Sip Trips #66: Weekend Warriors

While I’ve often dubbed Mrs. Sip and myself ‘Weekend Warriors, Weekday Legends’, this past weekend was incredibly busy, even by our standards. Things all got started – as most weekends do – with the need to procure some alcohol. The Sip Alliance had a member’s birthday Saturday evening and so the hunt was on.

Our first stop was 33 Acres Brewing, a favourite Vancouver location of Mrs. Sip and mine. There, we filled a couple growlers, making sure to try some of the new items to hit their board, such as the 33 Acres of Egress Belgian Grisette, which Cousin Sip elected to purchase.

Beer Growler

Following that, we were off to Storm Brewing, in search of the many odd concoctions the company is highly-regarded for. We sampled much of their ‘Brainstorms’ lineup, including a Chocolate Lavender Stout, Grapefruit Radler IPA, Blueberry Lemonade Pilsner, Pineapple Upside Down Cake Ale, James’ Liver Tonic IPA, Bangers and Sour Mash Ale, Raspberry Pilsner, and… wait for it… Margherita Pizza IPA! Some of these just might make an appearance in a BC Beer Baron article.

Our birthday event that night evolved (as these things sometimes do) from a laid back house party to a relatively laid back bar visit, as we headed out to East Vancouver’s Brickhouse. While the pub’s surrounding area is a little sketchy, the venue itself was pretty cool, with couches you could chill on, while waiting your turn to play pool or darts. The place also has quite an impressive menu of craft beers, mostly from Washington and Oregon.

On Sunday, for Father’s Day, we gathered up the whole extended family and made our way over to Township 7 Winery in Langley for their annual Wine & Swine celebration. Tickets were $30 and included three wine and pork pairings, with live music from LB 4 LB (Pound 4 Pound). The event was a total hit with our crew and I love what Township 7 has done with their patio area, changing it from a grassy area that easily got muddy in the often inclement BC weather to a tiered and tabled setting.

always-been-my-favorite-fathers-day-card

As we were wrapping things up, some of the Township 7 staff suggested we check out the nearby Fraser Valley Cider Company. I’m not much of a fan of the stuff, but others in our group are, while some were curious to try. We split a few of their tasting flights, which included house, dry, honey and elderflower varieties. The setting was nice and the people were very friendly, so it was a great ending to the evening.

While the work week has offered a rare bit of rest, this weekend Mrs. Sip and I (along with Ma and Pa Sip) return to the Bellingham Tap Trail and time will only tell what shenanigans we get up to on this expedition!

Flavour Revolution – Chocolate

Running on Empty

Not to send anyone into a panic, but there are those out there (you know, scientific folks) who say that we are running short on chocolate. This is because of the costs involved and the commitment (up to five years) to grow cocoa beans. This may lead the treat to become quite costly in the future, which is why the Sip Advisor is downing chocolate bars like there’s no tomorrow… because there might not be. Here are some other commodities that are rapidly disappearing and may eventually cease to exist:

Wine

While there seems to be new wineries opening every day, across the globe, and demand for wine has increased greatly, production of the drink has fallen by 5%. Many smaller outlets just won’t be able to keep making whites and reds and people’s thirst for wine just won’t be satisfied. There are some that think the issue is more of an “Old World” wine problem and that “New World” countries such as the U.S., Australia, Argentina, Chile, South Africa, and New Zealand will close that gap.

wine-is-like-ductape

Tequila

Sticking with alcohols, fans of margaritas and general shot craziness should be concerned. Blue agave, the plant that is used to create tequila takes 12 years to reach maturity and worse, in 2007, disease struck Mexico’s agave crops, causing 20% to be destroyed. While there is a current stockpile of tequila, prices will certainly rise and with many farmers switching over to growing corn instead, who knows what the future holds for the taco and burrito accompaniment.

