Montana – Blue Sky Martini

Each week, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the United States, discovering the best each state has to offer in a variety of subjects. Today, we look to strike it rich in the Treasure State. Montana is also known as Big Sky Country, thanks to its abundance of scenic wide open spaces. Let’s check things out and mine us some gems:

Motto: “Gold and silver” – At least they’re being honest… it’s all about the money!

Food: I’d never heard of Chokecherries before, but apparently, they’re huge in Montana. There’s even a Chokecherry Festival, held every September, in Lewistown. The event features cooking and pit spitting contests, among other live entertainment and vendor opportunities. There’s even a Chokecherry Liqueur, which has me quite intrigued.

Drink: A couple beverages unique to Montana include the Hot-N-Tot (cola with cinnamon syrup), which is served up at a couple diners in the state, and the Dirty Girl cocktail, made by mixing root beer with Orphan Girl Bourbon Cream Liqueur (another Montana creation).

Montana

Site to See: Glacier National Park has been dubbed the crown jewel of the continent. Highlights of the park, include Grinnell Glacier, Triple Divide Peak and International Peace Park, which was made with the shared border of Alberta, Canada’s Waterton Lakes National Park. There are 250 lakes and countless animal species within the park’s boundaries.

Street: Another highlight of Glacier National Park is Going-to-the-Sun Road, which many consider one of the most scenic drives in America. The route crosses the Continental Divide and has been featured in movies such as The Shining – during the opening credits drive to the Overlook Hotel – and Forrest Gump – part of Forrest’s run across America.

TV Show: Yellowstone, starring Kevin Costner as ranch owner John Dutton, recently premiered its third season. The show is filmed around Montana, with the Chief Joseph Ranch, in Darby, providing a primary location. I had not previously heard of this series, but there’s not a lot to choose from for the state, so we’ll go with it.

Movie: A pair of early Brad Pitt films, A River Runs Through It and Legends of the Fall, are both set in Montana. The former is a coming-of-age tale for two brothers between World War I and the Great Depression, while the latter takes place during a similar period, but changes things up with three brothers. Both films won Best Cinematography Oscars.

Speedbumps

Book/Author: Alfred Bertram Guthrie Jr. came to Montana at just six months old. His novel, The Way West, won the 1950 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and was adapted into a film in 1967. Guthrie also penned the screenplay for another notable western, Shane, which earned him an Oscar nomination.

Fictional Character: Dynasty villain, Adam Carrington, was from Billings. Kidnapped at birth, he returned to the Carrington family fold in season three of the original series and committed a number of dastardly acts towards his family and others. Originally intended to be short-term character, Adam remained a storyline focal point for the rest of the show’s run.

Fictional City: There’s no notable fictional cities for Montana, so how about a story about a real town, which unofficially changed its name as part of a publicity stunt. Ismay briefly became Joe, in 1993, as part of an arrangement with the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, when they acquired quarterback, Joe Montana.

Actor/Actress: Comedian, Dana Carvey, was born in Missoula. Carvey is best known for his stint on Saturday Night Live, where he performed memorable characters, such as Church Lady, Garth Algar (Wayne’s World) and Hans (Hans and Frans), while also impersonating President George H.W. Bush. Carvey’s contributions helped make SNL popular again in the late 80’s/early 90’s.

Church Lady

Song: Montana is the only state to have a State Lullaby, Montana Lullaby by Ken Overcast. The song paints quite the patriotic picture, with lyrics such as “From the wide rollin’ plains, cross the Rockies blue range, Wherever the proud eagle flies, A lone coyote croons to a full lover’s moon, A Montana Lullaby.”

Band/Musician: Jeff Ament, a founding member of the band Pearl Jam and ranked among the greatest rock bassists of all-time, was born in Havre. Before Pearl Jam, Ament also worked with other Seattle grunge bands, Green River and Mother Love Bone. Pearl Jam was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017.

People: Daredevil, Evel Knievel, was born in Butte. He is best known for motorcycle stunts, including jumping the Caesars Palace fountains and Snake River Canyon. Many of his stunts resulted in horrific crashes and Knievel holds the Guinness World Record for most bone fractures ever. A cartoon, rollercoaster and rock opera are among the projects based on the self-proclaimed ‘Last Gladiator.’

Animal: We’ve all heard stories of dogs being loyal to their humans, but Shep may be the greatest example of this. In 1936, he followed his owner’s casket to the Fort Benton railroad station and greeted every incoming train afterwards, hoping it would bring the return of the owner. Sadly, six years later, Shep was hit by an arriving train and died. In 1994, a sculpture of Shep was installed in Fort Benton.

Evel-Knievel

Invention: The Heart Monitor was invented by Montana biophysicist, Norman Holter. It allowed for hearts – you know, the most vital organ for life – to be monitored around the clock, recording its electrical activity. The device is still used today, but it has shrunk considerably in size, since it was first released in 1962.

Crime: Ted Kaczynski (aka the Unabomber) hid in Montana’s mountains for 25 years. During this time, he sent 16 bombs around the country, resulting in three deaths and 23 injuries. When finally captured, in 1996, Kaczynski was punished with eight consecutive life sentences. The death penalty was an option, but because Kaczynski pleaded guilty, this was avoided.

Law: In Montana, it is illegal to pretend to abuse an animal, while a minor is present… with no minors around, though, anything is possible.

Sports Team: Without any professional teams to support, the University of Montana Grizzlies and Montana State University Bobcats sport programs garner a lot of attention. The two schools have established quite a rivalry, perhaps best seen in football, with the annual Cat-Griz/The Brawl of the Wild game. The winner of this contest, receives the Great Divide Trophy.

Fireworks

Athlete: Phil Jackson, born in Deer Lodge, may be best known for his second act, as coach of NBA dynasties with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers, winning 11 championships. He also enjoyed a successful playing career, though, including two championships as a member of the New York Knicks. He was inducted to the Basketball Hall of Fame, as a coach, of course, in 2007.

Famous Home: In Three Forks, folks can find Jim’s Horn House, which features 16,000 pairs of antlers, displayed in a small shed. This has been the passion project of Jim Phillips, who has been collecting the pieces for six decades. The ‘Antler Man’ is open to visitors, but you have to email ahead, in order to get the address for this interesting collection.

Urban Legend: The Battle of Little Bighorn, also known as Custer’s Last Stand, was the most significant action of the Great Sioux War of 1876. It was a massive defeat of the U.S. Army and visitors to the site today, can sometimes hear screams, yells, horses, and gunshots. There’s a theory the energy of the battle created a ‘recording’ on its land, which can sometimes be played back.

Museum: Dubbed the ‘Smithsonian of the West,’ the Miracle of America Museum provides an all-encompassing view of the country and its history. The museum’s website describes the collection as: “thousands of artifacts scattered throughout dozens of buildings.” Kids can even get hands-on with some of the pieces, including vintage coin-operated games.

Phil Jackson

Firsts: Montanan, Jeannette Rankin, became the first woman elected to the United States Congress, when she was voted in, in 1916. Rankin was known as a pacifist, voting against the U.S. entering World War I and being the only dissenting vote against the country joining World War II.

Company: Kampgrounds of America (KOA) is based in Billings. Founded in 1962, KOA is the world’s largest system of private campgrounds, with 500 locations in North America. Former KOA CEO, Jim Rogers, appeared in a 2013 episode of Undercover Boss, profiling the company and some of its employees.

Events: In 1862, gold was discovered at Grasshopper Creek, leading to a gold rush, resulting in countless people coming to Montana, some of which made their fortunes. In fact, by 1888, Helena was home to more millionaires per capita than any other city in the world. Deposits are still rich in Montana, which is why it’s called the Treasure State.

Miscellaneous: The after effects of the gold rush led to there being dozens of ghost towns in Montana. Some notable ones, include Combination, Comet, Keystone, Black Pine, and Pony. Glimpses of the past can be seen by visiting these sites, where some of history’s most infamous characters once resided.

Blue Sky Martini

Blue Sky Martini

  • Rim glass with Sugar
  • 1.5 oz Vanilla Vodka
  • 1 oz Peach Schnapps
  • 0.5 oz Blue Curacao
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup

Those wide open spaces in Big Sky Country are celebrated with the Blue Sky Martini, which has a variety of recipes, but this is the one I preferred to make. A little side note, if you order a drink in Montana and add the word ditch to it (ex. Whiskey Ditch), you can expect a splash of water to be added.

Missouri – Planter’s Punch

Each week, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the United States, discovering the best each state has to offer in a variety of subjects. Today, we’re in the Show Me State, which sounds titillating, but doesn’t mean what most think. Missouri is also the Gateway to the West, so westward we go:

Motto: “Let the welfare of the people be the supreme law” – This is one slogan I can get down with.

Food: Who doesn’t like an Ice Cream Cone? This ice cream delivery device was made famous when at the 1904 World’s Fair, in St. Louis, an ice cream vendor ran out of cups and bought some waffles from a neighbouring stall, rolling them up to act as a cone. In 2008, Ice Cream Cones were named Missouri’s State Dessert.

Drink: Another product popularized at the 1904 World’s Fair, was Iced Tea. Richard Blechynden, a tea plantation owner and merchant, served it up to fairgoers looking to beat the heat. Also, 7 Up was invented by Missourian, Charles Leiper Grigg, in 1929. Originally named Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda, the drink was rebranded 7 Up Lithiated Lemon Soda, before simply 7 Up.

7 Up

Site to See: The Gateway Arch, in St. Louis, is the tallest man-made national monument in the country. Standing 630 feet tall, it is also the tallest arch in the world. It is named for being viewed as the “gateway to the west,” installed to mark America’s westward expansion.

