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.

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.

Louisiana – New Orleans Fizz

Each week, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the United States, discovering the best each state has to offer in a variety of subjects. You’d think Louisiana would have a nickname like Party Central or something like that, but it’s actually the Pelican State, with the birds found in droves along the state’s coastline. As the locals say, laissez les bons temps rouler (let the good times roll):

Motto: “Union, justice, confidence” – Sometimes, any three words will do.

Food: Louisianans love food and have introduced the world to a number of dishes. At the top of that list are items such as Jambalaya, Gumbo, Po’boys (a Sip Advisor favourite), Tabasco Sauce, and even the legendary Turducken (a chicken stuffed inside a duck, stuffed inside a turkey).

Drink: Given the state’s party reputation, it should come as no surprise a number of cocktails have been created in Louisiana. The Sazerac, for example, is thought to be among the first cocktails ever made. Also, Southern Comfort was invented by a bartender in New Orleans.

Po'boy

Site to See: Nobody travels to Louisiana without stopping in New Orleans for some French Quarter action. If you happen to visit during Mardi Gras, you’re in for one of the world’s greatest parties. Other attractions worth visiting include various plantations (Oak Alley, Myrtles, Whitney), or taking in a swamp/airboat tour.

Street: Bourbon Street is the most famous of the lanes that make up the French Quarter. The route is lined with bars and strip clubs and fuels the nightly party in the district. Open container laws in the French Quarter allow patrons to drink in public and travel the streets to their heart’s content.

TV Show: True Blood ran for seven seasons and 80 episodes of mythical creature adventures. Based on The Southern Vampire Mysteries books by Charlaine Harris, viewers are transported to a world where almost anything is possible and thanks to being broadcasted on HBO, nothing was really off limits in terms of content.

Movie: There’s some great movies set in Louisiana. Chief among them, The Waterboy, starring Adam Sandler as Bobby Boucher, an amateur hydration expert, who has hidden talents on the football field. Disney fans have also been taken to the state through films such as The Rescuers and The Princess and the Frog.

Bourbon Street

Book/Author: Anne Rice, author of The Vampire Chronicles series, was born in New Orleans. Two of Rice’s novels from The Vampire Chronicles, Interview with the Vampire and The Queen of the Damned, have been adapted into films, while a TV series has been announced as being in development.

Fictional Character: The Ragin’ Cajun, Gambit, is a member of the X-Men, known for his ability to control energy and turn everyday items into weapons. I’m waiting for the day we finally get a Gambit feature film, but it seems to be stuck in development hell, despite the willingness of A-lister Ryan Reynolds to play the character.

Fictional City: Bon Temps, the setting for True Blood, and home to its many memorable characters, is a place one might want to live… at least until crazy stuff starts happening. Despite being inhabited by vampires, werewolves, witches and all other types of predators, you could say the humans of Bon Temps aren’t much better and are actually worse.

Actor/Actress: Reese Witherspoon was born in New Orleans and became an actress as a teenager. Witherspoon’s career has grown to see her be one of the highest paid women in the industry, thanks to starring roles in Legally Blonde and Walk the Line, for which she won a Best Actress Oscar.

Bon Temps

Song: Louisiana is the birthplace of jazz music, so I had to pick a tune from that genre for this category. Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans? originally appeared in the film New Orleans, performed by jazz legends Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday. The track has been covered countless times, including by artists such as Harry Connick Jr. and Jimmy Buffett.

Band/Musician: More on Louis Armstrong, who was born in New Orleans. Satchmo, as he was nicknamed, greatly influenced the style of music that he would become synonymous with, over a 50-year career. New Orleans’ primary airport was renamed in his honour, in 2001. Other accolades included a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, posthumously presented.

People: Popular talk show host and activist for the LGBT community, Ellen DeGeneres, was born in Metairie. DeGeneres has her own lifestyle brand (who doesn’t nowadays) and is one of the highest paid entertainers in the world. Her daytime talk show has been in production since 2003. In 2016, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Animal: My top options for this category were a cat, a peacock and an alligator… all the eclectic variety one would expect from Louisiana. I’m going with the cat because he took up residence at New Orleans bar, Molly’s at the Market, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Mr. Wu would even join patrons for a drink, served shot glasses of cream.

Mr. Wu

Invention: Two of the most popular casino games, Poker and Craps, were invented in Louisiana. While versions of the games had previously existed, they were adapted and became popular once being introduced in the state.

Crime: The Axeman of New Orleans operated between May 1918 and October 1919, killing six people and injuring another six. Never identified, one theory was the slayings were Mafia motivated, as most victims were Italian. The Axeman also wrote a letter at one point, stating they would not attack any home playing jazz music on a particular night. Jazz music filled the city and no murders occurred.

Law: A couple Mardi Gras based laws should be highlighted. It is illegal to throw beads from a third-story window and snakes are not allowed within 200 yards of the parade route. Alligators may be allowed, but they are not to be tethered to a fire hydrant.

Sports Team: New Orleans is home to two Big 4 sports franchises, with the Saints (NFL) and Pelicans (NBA). The Saints won the 2009 Super Bowl, uniting the city after the tragic events of Hurricane Katrina. The Pelicans (formerly Hornets) were relocated from Charlotte, North Carolina for the 2002-03 season.

Dog Poker

Athlete: Brothers Peyton and Eli Manning were born in New Orleans, while their father Archie (also a quarterback) played for the NFL’s Saints. Both Peyton and Eli were drafted first overall before going on to win two Super Bowls each. Other notable hall of famers from Louisiana, in their respective sports, include Terry Bradshaw, Bill Russell, Karl Malone, Clyde Drexler and Marshall Faulk.

Famous Home: LaLaurie Mansion, in New Orleans, is where Madame Delphine LaLaurie, a member of high society, tortured and murdered slaves. Her crimes were discovered following a fire at the home, which was then destroyed by an angry mob. LaLaurie escaped to France, while the mansion was rebuilt and owned by actor Nicholas Cage for a brief time. Today, tours will take you to the home, but visitors are not allowed inside.

Urban Legend: Voodoo is so prominent in the state, the practice of it is commonly known as Louisiana Voodoo. Acts include the use of potions and Voodoo dolls, among other techniques. Voodoo Queen, Marie Laveau, is still quite popular among followers, despite dying in 1881. Ghostly sightings of Laveau have been reported and according to lore, marking her grave with an ‘x’ and doing a few other actions, may end up with a wish being granted.

