August 15 – Wicked Watermelon

Fanatics

There are a number of ways that fans show support for their teams. Some ways make sense while others can be downright bizarre. That’s just another wrinkle in why sports are so awesome. Here are some of best fan traditions from around the globe:

What Not to Wear

Whether sporting a watermelon helmet is done to keep your head cool, for protection in the case of a brawl, or simply to have something to snack on in the middle of the game, it is by far one of the most unique fan traditions in all of sports. Of course, it takes the crazy die-hard Canadian Football League fans of Saskatchewan to pull something like this off. Known as ‘Melonheads,’ there are varying stories about how the tradition started, but I’ll let this clip try to clarify things as much as possible.

Melonheads

In other parts of the world, you can find the intimidating ‘Raider Nation’ backing their Oakland NFL team, the ‘C of Red’ and ‘White Out’ supporting the NHL’s Flames and Winnipeg Jets respectively, and perhaps most hilariously, ‘The Hogettes’ in Washington, D.C. These dudes-dressed-as-ladies with pig noses all began when Joe Bugel, an offensive line coach with the Washington Redskins referred to his squad as hogs in the 1980’s. From that point on, Michael Torbert and company became a fixture at Redskins games and have also raised over $100 million for charities.

Hockey Toss

It seems hockey fans love throwing items onto the ice surface. One of the longest supporter traditions sees Detroit Red Wings fans toss an octopus onto the ice. It was started in 1952 when Pete and Jerry Cusimano (owners of a Detroit fish shop) hurled one onto the ice at the start of the team’s playoff run. The eight tentacles symbolized the eight wins needed to capture the Stanley Cup at that time.

octopus toss

In a similar tradition, Florida Panthers fans would toss rubber rats onto the ice, following a story about player Scott Mellanby killing one in the team’s dressing room before scoring two goals that night. Due to the delays it caused, the rat toss was soon banned. Sticking with the ice, there has also been a rubber bat toss started by Buffalo Sabres fans after forward Jim Lorentz knocked a bat out of the air with his hockey stick during the 1975 Stanley Cup Finals. Lastly, the hockey-wide tradition of throwing hats on the ice following three goals by the same player (a hat trick) must be mentioned.

Wave it Proud

My hometown Vancouver Canucks has, in my humble opinion, one of the greatest traditions in the sports world. The white towel waving began when coach Roger Neilson, frustrated with the lop-sided officiating in an early 1982 playoff game, took a white towel and put it at the end of a hockey stick, signifying that he and the team had given up and surrendered to the refs control. The team and fans united around this symbol and the underdog team fought their way to the Stanley Cup Finals. The ‘Towel Power’ tradition still exists to this day.

Roger-Neilson-towel

The Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL have their own towel gimmick, known as Terrible Towels. The difference between the two teams is that the Steelers have actually had championship success with the help of their cloths.

Sing Me a Song

While my EPL team of choice is Manchester United, videos of the Liverpool FC faithful singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” together in unison is awe-inspiring stuff. On this side of the pond, the Seventh Inning Stretch, featuring “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” has to be the most recognized sports song on the entire continent. Perhaps most famously done by legendary voice of the Chicago Cubs, Harry Caray, but enjoyed at every baseball park around North America, even non-sports fans recognize the tune.

Chanting Up a Storm

Upon compiling my research, I realized a lot of these famous chants are New York-based. From Rangers fans screaming “Potvin Sucks,” decades after the Hall of Fame defenseman retired to Jets fans and their unmistakable “J-E-T-S” tradition, there’s a lot of bluster going around the Big Apple. The Yankees have an entire section of fans known as The Bleacher Creatures, who perform a roll call of the team’s line-up, demanding recognition from each player before going on to the next one.

Bleacher Creature

The last chant that has to be mentioned comes from one of the most unlikely places: the golf course. It seems every time a player putts or even starts a hole with his or her drive, you have some guy(s) screaming “Get in the hole!” The funniest thing is that this rarely works, especially in the form of a hole-in-one, but I’ve seldom seen the feat accomplished on the green, as the golfer looks to finish up the hole. Perhaps it’s more of a jinx than anything else.