Street: With western expansion, three famous routes all had their starts in western Missouri: the Pony Express mail service and both the Oregon Trail and Santa Fe Trail. All three can still be travelled today, for those wanting to get a glimpse of the past, while enjoying modern comforts.

TV Show: Crime drama Ozark, starring Jason Bateman and Laura Linney, is about a family forced to move to the city of Osage Beach, when a Mexican drug cartel money laundering scheme goes awry. There, they set up another operation and have to deal with Missouri crime families. The series has produced three seasons and 30 episodes, while receiving a number of Emmy Award nominations.

Movie: As much as I want to select Road House here, I will go with Gone Girl, thanks to being an overall good movie and for having a very good twist in its story. Based on a book by Missourian, Gillian Flynn, this psychological thriller keeps viewers guessing as to how things will play out. The film made numerous top 10 lists for 2014 and there is potential for a sequel.

Gateway Arch

Book/Author: Mark Twain was born in Missouri, with his most famous works set in the state and based on his life. This includes the adventures of characters such as Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Twain is recognized as one of the country’s most notable writers, even being called “the father of American literature.”

Fictional Character: Star-Lord (aka Peter Quill), leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy, is originally from Missouri (at least in the movie universe)… until he is abducted by a space ship, becoming a intergalactic mercenary and scavenger. Star-Lord is an unlikely hero, along with the rest of the Guardians, but he gets the job done, to his own beat, thanks to mixed tapes left to him by his mom.

Fictional City: St. Petersburg is the setting for the stories of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. It was inspired by Hannibal, where Mark Twain was raised. Hannibal has taken advantage of this connection, marking many spots around the city, including the Mark Twain Cave and Huck Finn Freedom Center. They also celebrate Tom Sawyer Days, with contests and fireworks.

Actor/Actress: A few favourites of mine hail from Missouri, including Dick Van Dyke, John Goodman and Jon Hamm. Comedy legend, Van Dyke, from West Plains, is still going strong at the age of 94. Goodman, born in Affton, is best known from TV show Roseanne, but has also appeared in many movies. St. Louis’s own, Hamm, took a while to grow on me, as I wasn’t a fan of Mad Men; however, I now love him in most of his roles.

Mark Twain

Song: Missouri Waltz was made the State Song of Missouri, in 1949. It has been performed by legends such as Bing Crosby, Gene Autry, Perry Como, and Johnny Cash. Published in 1914, the tune gained popularity when Missourian, Harry Truman, served as president from 1945 to 1953, despite Truman greatly disliking the song.

Band/Musician: Rock and roll pioneer, Chuck Berry, was born in St. Louis. Nicknamed the ‘Father of Rock and Roll,’ Berry’s best known songs include Roll Over Beethoven and Johnny B. Goode. Fellow musician, Sheryl Crow, is also from the state. Tracks like If It Makes You Happy and Everyday Is a Winding Road, made Crow a household name in the late 1990’s.

People: Legendary outlaw, Jesse James, was born in Kearney. He became a Robin Hood-esque celebrity criminal following the Civil War, robbing banks, trains and stagecoaches, throughout the Midwest. James also died in Missouri, as the $10,000 bounty on his head was collected by a member of his own gang.

Animal: The world famous Budweiser Clydesdales, introduced in 1933 to celebrate the end of Prohibition, are born and bred in Boonville. The horses are trained at Grant’s Farm, near St. Louis, which was formerly the Busch family estate. The Clydesdales are best known for their appearances in company ads, particularly for the Super Bowl.

Invention: The term “the greatest thing since sliced bread” is used to describe landmark creations. Well, how about the original? Sliced bread was made possible by Otto Frederick Rohwedder and first used by Missouri’s Chillicothe Baking Company. A local newspaper described the advancement as “the greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped.”

Crime: Missouri has a number of “massacres” in its history books. These include the Haun’s Hill Massacre, where a Mormon settlement was attacked, resulting in the bloodiest event of the 1838 Mormon War, and the Civil War-era Palmyra Massacre and Centralia Massacre, which saw the execution of Confederate prisoners of war at the former and slaughter of unarmed Union soldiers at the latter.

Law: Missouri lawmakers seem particularly concerned with yard sales. In Jefferson County, these events can only happen between 7am and 8pm and can’t last more than three days. There goes the idea of a week-long garage sale rager. Also, in University City, yard sales can’t occur on front yards… but isn’t that safer than the alternative?

Sports Team: Missouri has four professional teams, split between the cities of Kansas City – Chiefs (NFL), Royals (MLB) – and St. Louis – Blues (NHL), Cardinals (MLB). The state has also lost a number of franchises from each of the Big 4 leagues: Kansas City Athletics and St. Louis Browns (MLB), Kansas City Scouts (NHL), Kansas City Kings and St. Louis Hawks (NBA), and St. Louis Cardinals and St. Louis Rams (NFL).

Sliced Bread

Athlete: Yogi Berra was a baseball legend, both on the field and in the dugout. An 18-time All-Star selection and 13-time World Series champion (10 as a player), Berra was one of the most decorated players in the sports history. His ‘Yogi-isms’ include verbal gems like: “90 percent of baseball is mental; the other half is physical.” and “You can observe a lot by watching.”

Famous Home: The Jesse James Home, in St. Joseph, is where the outlaw was assassinated by Robert Ford. Following the killing of James, people flocked to the home, trying to see the body and get their hands on memorabilia. The actual bullet hole from the round that killed James can be seen when visiting the site.

Urban Legend: Lemp Mansion, in St. Louis, is said to be haunted by members of the Lemp family, three of which committed suicide in the home. The family’s money came from the brewing industry, as Lemp Beer was the first to spread nationally; however, the company shut down due to Prohibition. Today, the mansion is a restaurant and inn, with tours available and even a murder mystery dinner theatre.

Museum: The Titanic Museum Attraction, in Branson, spared no expense with its presentation. Set within a Titanic replica, guests enter through a fabricated iceberg and are given a boarding ticket, complete with the name of an actual passenger (some who survived and others that didn’t). There is a similar museum in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, with both complexes owned by John Joslyn, leader of a 1987 expedition to the vessel’s resting place.

Yogi Berra

Firsts: Missouri was the first state the erect a national monument dedicated to a non-president, as well as an African-American. The George Washington Carver National Monument can be found in Diamond, where Carver was raised. It honours his many contributions, particularly in the field of agricultural science.

Company: Anheuser-Busch InBev’s North American headquarters are located in St. Louis. The conglomerate is the largest brewing operation in the world. Budweiser, one of its many subsidiaries, also has a strong foothold in the city, with a brewery that offers tours. The St. Louis location is Budweiser’s oldest and largest facility. There’s also a Biergarten for folks to whet their whistle or try some brew-infused food.

Events: 1904 was a big year for Missouri. They hosted both the World’s Fair and the Summer Olympics (first Olympics on American soil), simultaneously. As a result, the Olympics lasted over four months, with one event taking place each day. The games were beset by issues, including St. Louis stealing the games from winning bidder, Chicago, and only 62 of the 651 athletes coming from outside North America.

Miscellaneous: Another nickname for Missouri, is the Cave State, as it has over 6,000 known caverns. Some of the more popular dwellings, include Bridal Cave, which hosts marriage ceremonies, and one in Richland, where the Cave Restaurant (the country’s only eatery inside a cavern) can be found.

Planter’s Punch

Planter's Punch

  • 3 oz Dark Rum
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Top with Club Soda
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Dash of Grenadine
  • Dash of Angostura Bitters
  • Garnish with a Mint Sprig

The Planter’s Punch was created by the ‘Father of American Mixology,’ Jerry Thomas, while working at the Planter’s Hotel, in St. Louis. I like rum-heavy drinks, so this was well-received by the Sip Advisor. Be careful, though, after a couple of these, you’ll be floating as high as the Gateway Arch.

Sip Trips #185: Back to the Breweries

The last month or so, since the Sip Advisor last checked in, has been full of brewery visits and orders, as we look to celebrate the summer. Baby Sip is already up to six breweries visited and while I may not get him to his sister’s 54 different locations within her first year of life, we’ll try make a decent dent in that number. Here’s what we’ve been up to, of late:

We have put through a few orders with Granville Island Brewing, with our first one being the most noteworthy. We asked for a bottle each of the Amethyst Purple Sour with Guava, Hop Diffuser IPA and wanted Fumigator Smoked Doppelbock, but they accidentally sent us the Granvillator Doppelbock, which hadn’t even been released yet. To make up for it, they not only sent us the Smoked Doppelbock, but also a second bottle of the Granvillator Doppelbock. Doppelbocks are among Mrs. Sip’s favourite styles of beer, so she was very happy with how everything played out.

Bank Error

A couple weeks back, on a whim, we decided to visit Dageraad Brewing, in Burnaby. This was Toddler Sip’s very first brewery visit and with her sleeping over with Ma and Pa Sip, we decided to repeat the feat with Baby Sip. While there, we had glasses of their Rainshine for me and the Blonde for Mrs. Sip.

We arrived with time for only one drink, so when Dageraad closed, we noticed some of the Port Coquitlam breweries were opened an hour extra. Off we went to Taylight Brewing to share a sleeve of their Pina Colada Ale, followed by nearby Tinhouse Brewing, where we squeezed in a serving of their Hitchhikers Rye to the Galaxy Rye IPA. We hope to return to the area for a couple more first-time visits soon.