Museum: The Cabildo, in New Orleans, is now home to the Louisiana State Museum, but it played quite the role in the history of the state and country. It was the site of the Louisiana Purchase pact, which doubled the size of the U.S. For $15 million, or $18 per square mile, France sold America land which now comprises parts of 15 states and even two Canadian provinces.

Voodoo Doll

Firsts: According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the first female self-made millionaire in the U.S. was Madam C.J. Walker (born Sarah Breedlove, in Delta), whose wealth was earned through her line of cosmetics and hair care products. When Walker died in 1919, she was considered the richest African-American woman in the country.

Company: Two popular fast food chicken restaurants can trace their origins back to Louisiana. Popeyes was founded in the state in New Orleans, in 1972, although it’s now headquartered in Miami, Florida. Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers first operated in Baton Rouge, in 1996, where it is still based.

Events: Hurricane Katrina was one of the strongest Atlantic hurricanes ever recorded, with its epicenter being New Orleans. It was the most expensive natural disaster in U.S. history, causing an estimated $161 billion in damages. The human toll was worse, with 1,833 recorded deaths from the hurricane and ensuing floods.

Miscellaneous: The Sip Advisor’s favourite area at Disneyland is New Orleans Square. Rides like The Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean form the basis for this affection, while restaurants serving up southern fare and bands playing jazz numbers complete the departure to another world.

New Orleans Fizz

New Orleans Fizz

  • 1.5 oz Gin
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Splash of Cream
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Dash of Orange Bitters
  • 1 Egg White
  • 2 Drops of Vanilla Extract
  • Top with Club Soda

Also known as the Ramos Gin Fizz, this drink was invented by Henry C. Ramos at his bar, the Imperial Cabinet Saloon, in New Orleans. Despite the cocktail’s long preparation time, its popularity grew when Louisiana Governor, Huey Long, acquired a taste for it and had a bartender travel from New Orleans to New York, to teach bartenders there how to make it.

Kentucky – Kentucky Mule

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 stop in Kentucky for some bourbon and bluegrass music. The Bluegrass State, named for the blue flowers from the species of grass found in the area, is known for so much more, so let’s get to it:

Motto: “United we stand, divided we fall” – Sounds like something you’d see on a movie poster.

Food: Kentucky Fried Chicken, with its secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices was first introduced in the state, but that seems too easy for this category. Instead, let’s go with the Hot Brown Sandwich, invented at Louisville’s Brown Hotel. The sandwich features chicken or turkey breast, with bacon and Mornay sauce, which is baked or broiled until the bread is crispy. It is very popular throughout Kentucky.

Drink: 95 per cent of all Bourbon is produced in Kentucky, with more barrels aging across the state than its population. Bardstown is known as the Bourbon Capital of the World and hosts an annual Bourbon Festival. The Kentucky Bourbon Trail includes distilleries such as Jim Beam, Woodford Reserve, Bulleit, Four Roses, Wild Turkey, Evan Williams, and Maker’s Mark.

Bourbon

Site to See: Mammoth Cave National Park is home to the longest cave system in the world and it’s still being explored today. It is the second oldest tourist attraction in the U.S., after Niagara Falls. Mammoth Cave was named a World Heritage Site in 1981.

Street: Along Main Street in Louisville, a number of attractions can be found, including the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, Kentucky Science Center and Frazier History Museum. Restaurants and bars also line this entertainment district.

TV Show: Daniel Boone aired for six season and 165 episodes, following the adventures of the real-life frontiersman. Set in Boonesborough (founded by Boone), the series starred Fess Parker, who was previously known for playing Davy Crockett. When Disney refused to sell the rights to Davy Crockett to NBC, Daniel Boone became the subject matter.

Movie: Coal Miner’s Daughter is a biographical film about Kentucky singer, Loretta Lynn. Starring Sissy Spacek, the movie documents Lynn’s rise from humble beginnings to being a top country music star. Spacek won an Oscar for her role, including singing all of Lynn’s most popular songs.

Loretta Lynn

Book/Author: The father of gonzo journalism, Hunter S. Thompson, was born in Louisville. His most famous works include Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and The Rum Diary, both of which starred Johnny Depp, when adapted into films. Thompson and Depp were friends and the actor made sure to carry out the writer’s last wishes to have his ashes shot out of a cannon.

Fictional Character: Rick Grimes, leader of the focal group of survivors in The Walking Dead, is Kentucky born and bred. A police officer, prior to the zombie apocalypse, Rick is highly-skilled in fighting the “walkers” and also with survival tactics.

Fictional City: There wasn’t much to choose from for this category, but I did find that the movie In Country was set in Hopewell. The box office flop stars Bruce Willis, just after he became Die Hard famous, but is about a high school graduate (played by Emily Lloyd) trying to learn about her father who she never met after he died in the Vietnam War.

Actor/Actress: Three Hollywood A-listers hail from Kentucky: Johnny Depp, George Clooney and Jennifer Lawrence. They were born in Owensboro, Lexington and Indian Hills, respectively. The trio have been responsible for some of the most memorable movies and characters of recent times, but have never worked together in any combination.

Hunter S. Thompson

Song: Bluegrass music is the State Music of Kentucky and a fine example of the style (which the Sip Advisor is a fan of) is Blue Moon of Kentucky, by Bill Monroe. The song has also been recorded by Elvis Presley, rearranged to be a rock and roll tune, and released as the B-side of The King’s first single in 1954.

Band/Musician: More on Monroe, who was born in Rosine, and has been called the father of the Bluegrass genre. After all, his band The Blue Grass Boys, inspired the name of the style. Monroe was made an honorary Kentucky Colonel in 1966 and inducted into both the Country Music Hall of Fame and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

People: The fact opposing leaders of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis, were born in the same state, one year and less than 100 miles apart, is fascinating. Both were said to be politically moderate, so maybe that can be traced back to their Kentucky roots.

Animal: Of course, a state filled with so much horse racing history, would also be home to a couple iconic thoroughbreds. Man o’War had an almost unblemished record, losing only one race over his career. He sired War Admiral, who won the Triple Crown in 1937, and grandfathered Seabiscuit, who continued the family tradition of winning.

Invention: Nathan Stubblefield, from Murray, invented wireless telephones, which some debate were radio transmissions, making Stubblefield’s exhibitions the first ever radio broadcasts. Either way, his work led to further developments of the medium.

Crime: The infamous Hatfield vs. McCoy feud took place between the Hatfields of West Virginia and the McCoys of Kentucky. The murder of Asa Harmon McCoy, in January 1865, is said to have ignited the feud, which would go on to claim the lives of 13 members of the two families. In 1979, descendants from each family waged a different kind of war on the TV game show, Family Feud.

