England – Reichenbach Fall

Cultured Characters

England is a land of professed culture, what with all its museums, historical figures, and landmarks. Perhaps it can be noticed most in the country’s long history of fine literature. They call it English Lit for a reason! Always one for a good read (kidding, I’m the world’s most prolific non-reading writer), here are the greatest literary characters who call England home:

Sherlock Holmes

Along with his faithful sidekick Dr. Watson, this formidable duo have solved some of greatest mysteries to occur in and around London. Add in arch nemesis Dr. Moriarty, as well as other secondary characters like Mycroft Holmes, Irene Adler, and Inspector Lestrade and you have the makings of some great fiction. It was suggested that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle didn’t like the character he is most famous for, as evidenced by Holmes being killed off so the author could pursue other projects. Public outrage brought Holmes back to life years later and the character has enjoyed a long history of different treatments.

sherlock-early-years

James Bond

Agent 007 is the quintessential secret service member. Created by writer Ian Fleming, Bond is just as popular for his prowess in the field as he is for his conquests beneath the sheets. While Bond has been played by Irish and Scottish actors on the big screen (and that is probably where he’s most famous and recognized), his origins are purely English. There is virtually no way to put down the famous MI6 operative, so he’ll probably be around for a very long time.

Harry Potter

For inspiring an entire generation of kids to pick up a book and read (or go to the theatre and watch!), Harry Potter and his pals are a must for this list. So famous is the franchise, that theme parks have set up lands to include Hogwarts Castle and the village of Hogsmeade. Quidich has also become a playable game, although it looks more ridiculous than polo and cricket combined. Wee little sippers want to grow up to become wizards and parents have J.K. Rowling to thank for the next wave of geeks!

Mr. Toad

Written by Scottish author Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows features the friendly and jovial, but selfish and reckless Mr. Toad, as well as his pals Mole, Ratty, and Badger. The stories were based on Grahame’s love of river life along the Thames. Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride was my favourite Disneyland attraction as a wee little sipper and I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Mr. Toad and careless ways.

Mr. Toad's Ride

Paddington Bear

From “Darkest Peru” (whatever that means… my theory is Paddington was sent to London by his Peruvian owner, who had awoken from a pisco haze and mistakenly shipped the bear away), Paddington Bear arrives in England and is promptly taken in by the Brown family. A Paddington film will be released in 2014, mixing live action and CGI animation. The bear will be voiced by Colin Firth, who ate endless marmalade sandwiches, while donning a duffle coat to get into character.

Robin Hood

Stealing from the rich, to give to the poor, Robin Hood may not have begun life as a literary figure and was more of a folk hero told about in ballads (aren’t those as good or even better than books?), but his legend has inspired countless appearances in media, especially the written word. My favourite adaptation of the vigilante is the 1973 Disney film with Robin Hood portrayed as a fox and opposing a cowardly lion in Prince John.

linkedin-robin-hood

Ebenezer Scrooge

Teaching civilization a lesson about how it behaves while using Christmas as a backdrop, Charles Dickens character Ebenezer Scrooge is one of the finest examples of turnaround redemption. He goes from a literal scrooge to becoming a man of love, friendship, heart, and caring. One of the greatest scenes ever is ol’ Ebenezer racing through the streets of London like a raving madman after discovering he still has time to change his ways.

Willy Wonka

Roald Dahl’s famous chocolatier and candy producer is about as eccentric as a person can possibly come. That aids him in all the wacky creations he’s able to dream up and put into research and development, but at the same time, makes him guarded and suspicious, staying reclusive in his precious factory. We still don’t know where the hell Oompa Loompas come from, but they aren’t among the world’s greatest literary characters, so it doesn’t really matter.

England: Reichenbach Fall

Reichenbach Fall Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Tanqueray Rangpur Gin
  • 2 oz Sherry
  • Dash of Orange Bitters
  • Top with Lemonade
  • Garnish with a Lemon Wedge

An honourable mention should go to English authors like William Shakespeare, Jane Austen (although I hate her so very much), J.R.R. Tolkien, and the many others that I just didn’t feel like shoehorning into this list. Their contributions to the literary world, although I’ve only heard of such through movies, TV, and other more visual media, should not go unnoticed!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
This recipe comes from my old friends at The Drunken Moogle, who nailed this cocktail inspired by the current Sherlock BBC Series, which is of course inspired by the original Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stories about the sleuth. I used regular Orange Bitters, rather than the Blood Orange variety the drink calls for because I had it on hand. I really enjoyed the flavours and blend provided by this cocktail and was pleasantly surprised by the use of Sherry.