The next week, while recovering from my vasectomy (Cousin Sip now calls me the Snip Advisor!), we ventured out to the Delta breweries, stopping first at Four Winds Brewing. We really enjoyed their outdoor patio space and could only imagine what they would have done had their plans for an eatery been approved. Mrs. Sip had a can of their Velo Pale Ale, while I grabbed a four-pack of the Melange Tart Farmhouse Ale, opening one for the stay.

Beer Smiles

Next up, was our first time to Barnside Brewing, which has a wonderful outdoor area, perfect for these crazy coronavirus times. Mrs. Sip and I split two flights, allowing us to try almost the entire lineup offered by the brewery. The beers included: Honey Comb Pale Ale, Cranberry Tart Ale, Summer Days Farmhouse Saison, Ladner Clay IPA, Foggy Fields ISA, Crescent Island Brown, Oatmeal Stout (nitro), and Barrel Aged Oaked Brown.

This past weekend, we were out in Langley, so popped into Camp Brewing, again sharing two flights to try all they had available. The flights were comprised of: Lager, Pilsner, Copa Da Floresta Kiwi & Passionfruit Sour, Upstream Pale Ale, Mile Marker Foggy Pale Ale (loved this beer), Redwood Amber IPA, Dark Lager, and Mother Earth Oatmeal Brown Ale. To go, we also grabbed a four-pack of their Olde Camp Malt Liquor, which they tried to fashion after Olde English.

That wraps up a busy few weeks out and about. I hope all the dads out there had a fantastic Father’s Day. We celebrated by doing a beer tasting, with guests to Ma and Pa Sip’s place each bringing something to share with the group. It was a lot of fun and I was spoiled by Mrs. Sip and Ma and Pa Sip with treats to last quite some time!

Mississippi – Mississippi Punch

Each week, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the United States, discovering the best each state has to offer in a variety of subjects. Today, we board a riverboat and sail down Old Man River (aka the Mighty Mississip), to explore the Magnolia State, named for both the State Flower and State Tree. Mississippi holds many treasures, so let’s get to the plundering:

Motto: “By valor and arms” – Someone’s looking for a fight!

Food: The Sip Advisor loves his dips, often wondering how much the item being dipped really matters. One I have yet to try is Comeback Sauce, a Mississippi favourite, mixing mayonnaise and chili sauce, said to put other dips and dressings to shame. It is typically used on fried foods and salads and originated at Greek restaurant, The Rotisserie, in Jackson.

Drink: Barq’s Root Beer was created by Edward Barq, in 1898. The beverage was produced in Biloxi, inside a small home used as the Biloxi Artesian Bottling Works. The operation remained in Biloxi, moving to a much larger facility, in 1936. The Barq’s brand is now owned by the Coca-Cola Company, which coincidentally, was first bottled in Vicksburg, in 1894.

root-beer

Site to See: For a state that’s rife with a history of racial tensions, the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum is probably a good place to start your education. Located in Jackson, the state-sponsored museum opened in 2017 and features eight galleries to be explored. The Museum of Mississippi History can be found next door, so you can double down on the learning.

Street: The Mississippi Blues Trail is a collection of markers throughout the state, which highlight landmarks that greatly contributed to the development of blues music (much more on this subject throughout this article). From recording studios to the birthplaces of blues artists to performance locations, the route has it all and would make for a very interesting road trip.

TV Show: In the Heat of the Night, starring Carroll O’Connor and Howard Rollins, ran for seven seasons and 142 episodes, as well as four TV movies. The crime drama dealt with many serious topics, with race relations being examined throughout the show’s run. O’Connor, better known as the bigoted Archie Bunker, won an Emmy for his role and the series was recognized multiple times by the NAACP.

Movie: O Brother, Where Art Thou? is a crime comedy-drama, set in Mississippi during the Great Depression. Starring George Clooney, the story sees a trio of prisoners escape from their chain gang and go on the run, trying to get back a buried robbery score. The film is perhaps best known for its soundtrack, which won Album of the Year at the 2002 Grammys.

Book/Author: Playwright, Tennessee Williams, was born in Columbus. His most famous works include A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, both of which received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and were adapted into successful movies. Williams was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame, in 1979.

Fictional Character: Kermit the Frog rose from the shadows of 2,353 siblings to become one of the greatest entertainers the world has ever known. He can sing, he can dance, he can do it all. Introduced in 1955, Kermit has been making kids (and adults) smile for 65 years. Toddler Sip has become a fan of the frog and that makes me feel like I’m doing something right.

Fictional City: Although the novel source material for In the Heat of the Night uses the setting of Wells, South Carolina, the movie, its sequels and the subsequent TV series, used the fictional Mississippi locale of Sparta. There’s actually a real Sparta in the state, but the In the Heat of the Night location is unrelated.

Actor/Actress: Jim Henson was seldom seen onscreen, but his acting chops could best be seen performing characters such as Kermit the Frog, Rowlf the Dog, Ernie, Waldorf, the Swedish Chef, Guy Smiley, and many others on shows such as The Muppets and Sesame Street. Henson was born in Greenville, but raised in Leland, where the Birthplace of Kermit the Frog Museum and Rainbow Connection Bridge can be found.

Kermit Henson

Song: Mississippi is not the easiest state in the union to spell, as I have found while punching it out multiple times for this article. Thankfully, I have the M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I song going through my head and keeping me error free. The tune was first performed all the way back in 1916 and wasn’t intended to help people spell the state correctly, but because it was fun to recite.

Band/Musician: The King, Elvis Presley, was born in Tupelo, living there until he was a teenager. The hit maker, known for songs such as Heartbreak Hotel, Jailhouse Rock and Blue Suede Shoes, also enjoyed a successful leap into films, including Viva Las Vegas and Blue Hawaii. The Sip Advisor’s teenage self is also demanding I cite pop icon, Britney Spears, born in McComb. While we’re throwing out honourable mentions, island escapist singer, Jimmy Buffett, is from Pascagoula.

People: Born in Kosciusko, media mogul, Oprah Winfrey, has gone on to become one of the most powerful women in the world, establishing the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), in 2008. Her rise to international fame was helped by her long-running talk show, as well as other projects in various media. The Oprah Effect was a term coined to show Winfrey’s ability to make something popular or reviled with a simple endorsement or condemnation.

Animal: Tukota, a rare white bison, was born and lived at the Tupelo Buffalo Park and Zoo. White bisons are born at a rate of only one in every five million births and are considered sacred by many Native American groups. Unfortunately, Tukota had to be euthanized after sustaining life-threatening injuries after a fight with another bison.

Spears

Invention: Mississippi is the birthplace of Blues Music, thanks to notable artists such as Bo Diddley, B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker, and Robert Johnson. One of the first mentions of the genre, came from an archeologist working in the state, who described the songs of black workers, including themes and technical elements.

Crime: In June 1964, three civil rights activists, working to register black voters, went missing. Three days later, their burnt out car was discovered and their bodies followed two months after that. It took 41 years for anyone to be charged in the case, with Edgar Ray Killen being convicted of three counts of manslaughter, in 2005, and sentenced to 60 years. The case was documented in the film Mississippi Burning.

Law: In Mississippi, it is illegal for a man to pretend to want to marry a woman, in order to woo her. Wouldn’t that put every guy ever behind bars!?

Sports Team: Without any professional teams to support, the sports programs of the University of Mississippi (aka Ole Miss Rebels) and Mississippi State University Bulldogs are the top games around. The two schools are great rivals, competing in many disciplines, most notably the annual Egg Bowl, which closes each football season.

Blues

Athlete: A bevy of NFL greats hail from Mississippi, including Walter Payton, Jerry Rice and Brett Favre. The trio hold or held many of the records for each of their positions: Payton at running back, Rice at wide receiver and Favre at quarterback. Combined, the three have won five Super Bowl Championships and been selected to 33 Pro Bowls, among numerous other accolades.

Famous Home: The Elvis Presley Birthplace, in Tupelo, is not only where the legendary musician lived the first few years of his life, he was also born in the two-bedroom home. Today, the site includes the house, a museum, the actual church Presley first attended (which has been moved there), and a chapel. The entire complex is a stop along the Mississippi Blues Trail.

Urban Legend: Stories have long be told that Robert Johnson’s mastery of blues music was thanks to a deal he made with the Devil. The tale goes that Johnson met with a being at a crossroads or in a graveyard, who tuned his guitar and played a few songs before returning the instrument… in exchange for Johnson’s soul. Johnson’s unreported death by poisoning, at the young age of 27, only helped to further such legends.

Museum: There are four Grammy Museums located around the U.S., with one found in Mississippi. Opened in 2016, in Cleveland, the site was chosen thanks to the rich history of music in the state, as has been noted throughout this piece. Exhibits include iconic instruments and clothing worn by musicians on the red carpet, prior to Grammy award ceremonies.

Deal

Firsts: The University of Mississippi Medical Center achieved two major surgical firsts one year apart. In 1963, Dr. James D. Hardy performed the world’s first human lung transplant. He followed that up the following year with the world’s first heart transplant, when he put the heart of a chimpanzee into the body of a comatose, near-death man. The man lived for an hour with the new heart, but never regained consciousness.

Company: With no companies recognizable to me residing in Mississippi, I can point out FedEx was founded by Mississippian, Frederick W. Smith. During FedEx’s humble beginnings, Smith took the company’s final $5,000 to Las Vegas, hoping to keep the business afloat. Playing blackjack, Smith walked away with $27,000, good for another week of operating.