Law: In Kentucky, it is illegal to hunt game from the window of a moving vehicle. This applies to all animals, except whales. Whales after all, are the most dangerous game on land, so the use of vehicles are a necessity.

Sports Team: The Kentucky Derby is a highlight of the annual sporting calendar. The first leg of the American Triple Crown, it is the oldest continuously run horse race in the U.S. and although the sprint lasts only two minutes, the duration is called ‘the most exciting two minutes in sports’. The University of Kentucky Wildcats vs. University of Louisville Cardinals NCAA basketball rivalry is also huge across the state.

Kentucky Derby

Athlete: The Greatest, Muhammad Ali, was born Cassius Clay, in Louisville. Ali was a three-time Heavyweight Champion and also won a gold medal at the 1960 Summer Olympics. However, Ali’s fame extended outside the boxing world, as an activist and philanthropist, following his in-ring career. Ali was picked to light the torch at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, but that appearance highlighted the Parkinson’s disease he was suffering from. Ali passed away in June 2016, at the age of 74.

Famous Home: The Muhammad Ali Childhood Home, can be found in Louisville. Here, the future sports icon grew up and first began to box. Today, the unmistakeable pink home is filled with memorabilia from Ali’s life and career and guided tours are available.

Urban Legend: Waverly Hills Sanatorium, in Louisville, is considered one of the most haunted places in America. Some of the legends surrounding the former hospital for tuberculosis patients, include the ghost of a nurse haunting the first floor, room 502 being the site of a suicide/murder and the tunnel used to discretely remove bodies from the facility being rife with paranormal activity. Today, the facility hosts ghost tours and can be stayed in overnight.

Museum: Louisville Slugger baseball bats are synonymous with the sport, having been used by professionals since the late 1800’s. The Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory is home to the storied history of the company. Visitors can’t miss the place, as the world’s largest baseball bat is found at its entrance. You can even enter a batting cage and try bat models from the past and present.

muhammad-ali

Firsts: The first commercial winery in the U.S., was opened in Nicholasville, in 1799. Over 200 years later, the winery still stands, restored to depict what it would have looked like in its earliest years. The site seems like a perfect place to celebrate Mother’s Day, which was first observed in Kentucky on April 20, 1887, as a project started by teacher Mary Towles Sasseen, to honour her mother.

Company: A trio of popular restaurant chains are headquartered in Kentucky. This includes KFC, A&W and Papa John’s Pizza. It should be noted, KFC founder Colonel Harland Sanders may not have been a Kentucky native, but his famous creation led to him being recommissioned a Kentucky Colonel, an image he maintained for the rest of his life.

Events: The War of 1812 was catastrophic for Kentucky, as half of the American soldiers killed were from the state, despite battles not taking place there. Kentucky also greatly supplied the war effort, including mining of the Mammoth Cave.

Miscellaneous: Kentucky’s Fort Knox, is home to the United States Bullion Depository, which stores a majority of the country’s gold reserves (estimated in July 2019 to be worth $210.8 billion). In the past, it has also safely held the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence.

Kentucky Mule

Kentucky Mule

  • 2 oz Bourbon
  • Top with Ginger Beer
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

Although the obvious choice for Kentucky is the Mint Julep, the official cocktail of the Kentucky Derby, I’ve already made that drink for this site and I never do repeats. I had to choose something using Bourbon, given its association with the state, so I went with the delicious Kentucky Mule, to sort of keep with the horse theme.

Sip Trips #183: A Different World

The month of March started like any other, but there was this coronavirus thing hovering over the world like a very dark cloud. Soon enough, even we in Vancouver, Canada, saw everything shutdown around us. Here’s what the Sip Advisor was doing before shit hit the fan and how the Sip Family has been coping since:

Prior to the isolation orders, we had made a trip to Blaine, Washington, to pick up a package for our soon-to-be-born baby. While there, we had lunch at the Paso Del Norte Mexican Restaurant. My meal of Carnitas De Pollo paired very well with a Kulshan Amber Ale and I also got to try a taco off of Mrs. Sip’s platter. Almost foreshadowing what was to come, as we ate, reports played over the restaurant TVs that the first case of coronavirus in Washington State had been discovered.

The next day, we met friends visiting from Calgary for lunch at Brewhall. I ordered my usual Korean Chicken Burger with Curly Fries and again, very much enjoyed the meal. My drinks on this visit were the Field House and Wildeye Sabro Hazy IPA, as well as the Superflux Craft Beer is Dead IPA.

Quarantine

The next weekend, we had Toddler Sip’s final Tumbling Tots class and followed that with lunch at Dead Frog Brewery. Ma Sip and I ordered the Turkey Sandwich and Chicken Club and split them. Both were tasty and it was nice to have the variety. I added a pint of Purple Haze Hazy IPA to complete the feast.

Only a few days later and with fear rising about the pandemic, Mrs. Sip went into labour and we spent St. Patrick’s Day in an eerie, empty hospital setting, with the birth of Baby Sip coming early on March 18th. We left the hospital the same day and stopped at the Signature BC Liquor Store on our way home, picking up a case of Unibroue, since my top drinking partner could finally join me again. The scene inside that location reminded me of an old-fashioned run on the banks, as people filled buggies with enough supplies to last a lifetime, amid fears the liquor stores would be shuttered.

Shutdown

So, how has the noble Sip Advisor survived this unprecedented event? We’ve stopped at a few breweries to pick up supplies, including new releases from Another Brewing Company (Cream Ale), Steel & Oak (Savasana Lager) and Dead Frog Brewing, which was operating a drive-thru set up and offering free popcorn with purchases. We grabbed the new Amazing Stone Fruit Brut IPA and Pineapple Midnight Trooical Porter, which was released last year. Friends also dropped off a number of beers from Moody Ales for us, to help keep us sane during the early days of two children and unique circumstances.

This weekend, I plan to pickup the Granville Island Brewer’s Choice Summer 2020 Tall Can case, featuring new releases Watermelon Lager and Island Cerveza. Aside from that, I wonder when I will next be able to attend a beer event and put together more Sip Trips articles. More importantly, I wonder when our son will finally get to meet our family and friends in-person and not over online chats. Hopefully sooner than later. Stay safe out there, my little sippers.

 

Kansas – The Amelia Earhart

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 through Kansas, which presented me with the challenge of differentiating between the state and Kansas City, Missouri. Our focus is on the Sunflower State, so let’s pop some seeds and get right into things:

Motto: “To the stars through difficulties” – Nah, I’d rather take the easy route!

