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.

Idaho – Whiskey Sour

Each week, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the United States, discovering the best each state has to offer in a variety of subjects. Mostly known for their potato industry, it may surprise readers that Idaho is nicknamed the Gem State because practically every type of gemstone (72 different types) has been mined from the area. So, let’s find out if Idaho truly is a gem:

Motto: “Let it be perpetual” – I don’t know, I like finite endings, myself.

Food: The Idahoan Sandwich, served at Meltz Extreme Grilled Cheese, in Coeur d’Alene, combines meatloaf and mashed potatoes, topped with cheese and dressed with a ketchup chili glaze. If you still haven’t had your fair share of starch, a popular Idaho dessert item is the Ice Cream Potato, a baked potato served with a dollop of ice cream and other sundae toppings.

Drink: Given Idaho is potato country, tater-based vodkas are popular in the state. The most well known may come from the Grand Teton Distillery, in Driggs. The company also offers a Huckleberry Vodka (using Idaho’s State Fruit), along with a few other spirit variations.

Smash Potato

Site to See: Craters of the Moon National Monument will have you feeling like you’ve landed on another planet. The unique terrain was created by volcanic eruptions and lava flow thousands of years ago. Sun Valley Ski Resort is also a popular destination, as the country’s first such attraction, and also where the world’s first ski lift was built.

Street: At 33 miles long, the longest main street in the U.S. can be found in Island Park. With a whopping population of 286 people (according to the 2010 census), nearly every citizen lives along Route 20, which leads to Yellowstone National Park. Island Park was created to allow liquor to be sold in the area, skirting Idaho laws at the time.

TV Show: Has a state ever had less success with TV shows set there than Idaho? The Napoleon Dynamite cartoon lasted only six episodes, while other projects Amazing Grace (five episodes), The Manhunter (22 episodes), Spinning Out (10 episodes), Wayward Pines (20 episodes), and The Grinder (22 episodes), are all forgettable.

Movie: Because there will be plenty of other opportunity to discuss Napoleon Dynamite below, I will choose The River Wild for this category. Starring Meryl Streep and Kevin Bacon, this film tells the story of a family who goes rafting on Idaho’s Salmon River, encountering a trio of criminals along the way. The family must come together to overcome not only the fugitives, but the raging river, as well.

Chair Lift

Book/Author: Vardis Fisher, best known for his novels Children of God and Mountain Man – which was adapted into the 1972 film Jeremiah Johnson, starring Robert Redford – was born in Annis. Fisher also wrote The Idaho Guide, as part of the Federal Writer’s Project, the first guide published among all the American states.

Fictional Character: Napoleon Dynamite, protagonist of the surprise 2004 hit comedy film, is an awkward high school student, with a penchant for sketching mythical creatures, dancing and tater tots. The movie takes place in Preston, where it was also filmed on a budget of only $400,000.

Fictional City: Wayward Pines was used as the setting for the 2015-16 TV show of the same name, based on a series of books by Blake Crouch. The town is surrounded by an electrified fence and trying to escape is punished by death. The series had some star power attached to it, with Matt Dillon and Terrence Howard as stars and M. Night Shyamalan directing the pilot, but was cancelled in 2018, two years after airing its last episode.

Actor/Actress: Aaron Paul, best known for his role of Jesse Pinkman, from Breaking Bad, was born in Emmett. Paul will next be seen in the third season of HBO’s Westworld, as the character Caleb.

Napoleon Dynamite

Song: As much as I dislike The B-52s, their song Private Idaho is perhaps the most popular song ever recorded about the state. The track has been used in the movies My Own Private Idaho and The Wedding Singer and was the entrance song for the Idaho Steelheads of the East Coast Hockey League during the 2005-06 season.

Band/Musician: Formed in Boise, rock band Paul Revere & the Raiders enjoyed popularity and success from the late 1960’s to the early 1970’s. During this time, they recorded hits such as Kicks, Hungry and Indian Reservation. Founder Paul Revere died in 2014 from cancer, but his son Jamie leads the band now.

People: Joe Albertson, founder of the Albertsons chain of grocery stores, was raised in Caldwell. His first store was opened in 1939, in Boise, becoming one of the first one-stop supermarkets. Two additional stores were opened the following year, growing to be the second largest supermarket chain in North America. Albertson retired in 1976, aged 70.