Events: Mississippi was the site of numerous Civil War battles, but what happened following the war may be how the state is best remembered. One year after the Civil War ended, four women decorated the graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers in Columbus’ Friendship Cemetery. The act, known as ‘where flowers healed a nation,’ was originally dubbed Decoration Day, eventually turning into the national holiday, Memorial Day.

Miscellaneous: Mississippi is one of many words used as a placeholder to count seconds (one Mississippi, two Mississippi, etc.). Nobody seems to know the origins of why Mississippi was chosen, but it is a lasting legacy of the state.

Mississippi Punch

Mississippi Punch

  • 2 oz Cognac
  • 1 oz Bourbon
  • 1 oz Dark Rum
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Pinch of Sugar
  • Garnish with a Lemon Slice

This drink was created by the ‘Father of American Mixology,’ Jerry Thomas, also called “the greatest bartender in American history.” A number of variations of the cocktail exist, especially when it comes measurement differences. Thomas’ version called for a wine glass of Cognac and half glasses of both Bourbon and Rum… That would make for an impressive beverage!

Minnesota – The Bootleg

Each week, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the United States, discovering the best each state has to offer in a variety of subjects. Today, Minnesota welcomes the Sip Advisor. The Land of 10,000 Lakes actually has many more, so at least they’re humble folk. Let’s see what the North Star State has going on:

Motto: “The star of the North” – Canada may have some objections to that…

Food: Hotdish is a Minnesota classic. These casseroles come in a variety of forms, but typically combine a starch, a meat, and vegetables, mixed with canned soup. A popular version uses tater tots, ground beef and cream of mushroom soup. Hotdish can even come served on a stick, with the soup used as a side dipping sauce.

Drink: Craft beer is big in Minnesota, with brewing in general having a long and storied history in the state. Companies such as Surly, Summit, and Schell’s are among the best today, with Schell’s being the second oldest family-owned brewery in the U.S., founded in 1860.

Hotdish

Site to See: For those who love to shop, a mecca of mall madness can be found in Bloomington. The Mall of America is the largest mall in the U.S., home to such attractions as the Nickelodeon Universe theme park, Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium, Crayola Experience and FlyOver America. Opened in 1992, the mall contains 520 stores and restaurants.

Street: Summit Avenue, in St. Paul, is notable for being the longest street of Victorian homes in America. National Historic Landmarks along the route, include the James J. Hill House, F. Scott Fitzgerald House and Frank B. Kellogg House. However, architect Frank Lloyd Wright and writer F. Scott Fitzgerald both disliked the area.

TV Show: Coach, starring Craig T. Nelson as Minnesota State University football coach, Hayden Fox, ran for nine seasons and exactly 200 episodes. The final two seasons were set in Florida, with Fox becoming the coach of an expansion NFL team, but it was revealed in the series finale, Fox retired and returned to Minnesota.

Movie: I’m a huge Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon fan, so among some tough competition, I have to go with Grumpy/Grumpier Old Men for this category. Set in Wabasha, feuding neighbours, Max Goldman and John Gustafson Jr., trade insults and pranks, while their respective son and daughter enter into a relationship together. The sequel sees everyone happily ever after, so perhaps the movie titles don’t fit.

Grumpy Old Men

Book/Author: It is generally accepted the Peanuts comic strip, created by Charles M. Schulz, is set in Minnesota. After all, Schulz was born in Minneapolis and some mentions during the comics run place memorable characters, such as Charlie Brown and Snoopy, there. Schulz retired on January 3, 2000, dying a month later of colon cancer.

Fictional Character: Minnesota is a hockey mad state; therefore, hockey legends with fill this category. First, the rough and tumble Hanson Brothers, from the classic film Slap Shot, are Minnesota-bred. Next, we have the Mighty Ducks minor hockey team, led by coach Gordon Bombay. Can you just imagine if these great players all united to form an all-state squad!?

Fictional City: Frostbite Falls is the hometown of Rocky J. Squirrel and Bullwinkle J. Moose. Based on the real-life International Falls (nicknamed the Icebox of the Nation due to its extremely cold temperatures), Frostbite Falls is where antagonists Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale are often trying to capture “Moose and Squirrel,” perhaps to make a hotdish.

Actor/Actress: Funnymen Chris Pratt and Vince Vaugh were born in Virginia and Minneapolis, respectively. Coincidentally, both have had roles in Jurassic Park films. Other notable stars from the state, include Judy Garland, Jessica Biel, Jessica Lange, Winona Ryder (born in Winona), and Seann William Scott.

Hanson Brothers

Song: Skyway, by the Replacements, is an ode to the Minneapolis Skyway System, a network of pedestrian footbridges, which allow folks to remain inside and safe from the elements for 11 miles and 80 city blocks (the longest continuous system in the world). The Minnesotan band’s song is about two lovers, one on the street and one within the Skyway System, who are unable to connect.

Band/Musician: Two icons of the music industry were born in Minnesota. Bob Dylan has been recognized as one of the most influential artists of all-time, earning such accolades as a Nobel Prize in Literature, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and induction into various Hall of Fames. Fellow Minnesotan, Prince, also enjoyed a very successful career, sadly passing away of an accidental fentanyl overdose, in 2016.

People: The Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan, were born in St. Louis Park and are among some of the most successful filmmakers in the industry. Their most notable movies include Fargo (set and filmed in Minnesota), No Country for Old Men and True Grit, all of which were nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, with No Country for Old Men taking home the prize.

Animal: Not only was a dog (Duke) elected mayor of small town Cormorant Village, but the canine was re-elected three more times, serving for a total of four years, before retiring. Duke’s human deputy mayor, said the canine “hangs out at the local pub and makes sure everything is running.”

Duke the Mayor

Invention: Frank C. Mars founded Mars Inc., in 1911, in Minneapolis. His famous chocolate bar creations included the Milky Way, Snickers and Three Musketeers. His son, Forrest Mars Sr., later developed the Mars bar and M&M’s candies, while estranged from his father. He returned to the fold, when he inherited Mars Inc. and merged it with his own company.

Crime: I had this article all written up and ready to go… then the murder of George Floyd occurred and a rewrite was needed. Floyd’s death, at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin and his colleagues, has resulted in Black Lives Matter protests across the country and abroad, seeking reforms on policing and highlighting racial inequalities. Floyd was 46 and is survived by five children.

Law: In Minnesota, nursing homes and senior care facilities may only stage games of bingo twice per week. Yeah, that will keep the residents in line!

Sports Team: Minnesota has one team in each of the Big 4 sports leagues. Minneapolis is home to three of those clubs, the Vikings (NFL), Twins (MLB) and Timberwolves (NBA), while the Wild (NHL) play in St. Paul. The defunct North Stars (NHL), had played in Bloomington from 1967 to 1993, but were relocated to Dallas, Texas.

Bingo

Athlete: Minnesota has long been a breeding ground for professional wrestlers. Such notable stars from the past, include Verne Gagne (whose American Wrestling Association was based in Minneapolis), Bob Backlund, Bronko Nagurski, Curt Hennig (aka Mr. Perfect), the Road Warriors, Nikita Koloff, Barry Darsow, Rick Rude, Jesse Ventura (former governor of Minnesota), and Sean Waltman (aka X-Pac).

Famous Home: The Glensheen Historic Estate, in Duluth, is an expansive property, operated by the University of Minnesota Duluth. Famous for its architectural design, the mansion was the site of a grizzly double murder of owner Elisabeth Congdon and her nurse, at the hands of Congdon’s adopted daughter’s husband. Tours of the estate are available, but questions about the murders can only be asked afterwards.

Urban Legend: Although there’s a drunken prankster, Ola Värmlänning, among Minnesota folklore, I can’t find much info about the character, so we’ll go with the Kensington Runestone in this category. The Runestone, which details the experiences of 14th century Scandinavian explorers, has been the subject of much debate over its authenticity. Most scholars have debunked the artifact as a hoax, but it remains on display at the Runestone Museum, in Alexandria.

Museum: Spam, the canned pork product, was invented in Minnesota. Therefore, the state is home to the Spam Museum, located in Austin. Visitors are offered spamples from spambassadors, with a highlight of the museum documenting Spam’s importance during World War II. Austin also celebrated Spamarama annually, from 1978 to 2007, with the event returning in 2019. The festival featured a Spam cook-off competition.

Spam

Firsts: The University of Minnesota has been responsible for many major medical developments. These include the first open heart surgery, as well as the first bone marrow, kidney and pancreas transplants in the U.S. The world-renowned Mayo Clinic is also a Minnesota institution, known for its treatment of patients and research programs, leading to many medical innovations.

Company: General Mills, makers of popular cereals such as Cheerios, Trix, Cocoa Puffs, Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Golden Grahams, is headquartered in Golden Valley. Other General Mills brands include Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Chex Mix, Hamburger Helper, and Old El Paso. Two more notable companies based in Minnesota are retailer giants Target and Best Buy.

Events: The Miracle on Ice, which saw the U.S. defeat the powerhouse Soviet Union (and later capture the hockey gold medal) at the 1980 Winter Olympics, was accomplished by a team loaded with University of Minnesota players and led by the program’s coach, Herb Brooks. The victory was iconic during the Cold War era and made all the more memorable by commentator Al Michaels call: “Do you believe in miracles?!”

Miscellaneous: Minnesotans must enjoy their leisure time, having invented a number of objects for fun on your own and with friends. These items include snowmobiles, water skis, rollerblades, the game Twister, Nerf balls, and Tonka Trucks.