Coffee

While I’m not a coffee fan (in fact, I’m a member of the anti-coffee lobby), I can only imagine the horrors of a world where those that drink copious amounts of coffee each day just to function, don’t have access to their fix. We’re talking zombie apocalypse here, people! The issue stems from droughts, high temperatures, and diseases which have affected coffee bean crops. Much, if not all of Arabica beans could disappear by 2080, if these trends continue as predicted.

coffee-crack

Bacon

I may not care about coffee, but I certainly have a crispy spot in my heart for bacon. The salty pork product is a splendid addition to everything from sandwiches to salads and even works as a vodka flavour. Sadly, this king of all meats is seeing decreased production thanks to farmer’s cutting costs, a 2012 drought across the Midwest United States, and a little something called the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus. A worldwide shortage looms on the horizon and that is a world I don’t want to live in!

Water

When not drinking beer, wine, or a cocktail, the Sip Advisor can routinely be found with a glass of water nearby. I love the clear stuff and I think we can all agree that it’s pretty important to the survival of the world. As for the problem, I’ll put it this way: we don’t have enough water to turn it into wine and take care of that other item that is diminishing. The scary stat of the day is that by 2025, it’s estimated that two-thirds of the world may be forced to live with little to no water.

Flavour Revolution: Revolve

We have also exhausted the world’s gold supply, but that really only concerns Scrooge McDuck and his money bin swims. Over the years, the Sip Advisor has written a lot about chocolate, so finding the right subject for the Flavour Revolution project was a tough decision. I hope you enjoyed the article and didn’t scare you too much about the future.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (??? Sips out of 5):
For those curious, I found some good Chocolate Whiskey recipes at the Bird Dog Whiskey website

August 25 – Wedding Anniversary

Whatcha Get Me?

Today, Mrs. Sip and I celebrate one year of marriage! While doing research for our celebration, I came across the list of traditional and modern anniversary gifts. Some make sense – you know, your typical array of varying jewelry and fine materials – while others take a little more time to wrap your head around. Here are some of those items that brought a smile to my face:

Wedding Anniversary

Traditional (U.S.)

Paper (1st) – Could this be the divorce agreement!?

Cotton (2nd) – So, a collection of ear swabs, cotton balls and panty liners should suffice, right!?

Traditional (U.K.)

Fruit and Flowers (4th) – Here’s an apple and a posy. Let’s see which one goes bad first…

Sugar (6th) – Looks like anniversary #6 will be highlighted by rimmed daiquiris!

Salt (8th) – So, if I grab Mrs. Sip some McDonald’s fries, have I satisfied the tradition?

Wine (85th) – Oh, sure, make things easier on the older folks, who might actually have the money to spend on these items!

Wedding Anniversary 2

Modern

Clock (1st) – I think Mrs. Sip would take this as an insult, given that she’s always late and I’ve been trying for over a decade to correct that behaviour!

Appliances (4th) – Okay, you’ve survived the first few years of marriage… now it’s time to get that girl to start doing some dishes… cooking you meals… washing your clothes… all that other chauvinistic stuff. What says love more than a crock pot or a toaster oven? Ironically, I do all that for our little household. Mrs. Sip works long hours and I’m generally around more, so I take care of details like cleaning up our place and preparing dinner.

Wood Objects (6th) – Oh, this one is too easy… next!

Pen and Pencil Sets (7th) – You’d figure that this gift idea would be a little higher up on the list. I wonder if pen and pencil sets have lost all meaning since everyone just uses computers nowadays. Mrs. Sip, if you’re reading this, just get me a new laptop!

Anniversary Gift

Lace (8th) – Finally things start to get a little interesting. Lace… on Mrs. Sip… yes, please!

Leather Goods (9th) – Almost as good as the lace, but is this because by this point the marriage needs a little something to spice it up?

Musical Instruments (24th) – But what if neither person is good at playing any instrument whatsoever? I guess there’s always Guitar Hero and Rock Band options!

Engraved Marble (90th) – If Mrs. Sip and I actually make it to our 90th anniversary, you can damn well bet that I’ll be getting that shizzle engraved! I guess by that point we would be buying each others…tombstones? (nothing so “forever” like matching headstones, right?