Food: Brought over from Germany, Bierocks are meat pie pockets filled with ground beef, onions, cabbage and spices. They are very popular in Kansas, with many restaurants having them on their menu. Some even call Bierocks the state’s official food.

Drink: The Icee machine was invented in Coffeyville, by Omar Knedlik, a Diary Queen owner at the time. The device allowed for frozen drinks to be served, later being sold to 7-Eleven stores, bringing the world the Slurpee. Today, Icee offers a number of products under three different brands, but has moved its operations to California.

Icee

Site to See: Monument Rocks (aka Chalk Pyramids) are large formations found in Gove County. They comprise one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas, which also consist of Mushroom Rock State Park, Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, and other attractions across the state.

Street: Wyatt Earp Boulevard takes folks through the infamous Dodge City, one of the wildest settlements of the Old West. Of course, Wyatt Earp is the legendary lawman who served Dodge City for a time. A bronze statue of Earp is located along the route.

TV Show: Gunsmoke began as a radio series, before being adapted for TV. The show is one of the longest running in history, airing for 20 seasons and 635 episodes. Starring James Arness as Marshall Matt Dillon, Gunsmoke outlasted 30 other westerns to hit TV screens over that time.

Movie: One of the most beloved films of all-time, The Wizard of Oz, is set in Kansas. “We’re not in Kansas anymore!” is one of the most iconic lines in cinema history, said by Dorothy Gale to her dog Toto, as the duo find themselves in the mysterious land of Oz, following a tornado that hits the family farm. Remember, there’s no place like home.

Wizard of Oz

Book/Author: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, is a non-fiction account of the 1959 Clutter family murders in Holcomb. The book has gone on to become the second-best-selling true crime work ever and is thought to be among the originators of the genre.

Fictional Character: On the lighter side of the Kansas literary world, Dennis the Menace comics are also set in the state. Dennis Mitchell, the young troublemaker and thorn in the side of Mr. Wilson, is from a suburb of Wichita. Despite his penchant for causing chaos, Dennis means well and he is only a kid, after all.

Fictional City: Smallville, home to Clark Kent and other characters of the Superman universe, is located in Kansas. In the Smallville TV series, it’s established the town is located west of Wichita and southwest of Dodge City.

Actor/Actress: Dennis Hopper was born in Dodge City. His most famous roles include Easy Rider (which he also directed), Blue Velvet, and Hoosiers. Hopper made a great villain, playing that role in a trio of 1990’s films: Super Mario Bros., Speed and Waterworld. Sadly, Hopper died in May 2010, following a battle with cancer.

Dennis the Menace

Song: Home on the Range is the State Song of Kansas, with lyrics written by Kansan Dr. Brewster M. Higley, in the poem My Western Home. Crooners Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra have recorded versions of the folk tune, as have numerous other musicians.

Band/Musician: It wasn’t difficult picking a musical act from Kansas, as one named after the state immediately jumped to mind. Kansas was formed in 1973, in Topeka. Best known for their hits Dust in the Wind and Carry On Wayward Son, the band is still performing together.

People: Iconic aviator, Amelia Earhart, was born in Atchison. She became the first female to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, both as a passenger and on her own. With all the mystery surrounding her disappearance in 1937, as she attempted to fly around the world, Earhart has remained an intriguing figure. The 2009 film Amelia, starring Hilary Swank, documented Earhart’s life.

Animal: Touchdown I to XI were real-life bobcats who were the animal mascot of the Kansas State University Wildcats from 1922-1978. This was after coach Charles Bachman renamed the team, ushering in the Wildcats era.

Amelia Earhart

Invention: The first patented helicopter design was developed by William Purvis and Charles Wilson, in Goodland, in 1910. While the project was abandoned by both inventors by the time the patent was approved, the work of Purvis and Wilson eventually led others to fully realize a flying helicopter.

Crime: Dennis Rader, better known as the BTK Killer (for bind, torture, kill), murdered 10 people in Wichita between 1974 and 1991. Rader taunted police with a series of letters, describing the crimes. He was eventually arrested in 2005 and pled guilty, receiving a punishment of 10 consecutive life sentences. Also from Kansas, the Bloody Benders were America’s first serial killer family, with a body count of more than 20 between 1869 to 1873.

Law: At one point, it was illegal to serve ice cream on cherry pie. Poor, poor, cherries, always the victims of discrimination.

Sports Team: NCAA basketballs squads, including the University of Kansas Jayhawks and Kansas State University Wildcats, are the most popular sporting outlet in the state. Kansans also support the teams of Kansas City, Missouri, with stadiums located close to the Kansas border.

Helicopter

Athlete: Pro Football Hall of Fame running back, Barry Sanders, was born in Wichita. Over a 10-year career, Sanders was a Pro Bowl selection every season he played, earning the NFL’s MVP award in 1997. Sanders surprisingly retired in 1999, at the age of 30 and still healthy. He is thought to be one of the greatest running backs ever.

Famous Home: Technically a home to those incarcerated there, Leavenworth Penitentiary was opened in 1903, as one of three original federal prisons built across the U.S. Famous inmates have included gangster James ‘Whitey’ Bulger, NFL star Michael Vick and James Earl Ray, who assassinated Martin Luther King Jr.

Urban Legend: Fort Leavenworth has been called the “most haunted army base in the United States”, thanks to sites such as the Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery and the demolished United States Disciplinary Barracks. Hauntings include the ghost of Catherine Sutter searching the cemetery for her missing son and daughter and phone calls being traced back to a barracks tower that had no phone line, following the suicide of a soldier there.

Museum: In Topeka, folks can find the Evel Knievel Museum, which houses the largest collection of memorabilia for the famous daredevil, as well as interactive exhibits, allowing visitors to experience virtual reality stunt jumps. If that’s not your type of thing, there’s also the Kansas Barbed Wire Museum, in La Crosse.

Evel-Knievel

Firsts: Actress Hattie McDaniel, born in Wichita, was the first African-American to win an Oscar, thanks to her role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind. Perhaps even more notable, McDaniel was the first woman to sing over the radio in the U.S.

Company: AMC Theatres, the largest theatre chain in the world, is headquartered in Leawood. The company recently celebrated its 100th anniversary. Also of note, restaurant chains Pizza Hut and White Castle were both founded in Kansas, before moving their operations to other states.

Events: The landmark Brown v. Board of Education legal battle was launched in Topeka. The end result was the racial desegregation of public schools across the country. Monroe Elementary School, where the conflict first began, is now known as the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site.

