Ohio – Boozy Buckeye

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 Ohio, the Buckeye State, to see what trouble we can get into. Given the state gave out the first ever traffic ticket, though, we better tread carefully. Let’s do it:

Motto: “With God, all things are possible” – All things are always possible…

Food: For those with a sweet tooth, Ohio has a number of options. Most notably, Buckeyes (balls of peanut butter fudge dipped in chocolate) are popular throughout the state. With a portion of the peanut butter exposed, they resemble the nuts from buckeye trees, the State Tree of Ohio. Life Savers Candy and Chewing Gum were also invented there.

Drink: Gem Beverages has operated in Ohio since 1923. Their most popular brand is Ski, a citrus soda, which comes in regular, diet, cherry and tropical flavours. This category seems like a good place to also mention that the pop-top (pull-tab) drink can was invented in 1959, by Ohioan Ermal Fraze, as he looked for a better way to open beers.

Buckeyes

Site to See: Cedar Point amusement park, in Sandusky, is the second oldest amusement park in the U.S. The park has been called ‘America’s Roller Coaster’ and contains 71 rides. It is the most visited seasonal theme park in the country. Cedar Point was awarded ‘Best Amusement Park in the World’ 16 years in a row (1997-2013) by Amusement Today.

Street: Euclid Avenue in Cleveland gained attention in the late 1800s and early 1900s for the wealthy families living along the route. With residents like John Rockefeller, the area became known as Millionaires’ Row and the beauty of the street earned it another nickname: The Showplace of America. There’s also a really neat three-way bridge in Zanesville, called the Y-Bridge.

TV Show: A number of good sitcoms are set in Ohio, including The Drew Carey Show, WKRP in Cincinnati, 3rd Rock from the Sun and Family Ties. Hit musical dramedy Glee also took place in the state. Of them all, The Drew Carey Show was probably my favourite, thanks to characters like Lewis and Oswald. Also, John Lithgow did an amazing job on 3rd Rock, while we can thank Family Ties for Michael J. Fox.

Movie: Did you know one of the greatest characters of the horror genre haunts Ohio… even its resident’s dreams? The A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, which sees Freddy Krueger stalk his victims in their sleep, was created by Wes Craven, who was born in Cleveland. There are nine Elm Street films, along with a TV series, novels, comic books and other media.

Freddy Krueger

Book/Author: As someone who grew up on this author’s work, I had to pick R.L. Stine for this category. His Goosebumps series introduced millions of kids to the concept of reading for fun, while his Fear Street series kept those kids, now as teenagers, interested in picking up a book. Stine’s countless novels have sold hundreds of millions of copies.

Fictional Character: The Hulk (real name Bruce Banner) is from Dayton. If I’m being honest, I was never really a fan of the character until Mark Ruffalo took over the role in The Avengers movies. The scene where he obliterates Loki by rag dolling him around is one of the best in any Marvel movie. Hulk SMASH, am I right!?

Fictional City: Coolsville is the hometown of Scooby-Doo and the rest of the Mystery Inc. gang. Sure, a lot of weird happenings occur in the town, but as long as the Mystery Machine is nearby, you know the case is about to be solved by some meddling kids and their dog. Interestingly, there is a real town in Ohio, named Coolville, after founder Simeon W. Cooley.

Actor/Actress: Paul Newman, star of movies such as The Hustler, Cool Hand Luke, The Sting, and a Sip Advisor personal favourite Slap Shot, was born in Shaker Heights. Newman was nominated a number of times for the Best Actor Oscar, finally winning one for The Color of Money. His Newman’s Own food company donates all after-tax profits to charity.

Paul Newman

Song: Ohio by The Black Keys is an ode to the state, with the group being formed in Akron. It was a bonus track on their album Brothers and contains lyrics such as “Get me home; Before, before I lose my mind. I need some space to let my; My tape rewind.” It should also be noted, Ohio has a State Rock Song, Hang On, Sloopy by The McCoys.

Band/Musician: Dave Grohl, frontman of the Foo Fighters and drummer for Nirvana before that, was born in Warren. While many famous people have a street named after them in their hometown, Grohl has an alley. Visitors to the landmark can find paintings and a sculpture of Grohl, as well as the world’s largest drumsticks. Grohl is said to visit the site on occasion.