The Bootleg

The Bootleg

  • 1.5 oz Vodka, Gin or Rum
  • 3 oz Bootleg Mix (recipe below)
  • Top with Club Soda
  • Garnish with Mint

The Bootleg Batch

  • Bootleg Mix (Combined in Blender)
  • 1 Can Frozen Lemonade
  • 1 Can Frozen Limeade
  • 1/2 Cup Mint Leaves
  • 1/2 Cup Simple Syrup

The Bootleg is a country club favourite in Minnesota. Some say the recipe first appeared during prohibition, used to mask the taste of alcohol. This drink was very good, which I mixed up for friends and family to enjoy poolside on a warm day. Anything is better than the alternative Minnesota cocktail of choice, the Beertini/Midwest Martini, which combines lager beer with green olives and brine.

Michigan – The Hummer

Each week, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the United States, discovering the best each state has to offer in a variety of subjects. Although nicknamed the Wolverine State, there are no longer wolverines in Michigan. However, there’s plenty else to see and do in the land that looks like a mitted palm, so let’s get right to it:

Motto: “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you” – What constitutes a “pleasant” peninsula?

Food: Coney Dogs – hot dogs topped with chili/meat sauce, yellow mustard, white onions and sometimes cheese – are a Michigan fixture. Two neighbouring Detroit restaurants are said to be the best places to try the meal. Opened by feuding brothers, Lafayette Coney Island and American Coney Island are at the center of a long debate over which offers the better dog.

Drink: Created in 1866, Vernors Ginger Ale was one of the first sodas ever produced in the U.S. and is the oldest surviving. It was accidentally made by pharmacist James Vernor, as he attempted to create a medicinal tonic. The concoction was stored in an oak barrel for four years, while Vernor fought in the Civil War. When he returned, he had stumbled upon the drink.

Coney Dog

Site to See: Mackinac Island is among Michigan’s top tourist destinations, with the entire island being listed as a National Historic Landmark. Points of interest include Fort Mackinac, Mission Church and the Round Island Lighthouse. The adjacent Mackinac Bridge (aka Mighty Mac) is world’s longest suspension bridge, connecting Upper and Lower Michigan.

Street: Woodward Avenue (aka M-1) is known as Detroit’s Main Street. Built along what was the Saginaw Trail, it was the first paved road in the U.S. and also where the first three-colour traffic light was installed. The route is used for the annual Woodward Dream Cruise classic car event and America’s Thanksgiving Parade, as well as for sports championship celebrations, with each pro team’s stadium/arena located on or near the highway.

TV Show: Home Improvement was set in Detroit, running for eight season and 204 episodes. Centered around local DIY TV host Tim Taylor and his family, the series may be best known for launching the careers of star Tim Allen, Jonathan Taylor Thomas and Pamela Anderson. I was also a fan of 8 Simple Rules, which sadly may be best remembered for John Ritter’s death.

Movie: The American Pie franchise of films (the main ones, not the direct-to-DVD spinoffs) were set in Michigan. The series has followed the group from high school graduation all the way to their 13th high school reunion. Along the way, there were lost virginities, breakups, weddings, and the birth of children. Perhaps later installments will take them right up to senior citizenship.

American Pie

Book/Author: While The Virgin Suicides by Michigander, Jeffrey Eugenides, is set in Grosse Point, I’ll go with some lighter fare in The Polar Express. This Christmas tale begins and ends in Grand Rapids (the hometown of writer and illustrator, Chris Van Allsburg). The book was adapted into the 2004 film of the same name, starring Tom Hanks as a whole host of characters.

Fictional Character: For his efforts in cleaning up the mean streets of Detroit, the nod here has to go to RoboCop. The cyborg police officer kicks ass and takes names, since they’re recorded in his computer system. I’ll admit, I’ve never watched any of the RoboCop films, but I’ve seen enough parodies of the character to get the gist of it.

Fictional City: Brookfield Heights was the setting of American Horror Story: Cult, the seventh season of the anthology horror series. The season’s storyline saw the suburb being terrorized by an upstart cult, which was taking advantage of the upheaval sparked by the 2016 presidential election of Donald Trump.

Actor/Actress: Two of the greatest mustaches of all-time belonged to Michigan-born actors, Burt Reynolds and Tom Selleck. Reynolds, born in Lansing, is best-known for starring in films such as Smokey and the Bandit and The Longest Yard. Selleck, born in Detroit, played the iconic character Thomas Magnum, for eight seasons on Magnum P.I. Both share associations with famous vehicles, thanks to their roles.

RoboCop

Song: Detroit Rock City by Kiss is an upbeat hard rock tune, which has become one of the band’s most notable tracks, despite originally performing poorly as a single, aside from in Detroit. The song title was later used for a 1999 teen comedy movie, which sees a group of four friends, who perform in a Kiss tribute band, try to see the band live in concert, during their prime.

Band/Musician: Michigan had the airwaves cornered in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, with Detroit artists such as Eminem and Kid Rock being two of the most popular performers of the era. Prior to that, legends of the industry, such as Motown musicians Diana Ross and Stevie Wonder, as well as rockers Bob Seger, Alice Cooper, Ted Nugent, and Iggy Pop, each enjoyed success. Lastly, the ‘Queen of Pop,’ Madonna, was born in Bay City.

People: Henry Ford was born in Greenfield Township and is synonymous with the auto industry, having revolutionized the production/assembly line for his Model T vehicles, so they could be completely built in 93 minutes. To keep his employees happy, Ford paid them double the minimum wage that was common at the time, resulting in more people being able to buy the vehicles he produced.

Animal: Despite there being no live wolverines in the state, the University of Michigan adopted the animal as the nickname for its sports teams. Therefore, at one point, its football program had live wolverines as mascots. Biff and Bennie first appeared for the dedication of Michigan Stadium, in 1927, and were with the team for at least a season. They were later relocated to the Detroit Zoo.

Henry Ford

Invention: One of Michigan’s greatest inventions is a part of countless folk’s daily morning routine. Flaked cereal was accidentally created by W.K. Kellogg and his brother, Dr. John Kellogg, in 1894. Kellogg’s still remains headquartered in Battle Creek, with their most recognizable brands being Frosted Flakes, Rice Krispies, Froot Loops, Corn Flakes and Raisin Bran.

Crime: There is so much intrigue surrounding the disappearance of former teamster union leader, Jimmy Hoffa, the case has remained in the public conscience for decades. Hoffa was last seen on July 30, 1975, in Bloomfield Township. It is generally accepted, Hoffa met his fate at the hands of the mafia, but theories on the whereabouts of his body and who exactly killed him range widely.

Law: It is illegal to buy or sell cars on Sundays. It’s not like people have anything better to do on Sunday, particularly with regards to watching the state’s pro football team (more on that below).

Sports Team: Detroit has one team apiece in each of the Big 4 sports leagues, including the Red Wings (NHL), Tigers (MLB), Pistons (NBA), and Lions (NFL). While the first three teams have won championships in this millennium, the Lions have been one of the most futile franchises in all of sports, having never appeared in a championship game during the 54 years of the NFL’s Super Bowl era, highlighted by a winless 0-16 campaign in 2008.

Jimmy Hoffa

Athlete: Serena Williams was born in Saginaw. She is regarded as one of the greatest tennis players of all-time, regardless of gender. Williams has enjoyed a dominant career, winning 23 singles grand slam events and 16 others in doubles competition. Williams also has four Olympic gold medals, three of which were won with her sister Venus as partner.

Famous Home: Hitsville U.S.A. (now the Motown Museum) was purchased by Motown record label founder Berry Gordy Jr., in 1959. He converted the home into the office and studio that would produce so many great songs. The estate was expanded to other neighbouring homes, before Gordy moved his operations to the Motown Mansion, in 1967.

Urban Legend: The Michigan Triangle, located in Lake Michigan, is said to be the site of many supernatural occurrences, beginning with the vanishing of the Le Griffon sailing ship, all the way back in 1679. Since then, other vessels have met mysterious fates, as well as the disappearance of Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 2501. The American Stonehenge can also be found in the area, but it is submerged by water.

Museum: The Henry Ford, in Dearborn, is a massive complex that houses so many pieces of Americana. Among them, are Thomas Edison’s lab, the Wright Brothers’ bicycle shop, Abraham Lincoln’s Ford Theatre chair, John F. Kennedy’s presidential limousine, the bus Rosa Parks made her stand on, and others. Founded by Henry Ford, it is the largest indoor-outdoor museum in the country.

Motown

Firsts: Michigan was the first state to abolish the death penalty, except for treason, when they did so in 1846. Two executions swayed the state to go this route, including a Detroit man hanged for killing his wife in a non-premeditated manner and a Windsor, Ontario man executed for the rape and murder of a woman, although the crime had been committed by someone else.

Company: The ‘Big Three’ of U.S. automobile manufactures – Ford Motor Company, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler – are each headquartered in the Detroit area. At one time, the trio comprised the three largest vehicle builders in the world. While the industry, as a whole, has seen its fair share of ups and downs, each company remains a force within the country.

Events: During World War II, Detroit was called the ‘Arsenal of Democracy’ by President Franklin Roosevelt, thanks to the city’s production efforts, using facilities typically deployed to manufacture vehicles. This caused an influx of 350,000 people to come to Michigan for the available work.

Miscellaneous: Detroit has its own currency, called Detroit Community Scrip or Detroit Cheers. First issued in 2009, the currency is interchangeable with U.S. dollars and are available in $3 denominations. There is $4,500 worth of the currency in circulation, with an image of The Spirit of Detroit statue looking over the Detroit skyline on the bills.

