Each week, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the United States, discovering the best each state has to offer in a variety of subjects. Nicknamed the Centennial State, after joining the union in 1876, Colorado is our mile high destination today. Let’s see what trouble we can get up to:
Motto: “Nothing without providence” – Well, it’s nice to be protected!
Food: Jolly Ranchers were created in Golden, by company founder Bill Harmsen. The brand is now owned by the Hershey Company. I’m not a big candy guy, but a flavourful Jolly Rancher can sometimes hit the spot.
Drink: Colorado is a beer-lovers heaven. For those who prefer mass-produced products, you have Coors Brewing, while the craft beer connoisseur has multiple options, with companies like New Belgium Brewing tops among them.
Site to See: The state’s national parks are must-see attractions, including Rocky Mountain National Park, Mesa Verde National Park and Great Sand Dunes National Park. Mesa Verde features the carved-in-cliff homes of the Pueblo people, including the impressive Cliff Palace.
Street: Running east-west through Denver, Colfax Avenue is the longest continuous street in the U.S. The route has been nicknamed the “longest, wickedest street in America” and stretches for 42 miles. Along the road, highlights include the State Capitol and a Voodoo Doughnut location.
TV Show: South Park is one of the longest running shows of all-time, currently at 23 seasons and 307 episodes aired. South Park is probably a place you wouldn’t want to live if it existed, but it’s fun to watch the mayhem from afar. The citizens of the “quiet, little mountain town” really make the show, with each viewer having their own favourites.
Movie: The Shining, starring Jack Nicholson, is set in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. The Stanley Hotel, which was the inspiration for Stephen King’s Overlook Hotel in the novel, can be visited in Estes Park. With this, I can segue to the second half of Dumb and Dumber (perhaps the Sip Advisor’s favourite all-time film, much to Mrs. Sip’s chagrin) taking place in Aspen, with the Stanley Hotel used for the Hotel Danbury in that film.
Book/Author: Speaking of book-to-movie adaptations starring Jack Nicholson, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was written by Ken Kesey, who was born in La Junta. The controversial book has been banned in some places, despite its commercial and critical success.
Fictional Character: One of the greatest characters ever created is Eric Cartman from South Park. Sure, the little bastard is as evil as they come, but he’s also endearing in his own way. At the same time, you can both rout for and revile the foul-mouthed youngster.
Fictional City: With South Park already getting some ink above, here I’ll highlight Greendale from Community. Greendale Community College may be one of the wildest schools in existence, highlighted by annual paintball battles that engulf the entire student body. If given the opportunity, I would certainly enroll.
Actor/Actress: Tim Allen, the star of TV shows such as Home Improvement and Last Man Standing (set in Denver), as well as films including The Santa Clause trilogy, Galaxy Quest, Christmas with the Kranks, and the Toy Story franchise, was born in Denver.
Song: Rocky Mountain High by John Denver became Colorado’s second State Song in 2007. Denver’s ode to the state came a few years after moving to Aspen, where he would live for much of his life. Born Henry John Deutschendorf Jr., when a name change was suggested, he chose Denver for a surname, the capital of his favourite state. After tragically dying in a 1997 plane crash, his ashes were scattered in the Rocky Mountains.
Band/Musician: Pop rock band OneRepublic was formed in Colorado Springs. The group is best known for their hit Counting Stars, which topped music charts in six different countries, including Canada and the U.K., but peaked at number two in the U.S.
People: Former senator and presidential candidate John Kerry was born in Aurora. Kerry served as U.S. Secretary of State during Barack Obama’s second term as president, retiring with the end of that administration.
Animal: Colorado’s official State Pets are the dogs and cats adopted from Colorado animal shelters and rescues. Aside from that, Duane ‘Dog the Bounty Hunter’ Chapman hails from Denver, but I don’t think he counts as a famous animal.
Invention: The first Teddy Bear was said to have been constructed by maids at the Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs. They put scraps of material together and presented the bear to President Teddy Roosevelt, while he stayed there on a hunting trip. The Teddy Bear became a worldwide sensation and its popularity has never waned.
Crime: There are some doozy crimes in the history of Colorado. The Columbine High mass shooting, murder of JonBenét Ramsey, and Aurora Theater mass shooting all took place within the state. Other notable crimes have been featured on the TV show Homicide Hunter, which looks at the cases of Lt. Joe Kenda, a former detective with the Colorado Springs Police Department.
Law: It is illegal to mutilate a rock in a Colorado state park. I’ve always had it out for those geological formations, but I guess I’ll have to bottle up my hatred when travelling through the state.
Sports Team: Another state that has one team in each of the Big 4 sports leagues: Denver Broncos (NFL), Colorado Avalanche (NHL), Colorado Rockies (MLB), Denver Nuggets (NBA). Colorado is also known for its many world-class ski resorts, bringing many travellers to locations such as Aspen and Vail for some fresh powder.
Athlete: An inaugural inductee into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame in 1965, boxer Jack Dempsey was born in Manassa. Nicknamed the ‘Manassa Mauler’, Dempsey was World Heavyweight Champion from 1919-1926, becoming a cultural icon of the time. He passed away in 1983, aged 87.
Famous Home: Sculptured House is an elliptical-curved home, located in Golden. The place was designed by architect Charles Deaton and built on Genesee Mountain. Sculptured House was featured in Woody Allen’s 1973 film Sleeper, giving it the nickname, Sleeper House. It has also appeared on MTV’s Extreme Cribs.
Urban Legend: Famous outlaw Butch Cassidy is believed to have buried treasures at some locations around Colorado, with thousands of dollars up for grabs for those willing to search the hordes out. The Wild Bunch gang leader was killed in Bolivia, on the run from the law, before he could retrieve these deposits.
Museum: If you can’t get to the fields of MLB’s 30 teams, perhaps you’ll want to visit the National Ballpark Museum, in Denver. The gallery’s collection includes seats from some of the most storied stadiums in the sport’s history, as well as other memorabilia and exhibits.
Firsts: Colorado was among the first states (along with Washington) to legalize marijuana in 2012. Cannabis sales in the state passed $1 billion in 2016 and the industry continues to grow (literally!).
Company: What would become the Coors Brewing Company was first established in Golden in 1873. The brewery was run by a Coors family member from then until 2002. Sadly, the Coors legacy is mixed with some tragedy, including the suicide of Adolph Coors I and the murder of Adolph Coors III, during a botched kidnapping for ransom plot.
Events: In 1858, gold was discovered in Colorado, leading to an influx of people to the region and popularizing the phrase “Pikes Peak or Bust”. Central City, founded in 1859, is known as “The Richest Square Mile on Earth”, with a total gold output between 1859-1918 of over $83 million.
Miscellaneous: You always have to be careful when mentioning “highest” in reference to Colorado, but the state contains the highest paved road, bridge, railway and sand dune in the U.S. It was on one of those high points (Pikes Peak), where America the Beautiful was written by Katherine Lee Bates, becoming a national anthem alternative to some.
- 1 oz Vodka
- 1 oz Coffee Liqueur
- Top with Cola
- Splash of Light Cream/Milk
- Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry
The Colorado Bulldog is basically a White Russian, enhanced (or not, depending on your view) with some cola. I turned my serving into more of a dessert cocktail, using Smores Vodka and Chili Chocolate Kahlua in the beverage. It turned out fairly well, but I don’t think this drink will feature regularly in my libation rotation.