People: Ohio is a capital of aviation. The Wright Brothers (Orville and Wilbur) were from Dayton, before moving to North Carolina and making the first successful motor-operated airplane flight. Also, Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, and John Glenn, the first American to orbit earth, were born in Wapakoneta and Cambridge, respectively.

Animal: Smoky the Dog was a war dog, accompanying Corporal William A. Wynne, during World War II. Smoky’s efforts, running wires to help build an air base, saved about 250 soldiers from being exposed. After the war, Wynne and Smoky returned to Cleveland, where the dog became a national sensation, with her popularity reviving the Yorkshire Terrier breed.

Smoky the Dog

Invention: High school friends from Cleveland, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, co-created comic book superhero Superman, with the character debuting in the first issue of Action Comics, in 1938. The rights to the character were sold for a mere $130, which was standard business in the industry at that time. While they were paid well by DC Comics afterwards, the duo regretted selling the copyright.

Crime: Ohio has had two sets of serial killer brothers terrorize the state. First, Anthony and Nathaniel Cook were incarcerated for raping and murdering at least nine white victims in Toledo, in racially-motivated crimes. Next, Gary and Thaddeus Lewingdon both received life sentences after committing 10 murders around the state, with robbery being their motive.

Law: It is illegal to get a fish drunk… but they make the best drinking buddies!

Sports Team: Ohio has many sports options spread across the state. Cleveland has three teams in the Indians (MLB), Browns (NFL) and Cavaliers (NBA), while Cincinnati has the Reds (MLB) and Bengals (NFL). Finally, there’s the Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL) and the Ohio State University Buckeyes football program, which also plays out of Columbus.

Superman

Athlete: Ohio has a trio of GOATs (greatest of all-time). This includes golfer Jack Nicklaus, who won 117 tournaments, including a record 18 majors; MLB all-time hits leader Pete Rose, winner of three World Series; and basketball superstar LeBron James, with three NBA championships, each of which he was the Finals MVP for. Rose and James played most of their careers in their home state.

Famous Home: A Christmas Story House can be found in Cleveland. In 2004, entrepreneur Brian Jones purchased the home on eBay for $150,000 and restored it to how it looks in the film. Jones also bought the house across the street, turning it into a museum, featuring props from the movie, such as the family’s car and a Red Ryder BB gun. You can even book an overnight stay in the home.

Urban Legend: What was once known as Boston Township, is now dubbed Helltown, an area of Ohio rife with stories of paranormal activity, Satan worshippers, the supposed “end of the world” road and the mutant ‘Peninsula Python’. The legends resulted from Boston becoming a ghost town in the mid 1970’s, as government began creating the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Museum: The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Pro Football Hall of Fame can be found in Cleveland and Canton, respectively. How did they end up in Ohio? Well, Cleveland disc jockey Alan Freed was the first to use the term rock and roll, while in 1920, Canton hosted a meeting between four Ohio-based football teams, founding what today is the NFL.

Pete Rose

Firsts: Ohio has a lot of interesting firsts, including the original professional fire department and ambulance service, as well as the first police force to use a vehicle. The state also had the first concrete street and is where the first automobile was created. Cleveland was the first city lit by electricity and later had the first traffic signal system. Lastly, the first pro baseball team was the Cincinnati Red Stockings.

Company: Fast food restaurant Wendy’s was founded by Dave Thomas, in Columbus, in 1969. The chain, named after one of Thomas’ daughters, is now headquartered in Dublin, with their office located on Dave Thomas Boulevard. The restaurant is the third largest hamburger fast food chain in the world. Ohioans claim to have invented dipping fries into Frosty milkshakes.

Events: The Kent State Shootings, where National Guard members opened fire on unarmed student protestors, shocked the country. Four people were killed and nine wounded during the anti-Vietnam War rally. Criminal cases resulted in no convictions, while civil cases eventually resulted in a $675,000 settlement paid by the state to plaintiffs.

Miscellaneous: Ohio is known as “The Mother of Presidents”, given seven Commander-in-Chiefs have come from the state. This includes Ulysses S. Grant (18th President), Rutherford B. Hayes (19th President), James A. Garfield (20th President), Benjamin Harrison (23rd President), William McKinley (25th President), William H. Taft (27th President), and Warren G. Harding (29th President).