The Hummer

The Hummer

  • 1.5 oz Rum
  • 1.5 oz Kahlua
  • 2 Scoops of Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

This is the quintessential Michigan cocktail, according to a number of sources. The drink was created by bartender, Jerome Adams, at the Bayview Yacht Club, in Detroit, in 1968. When asked the beverage’s name by a customer who was enjoying them, Adams said it had yet to be named. The customer said it makes you want to hum and the libation had a new moniker. Abroad, it is known as a Detroit Hummer, in the U.K., and as a Sir Jerome, in Germany.

Massachusetts – Ward 8

Each week, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the United States, discovering the best each state has to offer in a variety of subjects. Today, we travel to Massachusetts, a state that has more nicknames – Bay State, Pilgrim State, Old Colony State, Puritan State, Baked Bean State – than seems necessary, but it’s a place the Sip Advisor has always wanted to actually visit, so I’m looking forward to this foray:

Motto: “By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty” – What results do you get with a gun?

Food: Massachusetts folks must have quite the sweet tooth. Boston Cream Pie, cake stuffed with custard or cream and finished with a chocolate glaze, is the State Dessert. The state is also famous for Fluffernutter sandwiches, which combine peanut butter and marshmallow fluff (invented in Massachusetts). Even Boston Baked Beans have a sweetness to them, thanks to the molasses used in their production.

Drink: The Boston Beer Company is known for three popular brands, Samuel Adams Beer, Angry Orchard Cider and Twisted Tea malt beverages. Founded in 1984, the company is the second largest craft brewery in the U.S. In 2018, Samuel Adams became the official beer of the Boston Red Sox.

Fluffernutter

Site to See: Martha’s Vineyard and Cape Cod, the popular summer resort areas, connected by a ferry, draw countless tourists each year. A number of celebrities, from actors and musicians to politicians and other luminaries have homes on the affluent Martha’s Vineyard or are regular visitors to the area.

Street: Another top attraction for the state is the Freedom Trail, which stretches for 2.5 miles through Downtown Boston. Along the route, 16 attractions relating to the founding of the country can be found, including the site of the Boston Massacre, the Paul Revere House and the Bunker Hill Monument.

TV Show: Dawson’s Creek… just kidding, the pick here has to be Cheers, the bar-set sitcom, which entertained audiences for 11 seasons and 275 episodes and won 28 Emmy Awards out of a record 117 nominations. Fans of the series can visit the Boston bar, which provided the exterior shots for the show. Formerly known as Bull & Finch, in 2002, the pub officially changed its name to Cheers.

Movie: The Departed is among the Sip Advisor’s all-time favourite films. Starting with an all-star cast, including the likes of Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Matt Damon, this tale of police and gang infiltration on the streets of Boston, takes many twists and turns with viewers never knowing what to expect next. The Departed won the 2007 Oscar for Best Picture.

Cheers

Book/Author: A number of celebrated authors hail from Massachusetts, but none are more beloved than Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. Born in Springfield, Seuss would go on to write children’s classics Horton Hears a Who!, The Cat in the Hat, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, Green Eggs and Ham, and many others over a long and successful career.

Fictional Character: Ted, the teddy bear come to life in a pair of comedy films, may have started out sweet and cuddly, but as he grew older, he became a sex-crazed, foul-mouthed stuffed being. Voiced by Family Guy creator, Seth MacFarlane (who also wrote and directed the movie), Ted still manages to be loveable, despite his crude behaviour.

Fictional City: After using Dawson’s Creek for a joke earlier, I will give the teen drama a little love here. The setting was originally supposed to be North Carolina, based on creator Kevin Williamson’s experiences, but was changed by the studio to Massachusetts and the fictional town of Capeside. North Carolina was used still used for primary filming, though.

Actor/Actress: Hollywood A-listers, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, grew up together in Cambridge and are synonymous with Boston film. They have appeared together in films, most notably the Boston-set Good Will Hunting, which they co-wrote and won a Best Original Screenplay Oscar for. Other top stars from Massachusetts, include Mark Wahlberg, Uma Thurman, John Krasinski, Kurt Russell, Steve Carell, Elizabeth Banks, Amy Poehler, Chris Evans, and countless others.

Dr. Seuss

Song: I’m Shipping Up To Boston by the Dropkick Murphys (formed in Quincy) is an amazing track, best remembered as the opening theme to The Departed. Written by folk singer-songwriter Woody Guthrie, it is also used as an anthem for Boston-area sports teams.

Band/Musician: Rock legends, Aerosmith, were formed in Boston, in 1970. The group has released numerous albums and are best known for hits such as Sweet Emotion, Dream On, Walk This Way, and I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing. Aerosmith was most recently doing a concert residency in Las Vegas and had planned to celebrate their 50th anniversary on September 18, 2020, with a concert at Boston’s Fenway Park.

People: So many Massachusetts-born people have played large roles in America history, ranging from revolutionaries (Benjamin Franklin, Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, John Hancock) to presidents (John Adams, John Quincy Adams, John F. Kennedy, George H.W. Bush). Benjamin Franklin even had the nickname ‘The First American,’ thanks to his efforts in gaining independence for the U.S.

Animal: The State Dog of Massachusetts is the Boston Terrier, which was voted the Boston University (BU) mascot, in 1922. The real-life dog was named Rhett, after the Gone with the Wind character, for his love of Scarlett, as BU’s primary colour is scarlet. Rhett attends BU Terrier’s games and other school events and has a rivalry going with Boston College’s eagle mascot, Baldwin.

Invention: Massachusetts is the birthplace of sports like basketball and volleyball, as well as being where the telephone and birth control pill were successfully conceived. However, one creation tops them all, the chocolate chip cookie, which was introduced to the world in 1938, by chef Ruth Graves Wakefield, while she owned the Toll House Inn, in Whitman.

Crime: The Boston Strangler was credited with the deaths of 13 women in Boston, in the early 1960’s. The case is also known as the Silk Stocking Murders, as many of the victims were strangled with their own nylons. Albert DeSalvo confessed to the crimes (later recanted), although some dispute the number he was involved with. DeSalvo, who was killed in prison, while serving a life sentence, had his DNA linked to the last Boston Strangler victim, in 2013.

Law: It is illegal to use tomatoes when making clam chowder, as that turns it into the red Manhattan variation of the dish, while the New England version, which is very popular in Massachusetts, is white. There’s also a clear style, served mostly in Rhode Island.

Sports Team: Boston is home to the Red Sox (MLB), Bruins (NHL), and Celtics (NBA), while the New England Patriots (NFL) play in nearby Foxborough. The state is also well known for the annual Boston Marathon, which sadly was the site of a bombing during the 2013 edition of the race.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Athlete: Born in Brockton, boxer Rocky Marciano remained undefeated (49-0, with 43 knockouts) throughout his entire career, highlighted by a reign as heavyweight champion from 1952-1956. Marciano is largely credited as the inspiration for Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Balboa character. Sadly, Marciano died at the age of 45, in an August 31, 1969 plane crash.

Famous Home: The Lizzie Borden House, located in Fall River, is now a bed and breakfast, but it was once the site of a grizzly double axe murder, with Lizzie as the prime suspect and her father and stepmother as the victims. Lizzie was acquitted at trial and lived the rest of her life in Fall River, but in a different home.

Urban Legend: The Bridgewater Triangle is a 200 square mile area in southeast Massachusetts that has been referenced for sightings of everything from UFOs to ghosts to Bigfoot-like creatures. Landmarks include, Hockomock Swamp, Dighton Rock, Freetown-Fall River State Forest, Profile Rock, and Solitude/Suicide Stone.

Museum: The Museum of Bad Art has four locations throughout Massachusetts, home to “art too bad to be ignored.” The museum’s mission statement is: “to celebrate the labor of artists whose work would be displayed and appreciated in no other forum.” Two pieces have actually been stolen from the museum, leading to humourous responses, such as a reward offer of $6.50 for one piece to be returned and the installation of a fake security camera.

Lizzie Borden

Firsts: On May 17, 2004, Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage. Within the first week of legalization, 2,468 couples obtained licences to be married, including some from outside the state. Same-sex marriage was finally legalized across the country in 2015.

Company: Dunkin’ Brands, the parent company of Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, is headquartered in Canton. The first Dunkin’ Donuts was opened in Quincy, under the name Open Kettle, in 1948. That location is still in operation today (rebranded Dunkin’ Donuts, in 1950), outfitted in a retro style that makes patrons feel like they’re stepping back in time.

Events: The American Revolution was largely born in Massachusetts and propelled by the 1773 Boston Tea Party, which saw protesters board British ships and dump the cargo of tea aboard them into Boston Harbor. The Boston Tea Party Museum features replica ships from the incident, as well as an authentic tea chest.

Miscellaneous: Massachusetts is known for some other very notable events in history. These include the Salem Witch Trials, where 20 women and men were executed for being suspected witches, as well as the First Thanksgiving, at Plymouth, where a successful harvest was celebrated, in 1621, with a three-day feast.

Ward 8

Ward 8

  • 2 oz Whiskey
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Splash of Orange Juice
  • Dash of Grenadine
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

This cocktail has quite the story attached to it, said to be created in celebration of the election of politician Martin M. Lomasney to the Massachusetts legislature, honouring the area which helped him win, Ward 8. When originally created in 1898, at the Locke-Ober restaurant in Boston, the drink was garnished with a mini Massachusetts State Flag.