Animal: The Appaloosa Horse is the State Horse of Idaho, appearing on a version of their license plates. Known for their spotted coat, conservation efforts for the breed led to the formation of the Appaloosa Horse Club, based out of Moscow (the Idaho city, that is). The horses are commonly used in western movies and TV series.

Hungry Horse

Invention: No matter what else was invented in Idaho, the second I learned the TV was designed (1927) and patented (1930) there, it was game over. My life, for better or worse, is greatly influenced by television and I have Philo Farnsworth to thank for that. The first image Farnsworth transmitted through TV was that of his wife.

Crime: Lyda Southard was one of the first known female serial killers in the U.S., having poisoned a number of husbands, a brother-in-law and even her own daughter, for life insurance payouts. Most of the crimes occurred in Idaho, with a couple taking place in Montana. Southard was eventually tried and convicted, sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, but escaped and remarried. She was returned to prison a year later and served her sentence.

Law: In Pocatello, it is illegal not to smile in public. I’m curious as to what the punishment for breaking this law would be. Perhaps a stint of happiness training, where all you do is have fun with endless resources.

Sports Team: With no pro teams, the Boise State University Broncos are the talk of the Idaho sports world. I would love to see a professional franchise come to Idaho and be called the Potatoes or Spuds or something of that ilk. Until then, I will continue waiting with baited breath.

Potatoes

Athlete: Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984, Harmon Killebrew was fourth in career home runs when he retired and today sits 12th with 573 over his 22 years playing. Killebrew, born in Payette, was a 13-time All-Star and named the 1969 American League MVP.

Famous Home: Standrod Mansion, also known as Standrod Castle, was built in 1897, in Pocatello, by Drew William Standrod. The home is said to be haunted by the spirit of Standrod’s daughter, who died young. Visitors to the mansion, when it was a museum and event center owned by the city, reported feeling ill once they entered the place and others have seen the daughter in the tower window, which was her room when she was alive.

Urban Legend: Amongst some other interesting tales, I had to go with the theory that the state of Idaho is mythical. This wacky notion is actually debated by some (probably also flat earth folks) who ask questions such as “Do you know anybody from Idaho?” and debating the population size versus geographical size, among other arguments.

Museum: The Museum of Clean was opened in 2011, in Pocatello, by Don Aslett, a cleaning expert and co-founder of the Varsity House Cleaning Company. The museum displays 6,000 artifacts to do with cleaning and cleanliness, including early vacuum cleaners and washing machines. The site also has a small theatre, art gallery and gift shop.

Idaho

Firsts: Idaho is home to the world’s first nuclear power plant, which resulted in the city of Arco being the first to be lit by atomic energy. The downside of all this, is the area also experienced the world’s first nuclear meltdown.

Company: In many cities, Mrs. Sip and I have used the CityPASS system, which offers travellers access to a number of popular attractions at one discounted price. The company is based out of Idaho, of all places, launching in 1997 in Seattle and San Francisco, before other destinations were added in the following years.

Events: The largest forest fire in U.S. history, dubbed the Great Fire of 1910, burned entire cities in parts of Idaho and Montana. The blaze killed 87 people and destroyed an estimated $1 billion worth of timber. A notable survival story from the fire, featured Idaho firefighter Edward Pulaski saving most of his crew by taking refuge in an abandoned mine. Pulaski later invented a tool, with an axe at one end and an adze on the other, which became essential firefighter equipment.

Miscellaneous: Idaho is a made up word, originally suggested for what is now Colorado. Lobbyist George M. Willing said the word came from a Native-American language, meaning ‘gem of the mountains’. Despite the name being fabricated, it gained popularity and was later used for what is now Idaho… if it does, in fact, exist!

Whiskey Sour

Whiskey Sour

  • 1.5 oz Whiskey
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry and Orange Peel

In all my research, it was hard to find a cocktail associated with Idaho. That said, many articles referenced the Whiskey Sour as the state’s favourite alcoholic beverage, based on Google searches and liquor sales data. Variations of the Whiskey Sour recipe can turn it into a Boston Sour (with the addition of egg whites) or a New York Sour (with the addition of a red wine float).