Boozy Buckeye

Boozy Buckeye

  • 1 oz Irish Cream or Bourbon
  • Top with Hot Chocolate
  • 1/2 tsp of Melted Peanut Butter
  • Garnish with Whipped Cream

This cocktail is meant to best replicate the Buckeyes dessert treats in liquid form. As for the debate between whether to use Irish Cream or Bourbon, I said to hell with it and used Peanut Butter Whiskey for even more of a peanut butter punch. A recipe variation I found uses two ounces of Coconut Rum and an ounce of Kahlua, instead. The beverage might be best enjoyed while tailgating before Ohio State Buckeyes football games.

October 23 – Skittles

It’s Good to be Bad

There are some horrific villains out there in movie land; characters that keep fans thirsting for sequel after sequel. Here are some of the best in the business!

Freddy Krueger – A Nightmare on Elm Street

I have to admit that after I watched the original A Nightmare on Elm Street for the very first time as a little sipper, I didn’t want to go to sleep that night. The thought of a monster like Freddy Krueger being able to attack a person in their dreams was a novel idea. With his signature bladed claw, I’d love to see a showdown between Freddy and Wolverine from X-Men. Both are virtually invincible and rely on slashing weapons. It would be one hell of a bloody battle.

Freddy_Krueger

Leatherface – The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

With a mask made of human skin, a bloody butcher’s smock, and an ear-shattering chainsaw in his hand, Leatherface is certainly one of the most imposing baddies in film history. The Leatherface character and costume was adopted by professional wrestling, mostly in Japan. I have seen Leatherface the wrestler live and it’s quite the sight to see a big hulking guy chase audience members around with a revving chainsaw (no blade, of course).

Jigsaw – Saw

I enjoy playing games, but I don’t think I’d ever want to cozy up to Jigsaw with a Monopoly board or Yahtzee Dice. I’d probably end up in one of his horrific traps, being challenged to justify my wasted existence as the Sip Advisor (I don’t think it’s a wasted existence, but John Kramer – the man behind Jigsaw – would probably think so). Billy, the creepy doll Jigsaw uses to deliver messages to his victims is as deranged and disturbing as dolls come. He would not fit in with The Muppets.

Ghostface – Scream

Although Ghostface has been parodied in the Scary Movie franchise, it’s still a pretty haunting character when you go back and watch any of the Scream films. The franchise has been brilliant with its story of a town of teens being terrorized by a spook that kills silently, but taunts its victims with phone calls prior to their death. The design of the mask is based on the famous painting ‘The Scream’ by Edvard Munch and was a legit Halloween costume before the films were made.

Scream

Hannibal Lecter – Silence of the Lambs

More of a cerebral monster here, but Hannibal Lecter also has a vicious side. Anthony Hopkins is synonymous with the character, his portrayal winning the star a Best Actor Oscar in 1991, but did you know Lecter was played by someone before Hopkins? Brian Cox played Lecter (or Lektor as the character’s name was changed to for copyright reasons) in the 1986 film Manhunter. John Lithgow also auditioned for that role and given his work as a serial killer on Dexter, he would have been great here, as well.

Pennywise – It

I’m not much of a fan of clowns to begin with, but after watching the It TV mini-movie, I’ll never look at those folks the same again. Pennywise, in clown form, has to be one of the most disturbing villains Stephen King has ever dreamed up… even without the sharp teeth and claws. I have to say that the TV mini-movie is really good for the first half, but totally falls apart in the latter half. Watch with caution or wait for the rumoured re-adaptation to finally come to fruition.

Pennywise

Michael Myers – Halloween

Committed to an asylum as a youngster after murdering his older sister, Michael Myers escapes and wreaks havoc on the Halloween season, tormenting his victims and racking up kills. Myers emotionless face is a frightening image to behold and would certainly stimulate nightmares. Perhaps even more scary is the fact Myers has lived through so many sequels that he seems unstoppable. Happy endings be damned!

Jason Voorhees – Friday the 13th

Hockey can be violet enough, but when you put a mask on a killer seeking revenge and arm him with a machete, you’re certainly asking for trouble. Thanks to staff negligence, Jason Voorhees drowned as a boy at Camp Crystal Lake and returns to the site of his tragic end to mass murder camp counselors and others engaging in immoral behaviour. I won’t spoil the ending of the original movie, but Jason isn’t even the killer until the second film in the franchise.