Drink #237: Wedding Anniversary)

Wedding Anniversary Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Vodka (I used Beluga)
  • 1 oz Galliano
  • 0.5 oz Campari
  • Top with Orange Juice
  • Garnish with a Raspberry

Happy anniversary, baby! It’s the paper anniversary, but our printer is busted and I’m all into recycling, so I made you this post instead. You can print it at work at a later date!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.5 Sips out of 5):
This cocktail tastes pretty good… right up until the Campari-kick comes in at the end and ruins the entire taste you were previously enjoying. My recommendation is to sub out the Campari for any other Bitters you might have.

May 25 – Banana Boomer

Attached at the Hip

I got the formula for today’s shot from one of those recipe cards attached to the bottle of Crème de Banane I bought a few months back. While it’s somewhat common nowadays to receive a few ideas on how to use the liquor you’re buying, companies have also come up with a number of creative freebies to entice customers to purchase their brand over another. Here are some of those items:

Beef Jerky – Alberta Premium Whiskey

Nothing beats buying a bottle of liquor and having a suggested snack right there waiting for your consumption. It’s one stop shopping, as now you don’t have to hit the convenience store on your way home and can get straight to the important part: the drinking! One little side note about Alberta Premium Whiskey: it was the favourite drink of one Jim Lahey on Trailer Park Boys, except the label was covered (for copyright reasons) with Jeddore Premium, a joke on the French J’adore, meaning “I love”!

beefjerky

Glasses – Various

As common as it is to get recipe cards with your booze, a glass to enjoy those recipes in is frequently thrown into the sale’s mix. My favourite glasses that I’ve been able to accumulate include the always classy Crown Royal, the fun-loving Bacardi, and delicious Jack Daniel’s Honey Whiskey shot glass. One day, this could be like a young kid’s baseball card collection… just a little more scrumptious.

Pump – Big Bottles (Smirnoff Vodka, Jack Daniel’s Whiskey)

I’m not sure if anyone other than me has looked close enough, but you know those giant bottles of liquor… I’m talking about the ones that come in at a price of about $100 and are 3 litres… did you ever notice that they come with a giant pump, similar to ones that come on hand soap? I guess that’s not really a freebie and more of a necessary accessory, but it’s pretty cool nonetheless.

Mini Bottles – Various

Another fixture of the liquor freebie is the mini bottle of the same or another brand. If I have the choice between buying a bottle with no mini bottle attached and buying a bottle that comes with a mini bottle of another liqueur I’ve been wanting to try, of course I’m going to take the free mini. I’m smarter than the average alcoholic, after all!

minibottles

Muddler – Bacardi White

I’ve already recounted the tail about how I went out and bought a $40 bottle of rum a few years back, just because it came with a muddler. It was at a time when I was just getting into mixology and experimenting with different ingredients and techniques. While I could have just gone to a kitchen utensil store and picked up a muddler for $10, I figured it never hurts to have a giant bottle of rum accompany said muddler.

Luggage Tags – Fuzion Wines

This is just a neat little add on and a fantastic marketing ploy by Fuzion Wines. What a perfect way to spread word of their wines across the world than have customers (or as I like to affectionately call them, mules) do it for you, as they travel the globe. Not to mention, buyers will be more drawn to your wine among the thousands that exist if you are offering them a little something extra. It’s win-win-win!

Chocolates – Bailey’s Irish Crème, etc.

You might as well indulge your sweet tooth while grabbing some booze to go. These treats are often combined with Irish Crèmes and Chocolate Liqueurs, but can also be found with bottles of wine and even tequila brands. Usually the chocolates are long gone before the bottle of booze has even been tapped (especially with Mrs. Sip around), but it’s the thought that counts.