Miscellaneous: Kansas is home to the geographic center of the United States (among the 48 mainland states). A small monument near the city of Lebanon marks this spot. The spot is used in the novel American Gods by Neil Gaiman, as a neutral place where warring modern and old gods can meet.

The Amelia Earhart

The Amelia Earhart

  • 2 oz Gin
  • 0.5 oz Maraschino Liqueur
  • 0.25 oz Crème de Violette
  • Add Strawberry Puree
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Garnish with a Strawberry Slice

It’s no surprise that one of Kansas’ most famous citizens would have a cocktail named in her honour. What is surprising is that there are so many variations of the drink, with largely the same result. I went with the most common of these recipes and it made for a good beverage.

Iowa – Iowa Sunrise

Each week, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the United States, discovering the best each state has to offer in a variety of subjects. Iowa is known by two nicknames in particular, the Hawkeye State and the Corn State. Surely, a place that devotes most of its land to agriculture can’t be that interesting. Well, prepare to be amazed:

Motto: “Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain.” – I wouldn’t want to mess with an Iowan.

Food: The Maid-Rite Sandwich is comprised of ground beef on a steamed bun and topped with whatever the eater desires. First served in 1926 by Fred Angell, this Iowa institution has more than 30 franchised locations across the state and beyond. Some folks may remember loose meat sandwiches being served on the TV show Roseanne, when Roseanne buys a restaurant called the Lanford Lunch Box (based on real-life Iowa diner Canteen Lunch in the Alley).

Drink: Templeton Rye was made in Templeton during prohibition times and became gangster Al Capone’s favourite libation. A modern version of the product, advertised to be using the traditional recipe, has returned to Templeton, with products set to be released in 2022.

Maid-Rite Sandwich

Site to See: The Field of Dreams Movie Site has become one of the state’s most popular tourist attractions. The baseball diamond was constructed on the Lansing Family Farm, in Dyersville, after a site for filming was scouted. The field remains there to this day and this summer, will host a MLB contest between the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees.

Street: Located in Burlington, Snake Alley was called the Crookedest Street in the World by Robert Ripley of Ripley’s Believe It, Or Not! The winding one-way road can only be used in the downhill direction by vehicles, but an annual bike race challenges riders to tackle the street going uphill.

TV Show: The most recognizable Iowa-set series is not a sitcom or drama, but the reality show American Pickers. Premiering on January 18, 2010, 301 episodes have been broadcast, featuring antique collectors, Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz, travelling the country in search of items. Spinoffs of the series, in Canada and Australia, have since also aired.

Movie: Based on the novel Shoeless Joe, by W.P. Kinsella, Field of Dreams stars Kevin Costner as a baseball fan, who builds a baseball diamond for legends of the game, who have passed on, to be able to play again. The film was nominated for three Oscars, including Best Picture.

American Pickers

Book/Author: The Bridges of Madison County by Iowan Robert James Waller, is about an affair between a lonely housewife and a National Geographic photographer, who is on assignment to document the covered bridges of the area. The novel has sold more than 60 million copies worldwide and been adapted into the movie (starring Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood) and musical.

Fictional Character: According to puppeteer Frank Oz, Miss Piggy of The Muppets, was born in Iowa (possibly Keystone), gaining her diva-like attitude from a mother who was mean to her and toughened her up. It has served her fairly well over a 40-plus year career. So as not to attract the ire of Trekkies, I should also note that James T. Kirk of Star Trek lore was born in Riverside, in the year 2233.

Fictional City: River City from The Music Man, is based on Mason City, hometown to writer and composer of the musical, Meredith Willson. The story of the Broadway hit-turned-film involves a con man selling band instruments and uniforms to the people of River City, with the promise of music lessons for those that buy. His plans to skip town are disrupted when he falls for a local librarian and piano teacher.

Actor/Actress: Legendary western actor, John Wayne, was born in Winterset. Nicknamed The Duke, Wayne appeared in 142 films over his long career, winning a Best Actor Oscar for True Grit. Wayne died on June 11, 1979 from stomach cancer and was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom a year later. The John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California is named in his honour.

John Wayne

Song: The Song of Iowa has to be mentioned here, as writer S.H.M. Byers took the Christmas tune O Tannenbaum and put new lyrics to it. Written in 1867, the song was adopted as Iowa’s State Song in 1911.

Band/Musician: Known for their disturbing masks and wild live shows, heavy metal band Slipknot, was formed in Des Moines. Known for songs such as Wait and Bleed and Duality, the band is still performing and releasing music, albeit with an altered lineup from the original ensemble.

People: Iconic talk show host, Johnny Carson, was born in Corning. Known as the King of Late Night, Carson hosted The Tonight Show for 30 years, receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom and being inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame. Upon retiring in 1992 and up until his death in 2005, Carson largely disappeared from the entertainment world.

Animal: Capone, a rescued stray dog, from Des Moines, became a hero when he woke up his owner late one night, alerting her to a fire that had started in the kitchen. Although their home was destroyed, Capone’s action saved the family, including nine children, from further tragedy.

Slipknot

Invention: As much as the Sip Advisor loves trampolines (designed and first sold commercially by George Nissen and Larry Griswold, gymnastics teammates at the University of Iowa), sliced bread is the invention that all other inventions are compared to. The world’s first Automatic Bread Slicer was created by Otto Rohwedder, in Davenport. His original machine is part of the Smithsonian Institution collection.

Crime: The Villisca Axe Murders happened in June 1912. The Moore family (two parents and four children), along with two houseguests were all bludgeoned with axe wounds to the head. One suspect, Rev. George Kelly, was tried two separate times, resulting in a hung jury and later an acquittal. Although Kelly confessed to committing the crime, he later recanted and was also known to suffer from mental illness. Today, you book an overnight stay at the home of the unsolved massacre.

Law: It is illegal to kiss for longer than five minutes. Makes you wonder what precipitated this law. Also, is there a similar length requirement to be acknowledged for sex?

Sports Team: Devoid of professional teams, the University of Iowa Hawkeyes are the top game in town, with popular football and basketball programs. Given the baseball lineage of the state, thanks to a film like Field of Dreams, it’s a little surprising that a MLB team has never called Iowa home.

Sliced Bread

Athlete: Amateur wrestling is huge in Iowa, with noted grappler Dan Gable being born in Waterloo and having wrestled for Iowa State University. His collegiate record was 117-1, losing only his final match. The two-time NCAA National Champion was also a gold medalist at the 1971 World Championships and 1972 Olympics. Following his career, Gable coached his alma mater for more than 20 years, bringing much success to the program.

