Flavour Revolution – Lemon

When Life Gives You Lemons

I find stories of people turning their lives around to be quite fascinating and inspiring. Going through challenges makes for better people on the other end and some of the greatest things we know today were created by those who took risks, defied protocols, and pushed through adversity. Here are some fine examples of folks turning lemons into lemonade!

Walt Disney

Had Walt Disney been one to easily give up, we wouldn’t have an archive of wonderful characters, shows, movies, theme parks, and experiences. Countless times, it was speculated that Disney would destroy his own company with new ventures. This included the making of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves – dubbed Disney’s Folly by the media – and the construction of Disneyland, which many believed had no chance of success. Disney had so much trouble raising funds for the theme park that he made a deal with the ABC TV network, exchanging programming for help in financing his dream. Everything worked out in the end, thanks to Disney’s risks.

Walt Disney Legacy

Henry Ford

The man who eventually brought the world the automobile went through a number of struggles before finally reaching success. Ford came from a farming family and was expected to take over the homestead, although he hated the work and lifestyle. Ford wanted a better life for himself, but simply leaving the farm didn’t guarantee anything. In fact, Ford was forced to file for bankruptcy twice, but he learned from his mistakes and gained a net worth of $188 billion. Ford was also one to look after his employees, offering them an unheard of $5 per day wage, allowing them to buy the vehicles they were making.

JK Rowling

The Harry Potter author, now raking in cash from her books, movie deals, theme park lands, etc. was once living off welfare and trying to complete her novel by travelling to various coffee houses, while caring for her infant child. Even when interest began swelling for her manuscript, she was advised to seek a day job, as it was unlikely she would make enough money solely on writing children’s books. While speaking for a graduating Harvard class in 2008, Rowling said: “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”

Steve Jobs

Before he became the technological icon that we know him as today – creating devices such as the iMac, iPod, iPad, and iPhone – Jobs went through many hardships. Among them, he was an adopted child, struggled in school, dropped out of college course he could barely afford in the first place, and struggled to find his niche in the working world. Even running his own company would not provide smooth sailing. In fact, at one time, he was forced out of Apple, the company he created and would later bring back to prominence. Even in declining health due to cancer, Jobs never gave up hope or his dreams and kept working hard through it all.

Jobs Taking Over

Terry Fox

Fox was only 18 years old when he was forced to have his leg amputated due to cancer. The young man didn’t let that stop him, though, as he not only won national wheelchair basketball championships, but also embarked on a trip across Canada, running to raise money for cancer research. Fox’s Marathon of Hope lasted 143 days and 5,373 km, garnering $1.7 million in donations. Sadly, the journey had to be halted in Thunder Bay, Ontario, when Fox was too sick to continue, cancer returning to the athlete’s body. In honour of his campaign, the Terry Fox Run is done annually around the world and has raised over $650 million.

Rick Hansen

Sticking with Canadian content, the wheelchair-bound Hansen gave the opening address at one of my college convocations and his message really hit home with Mrs. Sip and myself. The crux of it was: “Failure is not having the courage to try.” Hansen is best known for his Man in Motion World Tour, an attempt to raise funds for spinal cord injury research by circumventing the globe in his wheelchair. Hansen had been crippled in an auto wreck at the age of 15, but that didn’t stop the man from raising $26 million over his 26 month journey. The song St. Elmo’s Fire was written for Hansen and his courageous expedition.

Oprah Winfrey

With a media empire that includes its own magazine, television network, and devoted fan base, one could certainly say that Oprah Winfrey did well for herself. When you learn of the broadcasting mogul’s humble and difficult beginnings, her success is all the more impressive. She had a strained relationship with her teenage mother, who was in and out of her life and was the victim of sexual abuse from family members. After running away from home, Winfrey herself became pregnant at age 14, although the baby died after premature birth. Once Winfrey entered the media world, it was a slow rise to the heights she currently enjoys.

Flavour Revolution: Floradora

Floradora Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Gilbey’s Lemon Gin
  • 0.5 oz Chambord
  • Top with Ginger Ale/Beer
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with a Lemon Wedge

The phrase “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” has been credited to two sources. First, Elbert Hubbard, a Christian anarchist writer, used it for the obituary of Marshall P. Wilder, a dwarf actor, who Hubbard wrote of: “He cashed in on his disabilities. He picked up the lemons that Fate had sent him and started a lemonade-stand.” Fellow writer Dale Carnegie has also been said to have invented the term, writing in his book ‘How to Stop Worrying and Start Living’: “If You Have a Lemon, Make a Lemonade.”

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This is an interesting drink. I used my Dark Ginger Ale, but kind of wished I’d used some Ginger Beer, perhaps Crabbie’s orange or raspberry flavour. There’s a lot of different tastes going on here, but the end result works. And if it hadn’t, I would have made lemonade from the lemon experience!