Hawaii – Chi Chi

Each week, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the United States, discovering the best each state has to offer in a variety of subjects. The last state to enter the union, Hawaii is a tropic paradise, making it hard to get any work done. I must press on, though, and give the Aloha State its due:

Motto: “The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness” – So that’s all it takes for something to be beautiful.

Food: You can’t return from a trip to Hawaii without at least a couple packs of macadamia nuts to hand out to family, friends and coworkers. Hawaii was home to the first commercial macadamia nut farm, with the state’s Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Corporation being the largest processor of macadamia seeds in the world.

Drink: While a number of cocktails have originated in Hawaii, we’ll look at the popular beverage POG. An acronym for Passionfruit-Orange-Guava, the juice was created by Haleakala Dairy product consultant Mary Soon, on the island of Maui. Most notably, the juice led to the POG milk caps fad of the 1990’s, also originating in Hawaii.

Macadamia Nut

Site to See: Dubbed the Paradise of the Pacific, there is much to view around the Hawaiian Islands. A definite sight to behold are the state’s active volcanoes, with two of them comprising Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, on the Big Island. The Kilauea Volcano – the world’s most active volcano – and Mauna Loa, offer visitors views of lava flows, along with unique plants and animals.

Street: On the island of Maui, the Road to Hana (aka Hana Highway) is a 64-mile long stretch that contains a number of picturesque sites, including Wailua Falls and the Seven Sacred Pools. Those renting a car for the journey may not have insurance coverage for part of the route, due to unpaved narrow roads with many blind turns along the way.

TV Show: Magnum P.I. ran for eight seasons and 162 episodes, following the adventures of private detective Thomas Magnum, as he investigated cases around the Hawaiian islands. Magnum is joined by fellow war vets T.C. and Rick, as well as thorn-in-the-side housemate Higgins, making for one of the most popular shows of the 1980’s. The theme song alone is legendary!

Movie: Forgetting Sarah Marshall sees musician Peter Bretter head to Hawaii to get over the breakup with his actress girlfriend Sarah Marshall, only to find that Sarah and her new boyfriend, who she cheated on Peter with, are at the exact same resort. Starring Jason Segel, Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis and Russell Brand, this hilarious rom-com will have you wanting to leave for the islands as soon as possible.

Magnum PI

Book/Author: The series of Charlie Chan books, authored by Earl Derr Biggers, takes the fictional Chinese-American detective through six adventures in Hawaii and beyond. The character was based on real-life Hawaiian detective Chang Apana, a member of the Honolulu Police Department.

Fictional Character: The Hawaii Five-0 Task Force, led by Steve McGarrett, along with his partner Danny Williams, and associates Chin Ho Kelly and Kono Kalakaua, are one of Honolulu’s greatest tools in fighting crime. Lines like “Book’em, Danno!” became a famous pop culture catchphrase and much like Magnum P.I., Hawaii Five-0’s theme song is iconic.

Fictional City: Kokaua, from Lilo & Stitch, is based on Hanapepe, on the island of Kauai. The town has embraced this association, with a mural announcing: “Home of Lilo & Stitch”.

Actor/Actress: Aquaman himself, Jason Momoa, was born in Honolulu. Also known for his role as Khal Drogo on Game of Thrones, the actor’s first role was on the TV show Baywatch: Hawaii. Furthermore, despite her Australian citizenship, Nicole Kidman was also born in Honolulu, as her parents were on student visas, at the time.

Jason Momoa

Song: Elvis Presley loved Hawaii, performing numerous times in the state, as well as filming a trio of movies on the islands. The 1961 musical Blue Hawaii, featured a title track performed by Elvis, covering the Bing Crosby/Shirley Ross original. The movie’s soundtrack topped the Billboard album charts for 20 weeks.

Band/Musician: One of music’s most popular artists today, Bruno Mars, was born in Honolulu. His list of hits includes Uptown Funk, Locked Out of Heaven, Grenade and 24K Magic have kept the young and old dancing for a decade now. Also have to give a shout out to Israel Kamakawiwo’ole (better known as Iz), for his beautiful rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

People: Born in Honolulu (bet you’re getting tired of that line), Barack Obama served as the 44th President of the United States, from 2009 to 2017. During his first year in office, Obama was named the recipient of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. He may be best remember for introducing the country to what was dubbed Obamacare and a nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage.