Famous Home: Since we haven’t mentioned one of Iowa’s most famous citizens yet, we’ll make Herbert Hoover’s birth home our choice for this category. The 31st President of the U.S. was born here, in West Branch, in 1874. Today, the historic site includes a museum, Hoover’s presidential library and even the graves of Hoover and his wife.

Urban Legend: Iowa is home to two Black Angel statues, one at Oakland Cemetery in Iowa City and another at Fairview Cemetery in Council Bluffs. The eerie statues were originally bronze in colour, having turned black since being erected in 1913 and 1920, respectively. Folklore says anyone who touches or kisses the Iowa City statue, unless a virgin, will die and pregnant women who walk under the outstretched angel wing will miscarry. The Council Bluffs statue is said to follow people with its eyes and if you return the glance, doom is on the horizon.

Museum: The Hobo Museum, located in Britt, is the only museum in the world that documents and celebrates the hobo (defined as a travelling worker) way of life. There’s even a National Hobo Convention, hosted by the museum, highlighted by contests, meals and a parade.

Dan Gable

Firsts: Iowa can be credited with two major moments in the Women’s Rights Movement, both occurring in 1869. Arabella Mansfield became the first female lawyer in the U.S., while Julia Addington was the first woman elected to a public office, serving as the Superintendent of Schools for Mitchell County.

Company: Winnebago, makers of motorhomes, is headquartered in Forest City. The company recently expanded into motorboat manufacturing. Also of note for professional wrestling fans, the celebrated National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) was founded, in Waterloo, in 1948. After many lean years, the NWA is still surviving today, owned by Smashing Pumpkins singer and diehard wrestling fan, Billy Corgan.

Events: The Iowa Caucuses have been integral to each presidential race, since the 1970s, when both the Democrats and Republicans moved their gatherings to January, becoming the first major event on the election campaign. The results of these caucuses can cause some hopefuls to drop out and others to receive a boost in the race. As a result, many candidates spend a fair bit of time campaigning in Iowa.

Miscellaneous: The airplane crash that killed musicians the Big Bopper, Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens, occurred near Clear Lake. The artists were part of the Winter Dance Party tour and had performed there that night. So, Iowa can indirectly be credited with causing The Day the Music Died.

Iowa Sunrise

Iowa Sunrise

  • 2 oz Spiced Rum
  • 0.5 oz Strawberry Liqueur
  • Top with Club Soda
  • Splash of Orange Juice
  • Splash of Pineapple Juice
  • Garnish with an Orange Wheel

This drink called for Strawberry Simple Syrup, so I just subbed in Strawberry Liqueur instead (the more booze, the better!). The strawberry in this cocktail is likely a nod to Iowa being home to the world’s largest strawberry at Strawberry Point.

Indiana – Hoosier Heritage

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 hit the ‘Crossroads of America’, otherwise known as Indiana. The Hoosier State is filled with folks who are proud to call themselves Hoosiers, although no one really knows what the name means or where it came from. Let’s see if we can solve the mystery:

Motto: “The Crossroads of America” – Has anyone verified this claim!?

Food: Hoosier Pie, otherwise known as Sugar Cream Pie is the State Pie of Indiana. It should also be noted, popular snack Doritos, were invented by Indianan Arch West, a marketing executive with Frito-Lay. After dying in September 2011, family members scattered the tortilla chips into his grave, as he was being buried.

Drink: Is it eligible if the drink is fictional? My project, I say yes. Snake Juice was invented on the Indiana-set TV show Parks and Recreation. Described as a “high-end Kahlua-style liqueur,” made by mixing “a bunch of alcohol together, some sugar and coffee, and some other junk,” resulting in a spirit that “kinda tastes like Kahlua.” This inspired one of the best episodes of the series, as characters get plastered drinking the tonic.

Doritos

Site to See: The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the highest-capacity sporting venue in the world, able to accommodate a max capacity of 400,000 spectators. The track is host to the annual Indy 500 and Brickyard 400 races. The Indy 500 is the world’s oldest automobile race that is still running. The only times races were not run was during World War I and II.

Street: Monument Circle, in Indianapolis, is a brick street that surrounds the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. This focal point has an observation deck and doubles as the world’s largest non-tree Christmas tree during the holiday season. A free tour of the area is offered from May to October.

TV Show: Indiana is the setting for a few shows the Sip Advisor enjoys, but if I had to choose a favourite, it would be the aforementioned Parks and Recreation. Great characters, such as Ron Swanson and Andy Dwyer, kept viewers coming back for seven seasons and 125 episodes of low-level government fun.

Movie: As much as I enjoy the biographical football film Rudy, it can’t compare to A Christmas Story, which is viewed annually by the Sip Family. Set in the fictional Hohman, in the late 1930’s/early 1940’s, the movie follows little Ralphie Parker’s pursuit of a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. The classic is broadcast 12 times, for 24 hours straight on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day on the TNT channel.

Indy 500

Book/Author: While there may be more impactful works and authors from Indiana, I want to use this space to highlight that Garfield comics are set in Muncie. Created by cartoonist Jim Davis (also from Muncie), Garfield’s location is rarely referenced, as Davis wanted readers everywhere to think Garfield could live next door to them.

Fictional Character: Leslie Knope, from Parks and Recereation, is an extremely proud Indianan. Over her career as a public servant, she has risen from head of the parks and rec department to a member of city council and later, Governor of Indiana. It’s even alluded to that she may have become President of the United States.

Fictional City: Given the mysterious occurrences going on in Hawkins (Stranger Things), I don’t think I’d want to live there. Pawnee (Parks and Recreation) and Orson (The Middle) seem to have a mix of good and bad that comes with their sitcom territory. Finally, Hohman (A Christmas Story) is perpetually stuck in yesteryear and daddy needs his TV and internet!

Actor/Actress: Two bad asses of cinema hail from Indiana and share more in common than that. Steve McQueen, star of The Great Escape and Bullitt, was born in Beech Grove, in 1930. Under a year later, James Dean, the Rebel Without a Cause, was born in Marion. Both actors participated in auto racing, with Dean losing his life in a car accident, at the young age of 24. McQueen died, aged 50, due to heart failure following surgery to remove terminal cancer tumours.

Pawnee

Song: Back Home Again in Indiana, may not be the State Song of Indiana, but it may be more popular than the tune that is. The song is performed as part of the opening ceremonies to the annual Indy 500 race and was the number Louis Armstrong and his All Stars opened each of their concerts with.

Band/Musician: The Jackson Family of musicians, including Michael and Janet, were born in Gary. They have been called the First Family of Soul and the Royal Family of Pop. In a neighbourhood that has seen better times, the family’s well-kept home still stands, drawing fans to the two-bedroom abode, which housed eight children and their parents.