Miscellaneous Magic

At the 2010 World Cup of Soccer, fans around the world were introduced to the vuvuzela horn, which made watching the matches seem like you were living in a bee’s nest. Some loved the horns, while most couldn’t stand them. There were even folks that looked to ban the noisemaker, but come on, it was all in good fun and part of the unique party.

vuvuzela

While the Lambeau Leap, performed by Green Bay Packers players after a touchdown is more of an athlete started tradition, it takes a sea of adoring fans to embrace the leaper and therefore they play a significant role in the tradition. Two more similar fan-based celebrations of note are the Tomahawk Chop of the Atlanta Braves and the Shark Chomp of the San Jose Sharks.

Drink #227: Wicked Watermelon (A Sip Advisor Original Recipe)

Wicked Watermelon

I should note that there were so many great options for this article, that I was forced to drop everything from college sport and focus on professional team traditions, just to narrow it down. Perhaps, I will do a follow-up post dealing specifically with the college and amateur side of things in the future.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This drink is quite delicious and not too sweet, which is always a worry with frozen cocktails. It could probably use a little more alcohol, so you might want to up that proportion from 1.5 oz to at least 2, or use a heavier spirit… it does work well enough with the current measurement though and is quite the refreshing summer day drink!

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July 20 – Melon Ball

Creative Cuisine

There are some odd culinary pairings in existence where anyone who has tried the combo swears by its deliciousness. Some of these I’ve tried and others I’ve merely only heard about. While I’ll give most anything a fair shot, I must admit that some of these couplings will take more convincing than others. This seems to be a growing field in the gastronomic world, as there’s even an entire site dedicated to the cause. Here are some blends that I’ve tried myself or found around the wild, wild web:

Melon and Prosciutto

For two completely contrasting food items, melon and prosciutto work really well together. Even though I’m not a big melon fan, the mix of sweetness from the melon and salty from the prosciutto produce a melt in your mouth snack that will blow your mind. Of course, prosciutto seems to accentuate a number of other items from crackers to salads and everything in between.

prosciutto-and-melon

Chili Powder and Vanilla Ice Cream

I’ve enjoyed chocolate with chili powder, so I don’t see it as too much of a stretch that vanilla ice cream would also work when paired with chili powder. Heck, some chili powder might be the perfect thing to spice (literally!) up your plain old vanilla ice cream. And if you begin to feel the burn, it shouldn’t be too long before the cool ice cream dulls that tongue-on-fire sensation.

Watermelon and Black Pepper

I’ve professed my love for watermelon through this site on a couple occasions already. That love will never fade and I must admit that combing the melon with black pepper intrigues me. Watermelon can be a very subtle taste, so perhaps the addition of black pepper is simply to bring the devourer back to flavour country aboard the pepper express!

Dark Chocolate and Parmesan Cheese

One suggestion was to enjoy this union as a grilled cheese sandwich and I’m still trying to get my head around that idea. Parmesan is one of the few cheeses I seem to not mind, but mixing it with anything other than a Caesar salad seems like crazy talk to me. I even ran this by cheese guru Mrs. Sip and she couldn’t exactly picture the meal being palatable.

Grilled-Cheese-Dark-Chocolate

Jalapeno and Strawberries

Most times, these odd pairings feature the coming together of two wildly different flavours. In this case, you have the sweet strawberries being mixed with spicy jalapenos. Each bite would be a mix of competing emotions, with the spice surely winning the battle. I only like jalapenos in small doses on nachos and such, so I don’t think this combo would go over very well for me.

Chocolate and Fried Onions

This concept has me quite intrigued. I think I would enjoy a plate of onion rings with a chocolate drizzle laid over them or a little dish of the sweet stuff on the side to dip the rings in. Hell, deep fry anything and dunk it in chocolate and you’ll probably come up with a decent, gluttonous snack. I’ll put money on the fact this concept was first dreamt up in the American south and for that, we thank you!