Animal: Tyke the Elephant, an animal performer with the Honolulu-based Circus International, became a symbol for animal rights, when she was brought down with 86 police bullets after escaping from a performance in Honolulu, following trampling her trainer to death and injuring her groomer. Over 60 years earlier, a similar incident occurred at the Kapiolani Zoo (now Honolulu Zoo), when Daisy the Elephant killed her trainer, forcing police to shoot the animal.

Bruno Mars

Invention: Although I was awful at it, Hawaii should be thanked for introducing the world to surfing and inventing surfboards. Perhaps I will attempt to ride the waves again someday… perhaps not!

Crime: The Honolulu Strangler was Hawaii’s first known serial killer. Between 1985 and 1986, five women were found bound, raped and strangled, aged 17 to 36. While the crime has never been solved, one serious suspect, Howard Gay, was identified, after leading police to the last victim’s body, saying a psychic told him a body would be found there. Even after failing a polygraph test, Gay was released due to lack of evidence.

Law: Hawaii works hard to preserve its natural beauty. That why some laws have been introduced to keep the state as picturesque as possible, including a ban on billboards across the state. Three other states also share this outlawing: Alaska, Maine and Vermont.

Sports Team: There are no professional sports teams in Hawaii, but the annual NFL Pro Bowl was played there every year between 1980-2016, except for 2010 and 2015. The game has since been moved to Orlando, Florida. That leaves the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors as the biggest game in the state, along with surfing competitions, such as the Triple Crown of Surfing and The Eddie.

Surfing

Athlete: Duke Kahanamoku was a competition swimmer and surfer, known for great athletic feats, the least of which include five Olympic medals. After dying at the age of 77, Duke’s ashes were scattered into the ocean off Waikiki Beach, where a statue to the man now resides. The Hawaiian legend has a chain of restaurants named after him, with locations in Hawaii, California and Florida.

Famous Home: ‘Iolani Palace, in Honolulu, is the only royal palace in the U.S. It was home to generations of Hawaiian monarchs and is now a National Historic Landmark, restored as a museum in 1978. On the original Hawaii Five-0, it was implied that the department’s office was located within the palace.

Urban Legend: Morgan’s Corner, in Honolulu, is said to be a site of much paranormal activity. Nearby, in 1948, two escaped convicts robbed the home of 68-year-old Therese Wilder. Wilder was gagged with a broken jaw, resulting in her suffocating. The two men were later caught and sentenced to death, although their executions were stayed at the last moment and their sentences reduced. Wilder is said to haunt the area, screaming for her life. A young girl is also said to appear in Morgan’s Corner, holding her own head, having died by hanging herself from a tree in the area.

Museum: Two permanently closed museums caught my eye for this category. First, Teddy Bear World, in Oahu, featured over 800 animatronic teddy bears, while the Paper Airplane Museum, in Maui, exhibited more than 2,000 paper airplanes of varying sizes.

Paper Airplanes

Firsts: Hawaii was the first state to legalize abortions by choice, in 1970, stating: “the State shall not deny or interfere with a female’s right to choose or obtain an abortion of a nonviable fetus or an abortion that is necessary to protect the life or health of the female”. 50 years later, some of the country still struggles with this concept.

Company: If you’ve ever been to Hawaii, you can’t go far without coming across one of the many ABC Stores. Headquartered in Honolulu, the chain offers groceries and souvenirs, with a majority of their stores scattered across the state. The first store opened in Waikiki, in 1964, originally known as Mister K, after founder Sidney Kosasa.

Events: The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, on the island of Oahu, on December 7, 1941, brought the U.S. into World War II. 2,403 Americans lost their lives in the unexpected offensive, which was later deemed a war crime. The site is now a popular tourist attraction, featuring the USS Arizona Memorial.

Miscellaneous: While not created in Hawaii, a number of items have been named after the state. This includes Hawaiian Punch, Hawaiian Pizza, Toast Hawaii, and Hawaiian Tropic Sunscreen. For the record, the Sip Advisor loved Hawaiian Pizza and doesn’t understand the backlash against it.

Chi Chi

Chi Chi

  • 2 oz Vodka
  • Top with Pineapple Juice
  • Splash of Coconut Cream
  • Garnish with Maraschino Cherries
  • Sprinkle Coconut Shavings

The Chi Chi first came to my attention thanks to a South Park episode where Butters, as a young keiki (child), goes to the island for his hapanoa ceremony. The drink the native Hawaiians (aka time share owners) love is the Chi Chi, the supplies of which, are being jeopardized by a war between these natives and haoles (aka mainland visitors). The Chi Chi is also the official beverage of Puerto Rico and after having one martini style, not frozen, I can see why!