People: Former late night talk show host, David Letterman, was born in Indianapolis. His show was on air for 33 years (6,080 episodes hosted by Letterman), with Mrs. Sip and I in attendance for an episode in 2013. Today, Letterman hosts the Netflix series My Next Guest Needs No Introduction.

Animal: Lil Bub was the runt of a kitten litter, in Bloomington, born with dwarfism, causing her tongue to be too big for her mouth. The cat appeared in movies, authored her own book – for which she did signings – and was an animal rights activist. Sadly, Lil Bub passed away in December 2019, due to an infection.

Lil Bub

Invention: Going hand-in-hand together, the first gas-powered car was invented in Indiana, so the first gas pump was needed to fuel these new vehicles. Interestingly, the car came along almost a decade after the pump, which was originally used to fill lamps and stoves.

Crime: Herb Baumeister was a successful businessman, but also had a dark side. In 1996, a police search of his estate, Fox Hollow Farm, turned up the bodies of 11 men who had disappeared from gay bars around Indianapolis. An additional nine murders were suspected to have been committed by Baumeister, who upon learning of a warrant for his arrest, fled to Ontario, Canada and committed suicide.

Law: In Indiana, it is illegal to catch a fish using dynamite, firearms, a crossbow or your bare hands. Well, how the hell else are you supposed to get the job done!?

Sports Team: Indianapolis has two professional sports teams with the Colts (NFL) and Pacers (NBA). The Colts relocated from Baltimore on March 29, 1984, under the cover of darkness, with the team’s property hidden in moving trucks. The state is also home to two of the most notable college football programs, with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Indiana University Hoosiers.

Fishing

Athlete: Larry Bird was born in West Baden Springs. Following a successful career, which included three NBA Championships (two of which he was the Finals MVP for), Bird joined his home state Pacers as head coach and later as President of Basketball Operations and remains with the team in an advisor capacity to this day. He is the only person to win the NBA MVP, Coach of the Year and Executive of the Year awards.

Famous Home: The Kessler Mansion, called the “ugliest house in America”, is located in Indianapolis, built by a former pimp named Jerry Hostetler. Nicknamed ‘Mr. Big’, partly for his profession of choice and also his weight – which peaked at 500 pounds – Hostetler started small with one home, then began buying his neighbours properties and expanding his estate. The home was once available as an Airbnb rental at a price of $450 per night.

Urban Legend: For many, a beautiful naked woman is a welcome sight… but what if that woman was a ghost? Diana of the Dunes is a popular Indiana legend, based on reports of a nude lady running around the beach and disappearing into the lake, in Chesterton. The tale is based on a real-life woman, named Alice Mabel Gray, who died of poisoning and returns to the area where she was happiest in her life. Today, there is an annual Diana of the Dunes Festival and Pageant.

Museum: If you’ve ever dreamt of travelling in a recreational vehicle, you may be interested in checking out the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum, in Elkhart. Here, the history of RVs and motorhomes is on display, with popular exhibits including the oldest surviving vehicle of its type, from 1913, and an RV used by Paramount Pictures to bribe actress Mae West to appear in films.

RV

Firsts: Baseball is America’s national pastime and the first professional game was played in Indiana, in 1871, between the Fort Wayne Kekiongas and Cleveland Forest Cities. The state can also be credited with the creation of the song, Take Me Out to the Ball Game.

Company: Orville Redenbacher’s Gourmet Popping Corn was founded in Indiana in 1970. Redenbacher, who appeared as the company’s spokesperson up until his death in 1988, was described by the New York Times as: “the agricultural visionary who all but single-handedly revolutionized the American popcorn industry.”

Events: Most people think of Detroit, Michigan when the subject of the auto industry comes up. Indiana also has a long history in the manufacturing of vehicles, including inventing the first gas-powered car and companies, such as Studebaker setting up shop in the state. This brought countless jobs and a population boom along with it.

Miscellaneous: Hoosiers are big fans of Santa Claus. The city of Santa Claus was established in 1856, with a year-round Christmas theme, including most streets having Christmas-based names. The city receives thousand of letters each year, which are individually responded to. Also, the first ever theme park, Santa Claus Land, was built there, opening in 1946.

Hoosier Heritage

Hoosier Heritage

  • Muddle Rosemary
  • 1.5 oz Whiskey
  • 1 oz Apple Cider
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Maple Syrup
  • Garnish with a Rosemary Sprig

This beverage was first presented as part of a 2015 contest to find Indiana’s unofficial cocktail, ironically as a gimmick to help promote the Indiana State Museum’s exhibit on prohibition. I used my Wayne Gretzky Whiskey, as the first professional team the hockey icon ever played for was the Indianapolis Racers of the World Hockey Association.

Illinois – Chicago Fizz

Each week, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the United States, discovering the best each state has to offer in a variety of subjects. Being nicknamed the Prairie State may make Illinois sound quiet, tame even. In fact, it is a bustling hub of activity for the country. Let’s dive right in and get our hands dirty:

Motto: “State sovereignty, national union” – If that doesn’t give you the warm fuzzies, nothing will!

Food: Chicago Deep Dish is a very popular pizza style, which has spread to other locales. Known for its higher crust, which allows for ample toppings, the pizza is often compared to a pie. Two Chicago pizzerias – and three chefs – have been credited with the invention of deep dish, but it’s hard to discern which claim is legit.

Drink: Malört is a bask liquor – a wormwood-flavoured Swedish spiced spirit – that has been available since the 1930’s. Hard to find outside Chicago, the bitter-tasting libation was once described in the movie Drinking Buddies as: “like swallowing a burnt condom filled with gasoline”. Sounds delicious!

Deep Dish Pizza

Site to See: A top attraction in the state is the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower), in Chicago. Once the tallest building in the world, today, the site features the Skydeck, located on the 103rd floor, with views as far as Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin, on clear days. The skyscraper has appeared in countless films and TV series.

Street: Michigan Avenue, in Chicago, is home to the Magnificent Mile shopping district, among other attractions. In 1924, the street was the first in the city to have traffic lights installed.

TV Show: Some of the greatest comedies ever created have been set in Illinois. These sitcoms include Married with Children, Roseanne, The Bob Newhart Show, Good Times, Family Matters, and many more.

Movie: A favourite of the Sip Advisor to this day, Wayne’s World, starring Mike Myers and Dana Carvey, is about the rise of public access TV hosts in Aurora, to becoming nationally syndicated. Of course, the man responsible for Wayne and Garth’s rise to stardom is exploiting them for his own gains and our heroes need to realize that before it’s too late.