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March 7 – Grey Mouse

Rodent Rascals

Despite the fear these animals cause for many people, the following entries are loveable rats, mice, chipmunks, etc. It might help that they’re all animated (or at least began their existences that way) as that’s just how you can get the most cuteness out of what could otherwise be considered vermin. Here are the Top 5 rodents:

#5: Remy – Ratatouille

This rat may be one of the few Parisians I actually like! The fact that Remy is voiced by Patton Oswalt is simply a bonus. Interestingly, Oswalt was cast in the movie based off of his food-based stand-up routine. Want some more Ratatouille trivia? Did you know that a wine branded with the name of the film was supposed to be released in a joint venture between Disney, Pixar and Costco, but was pulled because the label featured the animated Remy, something the California Wine Institute was not pleased with, arguing that it encouraged underage drinking.

Remy Ratatouille

Remy certainly has some swagger!

#4: Rescue Rangers

Chip, Dale, Monterrey Jack, and the voluptuous Gadget (the only member of the team forced to wear pants!) may be the world’s smallest crime fighters, but they are thorns in the side of villains like Professor Norton Nimnul, Fat Cat, and Rat Capone. Sadly, little Zipper can’t be included in this entry because he’s not a rodent… sorry, buddy. Back to the team, we will get to see them again in the coming years, as Disney has announced plans for a live-action/CGI animation movie. As long as they keep the wicked opening theme song in some capacity, fans everywhere will rejoice!

#3: Pinky & The Brain – Animaniacs

These two made trying to take over the world fashionable… sure, their zany plans regularly go awry, but that doesn’t mean a strategy won’t ever work and we’ll all become the slaves of genetically-enhanced lab mice! The duo proved so popular that they were given their own series, sadly invaded by Elmyra from Tiny Toon Adventures. There’s a great theory out there that Pinky is actually the intelligent mouse, while The Brain is the insane one out of the two. That would explain why he’s hell bent on escaping his cage and ruling the earth.

Pinky and the Brain

#2: Splinter – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

The wise sensei and father figure of the teen turtles may be a rodent of advanced age, but he can still fight when pushed to do so, often defending his shelled family. The one thing that pisses me off about Splinter is how his origin story changes from time to time. In some projects, he was a human turned into a rat, while other times, he was always a rat, who transformed thanks to the mutagen. He’s at his most awesome in the original Turtles movie, when he battles and defeats The Shredder, sending him crashing from a high-rise rooftop into the back of a garbage truck.

#1: Mickey Mouse

While I’ve never been a huge fan of Mickey, some of my favourite things in this world wouldn’t exist without him. Think about it: I met Mrs. Sip in Disneyland, which was only possible thanks to the success of early Mickey cartoons, leading to more animated gems from Walt Disney and company. With those facts, you just have to respect Mickey and everything he’s done in the name of entertainment. As Walt himself famously said, “I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse.”

Super Saturday Shot Day: Grey Mouse

Grey Mouse Shot

  • 1 oz Irish Crème
  • 0.5 oz Black Sambuca
  • Garnish with a Gummy Mouse

Honourable mentions go to Bernard and Bianca (The Rescuers); Jerry Mouse (Tom & Jerry); and the trio of Alvin, Simon and Theodore Seville (Alvin & The Chipmunks). I really wish I could have included The Chipmunks, who got the Sip Advisor through some tough times with their upbeat music!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
The shot was one thing (it was what you’d expect from mixing Irish Creme and Sambuca), but I think my choice to garnish the shooter with a Gummy Mouse was spectacular. Thankfully, Ma Sip had a few on hand, which I was more than happy to use in the production.

Spain – Banana Nutbread

Surreal Skill

One of Spain’s most famous figures is artist Salvador Dali. Everything from his collection of work to his personal look was certainly bizarre, but that’s what attracted so many to him. Dali separated himself from the crowd in so many ways. Here are some of the unique aspects of his zany life:

Dali Reincarnate

Dali was the second Salvador Dali to be born into his family. Nine months before he came along, his brother (with the same name) died at the age of 22 months. When he was five, Dali was taken to his brother’s burial plot and told by his parents that he was the reincarnation of his deceased sibling. And we wonder why he turned out to be such a wacky nut! The brothers did resemble one another, with Dali later saying: “[We] resembled each other like two drops of water, but we had different reflections.”

Shit Just Got Surreal

Getting Prepped

In order to do his work, Dali used a few unique tactics to get in the right mood, including sleeping in a chair with a spoon standing on top of a plate on his head. When the spoon fell and hit the plate, he would awaken and quickly take notes on what he saw in his dreams. Dali would also stand on his head (a favourite position of the Sip Advisor) for long periods of time, allowing his brain to function differently than normal.

