martini

Valentini Martini.JPG

  • Rim glass with Strawberry Jam
  • 2 oz Vodka
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • Top with Strawberry Juice

It’s amazing how most of these songs highlight areas of England and finding other such examples was very difficult to do. Oh well, time to rock down to Electric Avenue (you know, after the eight-plus hour flight to the UK and pain getting through immigration and all!).

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
I couldn’t find any straight up Strawberry Juices, so I went with Strawberry-Kiwi. To enhance the berry flavour, I used Raspberry Vodka and rimmed the glass with Strawberry Jam. The results were decent, but nothing spectacular.

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Mixer Mania #30 – Blowing Bubbles

One of the things that pops into my mind when working with Bubble Gum Soda is the character of Bubbles from Trailer Park Boys. That got me thinking of other characters with similar monikers… and there’s more than you would think. Here are some of the more infamous ones:

Trailer Park Boys

The trio of Julian, Ricky and Bubbles is always on the prowl for a get-rich-quick scheme, with Julian the brain, Ricky the muscle and Bubbles the heart of any operation. Bubbles real name has never been divulged, while his nickname certainly stems from his large glasses. The kitty-loving resident of Sunnyvale Trailer Park splits his time between fixing shopping carts, wrestling as the Green Bastard and playing a mean guitar.

Bubbles Kitties

Bubble Bobble

One of my favourite video games as a youngster was Bubble Bobble, featuring the characters of Bub and Bob, two bubble dragons. This classic Taito platformer sees the twins attempt to rescue their girlfriends from the Cave of Monsters. Given the creatures are good at blowing bubbles, I wonder how Bub and Bob were rewarded for their heroic efforts!?

Bubbles the Chimpanzee

Michael Jackson bought this chimp from a Texas research facility in the 1980s and turned him into an international celebrity, with exploits including drinking tea with the mayor of Osaka, Japan. Hopefully this wasn’t an attempt by Jackson to seem more normal! Bubbles is actually still alive, aged 34, and has lived at a Florida-based sanctuary since 2005.

Little Britain

Bubbles DeVere is the worst nightmare of every health spa. She has racked up massive debts at the Hill Grange Health Spa, often roams the facility in the buff, acts like a member of the social elite, and worst of all, she refuses to ever leave the place. As you can imagine, this leads to numerous hilarious situations, which oddly make Ms. DeVere endearing.

Bubbles Little Britain

Lilo & Stitch

Former CIA agent Cobra Bubbles is the social worker overseeing Lilo and her being in the custody of her older sister Nani. Despite some initial problems, by the end of the film, Cobra is a friend to the family, knowing full well that Stitch is not the family dog, but is in fact an alien species. This is thanks to his CIA experience… the truth is out there.

Legend of Zelda

The names of enemies in video games are often quite interesting. Did you know that if you encounter a flying skull (sometimes on fire) in the Legend of Zelda franchise, that these are known as Bubble. When hero Link is hit by a Bubble, he will react in different ways, depending on the type of Bubble. Through the series, players have met Fire, Ice and Cursed Bubbles, thus far.

Detroit Lions

For whatever reason, the NFL’s Detroit Lions logo, featured predominantly on the team’s helmets and various merchandise, is nicknamed Bubbles. This is apparently more of a fan nickname and not an official one, started by radio personality Art Regner, who once opined that the lion looked like he was “batting at bubbles”. Some would argue the Detroit franchise often plays that way, too.

Mixer Mania #30: Blue Bong

Blue Bong.JPG

  • 1 oz Vodka
  • 1 oz Gin
  • Top with Bubble Gum Soda
  • Splash of Blue Raspberry Mixer
  • Dash of Lemon Juice
  • Garnish with a Lollipop

While not a character, the importance of bubble wrap as a packing tool and an entertainment device cannot be underestimated… just wanted to get that out there!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 out of 5 Sips):
I did halve each of the alcohol ingredients to make the cocktail more palatable and it really worked. This beverage is quite tasty, with just the right amount of sweet and sour. I was forced to garnish to cocktail with a Lollipop, as Mrs. Sip recently got rid of all the candy garnishes – including bubble gum pieces – I had lying around. Such is married life!

Mixer Mania #29 – Shell Game

Over the years, the Sip Advisor has drank beverages from a wide array of chalices. As we feature Coconut Water this week, I thought it would be fun to look back at some of the devices used to serve me a drink:

Coconut

There’s nothing like drinking basically straight rum out of a coconut, as we did in Belize. We later saw the same vendor hurriedly approaching us with a large knife. Had we not paid the fair rate? Was he after more of our tourist dollars? Nah, he just wanted to cut the coconut up for us to eat the meat inside… crisis averted!