Wayne's World

Book/Author: Some of America’s most notable writers were born in Illinois, including Ernest Hemingway (The Old Man and the Sea), Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451) and Edgar Rice Burroughs (creator of Tarzan).

Fictional Character: This was a tough one to narrow down, but I had to go with Al Bundy. The controversial patriarch of the Bundy clan is stuck in a personal rut he will never dig himself out of, married to an unemployable wife and with two delinquent kids, who spend the family savings before they are even earned from Al’s lowly job as a women’s shoe salesman.

Fictional City: Shermer has been used as the setting for all of filmmaker John Hughes’ movies. This list of classics includes The Breakfast Club; Planes, Trains & Automobiles; Ferris Bueller’s Day Off; Home Alone; and the National Lampoon’s Vacation franchise.

Actor/Actress: Some of the funniest people in movies and TV come to our screens from Illinois. This includes Robin Williams, Bill Murray, Richard Pryor, Bob Newhart, John Belushi, Melissa McCarthy, Nick Offerman, John C. Reilly, and Betty White. That’s one impressive troupe of performers.

Al Bundy

Song: Illinois by The Everly Brothers, sounds like a jingle composed by the state tourism department. It was actually written by Randy Newman, famous for his Disney-Pixar animated film scores.

Band/Musician: The Smashing Pumpkins, fronted by Billy Corgan, were formed in Chicago, in 1988. The band went on to become one of the most popular of the 1990’s with hits such as 1979; Bullet with Butterfly Wings; Zero; and Tonight, Tonight; all from the double album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, in October 1995.

People: Walt Disney, father of the vast Disney empire, was born in Chicago. After growing up in Missouri, Disney would return to Chicago as a teenager, where he would become a cartoonist for his high school newspaper and take courses at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts.

Animal: Terry, a Cairn Terrier from Chicago, remains one of the most famous animal actors of all-time, after playing the role of Toto, in The Wizard of Oz. Despite other appearances, this was Terry’s only credited role, for which she was paid more than most of the human actors. Judy Garland, star of the film, wanted to adopt Terry after the movie finished, but trainer Carl Spitz turned down the offer.

Walt Disney

Invention: Permanently attached to most people’s hands, if not their hips, the cell phone is integral to life. Chicago’s own Martin Cooper, called the ‘father of the handheld cell phone’, developed the first of its type, in 1973, while working for Motorola. When brought to market a decade later, the phone – dubbed The Brick – weighed 2.5 pounds, measured 10 inches long and cost $3,995.

Crime: John Wayne Gacy, the Killer Clown, terrorized Chicago in the 1970’s, murdering at least 30 people. Nearly a century before, also in the Windy City, H.H. Holmes used his Murder Castle to end the lives of an unknown number of people, with some estimates going into the hundreds. Both serial killers were executed for their crimes, Gacy by lethal injection and Holmes by hanging.

Law: In Illinois, it is illegal to hang things from your rear-view mirror. So long, air fresheners, fuzzy dice, rosaries, good luck charms, etc.

Sports Team: Chicago represents the state in each of the Big 4 sports leagues, including two teams in MLB, the Cubs and White Sox. Their other franchises, include the Bears (NFL), Bulls (NBA) and Blackhawks (NHL). Each team has existed for close to a century or more, winning multiple championships along the way. It should also be noted, the Harlem Globetrotters were actually formed in Chicago, in 1926, and didn’t play in Harlem until 42 years later.

Cell Phones

Athlete: Dick Butkus was born in Chicago, playing linebacker for his hometown Chicago Bears (NFL) over a nine-year career. During that time, he was selected to eight Pro Bowls, while winning the NFL Defensive Player of the Year twice. Also, track and field legend Jackie Joyner-Kersee, from East St. Louis, was named the greatest female athlete of all-time by Sports Illustrated for Women.

Famous Home: Illinois is known as the Land of Lincoln, in reference to Abraham Lincoln. The Lincoln Home National Historic Site, located in Springfield, is where Lincoln lived from 1844 to 1861, before becoming president. The four-block area around the home has been turned into a historic district, with all homes returned to how they would have appeared during Lincoln’s time living there.

Urban Legend: Resurrection Mary is one of Illinois’ most famous ghosts. She is of the ‘vanishing hitchhiker’ variety, with numerous reports of people encountering the specter on Archer Avenue between the Oh Henry/Willowbrook Ballroom and Resurrection Cemetery. The victim of a hit-and-run after leaving a dance, Mary often appears looking for a ride, only to disappear.

Museum: McDonald’s is headquartered in Illinois, so it’s no surprise the McDonald’s #1 Store Museum could also be found in the state. Opened in 1955, by Illinoisan Ray Kroc, known as the founder of McDonald’s as we know it today, the restaurant was demolished in 1984, with a replica built on the site. The museum was demolished in 2018 after repeated flooding, with exhibits moved across the street to a newer McDonald’s restaurant.

Dick Butkus

Firsts: If you like city skylines, you can thank Illinois for that. Chicago was home to the world’s first skyscraper, the Home Insurance Building, which opened in 1885. A mere 10 stories high, it was demolished in 1931, replaced by another building reaching 45 floors.

Company: Kraft Heinz has headquarters in Chicago (as well as Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) and is one of the largest food and beverage companies in the world. Popular products include Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Heinz Ketchup, Oscar Mayer meats, Kool-Aid, Jell-O, and many others. Kraft Dinner and Heinz Ketchup alone is a beautiful marriage.

Events: Prohibition across the U.S. led to the rise of gang activity, with crews battling for territory and control. One major incident was the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre, which occurred on February 14, 1929, in Chicago. The attack resulted in the deaths of seven North Side Gang members and associates and was never conclusively solved. Many suspects were considered, including members of Al Capone’s South Side Gang and even those within the Chicago Police Department, as two of the four shooters were in police uniforms.

Miscellaneous: The State Snack Food of Illinois is popcorn and why not, Chicago-Style Popcorn – the mix of cheese and caramel flavours – is a very popular offering. The movement to have popcorn given this designation was started by second and third grade students, as part of a class project.

Chicago Fizz

Chicago Fizz

  • 1 oz Dark Rum
  • 1 oz Ruby Port
  • Top with Club Soda
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Egg Whites
  • Pinch of Sugar​
  • Garnish with a Lemon Wheel

This beverage intrigued me, thanks to its blend of ingredients. The drink’s background has been lost to history, with not much known about its origins. This won’t be the last time, though, the Fizz family of cocktails appears as part of this project.