Sip Trips #184: Getting Back to Normal

We’re slowly returning to normal here and around the world, as awkward as things still are. The Sip Family hit the ground running this past weekend, with a variety of activities, but first, here’s how we survived the latter portion of self-isolation during the pandemic:

Trips to breweries, wineries and liquor stores helped with getting out of the house and gathering supplies for all the time spent cooped up. Among the items we picked up was the All Together IPA from ABC Brewing (a beer that was made around the world, in support of hospitality professionals); a couple bottles of pink Pinot Gris from Chaberton Winery; and Rosés from Monster Vineyards and Dirty Laundry Vineyards, found at BC Liquor Stores. We also joined ABC Brewing for a round of online trivia one night, which tested our brain functions and also made us feel part of a community again.

Pub Trivia

As some of the orders we’ve been living by were set to be lifted, Mrs. Sip visited 33 Acres Brewing, where she picked up packs of their Sunshine French Blanche and Fluffy Cloud IPA. A later stop into a BC Liquor Store by me, netted tall can four-packs of Cannery Okanagan Daze Apricot & Pinot Gris Wheat Ale and Russell Peach & Apricot Hefeweizen. So, to put it lightly, we’ve been well set for most of this very interesting time in our lives.

Last Friday, we emerged from our cocoon, enjoying our first date night since Baby Sip 2.0 was born, by attending Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy in New West, with feature comic, Dino Archie. We were offered free tickets to the show, thanks to being members of the venue’s mailing list, with the place operating at 25 per cent of its normal seating capacity. We really enjoyed the performance, although it felt taboo to be out and about with strangers. We also noticed interactions between comedians and the audience were more awkward than usual, as if people forgot how to converse with each other. While there, Mrs. Sip had a Cucumber Mint Mojito and I had the Sick Burn (El Tequileno Reposado, St. George Green Chili Vodka, Lime Juice, Agave Syrup), which was very good. We also split an order of their Mac & Cheese Bites.

The next day, we had a reservation for Backyard Vineyards in Langley, which was practicing social distancing outdoors, with picnic tables well spaced out. We ordered a couple bottles of wine, including their Rosé and Pinot Gris, accompanied by two charcuterie platters. It was a very nice setting, as Toddler Sip could play, while everyone else was able to relax a little.

Wine Kids

The weekend wrapped up with us meeting friends at Frankie G’s Pub in the Queensborough area. It was great to be at a bar again, the first for Baby Sip, at two months old. By comparison, the original (OG) Baby Sip was at a bar two weeks after her birth. My meal of the Frankie G’s Burger – which was delicious – was paired with a couple Bomber Park Life Passion Fruit Ales.

So, after our first weekend out in months, I would say it will take some time to feel at ease with attending events, dining out and getting together with friends. I think people that have really shut themselves off from the world will struggle quite a bit in getting back to their normal routines and having an understanding for those that are already there. Respect should be applied in all situations. If you’re ready, and based on the advice of the Provincial Health Officer, you should be able to do these things without feeling bad. Same goes for those that would rather not. So long as people aren’t trying to push their agendas on others, we can all get along.

Maryland – The Black-Eyed Susan

Each week, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the United States, discovering the best each state has to offer in a variety of subjects. Maryland has a handful of nicknames, including Free State, Old Line State and America in Miniature/Little America. Regardless of name, the state refused to participate in prohibition, and that’s good enough to draw the Sip Advisor there:

Motto: “Manly deeds, womanly words” – Well, that’s a loaded slogan…

Food: Chicken Maryland (pan fried/steamed chicken in a white cream gravy) or State Crustacean, Maryland Blue Crab, would make for a fantastic main course. You could follow that with the State Dessert, Smith Island Cake, which has multiple thin layers of cake separated by crème or frosting, all topped with chocolate icing.

Drink: National Bohemian Beer (commonly known as Natty Boh) is the official beer of Baltimore, having been first brewed there in 1885. Now owned by Pabst, the lager is no longer produced in Baltimore, but the city still accounts for much of the beer’s sales. Natty Boh can be credited as the first beer ever sold in a six-pack.

Natty Boh

Site to See: Fort McHenry, which played a part in inspiring the writing of what would become the American National Anthem, guards Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, a tourist destination itself, thanks to attractions such as the National Aquarium. Restaurants and other business keep the area busy at all times.

Street: The National Road is one of the oldest routes in America, beginning in Cumberland, in 1811. The highway stretches 620 miles west, ending in Vandalia, Illinois (the former capital). Driving its entirety has been suggested as a bucket list road trip.

TV Show: The Wire has been called one of the greatest TV shows of all-time, despite not receiving any Emmy Awards during its run. Set in Baltimore, each of the show’s five seasons introduced a different aspect of the city (drugs, port, government, education, media) and how it relates to law enforcement.

Movie: The Blair Witch Project became a pop culture phenomenon in the summer of 1999, also relaunching the found footage subgenre of horror films. Set in the Black Hills, near Burkittsville, the movie tells the tale of three student filmmakers, who are researching the urban legend of the Blair Witch. The movie became one of the most successful independent movies of all-time and turned into its own franchise.

blair-witch-project

Book/Author: Tom Clancy was born in Baltimore and is best known for his spy novels, often featuring protagonist Jack Ryan. These works have been turned into successful movies and TV shows, starring a number of Hollywood’s leading men. Clancy’s books have also launched a popular video game franchise.

Fictional Character: Two Julia Louis-Dreyfus characters hail from Maryland: Elaine Benes from Seinfeld and Selina Meyer from VEEP. Louis-Dreyfus, who was raised in the state, won Emmy Awards for her portrayal of both, taking the trophy home once for Elaine and six years in a row for Selina.

Fictional City: Woodcrest, setting for The Boondocks comic and animated sitcom, is thought to be based on the city of Columbia, where creator Aaron McGruder was raised. Some fans argue the setting is actually in Illinois, but clues such as one of the characters having a Baltimore area code phone number are persuasive.

Actor/Actress: A bunch of famous actors/actresses were raised in Maryland, but I typically go with someone born in the state for this category. Therefore, we’ll go with a trio of famous females, each from Baltimore. This includes Anna Faris of the Scary Movie franchise, Julie Bowen from Modern Family and Jada Pinkett Smith, aka Mrs. Will Smith.

Tom Clancy

Song: Baltimore was written by Randy Newman and most notably performed by Nina Simone with a reggae cover. The dark lyrics of the song describe a city in turmoil, although Newman apparently only visited the city once before penning the tune. Some have suggested this song would have been a great theme song for The Wire and I couldn’t agree more.

Band/Musician: Singer Billie Holiday had a great influence on jazz music over a three-decade long career. Born Eleanora Fagan, Holiday grew up in Baltimore and became a successful concert performer. Each of her four Grammys were awarded posthumously and she was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1973.

People: Two icons of the Civil Rights Movement, Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman, were born into slavery in Maryland. Douglass escaped and became a leader of the abolitionist movement, while Tubman also escaped and became a figurehead of the Underground Railroad, used to help fellow slaves become free.

Animal: Rise and Conquer, live mascots of the Baltimore Ravens NFL team, live at the Maryland Zoo. The brothers were hatched on April 16, 2009 and appear before each Ravens home game for free photos with fans, as well as on the field sidelines, sporting costumes with the team’s logo.

Rise_and_conquer

Invention: Two landmark Maryland creations would go on to greatly influence Mrs. Sip and myself. For Mrs. Sip, she can thank William Rind for opening the first circulating library in North America, in 1762. The Sip Advisor can heap praise on William Painter for inventing the crown bottle cap, still found on beers and other beverages to this day.

Crime: Joseph Metheny claimed to have killed 13 people, beginning with two homeless men he attacked with an axe. His nickname, The Cannibal, was earned when he opened a roadside barbecue stand and mixed in the flesh of his victims with the food he was doling out to customers. Although Metheny’s death sentence was overturned, he died in prison in 2017.

Law: Both giving and receiving oral sex is illegal in Maryland. The law also applies to animals… so beware!

Sports Team: The Baltimore Orioles (MLB) and Ravens (NFL), as well as the Washington Redskins (NFL) play in Maryland. The state is also host of the Preakness Stakes thoroughbred race, which makes up the second leg of the American Triple Crown.

Bottle Caps

Athlete: This was a tough category to narrow down as baseball legends ‘The Sultan of Swat’ Babe Ruth and ‘The Iron Man’ Cal Ripken Jr. were both born in Maryland. Add to that, swimmer Michael Phelps, who has won the most medals in Olympics history with 28 (23 of them gold medals), is also from the state.

Famous Home: Among some other notable birthplaces in the state, the Clara Barton National Historic Site was very important, as Barton not only lived at the residence, but used it as the headquarters for the American Red Cross, which she founded in 1881. The home has been restored for visitors to get a sense of how Barton lived and operated her organization.

Urban Legend: The circumstances regarding the 1849 death of writer, Edgar Allan Poe, in Baltimore, have always been mysterious. Theories have included suicide, murder, illness, disease, and even cooping, a form of electoral fraud. From the 1930’s to 2009, an unidentified man and later his son, visited Poe’s grave every year on his birthday, dressed in black and pouring a toast of cognac in Poe’s memory. The visitor would then depart, leaving the cognac bottle and three roses arranged in a particular pattern.

Museum: The William P. Didusch Center for Urologic History, in Linthicum, also doubles as the headquarters for the American Urological Association. Exhibits include a massive collection of kidney stones, while also telling the tale of surgeries used to treat the malady, throughout history.

Kidney Stones

Firsts: This one is for Pa Sip, an avid rail fan. Some say the railroads built America, connecting the country piece by piece. Well, the very first of those links was built in Baltimore, with the first major railroad station. Opened on January 7, 1830, the Baltimore and Ohio (B&O) Railroad used the terminal. B&O was also the first railway in the U.S.