Famous Pieces

Dali’s most celebrated work is The Persistence of Memory, which features the melting clocks he is probably best known for. Dali’s talent and vision extended to many different kinds of art, including jewelry. He is famous for a number of wearable pieces, most notably The Royal Heart, comprised of pure gold adorned with 46 rubies, 42 diamonds and two emeralds.

For Love of Money

Dubbed “Avida Dollars” (an anagram for Salvador Dali) by some, Dali was known to do almost anything for money. He appeared in commercials for Lanvin chocolates, which featured the artist exclaiming his love for the treat before biting into it, which caused his eyes to cross and his mustache to curl. He also designed the Chupa Chups lollipop logo, which is subtle, colourful, and meaningful all at the same time.

avida dollars

Scam Artist

One of the best stories I’ve ever heard about Dali is how he scammed Yoko Ono (one of the most vile creatures in the known world) to the tune of $10,000. Ono, for her own inexplicable reason, wanted a strand of Dali’s mustache hair. Dali asked for $10,000 and when he was paid, sent her a dried blade of grass instead. As the fable goes, apparently Dali was worried the hair would be sued for witchcraft… proving I’m not the only one who thinks Ono is a witch!

Hail Hitler

Along with a fascination for eclectic animals (the man had an ocelot!), Dali was fixated on Adolf Hitler. He once said: “I often dreamed about Hitler as other men dreamed about women.” I mean, who am I to say what people should be dreaming about, but this one takes the cake. A later painting of Dali’s is called Hitler Masturbating and it isn’t a figurative title. Thankfully, the dictator’s (should I use that word here?) true Nazi salute is obstructed.

Demented Disney

In 1946, Dali and Walt Disney actually joined forces for an animated short, titled Destino. Based on the song by the same name, by Armando Dominguez, Dali blended his artistic style with Disney’s character work. The piece wasn’t finished until 48 years later, when Baker Bloodworth and Roy E. Disney returned to the project, which features strange figures and dreamlike images. Mrs. Sip and I were able to view this work (with free champagne) aboard one of our cruises and it was a trip, to say the least.

Paying Bills

If you ever have trouble paying for a large and expensive meal, you could try this trick, but it probably only works for someone of Dali’s stature. When the bill came to Dali’s table, no matter how many people had enjoyed the outing or how expensive it was, he was quick to pick up the tab. This wasn’t done out of generosity, however, as Dali had a trick up his sleeves (if he even work sleeves!). He would quickly do a little drawing on the cheque and because of his fame, the restaurant wouldn’t dare cash an original Dali piece of art and therefore, his meal (and his guest’s) was basically comped.

Quoted Quotables

A number of interesting quotes came from the mind of Dali. These include: “The only difference between me and the surrealists is that I am a surrealist.”; “I myself am surrealism.”; “I don’t do drugs. I am drugs.”; and “Every morning upon awakening, I experience a supreme pleasure: that of being Salvador Dalí.” That about sums the man up… let’s have a drink in his honour!

Spain: Banana Nutbread

Apr 14

  • 1 oz Frangelico
  • 1 oz Crème de Bananes
  • 0.5 oz Sherry
  • Scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Garnish with Peanuts

I enjoy dreams as much as the next person, but I can’t say that I’ve ever envisioned any of the imagery that Dali did. Love him or hate him, he was certainly a fascinating character who saw and experienced the world in a very different way than any other person. Plus, he was even turned into a Muppet on Sesame Street (Salvador Dada), a long-term goal of my own!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
While this sounds like a recipe for a delicious and nutritious dessert, it’s also the perfect cocktail for an eclectic artist like Salvador Dali. The beverage is quite tasty and it’s not overly sweet. Even Mrs. Sip liked it and trust me, if it’s too sweet, I’ll hear that… to no end!

July 18 – Rasputin Cocktail

Idol Worship

Throughout my life, I have found myself fascinated by certain individuals. People whose life stories intrigue me and make me want to actually “learn” more about them and their history. I wouldn’t say that these people are idols of mine, but they are extremely interesting folks, with tales that tend to captivate the masses.

Steve Jobs

While I’m not the biggest fan of Apple and its products (seriously, how annoying is the iTunes interface and non-compatibility?), I find Steve Jobs, the company’s founder and later saviour, to be a captivating case study. He lived a short life, but made the most of his time on earth. We can credit Jobs with so many innovations, from home computers, virtually every device with an ‘i’ in front of it, and even Pixar movies, the company he grew between his Apple stints.

Steve Jobs

Walt Disney

As a massive fan of Disneyland, I pay much homage to the man who first imagined the concept and then put his dream into work, jeopardizing everything he had built to that point, from reputation to life savings to his studio to his physical well-being. Every time I’m privileged to be in one of his parks (and particularly one that serves alcohol), I’m sure to say a little thanks to the legend and have a drink in his honour.