Drink #145: Banana Boomer

Banana Boomer Shooter

What was your favourite alcohol freebie? I’m sure there are many out there that I’ve missed, given that I largely have to do my liquor shopping in Canada and despite the fact we’re supposed to be some of the nicest, friendliest people in the world, we don’t seem to be extremely high on liquor swag. I guess you can only be so awesome!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This shot tastes very good, an obvious conclusion given the ingredients. You’ll want to be careful with any candy you put into the shot, as they could become a choking hazard (unless you’re into auto-erotic asphyxiation). The one downside of the drink is that it’s a little plain. Still, it’s a fun one to bust out around friends!

March 28 – Vegas Bomb

Vegas or Bust

Well I’m off to Vegas tomorrow, which is a favourite weekend getaway for Mrs. Sip and me. So with our trip quickly approaching, I’m turning my mind to one of my favourite drinking trends: public consumption. One of my favourite things about Las Vegas is the opportunity to drink in public. Nothing beats walking along the strip on a nice warm day with a cold 40 oz beer in your hand.

Grab a drink, hit the strip, party... it`s as easy as one, two, three!

Grab a drink, hit the strip, party… it`s as easy as one, two, three!

While liquor is available everywhere in Vegas, ABC Stores are great for cheap beer, liquor and even little bottles of wine for Mrs. Sip (I know, she embarrasses me too!). There’s even a jaunt you can do in the Miracle Mile shopping centre where you can grab a beer at one ABC, enjoy it as you walk through the mall and make another pit stop to refuel as you hit a second store deeper in the complex. Hell, it’s the only way I can get through the pain of shopping.

Drinking on the street in Vegas was a graduated learning process for us that evolved on each subsequent trip. First we started off with the hotel bought frozen drinks in crazy plastic shaped containers that you see everyone carrying around (we figured that the hotels are selling them to you, so it must be okay to walk around with).

Then we progressed to aluminum beer cans (aluminum is like plastic, right?). But the beers we really wanted were in bottles. So finally we took the plunge, bought a few, and dared to see if we would be challenged with our glass. As we exited one of the ABC stores, we realized that our beer bottles weren’t twist tops – a huge mistake on our part. As we tried to decide whether we should go buy an opener, a security guard began to approach us. We were quickly relieved to learn she just wanted to help us pop the tops of our drinks! Viva Las Vegas!

I’ve now advanced beyond beer in Vegas and instead I often like to grab a mickey of something and a mixer, take a swig out of the mixer bottle and drink my way through the entire combo as we go along. Mrs. Sip took advantage of one of these afternoon buzzes, by getting me to pose like a drunk for photos on the replica Brooklyn Bridge outside New York, New York. Little did I know that I was mimicking the exact pose of a real drunk behind me. Thanks babe!

Drinking on the Strip

Even celebrities drink on the strip!

Walking the strip, you get quite the eclectic group of people and that means a mix of drink ideas and opportunities. You get your beer guys and gals, your frozen drink enthusiasts, your hard liquor folk, and the dreaded sobriety demons (who you can recognize because they are usually yelling scripture at you and informing you that all sinners go to hell… too late!). It is perfectly fine to taunt these men and women, unless they are designated drivers… we here at The Sip Advisor are cool with DDs and support that cause.

Just writing this post makes me want to be there right now… I only hope my money can last the long weekend!

Drink #87: Vegas Bomb

Vegas Bomb Drink Recipe

  • 0.75 oz Crown Royal
  • 0.75 oz Butterscotch or Peach Schnapps
  • 1 Red Bull

Simply drop your shot into the glass of Red Bull and slam that sucka’. We don’t leave for Sin City until tomorrow, but we couldn’t resist getting all crazy and into the spirit of things!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
Drop shots can be fun, but messy. That was the case with this particular one, as the shot glass tipped sideways when I dropped it into the big glass. I went with Butterscotch Schnapps for the sweet portion of the shooter, but you could also use Peach Schnapps.

February 18 – Candy Rider

Ride Wit Me

In a recent post, I mentioned rock band Van Halen’s odd tour rider request to have all the brown M&M’s removed from candy dishes backstage at their appearances. Today I look at some other celebrity demands; some humourous, some reasonable and some downright bizarre.