McDonalds Fries and Hot Fudge Sundae

This combination was brought to our attention by an Australian. The Aussies are known for doing crazy things, but this being on the tamer side, Mrs. Sip and I gave it a shot are were surprised at how well the two products came together. The salt sticks known as McDonalds fries pair very well with the sweetness of hot fudge and the creamy vanilla soft-serve ice cream.

sundae&fries

French Fries and Ranch Dressing

I should be a spokesperson for ranch dressing. I mean, just like the Frank’s Red Hot commercials, I put that sh*t on everything… tacos, sandwiches, pizza, chicken, pasta, and especially French fries. A new combo I’ve been working on of late is to mix ranch dressing with honey garlic sauce before dousing the above items with this hybrid of sweet and tangy that will blow your mind. Patent pending!

Ketchup and Macaroni & Cheese

This is another one that I’ve been doing for years, since I was a little sipper, and don’t find it an odd pairing at all, but it came up a few times in the course of my research for this article. I prefer my mac n’ cheese to be leftovers, where the cheese has dried, rather than fresh with gooey, slimy cheese. Then, just splat some catsup over the bowl, mix it up and you have a perfect quick meal.

Peanut Butter and Bacon

I love peanut butter and I love bacon, so it seems mixing the two together might be a no-brainer. I’ve enjoyed both in chocolate, so perhaps we’d be looking at our first triple threat food pairing if we combined all three together. A PB&B sandwich actually sounds pretty tempting… delicious even. I’m pretty sure I’m going to make one to enjoy with today’s shot du jour.

Drink #201: Melon Ball

July 20

  • 0.5 oz Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Melon Liqueur
  • 0.5 oz Pineapple Juice
  • Garnish with Watermelon Ball

What is your favourite odd food pairing? Give me your best recipes and perhaps I’ll do another post on reader suggestions and how well I was able to stomach them. Sounds like fun for all, doesn’t it!?

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
The Watermelon Ball was a nice touch and the shooter was delicious. I was curious about Pineapple Juice being part of the recipe, but it worked well with the Melon Liqueur and you can’t ever knock Vodka for fear of a Vodka Belt reprisal!

July 11 – Cracked Chandelier

Smash and Grab

I think we all enjoy to see a little chaos and destruction… it’s just human nature. With that in mind, I started thinking of the best things to see broken or smashed, preferably tossed off of skyscrapers like David Letterman used to do on his talk show. Perhaps he still does. I don’t know, I’m usually passed out by then, dreaming up these wonderful articles!

Chandelier

One of the greatest scenes in media history is to see a chandelier fall from great heights, splintering into thousands of pieces when it comes to hit the floor below. When it falls on top of a person, the stakes are raised even higher. Of course, the most famous crashing chandelier has to be from Phantom of the Opera, when the ghastly Phantom sabotages the opera’s chandelier, wreaking havoc as only he can.

Champagne Waterfall

On my most recent cruise vacation, I was mere minutes away from actually getting to see this remarkable moment. When our group showed up for the traditional formal dinner and champagne waterfall, all we were treated with was cruise staff cleaning up the wreckage of shattered glass. Apparently the ship had titled just a little too much and down came the pyramid.

Watermelon

While people starve to death around the world, prop comic Gallagher started a revolution, smashing perfectly good to eat fruit in the name of entertainment. His ‘Sledge-O-Matic’ mallet became legendary and with every swing, audiences ate up (sometimes literally) the results of his destruction. I’m salivating over the watermelon and the thoughts of the things I could do with my own Sledge-O-Matic. Do you think it would work for muddling!?

Tank

These beastly vehicles are supposed to be practically indestructible. That doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun trying to wreck them to the nth degree! I think the dude (known as Tank Man… what a wicked name!) from the infamous Tiananmen Square Massacre, who stood defiant in front of the tanks going to break up the student protest, should be our leader, gaining further vengeance on the machine he seems to have some sort of ominous power over.

Slurpee Machine

I can only imagine the rainbow that would be painted if a fully stocked (we’re talking all eight flavours) Slurpee machine was dropped from extraordinary heights onto the hard cold ground below. Would you be willing to drink whatever concoction was formed by the carnage? I would certainly give it a shot, providing I could dump a little liquid sunshine into the mix, in the form of a high-alcohol spirit!