Georgia – Scarlett O’Hara/Rhett Butler

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 find ourselves in Georgia, not to be confused with the European country, which cause many-a-problem while researching this article. Let’s delve into the Peach State to see just how sweet it is:

Motto: “Wisdom, justice, and moderation” – I’m okay with those first two ideals, but I’ve never been one for moderation!

Food: Vidalia Onions are Georgia’s State Vegetable, grown in Vidalia. Uncharacteristically sweet, the onions may work well in Brunswick Stew, which both Georgia and Virginia have made claims to having created.

Drink: Coca-Cola, arguably the world’s most popular soda, was born and bred in Georgia. Originating as Pemberton’s French Wine Coca nerve tonic, in 1885, the beverage was de-alcoholised the following year and renamed Coca-Cola. Today, the Coca-Cola Company is based in Atlanta, where you can also find the World of Coca-Cola attraction (more on that below).

Coca Cola

Site to See: Georgia has seven natural wonders for visitors to choose from, including Amicalola Falls, Okefenokee Swamp, Providence Canyon, Radium Springs, Stone Mountain, Tallulah Gorge, and Warm Springs. Stone Mountain is the state’s most popular attraction, featuring a carving on the mountain of Confederate leaders Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.

Street: Peachtree Street in Atlanta is used for annual parades, for holidays such as St. Patrick’s Day and Christmas, as well as for special event parades, including the 100th anniversary of Coca-Cola and the 1995 Wold Series celebration for the Atlanta Braves. This main route should not be confused with the 71 other streets in Atlanta with Peachtree in its name. Frank Sinatra and John Mayer have sung about the street, while Elton John owns a home on it, inspiring his album Peachtree Road.

TV Show: As I write this, an episode of Matlock is playing in the background, so you know I’m a fan. Grandpa Simpson’s favourite show ran for nine seasons and 193 episodes of legal drama. Starring Andy Griffith as the titular southern lawyer, many believe the character was based on real-life litigator, Bobby Lee Cook, called the “dean of Georgia criminal defense attorneys”.

Movie: Gone with the Wind, starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, is a historical romance epic, set on a Georgia plantation during the American Civil War. Based on the book by Margaret Mitchell, the 1939 film set records for Oscar nominations and wins, taking eight of the 13 trophies it was up for.

Matlock

Book/Author: The Color Purple by Alice Walker, documents the lives of African-American women in the southern U.S. during the 1930’s. Taking place largely in Georgia, the book won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction. It was adapted into a 1985 movie and nominated for 11 Oscars.

Fictional Character: A number of characters from The Walking Dead universe are from Georgia. This includes Rick Grimes and Daryl Dixon, leaders of the group of survivors the graphic comic and TV show follows.

Fictional City: Hazzard County from The Dukes of Hazzard is where the Duke boys and cousin Daisy have their many run-ins with Boss Hogg and Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane, while trying to keep their moonshine business running.

Actor/Actress: ‘America’s Sweetheart’, Julia Roberts, was born in Smyrna. The star of films such as Pretty Woman, My Best Friend’s Wedding and Erin Brockovich – for which she won a Best Actress Oscar in 2000 – continues to be busy with roles. Roberts has been named People magazine’s most beautiful woman a record five times.

Dukes of Hazzard

Song: There are a number of great songs which reference the state, including Georgia on My Mind (with versions by Ray Charles and James Brown), The Devil Went Down to Georgia by The Charlie Daniels Band, Midnight Train to Georgia by Gladys Knight & the Pips and The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia by Vicki Lawrence.

Band/Musician: Georgia has a long history of music, home to legendary artists like Ray Charles, James Brown, Little Richard, Gladys Knight and others. The next wave of stars includes Kanye West, Usher, T.I., Ludacris, and Lil Jon.

People: Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta, later becoming the leader of the American Civil Rights Movement. He is best remembered for his “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered at the Lincoln Memorial, prior to the 1963 March on Washington. Sadly, King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968, dying at the age of 39.