Beer Bong

While chugging a beer is not my favourite thing to do, in some party settings, it is the right thing to do! A friend of ours used to have a skeleton beer bong, nicknamed Skeletor, which always made things festive fast. All you need was someone tall enough to hold the pouring end.

Beer Bong Kid

Marshmallow

During the first year of this website’s existence, I was tasked with creating a different cocktail or shot, every day for the entire year. Getting created, I decided to serve one shooter from a hollowed marshmallow. The shot did have to be consumed quickly, though, as the marshmallow was quick to leak.

Strawberry

Another Sip Advisor project had me using a strawberry as a side shooter to the cocktail I had made. You had to be very careful to cut the piece of fruit just right, but it did hold its liquor better than the fibrous marshmallow.

Glass Boot

Swakopmund, Namibia is an area of Southwest Africa that was a former German colony and therefore has many features of a Bavarian town. Here, I ordered a boot of beer, which held more than two pints worth of ale. I didn’t think much of it, being the brew hound that I am, but the rest of the tour group all wanted photos holding the massive serving.

Boot of Beer

Plastic Football

Las Vegas is home to some of the most unusual souvenir glasses I’ve ever seen, from guitars to the Statue of Liberty. On one trip to Sin City, I picked up a plastic football sipper, which we were later able to use for a drunken pick-up game.

Fishbowl

Sticking with Las Vegas, when we were there to celebrate Broski Sip’s 21st birthday a decade ago, Mrs. Sip, Cousin Sip and I joined him in drinking a massive cocktail blend served in a large bowl. This took place at Kahunaville inside Treasure Island, which unfortunately doesn’t exist any longer.

Fishbowl Drinking

Watermelon

On a camping trip a few years ago, our group made holes in a watermelon and inserted bottles of vodka into those openings. The result was a heavily-boozed up melon. The fruit was so liquefied, in fact, that it was like eating a drinking a mushy soup.

Team Pitcher

During my days living in Toronto, our school crew would frequent the Fox & Fiddle Pub near campus, often on their karaoke nights. There, we would sit down to what they called Team Pitchers, which were the equivalent to at least two normal pitchers and even came with a contraption to keep the suds cool.

Mixer Mania #29: Blue on Blue

Blue on Blue.JPG

  • 1.5 oz Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Blue Curacao
  • Top with Coconut Water
  • Splash of Cranberry Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Garnish with Blueberries

If I had to add anything to my drinking bucket list, it would be to enjoy a beverage from the Stanley Cup. Now all I have to do is find a way to get my hands on the hardest trophy to win in sports!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
This recipe comes courtesy of the Absolut Vodka website, which has always maintained an eclectic cocktail collection. I’ve never been much of a fan of Coconut Water, but this drink is actually decent. I’ll give credit to the Cranberry Juice, of course!

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.

Mixer Mania #17 – Island Hopping

Mrs. Sip spent a lot of her youth in Hawaii and she has been able to share some of those experiences with me, since we’ve been together. With Hawaiian Punch being today’s feature mixer, let’s take a look at some of the things the islands have brought to our lives:

Traditions

One of the most fascinating parts of a vacation to Hawaii is taking in all the unique culture. From being greeted with leis to luau feasts to hula dancing and everything in between, the island experience is something that must be seen to be appreciated.

Hawaiian-Time-Hours.jpg

Drinks

Despite its name, Hawaiian Punch was actually developed in California in 1934. Originally an ice cream topping, it became a beverage when water was added. POG, however, can claim Hawaiian ties, as it was developed in 1971 for Haleakala Dairy on Maui. The islands are also famous for Kona coffee, which must be grown in that district. Hawaii is the only American state which grows coffee plants.

Food

Hawaiian food can be looked at, in this humble writer’s opinion, as the good, the bad, and the ugly. First, there’s the delicious Macadamia Nuts, which are a souvenir every traveller brings back with them. Next up, we have the polarizing pineapple, which I like on my pizza, but don’t like in my cocktails. Then, we enter dangerous territory, with items like poi and spam, which are certainly acquired tasted. We can’t forget one of Mrs. Sip’s favourites: McDonald’s Haupia Pie!