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November 16 – Scooby Snack

Treat Time

Today, we take a look at fictional snacks in TV and movies… but not just any fictional snacks… no, fictional snacks that have since gone on to become real, buyable products. The world is truly a wonderful place!

Scooby Snacks – Scooby Doo

How someone turned a fictional puppy edible into fruit snacks and cookies geared towards kids is an act of pure genius. There are also dog treats that go by the same name, so be careful when buying the product for your young’uns. I have to say that I really hate the Scooby Snack song, as it plays in my head every time I think about Scooby Doo (which is far too often for a 30-year-old) and once again, the tune is stuck in my brain… must move on.

Scooby Snacks

Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans – Harry Potter

When this company says they have “every” flavour, they mean it. The line includes tastes of earwax, rotten egg, vomit, dirt, and sausage mixed in with your normal fare: watermelon, cherry, blueberry, banana, and green apple. This listing kind of sounds like a Survivor Series wrestling match, with the five dastardly baddies taking on the good and pure for taste supremacy. I think you’d have to be a Harry Potter super fan to pick up a pack of these jelly beans.

Stay Puft Marshmallows – Ghostbusters

Most people think fondly of the iconic scene in Ghostbusters where the team of Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz, Egon Spengler and Winston Zeddemore battle the mammoth Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Their reward for protoning the literal tub of goo was to be covered with the white sticky substance (don’t get any ideas) he was made of. It’s too bad they didn’t next face a chocolate-based monster and finally a graham-cracker encrusted foe to complete the smores trio!

Cheesy Poofs – South Park

Eric Cartman’s favourite snack treat is an actual product, released to tie-in with the series’ 15th anniversary. While I’m not a fan of eating cheese, I have on occasion enjoyed cheese-powdered snacks like Doritos and Cheetos. The product, which is thought to have originated in Canada (according to the show) is so beloved by Cartman that he even auditioned to be the face of the advertising campaign, but had his song largely cut from commercials.

Willy Wonka Products – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

This fine collection of Wonka products includes Gobstoppers, Nerds, Laffy Taffy, Pixy Stix, Fun Dip, Runts, Sweet Tarts, Shockers, and so much more. I keep hoping the company will eventually open a factory, complete with Oompa-Loompas, a chocolate river, and the chance to be taught a valuable lesson on how to behave! So long as they don’t include that trippy, psychedelic boat-trip tunnel scene that include some pretty haunting imagery.

Krusty-O’s – The Simpson

While this item could be considered part of a balanced breakfast, let’s be honest, it’s more frosted snack than healthy meal. Yes, the same cereal that gave away a jagged metal Krusty-O, which nearly killed Bart Simpson, was released to the public as part of a tie-in with The Simpsons Movie in 2007. 7-11 stores that were temporarily branded as Kwik-E-Marts to go along with the promotion were largely where the cereal could be located.

Drink #320: Scooby Snack

Scooby Snack Shooter

  • 0.3 oz Coconut Rum
  • 0.3 oz Crème de Banane
  • 0.3 oz Midori
  • Splash of Pineapple Juice
  • Garnish with Whip Cream

Which fictional product would you love to be able to consume? For myself, I’d have to pick Sweetums NutriYums (Parks and Recreation), Smurfberries (The Smurfs), and Cornballs (Arrested Development). Put them together and you’ll have yourself one hell of a feast!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (5 Sips out of 5):
Wow… that’s all I can really say about this shot. It is the first shooter to receive a 5-Sip rating and it’s hard to really describe how good it is. First, you’re hit with the Whip Cream, before the Crème de Banane, Melon Liqueur, Coconut Rum, and Pineapple Juice come in the finish the flavour party. It all goes down so smooth and tastes so delicious. There are four variations of the Scooby Snack, but each follows a general pattern. I’ve provided the recipe for the original. Now I understand why Scooby was so willing to put himself in danger after a little treat!