Ric Flair

For those who read my blog regularly, by now you should know that no Sip Adivsor list would be complete without a wrestling reference. This man styled and profiled his way to wrestling greatness and in the process lived the extravagant lifestyle of his on-screen character. Flair has been married (and divorced) four times and suffered great financial losses from bad investments, legal issues, and a lifetime of partying. Still, the ‘Nature Boy’ keeps ticking, making occasional appearances in the ring and still delighting fans with his over-the-top charisma and energy.

ric_flair

Rasputin

The amazing story of the assassination of Grigori Rasputin is one that first caught my attention in my high school history class. Now that I’ve actually visited Russia and been inside the room where his murder took place, I’m even more enthralled with the legend. For those who don’t know the details, Rasputin was poisoned, shot, stabbed and beaten, before being thrown into the frozen Neva River. Evidence later showed that water was in his lungs when his body was discovered, meaning he was still alive when thrown into his watery grave and likely succumbed to drowning.

Jimmy Stewart

Did you know that the It’s a Wonderful Life star was also a highly-decorated United States military pilot (the only actor to receive a higher ranking was Ronald Reagan, when he became president of the United States and commander-in-chief)? So, not only is Stewart one of my favourite actors, but you have to respect a guy that went to war throughout an acclaimed acting career.

Drink #199: Rasputin Cocktail

July 18

  • 2 oz Russian Vodka (I used Beluga)
  • 1 oz Frangelico
  • Garnish with Lemon Twist

One more person who fascinates me, is myself. I often ponder my own existence and I’m blown away with what I’ve accomplished and continue to achieve. I’m a wrecking ball of awesomeness, steamrolling the lame, and making this world a better place, one cocktail at a time!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
I didn’t think I’d like this cocktail as much as I did. The Frangelico was nice and not overwhelming. I split half of the Vodka portion of the recipe between Plain Vodka and Raspberry Vodka and that accentuated the entire cocktail.

March 6 – Skinny Miami (The Drink)

A-MUSE Me

Inspiration can come in many forms. After all, Walt Disney conceived the idea for Disneyland while watching his daughters play at a Southern California playground and realizing that there weren’t many places that offered entertainment both kids and adults could enjoy together.

Disneyland & Walt

For a pseudo-bartender (I only play one on TV), original drink ideas can come from a wide array of avenues.

While perusing Facebook recently, a friend’s status recollected her enjoying a “Skinny Miami” while eating waffles on a hot summer day on her balcony (yes, it actually gets warm in Canada… we’re not all igloos and polar bears). Instinctively, I concluded that this must be some sort of cocktail I hadn’t heard of. After all, the comment thread was started by her kindly promoting this site (which everyone out there should be doing daily!). Being the Sip Advisor that I am, I inquired about the recipe and showcased my enthusiasm to try this new treat, hoping to share it with all of Sip Nation.

The response I received wasn’t exactly what I expected. As other mutual friends made jokes about my comment (as they were in the know) and even Mrs. Sip took a shot at me, saying we’d talk when she got home, the friend in question private messaged me, explaining that her version of a Skinny Miami, was in fact code for the thin guy from Miami she had dated last summer (okay, maybe what they were doing wasn’t exactly dating per se).

Let me tell you, my little sippers, there isn’t much that embarrasses this old dog anymore, but here I was, basically inquiring about drinking… a dude. Boy was my face red… well, more of an auburn-magenta combo.

Embarrassed

I guess, in the end, I wasn’t far off in my assumption that a Skinny Miami was a COCKtail. And the two can have similar effects: loss of inhibition, flushed appearance, short attention span, increased self-confidence, decreased anxiety, blurred vision and all that other good stuff.

On the plus side, this gaffe of mine provided the impetus to come up with a pretty cool drink recipe that was recently tried out and results have so far come back in the positive side of the ledger.

So, if you’re anything like me, don’t be afraid to make silly mistakes. Hell, most great inventions are stumbled upon accidentally. You never know when you’ll come up with your next great idea!

Drink #65: Skinny Miami – The Drink (A Sip Advisor Original Recipe)

Skinny Miami Drink Recipe

  • Rim glass with Sugar
  • 1 oz Malibu Rum
  • Top with Champagne
  • Dash of Grenadine 
  • Add Coconut Shavings (optional)

As you can see, this drink is served in a long skinny glass (at least six inches tall is preferable or so I’m told), and has a nice warm peachy colour (or flesh-like tone). And as for the white sugar around the rim… a reference to cocaine, clearly. After all, it’s Miami and I’m a huge Don Johnson fan!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This drink actually came together pretty well. I liked how the Grenadine sank to the bottom and gave the cocktail a distinct split mixture look. The Sugar rim was also a nice visual touch, as were the Coconut Shavings at the top of the liquid.