People

The most famous Hawaiian is probably former president Barack Obama, while the islands are also the birthplace of musicians such as Bruno Mars, Jack Johnson, Don Ho, and even Bette Midler. Let’s not forget Aquaman himself, Jason Momoa, also calls Hawaii – and its waters – home.

Hawaiian Dad

Media

Some of my favourite TV shows and movies were filmed amongst the beautiful setting that is Hawaii. These projects include Magnum P.I., Hawaii 5-0 (I’m more a fan of the original), and one of Ma and Pa Sip’s favourites, Lost, on the TV side. As for films, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, 50 First Dates, The Descendants, and Lilo & Stitch have used the island backdrop to their advantage.

Other

Hawaii can be credited with being the birthplace of many other notable things. Some of these include ABC Stores, which can be found all across the islands; the Shaka (aka Hang Loose); the POG game; and likely also played a role in the popularity of surfing, although that can be spread across much of the Polynesian islands.

Mixer Mania #17: Hawaiian Wipeout

Hawaiian Wipeout.JPG

  • 1 oz Vodka
  • 1 oz Goldschlager
  • Top with Hawaiian Punch
  • Garnish with Strawberry Slices

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
Of course, this recipe is meant for the original Hawaiian Punch, but I’m going with the Berry Blue Blast version. The drink called for Everclear as a liquor, but Vodka is a quick and sufficient substitute. The taste is dominated by the cinnamon flavour in the Goldschlager, with some berry coming out, but being largely 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!

Mixer Mania #12 – Until We Meet Again

Today’s mixer of choice is the Mountain Berry Blast flavour of Powerade. Drinking the concoction brings back memories of a childhood treat, the similarly flavoured Screamin’ Saucers. While I’ve come to peace with this product no longer being available to the public, there are other items I still crave and will never be able to eat or drink again:

President’s Choice Mustard Mesquite Barbecue Peanuts

These peanuts were so tasty that I even got Ma and Pa Sip hooked on them. And then, without any warning, they were gone from store shelves. They are still listed on the President’s Choice website, but without any price and stating that “product availability may vary in store”. Other peanuts in the line remain, but for some reason this variety has disappeared.

President_s Choice Mustard Mesquite Barbecue Peanuts

Keg Prime Rib Burger

What happens when you take a delicious, succulent burger and replace it with a bland, uninspired counterpart? The Sip Advisor boycotts your chain, that’s what! I’ve even spoken to servers before about the change in quality from the Prime Rib Burger to the beef blend Keg Burger and you know things are bad when they agree with me.

Payday Avalanche

On a holiday trip to Leavenworth, Washington about a decade ago, Mrs. Sip and I stumbled upon this treat in our hotel vending machine. So rare was the chocolate bar that Mrs. Sip and I started to wonder if it ever existed at all… despite the fact we both remember enjoying it together. We can find pictures of it online, but have yet to come across it ever again.

McDonald’s Big X-tra/Tasty

Every list similar to this contains at least one McDonald’s item, so here’s my pick. When I learned that McDonald’s outlets inside Walmart locations still served the Big X-tra (Big Tasty in the U.S.), I went out of my way to get the burger of my desire, sometimes even passing a full scale McDonald’s in the process. Sadly, the Walmart McDonald’s soon followed suit and killed the Big X-tra for good.

McDonald's Big Xtra.png

Nesquik Cereal

Moving to the cereal aisle, I’m not alone in saying that one of my favourite beverages growing up was chocolate milk. Oddly, there was something very satisfying about mixing milk with Nesquik chocolate syrup. Even better, was being able to have your morning meal and then drink the remaining chocolate milk. Then Nestle had to go and ruin things by abruptly discontinuing the product.

Cookies &

I was recently reminded of these cookie bars and as a self-professed cookie aficionado, you can bet I was a fan of these. The bars, released by Mars Inc., combined a crisp cookie crunch with some of the company’s most famous chocolate bars as toppings. These included Twix, M&Ms, Snickers and Milky Way, but the line was discontinued due to poor sales.

Mixer Mania #12: Flashback

Flashback

  • 2 oz Vodka
  • Top with Powerade
  • Splash of Ginger Ale
  • Garnish with an Orange Twist

What products do you miss and wish you could try once again? Everybody has items they miss from the past and it’s always fun discussing the nostalgia behind them.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.75 Sips out of 5):
The recipe I found for this cocktail said to fill the remainder of the glass with Ginger Ale, but I wanted to feature the Powerade, so only used a splash of the pop. The best part of this cocktail was the appropriate name, given this article’s topic. Unfortunately, the drink was light on flavour and not very notable.