Company: The Johns Hopkins Medical Campus, consisting of a university and hospital, as well as schools for nursing, medicine, and hygiene and public health, were all founded posthumously from the large estate left behind by Marylander, Johns Hopkins. Located in Baltimore, the institutions are famous for medical advancements in a variety of fields.

Events: The bloodiest day of the Civil War took place at the Battle of Antietam, on September 17, 1862. Located near Sharpsburg, the fighting resulted in close to 23,000 wounded, missing or killed. All these losses for a battle that is widely considered a draw, although it did lead to President Abraham Lincoln making his Emancipation Proclamation, freeing 3.5 million Confederate state slaves.

Miscellaneous: The U.S. National Anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, was written by Marylander Francis Scott Key, on Septmeber 13, 1814, as he watched Fort McHenry being attacked by the British, during the War of 1812. Key, a lawyer, was inspired by seeing the American flag still flying, despite the fighting.

The Black-Eyed Susan

The Black-Eyed Susan

  • 1 oz Bourbon
  • 1 oz Vodka
  • 1 oz Peach Schnapps
  • Top with Orange Juice
  • Splash of Sour Mix
  • Garnish with an Orange Slice and Cherry

Named after Maryland’s State Flower, this interesting combo of liquors and mixers is the official cocktail of the Preakness Stakes. While some recipe variations exist, I’ve gone with the version served up annually at the famous thoroughbred race, to see what all the hubbub is about.

Maine – Remember the Maine

Each week, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the United States, discovering the best each state has to offer in a variety of subjects. Today, we travel to Maine, known as the Pine Tree State because it is largely covered in forest. It has also been dubbed the Vacation State, but there’s no rest for the wicked, so let’s start our exploration:

Motto: “I Lead” – But what do you lead!?

Food: Maine Lobster is known the world over for its taste and tenderness. The industry is so important to the state, the University of Maine opened a Lobster Institute, in 1987. For dessert, you could have an order of Donut Holes (invented in Maine) or a Whoopie Pie – two mounds of chocolate cake with filling or frosting in the middle – which is the State Treat.

Drink: The official soft drink of Maine is Moxie, created by Mainer, Augustin Thompson, in 1876. The soda was originally a medicinal tonic, with Thompson claiming it treated “paralysis, softening of the brain, nervousness, and insomnia.” Purchased by the Coca-Cola Company in 2018, the drink is said to be sweet with a bitter aftertaste.

Lobster

Site to See: One of the most visited national parks across the country, Acadia National Park was established (under a different name) by President Woodrow Wilson, in 1916. The park’s Cadillac Mountain is the first spot in the country to be greeted by the sunrise from October to March.

Street: Commercial Street, in Portland, was named one of the 10 best streets in America, in 2008. A number of wharfs, each featuring seafood restaurants, can be accessed from Commerical Street. The Maine State Pier is located along the route as well, where an outdoor music site can be found.

TV Show: I don’t care what anyone says, Murder, She Wrote, is an amazing TV show. Sure, it’s hard to imagine someone would end up being so closely associated with as many murders as Jessica Fletcher was, but that’s part of its… um, charm. Had it been revealed Fletcher was, in fact, a serial killer, that would have made for an epic series finale.

Movie: The Shawshank Redemption stars Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne, who is wrongfully accused of the murder of his wife and her lover, and sent to Shawshank State Penitentiary, in Maine. There, he befriends fellow inmate Red, played by Morgan Freeman. Dufresne ends up escaping the prison and makes sure Red is able to join him in freedom, once he’s released.

Murder She Wrote

Book/Author: Most of Stephen King’s books are set in Maine (Pet Sematary, It, Salem’s Lot, Carrie, Cujo, etc.), using fictional settings such as Castle Rock, Derry and Jerusalem’s Lot. King himself is from Maine, providing the familiarity he uses when plotting out his works.

Fictional Character: Among all the horror creations from the mind of Stephen King, an amiable specter also hails from Maine. Casper the Friendly Ghost is from the town Friendship (at least in the 1995 film), where he haunts Whipstaff Manor. But all Casper really wants is to find a friend to cure his loneliness.

Fictional City: Everyone in Cabot Cove (Murder, She Wrote) seems to end up dead or a murderer. Instead, I’ll live with the catalogue of Disney characters who inhabit Storybrook (Once Upon a Time). Perhaps I could snuggle up close to some of those princesses!

Actor/Actress: Anna Kendrick, star of the Pitch Perfect film trilogy, was born in Portland. Kendrick, who would make the Sip Advisor’s very short list of Hollywood stars he finds attractive, also lends her voice to the Trolls franchise of animated movies.

Stephen King

Song: I had to choose the Maine Stein Song by Rudy Vallée for this category because a drinking song will always top all others in my books. The fight song of the University of Maine actually topped the music charts in 1930, the only college tune to ever do so. The song peaked in popularity during prohibition, although its lyrics were written three decades earlier.

Band/Musician: Rudy Vallée was raised in Westbrook and would become one of the first teen idols/pop stars. Vallée would go on to inspire the likes of Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby, among other crooners. Apparently, Vallée was so popular among female fans, if he was singing in a venue lacking microphones, he had to use a megaphone.

People: During the tense Cold War times of the 1980’s, 10-year-old Samantha Smith (from Houlton) wrote to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and was invited to visit the republic as a Goodwill Ambassador. Her visit, heavily covered by the media, showed both sides they were more similar than previously thought. Tragically, Smith died in a place crash, at the age of 13. The Soviet Union honoured Smith with a stamp, while Maine celebrates Samantha Smith Day each June, among other remembrances from both countries.

Animal: The Official State Cat of Maine, is the Maine Coon Cat, the largest domesticated cat breed. The origins of the Maine Coon are rumoured to involve Marie Antoinette, who in trying to escape her fate in France, sent six prized cats to America, where they mixed with other breeds, resulting in the Maine Coon.

Maine Coon Cat

Invention: The Microwave Oven was invented by Mainer Percy Spencer, when he began experimenting with various foods, after noticing a candy bar melted in his pocket, while the physicist was working with magnetrons and radar. Thanks to him, people can get their TV dinners, instant noodles and popcorn in a matter of minutes.

Crime: In 1806, James Purrington, a farmer in Hallowell, murdered his wife and seven of their children (ranging in age from 18 months to 19 years) with an axe, before committing suicide using a straight razor to his own throat. Purrington’s 17-year-old son survived the ordeal and escaped to a neighbour’s home. Legend has it, Purrington was buried with the weapons he used.

Law: Maine has been called “The Birthplace of Prohibition,” as they were the first state to enact such a law, in 1885. This led to the Portland Rum Riot, which led to the law being repealed in 1856. If that wasn’t bad enough, folks can be fined for leaving Christmas lights up after January 14.

Sports Team: Maine is without any professional sports teams, with folks mostly choosing to support Boston area franchises. The University of Maine Black Bears teams have experienced various levels of success, with their men’s ice hockey program winning two National Championships.

Microwave

Athlete: Marathon runner, Joan Benoit Samuelson, was born in Cape Elizabeth. She was the first ever women’s Olympics marathon champion, winning gold at the 1984 Summer Olympics. She also held record times for an American racer at the Chicago and Boston Marathons, for 32 and 28 years, respectively.

Famous Home: The Harriet Beecher Stowe House, in Brunswick, is where the landmark anti-slavery novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, was written. The place is now a museum, featuring Harriet’s Writing Room. Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow had previously lived at the residence, while a student.

Urban Legend: The University of Maine at Farmington is said to be the site of much paranormal activity. Founded in 1864, notable hauntings include Nordica Auditorium, where the piano is played, with no one seated at it, and Mallett Hall dormitory, where the sound of furniture being moved can be heard above the third floor, despite there being no fourth floor.

Museum: The International Cryptozoology Museum, in Portland, is the only museum in the world dedicated to the study of mysterious creatures such as Bigfoot, Sasquatches, Yetis, Lake Monsters, and others. Maine is apparently a hotbed of Sasquatch sightings, so the location makes sense.

Bigfoot

Firsts: Born in Skowhegan, the first female presidential candidate was Margaret Chase Smith, who sought the Republican nomination for the 1964 election. While her bid for the nomination, Smith is credited with being the first woman to serve in both houses of the U.S. Congress.

Company: Clothing and outdoor recreation equipment retailer, L.L.Bean, was founded in Freeport, where it is headquartered to this day. The company’s flagship store still exists there and is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, having only closed on a handful of occasion throughout its history, including this current global pandemic.

Events: The 1866 Great Fire of Portland, started as the result of Independence Day celebrations, likely from fireworks or cigar ash. The blaze spread quickly, resulting in only two deaths, but 10,000 people left homeless, as 1,800 buildings were destroyed.

Miscellaneous: The town of Strong was once known as the Toothpick Capital of the World, producing 20 million toothpicks each day (75 billion each year), at the height of the industry. This accounted for 95 per cent of the world’s toothpick supply. However, toothpicks have been replaced by floss and other items, with the last toothpick produced in Strong, in 2003.

Remember the Maine

Remember the Maine

  • Rinse glass with Absinthe
  • 2 oz Whiskey
  • 0.75 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 0.25 oz Cherry Liqueur
  • Garnish with Drunken Cherries

This cocktail was made in recognition of the USS Maine, which was sunk off the coast of Havana, Cuba, in 1898. Spain was blamed for the incident, so the slogan “Remember the Maine! To hell with Spain,” became popular and the 1898 Spanish-American War soon followed. The drink has some similarities to a Manhattan and that is just fine by me.