Animal: Noah’s Ark Sanctuary in Locust Grove was home to not one famous animal, but three. Dubbed the BLT trio – for bear Baloo, lion Leo and tiger Shere Khan – the animals were rescued from an Atlanta drug kingpin’s home and happily lived together for years at Noah’s Ark. Sadly, Baloo is the last remaining of the threesome.

BLT Trio

Invention: Sure, the invention of anesthesia has helped countless people, but so has Girl Scout Cookies. The U.S. does things so much better than Canada in this regard, with many more flavours available. These include Tagalongs, Samoas and Do-Si-Dos, among others.

Crime: Hosting the 1996 Olympics was a boon for Atlanta, but it turned tragic due to a pipe bomb explosion at Centennial Olympic Park. Two people died (one from the blast, another from a heart attack) and 111 were injured, but it could have been so much worse, had it not been for security guard Richard Jewell, who evacuated the area. Jewell became a suspect afterwards, but the attack was perpetrated by Eric Rudolph. Jewell’s hero-to-villain story was the subject of the 2019 film Richard Jewell.

Law: In Georgia, it is illegal to live on a boat for more than 30 days in one calendar year. What about a van down by the river?

Sports Team: Atlanta has been home to teams from all Big 4 leagues, although both the Flames and Thrashers (NHL) were relocated to other cities. The Braves (MLB), Falcons (NFL) and Hawks (NBA) remain. Also, the PGA Masters Tournament is hosted annually at Augusta National Golf Club.

Girl Scout Cookies

Athlete: Amongst other sports stars, I have to choose Jackie Robinson, who broke the colour barrier in baseball, for this category. Robinson was born in Cairo, growing up in Pasadena, California. He battled through racism for years as he pursued his baseball career, opening the door for so many athletes to come after him. In 1997, Major League Baseball retired his jersey number (#42) league-wide. The 2013 movie 42 was based on Robinson’s life and accomplishments.

Famous Home: Martin Luther King Jr.’s childhood home is one of many sites that comprise the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Park, in Atlanta. Other attractions include the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where both King Sr. and King Jr. were pastors and King Jr. was baptized, and the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change.

Urban Legend: The deadliest hotel fire in U.S. history occurred at the Winecoff Hotel, in Atlanta, on December 7, 1946. 119 people died, including some who jumped from higher floors, trying to escape the flames and smoke. The Ellis Hotel now sits on the site, with employees reporting ghost sightings and fire alarms going off at 2:48 am, the time the blaze started.

Museum: The World of Coca-Cola is part history museum, with exhibits on the soda’s secret formula and polar bear mascot, and part entertainment attraction, offering visitors the opportunity to taste over 100 different Coca-Cola products from around the world.

Jackie Robinson

Firsts: Georgia definitely helped with the Women’s Rights Movement, being the first state to allow women full property rights, as well as establishing the first college in the world to award women degrees at Wesleyan College, in Macon.

Company: Ted Turner’s extensive media empire, including channels like CNN, TBS, TNT and Turner Classic Movies, is headquartered in Atlanta. Turner also dabbled in the sports world, formerly owning both the Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Hawks, as well as World Championship Wrestling.

Events: Georgia was a hub of Civil War activity, highlighted by the 1864 Battle of Atlanta, which resulted in much of the city being burned to the ground, as Union troops hoped to cut off Confederate access to supplies. Atlanta suffered another major fire in 1917, destroying a large chunk of the capital.

Miscellaneous: The Varsity, in Atlanta, is the world’s largest drive-in fast food restaurant. The eatery, established in 1928, takes up two city blocks and offers seating for 800-plus patrons inside, with space for 600 cars outside. The Varsity even has their own lingo for menu ordering.

Scarlett O’Hara

Scarlett O'Hara

  • 2 oz Southern Comfort
  • Top with Cranberry Juice
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

Rhett Butler

Rhett Butler

  • 2 oz Southern Comfort
  • 0.5 oz Triple Sec
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Garnish with a Lemon Twist

This is the Sip Advisor’s first double drink of this project, as I had to include the cocktails made in honour of both of the main characters from Gone with the Wind. Apparently, the Scarlett O’Hara made Southern Comfort popular, subbing in for vodka in a recipe similar to a Cosmopolitan. The Rhett Butler is a little stiffer, just like the character. Both were enjoyable beverages.