Drink #296: Skittles

Skittles Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Kinky Liqueur
  • 0.5 oz Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Blue Curacao
  • Top with half Orange Juice and half Lemonade
  • Garnish with Skittles

Who’s your favourite horror movie baddie? Have I grossly neglected a villain on this list? I guess they’ll be hunting me down now!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
I always have a desire to “taste the rainbow” and while this cocktail was good to start with and looked fantastic, its score was bumped up even higher when the Skittles garnishes melted a little bit in the drink and gave it an extra boost of candy flavour. It was also fun to eat the little treats as you drank your way through the recipe.

October 13 – Red Rum

Screen Spooks

Normally this time of the year, Mrs. Sip and I are getting into the Halloween spirit by watching scary movies and TV show episodes that highlight the pinnacle of October. With Mrs. Sip away in Europe, experiencing real-life haunts such as Dracula’s Castle, I’ve been left on my own to spook myself. Here are some of my favourite horror viewings:

Dead Snow (2009)

This movie is spectacular, focusing on the uprising of a horde of Nazi zombies. It begins with your usual group of young people heading out into the wilderness for a wild weekend at a remote lodge. Along the way, they awaken the Nazi zombies and the gruesome killings begin. Will anyone survive? Dead Snow is a Norwegian movie, so you have to be okay with subtitles, but I totally recommend sitting through the fun.

Dead Snow

April Fool’s Day (1986)

Mrs. Sip and other members of the Sip Alliance are fans of murder mystery parties. As for myself, I enjoy the eating and especially the drinking, but the whole dressing up and getting into character I find to be a struggle. This film takes the classic murder mystery weekend that turns real route. I haven’t yet seen the 2008 remake, preferring the cheesiness of the 80’s flick, although the remake was direct to DVD, so it’s probably got its fair share of fromage, too!

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

I’ve always thought that Freddy Krueger is one of the best horror movie baddies. He can be so vile and repulsive… yet charming, as he was made in later installments, dropping classic catchphrases and killing his victims in a more cartoonish style. The original Nightmare is a great film, perhaps best remembered lately for Johnny Depp’s role. The Freddy character has gone on to star in numerous movies, returning to the cold-blooded killer he was meant to be in recent adaptations.

The Shining (1980)

Watching Jack Torrance’s (Jack Nicholson) descent into madness is a great feat of acting. If I was stuck in that massive resort all by myself for the winter, I’d probably go a little nuts, as well. Nearly as good as the movie, is The Simpsons spoof of The Shining, which features Homer losing his composure when he discovers that there will be no TV and no beer during the duration of their stay looking after Mr. Burns mountain home.

the-shining

Dawn of the Dead (2004)

I’m particularly fond of the remake of this film, which is largely set in a shopping mall and depicts a group of strangers having to band together to remain safe in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. Of course, some are able to do what’s best for the unit, while others are only capable of looking out for themselves. The resulting chaos is a thrilling ride as you hope that the good ones can make it out alive.

Saw (2004)

While I still haven’t completed my watching of the entire franchise, I give full marks to the first Saw movie, which has so many twists and turns and violent endings that you’ll be glued to your screen as you try to figure out, just as the victims do, why they’ve been chosen by Jigsaw to ‘play a game’. The film is not for the squeamish, as Jigsaw’s traps are quite horrifying and deadly, but the psychology behind Saw is what really makes the series work.

Drink #286: Red Rum

Red Rum Drink Recipe

  • 1.5 oz Spiced Rum (I used Sailor Jerry’s)
  • 1.5 oz Irish Crème
  • Top with Cream Soda
  • Garnish with Chocolate Cookie Stick

Do you have any suggestions for a lonely and easily frightened Sip Advisor? Feel free to pass them along my way!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.5 Sips out of 5):
It looks like Pepto Bismal… and that’s not necessarily a good thing. The drink doesn’t taste that bad, perhaps helped along a fair bit by the Sailor Jerry’s and even Cream Soda, but the Irish Creme causes some curdling, which takes a little while to get used to. This is one cocktail you’ll definitely want to ingest with caution.