Slurpee Explosion

Entire Turkey Dinner

Most people say that their family dinners turn into complete nightmares when people start drinking and yapping and stirring up old issues. I say to hell with the dinner, let’s just take the whole shebang and toss it off a rooftop. Imagine the delight of passersby having to dodge gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and the big bird itself. Sounds like a ton of fun to me and a wonderful way to give back to society!

Christmas Tree/Pumpkin

In a similar vein to the turkey dinner above, a tradition at Ma and Pa Sip’s place is to get rid of the ol’ Christmas tree and Halloween pumpkins by launching them off the front balcony. One year, Mrs. Sip took part in the pumpkin ritual and when she asked if she was supposed to get it in the garbage can below, I wise-assedly said “uh, no”. The result was a pumpkin hurled directly at Pa Sip, who had to react quickly not to be victimized by his future daughter-in-law.

Drink #192: Cracked Chandelier

Cracked Chandelier Drink Recipe

  • 1.5 oz Sambuca
  • 1.5 oz White Rum
  • Top with Lemon-Lime Soda
  • Garnish with Licorice Candies

Surely, there are items I’ve neglected and you should let me know of my egregious errors. Take me to task. Make me atone for my transgressions. I dare you… no, I double dog dare you. Yeah, it’s that serious!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I remember serving this drink at one of the first family functions I bartended and it didn’t go over great with most people… even those who have a fondness for Sambuca. Still, I was willing to try it again. The sour from the Soda and Lime Wedges compliment the sweet and licorice taste of the Sambuca. I don’t think this cocktail will work for everyone, but for my acquired palate, it was enjoyable.

January 20 – Melon Margarita

Tequilas

Well friends and fellow sippers, I’m back from Mexico, with a ton of new booze, so that seems like the perfect opportunity to launch into Tequila Week. Each day I’ll feature a different tequila-based cocktail and together we’ll all get a little loco!

Also, before I left for our holiday I sent a kindly-worded letter to my liver advising it (I seem to do a lot of advising) of the upcoming situation. When I returned home, this was waiting for me. My liver must have mailed it or something (doesn’t your liver mail you stuff?):

Rebuttal from my Liver

Check Liver Light

Dear Sip Advisor,

So, let me get this straight… first you drag me to Mexico – kicking and screaming as only a poor liver can – for a tortuous week at an all-inclusive resort, and just when I think I’ll finally get some rest, you have the audacity to announce that today is the start of Tequila Week!

At the resort, you decided, in your infinite wisdom, to do your own all-inclusive challenge and try to have one of every single drink on their pool bar menus. There were 72 drink mixes on that menu, what the firetruck were you thinking!? The only thing that steered you away from this (after you were already halfway through the list, mind you) was when you grew tired of the sugary mixes the bartenders were using. But naturally that’s about the time when you discovered the anejo dark rum… thanks a lot buddy [sigh].

How did you like the 24-hour flu I e-mailed your way? That was supposed to stop you, or at the very least, slow you down. Instead you took one day off and then made up for the missed action when you’d recovered.

I would, hereby, like to announce my secession from your body… if only I could find a way out.

Your long-suffering frenemy,

Liver

Hmmm… tough love, but my liver does have a point. Sugary pre-made mixes are generally a big no-no for all my little sippers out there. When you can, try to make all or the majority of your drink from scratch, or at the very least, use higher quality fresh juices or mixer. Your liver (and your friends) will thank you for it!

Without further ado, here is the first tequila drink, starting with a slight spin on an old classic:

Drink #20: Melon Margarita

Melon Margarita

  • Rim glass with lemon or lime juice, followed by salt
  • 1.5 oz tequila
  • 1 oz Melon Liqueur
  • Top with Margarita Mix (optional)
  • Garnish with lime or watermelon wedge

I hope the rest of Tequila Week is as delicious as today was. Have a great tequila recipe that you’d like to see featured here on Sip Advisor? Just let my liver and me know!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
I’m a big Margarita fan (providing it’s on the rocks and not frozen) and I also have a massive appreciation for melon liqueur. Put the two together and you should have one fine cocktail and here, you do.