Taylor Swift – Kraft Mac N’ Cheese, chocolate milk, ice cream, Twizzlers

I know Taylor is young – only 23 – but her rider makes it seem like she should still be eating at the kiddy table. Granted it looks like an ideal meal for Mrs. Sip as well. If this is a consistent part of Swift’s diet however, I wouldn’t be surprised if she often hits the stage with an upset tummy.

Kid Table

Eminem – peanut butter, strawberry jelly, Lunchables… oh, and a koi pond

Again, Slim Shady’s rider reminds me of something a young child going on a field trip would ask for. PB&Js and Lunchables sounds like a nice simple meal if you’re a picky kid. However, not really what I envisioned for someone rapping about drugs and sex, but then again I do love me a good PB&J. Both are favourites of Mrs. Sip (the PB&J and Lunchables that is, not the drugs and sex unfortunately)… she’s starting to look like a bit of a diva. The koi pond is completely out of left field, but given his other easy-to-achieve asks, we’ll give him a pass on the pond.

Adele – Marlboro lights, fans who get free tickets must make a donation to charity

Ever wonder how Adele gets that smoky voice of hers. The Marlboro lights she requests on her rider may play a role. I’m not sure how she keeps tabs on who gets free tickets to her concerts though… perhaps she has ESP (enhanced suspicions of people).

Kanye West – shampoo, lip balm, soft-bristle toothbrush

Wouldn’t want to hurt those voice-of-a-generation gums, hey Kanye? These are all items any normal person would travel with and supply themselves with, but hey, why not make someone else buy them for you and save $10 from your millions?

John Kerry – no tomato-based products or sandwiches

This is a very ironic request given his wife’s fortune – which likely helped fund Kerry’s bid for the American presidency – comes from her first marriage to the heir of the Heinz ketchup legacy. Perhaps that fact still bothers him. After all, what guy likes being constantly reminded of the other people who have seen his wife’s naughty bits?

Foo Fighters – colouring and activity books

Sounds like Dave Grohl and the guys have found a sure-fire way to kick-start their creativity prior to a performance. I can totally see Grohl lying on the floor and doing his best to keep within the lines. Then again, he is a drummer and maybe the exercise is all about breaking the rules. The group also provides this great drawing as an example of acceptable catering.

Foo Fighters Entree

Michael Buble – local hockey team puck, bottle of scotch, wine, veggies and dip

A good Canadian kid, all Buble wants is a bottle of scotch, some reasonably-priced wine, veggies and dip, and a hockey puck from the local team. It’s a well-known fact that Buble is a massive hockey fan and perhaps he’s just trying to build a one-of-a-kind collection. Fans of Bubbles have even posted in forums, trying to send him pucks from their area teams.

Mariah Carey – 20 white kittens, 100 doves

I only hope the 20 kittens are allowed to feast on the 100 doves and that is the only reason the two are ordered in unison (reminder: The Sip Advisor does not like birds in any form… except tuxedoed and flightless). Man, what a glorious massacre that would be. I know The Sip Advisor’s little sidekick, Furious B, would have an absolute feast if allowed to join this party.

Marilyn Manson – bald-headed, toothless hooker

We hope that this is a joke request, but with Mr. Manson (who sometimes prefers to go by Mrs.), you can never be too sure. Maybe he’s just using the woman as an example of how to do his own make-up!

Drink #49: Candy Rider

Candy Rider Cocktail

  • Rim glass with Cherry Fun Dip
  • 2 oz Gin (I used Beefeater)
  • Top with Cherry Dr. Pepper
  • Garnish with Twizzler Straw

My demands for today’s drink included a cherry Fun Dip rim and a Twizzler straw. If you were a touring celebrity, what would be on your rider? Write me your own requests and I’ll decide whether or not you’re worth booking. The best replies may be posted in a future Sip Advisor blog!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I would have never thought that Gin and Dr. Pepper went together very well… boy, was I wrong. I’m particularly proud of the Twizzler stir stick/straw I added to go along with the post above.