October 22 – Tootsie Pop

Candy Mascots

While every brand of cereal seems to have had a mascot for commercial purposes, finding mascots in the world of candy proved to be a little more difficult. Still, after diligent research, here are some of the best of the bunch:

Bart Simpson – Butterfinger

A lot of companies have capitalized on the enduring success of The Simpsons, highlighted by Bart Simpson becoming the mascot for Butterfinger chocolate bars. Most commercials would feature Homer trying to get his grubby paws on Bart’s chocolate, only to be thwarted by his rotten son. Then, Bart would deliver a catchphrase like “Nobody better lay a finger on my Butterfinger!” After 12 years of disassociation, Bart will return to the brand sometime in the very near future.

Butterfinger-Bart Simpson

Mr. Owl – Tootsie Pops

This pompous prick of a bird (aren’t they all horrible) took pride in stealing people’s Tootsie Pops, licking them twice and then chomping into the entire treat. Meanwhile dumb kids stood around seeing if the vermin would solve the age old question of how many licks it takes to get to the center of the lollipop. Thanks to Mr. Owl’s lack of cooperation, Universities have actually wasted time testing Tootsie Pops lickability with widely ranging results. Some studies say it only takes 150-350 licks, while others say it’s in the thousands.

Red and Yellow – M&Ms

Red and Yellow are a comedic pair with Red being a smart ass leader to Yellow’s less intelligent lackey persona. This usually means that Red gets the guys into some sort of trouble, despite Yellow’s warning of issues ahead. M&Ms have also added Green, Brown, Blue, and Orange characters over the years. Brown is probably the most recognizable as she’s a sassy female, spurning the advances of men who want to be with the candy-coated snack.

Yipes – Fruit Stripe Gum

Yipes the Fruit Stripe zebra has outlasted his entire family to remain as the sole mascot of the brand. He was originally introduced with Connor the Tiger, as well as an unnamed elephant and mouse. Yipes is known to be quite active, as tattoos packaged with the gum portray him rollerblading, snowboarding, playing sports, and, of course, eating grass. Using the zebra mascot, Fruit Stripe raised $100,000 for the preservation of endangered animals in 1996.

Fruit_Stripe

Bazooka Joe – Bazooka Joe Bubble Gum

Starting in 1954, Bazooka Joe appeared on comic strips wrapped around pieces of Bazooka Joe Bubble Gum, along with characters such as Pesty, Mort, Hungry Herman, Toughie, and Walkie Talkie. The comics were discontinued in 2012 thanks to a drop in bubble gum sales (a sad day, indeed!). Despite losing his comic strip gig, rumours have circulated that Bazooka Joe may have a future in the movie industry. Plans for a film adaptation of the comics were announced in 2009.

Floyd D. Duck – Bubble Yum

This water bird is one bad ass punk, complete with nose ring, frosted tip mohawk, spiked collar, and… ankle bracelet??? Isn’t an ankle bracelet something you’d expect a young, sexually-charged female ducky to be adorning? Anyway, Floyd D. Duck blows bubbles in the face of authority and won’t take any guff from pigs – both the animal kind and the police variety. Can ducks even blow bubbles? It seems like a beak of that size would prevent the lip formations necessary for bubble making.

Floyd D. Duck

Willy Wonka – Willy Wonka Candy Company

The candy company born from Roald Dahl’s classic children’s novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory came into being in 1971, the same time the first film based on the novel was released. With Willy Wonka, the new enterprise had a perfect mascot and spokesman already built in. Being portrayed by Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp doesn’t hurt, either. Today, the company sells products such as Nerds, Gobstoppers, Laffy Taffy, Pixy Stix, Runts, and Kazoozles… everything you’d expect from the eccentric candy mogul.

Freddo – Cadbury’s Freddo

Mrs. Sip and I first learned of Freddo the Frog when she was spending a semester in Australia. Apparently the frog-shaped chocolate bars are also sold in New Zealand, Ireland, the U.K., and Zimbabwe, of all places. Freddo has been featured in two online animated series, expanding his backstory, and was even part of Cadbury’s 2006 recall over a possible salmonella scare. That’s one crazy life for this amphibian.

Drink #295: Tootsie Pop

Tootsie Pop Drink Recipe

  • 0.5 oz Chambord
  • 0.5 oz Amaretto
  • Splash of Vodka
  • Splash of Sweet & Sour Mix
  • Splash of Cola
  • Garnish with a Tootsie Pop

It seems like candy mascots got their greatest availability of work from bubble gum products. Remember that the next time you’re trying to scrape the stuff off of the bottom of your shoes or you touch a gob of gum left under a table or seat by some inconsiderate asshole!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This cocktail tasted like a Tootsie Pop and I loved eating the suckers I used for garnishing after the drink was done. It heightened the entire experience. Perhaps most enjoyable with the drink was how Chambord and Sweet & Sour Mix work together for a sour raspberry flavour.

March 11 – Death in the Afternoon

The Green Fairy

Legend has it that Death in the Afternoon was Ernest Hemingway’s preferred absinthe cocktail. So, I decided to give the recipe a try and sure enough, I was transported into a hazy world of absinthe-induced imagery. The infamous Green Fairy was my guide and like Dorothy Gale, I was no longer in Kansas.

It all started with the harsh ringing of an alarm. Was I in danger? My eyes slowly popped open and I realized for the first time that I was in bed… with Adam West (TV’s Batman) standing over me. He explained that the time had come for me to begin my hero life… that dark forces were gathering and that my help would soon be needed to save the world. My first instinct was to go back to bed, but West picked me up by the scruff of my neck (apparently I’m a puppy in this hallucination) and tossed me from the comfort of my blankies.

I could wake up to this, any day!

I could wake up to this, any day!

I followed him into a large boardroom where a buffet breakfast of all my favourites was being served. There was a make-your-own potato chip platter station, prime rib burgers on a nearby barbecue, and a full service bar. I ordered a Death in the Afternoon for some reason… as if I needed delusional Sip Advisor to go into a delirious state, thus enacting some form of inception.

In the boardroom were all my heroes from childhood: Cookie Monster, 1960’s Batman (Adam West had changed during the opening credits – yes, my fantasy had credits, all set to Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’, naturally) and Robin, Vancouver Canucks legend Trevor Linden, Willy Wonka, Optimus Prime, the professor and Mary Ann, all here on Sip Advisor’s Isle.

Morgan Freeman narrated the entire meeting, where it was revealed that all the baddies in fictional history had pooled their resources in a last ditch attempt to take over the world. I was summoned to defend the planet Inebriatopia, as I had the most experience there.

Upon being teleported to the land, I was immediately attacked by Ben Stiller and his Globo-Gym thugs. As they hurled dodge balls at my precious face, I dodged, ducked, dipped, dived and dodged, but the onslaught kept coming. That is, until Dikembe Mutombo came to my rescue, smacking down every ball thrown our way.

Sure, Mutombo should have been ruled out, according to Rule 9(a) of the Dodgeball Handbook, but this was life or death and I was happy to have the giant on my side. When we were ready, Mutombo and I returned fire of all the balls, one by one eliminating Stiller and his goons. As we celebrated, Mutombo was hit in the face by a ball meant for me. He crumpled to the ground and I tearfully said goodbye to my new friend. The question remained: who had thrown the ball.

After an 18-month investigation headed up by Lt. Columbo, Perry Mason, Matlock and myself, we were informed that the good guys had won and our services were no longer needed. Before snapping out of my delirious state, Mutombo’s assassin was revealed to me by an informant. I bet you’re wondering who it was. Well, I’ll never tell. Or you could scroll down after today’s drink and find the answer…

Drink #70: Death in the Afternoon

Death in the Afternoon

  • 1 oz Absinthe
  • Top with Champagne
  • Garnish with a lemon wedge

The man who balled (sounds kind of dirty) my good friend Dikembe Mutombo was none other than (spoiler alert)… New World Order Hulk Hogan, complete with air guitar, leather weightlifting belt, and black spray paint. Damn you Hogan, damn you!

Hollywood Hogan

 

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
Ernest Hemingway’s favourite drink was a decent treat. It’s a pretty simple recipe and my favourite element of it was probably the Lemon Juice, as it added a sweetness to the bitter Absinthe and Champagne.